Wednesday, December 29, 2010


OK, this appeared in the Calera magazine...

An ad that starts out:

Calera is Growing and so are We...
Bolton Funeral Home

and the ad directly under it:

Call Before You Dig

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

quickness and power

"An attack must be executed with quickness,
not speed. Attack with power, not strength. There
is a great difference between speed and quickness,
power and strength. Think this through carefully.
It is the essence of strategy"

Miyamoto Musashi

Monday, December 20, 2010


These are the notes I took from a chapter of Nancy Leigh DeMoss' book Becoming God's True Woman. The chapter is called "Liberated Through Submission", by Bunny Wilson.

Everyone submits to someone.
Husband yields to God
loves wife as Christ loves church
final decision maker
spiritual head
lives with wife in understanding way (I don't think I want this job)
Wife submits to his final decisions

When a boss makes an unreasonable request:
collect thoughts
speak the truth in love
submit and yield
give the issue to God
Faith - believe that God knows and hears all,
and will intervene on my behalf without further input from me
wait to discover God's will

submission means God intervenes

Sharing the truth in love will allow God to use us as an effective "helper" in our husband's life.

Faith recognizes that God can make a straight line with a crooked stick.

Because I am a Christian, I submit to your decision. I believe God can lead you in the way you should go. I also believe if you make a mistake, God can fix it. Now, what can I do to help?

All this gives us the right to be heard next time.

Patience is one of the main ingredients necessary for a successful submitted life... it requires us to release control of a situation. We must walk in faith, believeing that God will intervene when we are called to submit to someone in authority.

"I remember the day my wife turned me over to the Lord. She didn't tell me that's what she had done, but I knew it had taken place. Before, when she would contend with me, it allowed me to justify decisions I knew were not pleasing to the Lord. But when she relinquished control, the only person I had to deal with was the Lord, and that's an uncomfortable position."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

When I Survey

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Text: Isaac Watts, 1674-1748
Music: Lowell Mason, 1792-1872
Tune: HAMBURG, Meter: LM

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.

We sang this in church on Sunday... the words always get me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Not About Me

This is not about me –
not about being understood
or even about understanding.
The goal is not my happiness –
it’s not about what I want;
how I feel is not the issue here.
I need to take myself completely out of the picture
and put God in center focus.
His Will and His Plan
are at the center.
My job is to watch the plan unfold –
to praise Him for His works,
to forget myself.
It’s His work, His story, His plan,
not mine.
He invites me into His masterpiece;
I play the part He gives me –
to bring Him glory,
not to bring myself anything at all.
It’s not about me.

©Rebecca A Givens, 11/01/10

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Prayer by John Greenleaf Whittier

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Recolthe us in our rightful mind;
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard,
Beside the Syrian sea,
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word,
Rise up and follow Thee.

Drop Thy still dews of quietness
Till all our strivings cease.
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

Monday, November 1, 2010

True Woman 2010 Indy

Well, yesterday finished up my random thoughts and notes from the conference. But I am thrilled to report that it doesn't have to end... all the conferences are now available online for free! You can watch, listen, or read transcripts of everything! I have been listening to 2010 Chatanooga lately (while I clean house)... and there are several that I will need to go back and take notes on. I don't get the atmosphere like being there live, but God has really been speaking to me through these messages. The whole focus of Revive Our Hearts addresses an area that I have struggled with, whether I realized it or not, since I became a believer as a teenager. Everything in my sin nature, everything in the world, and everything Satan tells me oppose what Scripture calls me to be as a godly woman. Thank you Lord for bringing this ministry into my life!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nancy DeMoss on Deborah

Deborah - prophetess, wife, judge (appointed by God)

Israel has followed a pattern:
Disobedience, Discipline, Desperation,Deliverance
Judgement begins with believers
Discipline, chastisement and pruning are all meant to turn us to God

There is a lack of male leadership
God used Deborah to cultivate that leadership
There is no indication that she set herself up to lead
She describes herself as a "mother"
She is a nurturer
She encouraged men to be men
She affirmed and lifted up male leadership
She takes the helper/ responsive role
Barak is the one listed in the Hebrews list, not Deborah!
Deborah encouraged men with God's word and promise

Friday, October 29, 2010

Stacy Smith on Emotions

Mind + Will = Overcomes Emotions

A woman will throw away truth for an emotion.
Emotions turn you into a dangerous woman, an instrument of cruelty.
I am the first victim of my heart.

I can choose to change my mind.
Be intentional with the will.
Scripture overcomes emotions.
The Word tempers and calms emotions.
Identify the thought, give it to Christ.
Speak, think, and pray the Word!
Find, memorize, and meditate on scripture that specifically speaks to my fears.

Fears and broken relationships cause wrong emotions.

Accept your design.
Accept your unpredictable emotions.
Don't give in to them.
Anticipate the cycles of life.
Sleep and nutrition are huge factors in emotions.
Develop godly, discipling relationships rather than just friends.
Make failures right.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Short notes but one of the most powerful talks at True Woman, by Joni Erickson Tada:

A host of angels and demons are watching me to see if I will follow God...
to see what work I will allow God to do in me...
to see my faithfulness or failure...

Do I make God look good?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mary Kassian on Proverbs 7:6-27

Wild Thing!

Wildness warps true womanhood
in big ways, like infidelity,
but also in many little ways.

Dress as a prostitute
Wiley of hearty - crafty, manipulative, nag, badger
Loud - clamors to get way, brash, sassy
Wayward - rebellious
Never home - self-indulgent, priorities are wrong,
going out at the expense of what she should be doing.
Lies in wait - predator, waiting for the next thing
Warps focus
Warps roles - she seizes him and he follows her
She comes out to meet him - lonely,
only God can fill that deepest desire, not man (her husband traveling is no excuse)
Opulance in the bedroom - shopoholic
Entitlement - self-gratification,
wanted fun, wanted to be loved, immediate gratification
She talked circles around him
No boundaries

There is a powerful pull on women to go wild
She was religious
In church that morning, having a fling that night
Wildness seems attractive, harmless, promising
Women have great influence

There must be an intentional turning from wild to wise

Saturday, October 23, 2010

From yard to bowl...

The day started with this: And ended with this!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Marry Kassian on Creation

Man and Woman - more like God than anything else

Gender displays God
We are an object lesson, it is not about us.
Gender, sex, manhood, and womanhood tell a story about who God is.
About who He is and about what He does.
Gender tells the love story of the gospel.

1. Adam was 1st born, therefore holds responsibility.
(Christ is 1st born of God)
2. Adam was created outside the garden, then put into it.
Man leaves his parents and becomes head of his own family, with a new position of responsibility.
(Christ left heaven to pursue his bride, the church)
3. Man is commissioned to work, to provide.
4. Man is commissioned to protect. He has a stronger body and is built to fight.
5. Man received spiritual instruction, and is to provide spiritual oversight.
6. Man learned to exercise authority (named the animals).
Woman's authority is different and not interchangable>

God made man need woman, and made him aware of that need.
He pierced the side of man (Christ was pierced) for woman.

1. Female was created from male.
Remember where you came from! We have an obligation to respect.
2. Female was made for male. She exists because he exists.
3. Female was created to help male. For what?
To fit as a like-opposite. To help along-side.
Not about exaulting man and serving him, but to help him image God and tell the gospel story.
To help him in the purpose to glorify God.
4. Female deferred to male.
He leads, he names, she responds.
God does not violate our personality!
5. Female was the perfect counterpart
man - ish - strength, virility, worker
woman - isha - soft, responder, relator, receiver
6. Female created in the garden.
Created in a place of safety. Always under protection, kept safe, , loved and cherished.
Sensitive and vulnerable.

God has a spectacular design for my womanhood.
God wants me to say yes to His design.
God will do an amazing work of restoration.
Jesus has the power to restore what has been damaged.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Karen Lorritts on Col 3:15-17

Prov 28:26 - don't trust yourself, God will deliver (ugh... that one hits home)

Trust in the:
1. Peace of Christ
2. Power of the Holy Spirit
3. Prescense of God

1. Let God call the shots
Word of Christ dwells in heart
Cultivate thankfulness

"God is not playing games with our lives. We are not pawns in a chess game."

