Thursday, July 23, 2015

What If Jesus Never Did Another Thing For Me?

Hey Friend,
Lately, I've been in a bit of a funk due to some physical ailments.  I've already recuperated from two major surgeries - one successfully and the other has left me with permanent nerve damage.  I feel like I came to grips with my new limitations and had started back into exercising and going to the gym with the expectation of I'll do what I can do and hopefully things will get better. 
Now I am being plagued by problems with the knee that was operated on.  I began experiencing sharp stabbing pains and could not walk.  Couple that with blood work that said I was dangerously anemic and would most likely need a blood transfusion and I felt like a fatigued, exhausted zombie who couldn't walk without chronic pain.  I'm sure others were getting sick of my complaining!
But Lord, what about your plans to prosper me and not to harm give me a hope and a future? (Jeremiah 29:11)
In my self-pity I had fallen into the comparison trap (a temptress that leads to disaster).  I saw others who basically did nothing to further the Kingdom of God; they only pursued their own self-satisfying desires, and yet they prospered.  Like a little child, I read off my list of things I was doing to advance His Kingdom and pouted because I found myself in a pickle.  Pretty pathetic don't you think? But, even while I was busy licking my wounds, God found a way to reach me...
I am reminded of Matthew 5:45:  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Furthermore, Paul exhorts the Philippians in Philippians 4:19:  "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."
I am reminded by these three scriptures that God's plans to proper me and give me hope and a future are on His time, not mine.  Though my plans are finite, God's plans are eternal.  We limit a "hope and a future" to this lifetime, whereas, God may be referring to our eternal lifetime. 
God's love is no respecter of persons.  He meets out His goodness and love on all his children.  We don't earn His love and goodness, nor do we earn or deserve the sun that rises or the rain that pours. 
God meets all my needs not all my wishes.  I often get the two confused.  His all encompassing grace is sufficient for all that I need...God makes no promises about what I want. 
These lessons have all been hard to swallow at times, but necessary for the growth of my character.
God truly cares more about my character than my happiness. 
I know that I will be perpetually happy in heaven, but to get through this lifetime, and to be trained up for Kingdom work in eternity, I need character.
Lately, when I want to put on praise music, my "go to" cd is by Christian artist Christy Nockels and is entitled "Let It Be Jesus".  While listening to the song, "If You Never", I experienced a strong and convicting question well up within my heart.  Here are the lyrics of the main chorus:
If You never did another thing for me
It will always be enough that You set me free
Always be enough that You gave Your life
Jesus, You are mine.

It really made me think...if I never completely healed, if the pain was not gone for good, would it be enough that Jesus died a horrific death on the cross to set me free and give me an eternity in paradise?  Whoa!!
Jesus, who has already answered the only real need that I have - to dwell in my heart, to live in relationship with me, and to save me from the pits of hell was asking me...Bev, is it enough???
Especially here in the US, we tend to have a large list of wishes, and even as Christians, we can fall into the "entitlement trap".  If you're a Christian, then God should prosper you and if He doesn't, well then He must be holding out on you. Nothing could be further from the truth. 
God giving His son to die on the cross for me is all that I need and is entirely enough for me.  All other blessings are icing on the cake.
When I began to look at it from this vantage point, the list of complaints began to fade.  My gratitude increased, and a shout of praise and thanks rose up from my heart and my lips. 
I believe this is why Christians who live in very impoverished countries can live with such joy.  They don't have the entrapping snare of wants and wishes, but have the true joy of the only One they need - Jesus!!  
How about you?  Would you be content if Jesus never did another thing for you? 
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me so much that you would rather see your only Son perish than to live forever without me.  Help me to truly appreciate what a sacrifice this was and not to trivialize it.  May the pure grace of this selfless act so dwell in my heart that I would be continually filled with joy and thanks.  Enable me to focus not on what I want, but what I need...let that be enough for me. Thank you that you bless me way beyond my wildest imagination. Thank you that I don't have to be perfect to come to you and receive your goodness...I can come just as I am and you will perfect me.  In your precious name, Jesus, I pray.  Amen.
Ps.  I will be taking a break next week for some R & R.  I invite you to browse the Archives for any posts you might have missed.
Important Update on Redeemer Christian School:  To insure that our doors will remain open and our school be a place of refuge, we are seeking commitment in the form of sponsorship for current students at RCS.  By having the commitment for current students it will then let us offer refuge to new students. 
Meet Salman (Age 7)

