Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How Am I Doing At Seeing?

Hey Friend,

My guide "word" for 2016 has been "See"....as 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.  

In seeing each and every one of those stars among the thousands and knowing that God called each one by name, I knew that He cared enough to call my name.  He is "El Roi" - the God who sees me.  

If God could see and care about me so deeply, then I needed to take the time to see HIM more clearly.  

I've been blessed by having the opportunity to go to the island of Kawaii. There, beside a steep rock outcropping that rocketed toward the sky, was a beautiful semi circular cay surrounded by stones and sand that touched waters so clear and so jewel-like that I'm not even going to begin to describe the color. 

Fins on and mask and snorkel in place, I swam out near the coral reef and the large volcanic stone remnants.  Once I put my head under water, I heard nothing but silence and the sound of my own breathing.  It was as if someone had just flipped off the switch to the outside world and I was in this visual fantasy land.  

The myriads of fish in all different sizes and shapes swam around me.  They didn't seem too bothered by my presence.  The sun was shining and since the water was so clear, their hues of yellow, blue, purple, and rainbow appeared neon-like and radiant when the sun hit them just right.  

Then, I saw them, there among the small fish were large see turtles swimming ever so gracefully by.  So close, they were, that I could look them in the eye. I've never seen anything quite like it and these memories of being one with the creatures of the sea has stayed with me.  How blessed I was for this encounter.

The sea (is) vast and spacious, teaming with creatures beyond number.  (Psalm 104:25)

In his hands are the depth of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.  The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. (Psalm 95:4-5)

To say that God's creation speaks to me is an understatement.  But, what if we don't have star-filled nights and crystal clear teal lagoons to swim in?

God is teaching my eyes to see, even in the commonplace of the everyday. Each morning I go out to water my plants.  We are in the dog days of summer so the first thing I notice (even this early) is the hum of the cicadas.  I stop and take note of the sunrise.  As the sun pops it's sleepy head up over the trees in my back yard, I am never quite certain what I'm going to see?

Rays of sunshine playing hide and seek behind fluffy and whispy clouds?  Or, hues of pink and orange that make the sky come ablaze?  I see droplets of dew on the still cool blades of grass. The gloriousness of the sky is reflected in these tiny droplets.

As I water each plant I take note of the scarlet million bells that look like tiny trumpets. I spy the tight rosebuds that are waiting to open and break forth into an array of spectacular colors.  The sunny black-eyed susans smile at me as do the gerbera daisy petals that resemble a lion's mane.  

The tiny dianthus with their frilly laced edges frame a flower that grows deep in purple ribbons as your eye travels toward its center.  The hydrangeas are dry now...as are the peonies.  Their seasons have passed, but the autumn joy sedum is ready to pop with color for the fall.  

As I stand still, a gloriously yellow finch lights on the bird feeder.  He and his friends are skittish fellows so I stand very still and just marvel at how brilliant their feathers are.  As if everyone got the memo, but me, to wear yellow...two yellow monarchs come flitting by and lightly touch down on several of the flowers.  

All this pageantry just in my back yard...how could I have missed it before?  How could watering the plants have just been one more thing to check off my to do list?

Here are a few things that God has been teaching me about truly seeing Him and His creation:

1.  Slow down...whether its watering the plants in the back yard or taking a walk around a lake, I need to slow down so that I can take it all in.  My walks these days are much different that they used to be.  Instead of "git r done" being my motto, I stop to pet the dog smiling up at me.  I pause to watch the mother duck with her ducklings in tow.  I make sure to gaze around me and be still and present in the moment. This exact moment will never happen again.

2.  Limit distractions...I rarely take my phone with me on walks.  It's hard for me to be present with God and His creation when my phone is pinging and ringing and beeping.  I don't turn on the TV during the day.  I find that either silence or praise music ushers me more easily into God's presence.  I try to limit my time on my laptop.  Even though I'm a great multi-tasker, I can't see God's word in my Bible if my eyes are looking at my computer screen. This takes discipline.