2. Surrender the power to control
Produce fruit

3. Ps 37:3-5
Waiting is hard, don't run
Cultivate faithfulness
Delight in Him
Commit your ways to God
Trust in Him and He will do it.

My heart breaks, but God is good.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Janet Parshall on Mary

And still more random thoughts from True Woman 2010, Indy:

Think about the questions Mary doesn't ask!

She is submissive, humble, obedient.
No argument, no complaint, no hesitation.
She calls herself the Lord's handmaiden - the lowest of servents, who sits watches for a hand signal from her mistress.

Zechariah says, "But God?!" and is silenced.
Do I let circumstances define me, or God?

Mary rushes to tell Elisabeth.
Mary does not ask, "What are the consequences?"
She says, "This is truth."

God has the right to interupt my life.

"Struggle is a word for delayed obedience." Elizabeth Elliot

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nancy DeMoss on Titus 2

More random thoughts from True Woman 2010, Indy:

Older women should:

Teach sound doctrine - not relevance, not law, not whatever is new
be tethered to the Word
control their tongue

Character comes before calling
Life comes before ministry

Teach what is good
be an example
be intentional
value on home
priority on love (love is taught and learned)
self-controlled, sound mind
kind - other centered
submissive to husband
character qualities flow out of sound doctrine
belief changes behavior
The grace of God enables us
The return of Christ
Power of the Cross
Word of God not be reviled
Opponents will be put to shame
Adorn the doctrine of God

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Meek - controlled strength.
As a woman I choose to control my strength to honor God.
As a wife I choose to control my strength to honor my husband.
Meekness is the key to humility, respect and submission.

Humility - not thinking of myself.

Respect - to consider worthy of esteem, to regard or treat with honor or deference.

Submission - surrender of person and power to control to another; to yield.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Others May, You Cannot, by G.D. Watson

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25)

If God has called you to be truly like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. He will put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be allowed to follow other Christians. In many ways, He seems to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

Others who seem to be very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and scheme to carry out their plans, but you cannot. If you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

Others can brag about themselves, their work, their successes, their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. If you begin to do so, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you only on a day-to-day basis, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, a helpless dependence on Him and His unseen treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored and put forward while keeping you hidden in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade.

God may let others be great, but keep you small. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. Then, to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done; this to teach you the message of the Cross, humility, and something of the value of being cloaked with His nature.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, and with a jealous love rebuke you for careless words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.
So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own, and that He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you.

God will take you at your word. If you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things that you cannot. Settle it forever; you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand or closing your eyes in ways which others are not dealt with. However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven, the high calling of God.

Monday, October 11, 2010

TW 2010 Indy, Crawford Lorritts

Random thoughts from Crawford Lorritts:

I John 2:15-17

The World
don't love it
see it for what it is
live your allegience

Being a lover of God is not theoretical!

Is that all there is to you?
What defines you?
This is a gut question, not an intellectual love.

Cravings, passions - I want it, I will violate Biblical principles to get it.

Strong, powerful, tempting - transient
The one who does the will of God - forever

Worldliness - anything in your life that causes you to lose the enjoyment of the Father's love, or your desire to do the Father's will.

Why do I want this?
Does this consume, control, change me?
Am I clean?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

True Woman 2010 - Indianapolis

I couple of weeks ago, on a Wednesday afternoon, I got an e-mail from a friend inviting me to go to the True Woman Conference in Indianapolis. The ticket, hotel and transportation were paid for. The trick was, they were leaving that very evening. I sat reading the e-mail in disbelief. I thought through the schedule for the next few days. Impossible. I work, home-school two kids, get those same kids to various activities, teach karate. I can’t keep up with all the stuff I have to do, how can I be ready to leave in a few hours and be gone for four days? How can I take off the two main work days of my week? I called my husband and laid it all out for him. He said if I wanted to go I should ask to get off work and get someone to cover my class. He would take care of everything else. I made phone calls and one by one each obstacle disappeared. It was disconcerting that both my boss and the young black belt I asked to teach for me told me I should go because I have obviously been stressed lately and needed a break. Do I have that printed on my forehead? It all came together. I called and had one of my kids do my laundry. I got home at 8pm, ate, packed, wrote out instructions for stuff that had to be done, left home at 8:30 and arrived at my friend’s house at 9:00. Then I found myself sitting in a van headed for Indy with three other ladies. It was more than a little unreal. This trip was so far out of the realm of possibility for me that I would not have even dreamed of praying for it.

The trip was wonderful. The company was great, the speakers were great, the music was great... you should have heard 6000 women singing praises to God! I came home encouraged and filled and fed and ready to tackle life once again. I am now going back through my notes, and I thought that over the coming weeks I'd post some random comments that I wrote down during that weekend.

I encourage you to go to a True Woman Conference if you ever get a chance. It was a tremendous blessing to me!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I had a great time this morning at the Girl Scout camp, teaching self-defense to a whole bunch of scouts. Bob was a big hit!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


"When husband and wife take their marriage vows, they are given spiritual responsibility to one another, as well as physical, mental and emotional responsibilities. With all of the challenges and pressures on marriage today, husband and wife should both guard against 'sinning against the Lord' (not to mention each other) by failing to pray for one another. As Paul Tournier points out: 'It is only when a husband and wife pray together before God that they find the secret of true harmony, that the difference in their temperaments, their ideas, and their tastes enriches their home instead of endangering it. There will be no further question of one imposing his will on the other, or of the other giving in for the sake of peace. Instead, they will together seek God's will, which alone will ensure that each will be fully able to develop his personality... When each of the marriage partners seeks quietly before God to see his own faults, recognizes his sin, and asks the forgiveness of the other, marital problems are no more. Each learns to speak the other's language, and to meet him half way, so to speak. Each holds back those harsh little words which one is apt to utter when one is right, but which are said in order to injure. Most of all, a couple rediscovers complete mutual confidence, because, in meditating in prayer together they learn to become absolutely honest with each other... This is the price to be paid if partners very different from each other are to combine their gifts instead of setting them against each other...'"

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I had been thinking and praying about fasting for the past few months. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. The logistics bothered me, because physically I cannot train or teach if I do not eat. So I began to pray. Then the session of our church called for a day of fasting and prayer for the church. I prayed more. One morning I woke up with the answer in my mind. I could skip breakfast, and spend several hours that morning in prayer, then I could eat lunch and be fine for teaching and/or training that afternoon. Fasting did not have to be an entire day. What an obvious, easy answer!

That first morning I was so excited about getting up and spending time with God that I woke up early. I prayed through the list I had planned, and then asked God what to pray for next. Immediately my mind went to Psalm 23. I turned to it and prayed through it for my husband and each of my children. Then my eyes fell on Psalm 25 and I knew it was exactly what I needed to pray for my husband and my 2 older kids, all about God’s plan for the future. I felt such a great joy and peace. Not assurance that my problems and concerns would go away, but assurance that God would be with me no matter what happened. As I went through the rest of my morning at home and then at work, I was constantly aware of God’s presence. Occasionally I would realize that I was hungry, but instead of being a problem, it was a wonderful reminder of the time I had spent with God that morning. After that morning’s experience with fasting, I was ready and willing, and even excited, about fasting for the church the next week. Since that day I have set aside several mornings of fasting for different concerns. At first I thought I would just fast once a week, but as I planned it felt wrong… it felt like fasting should be a special thing, not an everyday thing, and I needed God to lay on my heart a specific concern. So now I look forward to the times when God lays on my heart the times He wants me to fast and pray.

