Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why We Need To Live Intentionally

Hey Friend,
 
If you haven't guessed already, I am a lover and studier of words.  Let me preface this post by saying that every year I choose a word that is my watch word - my litmus test with which I measure my actions.  My word for 2014 has been "intentionally", as in I want to live life intentionally.
 
Intentionally (adverb) meaning deliberately, on purpose, by design, consciously or willfully.
 
******
 
I recently returned from a trip to Pittsburgh.  It was a gorgeous trip up and back through the mountains of West Virginia.  With every bend around the statuesque mountains, we were greeted with an even grander display of God's glory at its best.  Brilliant hues of yellow, orange and red set the hills on fire in the sunlight.  It was, quite simply, breathtaking.  Part of me wanted to fumble for my phone to catch this sight on camera.  My husband knew better and he calmly said, "Bev, leave the phone alone and just take in the sights."  Smart man, my husband, he knows how to live intentionally.
 
Along with visiting family and taking a walk down memory lane, the driving purpose of our visit was to attend our 35th high school reunion.  This would be the first one we'd be attending as husband and wife. 
 
As one would expect, you knew which banquet room was ours because you could hear the laughter and chatter from a mile away.  Needless to say we were greeted with hugs and squeals and congratulatory handshakes.  It was great fun recounting "our story" of reconnecting after all these years and our courtship. We all regaled each other with tales of high school hi jinx, stories of fun, love, angst, navigating the awkward road toward adulthood.  We caught up on the years gone by and shared stories of our grown children.  It was a perfect evening...almost.
 
My husband and I were sitting at the dinner table with 70's and 80's tunes wafting in the background.  A continuous slide show off to one side was flashing fun and fond memories until the picture of the cute, blond-haired girl holding her books and flashing a bright smile caught my eye.  Immediately I felt as if someone had punched me in the stomach.  Hot tears welled up in my eyes and I could hear the roar of laughter still going on around me as the air seemed to disappear from the room.  I literally couldn't breath. It was a surreal experience.  My mind flashed back to when I had gotten the news on the phone.
 
The girl in the picture - the one wearing the bow blouse and meticulously hand-sewn jumper was my best friend from high school.  My BFF, my buddy, my share the depths of our hearts friend.  Just months before, she had traveled from NYC to be with us at our wedding.  Her smile still lit up a room.  Her vivaciousness and zeal for life were still oozing from her.  Her sincere enthusiasm in sharing our joy could not have been more apparent.  I talked with Cindy longer than anyone at our wedding ceremony and I now know why.  In just a few short weeks after our wedding, Cindy collapsed and died of cardiac arrest.
 
Cindy knew and helped to teach me to live life intentionally.  Diagnosed at an early age with heart disease, she didn't take any moment for granted.  Having been brought back to life a few times, she didn't take this frail thing we call life for granted.  She lived it to the full.  She took time to ask questions and truly wait for, and listen to, the answers.  She loved life and didn't want to miss a moment of it. 
 
Even before her first episode, I have such fond memories of Cindy as we stuck like glue to each other as the often mocked "goody two shoes" on the cheerleading squad in high school.  Even back then we took our faith and our friendship seriously.  In college, we would visit each other and have long conversations over coffee and dance the night away in the dance clubs.  We'd fix each other up on dates and then laugh about the horrendous experience afterwards. 
 
Perhaps my fondest memory of my spunky friend is when we were supposed to be going to the Harvard Business School Ball in Boston.  My date, just a little chauvinistic, was running late and shoved his tuxedo shirt in my face and asked me to iron it.  Cindy could see the vein in my forehead about to burst, but calmly whispered in my ear, "Just iron the d__n shirt and then we'll get to the ball and ditch these two bozos!!"  And, that's just what we did and had a ball dancing the night away with the guys without dates for the evening.   
 
