Monday, August 25, 2008

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

We sang this in church yesterday... Pay particular attention to verse 2: Have you not seen how your desires ever have been granted in what He ordained. How often I do not see my desires granted in what God has given me.. I am not content with God's Will in my life. Will I never learn? Because really, I would rather have what God wants for me than what I want for myself!

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, By: Joachim Neander

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty The King of creation
O my soul, praise Him For He is thy health and salvation
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near
Praise Him in glad adoration

Praise to the Lord Who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth
Shelters thee under His wings Yea, so gently sustaineth
Hast thou not seen how thy desires e'er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth

Praise to the Lord Who doth prosper thy work and defend thee
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do
If with His love He befriend thee

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him
All that hath life and breath Come now with praises before Him
Let the 'amen' sound from His people again
Gladly for'ere we adore Him

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thoughts from Isaiah 32

Isaiah 32:2 Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.

I don't know what time period this describes, it depends a lot on your view of the end times in scripture. Regardless of whether it is on heaven or on earth, during the millinium or whenever, think of it in terms of your own life as a believer... this is a description of us! Are you a shelter and refuge from the storm for your family, for your fellow believers? Does this describe your home? Are you a stream of water in the desert and a shade in the blistering heat of the world? Something to think about.

Isaiah 32:17 The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.

I don't know about you, but peace, quietness and confidence are things I crave. They come from righteousness. Perfect righteousness is mine through Christ, the ability to live a more and more righteous life come through the endwelling Holy Spirit, and I have both of those things. So I think that mean that peace, quietness, and confidence will become more and more a part of my life. That's something to look forward to.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Reaching out with Music

Today I want to point you to an organization that I discovered a couple of weeks ago.
The Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, and

These people are doing something very cool. They offer free music lessons at a cool place called Cave9 (and some other places), situated in a not so good part of town where families just can't afford music lessons. And they put together youth orchestras for anybody and everybody to participate together. Music really does bring people together, and these people are DOING something about what they believe. Check out their websites and blogs and be inspired!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Daily Bible Reading

Is anybody out there still reading with me? I must confess that I am behind... about a month behind. The paper route sapped my mind and my energy and I was not able to keep up. If life has intruded for you too, please take heart and don't quit. I am not convinced I will be able to catch up, but I am going to pick it back up and continue. Perhaps we can never redeem lost time, but we can pick ourselves up and continue on the right path.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

When God wants to drill a man...

When God wants to drill a man, and thrill a man, and skill a man;
when God wants to mold a man to play the noblest part,
when He yearns with all His heart to create so great and bold a man
that all the world might be amazed,
watch His methods, watch His ways.

How He ruthlessly perfects whom He royally elects.
How He hammers and hurts him and with mighty blows converts him,
into trial shapes of clay that only God understands,
while his tortured heart is crying and he lifts beseeching hands.

How He bends but never breaks, when His good He undertakes.
How He uses whom He chooses and with every purpose fuses
him with mighty acts induces him to try His splendor out.
God knows what He’s about.

When God wants to drill a man, and thrill a man, and skill a man,
watch His methods, watch His ways.

author unknown, quoted by Ravi Zacharias

Monday, August 18, 2008

Isaiah 26:1-4, 12

Isaiah 26:1-4, 12 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. ...LORD, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us.

Peace; not just peace, but perfect peace. I don’t know about you, but perfect peace sounds really good to me. Unfortunately, perfect peace also sounds really far off. OK, so how do I get perfect peace? A steadfast mind. HA! My mind is anything but steadfast. My mind is subject to the ebb and flow of emotions, of illness, of my own sin nature. How in the world can I keep a steadfast mind? Because he trusts in You. My trust in God is not too terribly steadfast either. I want to trust completely, I want to trust in every circumstance, but let’s be honest here. If I did trust completely I would not run ahead of God, I would not worry about the future, I would walk the Christian life with outspoken courage. Trust in the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. Ah, here is the key. I don’t trust in my own ability to trust in the Lord, but I trust in the Lord Himself. LORD, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. In the end it is God Himself who gives me peace. He is the Rock that cannot be swayed or moved, He is Eternal and Forever. Only He can keep me, only through the power of His own indwelling Spirit can I trust Him at all.