Random thoughts about fasting:
Doing without something you need
Not just doing without something you want for a short time
Depending on God completely
Bringing your concerns to God with an attitude of submission and dependence on Him
Self-control and self-denial
Loving God more than your needs as well as your wants
More than delayed gratification
To physically show my dependence on God, my body cannot support itself.
As a vow to God
Fasting is obedience
It takes preparation
Special time set aside for prayer for specific needs
Time to ask God Himself what to pray for

“… fasting is an act of humility wherein we acknowledge our need to subdue the appetites of the flesh and focus more intently on who we are and what we have been given in Christ.”
Ken Jones, Tabletalk, July 2010

“God rewards fasting because fasting expresses the cry of the heart that nothing on earth can satisfy our souls besides God.” John Piper, A Hunger for God

“Why the fast? In the first place, it was due to the desperate situation in which the people found themselves and their need to show their dependence on God’s kindness… Fasting reminds us of our creatureliness and moves us to learn better what it means to depend on our creator, thereby glorifying His name.” Ken Jones, Tabletalk, July 2010

©Rebecca A Givens, 10/02/10

Friday, October 1, 2010

Come, Take, Learn, Rest

Continuing with my pastor's thoughts...

Thoughts from the Pastor

Dear Members and Friends of Lake Crest Presbyterian Church,
I have been reminded of late how resentful I have tended to become in the service of Jesus. After all, the nature of a ministerial calling is for life and for all of it. But I tend to want some free-time, as if any of my time were really free. I find I am not alone. Many pastors fall to this temptation to hoard their time as if it were their own. Our gracious Master lets us get away with this faulty attitude for awhile, but eventually brings us back to reality. Working hard in the kingdom is just like working hard anywhere else – it’s hard work. But it’s His work for us to do, not our work which we do for Him.
But because the work is sometimes hard, we get the idea that our Master is hard. He is not. In Matthew 11: 28–30 Jesus made this statement, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” If you think about it, we fear the very One who promises us rest, because we think His yoke will be difficult and His burden upon us heavy. As I point out some things in this verses to us, let me confess that I have had to ponder these things for me personally, long before I felt comfortable sharing them with you. But here are some random thoughts:

1. We must “take His yoke upon us”. It must be a voluntary assumption of the duties that He gives us. Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Those “good works” must be approached voluntarily. Not because we must do them, but because we want to do them. But they must be deliberately taken up nevertheless.
2. We must also be willing to learn from Him as we take up the tasks He has given us. He is gentle and so must we be. Isaiah 40: 11 describes the Great Shepherd, “He tends his flock like a shepherd; he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” He is humble and so must we be. We are reminded of the attitude of the King of Kings in Philippians 2: 8 when it tells us, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.”
3. We desperately desire rest for our souls, peace in the midst of trouble and sustenance in the midst of spiritual and physical famine, but we must give up something to get it. If we as Christians would have real rest, it must be His rest, not ours. God-given rest does not necessarily equate with the human idea of rest. See Jesus in the wilderness being tempted by Satan? Forty days and forty nights is a long time to fast. Yet our Lord told Satan in Matthew 4:4, “…It is written; ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Or what did Jesus tell his disciples when they questioned Him at the well in Samaria in John 4:32 & 34? “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
4. Did you notice that here are three things the Lord commands us to do? “Come” to Him, “take” His yoke and “learn” from Him. Then, and only then, will we find His true rest for our souls.

Worry will not give us rest, harder work will not give us rest, more vacations will not give us rest. St. Augustine said it well when he said, “Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee.”
I cannot tell how it happens. I only know that He says we will receive His rest if we do what He gives us to do. Thus far – I have found Him to be faithful to His promises. I confess that I constantly try to do His work my way, and as a result find no rest. But when we seek to do His work in the strength of His Spirit, the promise mentioned above will be fulfilled. He gives us rest in the middle of whatever storm we find ourselves. Try Him and find Him faithful for yourself, and may He show Himself to us all this week as we seek to do what He has given to us to do, for “His yoke is easy and His burden is light.”

In Christ,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Think, Control, Love, Pray

Last week's e-mail from my pastor covered the areas that have been running through my mind for the last few months, so I thought I'd just share his thoughts today.

Thoughts from the Pastor

Dear Members and Friends of Lake Crest Presbyterian Church,
It has been a while since I last sent you any “Thoughts from the Pastor”. It certainly has not been because I have had no thoughts, but because I have had much to think about and not found myself able to put anything in writing. Forgive me. I hope that this marks the beginning of new and helpful “Thoughts”.
I have been reminded lately of I Peter 7-8. It says, “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” While the “end of all things is near” part certainly got my attention, it was what followed that really hit me. The response that Peter is urging God’s people to have to the fact that the return of Christ might happen at any time, is not to run about evangelizing or defending the gospel or helping the poor. All of these things are good and right to do, but the first and foremost response to the impending return of our Lord is to pray. That is the last thing in the world many Christians would consider doing. Prayer is, after all, the last resort – isn’t it? Peter tells us that there are two things in the life of Christians which will initially impede their prayers – “fuzzy” thinking and the lack of self control.
Prayer is hindered when we do not think clearly. That is why we try to stay in the Word of God, so that the clarity of the Gospel might become a part of our thinking. Just a chapter later Peter reminds us (I Peter 5:8), “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” It is the devil’s delight to confuse and disorient Christians. He does this through faulty doctrine, misdirected ministry and apathy. Only a saturation with and submission to the Word of God, in dependence on the Holy Spirit, will protect us from sin-induced “fuzzy thinking”. This is important enough that Paul also addressed it in I Thessalonians 5:6 when he said, “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.” Many Christians today are “asleep–at-the-wheel”. Let us not be so, but alert and ready for anything, with a growing knowledge of God’s Word at our fingertips.
Prayer is also hindered by a lack of self-control. Just look at any listing of the characteristics of unbelievers in the last days and you will see it. In II Timothy 3:3 we come in at the middle of a detailed description, “ …without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good…” It takes God-centeredness to pray. Self-centeredness just can’t make the grade. Christians that have a hard time giving up whatever pleases them more than God have a hard time praying to the God that says in Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Who are we really fooling? The choices we make with our time, our resources and our affections; all reflect that which is most important in our hearts. Our god demands and gets most of our attention and affections. So just who is our god? This is a question all Christians do well to ask themselves often, for as John Calvin said of the human heart – it is a veritable factory of idols. Without constant vigilance, we would all be idolaters!
Prayer is also hindered by a lack of love. Prayer without the love of Christ is just a mantra. It really accomplishes nothing. A loving heart – one that loves others sacrificially as Christ has – is also a humble heart. Proverbs 3:34 reminds us that, “He mocks proud mockers, but gives grace to the humble.” Our finest example of prayer from a loving heart is Jesus Himself. The gospels tell us that He often woke early to pray and stayed up late praying. He was in a constant state of prayer. His desire was to be in communication with the Father before He did anything, so that whatever He did was according to the will of God. So it should be with us as well.
We cannot pray for others without loving them. We cannot ask for God’s help without loving Him. We cannot expect His help in hard times, especially at “the end of all things”, if we do not love Him enough to trust Him for everything we need. Paul told the Philippian Christians in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Let us love Him deeply!
My hope and prayer for all of us this week is for clarity of thought, self-control, increased prayer and loving hearts. May God’s Holy Spirit grow us up in all these areas to His glory and for our good as His redeemed people.

In Christ,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"I walked out to the hill just now. It is exalting, delicious, to stand embraced by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coattail and the heavens hailing your heart, to gaze and glory and give oneself again to God - what more could a man ask? Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth! I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him. Mayhap in mercy He shall give me a host of children that I may lead them through the vast star fields to explore His delicacies whose finger ends set them to burning. But if not, if only I may see Him, touch His garments, and smile into His eyes - ah then, not stars nor children shall matter, only Himself.

O Jesus, Master and enter and End of all, how long before that Glory is thine which has so long waited Thee? Now there is no thought of Thee among men; then there shall be thought for nothing else. Now other men are praised; then none shall care for any other's merits. Hasten, hasten, Glory of Heaven, take Thy crown, subdue Thy Kingdom, enthrall Thy creatures."
Jim Elliot

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Don't Forget Your Helmet

Wow, 2 years ago I posted this... last week's thoughts about helmets made me think of this so I thought I'd repost it.

