Friday, August 29, 2014

When The World Is Coming Apart At The Seams

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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Spiritual ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)

Hey Friend,
My son, who is now 21, has ADD (and yes, he's given me permission to say this).  Actually, he was not diagnosed until he was in college which now explains a lot about elementary, middle and high school.  I know that some of his behavior was just the wiggly fidgets of being a boy, but trying to get him to concentrate on doing his homework was a climb Mt. Everest task!
Math problem number 1...(scribble, scribble) "Hey, mom.  What are you makin' for dinner?"  Me:  "Spaghetti.  Do your homework."
Math problem number 2...(scribble, scribble)  "Hey mom.  Do you know that there's a ladder built into the back side of Weatherstone (the elementary school near our home)? And if you climb it you can get onto the roof of the school?"  Me: "Well you certainly didn't climb it did you?"  My son: "Well yeah sort of..."
                          (discussion intermission)
Math problem number 3...(scribble, scribble) " you see how fat that squirrel is on the railing... I'm gonna let George (the dog) out to chase it..."  Me:  "You're going to lose your play time if you don't finish your homework."
And so it would go each and every day. And as for remembering and organizing things?  I love my absent minded professor, but he would forget his head if it wasn't screwed on. 
Do you ever feel like you have Spiritual ADD?  I do.  My daily to do list battles for my time to sit at God's feet and read his word.  Sometimes I wonder if what I'm going to read is going to pertain to my every day living.  I'll entertain other distractions before I will sit down and attempt to dive into the Word. Even when in the word, my mind wanders. When I do sit down, I tend to talk way more than I listen.  My mother would tell me, "God gave you two ears and one mouth.  Use them proportionately."  Wise woman. 
Then prayer time...often I can't sit still.  I ramble through my prayer request litany and every time my mind will wander and I get lost in thought about something totally irrelevant.  It happens all the time. I try to bring my focus back only to get lost in space again. 
Then I read about David in the Psalms: "Oh, how I love your law!  I meditate on it all day long."  (Psalm 119:97)
That's great for David, but meditating on God's word/law 24/7?  Isn't that a little unrealistic?  Though we may not be able to read God's word 24/7 we can be intentional about practicing the presence of God...reading God's word often so that at the right time, the Holy Spirit will bring it to the forefront of our mind and heart. 
Personally, I choose to sit and listen and then walk and talk.
I'll admit, it takes discipline to sit still long enough to read God's word.  Often I don't hear him speak to me right when I read it...the light bulb may go on days, weeks or even months after I have read something.  After I read, I find I have to physically get up and walk and talk with God.  With thanksgiving I bring my questions, doubts and requests before Him. 
What is the specific benefit of listening to God through His spoken word?
Answer: We begin to see as God sees. 
How many times have you, when facing a major fork in the road or decision, said, "I wish God would give me a billboard sign telling me what to do!"
Here's the news flash:  God does give us wisdom, insight and understanding through his word in order to make the best decisions possible...
Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me.  I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.  I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. (Psalm 119: 98-100)  **Teaching credit on this passage given to my pastor.
We all, to some degree, have spiritual ADD.  After all, the enemy prowls and will do anything to distract us and keep us from reading God's word and being in His presence. The world distracts us with busyness and offers its own brand of wisdom, insight and understanding.  To do life in God's will we need only His brand. 
One extra side benefit:  Times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord.  (Acts 3:20)
Will you join me in the discipline of reading God's word every day and spending time in His presence?  Oh the wealth of wisdom, insight and knowledge He wishes to impart to us.  I KNOW it isn't easy some days and there is no condemnation for falling short.  If you keep me accountable, I will try to keep you accountable.  Know that you are dearly loved by the Creator of the universe.  If you would, please share how you best spend some one on one time with the Lord.  Be blessed...
Update on Redeemer Christian School
$10. Challenge
Last week in my post I issued a $10. challenge to all my readers to help fund a grass roots effort to begin Redeemer Christian School in Pakistan.  It is our hope to see children sold out on Jesus vs. sold into slavery.  For many impoverished and orphaned children, an education is their only hope for the future. 
Pledges have been coming in...THANK YOU!!  We are working on getting a website up and running so that you can see first hand where your contribution is going.  We do, however, need to go gently on going public due to the fact that Islam is the state religion of Pakistan.
I encourage you to read last week's post, "Some Things Have Been Weighing On My Heart".   Together, by giving up a couple lattes, we can bring light into a very dark place in the world.  We can fuel hope in these children's lives and bring to them the good news of Jesus Christ. 
If you would like to join us in making a pledge: Contact me at: .  I will let you know the scoop on how to donate.  If each of us sacrifices a little ($10.), together we can make a BIG difference.  Also needed is anyone with website design expertise or knowledge who would be willing to donate some time and effort to helping create the website. 
Thank you in advance for your generosity...
In His Love,