LORD, thank you that my trust in You does not depend on my own feeble strength, on my own sinful mind, on my own ability to trust and believe. I believe, help my unbelief. I trust, help my distrust. Only You are capable of keeping me, of holding me. Set me on the Rock Eternal. Keep me on the Rock Eternal.

Rebecca A Givens, 8/2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I have no idea.

Sleep right. Eat right. Take stupid pills to help with the hormones.

God promises that He will keep my soul.

Martyrs filled their minds with a picture of Eternity with Christ. Nothing else matters in that perspective.

Do my feelings matter? I have no idea. Feelings and emotions are not truth. I suppose they are either a blessing or a curse. Rejoice in the blessings, endure the cursings.

Life is for God to give and take… I suppose that means it does matter. But eternity matters more.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


There are limits to this frail body, these frail emotions, this frail mind. Sleep deprivation, physical exhaustion, hunger, thirst, illness, hormones – not to mention the extremes of abuse, starvation, and torture – all conspire to break us. What about the soul, the spirit? Is the soul frail as well? Can it be broken? What happens to it as the body, mind, and emotions fall apart?
How did Job survive his hardship? How did the early Christian martyrs face death by lions in the arena, or crucifixion? How did Feri Bacsi and Richard Wormbrand survive Communist Prison, and how did anyone survive German Concentration camps?

How can I think that my own troubles are so distressing? Why does my life seem so hard to handle? Why has it worn me down? How will I get through my own insignificant difficulties, my own physical frailties, my own failures, my own depression? Is it really important in the grand scheme of things? Does it really matter? Do my feelings really matter? Does this life really matter?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Scholarship School

I am reposting this because I think it is so important. Paying for college is huge, and competition for scholarship money can be fierce. America has such a debt mindset, kids are graduating from college with huge debt already hanging over their heads; I think this is sad and I think their are other ways to pay for a good education. If you start thinking about it early you have a much better chance of finding and qualifying for scholarships that are available. And there are professionals to help... I added in the link to the folks who are teaching the class below.
Let's plan how to pay for College before we get to Graduation!!

(8th grade really is not too early to start thinking about how to pay for college. That gives you time to look at your options, lets you know what colleges are looking for and what to keep track of during high school years. On the other hand, don't think it's too late if you (or your child) is a senior.)

Conducted by Scholarship Consultant Services, Inc.
Experienced Education Professionals

A Free Seminar
Interested Parents and Students

o Scholarships, Grants, and Loans
o College Planning Approaches for High School and College Students
o Selecting the Right College

Thursday, August 28

6:30-8:30 p.m.

Lake Crest Presbyterian Church
560 Lake Crest Drive, Hoover, AL

Seminar Conducted by
Scholarship Consultant Services, Inc.
Birmingham, Alabama

A Community Service for the Hoover Community
Sponsered by
Lake Crest Presbyterian Church

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Place of Rest

I spent the last few days alone with God. On the way here I listened to Christian music, to Pilgrim’s Progress, to the writings of Augustine, and to scripture. Then came a day of harp music and Highland Games, then 4 days of peace and quiet, with no responsibility, no schedule, no expectations. It has been really good. It has focused my mind and my heart on God. As I lived in my tent in the camp site under the trees, I wrote a bit, read a lot, relaxed a lot, watched some martial arts videos, and hiked. I had thought I would write more… but most of this week seems to have been about the focus of my heart and that doesn’t really come out on paper. There have not been object lessons. There has been joy, and scripture, and quiet.