This same spunky gal also sent me journal entries as she and her wonderful husband Patrick traveled half way around the world to China and were volunteering their time in a Chinese orphanage.  This particular orphanage was home to the "least of these"...beautiful babies with moderate to severe birth defects.  I could tell by Cindy's letters that she was particularly smitten by this one tiny baby girl - a girl whose spunk (not unlike Cindy's) had enabled her to beat the odds of survival.  This little one with almond eyes and a precious smile lived life with a purpose. 
 
I was not surprised that after jumping through every hoop imaginable and cutting through all sorts of red tape, Cindy and her husband were going to adopt little Norma Xian ('Xi 'Xi) who was named after Cindy's deceased mom.  To say that Cindy was over the moon in love with this little girl was at best an understatement.  I could tell by the pictures that she would send me that my friend was living life on purpose and with intention...cherishing every moment she had with her precious little girl. 
 
Cindy lived life consciously, willfully and by design.  She didn't take a single blessing for granted.  Though I will not see my beloved friend until we dance together in Heaven, I know that every moment of her life here on earth was lived with purpose. 
 
To live life intentionally was a rare and precious gift that she gave me.  
 
I think of Cindy often when I am caught letting life aimlessly slip away.  I am reminded that we don't know how much time we are given and so we need to live life to the fullest.  We need to love how Christ loved.  We need to share the message of Jesus' love with family and friends and strangers alike.  
 
We need to live life intentionally...
 
Lord, teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  (Psalm 90:12)
 
But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.  (Mark 13:32)
 
Lord, let me live life like my friend Cindy did - not knowing the day nor the hour that I may leave this earth.  Instead, let me look around, seize life and live each moment intentionally. Amen.
 
How is God calling you to live life more intentionally?  Will you be kind enough to share?
 
In His love,
 
Bev 
 
This post written in loving memory of my forever friend Cindy Klaja McLaughlin.
 
ps.  Don't forget to subscribe to my blog in the month of October in order to be entered in a drawing to win prizes that speak to the heart.     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Gentle Attitude Adjustments

Hey Friend,

Have you ever had one of those weeks, or months or even years when you sense that God is really trying to get his point across?  Sometimes, when it comes to hearing God's voice, I feel like I fall into the remedial category.  Fortunately my God is a God of grace, mercy and extreme patience.  If I don't "get it" the first time, He'll bring it around again for a second and third time.

This week, by the third go 'round, I got the message. I needed an attitude adjustment.  God did not slap me up side the head with the frying pan of condemnation; no He lovingly brought my attention to something that needed fixing, gently turned me around and set my feet on a new course.  He even used humor to help his message sink in.

Round 1 - "Have to"..."Get to":  My cyber sister-in-Christ and fellow blogger, Crystal Stine (www.crystalstine.me) wrote a wonderful post on the (in)courage blog (www.incourage.me).  In it she encouraged us to look at the things we do in any given day, week, month, and decide if they are things we "have to" do or things we "get to" do? 

Hey this one was easy...this week, for the third time I have to sprinkle flea powder - yes that's right; this week was the plague of the fleas - all over the carpets and vacuum the house from top to bottom.  I have to wash all bedspreads, linens, throw rugs, towels, etc. in a hot wash and dry cycle.  I have to bathe two dogs who hate baths with flea shampoo and comb them with the evil flea comb.  I have to do this!!

Things you get to do are things like go out to lunch, read a book, take a nap, get a pedicure. 

Really?  What about this home that God has blessed me with?  Yes, the flea house.  Does it keep me warm in the winter and cool in the summer?  Has it provided safety and shelter for my family?  Is it a happy, cheerful place to be - to eat together, play together, do life together? 

Is it possible that I "get to" clean and take care of this blessing that God has trusted to my stewardship?   Hmmm....

"Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.  Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all."  (1 Chronicles 29:11-13)

Round 2 - "Here I am!" or "There you are!":  I guess I am an extrovert of sorts.  When I go to business functions with my husband, I know how to comfortably work the room with conversation.  I usually engage people by asking them questions about themselves.  But, this week I had lunch with a good friend and it was like I couldn't wait to vomit all my troubles right there in front of her.  My soul yearned to scream "Here I am!"  One look in her tear filled eyes and I realized my pride.  She, desperately needed for me to say FIRST, "There you are!" 

