Monday, November 28, 2022

Perseverance Posse & Giveaways

Hey Friend,

One of my very favorite words in the English language is “abide.” Learning how to abide in Christ is perhaps the foremost action we can learn to live out. Andrew Murray, in his widely read book “Abide in Christ,” describes it this way:


“Abiding in Him is not a work that we have to do as the condition for enjoying 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.”

While we are yielding, trusting, and abiding, God doesn’t want us to be doing this alone — far from it, sweet friend. Every year I pull out a purply-pink glass Christmas ornament. Some of the silver glitter, on the bottom half, has worn off through the years. When I gently unwrap it, I take a moment to cradle it in my hands. Bittersweet feelings bubble to the surface to interrupt my festive mood. It’s a push-me-pull-you mix of emotions. The words, written in silver Sharpie say, “Perseverance Posse – 2009.” Simply holding this ornament takes me back to the fragile woman whose husband had taken off and left her struggling to believe that God really loved her...


This week I am guest posting on my writing friend, Janis Van Keuren's, blog for her Heartfilled Stories Series. Readers and new subscribers to Janis's blog will be entered in a drawing to win one of four gift cards to Amazon and Starbucks as well as an opportunity to win some of my floral watercolor notecards. 

To continue reading "Perseverance Posse" click this link: 

Click HERE to continue reading:  Please leave some lovin' for Janis her Comments section...Subscribe and win a prize!!

Be blessed...

ps. If you've enjoyed reading my blog posts...why don't you SUBSCRIBE. Just go to the SUBSCRIBE box on my blogsite and enter your contact information. Be sure to look for a confirmation link in your email inbox (check filters). Thanks for reading...

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Finding Grace in the Crucible

Hey Friend,

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Since the fall of man, we are all broken. Label us “damaged goods,” much like the lonely, dented can of green beans on the grocery store shelf or the scratched coffee table marked down to “clearance.” We’ve arrived at somehow being “less than.” We are broken in our affliction, and grace is what we desperately need. There’s one small problem, our pride prevents us from seeing ourselves as the truly sinful and corrupt creatures we are. Take a survey on a busy street corner and the average passerby will tell you that they’ve tried to be a good person and, therefore, are doing okay by the world’s standard.


God, however, doesn’t operate by the world’s standard. He is just and holy, and in order to stand before Him (even when we’re suffering) we need to be just and holy as well. Yes, we can have complete forgiveness and salvation through accepting Jesus as our Savior, but are we then free to continue in our prideful, self-sufficient ways, or does life with Jesus require change?


Thanks to my husband, I’ve become a fan of old war movies. One of our favorites is “Heartbreak Ridge” which stars Clint Eastwood as the hard-nosed, hard-living, burned-every-bridge Marine Gunnery Sergeant, Tom Highway. He takes command of a spoiled, undisciplined recon platoon and is charged with whipping them into shape with a sort of “bootcamp on steroids.” 


My husband’s father was a Marine, and so I’ve asked him if the commanding officers of bootcamp platoons are really as mean, nasty, ill-tempered, and downright ugly as they are portrayed in the movies — His answer? “They’re worse!” In one scene in Heartbreak Ridge, “Gunny,” as his men called him, tells his platoon they’d better turn in early because they’ll be getting up at 0600 for a long run with full gear. The next morning, at 0500, Gunny storms through the barracks, kicking bunks, yelling and cussing up a storm. With spittle flying from his mouth, he bellows, “FALL OUT,” as the bleary-eyed troops come to attention.


“Hey Sarge,” one platoon member interrupts, “I thought you said we’d be getting up at 0600…it’s only 0500!” To which Gunny barks, “So I lied. So, I can’t tell time. So, you think some commie ba$@!#rd is going to make an appointment to blow a hole through your head?”