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Some Things Have Been Weighing On My Heart

Hey Friend,
In a recent Facebook post I wrote, " If you have ever suffered from clinical depression, you know first hand the awfulness that Robin Williams endured.  It's about time we erase the stigma of mental illness (not character flaw or weakness).  RIP Robin Williams.  Thank you for bringing the gift of laughter into this world."
That coupled with the war (accompanied by death) between countries, within one country, between races and ethnicities, weighs heavily on my heart.  "What do I do Lord in addition to praying?"  I ask. 
"Give Life," I hear Him answer.
I have, through God's power, given life to two biological children whom I love deeply.  I also, through God's grace have a son and brother-in-Christ named Anosh who lives in Pakistan, whom I also love.  He calls me "Maa" which means Mother in his native tongue.  Anosh is a godly young man, one of only 1.6% of Christians who live in a country where the state religion is Islam. He works as a customer representative and his income, beyond basic needs, goes to providing for orphans and widows. 
I, along with some friends, have had the opportunity to give life to the children and widows with whom Anosh works, feeds and teaches about the love of Jesus Christ...the good news that truly gives life!  We sent a Christmas care package that contained gifts for these children (most of them orphans or from impoverished families) as well as funds to feed the children and the widows. We got to see the gifts in their hands and the smiles on their faces.  For most, this was the only gift they received.
Just the other day, my son, Steven, and I were reminiscing about his childhood...about what a fun and carefree childhood it was.  His days were filled with playing sports, building forts, birthday parties and raiding the pantry for snacks with his friends.
The children that Anosh works with do not have such happy childhoods.  Most of them are robbed of their childhood because government run schools cost that most families don't have so the children have few options.  One is to go to work with a parent where they are forced into heavy childhood labor.  Another, is they are abandoned to the streets because they are one mouth too many to feed.  Worse yet, are those who are sold into slavery or wind up selling themselves.  This is not a childhood; it is an atrocity!
Together our dream is to begin a grass roots school - Redeemer Christian School in Lahore, Pakistan.  There is no money yet for a website, or to establish 501(c)(3) status or articles of incorporation.  We're talking provide funds for a place to rent (few people are willing to open up their home out of fear and retaliation for hosting a Christian group).  One of the few Christian churches was bombed not that long ago. 
They need basic supplies like a room, Bibles, books, paper, pencils, tables and chairs, and maybe a computer or two.  By giving them the gift of learning to read and write we can give life!!  Their hearts are hungry to hear about the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.  I can't let that hunger go unfed.  I want to give these children a hope for a different life.  I have pictures of each of the children that come regularly (when a place can be found) to get a meal and hear about the love of Christ.  When I got married recently they all made me cards that Anosh sent to me.  For having so little, they have such giving hearts.
So, what am I asking?  I am earnestly asking all my readers and Facebook friends to take: The $10 Challenge. (If by God's grace you are moved to give more then great). If each of my readers would give just $10 we could knock this out of the ballpark.  It might mean sacrificing 2 Starbucks coffees, or a lunch with a friend, but what it will do in Pakistan cannot be measured.
I will wire the funds so that 100% of the money raised will go directly to the needs mentioned above.  I will update you with emails with pictures of the school and children you are supporting (if you care to receive them). If you are "on the fence" I encourage you to consider that it is a small price to pay to taste and see that what we are able to do is truly good!
What now??  Email me at: with your pledge.  I will then email you details on how to get your check, or if outside the States, how to wire money to me.
I promise I'm not redecorating my living room, nor is Anosh a scammer.  I have witnessed, first hand, that he is a very good steward of all gifts that have been given...every dollar sent will go directly to the school and to the children. 
 "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."  (Matthew 25:40)
Conversely, "Whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me."
In response to all the hatred, evil and death in the world will you choose with me to GIVE LIFE?  Oh, how I pray that you will.  Pray about it and I look forward, eagerly, to hearing from blessed!
In His love,
ps. If you accidentally lose my email address go to "Contact Me" on my blog.  I will be praying for you my faithful readers.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

What Are You Going To Do Nice For Yourself Today?