Now I am preparing to go back out into the real world. I don’t know if I want to. I do miss my family and friends; but I do not miss responsibility, cooking, or cleaning. I just realized I haven’t thought much about the people I normally pray for, I’ve mostly just thought about God Himself. I think that’s a good thing periodically. For just a little while, to quit asking God for things or for help, and to think about who He is and how He works and His Word; but not forever. He tells me to pray for others. He tells me to do my duties, to raise my children, to love my husband, to support my friends and my church. I am called to teach my class and to train hard.

But this time away has been good. I understand the draw of the monastic life. I think it would have been attractive to me. Except I could never have been a nun! And I don’t think they let women be monastic hermits…

Mark 6:31 – Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Rebecca A Givens, 7/2/08

Monday, August 11, 2008

Star Song

A cold front moved through; it left in its wake lovely cool dry air and remarkably clear skies. As I drove off for my paper route in the wee hours of the morning, or the late hours of the evening, depending on your point of view, my eyes were drawn to the night sky. The stars were popping out of a black velvet backdrop. It was an amazing sight. They sparkled and glittered and twinkled in a way I have never seen before. They sang. And as I watched the singing stars, a streak of light flashed across the sky; a magnificent shooting star. I felt my spirits lift, as though something inside me wanted to sing with the stars. As the night grew later and longer, cooler and crisper, the stars continued to sing over me and I saw five more spectacular shooting stars. I made no wishes, rather, I prayed. Astrology is ancient, and I understand why; the night sky does speak to us. It even told the Eastern Wise Men of the coming Savior. Astrology can tell us nothing now, it has forgotten the Creator, but I have not. As my eyes searched the skies I felt the stars singing hope into my soul - hope for the future, hope for an eternity with Christ, hope for opportunity, hope for joy. That hope brought a longing to know the Creator of those stars better, to serve Him better, and to join with the singing stars in their worship of Him.

Where were you … while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Job 38:7

Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD from the heavens,
praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels,

praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon,

praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens

and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the LORD,

for he commanded and they were created.
He set them in place for ever and ever;

he gave a decree that will never pass away.
Psalm 148:1-6

Rebecca A Givens, 08/10/08

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Keep me honest

A lovely blog, that says what I often feel. You should read this post...

Itinerant Idealist
In search of a soul awake

Monday, August 4, 2008

the lowly paper route

It has come to my attention that some people see this paper route thing as a very low position on the totem pole of life. That I have somehow demeaned myself by delivering papers in the middle of the night, and that just about anything would be better than that. I feel compelled to respond to this... not to justify myself; well ok, maybe I do want to justify myself.

One thing about a paper route is that I feel no long term commitment to it. I did not intend to only work it for 1 month, but at the same time I knew I would not feel any sort of burden in quitting whenever the time came. It fit my schedule. I can still get everyone where they need to be or insure that they have a car to get there. And I can pay my kids to help me with it. Nobody cares what I wear... in fact my normal "wardrobe" is standard fare. I love driving, I love solitude. The money isn't bad for a part time job. Learning the streets and subdivisions has been fun. Monday is garbage day, and it's amazing what people in rich neighborhoods put out for the garbage; today I picked up a lawn mower for my husband that just needs a little bit of work. If I had been able to lift it I would have picked up a chair as well.. I should have gone back for that. Last week I picked up a high $$ baby backpack that someone will appreciate. The only thing I don't like is that I can't sleep in the daytime.

Yes, I could have sought out a "real job" in aviation, the field of my college major and pre-children employment. But that would have ended up being a profession that would take all my time. Homeschooling and Martial Arts need to be my "profession" at the moment. I just needed something quick and easy with little commitment to make a bit of money for us to catch up.

As I drive my route each morning I also have the opportunity to pray... for the people I meet, for the churches I pass, for the people who live in those houses where I deliver papers. And sometimes I just drift along, letting my mind wander. And sometimes I am half asleep. This morning the police stopped me, it happens a lot as I drive through the neighborhoods. But today they asked me to look out for a car they were searching for. That added a bit of adventure to my morning. And I did find a car fitting their description, but it wasn't the right one.