This was my second reminder that I was in need of some attitude adjustments. Thank you Robin Dance - also an (in)courage writer.

Pride does indeed go before the fall...


Round 3 - "Get Laughs" or "Give Laughs" (gift)

Last night I had the pleasure of going to see Michael Jr. (a very famous comedian) perform at my church.  Michael Jr. has appeared on the Jay Leno show and has appeared at all the top comedy clubs.  The thing, however, that makes him different is that he is a Christian comedian.  His shows are family friendly and he often ends his show with a presentation of the gospel.  I encourage you to check him out on YouTube.

Anyway, he talked about how, in the comedy business, comedians are always trying to get laughs.  After all, that's what it's all about, right?  Not really.  Michael Jr. said that his comedy took a drastic turn and his popularity soared when be began to look at his comedic talent as a gift from God and that God was calling him to give laughs as his gift to others.  

In my own little world was I more caught up in getting than in giving?
Hmmmm.....

Did I need to get attention, affirmation, acceptance, love?  Or did I need to concentrate on giving them?  Food for thought...

"In everything I did, I showed you that it is more blessed to give than to receive."  (Acts 20:35)

How many times have I read/heard that verse?  Today, however, it was jumping off the page at me.  I definitely needed an attitude adjustment.  

Again, God in His goodness did not heap condemnation upon me, but gently, firmly got my attention. 

Our God does not force His ways upon us, but instead persistently knocks at the door of our hearts.

God, ever so patiently, brought the message to me three different times this week that I needed an attitude adjustment.  I thought to myself, how many times have I told my children, "I said it once...I'm not going to say it again!"

God says it once, twice and again as many times as it takes until we get the message.

What kind of crazy love is this??  We can't even fathom it because we, as humans, don't have that degree of patience.  How thankful I am that I have a God who has patience, love, mercy and grace beyond my wildest imagination.  Even when we need correction, God does it in a loving way.

Are you in need of an attitude adjustment?  Has God been trying to get a message across to you in a variety of ways?  Have you been too busy to hear a message, meant for your own good, that He is trying to get across?  My prayer is that you would be open to His wise, yet gentle guidance.  Listen for His still small voice and be blessed...

In His love,

Bev  

Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!  As a way of saying thank you to all my faithful readers/subscribers, I will have a drawing at the end of the month for DaySpring giveaways and Starbucks gift cards.  If you want to be sure to get my weekly posts, I hope you'll go to "Subscribe" and join our Walking Well family!!  You will also be entered in a drawing for a chance to win!!

Redeemer Christian School:  We are meeting in our new location in Pakistan.  RCS is addressing some of the same issues that the recent Nobel Peace Prize winner from Pakistan has been championing...we need to put an end to child labor and human trafficking.  Furthermore, these children need to hear of Jesus' love for them.  Will you please keep us in your prayers!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

God Will Not Leave You Stuck

Hey Friend,
 
I was all set to write my blog post last Thursday, when I got a call first thing in the morning.  It was my daughter in tears.  In the middle of the night someone had smashed in her back window and vandalized her car.  Hers was not the only car hit at her apartment complex.  I quickly flung on my "supermom" cape and coached her through what to do in a situation like this.  Needless to say, the train had come off the tracks and was heading in a direction all its own.
 
I was already tired because my senior dog, Zoe, who has dementia gets restless and disoriented in the middle of the night and has taken to barking when she feels distressed.  It harkens me back to the days of being up with a newborn in the middle of the night.  Only at 53, I don't cope as well with sleep deprivation.  In my many years of having dogs, I've never had a problem with fleas, but on Saturday we will be evacuating the house so it can be smoke bombed and will be taking the dogs for baths and flea treatments...sort of a spa day gone bad.
Add in a good measure of issues with adult children that cannot be solved with a Band-Aid or a time out and one might say I've been in a "funk".
 