Hey Friend,
I have been married just over six months to my husband and yes, we are still in the newlywed stage of our marriage, but I do have to say that his heart reflects the heart of Christ to me every day.  Each morning my husband asks me the question, "So, what are you going to do that is nice for yourself today?"  I admit, for the longest time this question stumped me.  It was so engrained in me to look at the tail end of my day and ask, "So what did I do (get accomplished) today?"
The answer to the second question was often a litany of how many loads of laundry I did, how many phone calls I made, bills that I paid, dog puke I cleaned up off the rug, hockey practices run was the "post-game analysis" and always came across as a way of proving my worth and value.  It focused on "doing" rather than "being".
The first question offers a preemptive strike on the beginning of the day and it carries a whole different slant. It assumes the notion that you are special and that you deserve to do something nice for yourself in this day that God has given you.
Many of us know the second half of John 10:10: I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly (to the full).
We know this verse, but we don't claim it for ourselves.  We deem that it is somehow selfish to carve out some time just for ourselves in a day.  In actuality we are very good at tuning into the first part of that verse: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy... 
How often do we let the enemy steal our joy from our day by stealing our time?
Ann Voskamp (a favorite writer of mine) says, "All men will live out the length of their days...but very few will live out the width of their life."  We view life as linear - the shortest distance from Point A to Point B, when in reality God would have us live the width of our life - the vast, expansive, full part of our lives.
So how then do we live wide as well as long?  The book of Ecclesiastes talks about enjoying our earthly life and using the gifts God has given us to His glory. 
There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven.  (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-15)
There is a time to laugh, dance, embrace as well as a time to work and plant and gather. 
What would you like to carve out a time for in YOUR day?  What are You going to do nice for yourself today?  Do you know that God smiles when He sees you doing things you enjoy?  Do you know that He treasures you because you are His precious child?  If we want our children to have joy in life, how much more so does God want us to experience that same joy?  We are HIS children no matter how old we get.
I admit that I secretly didn't like the Proverbs 31 Woman.  I don't know if I was jealous or resentful, but she just got on my nerves.  She is a virtuous woman, a wonderful wife; she works with her hands; she provides food for her family; she rises early, plants a vineyard, lays her hands on the spindle to weave fine clothes.  She helps the poor; she is wise, kind; her children arise and call her blessed...Okay really?  I get that she works hard and seemingly is able to do it all.
But catch Proverbs 31:25: She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
Yes, folks, she can laugh.  LAUGH!!  Rejoice, because she knows who she is in Christ.  She knows what the future brings and therefore can enjoy life today!
"A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit." (Proverbs 15:3)
What makes your face cheerful?  Have you planned that into your day today?
I remember when my children were little and they took such joy in the simple things.  Even a rainy day could bring joy.  Bathing suits would come flying out of drawers and umbrellas popped open and little bare toes would do rain puddle dances that rivaled that of Gene Kelly in "Singing In The Rain". 
My piano has sat with keys collecting dust.  I was always convinced I was too busy to "waste" my time playing the piano.  But, the keys that make music to my ears also make music to my Maker's ears and I do believe that He delights in what delights us.
How will you let the Lord delight in you today?
In case you need a little extra convincing, here are a few more verses to encourage you to grab your camera, hop on your bike, lace up your running shoes, crack open a book, get out your gardening tools or your knitting needles...for the men who read my blog - nothing delights more than the revving of power tools lol.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  (James 1:17)
If you, then though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  (Matthew 7:11)
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  (Proverbs 17:22)
There are times to weep and be sad, but God in His grace and mercy has given us times to be happy and joyful and to do something nice for ourselves each day. 
So, again, I ask you, "What are you going to do nice for yourself today?" Will you be kind enough to share how your day goes when you do choose to do something nice for yourself?  Be blessed...
In His love,
ps. Please know that if you read this post today you are being prayed for every morning and every evening :)