3.  Look and Listen...Look with the expectation of seeing something.  Look and explore with a child's curiosity.  So many times I'm in such a hurry to get from point A to point B that I don't go looking for what treasures God has for me.  The same with listening....I, personally, have to turn off the white noise. God doesn't shout - He whispers and so I need to incline my ear to listen for His still small voice.  Look into peoples' eyes and not past them.  What might their eyes be telling me about how I can be Jesus' hands and feet to them today?  

4.  Ask for an increased ability to See....When I think of what my prayer can be, I think of the words to a song that go:  "Open the eyes of my heart Lord. Open the eyes of my heart.  I want to see You.  I want to see You."  I continually ask God to open my eyes to His gloriousness.  You know what?  He's never disappointed me.  He simply says, "Bev, I've been waiting here all along just waiting for you to ask."

5.  Thank Him...Thank Him continually for what He reveals to you.  I find that when I express gratitude to God for what He's shown me, my heart is opened up in a way that is ready to see so much more that He has in store for me.

So, to sum it up....I'd say I'm doing better at seeing...or actually God is enabling me to use my eyes and ears more efficiently.  God is faithful to answer our prayers in an affirmative manner when they are in accordance with His will. God didn't give me mountains, and seas, and animals, and people to just pass them by, distracted.  

No, He gave me/you all this because He loves us.  He loves you!  In what ways is God calling you to "see" Him more clearly?  To "see" others more clearly? To see yourself?

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for your glorious creation and all the works of your hands that are for my good pleasure.  Help me to slow down that I might truly see more of you, more of others, and even more about myself.  I am asking you Lord to open the eyes of my heart.  Remove the veil that is over me.  Help me not to walk at the pace the world does - which would have me hurrying by what you want me to see.  Give me strength and discipline to set aside that which distracts me from being present with you.  Give me a heart of gratitude, Lord, for ALL that you have done for me.  Let me live in the light of your glorious love.  In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

ps. 29 Students could still benefit from your compassion to bring them just ONE gift for Christmas.  
We need to collect donations now to make the Joy of Christmas a reality in December.  
$25. can bring joy to one child this year...will you help us?
or mail check to:
RCF, Inc.
103 Silver Lining Lane
Cary, NC  27513
**We are a registered 501c3 non-profit ministry
** Tax statements will be provided year end

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.  

Many of the Caesars murdered dissenters in tortuous ways.  Nero burned Christians on stakes to light his gardens where he "breathed in the stench of burning flesh and laughed heartily while singing songs and playing his lyre".

Tiberius, one of several pedophiles, raped infants and young boys.  He was self-absorbed and frequented whorehouses.  He was particularly fond of impaling, burning, and beheading those who disagreed or dissented. 

Elagabalus was known for cross dressing and for starting civil wars.  Caligula, who many thought was possessed, because of his awesomely disgusting, insane, lurid, and depraved crimes against humanity and morality.  He was known for his sex orgies at banquets - many in which, he raped his sisters. 

So why do I say all this?

Compared to these "leaders", Hillary and Donald look like a walk in the park.

Even this list of "Crazy Caesars" didn't...couldn't thwart God and His plans to save the world through His Son, Jesus Christ.  

God's plan for Good was undaunted by man's depravity.  

God works in unlikely ways at unlikely times.  Even in the horrible chaos, He is in control. Only He can bring beauty from ashes.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  (Isaiah 55:8-9)

My security, hope, and identity are not found in a man, woman, or political figure...they are found in Christ ALONE.  Salvation comes only from God and not from a human leader.  

I love the hymn that states:

"On Christ the solid rock I stand.  All other ground is sinking sand."

Christ, alone, is my solid rock and my refuge.  God knows what He's doing...I can trust Him...I can trust Love's heart.  

I love how Oswald Chambers puts it in "My Utmost For His Highest":

"Our real test is in truly believing that God knows what He desires.  The things that happen do not happen by chance - they happen entirely by the decree of God.  God is sovereignly working out His purposes."

Out of love, God gave us free will even though He knew that we would do horrible things with it.  But God, is ALWAYS in the business of bringing redemption and renewal from the stench of consequences in which we find ourselves.  

No cause is too lost, no person so far removed that God can't bring them back to Himself.

