Wednesday, April 29, 2009

II Timothy 3:1-5

My pastor sends out e-mail thoughts each week too. He has been thinking through II Timothy 3:1-5, and today's part matches up well with what I teach my karate classes, so I thought I'd paste it in here:

Thoughts from the Pastor

Continuing in our study of II Timothy 3:1-5, we look today at the section which describes men in the last days as being, “… treacherous, rash, conceited…” In other words, we can expect people to treat us and others in such a fashion that betrays attitudes of the basest sort. This whole passage we have been “briefly” looking at is a warning – not only to be prepared and not surprised, but also to keep from these characteristics ourselves as those who profess a relationship with Christ.

This word “treacherous” is translated from the original word for traitor, or betrayer. It is the kind of person referred to in Proverbs (11:13) when it says, “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” Once more in Proverbs is “gossip” tied to “betrayal”, and it is easy to see how the two can be related. But Paul is warning Timothy that there will be more and more incidences of betrayal and treachery as time winds down to the Last Day. To betray someone is to exchange their trust for something else. To treat lightly that which others value – so much so that one might be willing to trade it for something deemed more valuable. Historical names are all that is needed to understand this concept – Judas who betrayed Christ, Benedict Arnold who betrayed the Colonies in the American Revolution, and Quisling who betrayed Norway to the Nazis in World War II. According to what Paul is saying, we should expect more of this. But that should make us all the more vigilant to be proper “discerners” of those who call themselves Christians, since we will naturally be the target of those who would betray someone. Paul spoke of them to the elders of the church in Ephesus in Acts 20:29, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.” He was referring to the same wolves that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:15, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” We must be discerning without taking upon ourselves the job of being the Judge. God will judge, but we must be wise and discerning so that we are not “devoured.”Above all, let us never be of such character as to be treacherous ourselves, but let our commitment be to conform to the image of Christ. I would remind us of what Paul said in II Timothy 2:13, “… if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” Let us remain faithful to our Savior and to His people – the Redeemed.

This word “rash” is something we live see our society often without realizing it, because it has become the norm. We live according to the “tyranny of the urgent”. There is no time to do what we want to do, and hardly time to think about what we ought to do. This lends itself to a tendency towards “rashness”. To be rash is to act without prior thinking or consideration. When learning to properly use a firearm or shoot an arrow with a bow, the concept first taught is this – “Ready, Aim, Shoot”. But a pervasive characteristic in our society is, “Shoot, Ready, Aim”. Proverbs 14:16 speaks to this when it says, “A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless.” It is a good and worthy Christian virtue to be thoughtful, knowledgeable of the Word of God, and to be one who is careful in their words and actions so that God is glorified and His wisdom is demonstrated in this life. There is enough “rashness” in this world that is fueled by evil intent and rebellious hearts. Let Christians not be found rash, but wise. Let that which is good and godly drive our thoughts instead of that which is self-centered, selfish and evil.

Need I say much about the word “conceited”? This is tied directly to what we have looked at before concerning the heart of man. Without the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit - through the washing away of sinfulness by the shed blood of Jesus; and the rebirth of an individual as an adopted child of the King – the heart of man would be totally self-centered. It would also be selfish, self-promoting and the absolute center-of-the-universe to the exclusion of all else. The heart of natural man is filled with pride that causes him to look down on every other person. If someone is of “high station”, he considers himself superior. If someone is of “low station”, he thinks he is in reality superior, but is being “kept down” by those who are inferior to him. Pride comes in many different forms, but nevertheless resides in the heart of every man. As Christians, let us seek to follow the advice of Paul when he says in Ephesians 4:2-3, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

And may the God of Peace watch over us and protect us as we seek to be His and not the World’s!

In Christ,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009



I feel the pressure of living in this world;
It weighs heavily on me.

It pushes and presses
squeezing me down to nothing.
It threatens to over-run me,
waves tossing me back and forth
tumbling me to and fro.

But in You my foundation is firm
my roots run deep
my footing is sure.

As the waves over-run me
Let me bend and flex
rather than uprooted or broken.

As the pressure squeezes me
Let me stay soft and pliable
rather than hard and brittle.

Let me not hide behind walls
hard and unyielding
brittle and bitter.

But let my strength and protection be in You
a heart made soft and pliable
flexing and bending
anchored in You.

©Rebecca A Givens, 04/26/09

Monday, April 27, 2009

Praise to the Lord

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 your health and salvation!
Let all who hear
Now to his temple draw near,
Joining in glad adoration!

Praise to the Lord, who over all
Things is wondrously reigning
And, as on wings of an eagle, uplifting, sustaining.
Have you not seen
All that is needful has been
Sent by his gracious ordaining?

Praise to the Lord, who will
Prosper your work and defend you;
Surely his goodness and mercy
Shall daily attend you.
Ponder anew
What the almighty can do
As with his love he befriends you.

Praise to the Lord! Oh, let all
That is in me adore him!
All that has life and breath,
Come now with praises before him!
Let the amen
Sound from his people again.
Gladly forever adore him!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Well, I guess no one's heard from me in over a week... no thoughts or posts at all. Time flies when you are having fun! I have been training and training and training... I wake up thinking about it, I train in my head all day, I squeeze in an hour or 2 or 6 (like saturday) of actual training, and I fall in bed exhausted at the end of the day, still thinking about it.