I’m sure you’re wondering where I’m going with this story! Before Gunny’s bunch of misfits could be trusted in carrying out crucial recon missions, they had to be broken down completely and rebuilt with the grit, discipline, honor, and character that it takes to be a Marine. Before their transformation, these guys may have passed the world’s standard, but they certainly wouldn’t have passed muster with our country’s elite fighting unit.


God is known throughout Scripture as the Lord of Armies. He is the high commander of “good” in this ongoing spiritual battle between good and evil. As believers, we are recruits in the Lord’s army. For us to be trusted and reliable soldiers of the cross, we too, must go through a sort of “bootcamp.” Thankfully, God is nothing like “Gunny,” but we are no good to God if we persist in our fallen ways. God needs to subdue our flesh-life to bring forth resurrection-life in us. This might require taking a turn or two in God’s refining fire.


Scripture, in fact, refers to God as our Refiner. He will allow us to be held close to the red-hot flame in the crucible to cleanse and perfect us. The refining process is meant to burn away all the impurities so that what is left is metal (character) of the finest, highest, and purest quality. It’s painful, but necessary. It doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love us. He can be grieved by our sin, but never — for a moment — stops loving His children. He does, however, care for us enough to want to teach us important life lessons and grow us into Christ’s image.


“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10 ESV)


Affliction has been the crucible in which I have taken many turns. Are you in the crucible of affliction right now? If so, name your affliction. Write its name on an index card. Above your affliction’s name, now, in larger letters, write the name, “Jesus.” Remember Jesus is always above — and greater than— our affliction. God, however, will engage us in a process that:


  • Disorients us
  • Strips us of our comforts
  • Crushes us   

God does this because He is disciplining us and transforming us into the sainted soldiers that He wants us to be, but He will never let the fire consume us because He has engraved us on the palms of His hands.


“But Zion said, “’The Lord has forsaken me,
    the Lord has forgotten me.’”

15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are ever before me.”  (Isaiah 49:14-16 NIV)


Though you are being refined by the fire, the Lord will NEVER let the fire consume you. His power and love are always over and above your affliction. I think of the Bible story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from my Sunday School felt board days. Though they were thrown into the fiery furnace, the dancing tongues of fire never so much as singed their eyebrows. The Lord protected them from being consumed. He is protecting you!


In 2 Corinthians, Paul asked God to remove an affliction in his life that he called a “thorn.”  Theologians love to debate what that thorn was, exactly, but that’s beside the point. God answered Paul by saying, “no.” Instead, God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul then responded, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  (2 Corinthians 12:7–10 ESV)


If God were to remove the source of our pain and suffering every time things got a little uncomfortable, we would never come to experience His all-sufficient grace. The greater the pain, the greater the degree of grace. God’s grace grows in direct proportion to the severity of our suffering. He gives sufficient grace to cover our weakness. I had to learn through my “thorn” experience that when everything I normally relied upon was either exhausted or taken away (my self-sufficiency, my lucidity, my strength), that was the exact moment I came to know that Christ truly was sufficient for my every need. Why does our prideful soul have to dangle, exhausted, over the crevasse of catastrophe before it will accept God’s grace? Are you dangling and in need of God’s grace?


Corrie Ten Boom summed it up this way, “You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.” I may have forsaken some of my childish ways, but I have learned that as I get older, I need to depend on my Heavenly Father more and more. He is my sufficiency, and apart from Him I can do nothing (John 15:5). 

If you would like to receive Christ into your life as Lord and Savior, pray this prayer with me:

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner. I want to turn from my sins, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe He died for my sins and that You raised Him to life. I want Him to come into my heart and to take control of my life. I want to trust Jesus as my Savior and follow Him as my Lord from this day forward. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen. 

Be blessed...

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Sunday, November 6, 2022

Bloganniversary Post & Special Giveaway

Hi Friend,

Nine years ago, I sat in my recliner chair which felt more like being strapped into an amusement ride that was far from amusing. "No weight bearing on that knee for six weeks," ordered the surgeon stearnly. 