Lastly, I know how the story ends.  I don't have to be anxious or shake with fear and trepidation as to what's going on in our world.  I still see glimmers of heaven and one day....yes one day....God will call His faithful to eternity in paradise with Him. Meanwhile, I pray...

With that as my hope, He enables me to ride out these storms with peace in my heart.

How about you?  In these turbulent times, where is your security?  Where do you look for hope?  How do you face the days and times ahead?

Dear Heavenly Father, when I look around me and see no signs of hope, help me to trust in you because you and you alone are the source of my hope.  Be with our leaders, whoever they will be, that they would seek discernment and wisdom from you.  Guide them to be moral, just, and fair and to seek your will in their governing.  Be with us all, Lord, and heal our land.  Forgive us for our iniquities and guide us to rise up and claim you as sovereign over all.  Give me peace in my heart, Lord, as I look around me.  Let me know, with deep assurance, that you are in control and nothing can thwart your divine plan.  In Jesus' name I pray.  Amen.  

Be blessed...

ps.  Can you help make Christmas happen for the least of these??  Just $25. will bring the Joy of Christmas to a child, who otherwise, would not receive a thing this Christmas. We still have 30 children not yet covered to receive a gift. 


Monday, August 8, 2016

What Is My Purpose? Part II

Hey Friend,

In order to get the most out of this post, I encourage you to go back in the Archives to my previous post, "What Is My Purpose? Part I"...

Theologians have debated forever on the exact number of days that Jesus' ministry lasted here on earth.  The Bible says that Jesus participated in three Passovers during his ministry, which some believe that made his ministry three years.  Others argue it was more like two or two and half since he ended his ministry with the last supper.  

Anyway, let's be conservative and say Jesus' ministry lasted for at least two years.  That's 730 days.  In the Bible there are 37 documented miracles...that's 37 jaw dropping days.  So, what was Jesus doing the other 693 days??

Before I get to that, let me share what Jesus said (during his ministry) is the Greatest Commandment.  

" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and  with all your strength, and with all your mind.'"  This is the first and greatest commandment and the second one is like it:  'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."  (Matthew 22:37-40)

Now, if you'll let me digress even further, let me share with you my journal entry from one day in July (I do have a purpose in all this)...

July 29, 2016

Today I came upon an old WWJD bracelet of (my daughters) while I was cleaning.  I was called to pray and asked Jesus what He would have Me do this day?  His answer was GBJ????  I wondered what He meant.  It came to me: Go....Be...Jesus (GBJ) - the greatest commandment (as written above).

I didn't have to jump on a plane to Kenya, but I did jump in my car and it knew just where to go...Starbucks.  I felt giddy.  I scribbled "Jesus loves you."  on my business card.  I paid for the car behind me in the drive through and asked the sweet barista to give the driver my card.  I was smiling.

Next stop...Trader Joe's.  I headed for the person who dishes out the samples. Her name tag said "Nikki" so I called her by name.  After the swarm of vultures grabbed her goodies and departed, I lingered to talk with her while she cooked up the next batch.

It didn't take long to learn that she was a single mom struggling to make ends meet.  I had been a single mom too.  I listened...I empathized...I encouraged...and I gave her a hug (yes, I'm a hugger).  Before I left I asked what specifically I could pray for her?

While working from home, I took a few minutes to write some thank you notes to people.  I was actually nice and pleasant to the A/C guy who hadn't called me back for a few days.  When I said, "You must be really busy with the oppressive heat we've been having..."  He took it as an invitation to vent a little.  Here he was trying to help people and all he got in return were nasty complainers.

This all happened before 10 am.  In the afternoon I took a short break from work, made myself a cup of coffee, read God's word, and watched the finches at the bird feeder.  I watched three of these gloriously yellow creatures and their intricate dance with each other...What if I lived every day like this??

A day in the life of me...I didn't set the world on fire.  I didn't win any awards.  I didn't get any offers to publish my story.  I didn't do anything worthy of a news headline.  

This was simply one of those six hundred ninety three days.