In the scheme of things these are small potato issues, but I have been talking to and praying with friends and readers who are dealing with bigger issues - death in the family, terminal illness, divorce, clinical depression and anxiety, etc.  A common question that is asked is, "Is this ever going to get better?"  "Will I always feel this way...am I going to get stuck here?"
 
Having been through a painful divorce (no divorce is ever pain free) and having dealt with episodes of depression and anxiety I KNOW first hand the fear that somehow I'm going to get stuck here and will never come out the other side.  It is then, when we are down, feeling alone and like we are the only one, that the enemy whispers lies in our ear.  He wants us to believe that God has somehow forgotten us and we will spend eternity in this pit that we are in.  At the time, those feelings can seem very real.  That's why they are so scary.
 
Feelings can lie to us, just like Satan whispers lies in our ears.  When the red flags of fear and anxiety kick in, I know that it is time to go to God's word.  Two of my "go to" verses when I feel stuck are:  Isaiah 43:1-2 and Psalm 23:4.  Read them with me slowly...
 
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."  (Isaiah 43:1-2)
 
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.  (Psalm 23:4)
 
Notice in both scripture references the common emotion or feeling is FEAR! God knows that we will find ourselves in fearful places, that's why over and over again in is loving compassion, He wants to calm our fears by reminding us of His presence and His devotion to us.
 
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
 
God calls us to himself and reassures us that NOTHING will ever snatch us out of His hand because we are His!
 
...You are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.
 
Just as a shepherd would give his own life to protect his sheep, the Lord promises to always be with us, to protect us and to comfort us in our time of need. 
 
In both scriptures I italicized the verbs "walk" and "pass".  They are followed by a very important word..."through".
 
We can rest in God's promise to bring us through the waters, rivers, fire and valleys.  He WILL NOT LEAVE US STUCK THERE!
 
The Bible informs us that in this world we will have trouble - that you can count on, but greater still is God's promise that He will bring us through these trials.  I don't know about you, but this brings me great comfort when I worry that I will remain "stuck". 
 
Hebrews 11 discusses the topic that we are all just pilgrims passing through.
 
We can be in this world, but not of it.
 
Sometimes I have to keep my eye on the prize - eternity.  In this blink of an eye earthly life, I am just a pilgrim passing through.  If I persevere, I will receive the crown of eternal life with my Heavenly Father and Savior and all the saints that have gone before. 
 
Are you going through something difficult right now?  Do you fear that you will get stuck or never come out the other side?  Then let me remind you that ours is a God of goodness, love and compassion.  He is a God of safe passages through whatever we are dealing with.  He is the God that truly sees you and the trials you are up against and wants nothing more than to hide you beneath the refuge of His wings.  May you be encouraged and know that you are loved beyond measure!  Be blessed...
 
In His love,
 
Bev
 
Redeemer Christian School Update:  Thanks to your generosity, we have secured a lease on a two room house where the children can begin to meet!  Please pray for their safety as they meet since they are learning of Jesus' love and light and the world today would like nothing more than to snuff out that light.  In the Middle East, Christians risk their lives each day in order to bring the good news to ears that need to hear.  Please pray that God would bless RCS's efforts to take children off the streets and teach them.
 
GIVEAWAYS:  In celebration of 20,000 pageviews, I am giving away Starbucks gift cards as well as perpetual calendars with daily reminders of your value and worth by Holley Gerth.  To be entered all you need to do is subscribe to my blog in the month of October.  Previous subscribers will be entered to win as well.  One post per week and no lists ever sold or distributed.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

God Gave You A Gift To Be Used//GIVEAWAYS!!

Hey Friend,
 
Even this is hard to type, but here goes...I am a good writer. (long pause)
 
I think that is a sober assessment (after all God does not want us to sell His creativity short).  However, I'm not great...I've read great, but I'm not awful either.
 
