How a Few Bucks Can Change The World

It can be the Christmas season or the middle of July. When we give to a charity or non-profit organization – a little voice inside says, “I wonder how much of the money is actually going to the cause?” Please don’t let that be a hindrance to your giving to proven causes. It is truly amazing the ripple effect a few of your dollars can have for impacting the world.

For example, many non-profit organizations offer a “Christmas catalog” where you can pick and choose what your money will purchase. A catalog I have sitting in a pile of mail offers a fishing net for a third world family for $25. For less than the amount WE (myself included, not pointing fingers) pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime monthly subscriptions – that fishing net can change the course of a family’s life.

Think about the trail that has been started. A father receives the net and no longer has to use poles, spears, or crude tools to catch fish. His net now gives he and his family an abundance of food. They are finally well fed. The father can sell or trade the excess. Now his family could get other food and drink to sustain themselves. Perhaps this family now has an abundance that they can give to someone struggling. This family now has a thriving business because of a $25 net.

You see how powerful the multiplication can be when we are generous, and perhaps even radical givers.

If you are looking for some potential places to give, here are four that can change the world:

  1. Compassion International – one of many organizations where you can sponsor a child with a monthly donation. They receive a nutritious meal every day, an education, and additional support to their family. Plus, you can write letters back and forth – and bless them with birthday and Christmas gifts. This establishment also offers a Christmas catalog through the mail or online.
  2. Gospel for Asia – a dollar a day can be the salary for a missionary and his family in Asia. Plus, $105 can purchase the family a vehicle – a heavy-duty, carefully crafted bicycle. They too have a Christmas catalog.

Two new ones that I just found out about this year:

3. Thistle Farms – They make unique, high-quality candles that can be purchased online or at Whole Foods. What makes the company even more special is that they employ women that have formerly been trapped in prostitution, drug addiction, or human trafficking. This company gives them income, stability, purpose – and most importantly, keeps them off the streets.

4. Charitywater.org – Their mission is vast but simple. Provide every person on the planet access to clean drinking water. Right now, they’ve accomplished 1/66th of that goal. They have separate donors to fund the business side of the charity. They can back up their claim that “100% of your money brings clean water to people in need.” Clean water for everyone. That is a topic everyone can agree upon in spite of political, religious, or social affiliations.

So the next time we sit down to watch Netflix or order from Amazon Prime – maybe let’s think about investing a few dollars into people we will probably never meet – but can help change their lives forever. We can feed and educate a child, free a trapped woman from a pimp, provide a salary for a family for $1 a day, or perhaps help a family start a fishing business. Not a bad way to spend an evening.

What would happen if all of us tried something new with our families this season – a round of binge giving!!!

Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?

And the King will say, I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matthew 25: 37-40)

Would you please share in the comments your favorite charity/cause/ or organization to give and why? It would be great for all of us to hear some new ideas!

Blessings,

Dave

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

 

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Who is in Your Stadium?

Do you ever wonder: Am I really making a difference? Am I just going through the motions of life?

Or perhaps you can strongly relate to what George Bailey’s character went through in It’s a Wonderful Life – you’re beyond frustrated that you just can’t catch a break and will never “get ahead”?

I came across this quote on Instagram from author/speaker Jon Gordon several weeks ago that continues to resonate in my mind:

Just heard that on average one person will influence 80,000 people in the course of their life. Enough to fill a stadium. But remember even if you influence just one person you are a Leader! Choose to be a Positive Leader and make a positive impact.

80,000 people! Thinking about the stadium example – I categorized the people in the seats into three groups:

  1. The Dissatisfied – These are the people who don’t like the game, have bad seats, feel that they paid too much, sit next to the guy with the foam finger or has the shrieking whistle that numbs their hearing. Overall, the game was a rotten experience and they probably won’t come back.  Translation: Think of times I’ve been rude, too busy, hypercritical, hurtful, selfish, and negative. Sometimes we can go back and ask for forgiveness. Unfortunately for others – it was just a one time encounter, or the hurt runs too deep. Hopefully, this group doesn’t take up a lot of seats.
  2. The Satisfied – This group of people enjoys the game, had an excellent view of the action, were present in the moment and felt they got their money’s worth. Translation: People we’ve shown love, selflessness, and kindness to – Family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and strangers. Being nice to the waiter even though they were nervous and brand new. Showing patience as one of our children works through the challenges of life. Giving someone an unexpected gift for no reason other than love. Sometimes it is the smallest gestures that can make a major difference that we don’t even realize. Hopefully, these folks fill up the majority of seats.
  3. The Fully Immersed Fan – They showed up early to tailgate, bought a truckload of souvenirs, and stay until the end whether their team is winning or losing. Some were so influenced by what they experienced – they want to financially invest in the team beyond just being a fan. Translation: People we’ve impacted not only because we showed them love and kindness – but also that we help set their life on a new and positive trajectory. A teenager with a low self-esteem you encouraged to pursue their dreams. An unknown person freed from human trafficking because you gave financially to an organization. A child who was given hope towards the future because you sent a small shoebox with Christmas gifts. Maybe it was a friend you just sat with and said nothing as they went through the process of losing a loved one. Hopefully, our stadiums are packed with these people.