Jesus knocked people's socks off 37 times out of 730 days.  I don't even begin to liken myself to Jesus, so let's say I do 3 noteworthy things in 730 days.  What is my purpose the other 727 days??  I think Jesus would say "Go be like me."

So what does that look like??  In the majority of His days when He wasn't performing miracles, He was eating meals with friends, hanging out and talking to the dregs of society, walking and talking with people along dusty roads, washing others' feet, asking questions, listening, even weeping with those who wept.  

He loved and talked with His Father...He loved on others in very practical ways...He even took time for himself by drawing away from society to pray, renew, and refresh. 

I have gotten so hung up on my purpose having to be something big and awesome and impressive for God.  

Yes, I've dreamed of publishing a book, going on a mission trip, being a widely followed blogger.  Not discounting God, I'm realizing that many of the things on my "Big Purpose For God Bucket List" simply may not happen...and that's okay.

I am what my friend, Nancy, calls a plodding blogger.  I am not an elite blogger, but in my blog I've shared my struggles through divorce and with anxiety and depression, and you know what?  I've been blessed to be able to walk with a few other women who are, or who have traveled these same paths. Perhaps my words have deeply touched a few.  I am learning to be okay with this. 

I've also had to take a long hard look at my motivation behind my "Purpose Bucket List". The first glaringly amiss word is "my".  

In searching for "My Purpose" I was actually wrestling with good old-fashioned pride...ouch!

I had to ask "WHY" did I want to do all these things?  Were they for God's glory or for my own?  

I had to ask myself, "Am I earnestly seeking purpose or am I earnestly seeking HIM?"

Yes, some people are called to write books, speak in front of groups, do wonderful things through missions and ministry, but the fact of the matter is that we still have to live those other 693 days.  

I believe that's where God would have us focus.  If He can trust us with the "small" everyday stuff, we may get a chance in the big leagues to have a jaw-dropping, walk on water, raise someone from the dead kind of day?!

Meanwhile, I truly believe my greatest purpose and calling is:

To love the Lord my God with all my heart, with all my soul,
with all my strength, and with all my mind.

To love my neighbor
and
To love myself.


God wants me to live and walk humbly with a contrite heart.  That, I believe is my purpose.  When I keep my eyes focused on Him (and not on "my" purpose) in the everydayness, that's when He might call upon me for one of those "37 days" miracles.


Dear Heavenly Father, help me to walk simply with humility and a contrite heart.  Enable me to find my purpose simply in being yours and being called your child.  Open my eyes that I may have three great loves:  You, my neighbor, and myself (you delight when I take care of myself).  Enable me to squelch the enemy's lies when he whispers - that I am not worthy, that I'm not doing enough, that you are disappointed in me.  Let me take pleasure in the small things I can do with your great big love.  If it pleases you, Lord, to use me in bigger ways, then I will be glad, but let my heart always be first and foremost for YOU!  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.  

Be blessed...

ps.  There are many children like Sunana who still need sponsors.  Many are on the waiting list.  Just $15/month will give them a chance at new life.  RCF, Inc. is helping...  

Sunday, July 31, 2016

What Is My Purpose? Part I

Hey Friend,

I was in my mid forties when I began to ask (or re-ask) the question, "What do I want to be when I grow up?  What is my purpose in life?"  Up until that time I had learned to take pride in my role as a full-time mom.  Wise mentors helped me to see that being a mother is truly a high calling in God's eyes.  I learned to hold my head up and say, "I work out of the home - I'm a full time mom!"  I felt a sense of purpose and calling and direction.

Some days that calling was not so glamorous - like changing dirty diapers and washing load after load of laundry.  I didn't earn any "Employee of the Month" awards for cleaning up puke, but I knew deep down inside that I was doing something important.

When my oldest graduated from high school, I was immediately hit with the question, "So, when are you going back to work??"  My hesitation said it all...I didn't have a clue what I was doing.  My youngest was still in Middle School so for awhile I could get by with the explanation that I was still at home because the Middle School years are crucial years as our children experiment with self governing.  I wanted to be there when my son got home from school.  I wasn't comfortable letting him just be on his own.  He was a follower and I was afraid of the paths he might follow.