A very funny thing happened to me yesterday…

I was sitting on my motorcycle, preparing to ride to a school meeting. I picked up my helmet and looked for the seam in the band that goes around the bottom of it so I would put it on the right way. As I looked at my helmet, I realized that it wasn’t symmetrical…. One end of it was wider than the other. Well, that sort of makes sense, heads are bigger around at the back than they are at the front. But then I realized that the seam in the band was at the narrow end of the helmet… and that seam is what I had always used to identify the back of my helmet. I mean, it’s sort of like a tag on a shirt, it ought to go in the back! I never looked at the stupid thing that way before. So, I put the helmet on with the seam in the front, and low and behold it was more comfortable that way. And the straps fit better. As I rode off down the road I was laughing hysterically inside at the absurdity of it. The further I got, the more comfortable the helmet became, and the more I laughed. I have been wearing that helmet for well over a year… backwards.

As I rode and laughed my mind began to rabbit trail along to other things. The thought of helmets led into the helmet of salvation, and I wondered if you could put on the helmet of salvation backwards. So many people think they are Christians because they come from a Christian family, or they go to church, or they aren’t really bad people and after all God wouldn’t really send anyone to hell, or if I do enough good things then God will love me. Or, people become Christians but never get beyond salvation; they never grow up to maturity. Then I thought about putting on the rest of the spiritual armor backwards. Which led me to Biblical principles in general. How many times have I thought I knew and understood something, only to find out later that I had been wrong? Or maybe not wrong, but my knowledge was incomplete. As I grow up in God, I am learning so many new things everyday; but also God reminds me often of the things I learned long ago but have forgotten, or He takes me deeper into the things I already knew – deeper into dependence on Him, deeper into His mercy, love and grace; deeper in the knowledge and wisdom of His love. The Christian life is not something you learn and do once and you are done. You do not arrive until heaven. This life is the journey, the ride. Along the way are many lessons to learn, some of them over and over.

So tell me, is your helmet on backwards? What lesson does God have for you today?

Rebecca A Givens

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Yesterday I rode the motorcycle to work. It was a great ride and I roared into the parking lot feeling pretty good. I swung off the bike, took off my helmet, and… a GIANT GRANDDADDY LONGLEGS SPIDER climbed out of it!!! It was all I could do to not throw the helmet across the parking lot and run screaming like a little girl in the opposite direction! But of course I am too cool and controlled to do that. I think I said a few choice words and hyperventilated instead.

They tell me that Granddaddy Longlegs are harmless, because their mouths are too small to bite you. But I really don’t want a spider, no matter how harmless, crawling around inside my helmet while my head is in there. Those legs are just creepy. I can tell you that the next time I rode I looked at the helmet very carefully before I put it on… and the whole ride I kept feeling things brush against my face and wondering if it was my own hair or something else’s legs.

While I was riding down the road wondering what was in my helmet that shouldn’t be, I remembered where I got this particular helmet. I acquired it indirectly from a kid who had gotten into trouble with drugs. Like a lot of motorcycle helmets, it was covered with stickers, some of which I didn’t want adorning my head. As I was removing the stickers, I found a pill tucked inside the lining of the helmet. I don’t know what it was, but I am pretty sure it wasn’t an aspirin!

So I was thinking about narcotics and spiders in my helmet when my mind drifted over into spiritual things, and I got to thinking about the helmet of salvation. Can you have things like spiders and drugs in your helmet of salvation? I have been studying church history, and I never realized that refuting heresy is what led to the various creeds and confessions and catechisms. The wording in those documents is very specific and exact for a reason. The details of how and what we think about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God affect every area of life. I can be saved but still have lots of other things wrong that will be detrimental to me. For instance, if I believe that there are many ways to God then I trivialize Christ’s work on the Cross, yet the Cross is the cornerstone of Christianity! I can believe in God, but if I don’t believe the whole Word of God is all true, then how can I know that any of it is true?

It is not enough to simply put on the helmet of salvation. I need to check my doctrine, my beliefs, and the way I live my life to make sure there are no spiders or narcotics hidden in there. That spider might not bite me, but I can tell you that if it crawls across my face while I am riding down the road it will cause a wreck. That pill won’t hurt me if I don’t swallow it, but would a policeman believe me if I told him it wasn’t mine and I don’t know how it got there, or would he arrest me for possession?

Take some time and study your Bible with a heart submitted to what God wants to show you. Make sure that your beliefs line up with what God says. Believe what God says. Don’t let a “harmless” spider or hidden drugs undermine your spiritual life.

©Rebecca A Givens, 09/03/10

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


‎"Remember, many experts are simply little spurts away from home." Ruth Ward

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Karate Manual

I am so excited that I finally managed to figure out how to upload documents and put them on the right side of this page!! Scroll down part way and you will find the Karate Student Manual listed page by page!! These are all up to date as of today!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Tertullian, to his wife, around 200AD:

What a bond is this: two believers who share one hope, one desire, one discipline, the same service! There is no distinction of spirit or flesh, but truly they are two in one flesh. Where there is one flesh, there is also one spirit. Together they pray... together they fast, teaching each other, exhorting each other, supporting each other. Side by side in the church of God and at the banquet of God, side by side in difficulties, in times of persecution, and in times of consolation. Neither hides anything from the other, neither shuns the other, neither is a burden to the other. They freely visit the sick and sustain the needy... Seeing and hearing this, Christ rejoices. He gives them His peace. Where there are two He also is present; and where He is , there is no evil."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Who is Jesus?

"Jesus does not ask, 'Who do you want Me to be?" Rather, Jesus reveals Himself. He does not call us to create and shape His being, character, or mission. We either fall to our knees before Him as Creator and Redeemer, or we walk away, rejecting His claims. We have tried to craft a middle ground. We have tried to re-image Jesus as we want Him to be. This day, go to the synagogue in Nazareth and listen once more. You must curse Him as a profit monger, you must pity Him as a deluded madman, or you must kneel and submit."

John Sartelle, Tabletalk magazine, July 2010.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hard Place

Are you in a hard place?
Is there pain?
Is there difficulty?

I have been down some hard, painful and difficult paths. In those journeys I have learned that God put me in those places for a reason, and I had a choice of two attitudes with which to respond.

Unfortunately my first response to hardship is generally to fight God over it.
But how can I fight against an all powerful God?
I can try to move myself, but how can I run from God?
I can try to change things to make them like I want, but how can I change the mind of God?
I can make a different reality by escaping into a bottle, or a book, or the computer, or television, or any number of other things, but I only become a slave to those addictions.
I can try to control everything, but that is just banging my head against a wall.

I have to say that my experience fighting God has led me to the conclusion that it just doesn’t work.
No matter what I do, I can’t escape the misery. When hard things happen my only other choice is to embrace this difficulty as part of God’s plan. As hard as it is to accept, I am exactly where God wants me, and where He has put me.

So I look at my problem.
Did my own sin or bad decisions cause this difficulty? Then I must grieve and repent and go do what is right. I must read, study and meditate on scripture, and pray and seek godly council so I can know and do what is right.

Did someone else’s sin cause my pain? That hurts, but I must still do what is right; forgiveness is required in this situation. Again, I must read, study and meditate on scripture, and pray and seek godly council so I will know and do what is right, no matter what anyone else does.

Did circumstances just come together to cause my hardship? Then I must embrace this as God’s plan for this moment, and ask Him how I can glorify Him in this place. I must ask Him to teach me and to draw me close to Him. I must ask Him to reveal Himself to me, and ask Him to glorify Himself in me. Once again, it comes to reading, studying and meditating on scripture, and praying and seeking godly council so I will be able to know and do what is right, no matter what my circumstances are.

My bad circumstances may or may not change at all. Sometimes they even get worse. But my misery will change. Somewhere in the midst of whatever my problems are, no matter how severe, I find God’s presence, and with Him come peace and joy. In the place of God’s presence, I find that not only can I accept the hardship, but I can thank God for it. It is worth any pain, any difficulty, any hardship, to know God this way.