Over two decades ago, I was on maximum overload. We had a new baby and a teenager, I was teaching full-time, taking graduate courses, and valet parking on evenings and weekends. It was New Year’s Eve – and the last thing I wanted to do was valet park for all the people out having a good time and celebrating. Around midnight in a cranky and exhausted mood, I pulled up a gentleman’s car. Getting out – I hoped he would give me a few bucks as a tip. He said, “Thank you for working tonight.” He then proceeded to hand me two twenty-dollar bills (which was a fortune for a tip over two decades ago). My energy, attitude, and perspective changed because of his generosity and empathy.

I’ll never know who that man was. But I’m sitting and cheering in his stadium.

Blessings,

Dave

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

P.S. Above I mentioned the power of encouraging young people with our words. If you would like a perspective on what is going on in their minds – please grab a copy of my book Five Toughest Decisions Teens Make available at this link:

https://amzn.to/2E3Lak1

P.P.S. Thanks!!!

 

 

 

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The ghost you’ve probably encountered . . .

Fear is such prevailing issue, I’ve focused on it the last two months:

https://davidrische.com/2018/09/ and

https://davidrische.com/2018/08/

I wanted to close out the series with a final word (maybe) on the topic. Why does it seem that there are certain things we just can’t seem to get past? Or if we are victorious, why do we sometimes we fall back into the same patterns again of uncertainty, lack of confidence, doubt, and of course, fear?

The Bible talks quite a bit about the unseen/spiritual realm. The Apostle Paul viewed it like this:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 14:8)

For the purpose of this writing, I’m going to use the words ghost and spirit interchangeably. Check out this passage:

For God hath not given us the spirit (ghost – my word) of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (KJV)

So according to this verse – such a being exists called “the spirit of fear.” The good news is that God hasn’t given it to us. Unfortunately for a myriad of reasons – most of us still end up receiving this spirit. The great news is that the answer to fighting it is found in the very same sentence. In fact, the spirit of fear is outnumbered 3 to 1. We battle that spirit with power from God, love from God, and a sound mind from God’s Word.

Power – But Jesus looked at them and said,  “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) God’s power, might, and strength can easily overshadow any evil spirit, especially fear.

LoveGod is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them . . . Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. (1 John 4:16, 18) Pretty self-explanatory! And finally . . .

Sound MindYou will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3) It is phenomenal how much research is out there regarding the power of our thoughts, attitudes, and mindsets. What is even more amazing is the power we have to choose for our thoughts to go a different direction when fear and anxiety start to creep in. Replacing negative and fearful thoughts with scriptures, thankfulness, gratitude, hope, and positivity – helps overload our brains with the truth.

The Prophet Isaiah leaves us with this word of encouragement:

Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Blessings,

Dave

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

P.S. If you haven’t received my free guide “Overcoming Fears” – please shoot me a quick email and I will send it to you. My address is: david.rische@gmail.com and put “fear guide” in the subject line.

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Google Knows What You’re Afraid Of

Have you had an experience like this when on your computer? It is concerning when I accidentally clicked on a Statistics Conference in Baltimore – and now I am receiving non-stop notifications, advertisements, and alerts about it. How about this one: You are casually talking to someone about something – you go online, and that very thing you were talking about is in an ad? That’s spooky.

You can find almost anything on Google. I did a search wondering about: what do people fear the most? The majority of the lists are similar, so I condensed them into one. To find out what they are – please email me at david.rische@gmail.com (paste into your email server). In the subject line simply put “fear guide”. I will send you a free full-color guide I created (might take a few days – I’m a one man operation). The top ten and one-half fears are listed, but each one is also accompanied with a scripture verse. God’s Word is used to comfort us, give us hope, and equip us with weapons against fear.

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10: 4,5)

Please contact me for this resource. I would also like to add you to my email subscriber list if you’re not already on there.

Blessings,

Dave

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

P.S. Again that’s david.rische@gmail.com. Subject line “fear guide”. Even though it is Photoshopped – my favorite picture is on the very last page of the guide. In the comments or through an email reply, please let me know if the guide helps you 🙂

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FEAR – What It Really Stands For

Fear, anxiety, and stress can be an unholy trinity. One or more of the three are probably present somewhere our lives right now. Watching the news or browsing the internet usually adds fuel to the fire – rarely do we walk away feeling better, encouraged, or inspired. Out of the three – Fear is the king. When we’re afraid – that smoothly leads down the path to anxiety and stress.

