Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Company's Coming

Hey Friend,
Over the years I have graduated, somewhat, from being Martha (the sister who ran circles around Jesus cooking, cleaning and serving) to being more like Mary (the sister who chose, instead, to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him).
You probably wouldn't have said that, though, if you saw me yesterday as I was a force to be reckoned with as I zoomed around the house with my roaring vacuum cleaner.  Topper, the young pup, got into a play bow and barked relentlessly at the dust-bunny sucking beast.  He jumped playfully from couch to floor to chair and back again.  Oh what fun!!
Zoe, my senior gal who is deaf, would saunter into whatever room I was vacuuming and proceed to lie in the middle of the floor and would peacefully doze as I tried to vacuum around her.  Couldn't they see I was on a mission here?
I became frustrated and huffily pulled the cord out of the socket.  Right at that moment I gazed upon the baby Jesus in my Nativity scene.  I was frantically preparing my home for earthly people to visit, but was I preparing my home, my heart for my Savior who is coming? 
At some point we will all be Innkeepers asked if we have room in our hearts for Jesus?
What have I done to prepare my heart for Christ's coming during this Advent season?
Every year this is a struggle for me as I fight the urge to get caught up in the world's vision of preparation, when what my heart desperately craves is to be still and focus my eyes upon Jesus.
This year I had the special blessing of a mystery elf...more like one of God's angels, who sent me a copy of Ann Voskamp's "The Greatest Gift - Unwrapping The Full Love Story Of Christmas".  It is a daily Advent devotional that retraces the epic pageantry of humankind from Adam to the Messiah.  It offered me time for reading, prayer and reflection as I got to Abide in Christ as I traveled, step by step, one day closer to the wonderful celebration that is Christmas.
This was not an easy task and yes there were times when I was nodding off to sleep as I heard God whispering in my ear.  Most mornings I set my alarm at 5am. to be able to get in my time alone with my Creator.  What I found was that I was revived, remade, rekindled, redeemed.  I sat at His feet...and I listened.
My home may not be ready for company, but my heart is.  This Christmas I am having a heart that whispers, "Come Holy Jesus". 
Company is coming and though they may need to sign their initials in the dust on my coffee table, my heart is ready to embrace them.  Celebrating Advent in this way is by far the best Christmas present that I've ever given myself. 
Since I will have company for awhile, I'm taking some time off from my blog.  Never dirty laundry, I'll be back.  Meanwhile I offer the Light of scripture to warm your heart this Christmas: 
The people who walk in darkness
will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
a light will shine...
For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace
will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne
of his ancestor David
for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven's
will make this happen!
(Isaiah 9:2, 6-7)
May you be blessed with a Christmas that wraps you in God's embrace and whispers, "I love you dear child.  I love you enough to send you a Savior to save you from yourself.  Seek my truth with an open mind and you will find Me.  Open your heart, and I will enter in."
In His love,
Christmas at Redeemer Christian School, Pakistan:


 "When you light a dark world and the unexpected places with a brave flame of joy; when you warm the cold, hopeless places with the daring joy that God is with us, God is for us, God is in us; when you are a wick to light hope in the dark - then you believe in Christmas."  (Ann Voskamp)
Funds greatly needed for 2015!!  Even a modest gift will help...
Send to:  Bev Rihtarchik/RCS
               103 Silver Lining Lane
               Cary, NC  27513
Thank you to all who have donated thus blessed!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dare To Draw Near

Hey Friend,

I will preempt this post with a WARNING!!  Warning, I may step on a few toes...

Christmas is about Christ.  Christ + mas(s). Most of us are fairly well intentioned that way, but pride does have a way of creeping in.  It's the "ME" part of Christmas that brings all the stress, frustration and ultimate disappointment.  The only way to "mess up" Christmas is to make it about you instead of about Jesus.  In short, I need to get over myself.

Believe me, I include myself in the throngs of people who manage to insert themselves front and center during this season.  Decorating our homes to the this really about Jesus or is it about saying to the world, "Look at what I did?"  Finding the perfect it truly about the person we are giving it to or is there a part of us that wants to be the person who finds the perfect gift for everyone on our list? 