This is about the age that Islamic extremists begin recruiting impoverished and impressionable young boys into jihad seminaries.  There, their eyes and ears are filled with grandiose thoughts of someday sacrificing themselves for jihad. They are priming the pump with future generations of terrorists.
Redeemer Christian School offers a different God who is filled with grace and mercy.  This is the God and Jesus, the Savior, that Salman is learning about. He is being surrounded by love. He is poor and destitute and at such a tender age was slaving away as a brick maker at the city's brick kiln.  For just $10/month or $120/for the year you can keep Salman in school.  If you would like to sponsor him or other current students, please contact me:
or send contributions to:  Bev Rihtarchik (put RCS in the memo line)
                                           103 Silver Lining Lane
                                           Cary, NC  27513
*Note RCS is not yet a registered 501c3 organizations.  Donations toward legal fees to do so are also being accepted. 
Thank you...Be blessed...


Thursday, July 16, 2015

When You Feel Like An Alien

Hey Friend,
It doesn't take a long conversation with my mom until she settles in on, what seems to be, her favorite saying, "Our world is going to hell in a handbasket!"
Now I know generally what she is referring to - that our world is rapidly deteriorating and is on a course for disaster. 
Being the nerdy-wordy person that I am, I got curious as to just where that phrase originated.  One theory of origin derives itself from the use of handbaskets in the guillotining method of capital punishment.  The decapitated heads were collected in baskets and were most likely destined for hell.
Gruesome indeed!  But when I see even more gruesome acts perpetrated against believers like the pastor and members of the church in Charleston who welcomed a supposed seeker with questions into God's house, only to be gunned down by him in a brutal mass killing, I am shaken! 
Or, the youth in Pakistan who had petroleum poured on him by Islamic extremists, and then was set ablaze in broad daylight, amidst busy streets and no officials came to his aid or defense, all because he professed to believing in Jesus Christ as his Savior. How can people do this to other people?
Add to that Judeo-Christian values, long held, being overturned in our court system and any symbol of Christianity (like the 10 Commandments) being banned from government property and I begin to feel much like my mother.
Often in this world, I feel like I don't belong...that I am an alien!  
This question I ask, "Is it a bad thing if you don't feel comfortable in this world?... or...Is it far worse if this place feels like home to you?"
The Apostle Peter used very intentional words when he pleaded with the church in his day, "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul."( 1 Peter 2:11)                             
Yet, I admit, that accepting my standing as an outsider remains a point of struggle for me. 
My soul was made with a desire to belong - but this world is not the place to which I should attach my soul...
If I allow myself to feel too comfortable here...something is desperately wrong!
I like what Cal Thomas, had to say in a recent article for Fox News:
"As a longtime fan of Broadway musicals and plays, I believe that the original cast is always better than the touring company.  Evangelical Christians should return to the 'original cast,' whose members include Jesus of Nazareth, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James and Timothy.  Consider their lives and tactics as they faced a hostile political and religious environment that brought persecution, even death.  These men - and their followers - had little interest in an earthly kingdom.  Instead they focused on that other kingdom, and billions of lives have been transformed in the centuries that followed."
I don't think he is saying to turn our backs on this world because it's a gonner, but perhaps one of the best quotes I've read was in the op-ed section of the news in Hudson, WI:
"We cannot change a fallen world, but we can be God's instrument in saving people from it.  Eternally speaking, there is nothing to lose and everything to gain."  (J. Wheeler)
There are a multitude of scriptures that will confirm that we are "not of this world" - that we are indeed "aliens".
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  (John 15:19)
If you aren't convinced?  Try:  John 18:36, or Romans 12:2, John 8:23, John 17:14, Ephesians 6:12...and the list goes on.
Okay, so now I'm a hated, alienated, outsider with little hope of changing the world in which I live...where's the hope in that?
Great hope lies in two facts: 
1.  We know how the story ends
2.  God has given us the Good News that can usher people to an  eternal kingdom where they WILL belong.
In John 16:33, Jesus is speaking to his disciples, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!  I have overcome the world."
What are "these things" that Jesus shares with his disciples?
-  The Spirit of Truth will come upon you and He will guide you.
-  "In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while
    you will see me."  Your grief will turn to joy.
-  After a time of grief, I will see you again and you will rejoice and
   no one will be able to take away your joy (John 16:22)
-  An analogy in verse 21:  A woman giving birth to a child has pain
   because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets
   the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.
Friends, we are in the labor pains right now.  Wherever Christians are persecuted, mocked, and tortured, the world groans with horrific labor pains.  But a day is coming that we will no longer feel like aliens.  We will have a glorious homecoming when Christ returns and our grief will turn to joy - a joy that no one will be able to take away. 
What about you?  Do you ever feel like an alien in this world?  What gives you the hope to carry on?
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you that through the shedding of the blood of your Son Jesus Christ, I am already a citizen of Heaven.  Help me to know that whenever I feel like an outsider, an alien, that this is truly a world that I am passing through and my eternal home is with you in Heaven.  Give me the strength and passion to stand up for my convictions, but when the world hates me, let me experience the peace of your promises.  I take heart because You have overcome the world.  Let me be an ambassador of peace, ushering those who are desperately seeking, into your Kingdom.  In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Be blessed...