I can remember as a young girl how I loved to write poems about the antics of my two playful Westies.  I would sit as a teen for hours at the piano thinking up lyrics to the music I had swirling around in my head.  So lost in thought, I would go without eating until the words were birthed onto the blank page.
 
I think I have always had the gift of encouragement (or exhortation).  If Hallmark or DaySpring made a card for the occasion, I sent it.  I love writing notes to people.  Some friends have said that I "have a way with words".  A hesitant learner, I had to hear that for many years plus be sidelined with a surgery that left me unable to walk for a month, in order to finally hear God's calling to start writing my blog.  Talk about a head case...God really had to spell it out for me.  Oh how I love that He is a patient God.
 
Enter fear.  What if I fail?  What if I fall short?  Am I going to look silly?  What will those who read think of me?  What if no one reads my blog?  Insecurities and excuses rose up like dandelions choking out the pretty flowers of enthusiasm.   I was reminded of what happened when God asked Moses to lead His people out of Egypt.
 
Then Moses said to the Lord, "Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since you have spoken to your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue."
 
The Lord said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind?  Is it not I, the Lord?" (Exodus 4:10)
 
In short, God said to Moses, "I've got this covered."  I am learning that, like Moses and Jonah, I can run from God's calling, but eventually the big fish will catch up with me. 
 
Every Christian has at least one spiritual gift.  You cannot say I have no gift.  God gave you a gift(s) to be used.
 
Spiritual Gifts: (Must be employed in the power of the Holy Spirit and not in the self-energy of the flesh in order to please God and bring positive results)
 
Apostle
Prophet (prophecy)
Evangelist (evangelism)
Pastor-Teacher
Administration
Leadership
Faith (visionary faith)
Knowledge
Wisdom
Exhortation (encouragement)
Discernment
Ministering 
Service (helps)
Giving
Tongues (kinds of languages)
Interpretation of Tongues
Miracles
Healing
Mercy
Hospitality (love of strangers)
 
There are many mediums or talents through which we exercise our gifts.  A photographic eye for beauty, speaking, or creative expression in the arts are all examples of natural talents and abilities we have.  Spiritual gifts, however, are a supernatural enabling by the Trinity (now we're getting into some deep waters).
 
Two questions I challenge you to ask God:
 
Q:  Father, will you reveal my spiritual gift(s) to me?
 
Q:  How can I use my spiritual gift(s) and talent(s) to bring glory to You and to advance Your Kingdom?
 
"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord (Jesus Christ); and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God (the Father) who inspires them all in every one.  To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good."  (1 Corinthians 12:5-7)
 
You ARE gifted my friend...If you proclaim Christ as your Savior, God is waiting to do a great work in you.  You can run, like me, but what joy can be found when we hit that "sweet spot"  in saying "Yes, Lord.  Here I am.  Send me."
 
Speaking of sweet spots, God and I, together marked a milestone on (not coincidentally) September 11th.  Blogger speak for number of readers is "page views".  On September 11th I reached 20,000 page views.  I think I started with perhaps a half dozen of my closest friends lol.  At the time the meter turned over to 20,000, there were readers tuned in from the US, Turkey, S. Africa, Ireland, Germany, Pakistan, Canada, China, France, UK, Ukraine, New Zealand and Hungary. 
 
That, my friends is NOT me...that is the working of God and the Holy Spirit!!  And, it blows my socks off!!  That's what God can do if we will just say, "Yes" to Him and engage the gift(s) He's given us.  So now it is CELEBRATION TIME of God's goodness!!! This is my way of saying thank you for your encouragement.
 
GIVEAWAYS:  For my loyal (already subscribed) readers I will be having a drawing for giveaways.   There will also be a drawing for NEW SUBSCRIBERS in the months of September and October.  Your subscription is your entry in a chance to win :) **Note all you receive in your inbox is one email (my post)per week.  Lists are not sold.
 