Here come my the best picture I selected to put in my card (deleting the other 50 disasters) and the witty Christmas letter truly intended to bring Christmas cheer to the receiver or is it somehow secretly about me?  Ouch!

You can't mess up or fail at Christmas if you make it about Christ.

So what does that look like?  Most self-help plans give you 5, 10, or 12 steps to success.  Follow these simple steps and Voila! you will achieve success. 

The key to a successful Christmas takes one step...and really it's not even a "step".  It is the simple act of BEING STILL.  Be still and dare to let the God of the Universe draw near to you. 

When we are still, God does the moving and He will, as His word promises, draw near to us.  In order for Him to draw near, we need to let go of something...we need to let go of ourselves. We need to let go of all the things that highlight us and instead focus on the things that highlight Jesus.

Christmas has gotten so glitzy, grandiose and materialistic.  But what IS Christmas about really?  It's about relationship.  God sent Jesus into this world so that we could live in relationship with Him.  It is impossible to draw near to God unless we are sinless, perfect.  That's a tall order.  God knew that so He gave us a bridge to himself...He gave us His son Jesus.

Think about Mary, Joseph and the shepherds...a rag tag bunch that drew near to Jesus that first Christmas.  Imagine the joy they felt as they gazed on this tiny innocent baby.  Imagine their lighthearted smiles as this newborn reached out and wrapped his tiny fist around their rough fingers.  Imagine Mary's peace as she gently stroked Jesus' face and smelled his tiny newborn head.  For a moment in time...they were still...and the God who formed the heavens, lay in a wooden manger and drew near to humanity in order to have a relationship with us and to ultimately save us from ourselves.

When we are still...God in three forms (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) draws near to us.

You have made known to me the path of life; you fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)

Will you put down your cards, your wrapping paper, your wallet, your spatula and for a moment pick up God's word to you.  Pick up your Bible and read the Christmas story.  Only this time, read it as God's love letter just to you.  Hear Him whisper to you..."I sent my son as a baby, to be a servant unto you, to heal your diseases, to provide for you, to fight your battles, to bring you peace, to be ever present with you, to redeem you, and to ultimately carry a cross for you so that you would, through his wounds, be made righteous in my sight."

Hear God's voice, as if in a lullaby, say, "I love you so much my child.  I so delight in you that I could not just give a little to you, I had to give you my everything...even unto death." 

Do you hear His words of peace?  Stay for awhile and dwell in them.  Abide in His presence.  Drink in His love.  Dare to draw near...

What places deep within your soul do you long for the Lord to seek out during this season of Advent?

In His love,


ps.  If you haven't already, would you consider bringing the message of Jesus' love to the little children in Pakistan?  God commands us to proclaim the gospel that the world may know. Your gift will proclaim the light of good news in a very dark corner of the world through Redeemer Christian School.  Gifts can be sent to:

Bev Rihtarchik/RCS
103 Silver Lining Lane
Cary, NC  27513 
Do you want to invite Jesus into your heart this Christmas?
Let's face it though, letting Christ draw near can be intimidating...even somewhat scary.  What if he doesn't like what he sees when he gets up close and personal with me?  After all what does scripture say about Jesus?

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.  (Philippians 2:9-10)

We can tend to keep Jesus at arms length because if we get too close we may just realize that we need saving. If you would like someone to pray with you to receive Jesus into your heart as your Savior and to live in relationship with Him, please feel free to contact me and I would be honored to pray with blessed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

There's Room For It All This Christmas

Hey Friend,

I sat at the kitchen table with pen in hand.  I moved the pen several times into the poised position above the ivory card stock beneath.  I waited impatiently for some words...any words to come to me. 

What exactly do you write to your friend, neighbor and dog walking buddy who two days before Thanksgiving waited for her husband to return from his usual morning run only to get the horrendous news that another runner had found his slumped body beside the road where he had collapsed and died? 

What do you write to this mother of three young men who was madly in love with her high school sweetheart?  A woman who just days before was happily preparing for the holidays and now was going to bury the man she so deeply loved?

The answer is...there are no words...

I have really struggled these past two weeks, because this is not what Christmas is supposed to look like.  At least not what the world or commercials say that it should look like. Christmas is not supposed to be painful. 

