Thursday, September 18, 2014

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

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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

When Prayers Seem To Go Unanswered

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

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Dependence Is Not A Dirty Word

Hey Friend,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In His love,


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

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

Thank you :)