I don't know about you, but after about a week, I was climbing the proverbial walls. And God said (not audibly), "Ok Bev, how about you use that writing gift I gave you for my glory?" And so, the blogging journey began. I have to laugh at how completely clueless I was when I started. I even bought "Blogging for Dummies" lol.

Through my blog, I was called to start a global Christian non-profit, which is also celebrating nine years and still going. My zealousness out of the gate on these two callings finally caught up with me and left me feeling a bit weary. I clearly needed rest, refreshment, and rejuvenation as well as some long overdue selfcare. I stepped back a bit from both ministries because, frankly, I looked and felt a bit like the characters from "The Walking Dead."

Selfcare 101: I'd dabbled with acrylics and oil paints in my younger years. In an ambitious moment, I thought, why don't I try watercolors? How hard could it be? After all, as a preschool teacher, I knew kids and watercolors went together like PB&J... Right? I can do this, I coached myself.

Little did I anticipate, but watercolors kicked my butt. When you combine a recovering perfectionist, static paint, and fluid water you get a whole lot of "out-of-control-color"! I just knew God was going to teach me some Biblical, life precepts through this new hobby. 

Perfection and watercolors don't blend well: If I was going to enjoy this, I had to ditch the fear that my version of a peony wasn't going to look like the perfect peonies God creates. I learned to loosen up and go for more of a peony "impression" and that's when it started to become fun.

Complete control is not in the watercolorist's vocabulary (just like complete control is not attainable in life). Even then, the paint, when combined with water and brushed across the paper takes on a life of it's own. If you want it to bleed to the right, it will undoubtedly bleed to the left. As sure as day, the purple lavender sprigs morph with the orangish poppies to make a mud-like mess inbetween. 

Watercolors, like life, require time and patience. When I wanted to add a wet paint on top of an already dried application, I often got impatient for the first layer to dry and so when I added the wet, well...I got a color not found on the color wheel lol.

Unlike acrylics and oils -- when you make a mistake, you can easily go back an hour or a day later and simply cover over your mistake. Watercolors don't work that way. Make a mistake? You need to start with a clean slate -- kind of like how Jesus washes our sins (slates) white as snow when we mess up? I learned for every one painting that turned out well, there were at least ten others that looked like my preschoolers had painted them. God LOVES a humble and contrite heart -- I'm definitely being humbled!

I could go on and on, but we're here to celebrate, right? To celebrate nine (Wow!) wonderful years of meeting some terrifically gifted writers across the globe, I'm doing a drawing for one pack of twelve floral watercolor notecards to the "lucky" person whose name is drawn.

There are 3 each, of 4 different designs. Cards are single panel on premium linen notecard paper. Packs come decoratively wrapped for gift giving (gifting yourself or gifting another). 

Leave a COMMENT on my BLOG or the FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM post where you read this and you'll automatically be entered in the drawing.

I'm also selling my packs of cards during the holiday season. If you'd like to purchase some, here's the scoop:

Christmas shopping anyone?

Private Message me or Email me: to order.


$14./pack  (pack includes 12 cards, 3 each of 4 designs)
Shipping:  $5./one pack -- $5.60/2 packs -- $6./3 packs -- More? ask me.
Shipping to multiple addresses is more. Only US - sorry my International friends


Venmo: @bevritter413
Zelle: 919 649 4454
Check: Bev Rihtarchik, 103 Silver Lining Ln., Cary, NC 27513
Cash & Credit card -- in person only

I can deliver locally in the greater Cary area.

A special thank you to all of you who have read my writing and encouraged me along this journey. I write for an audience of One, so if one earthly person is encouraged or drawn closer to Christ, then I will have attained that for which I was called.

Be blessed...

ps. If you've been enjoying what you read here, I invite you to SUBSCRIBE to my weekly blog (and nothing else). Enter your contact info in the SUBSCIBE box and then be sure to check your email inbox for a special link to confirm your subscription. You can cancel any time. Thanks for reading...