Sure Christmas can be brimming with Christmas cheer and joy.  My husband and I will be celebrating out first Christmas together and we are trying to savor every moment of this season.  We want to celebrate how God has blessed us with each other and a love neither of us ever thought would happen.  Surely this is Christmas?

Christmas (at least in my home) is often chaos and clutter and me trying to find presents that I have tucked away in such a special place that now I can't find them.  Christmas is wrapping bright packages with paper and bows and imagining the delight upon the faces of the people who will open them.

But, Christmas is also moving furniture around to accommodate the tree only to realize that my dad, who always occupied the same chair Christmas morning, will not be in "his" chair this Christmas.

It is remembering what it was like to muster up the energy to make Christmas special for my children when only weeks before their father had walked out and left us.  Is this Christmas I wonder to myself??

Christmas time for many of us can be bittersweet or even downright painful.

Why then do we think that there is something more spiritual in being stoic through pain?  

Christ came for the broken, the hurting, the lost...He didn't come for a world that "held it all together".  Maybe we need to allow ourselves to be real in His presence this Christmas...whatever that may look like. 

God holds all things together.  (Colossians 1:17)

"It's okay to be broken.  Holding it all together is in someone else's job description."  (Holley Gerth)

Many of us have become experts at ignoring our hurt...especially at the holidays.  Ignoring our hurt, however, only serves to drive it deeper. 

So back to my statement that "Christmas is not supposed to be painful."

Maybe, just maybe, that's not true.  Jesus came, took on human flesh, to save us from ourselves and to make a way that no one else was capable of making.  His birth, being human, was painful...and his death certainly was painful.  Why then do we think that on this side of Heaven that we will be exempt from pain and suffering? 

Maybe the pain we feel is the homesick longings we experience for when we are home at last with our Heavenly Father and all the saints who have gone before.  Maybe Christmas is meant to have a touch of pain to remind us that this is not our home?? That we were meant for something greater??

Perhaps I have raised more questions than I have answered.  Our questions keep us seeking after God.  He, ultimately, is the One who holds it all together and I believe that there is just quite possibly room for it all this Christmas.

I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.  Because he inclined his ear to hear me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.  (Psalm 116:1-2)

No matter what you may be experiencing this Christmas, may you know that the God of the Universe inclines His ear to hear your pleas.  Know that He loves you enough that He sent his one and only Son just for you and He longs for you to call upon Him as long as you live.  May you be blessed...

In His love,


ps. Redeemer Christian School Update: Plans are being made and presents purchased for the RCS Christmas Program.  It's still not too late to bring Christmas for the very first time to these, God's children in Pakistan.  Help them to meet and fall in love with Jesus this Christmas...Hurry with donations to:  Bev Rihtarchik/RCS
                                                              103 Silver Lining Lane
                                                              Cary, NC  27513
Thank you and may God bless you!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Thanksgiving Blessing

Hey Friend,

Since later today and all day tomorrow, I will be a cooking fool, I wanted to offer you a Thanksgiving blessing:

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with Thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through
all generations.
(Psalm 100)

Thanksgiving is a time when we stand at a crossroad...a fork in the road if you will.  We can choose to take the low road of dwelling on our misery, or we can take the high road of seeking out, and thanking God for our many blessings.

Make no mistake, however, that Thanksgiving and Christmas can be two of the most difficult holidays to bear.  In this world blessings and sorrows are intermingled and holidays can bring to mind the losses we have experienced in our lives.  God does not ask us to stuff those feelings or to pretend they don't exist. Quite the opposite, He wants us to raise our pain and our petitions before Him.  The only thing He asks is that we do so with a heart of thanksgiving.

Even if everything in our world seems bleak and full of pain...there is still one blessing that we can give thanks for.  That blessing is that God, in His awesome love and power, has given us the gift of life eternal in paradise with Him...all we need to do is to accept this blessing with a grateful heart.

In an attempt to help you focus on God's many blessings this year, I offer you some exercises in gratitude that will get you heading on the high road.

Thanksgiving Walk:  This Thanksgiving, take yourself on a walk alone.  Whether you go around the block or on a several mile hike.  While you walk thank and praise God for all the blessings you can think of (small or big).  Your mind will wander, but gently bring it back to the task at hand and as you walk and continually thank Him, I believe you will experience His peace.