With few up to date business skills and little to no professional working clothes, there weren't too many companies lined up waiting to hire me.  I always loved working with children in Sunday school so I proudly put on my new role as Preschool Teacher (in a Christian Preschool where I would be shaping the next generation of disciples and leaders).  Okay, it wasn't President, but at least I had a "Title".  This must be my purpose I thought.

I was a pretty darned good teacher (or so I was told).  I had arms and a lap that preschoolers loved to crawl into.  That was until I was sidelined by two complicated and debilitating surgeries.  I remember so clearly sitting with my knee propped up in the recliner (I was not allowed to put any weight on my knee at all for 4-6 weeks).  As I was about to climb the walls, I remember asking God, "So, God...what am I supposed to do now?  What is my purpose?"  

I had always loved writing and I heard God whispering to me..."Return to your first love."  While I couldn't walk, my blog was born.  Success did not come instantaneously.  There were many times that I wondered what on earth I was trying to prove??  Was this my calling?  Was this my purpose?  I wasn't sure but I was trying to find my purpose...what I was supposed to be when I grew up. 

When people asked me what I did, I gave them my prepared speech of "Complex surgeries had sidelined me from teaching so now I was a writer/blogger."  

"So what have you published?" they would ask.  Ummm....my own blog.  The answer sounded unimpressive.  I felt unimpressive.  I continued writing, watching the job postings, realizing I'd have to go back to school to get up to speed to re-enter the business/professional world.  I floundered for several years.  My blog grew in popularity, but I knew I wasn't one of the elite bloggers. I was average to good and I sincerely doubted I'd ever be published.  I spent a lot of time waiting, wondering, praying, and doubting to be honest.  Just what did God have in store for me?? 

What is my purpose, Lord?  What am I supposed to be when I grow up??

About that time, God ordained that my path would cross with a young Christian man (about my son's age) in the Middle East.  He began asking me questions about what I would write in my blog.  I'm embarrassed to admit that if you had asked me to label all the countries in the Middle East on a map, I might have been hard pressed to do it accurately.  I really knew nothing about this part of the world, except most the people in these countries were practicing Muslims (a faith far different than my own).

In the next few years, I helped this young man take his vision and dream of a Christian School in this country in the Middle East from a handful of children in a home school to 44 full time students.  Together, we were transforming lives through Christian education - giving the impoverished, the orphaned, the oppressed, and those persecuted for their faith an opportunity to receive an education and to come to know their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  

We were feeding, clothing, educating, and loving on the poorest of the poor.  We had a waiting list a mile long and I became impassioned with finding sponsors for these children.

I walked through the incorporation process (legalese to the max), applied for and was approved for 501c3 non-profit status, established a Board of Directors, I wrote bylaws and mission statements, developed public relations materials.  

At last I felt like I was in the sweet spot - working in God's strength to achieve something that builds His Kingdom and meanwhile I gave Him the glory.  This must be my purpose at LAST!!!

This was my purpose...this was what I was finally meant to do...

After all, I had a business card (with logo) that said Beverly Rihtarchik, President and Founder, Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.

When people asked me what I did, I could tell them and once again I felt that sense of pride as when I used to answer "I'm a full time mom."

That was until people starting asking what I got paid....Ummm.....well nothing actually, but "The eternal benefits are awesome," I would jokingly tell people.

The clincher came when my husband's sweet Aunt asked when could we come for a visit?  When could my husband get off from work since he had an important job with the bank and I currently wasn't working....Ouch!

Just when I thought I'd reached the "pinnacle of purpose", God was calling me to re-evaluate again.  What He was about to reveal would really revolutionize my way of thinking...He was going to blow my socks off again (He's like that you know).

I'm normally not big on the 2 Part series posts...but I have rambled on for quite some time.  I invite you back next week for Part II of "What Is My Purpose" when I will share just what God laid on my heart...(cue music to fade)...

Be blessed...


$15/Month is all it takes...Will you help us change the world one child at a time??
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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Jennifer Dukes Lee - Guest Post & Giveaway!!


