Saturday, October 15, 2016

How To Interpret God's Silence

Hey Friend,

I've heard it said that the Teacher (God) is silent during the test.  I'll revisit this thought in a moment, but for now let's go with that theory.

I'll tell you where my mind goes...straight back to Jr. High in Miss McDowell's English class.  Miss McDowell was an older teacher - an institution at Jefferson Jr. High School.  She was rather tall and quite sturdy.  Everyday she wore dresses, matronly pumps, and fiery red lipstick on her pursed lips.  

When she administered a test, there was no sirreeee.  There was no asking questions.  Even muffled paper shuffling would make per pause and peer over her reading glasses as she sat at her desk in front of the class.  "Is there a problem Mr. Johnson?" she'd ask with the warmth of the Spanish Inquisition.

I think sometimes that's how we perceive God when we are going through a time of trial or a test.  I know I have looked at Him that way in the past.

God is not a crotchety, silent teacher administering tests and waiting for us to fail.

My view of God has shifted over the years as I have come to believe the Truth about His character.  Here is a stance I have adopted...

When things are going well (or relatively so), I believe that we are to fill our minds with His Truth...meditating on it every day.

Then, when the trials come (and they will), I don't interpret God's seeming silence as indifference or turning His back on us...just the opposite.  I believe He says lovingly and with encouragement, "Bev (Name), okay now I want YOU to speak the Truth I've taught you into your circumstances."  

I believe He does this in the apparent silence so that we can profess and speak the only Truth that will bring any form of peace, comfort, hope, joy, and love....His Holy Word.  The Truth is what sets us free!

I may be all wrong, but I do believe that God gives us opportunities (when the rubber meets the road) to confess the hope that we have within us.  

We need to keep speaking into our circumstances and calling on our brothers and sisters in Christ to pray with and for us.

So back to the initial God truly silent?  I do believe that if we are walking in disobedience, God is not going to shout the Truth at us.  I also believe that sometimes, due to our circumstances and emotions, God may appear to be silent and distant.  But, that is not in keeping with His character.

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)

God is steadfast which means He is unswerving, unalterable, He cannot be moved. His loved toward us never fails or falters.  It is changeless. 

God is as near as a whisper and He never goes "Miss McDowell" on us.  He may not be speaking to us in a way that we can hear at the moment, but He is always speaking - in His Creation, through His people, in His word.

Think about it - if we are going through a trial or test - God always gives us an "open book" test because His Word (Bible) is always available to us.  

"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me."  (Psalm 

God may not speak audibly, but He speaks and He sustains through His Word to us.  Our job is to meditate on His Word and to ask the counselor He gives us, in the person of the Holy Spirit, to be our wise guide.  

There may be times that God seems to be silent, but I'm not certain that the apparent silence isn't born out of OUR circumstances, moods, disobedience, sin, or failing to seek Him first above all things.  

I'm so thankful that God is mindful of my sinful frame and knows I am but dust. I believe He is always wanting to speak life into my life, but sometimes my prideful agenda and self-sufficiency gets in the way.  

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

I'm no theologian, but I believe that God is always speaking in one form or another. When I look back at the times in my life when He seemed to be silent, I believe that I was the one who wasn't listening.

How about you?  How does God speak to you in good times?  In the midst of trials?  Has He ever seemed silent to you?  What Truth have you learned about God's character?

Dear Heavenly Father,  I praise you that you speak to me in so many ways...through the beauty of Your creation, the loving words of others, and especially through the love letter you have written to us - your Holy Word, the Bible.  Thank you for being a loving God who encourages us to speak the Truth into our circumstances.  I praise you that you are a God who coaches and encourages vs. chides and condemns.  Your will is that we would hear your voice and turn from our evil ways.  Grant me ears to hear you Lord.  Drown out the voice of the enemy.  I praise you that your steadfast love for me endures forever.  Praise be to your name. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed...

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Enemy's Lies Uncovered

Hey Friend,

Usually I save the "punch line" or the clincher for the end of my post, but this is so important that I want to give it to you at the beginning.  If you take away nothing else from this post, know this:

The enemy is real

The enemy has many calling cards and flaming arrows.  Some of his favorites are guilt, shame, fear, hopelessness, doubt, isolation, anxiety...

Thoughts and feelings lie

Just because we feel or think something doesn't make it true.  If you are experiencing any of the above...

It's not from are under the attack of the enemy and what he is telling you is a LIE!!!!!