Giveaways:  365 day perpetual calendars by Holley Gerth - "God's Heart For You" (every day reminders that you are loved, cherished, chosen, blessed and valuable).  Also, Starbucks gift cards - I love coffee...what can I say??
 
Thank you...I am blessed and humbled...may we all spread God's word because it never returns void.
 
In His love,
 
Bev
 
ps.  Next week an update on what love is doing through you for Redeemer Christian School in Pakistan and what is still left to be done.  Please pray for us won't you??
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

When Prayers Seem To Go Unanswered

Hey Friend,
 
It was just about this time, 13 years ago, that I was going for a walk.  The day was sunny and bright - just like it is today.  I remember rounding the curve in the cul-de-sac and my friend flagged me down to ask me if I had seen the awful news of an airplane crashing into the World Trade Center tower?  In disbelief, I hurried home, turned on the news and watched the horrendous story unfold.
 
Since then, God has managed in a way that only He can, to bring beauty from those ashes.  Even in this evil world that we live in, glimmers of hope can be seen if we look hard enough.  But, I pause today, to remember the lives of those lost.  May we never ever forget.  But, may we take hope in the face of fear...knowing that in the final chapter God's great love WILL triumph over evil.  The Light of the world will snuff out the dark.  Till then we wait and we pray...
 
Speaking of prayers...I have prayed a certain prayer since before my children were born.  My oldest child is 26.  Part of that prayer has been realized, gratefully.  The other part has yet to be fulfilled.  I have prayed earnestly morning, noon and night sometimes.  Often I have been on my knees in prayer.  Still God is silent.  I have struggled and wrestled with God as to why He doesn't answer this prayer.  Might there be a reason that my prayer has gone unanswered?
 
Dr. Dale Robbins, in his article entitled, "Unanswered Prayers: Common Reasons Why", offers eleven reasons why some prayers do not get results. 
 
1.  Lack of Fellowship with God and His word
2.  Not seeking to Please the Lord
3.  Unconfessed Sin in One's Life
4.  Improper Motives
5.  Not asking in God's will
6.  Don't know how to pray
7.  Lack of Faith
8.  Misunderstanding of Faith
9.  Wavering Faith
10.Failure to apply spiritual Authority
11.Lack of Perseverance
 
Believe me, I have held my prayer request up to the litmus test of these 11 potential reasons why my prayer has gone unanswered.  I've questioned the genuineness of my relationship with God.  I have scrutinized my degree of faith and my motives.  I have tried praying my prayer different ways and always with thanksgiving.  I've even tried commanding it to be so.  And still, I wait...
 
I believe, perhaps, that we have overlooked "reason # 12" which is:
 
God has answered and the answer is "No" or "Not right now...wait"
 
Proverbs tells us to trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding, but yet we get this notion that we can wrap our itty bitty finite minds around the mind and will of God.  It just ain't so.  This is where I really have to squirm in order to be able to trust that God's answer for my good, just may be "No" and He is not obligated to give me a reason why.  I still have to trust Love's heart and believe that He is good...all the time.
 
The other possibility is that God has heard and answered our prayer and the answer is "Not right now...wait".  I think this answer is sometimes even harder than a flat out "No".  God may want to use this waiting time as an opportunity to stretch our trust muscles.  I don't know about you, but my trust muscles get a little flabby at times. 
 
This waiting for an answer ties in with #11 Perseverance. 
 
"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9)
 
Dr. Robbins goes on to say, " Probably the greatest reason that some prayers go unanswered is because many give up praying and believing before they receive their answer.  As long as we have the promise of God's Word, be patient and persistent - keep believing, and don't quit, no matter how long it takes!  God has a "due season" when He will bring the answer to pass.
 
One fact I've had to realize too, is that sometimes the "due season" is a time set in eternity.  I am often so world based that I lose my eternal perspective.  This is particularly true of loved ones for whom I've prayed for healing. 
 