Ps. In our attempt to usher destitute children without hope into the joy and Kingdom of heaven, we are helping them seek refuge from the evil that surrounds them in their daily lives.  For only $10/month you can rescue one child and give them the hope of Jesus Christ and an education at Redeemer Christian School.  Would you consider sponsoring one child for $120/for one year or even $60/for half a year? 
See the faces of Nawaz and Muskan who have recently been sponsored.  There are now smiles on their faces where previously no joy existed.


Meet Nisha, Age 10
She has never been to school before.  Her mother is very sick so Nisha had to work in someone's home as a house cleaner just to survive.  Her first day of school at RCS she literally cried with joy.  She never dreamed that she would be able to go to school.
She needs a sponsor... 
 Meet Salman, age 7
He has never been to school either.  He went to work with his father and slaved under a harsh owner, for pitiful wages, as a brick maker at a brick kiln.  His story is not unlike the Jewish slaves in Egypt who made bricks for Pharoah.  Salman has found refuge at RCS and desperately wants to stay in school.
He needs a sponsor...
 Would you please prayerfully consider sponsoring, or providing partial sponsorship for one of these precious children so they can stay in school?  If so, please message me at:
Contributions can be sent to:  Bev Rihtarchik (put RCS in the memo line)
                                                  103 Silver Lining Lane
                                                  Cary, NC  27513
* Though RCS is not yet a registered 501c3 ministry due to the high cost to do so, I can promise is every penny goes toward the education of a child you choose to sponsor!
Thank you for caring about the least of these...and letting them know they matter to God!