How do I know this?  Because I've been there...many times.  The Bible tells me that this is no small skirmish.  In fact, there's an epic battle going on not just here on earth but in the heavens.  Good vs. Evil.  Truth vs. Lies.  Jesus vs. Enemy.  

The Good News is that we know Jesus wins!!

In the meantime, let's uncover some of the enemy's lies.  Perhaps one or more of these will hit home?  Then, let's debunk it with the Truth.

*  I'm not good enough...Not true.  Your identity is found in Christ.  God sees you through the blood of His Son.  God sees you as pure as snow.

Romans 3:23 - For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and (ALL who believe) are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.  

*  Everyone has it all together except me (isolation)...Not true.  The Bible says that the enemy prowls about looking to seek, isolate, and destroy. If he can pull you apart from the herd and get you alone, you are easy prey.  No one has it all together.  Friend, if they say or act like they do...well they're either lying or deluding themselves.  

*  God is angry or disappointed in me...Not true.  Nowhere in the Bible does it ever say that God is disappointed in us.  I challenge you to find it in there because it simply doesn't exist.  It's a lie.  We mess up and we sin, but God's got that covered.

Romans 8:1-2 - Therefore there is now NO CONDEMNATION  for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  

*  You are alone...Not true.  The enemy wants you to think you are alone. Over and over again Jesus reminds us "Never will I leave you...Never will I forsake you...NEVER"  (emphasis mine).  

*  You or the situation is hopeless...Not true.  In the 23rd Psalm, Jesus says He walks WITH us THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death.  He promises that He will lead us safely to the other side.  He won't leave us stuck there.

More than any other subject in the Bible, Jesus talks about the Kingdom of Heaven.  Why?  Because He knows if we can just hang in there, the Kingdom Heaven awaits us and it will be something far greater than we can ever imagine. 

It will be worth the wait.  We will be free FOREVER of the chains that bind us.  But, while we walk through this blink of an eye life here on earth....He will walk with us and give us His peace.

It is said that the enemy will find our Achilles' heel (our weakness) and attack us there. I've experienced this to be true.  I struggle with OCD and depression. Boy, you better believe that the hungry enemy smells blood when it (OCD) flares. When I'm having an episode, the enemy uses that time to kick me when I'm down.  

It is truly hard to cling to the Truth when I am laid so low.  That's when I need others to surround me and remind me that even though I may not be able to "feel" it or "believe" it at the moment, God's Truths are FACTS.  

If you are ever feeling under attack.  Ask a friend, "Do you ever think _______? Do you ever feel _________?  See what they say and ask them to share the Truth with you.  We find strength when we corporately cling to the truth.  There IS power in numbers.

Also, Priscilla Shirer (Christian author and speaker) made a powerful statement when she said, "The attacks on our lives are more about who the enemy believes we can become than who we are right now."

Another writer, Holley Gerth, spoke of a light bulb coming on when she suddenly realized that the enemy is lying to us in the area of our giftings.

This really blew me away.  But, it makes sense.  If the enemy knows we are strong in a particular area, he is going to stop at nothing to render us powerless in the area of our strength.  

He will throw his strongest lie...his hottest flaming arrow at our area of giftedness because that is where we threaten him the most.  

I believe that is why some of the strongest Christians I know are under the greatest attacks.  Why?  Because they are a threat to the enemy.  If we're not about spreading the gospel, building the Kingdom, sharing the light and hope of Jesus Christ, then we're not much of a threat and chances are the enemy will leave us alone. the key is recognizing that you are under attack.  Some red flag questions I'm learning to ask myself are:

1.  Does it (feeling or thought) make me feel anxious?

2.  Does it make me feel fearful?

3.  Does it bring with it any other negative feelings (shame, guilt, any feelings of being "less than" or "not enough" of something?

If so....In Christ's name, call it what it is....a big, old, fat LIE!  

I felt strange at first, but I have learned to say, out loud, when I feel like I'm under attack, "Get behind me Satan.  In the power of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I command you to flee from me and leave me alone!"

Two reasons...