Hi Friends,

It is my pleasure to welcome my friend and writer, Jennifer Dukes Lee, to guest post on my blog this week.  Jennifer is launching her new book, "The Happiness Dare".  I am pleased to help my friend, who is the real deal, and who writes with depth and honesty, to get the word out about her wonderful new book. Will you join me in welcoming her to this place...


How Your Thought Life Influences Your Happiness

It was one very pain-filled night. I was standing in the dimly lit sanctuary of my country church. I had come there to pray with a few friends due to an overwhelming set of circumstances in my life. Suddenly, I felt such a deep panic that I thought I couldn’t breathe.

It was an anxiety attack. I’d never had one before, but I knew what was happening when it hit me. I was nearly knocked off my feet by this sense of panic, even in the solitude of God’s house.

I gripped the pew in front of me while my heart raced and my throat closed around itself. I felt despair and a complete loss of control. I couldn’t find the words to pray, but years of thoughts and meditation on God’s Word let me know for sure that God was there.

Looking back, this was a moment when I learned an important truth about how God’s Word – hidden in our hearts -- serves us well in hard times. It was a moment when I realized the power of a person’s thought life.

My thinking was saving me, even in the middle of a panic attack. My mind had stored up its own happiness—from God’s truth—kind of like the way a person keeps a savings account to fall back on in hard times. When I couldn’t breathe, I remembered who God said I was and I remembered who God said he was.

Bible verses formed a line of defense in my mind, pushing back enemy forces. My mind recalled God’s promises. I remembered a happiness that I once held, and I knew for sure that joy was recoverable based upon the evidence of God’s Word. Verses came to  mind, flip-book style.

Don’t be afraid.

Lo, I am with you always.

My peace I give you.

In that panicky moment, I found some peace. I was unable to fully grab hold of happiness, for happiness felt slippery right then. But I felt a peace coming on. And based on the trustworthiness of my Father, I could believe that I would find my happiness again.

This is why: Because happiness is more than a feeling. Often, it’s a choice.


Some days happiness is a feeling.  Some days happiness is a choice...

For months after that anxiety attack, I prayed through tears for my circumstances to change. Two years have passed now, and the circumstances are almost identical. God didn’t answer my prayer to change my circumstances, but he is doing something else: He is changing me.

There are days I wish I could go back to “how things were.” There are days I still pray that God will work a miracle and change the circumstances that led to that first anxiety attack.

But even when he doesn’t answer my prayer the way I want him to, so be it. He is always good and he is always working. And he is my happiness.

My racing, anxious mind is calmed when I rest inside the arms of Christ. My unhappiness is eased when I ask God to give me the mind of Christ. The great rescue of a great Savior
brings happiness to my heart that is unsurpassed by anything I can imagine.

The best thinking we will ever do is when we think on the things of Jesus. When we, on Sunday mornings, stand before the wooden cross nailed to the wall and behold the place where Jesus had thoughts too—thoughts of you and me.

Even from the cross, Jesus taught us by example how to set our thoughts on heaven, when all around us the world may waver and buckle.

YOUR TURN:

The quality of our thought life is a tremendous indicator of the quality of our happiness.

The Bible says that God can transform you into a new person “by changing the way you
think” (Romans 12:2, NLT). That’s why studying God’s Word is imperative for all five Happiness Styles—Doers, Relaters, Experiencers, Givers, and Thinkers.

Take the Happiness Style Assessment by clicking here. In just five minutes, the quiz will help you discover what makes you truly happy.


Excerpt taken from The Happiness Dare copyright © 2016 by Jennifer Dukes Lee. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

Jennifer Bio:

Jennifer Dukes Lee is an award-winning former news journalist, an (in)courage writer and a blogger at http://www.JenniferDukesLee.com. Jennifer once took a dare to find out whether happiness matters to God and, if so, how to pursue it in a way that pleases Him. Out of that quest, was born: The Happiness Dare: Pursuing Your Heart’s Deepest, Holiest, and Most Vulnerable Desire.

Take Jennifer’s
Happiness Style Assessment, and find out what truly makes you happy.