Thursday, July 9, 2015

God Tests Where Our Treasure Lies

Hey Friend,
I am still trying to process just what happened this morning.  In the quiet of the early morning I read a devotion by fellow blogger and writer Beth Willis Miller (  The devotion was titled "Our Inheritance in Christ".  In it, Beth shared different translations of Ephesians 1:11-12.
And here is the staggering thing - that in all which will one day belong to Him, we have been promised a share (we were long ago pre-destined for an inheritance).  (Ephesians 1:11)
Beth went on to point out so beautifully that In Christ we obtain an inheritance that can't ever be taken from us!  Amen.
As the sun was rising, I plugged in my ear buds to listen to one of my favorite artists - Christy Nockels.  As I walked I sang along (much to the birds dismay) to her song "Everything Is Mine In You".  The chorus echoed what I had read this morning:
And You say, You are my inheritance
And in You, I have everything I need.
Fast forward to running errands...I popped into the local drugstore to pick up two prescriptions.  It was still early and the store was quiet.  I went to the pharmacy in the back of the store, paid for my prescriptions and was heading to the exit at the front of the store. 
That's when I saw her - a beautiful young woman about my daughter's age.  She had gorgeous ebony skin and long black hair.  Her young baby sat wide eyed in her carrier seat, with deep chocolate eyes and long lashes, she gazed up at me. 
An assortment of baby items lay on the counter...diapers, wipes, formula, water, baby food, etc.  The young woman was visibly shaken and sobbing.  Her arms were outstretched toward the cashier as if pleading with her. 
"You don't understand,"  I heard the young woman eek out between hyperventilating breaths.
"I'm sorry ma'am.  There's nothing I can do," the cashier replied in a monotone voice. 
Part of me said, "This is not your business...keep on walking."
My heart said, "If this were my daughter, I'd want someone to come to her aid."
I kindly asked the cashier (with no personality) to put the items aside and I pulled the young woman and her baby aside.  There in the nail polish aisle, her story unfolded.
I held her hand and rubbed her back to help her staccato breathing calm down some.  As she wiped away the tears flowing from her eyes, I saw a very fresh, large red/purple mark by her temple, eye, and cheek.  Clearly she had been hit recently...hit hard. 
She tried explaining to me between halted breaths that this morning her boyfriend had beaten her and he had threatened to kill her.  She was scared and frightened for herself and for her baby girl.  On instinct she had done the only thing she knew to do at the time and that was to grab the baby, throw her into the back of their only car and flee. 
She had called the cops on her boyfriend and then in an effort to survive had sped away.  The only place she knew to go was to Texas where her parents and family still lived.  The only problem was that her boyfriend obviously had the presence of mind to freeze any access she would have to cash or credit.  Her MasterCard had failed to go through at the cashier's station....and that was just about the time I had come upon the scene. 
"I'm Ashley," she sniffled and said between gasps of air, "and this is Iceland."  She pointed to her five month old baby. 
"I just left and we don't have anything," she started crying again.  "I can't go back and I don't know what to do.  My parents don't even know I've left him," she blurted out.
"Has he beaten you before?"  I asked.
"Yes," she responded showing me bruises on both of her arms, her shoulders, and worst of all she lifted her pant leg to show me a gruesome scar with stitches from when he had shattered her ankle with a baseball bat. 
That's when it really sunk in that this frightened young woman was fleeing in order to save her life. 
Trying to calm her, I helped her to think of anything else she might need for the baby and for herself.  It was evident she was in shock and was looking to me to think clearly.  We grabbed several more items and I paid the still emotionless cashier.  Then we headed out to her car. 
"What's your name?" she asked me with gratitude in her soft, moist brown eyes. 
"Beverly, but you can call me Bev,"  I responded.
"Thank you Miss Bev,"  she said.  "Give me your phone number because I know my parents will want to repay you...I can't even begin to thank you enough."
I gave her my number, but first said, "You know, Ashley, I truly believe that everything I have comes from the Lord and honestly, it's not's ALL His and He would want me to help you."
"God bless you Miss Bev," she said sincerely.
I looked at her car as she gently strapped her tiny baby in and put the supplies in the back seat.  It was a big SUV with quite a few years of wear on it and balding tires.  As we talked further, I realized that they fled with nothing but the clothes on their backs and it would be a long trek to Texas.  There was maybe a third of a tank of gas and she would need gas and food along the way.
"Wait here," I said and went back to get cash from the ATM machine.  I put $200 in her hand and told her to use it as needed to be sure she got home.  He had promised to marry her, she told me, and against her parents wishes she had come to NC with him.  Now, the prodigal, she was returning home with her baby in tow.  Again and again she profusely thanked me. 
The last thing we did before she pulled out of the parking lot was we held hands and I prayed.  I prayed for travelling mercies and for God to put a hedge of protection around Ashley and her precious baby.  I prayed for peace and calm for her heart and for grace and mercy when she got home to Texas.  I reminded her that she was a daughter of the King and that he loved her and would be with her every mile of the way. 
I gave her a big hug and watched her pull away...still tears in her eyes.
God had given me His word and now He was testing me to see if/how I would act upon it.
God had told me that morning that my inheritance was in Christ not in my bank account. 
But, now He wanted to know where my treasure truly did lie?!
This was the scripture that urged me to share what really wasn't mine to begin with...
The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it...(Psalm 24:1)
Sell your possessions, and give to the needy.  Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  (Luke 12:33-34)
I have been praying all day for this beautiful daughter of God.  I will probably never see her and her baby again, but hopefully from our encounter she will know that God is good and He does provide in our time of need. 
I know that the Lord tested me to see if what I had read and heard early this morning had made it to my heart...
Where there was once trepidation, now lies peace in knowing I was obedient to His word.
God does move in miraculous ways, but He needs us to be the hands and feet through which He moves...
How is God testing you in the reading and hearing of His word?
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you that you care about all my needs and you want me to dwell in the refuge of your wings.  I claim the promise that everything I have is in Christ... in Him is my inheritance that can never be taken away.  Help me to store up my treasures in Heaven and not here on earth.  Help me to give freely and generously from the abundance that you have given to me.  Help me always to be obedient to your word.  Thank you for your love and your provision.  In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Be blessed...