1.  The enemy can't read our mind (like Jesus can) but he can hear my words.

2.  The Bible says, at the name of Jesus, the enemy must flee.

Okay.  Go back and read the beginning of my post again.  Take in that all that negativity is a bunch of lies.  If thoughts plague you try not to argue with them, roll them around in your mind and contemplate them....NO, you have permission to slam the door on them - like you would an intruder trying to come in your front door.  Not in your own power, but in the power that comes from calling upon the name of Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for when I've let the enemy get a foothold in my thought life, but I praise you that you are mindful of my frame and know what these attacks do to me.  You are a God who sees and understands what I'm up against.  Give me wisdom and discernment to know when thoughts are simply not from you, but are the work of the enemy.  Give me the shield of faith and truth, with which, I can extinguish the flaming (lying) arrows of the enemy. Remind me to call upon the power found in the name and person of Jesus.  At His name the enemy must turn and flee.  Help me to be in your Word so that when the enemy hits me with his lies (which he will), I can uncover them with your Truth.  Be with me Lord...I need you.  In Jesus precious name I pray.  Amen.

Be blessed....

ps.  Praise and Good News...Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. has an anonymous corporate sponsor who will donate $10 for every person who joins the private RCF, Inc. Facebook Page UP TO 300 PEOPLE OR $3,000!!

Here's how you can help.  
1.  If you haven't already, Friend me on Facebook (Beverly Senter Rihtarchik)
2. Message me "Add me" and I will add you to our page and $10 will go into RCF's bank account. (We will not clog your news feed...2-3 updates per month maximum)

Proceeds are going toward equipping our classrooms with much needed desks, tables, chairs, computers, projector, furniture that a classroom needs.  We are also at maximum capacity and need to enlarge our space.  Will you help us??

RCF, Inc. is a registered 501c3 non-profit ministry

Friday, September 30, 2016

Being In The Word...I Can Do This!

Hey Friend,

Welcome to my new digs.  My blog site got a face for its writer lol. It's kind of like that feeling you have after getting a fresh new have a little bounce in your step.  I hope you will always feel welcome here and feel like kicking off your sandals and taking a walk along the shore!  Okay, let's go...

I was looking at my tagline scripture below my blog title.  

Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path.  (Psalm 119:105)

This line from God's Word is so very true, yet I struggle some, no many, days with being in His Word.  Oh how I want to have a heart like David's.  I believe God called David a man after His own heart because David LOVED the Word. 

Oh how I love your law!  I meditate on it all day long.  (David speaking in Psalm 119:97)

Over and over again in the Psalms, David talks about his love for the law...for God's Word.  It's like a drug that he can't get enough of.  Oh how I want to be like David!  

Sometimes, for me, making time to read the Bible is like making time to exercise.  I know God tells me to do it.  I know it's good for me.  I know after I do it, I feel great and I wonder just what it was that kept me from doing it in the first place.  Do you ever feel like that?

Nothing is so fulfilling to me as  having a session with God...communing with Him in His Word...digging and mining His Truth for nuggets of gold...yet I hesitate....Why?

I know that in this world there is always a struggle between good and evil.  This is no minor struggle, it is an epic battle.  

The enemy would like nothing more than to isolate me from God and destroy me.  

The enemy delights when my attention gets caught up in some other "shiny" object - the TV, Facebook, internet surfing, my phone, you name it.  

Every minute he pulls me away from God's Word, he pulls me closer to destruction.

So what is one to do to not be a deer in the headlights when it comes to being in the Word regularly?  

If you're like me, you gotta have a plan.  I need a road too?  Google "Bible Reading Plans".  You will find chronological plans (read the Bible in 90 days, 1 year, 2 years), historical plans that paint the landscape of our spiritual heritage, in depth chapter studies, studies that combine some of the Old and New Testaments each day, Word studies that dig into Hebrew and Greek roots, studies with commentaries...  My point being is there are a myriad of ways to study the Bible.  (Other than the open the Bible and see which page you land on method).

Have a plan.  Have a daily plan.  Make an appointment on your calendar with God and keep it.  (I am talking quite frankly to myself here!!!)

Hear, O Israel:  The Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give to you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind then on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.  (Deuteronomy 6: 4-9)

The following points are from excerpts of a message I heard at church...

The hand of the Lord is with us when we are....

1.  Taking in the Word of the Lord.  

For the gracious hand of his God was upon him.  For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach the statutes in Israel.  (Ezra 7: 9b-10)

God's hand on Ezra had something to do with God's Word being IN Ezra.

I noticed how Ezra didn't stop at taking in the Word of the Lord....he did it....and he taught it.  I am gently convicted by God to not stop at just taking in God's Word.  No, there's much more.

The hand of the Lord is with us when we are...

2.  Walking out the Word of the Lord.

For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach the statutes and ordinances in Israel.  (Ezra 7:10)

Study it>> Do it >> Teach it

I am seeing, more and more, that understanding comes from obedience and true transformation comes from obedience.  

Obedience is taking a step of faith.