There will always be difficult circumstances in this life, and we will always sin and make mistakes. The question is not, “when will God fix this for me?” or “why won’t God fix this for me?” Rather, the question must be “How can God glorify Himself in me in this situation, and what does He want me to do now?”

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

©Rebecca A Givens, 07/19/10

Monday, July 19, 2010


Susannah Wesley to her son's question "What is sin?" ..."Son, whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience,obscures your sense of God,or takes away your relish for spiritual things;in short, if anything increases the authority and power of the flesh over the Spirit, then that to you become...s sin, however good it is in itself,"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Prayer by Origen

"Lord God, let us keep your Scriptures in mind and meditate on them day and night, persevering in prayer, always on the watch. We beg you, Lord, to give us real knowledge of what we read and to show us not only how to understand it, but how to put it into practice, so that we may ... obtain spiritual grace, enlightened by the law of the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ our Lord, whose power and glory will endure throught all ages. Amen."


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Church History

"We are like dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants; thanks to them, we see further than they. Busying ourselves with the treatises written by the ancients, we take their choice thoughts, buried by age and human neglect, and we raise them, as it were from death to renewed life."
Peter of Blois, 1212

"What can we say of the Fathers? What shall we think of them, or what account may we make of them? They be interpreters of the Word of God. They were learned men, and learned Fathers, the instruments of the mercy of God, annd vessels full of grace. We despise them not, we read them, we reverence them, and give thanks unto God for them. They were witnesses unto the truth, they were worthy pillars and ornaments of the church of God. Yet they may not be compared with the Word of God. We may not build upon them; we may not put our trust in them. Our trust is in the name of the Lord."
Bishop John Jewel

Friday, July 16, 2010

A different kind of battle

God has equipped us not with sword and spear but with the spirit of liberty that is ready to die. He has not called us to go out and kill the enemy but to die for the enemy that they might be won.

R.C. Sproul, Jr, Tabletalk Magazine, March 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Is something wrong with this?

I spent the last four days on a trip to Texas and back. I spent lots of time eating out. Everywhere I went, from fastfood to gas stations to resteraunts, was crowded with people. And the huge majority of those people were overweight. I wondered if they were hurting financially as much as my own family is. Surely the recession has affected some of them. So, are they spending money they don't have? ordering food they don't need and shouldn't eat? and then I was appalled watching the staff clear the tables... what waste! I wondered if there were hungry people in those towns.

Does anybody else think about these things? Does this bother anyone else? Is there something wrong here?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How Can It Be?

I was flipping through the notebook I keep in my Bible yesterday, looking for devotional material for my upcoming karate camps. This notebook is where I write random thoughts and Bible notes which are the start of most of what I write. I ran across this piece that I wrote about a month ago...

How Can It Be?

Something inside is lonely and lifeless and dead.
How can that be?

The Spirit of God lives in me.
The Son of God died to give me life.
Peace and joy are mine,
yet peace and joy elude me.
They are submerged,
drowning under the cares and concerns of the world,
hidden behind the activities and busyness of this life.

I am weary and tired.
Where is the strength of eagles’ wings?
My mind is scattered and dark.
Myriad thoughts flit in and out so quickly
they can’t be grasped and looked at.
There is no time to ponder or think deeply.
There are no thoughts to dwell on anyway.

There is nothing to hold fast to.
How can this be?

I have God’s Word to meditate on;
the light for my path and my eyes.
It should capture my fleeting thoughts.
It should anchor me to that firm foundation
which I know I possess.

I need Your Light
Your Peace
Your Joy
Your Strength
Your Mind
Your Attitude
Your Love
I need You.

That is How it should be.
And can be.
And will be.

©Rebecca A Givens, 07/04/10

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Upcoming camp plans...

I have had a couple of really good days. I spent the last 2 days pulling together devotionals for my upcoming karate camps. I have been thinking about them for months, and it was satisfying to see it come together after spending so much time thinking and praying about it. I can't wait for camp!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ladies Self-Defense Classes

I found this today when I was browsing through old posts, looking for something else. It seems appropriate to repost it with the upcoming Teen Girls class.

First of all, "Are they necessary?" or "Why should I take a self-defense class?"

Statistically, women are more often victims of crime, violent and otherwise, than men are. Women's lib may have happened ladies, but let's face it - typically women are just not as strong as men; we don't have the muscle mass that men do. And we don't tend to be as physically aggressive as our male counterparts. How many men have you heard of being raped by a woman? I can't think of a single story with that scenario.

I don't want to be a fear-monger, but the news is full of stories of muggings, attacks, kidnappings, etc. And they happen everywhere - mall parking lots, wal-mart parking lots, in cars, in homes, in broad daylight as well as night. We do indeed live in a violent world. It would definitely be a good thing to prepare ourselves, and our teenage daughters, for the world we live in.

Next question is, "How do I learn to protect myself?"

The market seems to be flooded with Ladies Self-Defense Classes, as well as videos and books. While a video or book might be a good resource, nothing can replace a live teacher and actual guided practice, so I am definitely in favor of taking a class. But how do you choose one? Sometimes it might simply be a matter of convenience: I can get to this place at this time. But other than that, here are some things to look for in a self-defense class.

  • Beware of a teacher who knows everything and can guarantee that you will be able to handle any situation after taking his one day class. That is simply not possible.
  • Beware of a teacher that teaches techniques that are so complicated you cannot remember them. It may look really impressive, but what good will that be in a real-life situation?
  • Beware of a teacher who's techniques involve things you cannot physically do. High kicks to the head look really good, but the only way I am going to kick someone in the head without falling down is if I knock them on the ground first. I am not Billy Jack, Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan, or Bruce Lee. I am a middle-aged woman!
A one-day self-defense class is simply going to be an introduction to taking care of yourself. It is going to teach you to begin to be aware of what's going on around you, to pay attention. It should teach you some very basic techniques and strikes that apply to a number of realistic scenarios. It should teach you where to target your attacker so your strikes are more effective. But this is only a beginning. If you do not continue to practice these things and think about what you are taught, they will not be much good in an actual situation where you are scared.

I am a student and a teacher of a traditional martial art, and I think that the benefits of studying martial arts long term are enormous. Only one of those benefits is self-defense. This makes me a bit biased - I'd love it if EVERYONE got involved in martial arts! Well, the good guys at least . But I realize that martial arts is not for everyone, particularly traditional martial arts. So the next best thing is to take a self-defense class and practice on a regular basis.

I plan to teach a one-day Ladies Self-Defense Class here in Hoover in a couple of weeks, and continue to offer the one-day class every few months. In addition I thought I'd offer a "refresher course" in conjunction with it, for ladies who have had the class but want to practice beating up on "Bob" (the man shaped heavy bag), or review the scenarios that were covered in class. It would be a good chance for you to bring questions as well. My intention is for these to be small classes, allowing for lots of practice and interaction.

Whether you take my class or someone else's, do start paying attention to what is going on around you. Paying attention is the BEST self-defense there is!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Things of Indifference

"... Paul adds that 'it is made holy by the word of God and prayer' (I Tim 4:5). This provides us with a good rule for our use of things otherwise indifferent: Is it consistent with biblical principles, and can I pray with integrity, thanking God for the way I am using or doing this?"

Rev Richard D. Phillips
Tabletalk magazine, July 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I am safe.
I am with the Shepherd.
We are on the way to green pastures and
sweet clear water.
I follow my Shepherd up narrow winding paths.

It is hard.
I am thirsty and hungry and tired.
The rocky path hurts my feet.
I am afraid of what lurks behind the boulders
and on top of the steep cliffs that line the road.

Yet I walk beside my Shepherd.
He rests His hand on me as we walk.
He speaks to me gently.
He sings to me.
We round a corner to find a quiet pool and shady grass.
We stop to rest and He runs His hands over me,
brushing away the thorns and briars and bugs
that irritate and torture me.