Ps.  Muskan, whose name means "smile" in Urdu is still in need of a sponsor so that she might seek refuge at Redeemer Christian School.  This is her destitute family's only hope for her receiving an education.  Her brother is sponsored and she wants to attend so badly.  Will you please prayerfully consider giving just $10/month to give her the love of Jesus and the hope of an education?
If you want to help, please contact me at:
Or send a donation to:  Bev Rihtarchik (put RCS in the memo line)
                                       103 Silver Lining Lane
                                       Cary, NC  27513
There are also many more children who would love to be sponsored...the need is great!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Are You A Child After God's Heart?

Hey Friend,

My children have known me long enough to figure out that "words" and "spending time with me" are two of love's languages that speak to the depths of my heart.  Perhaps that's why I was so excited that my daughter's Mother's Day gift to me was not a "tangible" gift I could open, but instead an "experience" that we would enjoy together.

My daughter and I, both, are/were dancers.  As for the gift of artistry through paint, pencil, and watercolors...well, we came up a little short in that department.  Fortunately, however, we both love to laugh at ourselves so when we arrived at "Wine & Design" for our adventure, we both chuckled in unison.

Nothing like a glass of wine to unleash your inner Picasso or Monet.  The next three hours flew by.  While attempting to follow the teacher's instruction, we chatted secretly like two giddy school girls whispering in class.  Somehow they instinctively knew to put us toward the back where we wouldn't disturb anyone. 

I helped her "smush" and "twirl" her hydrangea leaves.  She helped me give my mason jar a 3D appearance.  Sometimes we just sat quietly, side by side, working away.  Then, as if on cue, we'd turn to each other, make a similar face, and laugh about the acrylic mess we were creating. 

This was truly one of my most favorite gifts ever and my daughter was certainly a child after my heart.

After he (God) had removed him (Saul), he raised up David to be their king, concerning whom he also testified and said, "I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will."  (Acts 13:22)

In reading God's word as to why He chose David to be king, I am drawn to the word "do".  God chose David because He knew that David could be counted on to "do" His will. 

I want to be a child after God's heart, so I try very hard to do His will.  Sometimes I try too if "doing" is the only way to speak to God's heart.