Thanksgiving Going Forward:  Don't look at Thanksgiving as the conclusion of the race. Instead use it as a stepping off point.  Write down a list of all the people in your life that you are thankful for.  Starting now, and over the next several months, commit to writing and mailing (yes, snail mail) short notes to each person on the list - letting them know that you are thankful for them being in your life.  My daughter did this and I received a random note one day thanking me for being special to her...well let's just say it made my week!!

Pay It Forward:  Thank God for the core blessings you have - a warm bed to sleep in, a roof over your head, food, clothing, etc.  Then pay it forward.  Do a good deed for someone else.  Pay for the latte for the person behind you in the Starbucks drive through.  Bend down and pick something up for a stranger.  Have fun with creative ways to bless others.


If you would like a very tangible way to pay if forward and give thanks...I could still REALLY use financial help with bringing the blessing of Christmas to the children who have found refuge from the streets, hard labor, human trafficking at Redeemer Christian School in Pakistan.

First Christmas Gift Ever:  For most of the children, this will be the first and only Christmas gift they will receive.  We may take for granted a pair of shoes or a warm piece of clothing in the cold, but these children do not have that luxury.  Will you consider sending a modest donation to cover the cost of one child for a gift and a warm Christmas meal ($20. suggested, but ANY gift amount helps!!)

Deadline Dec. 8th:  In order to make preparations, I need to get donations by this date.  If you are moved to help...
Make checks payable and send to:
Bev Rihtarchik/RCS
103 Silver Lining Lane
Cary, NC  27513

Thank you in advance.  And now I pray for you and all my readers that the peace of God which surpasses all understanding would be with you this and every day.  May you have a blessed Thanksgiving and may it be just the beginning of a lifetime of offering up thanks.  We are the ones who are truly blessed whenever we give thanks!!!

In His love,


ps.  I have a sensitive heart to those who deal with depression and I know just how difficult it can be when the "gray glasses" are on to give thanks and to see your blessings.  Know that God has a tender spot in His loving heart for you. Sending a special prayer your way... 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Are You Offering Dry Crumbs?

Hey Friend,

With God, I believe, there are no coincidences.  In the past two weeks or so, I have heard or read the phrase "dry crumbs" when it comes to something we are offering.  I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I got it that God was probably trying to tell me something. 

I don't know about you, but I am used to being the helper vs. being the "helpee".  I am the mentor not the "mentee".  One of my spiritual gifts is encouragement, so I am used to being the one doing the encouraging.  You need a leader for a Bible study, a small group or mission team...I'm your gal.  That's just what I do.  It's what I've always done.

What about you?  Where do you see yourself on the scale of helping vs. being helped?  When a crisis arises, are you the first one to lend a hand.  If a volunteer is needed, are you the first one to say, "Here I am Lord, send me."?

More importantly, do you do this even when you have nothing in your tank left to give?

Don't get me wrong, the Bible calls us to serve and have a servant's heart.  But God's word also calls us to offer "living water" not "dry crumbs".

"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."  (John 7:38)

What is flowing from within you? 

God says for us to draw near and to stay in touch with Him...even in our busiest moments.  God, however, encourages us to actually withdraw in order to be close to Him.  Even Jesus had to withdraw from the crowds to pray and be close to His Father.  Otherwise, instead of offering living water, he too would be offering dry crumbs. 

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.  (Luke 5:16)

As the masses approached Jesus, sometimes he actually had to withdraw and get this...there is no sin in doing this!  If Jesus had to withdraw to be replenished, how much more then do we?

Also note the frequency.  Jesus would often slip away.  Jesus knew that if He wasn't filled, there was no way that He would be able to fill others. 

So, why then do we give and give and give until the tank is empty?  This is a good question to reflect upon...

One of my very favorite words is the word Abide.  Through trial and error...mostly error...I have realized that I am no earthly good to anyone unless I am abiding in Christ.  In order for living water to flow through me I need to abide in Him.  I love this passage from the book "Abide in Christ".

"Abiding in Him is not a work that we have to do as the 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 have fallen into the trap that I don't think that I am serving well enough unless I am completely exhausted.  Do you realize how silly that sounds??  Yet I, and I am guessing you, sometimes do that?