And, of course, God has been teaching me things these last few weeks that have only come up because of this paper route. Humility in having to admit I can't cope with the schedule. The reminder that I am not invincible. Testing - how will I react to that grumpy old man, or the obviously non-believing co-workers. My friends who have expressed concern for my welfare, prayed for me, and even tentatively offered me job that I would never have considered before the paper route (more on that later). The impetus that I needed to pursue new karate students and possibly new classes. Seeing my husband's wisdom as he gently pointed out to me that this paper route is preventing me from doing all the things that are most important to me. As my mind rebounds from the sleep deprivation I am sure there will be a lot more realizations about this interesting month of my life.

So no, there is nothing lowly or demeaning in running a paper route. It's a good source of extra income. It has been fun and I hate to give it up. But it is not for me right now.

I can't wait to sleep an entire night...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

thoughts from the paper route

Today I was writing in my journal about my paper route, and it occured to me that you might like to read this little story... BTW, I have turned in my 2 weeks notice. I cannot sleep during the day, no matter how tired I am. And I am very, very tired.

There is a little old man on my route who gets upset when his paper comes after 4am. My 2nd day on the route he was waiting for me just inside his door. He saw the truck stop out front and came storming out of his house. He pulled up short when he realized he had never seen me before. Then he started in with, “You’re late. My paper never used to be late, but this past month it has been late all the time.” I explained that this was just my 2nd day and I was learning the route, and the manager had had trouble filling the spot. Then he said, “Well, I’ll give you a week or 2.” I thanked him. My friendly politeness seemed to throw him off guard. I wished him a good day and continued on. It was 4:45am. A few days later he walked out to speak with me again. It seems I had thrown his friend’s paper in a muddy ditch the day before. I apologized profusely, and he said he had told his friend that I was new. He defended me! I was shocked and I thanked him. 1 ½ weeks later, yesterday, the truck was 1 ½ hours late; therefore the little old man’s paper was also very late. He was waiting outside for me so I pulled up to give him his paper before finishing the other side of the street and turning around. He mentioned the lateness, and I explained that the truck had been nearly 2 hours late. I told him I was very sorry to be so late. He said, “Well, I’m sorry for both of us. This couldn’t have happened at a worse time.” He looked so disturbed that I asked what was wrong. “I have a lot to do today.” He exclaimed. “There’s this yard sale, and it remains to be seen whether my daughter and daughter-in-law have prepared properly.” I could think of nothing to say to that. So I told him that I hoped the rest of his day went better and drove on. The other carriers can’t stand the little old man. His demands are unreasonable. He is somewhat rude. He complains all the time. But I look at him and think how sad he is. He is old, his personality quirks have thickened, his obsessions have taken over. What will my personality quirks and obsessions be when I am old? When my body and my mind have begun to fade? Will my strong will continue on without restraint?

becky givens

Friday, August 1, 2008

August Bible Reading List

August Passage
1 Isa. 64-66
2 2 Kings 20-21
3 2 Chron. 32-33
4 Nahum
5 2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chron. 34-35
6 Zephaniah
7 Jer. 1-3
8 Jer. 4-6
9 Jer. 7-9
10 Jer. 10-13
11 Jer. 14-17
12 Jer. 18-22
13 Jer. 23-25
14 Jer. 26-29
15 Jer. 30-31
16 Jer. 32-34
17 Jer. 35-37
18 Jer. 38-40; Ps. 74; Ps. 79
19 2 Kings 24-25; 2 Chron. 36
20 Habakkuk
21 Jer. 41-45
22 Jer. 46-48
23 Jer. 49-50
24 Jer. 51-52
25 Lam. 1:1-3:36
26 Lam. 3:37-5:22
27 Ezek. 1-4
28 Ezek. 5-8
29 Ezek. 9-12
30 Ezek. 13-15
31 Ezek. 16-17