We move on up the rocky path.
I look at the steep uphill climb,
at the danger lurking in the shadows beside the road,
And I am afraid.

I look up at my Shepherd,
And I know that I am safe.
I trust Him to love me,
to care for me,
to keep me.
I choose to watch Him and to follow Him.

Lord, rest Your Hand on me as we walk this road.
Keep me safe.
I am Yours.
I am safe.

©Rebecca A Givens, 06/18/10

Friday, June 18, 2010

Teen Girls Self-Defense Class

Course Description:
This class will focus on practical self-defense dealing with real life scenarios faced by young ladies of high school or college age. This class would be suitable for partial PE credit.

Grade Level:
9th grade through college, 8th graders may be admitted with instructor approval

Becky Givens, Sensei
Shingo-ha Yoshukai Karate, Nidan (2nd degree black belt), Sempai (standing teacher)
Martial arts teacher for 6 years, including regular karate classes for all ages and self defense seminars for women and teens
Homeschooling mom of 4 children for 16 years

Instructor Contact Info:
Contact Becky Givens to register:

Lake Crest Presbyterian Church
560 Lake Crest Dr
Hoover, AL, 35226

1st and 3rd Wednesdays, 9:00-10:00am

$25 non-refundable registration fee, applied to tuition
$100 tuition

Required Text:
Students will be required to read The Gift of Fear, by Gavin DeBecker.

Class Minimum:
Minimum of 5 students. If class minimum is not reached, class will be cancelled and registration fees will be returned.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dark Heart

I am so tired of my sin nature. I am tired of the same sins plaguing me year after year. I am tired of seeing the sins and weaknesses of my parents repeat in my own life. I am tired of seeing the marks on my emotions left by someone else’s sin. I am tired of the fight. With Paul I cry out, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” I feel that death, that sin, at work throughout my whole being; there is nothing it has not touched. It lives in my best impulses, my deepest desires. It colors not only the anger and hate in my life, but even my love. It doesn’t simply cling to me, it is me.

I want Life. I long for joy and peace and comfort. I want to love and be loved. I do not want to be alone. How can the God of Light, the God of life and joy and peace and comfort, tolerate the darkness that is inside of me? How can He possibly bear to shine that light on, and even inside of, this body of death that is me? What does He see there? How can He bear it?

I can do nothing but fall to the ground and weep before Him. I am nothing, I have nothing; there is only sin and death and darkness. Please Lord, I cannot survive Your Presence; but I cannot flee. The Light attracts me, it calls me, it holds me. I wait for Him to turn in disgust and fling me from Himself.

Yet He does not turn from me. He does not send me away. He touches me. He lifts my head. He forces me to look into His eyes. How can that be? How can He look on me that way? How can there be Love there? How can it be anything but loathing, or at best pity? But no, it is Love. I do not understand.

Scarred hands lift me up. They wipe my tears. They heal my hurts. They take my sin. Oh God, no! I am not worth that price! But the Lamb lies there, slain. Blood covers the white wool. My hands are covered with it, my body is splattered with it; I have been baptized in the Lamb’s blood. It is heartrending. God continues to look at me with love in His eyes. I look at the Lamb, at His Blood, at His eyes; they also look on me with love. He stands beside me, once again lifting me up with scarred hands. He breathes on me. A spark of light finds its way into my heart and brings life to my dead soul. The slain Lamb lives, and so do I.

I still do not understand. I do not know why. Why would God want me at all? He knows the foulest part of me, yet He died rather than hurl me from His Presence. He covered me with His own precious Blood. He breathed life into me, He left His own Spirit in my heart; a spark of Light living in sinful flesh.

Is it possible that I could in some way bring glory to God? Could I possibly bring Him joy? Will the spark of Light that is Him shine through this darkness that is me?

©Rebecca A Givens, 06/12/10

Saturday, June 12, 2010


"By the righteousness of faith we are acquitted from sin, and by the righteousness of works we are aquitted from hypocrisy."

Thomas Manton

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Karate Summer Camp


Kids ages 6-12
New students welcome!

July 12-15, 1-3:00pm, $40

Lake Crest Presbyterian Church
560 Lake Crest Drive
Hoover, AL, 35226

Becky Givens, Sensei
Shintaikan Dojo
Shingo-ha Yoshukai Karate

The Porpoise Driven Life

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Undone by FFH

Once again FFH speaks to my heart:

Open up wide
swallow down deep
the spoon full of sugar can make it sweet
the cancer inside
stealing my sleep
night after night it keeps haunting me
the secrets i keep are tearing me up inside i try to hide them in
i wonder why
i wonder why i'm still running when i know there's no escaping


Come Undone
Surrender the stronger
I don't need to be the hero tonight
you all want love
you all want honor
nobody wants to pay the asking price

(Oh oh ohhh Oh oh ohhh oh oh ohhh)

Verse 2:

Fall on my knees
fall on my pride
I'm tripping over all the times i've lied
I'm asking please
but i can see in your eyes
that you don't need tears for alibis
it's true what they say
love must be blind it's why your still standing by the sinners side
your still by my side when all i've done have left you bleeding

(Oh oh ohhh Oh oh ohhh oh oh ohhh) x7

I don't think I can drive it home tonight
I don't think I want to be alone tonight

Ohhhhhhh (4 times)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Take the Adventure that is sent us

"Doubtless," said the Prince. "This signifies that Alsan will be our good lord, whether he means us to live or die. And all's one, for that. Now, by my counsel, we shall all kneel and kiss his likeness, and then all shake hands one with another, as true friends that may shortly be parted. And then, let us descend into the City and take the adventure that is sent us."

C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

Saturday, May 29, 2010


"'When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said 'Repent,' He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.' If we would find reformation again, we must repent of our failure to live lives of repentance."

RC Sproul, Jr, writing about Luther's first thesis.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I long for something I cannot name.

I long to be something I cannot be
to have something I cannot have
to see something I cannot see
to know something I cannot know
to feel something I cannot feel.

I long to be known completely
to be loved perfectly
to be cared for
to be rescued.

I long to be free
to worship with my whole being
to give myself without hesitation or reservation
to be totally unselfconscious
to lose myself.

What I long for is God in Heaven.

Yet I am here, on earth.
Here the air is thick
the view is obscured
my mind is foggy
my sin nature fights against me.
Here there is pain
An enemy within and without.

Even so
He is Immanuel – God with us.
His Word is in my hands, my head, my heart.
He planned my salvation - He came to me and He made a way for me to come to Him.
He lives in me - He is the Holy Spirit
Lover of my soul.

He is all these things
here and now
on this Earth.

He is already what I long for, and one day
He will take me home and
make me what I long to be.
©Rebecca A Givens, 05/09/10

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010


"God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God's hand as a means. Trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometime defeats, are the very food of faith." George Mueller

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Rose

My daughter is a dancer. This weekend she is performing in a wonderful ballet called “The Battle for Lucinda’s Heart.” Yesterday I was in my yard and I walked by the roses – they were fabulous in red, pink, and yellow – and I decided to take some to give to Sarah after the performance. After carefully looking at all of them, I chose a stem of simple yellow roses. There was a mature bloom and several small buds, and something about the old fashioned look of it appealed to me. Sarah’s artistic temperament is sometimes hard to predict, but she likes to be different and somehow the simplicity felt right. Cutting them proved to be a bit tricky though, as I discovered there were thorns not only along the stem, but even under the leaves. I wrapped the whole thing up in a damp paper towel and a plastic bag so there would be a way to hold it without getting stabbed, and off my niece and I went to the opening matinee performance.

The place fills up quickly, so we got there early to wait in line and get a good seat. Other patrons had flowers too… big fancy bouquets for the most part. Hmm. That’s ok, my flower was much more personal. We went in and sat down and waited some more. I looked around at the packed auditorium, and then I looked down at my one mature rose. It was wilting. Well, whatever. Didn’t matter. The lights went out, the curtain rose, and we were whisked into the world of the story. Intermission came and people got up to stretch and talk. As I chatted with my niece I noticed my rose was positively limp. The thing was just dead, no way around it. Dang. This particular child does have a fascination with dead things, after all. Maybe it would be ok - as long as all those people with giant bouquets didn’t see it.