God commands me to be in His Word.  He does this not to just be bossy.  He wants to commune with me.  He wants to breathe fresh new life into me.  He wants to transform my life....if I will just do it!!  (Think Nike swoosh)

I can do this.  I can take a step of faith knowing that God is good, and loving, and merciful and He has only my best in mind.  There is a life-giving reason He wants me in His Word daily.  The question is:

Will I be obedient to Him and just DO IT?  

I am starting a daily reading plan on the New Testament.  The focus of this plan is none other than Jesus!!  Will you pick a plan and join me?

What keeps you from being in God's word?  What benefit could you reap from studying scripture?  What detriment could there be for not being in the Word?
What works for you?  I'd love for you to share...

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for all the excuses I give for not being in Your Holy Word on a daily basis.  Please give me the determination to want to be obedient to you - to want to commune with you in the best way you've given me - The Bible.  Help me to turn away from distractions that the enemy sets before me.  Keep my eyes from turning away from your Word.  Teach me, O Lord to LOVE...really LOVE being in your Word.  Help me to not only take it in but to walk it out - to study it, and to do it, and to teach it.  Enable me to become more like Jesus (your desire for me) by setting my heart on your precious Word.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed.....

ps.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU for putting the Word of God into the hands of the orphaned and impoverished children that attend Redeemer Christian Foundation's school in the Middle East.  Each child has a Bible in Urdu - their native tongue.

THANK YOU as well for putting a computer in the school (the Director's laptop was getting a real workout).  Thank you for giving these children hope through getting to know the love of Jesus for them and having the chance at an education and hope for the future.  

Here is Kajol doing some independent study on the computer...

We currently have just one computer for nearly 50 children learning on multiple levels.  Would you help us put another computer in the classroom?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What True Friendship Is All About

Hey Friend,

I apologize for not being more regular with my writing.  My work with Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. keeps me pretty busy full time.  I truly do miss my time writing and communing with you, my readers, and also reading the musings of my writing friends.  

Perhaps the first rule of friendship is bearing with, and forgiving others when they don't measure up to our expectations or their own expectations??

That being said...let me delve into this subject...

I remember, vividly, heading down the highway from Pennsylvania to North Carolina in our white mini-van.  The moving van had already started out ahead of us.  Our children, ages 9 and 4, were watching (or more exactly) arguing over what movie to watch.  It was a beautifully sunny, crisp, fall day in early September.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Finishing Strong

Hey Friend,

It pains me greatly that I have not been able to find time to write...writing is one of my passions.  Even though God has been speaking so many things into my soul, I have just been too busy to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

So what have I been up to???  I have been quite busy (full time) with my work heading up Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.  Our Mission (if you haven't already heard it a million times):

Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. exists to promote the hope and love of Jesus with people around the world with a particular focus on providing a Christian education to those who are impoverished, oppressed, orphaned, or persecuted for their faith.

We are wanting to finish the year strong...
Here's how you can help:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How Am I Doing At Seeing?

Hey Friend,

My guide "word" for 2016 has been "See" in to pray for God to open my eyes in order to "see" Him more clearly.  I'm a little late for a mid-year review, but was compelled to take an inventory as to how I am doing with this goal of mine.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  (Psalm 19:1)

The night I gave my life to Christ and invited Him in to be the Lord of my life, I was lying, by myself, in the the dark, on a grassy plateau in the middle of the mountains of western Pennsylvania.  The campfire had just broken up at the Christian camp I was attending as a thirteen year old. 

I remember lying there, on my back, in the quiet, gazing up at a star-filled sky. Thousands of tiny lights blanketed me and I remember thinking to myself, "Who am I, Lord, that you are mindful of me."  You've created the masterpiece of the heavens, yet you are concerned about what goes on in my little old life.  

Monday, August 15, 2016

Why I'm Not Worried About The Election

Hey Friend,

I generally stay out of the political arena and please don't take this to mean that I'm apathetic about the upcoming election.  I do care, but I'm not getting worked up or overly anxious about it.  Here are some reasons why...

I know a little bit about the Roman Caesars through the ages.  "Caesar" was the highest political rank in the Roman Empire (and the world for that matter). These leaders were known for being tyrannical, paranoid, narcissists who led extravagant and opulent lifestyles.  They were liars and cheaters with a thirst for power and were known to insight civil wars.  (Anything sound familiar??)

Not surprisingly, John wrote of the Apocalypse during Domitian's reign. Domitian persecuted Christians and Jews and was fond of throwing them to the lions to devour.