No, I am not obsessed, at least not permanently. Testing is 3 weeks from tomorrow and I am giving in to the desire and the need to be ready, to do well, to perfect everything.

I walk up to my friends, and say, "grab my wrist," but they won't do it anymore. Oh well, that's what students are for.

You may or may not hear from me, but as the Lord brings me to mind over the next few weeks, pray for me, and for my neglected family.

Psalm 11

In the Lord I take refuge.
How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain. For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
The Lord is in His temple; the Lord is on His heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; His eyes examine them.
The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence His soul hates. On the wicked He will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot.
For the Lord is righteous, He loves justice; upright men will see His face.

I read this Psalm several times this morning.

In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain.
My own mountain refuge is not where I am to flee, the mountain of God is where I go.

For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.
These are perilous times we live in. Christians are under attack by the governments and societies of this world. They really are shooting at us

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
They are attacking our faith, our morals, our children, our rights, our ability to speak the truth. What are we to do?

The Lord is in His temple; the Lord is on His heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; His eyes examine them.
We must remember that the Lord is on His throne, high above all this, watching over everything.

The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence His soul hates. On the wicked He will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot.
He is watching over us, and one day He will bring judgment on the wicked. That is the future that they will face.

For the Lord is righteous, He loves justice; upright men will see His face.
This is our promise; not the judgment of those who attack us, but justice. And best of all, the very Presence of God.

That is where I must run when I am in trouble, when the enemy is after me. I do not depend on my own strength or find my own safety. I flee to the temple, to the throne, to the Presence of God.

Rebecca A Givens, 4/19/09

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

We just watched a wonderful old Jimmy Stewart movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. And my kids loved it, BTW. It may be old black and white, but it could easily be talking about today.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Give it up for Jesus

As you may remember (or not) I am going through Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions. This morning I read this:

"I give my body, soul, intellect, will, affections to Thee."

As I thought about this and prayed it along with the author, I was struck by the thought that perhaps this is what is missing in typical Christians today, at least here in America. They have given their souls to Christ, they signed up for eternal life and a free pass from hell, but what about the rest of themselves? Body, intellect, will, affections? Are we not supposed to give those to God as well?

Today is Easter, Resurrection Day. What did Christ give for me? Body, intellect, will, affections, soul... what part did He hold back in purchasing me? What part of me did He not purchase?

Lord, I do give my body, soul, mind, will, and emotions to You.

P.S. Well, I was trying to put a title on this post and the words that came into my mind were "Let's give it up for Jesus!" I hear these words at Christian concerts, on Christian radio, everywhere in the contemporary Christian scene. What does it mean? That we are going to clap for Him? Yell and scream rock concert style? What is up with that? How hard is it to do that? Why don't we give ourselves up for Jesus? Our body, soul, mind, will, and emotions? Not to mention time and stuff. Just something to think about.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

We The People

All I can say is, Wow. You need to watch these.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Acts, history

I am slowly continuing in my podcast course of The Life and Letters of Paul. I am reading a book called Luke: Historian & Theologian (Gospel Profiles, 3), and between that and the first few lectures I have seen a dangerous side to the study of Theology. Anytime you isolate a bit of scripture or an idea, or even if you just get focused on one thing and ignore another part of Scripture, you can get into some very dangerous beliefs and interpretations. It is so important to take the Whole Bible as the Word of God.

How many professing Christians today have read the entire Bible even once?

If you don't know what God says, how can you know God?

What are you wasting your time on?

Here's a Read the Bible Through in a Year chronologically plan. You can search the internet to find other plans. And if you are not a big reader, Max McClean has a very cool Bible on MP3 that will read it to you according to whatever plan you choose. (hint - I would love to have this!) There is no excuse!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Come and you will see

John the Baptist points two of his disciples to Christ, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” So they follow Jesus down the path.
He knows they are behind Him. He turns around, “What do you want?”
“Rabbi, where are You staying?”
“Come and you will see.”

Can you see beneath this scene? Can you see beyond the spoken words? Look deeper.

These are John’s disciples. What does that mean? It means they served him, listened to his teaching, followed him, helped him, trusted him, believed him. (Kind of like an uchi deshi, a special sensei/student relationship.) John said Jesus was the Son of God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. John physically pointed Christ out to them.

So they physically turned and started walking after Jesus. Out of curiosity? Out of knowledge? Out of belief, or faith? I don’t know. But they did. Jesus knew they were there and He engaged them. “What do you want?”

The response of John’s disciples was, “Where are you staying, Teacher (Master, Rabbi, Lord)?” Do you see what this short question can mean? God, where are You? Will You speak to me? Will you answer me? Do You know who I am? Do You care?

Jesus’ response was, “Come and you will see.” I can be found, I will respond to you. I know you, and you can know me.

Does God do this for me? For whatever reason, I notice Him. He turns to me and asks, “What do you want, Becky?”
“God where are You? Will you speak to me? Can I know You”
And His answer, every time, is, “Come and you will see.”

©Rebecca A Givens, 04/04/09

Sunday, April 5, 2009

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

We sang this in church this morning. I was nearly in tears by the end. Read the words, and then read this previous post:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Isaac Watts