The performance ended and we walked around back to wait for Sarah. Thankfully, the adoring public stayed in the lobby so I didn’t have to look at those huge, living flowers anymore. My single dead rose didn’t look quite so bad with nothing to compare it to. Sarah came out wearing her tacky backstage clothes and that helped. Giving her a dead flower actually sort of looked in keeping with the way she was dressed, and at one point she had even been an evil shadow on stage… at least she wasn’t wearing her fancy courtier-at-the-ball costume at this moment.
I looked at my daughter and I was so proud of her, of her performance, of her hard work, of the courage to get up on that stage and dance and smile. And all I had to give her was a dead flower with thorns. It was sad.

Being a parent is like that. Even with time and care, all I have to give to my kids amounts to nothing more than a dead flower, unless God breathes life into me and into what I have. I have nothing on my own to give, the only thing I have of value is God. Am I giving God to my kids? or is it just dead flowers and thorns?

Heavenly Father, give life to my parenting. Use me to pass Your Spiritual Life to my kids. Let Your Light and Life shine through me into them, and from them into their future children. Oh God, turn my dead flowers and thorns into a life of beauty and grace. Oh yeah, and God, help my husband find a nice bouquet for today! Amen.

©Rebecca A Givens, 05/09/10

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shepherd of Tender Youth

"Shepherd of tender youth, guiding in love and truth
Through devious ways: Christ, our triumphant King,
We come Thy Name to sing;
Hither our children bring, to shout Thy praise.
Thou art our holy Lord, the all-subduing Word,
Healer of strife: Thou didst Thyself abase,
That from sin's deep disgrace,
Thou mightest save our race and give us life.
So now and till we die, sound we Thy praises high,
And joyful sing: infants, and the glad throng,
Who to Thy church belong,
Unite to swell the song to Christ our King. Amen."

Clement of Alexandria

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Early Apologists

"In conclusion, the writings of the apologists witness to the tensions in which the early Christians lived. While rejecting paganism, they had to deal with the fact that paganism produced a valuable culture. While accepting the truth to be found in the philosophers, they insisted on the superiority of Christian revelation. While refusing to worship the emperor, and even while persecuted by the authorities, they continued praying for the emperor and admiring the greatness of the Roman Empire. These tensions were admirably expressed in the address To Diognetus:

Christians are no different from the rest in their nationality, language or customs... They live in their own countries, but as sojourners. They fulfill all their duties as citizens, but they suffer as foreigners. They find their homeland wherever they are, but their homeland is not in any one place.... They are in the flesh, but they do not live according to the flesh. They live on earth, but are citizens of heaven. They obey all laws, but they live at a level higher than that required by law. They love all, but all persecute them.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Who am I?

I don't know if this quote will make sense if you do not know the character involved in the book...

"For still she thought that "Religion" was a kind of exhalation or a cloud of incense, something steaming up from specially gifted souls towards a receptive Heaven. Then, quite sharply, it occurred to her that the Director never talked about Religion; nor did the Dimbles nor Camilla. They talked about God. They had no picture in their minds of some mist steaming upward: rather of strong, skillful hands thrust down to make, and mend, perhaps even to destroy. Supposing one were a thing after all - a thing designed and invented by Someone Else and valued for qualities quite different from what one had decided to regard as one's true self?"

C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength

Thursday, April 15, 2010


"He had never before known what an Idea meant: he had always thought till now that they were things inside one's own head. But now, when his head was continually attacked and often completely filled with the clinging corruption of the training, this Idea towered up above him - something which obviously existed quite independently of himself and had hard rock surfaces which would not give, surfaces he could cling to."

C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What is my story about?

"History is the story of redemption. This story is much bigger than I. I am not the main character in the drama of redemption. I am not the point. But by God's grace I am a part of it. My subplot is integral to the whole. It is far more significant to have a small part in this story than to star in my own puny production. This is a cosmic story that will run throughout eternity. Will I play my part with grace and joy, or will I go for the short-run, insignificant story that really has no point?"

Susan Hunt

"The Truth is, it's not about you. It's not about me. It's all about Him. The Truth may not change your circumstances - at least not here and now - but it will change you. The Truth will set you free."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Emotional health

"Helping people to feel loved and worthwhile has become the central mission of the church. We are learning not to worship God in self-denial and costly service, but to embrace our inner child, heal our memories, overcome addictions, lift our depressions, improve our self-images, establish self-preserving boundaries, substitute self-love for self-hatred, and replace shame with an affirming acceptance of who we are.

Recovery from pain is absorbing an increasing share of the church's energy. And that is alarming...

We have become committed to relieving the pain behind our problems rather than using our pain to wrestle more passionately with the character and purpose of God. Feeling better has become more important than finding God...

As a result, we happily camp on biblical ideas that help us feel loved and accepted, and we pass over Scripture that calls us to higher ground. We twist wonderful truths about God's acceptance, his redeeming love, and our new identity in Christ into a basis for honoring ourselves rather than seeing those truths for what they are: the stunning revelation of a God gracious enough to love people who hated him, a God worthy to be honored about everyone and everything else.

... We have rearranged things so that God is now worthy of honor because he has honored us. "worthy is the Lamb," we cry, not in response to his amazing grace, but because he has recovered what we value most: the ability to like ourselves. We now matter more than God."

Dr. Larry Crab, Finding God, as quoted in Lies Women Believe by Nancy DeMoss

Monday, April 12, 2010


What is important to me?
Who is important to me?
Who do I spend time with?
Who am I intimate with?
What do I represent?
Who do I represent?
Can anyone tell?
Do I give a right impression?
Do I represent them rightly?
Am I who I think I am?
Am I who I want to be?
How does the world see me?
How do my students and friends see me?
How does my family see me?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Prayer by Polycarp

"Thou God and Father of Thy beloved and blessed Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have received knowledge of Thee, O God of the angels and of all creation and of all just men who live in Thy presence, I thank Thee that Thou hast graciously granted this day and this hour to allot me a portion among the number of martyrs, among the people of Christ, unto the resurrection of everlasting life: may I be received in Thy sight, as a fruitful and acceptable sacrifice, wherefore, for all this, I praise Thee, I bless Thee, I glorify Thee through the eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son; to whom, with Thee and the Holy Spirit, be all glory, world without end. Amen."

"I have served Him for 86 years, and He has done me know harm. How could I curse my King who saved me?"

Polycarp, as he was being martyred, 155AD

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


"We want to know no will but God's in this question... The experience of the past winter would impress upon me the fact that place and position have next to nothing to do with happiness; that we can be wretched in a palace, radiant in a dungeon... perhaps this heartbreaking is exactly what we need to remind us... that we are pilgrims and strangers on the earth."
Elizabeth Prentiss

"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may be; for I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our disposition and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds, wherever we go."
Martha Washington

"The Truth is, God is far more interested in our holiness than in our immediate, temporal happiness - He knows that apart from being holy, we can never be truly happy."
Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Monday, April 5, 2010

Leadership and Followship

A Leader is not a dictator.
A Follower is not a slave.

A Leader serves those he leads.
A Follower serves the one who leads.

A Leader gives up his life for those he leads.
A Follower gives up his life to the one who leads.

Both serve and give with an attitude of humility.
Both give up what they have and what they want for the sake of the other.
Both sacrifice.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


"When it comes to dealing with our emotions, we must remember that 'feeling good' is not the ultimate objective in the Christian's life. God does not promise that those who walk with Him will be free from all difficult emotions. In fact, as long as we are in these bodies, we will experience varying degrees of pain and distress.
...the real focus of our lives must not be on changing or 'fixing' things to make ourselves feel better but on the glory of God and His redemptive purposes in the world. Everything else is expendable. True joy comes from abandoning ourselves to that end."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Change, Chance and Fear

"Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear; rather look to them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them. He has kept you hitherto, - do you but hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms... The same everlasting Father who cares for you today, will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations."
Francis de Sales (1567-1622)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Lies Women Believe - on emotions

I am making my way through this fabulous book... and today's section was called "I can't help how I respond when my hormones are out of whack. (It's understandable to at like a shrew at certain times.)"

sigh. I wish I could reprint the entire section here for you. Go read the book. But here are some things that stick in my mind.