GIVEAWAY
In celebration of the release of The Happiness Dare, we are giving away 2 copies of The Happiness Dare!  To enter, Leave a Comment below and/or Subscribe to "Walking Well With God". Order her book and get 4 entries!!!

1 entry for leaving a comment (Leave Jennifer some lovin')
1 entry for subscribing (don't forget to confirm your subscription by checking the confirmation link that will appear in your email inbox)
4 entries if you have pre-ordered or purchase her book this week. (Honesty system - but mention in your comments)

Drawing to be held on August 2nd (official launch date of Jennifer's book)  Winners will be notified.


Ps.  Just a reminder that I pray for all my readers in the morning and in the evening.  Know you are being lifted up!!  If I can pray something more specifically for you...don't hesitate to contact me.  Be blessed...

Saturday, July 16, 2016

For When You're Struggling

Hey Friend,

I got to know Donna through our mutual enjoyment of a devotional blog called (in)courage (www.incourage.me).  I've shared my struggles with OCD induced anxiety and depression with you before.  I do well most of the time, but on this one particular day I was in the middle of an "episode". 

I was struggling to hold onto God's Truth.  My mind was filled with doubts, and the more it was filled with doubts, the more guilt and shame crept in along with downright fear.  I was sure God was disappointed in my lack of faith and He felt so very far away.  My mind was swimming with negative thoughts and I couldn't push them out no matter how hard I tried. 

You may not have OCD or depression, but I'm sure there have been times when you've struggled.  Struggled with negative thoughts, or doubt, or fear.  Thanks to Donna's reminding...I remembered just who is at work when I am most vulnerable...  the enemy (I call him the creep).  The enemy is a vengeful foe.  He seeks to isolate and destroy us and our minds are his battlefield. 

Recognizing who and what we are battling is the fist step in victory when we are struggling.

I'd like to share a letter to me from Donna in its entirety.  It brought great comfort knowing I was not alone and helped alleviate a lot of the guilt and shame I was experiencing.  In the battle with the enemy...she joined forces with me and I am forever grateful.

"They overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony."  (Revelation 12:11)


Monday, July 4, 2016

Dependence Is Not A Four Letter Word

Hey Friend,

Today we celebrate our great Nation's independence.  By "independent" we mean that the United States of America is free from outside control.  We are not depending on another's authority.  We associate great freedom with our independence.

In our society "dependence" has become a four letter word.  We are supposed to be self-sufficient - not depending on anyone or anything.  We talk, in negative terms, of dependence on drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, and co-dependence on each other.  We go to counseling in order to be free from our dependence.

What if there was a form of dependence that could be liberating and life-giving?  What then?

I believe that dependence on God can be liberating....

Instead of having to try to strive, and earn, and perform for the applause of God and others, I know that only Jesus was perfect.  This, for me, is liberating.

Since Jesus was perfect FOR me, I can now walk in FREEDOM!

Because Jesus was perfect, I don't have to be...PRAISE!

He did it all.  He paid the price.  He satisfied the Law and therefore I am set free to live life to the full.  I can now walk in freedom.

I also believe that dependence on God can be life-giving...

The more we depend on Him, the more we lean in and utterly rely on Him for our every breath, we find the abundant source of life that comes from abiding in Him.  We, in essence, tap into His life source.

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you have fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."  (John 15: 4-5)

A living union with Christ is absolutely necessary; without it there is NOTHING.

I believe my highest and most difficult calling is to raise my children to be independent of me, but totally dependent on their Creator.  In that abiding dependence is the most liberating life source one can find.

I'll end this post with one of my favorite passages from the book entitled "Abide In Christ":

"Abiding in Him is not a work that we have to do as the condition for enjoying this 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." 

May you have a wonderful Independence Day while growing in dependence and reliance upon the One who loves you beyond words and wants to give you life to the full.

Be blessed...


ps.
Left on his own, this little boy who was destitute, despairing, disillusioned, hopeless, and angry, may have been a ripe recruit for extremists.
Instead, he found his way to a school supported by Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. and is finding love, and hope, and peace in learning about Jesus' great love for him...

Hard to believe it's the same little boy??  RCF, Inc. is transforming lives...