What if God has more than one love language? 

What if one of His love languages is having His children spend time with Him?

I so enjoyed being in my daughter's presence.  I am made in God's image, so what if perhaps, God is a parent like me, who simply delights in being in His childrens' presence?

Since God and I can't just cruise on over to Wine & Design, what then?  Where do I go and what do I do to be in His holy presence?

My first instinct is to "Go"...

"I have set the Lord continually before me; because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my flesh will dwell securely."  (Psalm 16:8,9)

I love going to places that remind me of His majesty and power.  The crashing waves and salty spray of the ocean remind me of His boundless and powerful love.  I am the sand and His love never stops washing in over me...wave upon wave. 

The purple-hued mountains remind me that His ways are higher than my ways.  I am comforted to know that, like the mountains that have stood the test of time, God's strength and comfort can be counted on yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  He is the Rock on whom stand.

My next instinct is to "Come"...

"And without faith it is impossible to please him for he who comes to God must believe he is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)

In order to "come" to God, I must believe that He IS the great "I Am".  Secondly, I must believe that He rewards those who seek Him.  I can come with my praise and my thanksgiving, but I can also come with my fear, my doubt, and my questions.  He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

Jesus told us, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink."  (John 7:37)

Drink what?  His water...the only truth that quenches our soul.  By His Word and through my prayers I come into His presence.

I don't know why, but my last instinct is "to be"...

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  (1 Corinthians 3:16)

When Jesus left to be with His Father in Heaven, he told his disciples that he would give them a comforter...a guide, to be with them always.  Why is it, then, that my last instinct is to turn inward to the Holy Spirit (God's very spirit IN me)?

I believe that, paradoxically, the hardest route to come into His presence is perhaps the simplest...we come into His presence by "being still"  and in being still we begin to "know" that He is God. 

His Holy Spirit living within us ushers us into God's presence.

 The Holy Spirit (if you are a believer) dwells constantly within you. 

The Holy Spirit, constantly there, waiting to usher you into God's presence. 

So, back to my original question, "Are you a child after God's heart?"  David, he made many mistakes, but he loved the Lord with all his heart and sought to do God's will.

David, in the Psalms, also wrote the words, "Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere."  He knew the closeness, the joy, the comfort of dwelling in God's presence. 

Seek God...learn His love languages...spend time in His presence and let Him delight in being with you.

Be blessed...and please see the opportunity to sponsor a beautiful child below...

Dear Heavenly Father, O how I want to be a child after your heart.  Help me to do your will, but even more so, enable me to be still and let the Holy Spirit who lives within me usher me into Your presence.  Let me experience You in my coming and in my going, but especially in just being.  Thank you for creating me for the sole purpose of being in relationship with You.  Let that be my greatest desire.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Please read on...

Meet Adil:  Thanks to your generosity, he is now a student at Redeemer Christian School!!  Just $10/month can bring one child off the streets and into
at atmosphere of love and hope.  Would you please consider sponsoring one of these precious children and let them experience the love of Jesus and the hope that an education brings? 

Meet Nawaz and Muskan:  They are brother and sister.  Muskan's name means "smile" in Urdu.  We would love to put a smile on her face.  Though they are blessed to have both mother and father, their father cannot find work and they are destitute.  Their family can barely put food on the table, and often they don't, let alone give their children the hope of an education. 

For just $10/month you can sponsor one of these precious children.  They truly are the "least of these".  If you would like to sponsor Nawaz or Muskan and surround them with the love of Jesus and the hope found at RCS,
please contact me: 
Send contributions to:  Bev Rihtarchik (put RCS in the memo line)
                                       103 Silver Lining Lane
                                       Cary, NC  27513

*Note:  RCS is not yet, a registered 501c3 organization for tax purposes.  Funds for legal fees to do so are not yet in our limited budget.  I personally promise every penny goes directly to the school and to the children.
Thank you!