If your "giving tank" is empty, will you take a break and come away with Jesus to the well of living water.  Take long drinks until the thirst is quenched.  Then go and offer living water to others...BUT don't forget to come back to the well often...again and again. 

Lord help us to accept and receive the rejuvenating living water that you offer.  Let us not be too proud or to busy to come back to the well often so that we can offer living water to others instead of dry crumbs.  Amen.

In His love,


I need your bring some joy this Christmas to the orphans and destitute children who now call Redeemer Christian School their home.  A modest donation will give a child shoes, or a warm sweater as well as a meal this Christmas.  Help me to show them that others DO care. 
Send contributions to:
Bev Rihtarchik/RCS
103 Silver Lining Lane
Cary, NC  27513

Thank you and may you be blessed...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thanksgiving: Command or Blessing?

Hey Friend,
It was exactly two years ago that I came out from under the knife from what turned out to be much more complicated knee surgery than what I had expected.  For one month, I was not allowed to put any weight on it whatsoever...none, zip, zilch, nada.  I needed the crutches for every movement that I made.  I needed them and I cursed them in the same breath. 
Visitors and meals arrived for the first two weeks which was wonderful.  I am so grateful for those who gave of themselves to help me.  A few weeks went by and the world went back about its business and I was still miserably benched on the disabled list.  As the days and weeks ticked on, I became more and more depressed.  I had to start from the beginning with miniscule baby steps toward recuperation.  Had I known then that I still had a good year's worth of recovery ahead of me...well, let's just say that not knowing is sometimes the best thing.
Also as the weeks went by it became more and more all about ME!!
My outward focus had turned dramatically inward.  I was a dancer inside a corpse.  I became suffocated by my inability to do most anything.  It was a slippery slope and I was already sliding.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18)
Yeah right. 
When in the crucible of suffering it is almost impossible to give thanks sometimes.
Yet His command remains:  Give thanks in all circumstances.
Why? thanks is an act of obedience to our Creator.  God, however, does not need our thanks.  He is the Alpha and the Omega and He really doesn't need anything from us...especially not our pitiful attempts at feeble thanksgiving.
Actually, I believe the secret is locked up in the second half of the scripture above:  "For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
We have a God whose very essence is lovingkindness (I love that word).  We have a God whose love for us does not endure for a day; His love endures forever!  We have a God who is merciful and compassionate and who loves us so much that more important than the obedience to a command is the blessing we receive whenever we give thanks.
Thanksgiving is the catalyst for God's blessings being poured out upon us.
My selfish frame does not know what to do with God's unselfish act of blessing me.  Furthermore, there is a promise in God's command and blessing.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:6-7)
God wants me to experience true peace and in order to do that I need to have an outwardly focused heart filled with thanksgiving. 
In other words, "It's not about you or me!"  When we utter words of thanks, we are transformed by God.  It might not be instantaneous.  In fact it may take some time, but God will change us and bring us a peace that passes understanding when we humbly offer up our thanks to Him.
I love how my writer friend Abby puts it, "Suddenly, instead of fixating on me, I centered my thoughts on the One who gave me life."  (Abby McDonald)
I wish I could wrap this up with a neat little bow and say how I was instantly transformed when I gave thanks.  Far from it...I started out grudgingly and like a long distance runner, built up my endurance and my ability to give thanks.  Over a long time, the peace began to outweigh the despair. 
Fast forward to today.  In a moment I will lace up my sneakers and set out upon a walk in this absolutely gorgeous fall season God has painted for me.  Step by step I will feel the leaves scatter and crunch beneath my feet.  I will offer up my joyous thanks for my ability to walk unencumbered.  I will sing praise and extol my God.  I will thank Him for His patience with me in growing my thanksgiving muscles.  Thank you Lord for not giving up on me and for loving me enough to offer me the blessing and promise of thanksgiving.  Amen.
May you be blessed as you offer up thanksgiving to God.  If you have any stories of how God has brought you peace through thanksgiving in times of suffering, would you share to encourage us all?
In His love,
Will you help me bring Christmas to the children who have sought shelter and refuge at Redeemer Christian School in Pakistan?
Time is running out...if you would like to show Christ's love through the gift of shoes or a warm sweater for a child who has nothing as well as share the good news of the gospel over a warm meal, would you not put off and write a check today?
Checks (or cash) can be sent and made payable to:
Bev Rihtarchik/RCS
103 Silver Lining Lane
Cary, NC  27513
Thank you!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