Fear of the future. Fears from the past. Fears about running out of money. Fear of not being able to pay off an insurmountable pile of debt. Fear of losing our jobs. Fear of a health diagnosis. Fear of terrorists. Fear of war. Fear of death. Fear of letting our kids go outside alone. Fear if our kids are going to turn out okay. Fear that someone is upset with us. Fear that a relationship is not going to work out. Fear of public speaking.

I could go on for pages and pages. This is such a predominant topic that I want to spend the next few blogs unmasking this subject. Plus, I have a free resource that will be available in just a few weeks can help you in your fight against fear.

The word “fear” is really an acronym. Two of the acronyms are negative, one is positive. It all depends on our perspective we choose to take. I’ve heard these acronyms in speeches, sermons, and they are all over the internet – so I have no idea who to give credit to for creating them.

  1. FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real. The stories we tell ourselves. A thought enters our minds and a downward spiral begins. I’ve read studies showing that 85% to as high as 95% of what we fear is going to happen never does. Or, our image of what could happen compared to what really happens is drastically different.
  2. FEAR = Forget Everything And Run. Of course, there are those obvious things to run from – a snake in your path (actually, slowly walk backward with snakes), a natural disaster coming your way, or a bad decision that you need to walk away from, or someone trying to take advantage of you. I’m talking more about: The uncomfortable conversation we need to have and avoid – or better yet, go gripe to someone else about it. The position we want to try out for – but are afraid we won’t get it and talk ourselves out of even attempting it. Frustration with our finances – but unwilling to do anything to change our lifestyles. Feelings of hopelessness when you consider pursuing a dream. If any of these resonate with you – I’m right there too.

However, there is another way to confront our fears:

3. FEAR = Face Everything And Rise. Reflect on the words of Franklin Roosevelt, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Really think deeply about that statement. Author John Eldredge puts it this way, “Walk right into those situations you normally run from. Speak right to the issues you normally remain silent over . . . this is where you will discover your strength, in the daily details of your life. Begin to taste your true strength and you’ll want more.” (Wild at Heart) Sara Bareilles sings, ” . . . I want to see you be brave!!!”

Don’t get me wrong. If our children end up in the hospital – the common, normal response is fear. It’s how we are wired and is our first reaction. However, after that – we can choose to control our second reaction. Possibly filling our minds with positive thoughts, pray, talk to somebody, read Scripture,  and keep clinging to hope.

Bonus acronym from the internet!

Face It
Explore It
Accept It
Rise Above

Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear.  (1 John 4:18 NLT)

 

Blessings,

Dave

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

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Becoming Spirtitual S.E.A.L.S.

The Navy SEALs continue to fascinate me, two of my blogs have been about them in the past (please see June 1, 2017  and November 2015). Who knows everything they secretly accomplish behind the scenes and what sacrifices they pay? Part of me wants to become one – without becoming one. Many leadership books and articles about them have come across my path. I bought a SEAL t-shirt at a speaking engagement and frequently wear it in public. As of today, no one has asked me if I’m a current or former SEAL.  For $19.95, I purchased an online course called “The Navy SEAL 30 Day Mental Toughness Challenge.”  So far I’m 67 days into it – and still haven’t finished.

One day on a walk, I was contemplating if there was some type of equivalent to the Navy SEALs in the spiritual realm? A way to go deeper in our relationship with God? We know the obvious ways of studying the Bible, praying, going to church, serving, giving, and sharing our faith with others. Is there something more? After extensive searching and reflection – I created an acronym for SEALS:

Silence
Eating Less (or Fasting)
Alertness
Leisure (or a Sabbath Day)
Suffering

Let’s break down each one of them. Please don’t attempt all of these at once.