I'm sure you can tell that the whole time I've been writing this, I've been talking to and coaching myself.  I vow to persevere in my prayer life and with this one particular prayer for as long as it takes.  In the meantime, I must trust that my loving Heavenly Father has, indeed, heard and has answered my prayer.  Right now I must have patience to wait and to trust. 
 
Is there a prayer that you've been praying that has seemingly gone unanswered?  Would you share with me or with us that we might lift you up in prayer?  Be assured that God is good and He is loving-kindness.  He hears the prayers of your heart and he DOES answer.  He knows the tears you have wept and the sleepless nights spent and He wants you to draw near to Him in your waiting.  You are His child and He loves you!!
 
In His love,
 
Bev
 
ps.  Don't forget the $10. challenge for Redeemer Christian School.  For only $10 you can make a big difference in the life of a child who desperately needs to know the love of Jesus Christ.  Send cash or check to : Bev Rihtarchik, 103 Silver Lining Lane, Cary, NC  27513. 
 
Celebration and giveaways beginning next week...Subscribe to my blog and you can join in the fun :)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Dependence Is Not A Dirty Word

Hey Friend,

I was raised with the philosophy that you pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.  Self reliance was a good quality.  I remember as a fairly young child, my parents purchased our first color tv. (okay now I'm really dating myself).  They were so proud to have accomplished this achievement.  We went to the store in our big old Chevrolet station wagon and the nice people at the store loaded it into the back of the car. 

When we got home I watched as my parents struggled, on their own, to try to maneuver that thing in the house and up the stairs.  When strategies clashed then an argument broke out.  In my youthful ignorance, I piped up, "Why don't you ask one of the neighbors for help?"  Sounded reasonable to me, but you would have thought I had uttered the unspeakable.  "No," my father replied, "we can handle this ourselves."  End of discussion.


The wall of self reliance was built up over many years.  It's taken a long time, and the Lord is still at work, tearing down that old wall.  In its place He's taught me that to "rely" or "depend" on someone else is, and can be, a good thing...especially if I am relying upon or depending upon the Lord.  After all, "Apart from Him I can do nothing."


"I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."  (John 15:5)


I admit that at first I didn't totally buy into this verse.  I thought that on my own I could do 90% and I might need to rely on the Lord for the remaining 10%.  God was my "go to guy" in prayer only when I reached the end of myself.  We have a term for that; it's called pride.


Pride stands in the way of us experiencing true freedom - freedom to try, to dare, to risk because we are depending on ourselves and not on our Savior.


Ironically, dependence sets us free...let that sink in.


I like the way Oswald Chambers puts it: "The more you fulfill yourself; the less you will see God."


I used to wonder why God wrote this whole Bible of commands to follow when it was impossible to fulfill or complete them all...talk about a set up for frustration.  Now, when I read them it brings me back to a dependence on Christ, because only through Him can the law be fulfilled perfectly and completely.


The Bible brings me back, ultimately, to a dependence on Christ!


Back up the scripture I quoted in John by one verse and you get an even better and clearer picture.


"Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me."  (John 15:4)


I love the word abide...it incorporates depending and relying. Read this wonderful passage from the book Abide In Christ:


"Abiding in Him is not a work that we have to do as a condition for enjoying His salvation, but a consenting to let Him do all for us, and in us, and through us.  It is a work He does for us - the fruit and the power of his redeeming love.  Our part is simply to yield, to trust, and to wait for what He has engaged to perform."


I am learning to rest in Christ and to go forth in His power.


What are you trying to do on your own?  Are you trying unsuccessfully to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps?


Dependence is NOT a dirty word.  The Lord yearns to have you lay down your burdens at His feet and simply abide, in Him.  Trust Love's heart...you can depend on Him!!


One last thought on dependence:  If we attempt to always "fix" others problems we are robbing them of the opportunity to depend deeply on their Savior.  Our job is to point them toward Him...kind of like a giant directional arrow.


