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!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

God Will Not Leave You Stuck

Hey Friend,
I was all set to write my blog post last Thursday, when I got a call first thing in the morning.  It was my daughter in tears.  In the middle of the night someone had smashed in her back window and vandalized her car.  Hers was not the only car hit at her apartment complex.  I quickly flung on my "supermom" cape and coached her through what to do in a situation like this.  Needless to say, the train had come off the tracks and was heading in a direction all its own.
I was already tired because my senior dog, Zoe, who has dementia gets restless and disoriented in the middle of the night and has taken to barking when she feels distressed.  It harkens me back to the days of being up with a newborn in the middle of the night.  Only at 53, I don't cope as well with sleep deprivation.  In my many years of having dogs, I've never had a problem with fleas, but on Saturday we will be evacuating the house so it can be smoke bombed and will be taking the dogs for baths and flea treatments...sort of a spa day gone bad.
Add in a good measure of issues with adult children that cannot be solved with a Band-Aid or a time out and one might say I've been in a "funk".
In the scheme of things these are small potato issues, but I have been talking to and praying with friends and readers who are dealing with bigger issues - death in the family, terminal illness, divorce, clinical depression and anxiety, etc.  A common question that is asked is, "Is this ever going to get better?"  "Will I always feel this I going to get stuck here?"
Having been through a painful divorce (no divorce is ever pain free) and having dealt with episodes of depression and anxiety I KNOW first hand the fear that somehow I'm going to get stuck here and will never come out the other side.  It is then, when we are down, feeling alone and like we are the only one, that the enemy whispers lies in our ear.  He wants us to believe that God has somehow forgotten us and we will spend eternity in this pit that we are in.  At the time, those feelings can seem very real.  That's why they are so scary.
Feelings can lie to us, just like Satan whispers lies in our ears.  When the red flags of fear and anxiety kick in, I know that it is time to go to God's word.  Two of my "go to" verses when I feel stuck are:  Isaiah 43:1-2 and Psalm 23:4.  Read them with me slowly...
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."  (Isaiah 43:1-2)
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.  (Psalm 23:4)
Notice in both scripture references the common emotion or feeling is FEAR! God knows that we will find ourselves in fearful places, that's why over and over again in is loving compassion, He wants to calm our fears by reminding us of His presence and His devotion to us.
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
God calls us to himself and reassures us that NOTHING will ever snatch us out of His hand because we are His!
...You are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.
Just as a shepherd would give his own life to protect his sheep, the Lord promises to always be with us, to protect us and to comfort us in our time of need. 
In both scriptures I italicized the verbs "walk" and "pass".  They are followed by a very important word..."through".
We can rest in God's promise to bring us through the waters, rivers, fire and valleys.  He WILL NOT LEAVE US STUCK THERE!
The Bible informs us that in this world we will have trouble - that you can count on, but greater still is God's promise that He will bring us through these trials.  I don't know about you, but this brings me great comfort when I worry that I will remain "stuck". 
Hebrews 11 discusses the topic that we are all just pilgrims passing through.
We can be in this world, but not of it.
Sometimes I have to keep my eye on the prize - eternity.  In this blink of an eye earthly life, I am just a pilgrim passing through.  If I persevere, I will receive the crown of eternal life with my Heavenly Father and Savior and all the saints that have gone before. 
Are you going through something difficult right now?  Do you fear that you will get stuck or never come out the other side?  Then let me remind you that ours is a God of goodness, love and compassion.  He is a God of safe passages through whatever we are dealing with.  He is the God that truly sees you and the trials you are up against and wants nothing more than to hide you beneath the refuge of His wings.  May you be encouraged and know that you are loved beyond measure!  Be blessed...
In His love,
Redeemer Christian School Update:  Thanks to your generosity, we have secured a lease on a two room house where the children can begin to meet!  Please pray for their safety as they meet since they are learning of Jesus' love and light and the world today would like nothing more than to snuff out that light.  In the Middle East, Christians risk their lives each day in order to bring the good news to ears that need to hear.  Please pray that God would bless RCS's efforts to take children off the streets and teach them.
GIVEAWAYS:  In celebration of 20,000 pageviews, I am giving away Starbucks gift cards as well as perpetual calendars with daily reminders of your value and worth by Holley Gerth.  To be entered all you need to do is subscribe to my blog in the month of October.  Previous subscribers will be entered to win as well.  One post per week and no lists ever sold or distributed.