  1. Silence – Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46: 10) It is incredibly difficult to sit still and do nothing. Boredom has become a thing of the past. Multiple studies show that we look at our phones over 100 times per day! Psychiatrists are now treating people of all ages with the clinical diagnosis of Screen Addiction, Hypertexting, Social Isolation, and Facebook Depression (from the book Glow Kids). One remedy? How about a daily walk (and leave your phone)? C.S. Lewis believed if physically capable, everyone should take a walk every day. Maybe start small, 3 out of 7 days. It is a chance to think freely, create, dream, pray, vent, admire the outdoors, and be thankful. If nothing else, you’ll be a hero in your dog’s eyes.
  2. Eating Less (or Fasting) – I denied myself by fasting for them. (Psalm 35:13) One common theme found throughout the Bible is that when people were serious about praying, fasting was accompanied with it. This is not a way to “twist God’s arm” – but a way to humble ourselves, dedicate that eating time to God, and to get a little bit uncomfortable. Confession time – I struggle big time with this one. My four basic food groups are Mexican, Italian, BBQ, and Chocolate. Again, start small. Maybe miss one meal during the week. Spend that time with God instead.
  3. Alertness – Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. (1 Peter 5: 8,9) This one speaks for itself – having discernment about what is really going on around you. Jon Gordon states that “the narrative of the universe is the tale of good vs. evil.” Just look at all of the popular stories and movies with this theme (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Superheroes, Disney films). In the Old Testament, it is said that from the tribe of Issachar, “All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take” (1 Chronicles 12: 32). We can pray to God for true insight, and ask Him for the eyes to see beyond the physical into the invisible realm.
  4. Leisure (or a Sabbath day) – Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. (Exodus 20: 8) This can be a fun one if we allow it! A day off of pleasure, resting, and leisure – and it doesn’t have to be Sunday! Two great books on this subject are Sabbath by Dan Allender and Addicted To Busy by Brady Boyd. Allender states: “The Sabbath is an invitation to enter delight. The Sabbath, when experienced as God intended, is the best day of our lives. Without question or thought, it is the best day of the week. It is the day we anticipate.” Do we have anything that remotely resembles that in our fast-paced, schedule packed, and screen driven lives? This one is easy – pick one day of the week, every week. Schedule nothing – or, incredibly fun activities that will rejuvenate and connect you and your family.
  5. Suffering – Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later. (Romans 8: 18) This is the toughest and probably the least popular one. The other 4 we have a choice in the matter. Christine Caine states, “Trials and tribulations don’t check with your schedule.” Suffering is extremely personalized – from the teenager being bullied – to the citizen of China who belongs to an underground church and fears for his life. SEALs get so tough because of their intense, painful, and extremely uncomfortable training. In a similar way, we grow in character and strength – through struggles, hassles, disappointments, tragedy, pain, and loss. The apostle Paul reassures that we’re not alone:  But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.  (Romans 8:17)

A Navy SEAL spends nearly every day of their career focusing on getting 1% better than the day before – what would happen if we did the same?

Blessings,

Dave 🙂

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

P.S. There is so much more material on these topics – please let me know in Comments if you’d perhaps be interested in reading a book regarding this subject sometime in the future 🙂

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Discovered! The Lost Kingdom of Elysium

Deep inside, don’t you think life should be getting easier the older and wiser we get? Shouldn’t there be fewer problems, issues, stress, disappointments – and more money stashed away?

Why is it then . . .

We go to the doctor for one thing, and they find something else?

You pay top dollar to have the AC fixed in your car, but they also discover you need a new set of tires to replace the bald ones?

The exterminator takes care of the fire ant armies attacking your land, only to discover clans of squirrels that have discovered a cozy residence in many private entrances to your attic?

How can we be middle-aged and still battling acne???

BTW – All the above situations are purely fiction and hypothetical 🙂

So what in the world does my above ranting have to do with Elysium? What in the heck is Elysium? I’m glad you asked!

Several ancient cultures, primarily the Greek and Romans, believed in something besides Heaven when we die, a magical paradise called Elysium. Here are just a few samples of the writings from that period:

. . . to the Elysian plain . . . where life is easiest for men . . . ” – Homer

“. . . And they live untouched by sorrow . . . ” – Hesiod

“. . . The good receive a life free from toil . . .” – Pindar

A place of paradise, an easy life, no sorrow, free from toil – that sounds pretty great right about now! Basically, it would be heaven on earth – where do I sign up???

My light bulb moment is that deep in the back of my mind – I somehow think I should eventually achieve an “Elysium lifestyle” before my time is up. Things will stop breaking down, illness will cease, problems should be minuscule, and piles of money will somehow come rolling in on a fairly consistent basis.

The Kingdom of Elysium is an unhealthy mindset that I frequently default to during the here and now.

Author Ryan Holiday has this brilliant insight:

Elysium is a myth. One does not overcome an obstacle to enter the land of no obstacles. On the contrary, the more you accomplish, the more things will stand in your way. There are always more obstacles, bigger challenges. You’re always fighting uphill. Get used to it and train accordingly.” (The Obstacle is the Way)

Two solutions come to mind: thankfulness and perspective. I’m thankful to have a vehicle, a home, a job, family and friends, some savings, and doctors to go to.

My perspective needs to embrace the mindset that we don’t get heaven now – we don’t even get Eden. The same God who showers us with innumerable blessings also allows mysterious calamity to frequent our lives. True, unshakeable joy and peace come when our life purpose is centered around loving God and others.

Blessings,

Dave

https://www.amazon.com/author/davidrische

 

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