(italics are my own thoughts)
"So if we feel a sudden craving for a big bowl of chocolate ice cream at 10:00 at night, we head for the freezer and pull out the ice cream. (this is why I don't buy ice cream) If we feel like staying up and watching a late-night movie, we do so (I did that Sunday night and regretted it for 2 days). If we don't feel like getting out of bed the next morning, we pull the covers up over our head and call in sick at work. If we don't feel like cooking a meal that night, we call for pizza delivery(guilty on a regular basis). If we don't feel like cleaning our house, we let it go until the mess is so great we are really depressed (this would be my normal state of house cleaning).
The problem is, if we cater to our emotions and let them control our actions in these kinds of daily routines, we will be more vulnerable to being controlled by our emotions in the major transitions and difficult seasons of life."

"Certainly what happens in our bodies does affect us emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. We cannot isolate these various dimensions of who we are - they are inseparably intertwined. But we fall into the trap of the Enemy when we justify fleshly, sinful attitudes and responses based on our physical condition or hormonal changes."

"Didn't God make our bodies? Doesn't He understand how they work? Do you think things like menstrual cycles, hormones, pregnancy, and menopause catch Him off guard?"

"You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made... When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:13-16

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Tax Insanity

"It is a good thing that we do not get as much government as we pay for." Will Rogers

"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents..." James Madison

"Alexander Hamilton started the U.S. Treasury with nothing and that was the closest our country has ever been to being even." Will Rogers

"There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him." Robert Heinlein

"I am proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is I could be just as proud for half of the money." Arthur Godfrey

"Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages." H.L. Mencken

[on filing for tax returns] "This is too difficult for a mathematician. It takes a philosopher." Albert Einstein

"The point to remember is that what the government gives it must first take away." John S. Coleman

"The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin." Mark Twain

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chrysostom quote

John Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople;
sermon, ca. 400

Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Prayer by Clement

"Grant unto us, Lord, that we may see our hope on Thy name...
and open the eyes of our hearts, that we may know Thee. We beseech Thee, Lord and Master, to be our help and succour. Save those among us who are in tribulation; have mercy on the lowly; lift up the fallen; show Thyself to those in need; heal the sick; turn again the wanderers of Thy people; feed the hunger; ransom our prisoners; raise up the week; comfort the faint-hearted. Let all nations know that Thou art God alone, and that Jesus Christ is Thy Son, and that we are Thy people and the sheep of Thy pasture.
We praise Thee who art able to do these and and better things than these, through Jesus Christ the High Priest and Guardian of our souls, through whom be glory and majesty to Thee, both now and throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen"

Clement of Rome

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Whatever the pattern of the world is in my life -

my nature
my personality
my habits
my strengths
my weaknesses

Must all be transformed.


Not by my own effort to change,
but by the renewing of my mind
through the Word of God.

Romans 12:2
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Worker Reads History

Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
The books are filled with names of kings.
Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
Who built the city up each time?
In which of Lima's houses,
That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished
Where did the masons go?
Imperial Rome
Is full of arcs of triumph.
Who reared them up?
Over whom Did the Caesars triumph?
Byzantium lives in song.
Were all her dwellings palaces?
And even in Atlantis of the legend
The night the seas rushed in,
The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.
Young Alexander conquered India.
He alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Was there not even a cook in his army?
Phillip of Spain wept as his fleet was sunk and destroyed.
Were there no other tears?
Frederick the Greek triumphed in the Seven Years War.
Who triumphed with him?
Each page a victory
At whose expense the victory ball?
Every ten years a great man,
Who paid the piper?
So many particulars.
So many questions.

-- Bertolt Brecht

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Prayer by F.L. Battles

"O Father, we have not always been faithful to Thy Word;
We have not always taken up Thy cross to follow Thy Son;
And too often we have forgotten the church we are called to serve.
Renew in our hearts and in our minds
The faith that was in Peter and Paul,
The faith that strengthened the ancient martyres,
The faith that moved the pens and lips of the fathers,
The faith that built cathedrals and universities,
The faith that moved the Reformers to renew the church in their time.
O Father, teach us how to impart that faith to Thy people.
These petitions we lay before Thy presence in the name of Thy Son our Lord.

Ford Lewis Battles (1915-79)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Saint Patrick's Breastplate

Old Irish, eighth-century prayer.

I rise today
with the power of God to pilot me,
God's strength to sustain me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look ahead for me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to protect me,
God's way before me,
God's shield to defend me,
God's host to deliver me,
from snares of devils,
from evil temptations,
from nature's failings,
from all who wish to harm me,
far or near,
alone and in a crowd.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Answered Prayer

I found this prayer in my journal... dated 2/9/10. Oh my, it is so encouraging to read this and see how God has answered my prayers!

Forgive me for holding onto my hurt and anger.
Love my husband through me, encourage him through me.
These do not come naturally in me.
I cannot do them on my own.
Bless our efforts and our actions.
Give us wisdom and peace and joy.
Provide for us.
Guide us along Your path.
Make us partners.
Bring our family together.
Glorify Yourself in us,
and in me.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

This Week's Gift

God is so good...

This last week he gave us a new roof...
He provided the money for the shingles in the form of an anonymous Lowe's gift card, and the money for the rest of it in a gift from my in laws.
He provided the labor in Wesley, Stan - friends like that are few indeed, #1 son Jacob, and me. Clean up help was the girls as well. We couldn't possibly have gotten through without them all.
Timing was perfect, money coinciding with Spring Break, so we were all off.
Weather was perfect the entire week, we finished the clean up just at dark Saturday, and the rain began during the night Sat night.
And poor tired bodies managed to not give out until the job was done.

All of it was a gift - materials, labor, weather - every bit of it came from God.
Including the fabulous feeling at the end, watching the rain fall outside, knowing it would stay dry inside!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Why blog?

I haven't posted much in 2010, and what little is here was just passing along interesting or funny stuff. I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying, but not much writing of any kind. Now I am wondering, why? Why do I write? and why do I post it to a blog? and is there a point at all? Is anybody reading it, does it do anyone any good?

These questions started back in Nov when I did nablopomo... post something every day for a month. I ended up posting stuff just to have something to post. And it felt like a waste of time and cyberspace. I have never wanted a blog just to have a blog, never wanted to post just to be doing it. I absolutely never wanted a blog with nothing to say... I certainly don't want to post what I had for dinner! (Maybe if I was a great or creative cook...)

Today some answers finally came to me. I write what God is teaching me, and some of it is worth sharing. The title of my blog is The Non-Conformist Transformed... it is supposed to be the story of how God is transforming me. It is not for me, not so lots of people can read my writing, certainly not so anybody can tell me how wonderful I am. It's not for me at all. It is for God, and for His Glory. It is what He has done in my life, and if He can use these lessons in someone else's life that's even better.

So, it matters not if anybody reads this, or responds to this, at all. It is my testimony. And it will not be pointless.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The way kata should be

The first 2 minutes of this is ad, after that is the most awesome kata I have ever seen.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Christ ‘s eyes see me –
they see through me
and in me.

Christ’s strong arms
hold me close
to His chest.

He is Power and Strength;
to create,
to breathe life,
to sustain,
to resurrect.

Christ’s body carries the scent of
tears and sweat and
blood shed for me;
mingled with incense
spices and myrrh
that anoint His body.

In Christ I sense
His love for me.

I eat the bread He offers me,
and drink the cup He hands me;
They fill me
and strengthen me.
I breathe Him in,
He fills my senses.
It is intoxicating.

He takes my hand
to walk His path with Him,
to live His life with Him,
to love Him.


©Rebecca A Givens, 10/28/09