Remember too, that when you depend on the Lord, it gives others the permission to depend as well.  We all need to know that we don't have to do life alone or all by ourselves.  It's okay, in fact it's more than okay to depend on the Lord and to depend on others.  The Lord sees you in your trials and He doesn't want you going it alone.  He loves you deeply and furiously and wants you to come and rest and abide in Him.  He is one person you can depend on and He's calling you to do just that.  Be blessed...


In His love,


Bev


ps.  $10 Challenge for Redeemer Christian School still needs YOUR help.  Together we can bring Christ to a very dark corner of our world.  As one person you can make a difference!! 


Send cash or check made out to: Bev Rihtarchik
Memo line: Redeemer Christian School
Send to:  Redeemer Christian School
                c/o Bev Rihtarchik
                103 Silver Lining Lane
                Cary, NC  27513


Thank you :)
















Friday, August 29, 2014

When The World Is Coming Apart At The Seams

Hey Friend,
 
Yes, I am a day late in posting for my blog this week.  That is because I have been incapacitated with an episode of depression and OCD anxiety.  Fortunately they do not come as often, but still they come.  I know, first hand, the deep darkness that comes with mental illness and I pray that someday the stigma of it will be erased....
 
But, I digress.  Even in my period of wearing the "grey glasses" as I call them, I still have gone to sleep and awakened in my nice comfy bed.  Though hunger eludes me when I feel like this, I still can look into a stocked fridge and pantry to find something to my liking.  I don't have the fear that I will be turned out into the streets because I am just one more expensive mouth to feed. 
 
I see children merrily playing in the street and in the school yard nearby.  They are happy and smiling because they are enjoying what they are meant to enjoy - their childhood.  I know, however, many places where that is not the case for children.  The children I know are made to go to work by their families at a very early age...hard manual labor like brick laying...in order to help support their family.  In very desperate times, they may be sold into slavery or when they reach the right age (perhaps 11 or 12) they can begin selling themselves. 
 
This is not fiction;  this is real life in Pakistan.  Wait, Pakistan is not an "in vogue" place to send money to offer hope to those who don't know if they will make it to see tomorrow.  It is an Islamic state and well, I just can't help there.
 
But, what if there was a grass roots effort to begin a school - Redeemer Christian School - that will exist to do just that, redeem the lost?  What if young children would have a safe place to come to in order to get a meal and to learn to read and write, be off the streets and get to hear about the good news - the love of Jesus Christ for them. 
 
One need only to read the headlines in the paper to know that the world is coming apart at the seams. 
 
I am going to offer you the opportunity to give life, literally, and bring light to a dark corner of the world.  It won't break your bank.  I'm not asking for much.  But, I pray that you will not forget or pretend that it doesn't exist. 
 
Once again I offer you the $10. (yep that's it) challenge to get Redeemer Christian School up and running.
 
$10. is all I ask.  Some have asked why don't we have a website? After much prayer we hesitate to post a website for a Christian school in a country that doesn't tolerate Christians well. This my friends is where we need to tread lightly.  This is why I personally collect the funds and wire them directly to my son and brother in Christ in Pakistan. 
 
I beseech you to send $10. cash or write a check to:
 
Bev Rihtarchik (put the words Redeemer Christian School) in the memo line.
 
Send it c/o me to:  103 Silver Lining Lane, Cary, NC  27513
 
Then I ask you to pray, Pray, PRAY!!  
 
Those who know me and know my heart, know that this is not a scam. I would not risk putting my name and address out there if I wasn't passionate about building this school. This is the real thing.  I lose sleep every day that goes by that I can't send funds to buy needed materials like Bibles, books, table, chairs, computer, etc.  If we all gave just a little bit, together we could make such a big difference.  
 
And so I leave this in your hands to decide what you are going to do or not do.  I thank you for reading this and I pray that you will send just $10.  to fuel hope for the future for these deserving children.  Be blessed...
 
In His love,
 
Bev 
 
ps, Include your email address if you would like to be sent pictures of just what your $10 is doing... next week I will be back to posting my regular blog...