When You Are Weary

Hi Friend,
I had several other potential topics I was going to write about, but I'll be honest, my heart just wasn't into them.  You see, I'm feeling rather weary. 
A family situation that I have prayed about night and day for years seems to be getting worse instead of better.  My loving senior dog, Zoe, who has dementia has been ill lately and I wonder if "that decision" will soon be on my doorstep?  I have also had to realize that people have their churches, and their preferred charities and some simply don't care.  It's hard when your zeal and passion for a certain cause are not necessarily shared by others. 
I know better than to let my circumstances dictate my contentment with life...
But, yet they do sometimes.  I know that Christ gives me the power to be content no matter what my circumstances, but life sometimes has a way of dragging me down.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  (Matthew 11:28-30)
I have read this verse many times, but when I examine it more closely I notice that it doesn't say, "Come to me if you ever get weary and burdened."  No, it says:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened..."
Our Lord is the one who sees and who knows.  He knows that we all ARE weary and burdened at some point in our lives.  He made us.  He is mindful of our frame.  He knows that we are human and that we ARE going to be weary and burdened at certain junctures in life.
Look what He does...He doesn't judge - far from it.  He extends his hand, tilts our face toward His and says, "I will give you rest."  I do like The Message translation when it says,
"Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Oh how I yearn to live freely and lightly right now.  And so, I climb into my Father's lap and I rest my head upon His strong shoulder and I abide with Him.  I wait with Him and I learn from Him and I know that in His time, my burdens will be lifted...maybe not fully, but the clouds will dissipate. 
I draw close to my Heavenly Father (my Abba/Daddy).  I let the truth of Romans 8:38-39 sink into my soul:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us (me) from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Life's circumstances will try to pry me away from the contentment that is found in being in relationship with my Lord.  I am comforted to know that He will not let NOTHING...pry me from the palm of His hand.  He loves me.  he loves you that much!!
Are you feeling weary and burdened right now?  If you are, know that you are not alone. The Lord deeply loves you.  Keep company with Him and He will teach you how to live freely and lightly. Maybe we can learn together?  I hope so.  Be blessed...
In His love,
Help Needed to Bring Christmas to the Children of Redeemer Christian School!!!  The doors have barely opened and the homeless, the fatherless and the destitute children of Pakistan have been flocking to Redeemer Christian School.  Those who have nothing, are being given something - the Love of Jesus and the opportunity for an education. 
Unlike our Children:  These children will not receive any presents for Christmas unless compassionate hearts are willing to give.  Our hope is to give each child a pair of shoes or a warm sweater this Christmas (cost $15.)
We also hope to provide a meal. 
Christmas Program to be offered mid-December so if you want to help out, please send cash or check soon to:
      Bev Rihtarchik/RCS
      103 Silver Lining Lane
      Cary, NC  27513
Thank you in advance for spreading Christ's love this Christmas!
Thank you and congratulations to the winners of the drawing to say "thank you" to loyal subscribers of my blog.  Winners of Starbucks giftcards and DaySpring Holley Gerth perpetual calendars have been notified. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

God Is Not Disappointed In You

Hey Friend,

Even though I invited Jesus to come into my life and be my Lord and Savior at the age of thirteen, I haven't always walked the straight and narrow.  I would say that I've committed everything from big sins to little white lies, but in reality all sin is...well sin.  God does not differentiate.

What really trips me up, however, is the fact that I have tried to live a good life - to say and do things that would imitate Christ.  But, what often happens is that I do the very things that I don't want to do...I act selfishly; I speak harshly; I fail to have compassion...I don't look like Christ at all.  "Me too,"  you say?!  You mean I'm not alone?

"For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but am doing the very thing I hate." (Paul speaking in Romans 7:15)

I hope that you have not been like me, though, in getting caught up in faulty theology.  My thinking used to go like this:  I try to be like Christ.  I fail.  Therefore, God must be disappointed in me.

False!!  Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God is disappointed in us.

I am my own worst critic and so when I would screw up and do the very thing I didn't want to do, the "guilt stick" would come out and I would beat myself over the head with it.  In truth, God never beats us up with the "guilt stick" so why do we do that to ourselves?

The enemy...I call him the "sneak" very good at whispering lies into our ears, and some of us, are very good at taking the lies and running with them.  The enemy seeks to kill and destroy and so he would like nothing better than to render us disabled and ineffective for the Kingdom.  What better tool to use than disappointment. 

Disappointment says that we didn't live up to someone's expectations.

Just whose expectations are we trying to live up to?  God's? The world's? Our own?  Food for thought.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old has gone, the new is here!  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

When we invite Christ into our lives, God sees us once and for all through the blood of Christ.  He no longer sees our sins, but instead sees us made perfect through Christ's sacrifice on the cross.  When Jesus said, "It is finished,"  the wages for our sin were paid once and for all!

If we truly, truly believe this then there is no room for disappointment. God no longer sees our mistakes and our failures...He sees us only through the cleansing blood of His son Jesus Christ.  But, Bev, God's got to know...yes, God knows, but He sees very differently than you and me.

We see mistakes.  We hold grudges.  We are not quick to forgive.  We don't easily forget.  God, however, does none of those things.

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

The old covenant was built on doing, earning and striving.  The new covenant is built on mercy, grace and love.  If you are in Christ you live under the new covenant and in the new covenant there is no room for disappointment.

"God is love." (1 John 4:8)

In fact, the entire passage found in 1 John 4:7-21 speaks of God's loving nature.  God, who IS love embodies all the fruits of the Spirit.  In God is found: love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Our God IS lovingkindness!  Oh how I love that word! In mercy and grace He gave His one and only son in our place so that we could be declared righteous before Him.

God loves you...He delights in you!  Have confidence in the new creation you are in Christ.  What a gift - by accepting Christ as your Savior, you can kiss disappointment and its looming shadow goodbye forever!  What freedom that brings.  Be blessed...

In His love,


ps. As a way of saying "thank you" for encouraging me, I will be entering all the names of subscribers in a drawing for great giveaways from Holley Gerth/DaySpring ( and Starbucks - you KNOW how I love coffee.  Subscribe by Nov. 1 in order to be eligible.

I continue to pray both morning and evening for those who read my blog.  Feel free to contact me if you have a special prayer request that you would like me to pray about. 

If you have never accepted Christ as your Savior...I would be happy to pray with you regarding that too!

Redeemer Christian School Update

Hey Friend,
First, an update on Redeemer Christian School:  With PRAISE and special thanks, I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to those of you who contributed to the startup of Redeemer Christian School in Pakistan.
I am excited to report that 20+ children (and the numbers are growing) meet 6 days a week for prayer, worship, Bible teaching and educational instruction.  For those that come, this is their only formal education.  Thank you for getting them off the streets, out of forced manual labor (and worse) and into the classroom.
Your giving has enabled us to rent two rooms for the children to meet, but so much more is needed!  The children are so happy to be there they sit on blankets on the hard floor.  We need tables and chairs so that it is easier to write, books, Bibles, writing materials, etc. 
Most of the children do not have shoes.  For Christmas we would like to give each child the gift of a pair of shoes and a Christmas meal.  I don't think that is asking for much.  We are working on establishing 501c3 non-profit status - but this too takes money.  It will enable us to set up an easier Paypal system.  Until that time, we need to do things the "old fashioned way"...
If you would like to see a child get a pair of shoes and a meal for Christmas and if you would like to see Redeemer Christian School continue on the path it has begun through God's Holy power, please consider giving. 
Here's How:  Send a check made out to: Bev Rihtarchik/RCS
Send the check to: Bev Rihtarchik/Redeemer Christian School
                             103 Silver Lining Lane
                             Cary, NC  27513
Please Pray:  Please pray for Anosh (our brother-in-Christ) that heads up RCS in Pakistan.  Pray for each of the children that they would come to a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior.
Thank you for being willing to bring light into the lives of children who live in a very darkened corner of the world!!  Together we can make a difference.  Be blessed...
In His love,

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,
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 ( wrote a wonderful post on the (in)courage blog (  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?

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,


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!!