December 2019

My favorite Jesus

Dr. Rikki Permenter

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:1

“Well, my favorite is the Christmas Jesus.” As I sit in a semi local coffee shop the other day I overheard a few kids talking about Jesus. Not in an overly spiritual way but more in a if-Jesus-was-a-superhero-way. They were obviously homeschooled, as they were doing school work in a coffee place mid-day on a school day, and obviously from a Christian family. 

Everyone has different versions of themselves. There is the “adult” version that gets things done, the “fun” version that is spontaneous and lives in the present, the “mean” one (or “mean mommy” as my kid says) that enforces the rules and doesn’t condone candy for breakfast. While we have all these versions of ourselves, we are just one person. Sometimes we have to utilize our different “selves” to get things done during the day but we are simply just one “us”. 

In the same way, you can’t pick and choose your favorite Jesus, or God for that matter. As the little kids debated between the “Christmas Jesus” and the “Flipping over tables Jesus” they were failing to see he is just one person. The same Jesus who came as a baby all tender and mild is the same Jesus who flipped over tables in righteous anger on people selling in temple. You have to look at the whole Jesus from Scripture. If you only like the “fun” Jesus or the “nice” Jesus you’ve made up a God in your mind. He isn’t real and that image you’ve made is a form of idolatry. Just like we’re only one person - all the “Jesus” personalities found in biblical stories make one person and that person is one with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.  

Take some time to ask yourself a few questions. Which Jesus are you worshiping today? Do you have a favorite you like to imagine? Do you prefer to ignore parts of Jesus’ personality that don’t seem nice or fun? Have you created an idol in your mind that isn’t the biblical Jesus at all?

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter.

October 2019

Your Value

Dr. Rikki Permenter

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.“So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:30-31

In counseling, I see a good number of clients who don’t realize their worth and value. They think they are unimportant, unloved, unknown, or overlooked. They don’t see their value to others around them. Usually, this stems is a negative frame of reference. A negative frame of reference is when you disregard the good things you hear or see about yourself and over emphasize the negative things to hear or see about yourself. An easy way to spot this in yourself or others if when you take your weaknesses and compare them to others who have those things as strengths. Then you take your strengths and discount them as “well, anyone can do that” or “that isn’t a big deal, it’s easy.”

A few Sundays ago I did Children’s time for our church. I had a twenty dollar bill and asked the kids if they wanted it. Of course they all said “yes!” I asked them why they wanted it and they all told me in different ways that it was worth $20 and they could buy things with it. I folded it in half and asked “What about now? It is folded. Do you still want it?” and they all said “yes.”  because it was still worth $20. I then crumpled it up and threw it to the ground and stepped on it. I asked again, “what about now?” Each child still wanted it. They knew that it didn’t matter what happened to the bill that it was still worth $20. 

While it is easy to see a twenty is worth twenty dollars no matter what shape it is in, it is hard to see our own worth no matter what shape we’re in. It is like we trust the bank more than God. The bank says a twenty has value and we believe them. God says we have value and worth but we don’t always believe Him. We have worth and value to God because he made us and gave us inherent value. Just like that twenty was made to hold twenty dollars worth of value, we are made in God’s image hold the value of a child of God. We have inherent worth and value to Him, we were made that way. Do you have a negative frame of reference? Think it over today and decide to view yourself with all the value and worth God has made you with. 

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter.

September 2019

Being Prepared

Dr. Rikki Permenter

"preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”

2 Timothy 4:2

This Sunday I got conned into doing Children’s Time in “big church” by my husband. This isn’t anything new. It happens a good bit if our children’s is out for some reason. She will talk to Cole early on and let him know if she will be out and he will promptly forget about the conversation until the ten minutes between Sunday school and our church service. During this time he will find me in the congregation and say something like “Hey Rikki, you got Children’s Time, right?” 

If you’ve never met me in person it may surprise you to know that I’m incredibly introverted and hate being in the spotlight. Children’s Time is really, really not my thing. If I refute, my husband comes back with a rebuke from Paul’s letter to Timothy. He reminds me that I need to be prepared in and out of season and take advantage of any opportunity to preach the Word. 

Today take some time to consider if you are ready to preach the Word, in or out of season. Even if preaching isn’t really your thing, even if you’re shy, or introverted, or just a quiet person. Sometimes God (and our spouse) call us to do things that aren’t really in line with our personalities. Sometimes this is a thing God uses to stretch us and it is okay (just a little uncomfortable). Are you ready? 

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter.

August 2019


Dr. Rikki Permenter

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 

Psalm 37:3

This year my daughter started Pre-K. The school she is attending is not really “new” to us. My husband is a former employee, coaches there, and is a chaplain for their football team. Today was her first day as a student. We woke her up early enough to have a small photo shoot before dropping her off at her class. She loved it. When we picked her up later that afternoon she was all smiles as my husband threw her on his shoulders and we walked back to the car across campus. She smiled and waved to everyone we passed like she was prom queen. My daughter knows she “belongs” there. She isn’t an outsider or new - this is where she belongs. 

What would happen if we approached life this way? What would change if we knew we “belonged” where God had us. What if we decided we were not an outsider or new simply because we were where God intends for us to be doing what he intends for us to do? The reality is, God has you where you are doing what you’re doing on purpose. He knows you’re there. It isn’t an oversight. If he wanted to move you - trust me - he would. He knows your address and where to find you.  Trust in the Lord where you are with what you have and do good with it. Enjoy where you are and it’s safety. 

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter.

July 2019


Dr. Rikki Permenter

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:1

Just to keep you updated, our sweet & little Hudson James is one and a half years old. She is so much fun. One and a half is such a fun age. Lately, she has been mimicking things she sees. She has twin cousins who are a year old that she loves to play with. She saw one of them doing something she knew they shouldn’t and she yelled “No ma'am!” across the room. This is something she has experienced numerous times in her life. She responded just like I would respond to her. I’ve caught her pretending to wash her own hair in the bath. I’ve caught her biting her fingernails - a really bad habit she has seen her Daddy do. When she takes a sip of a drink she throws her head back and gives a loud “ahhhhh” - another funny thing she’s seen her Daddy do. She wants to use her own fork and spoon, sit in a big girl chair, and use a straw - all things she sees us doing every day. She loves to imitate us. 

In his letter to Corinth, Paul urges them to imitate him as he imitates Christ. I’ve tried to be very aware that my sweet little girl watches me and imitates random things I do. Am I living in a manner I want her to imitate? Paul was not only living a life worth imitating but he urged others to imitate him as he imitated Christ. Is this a claim I can make to my child, my family, my friends, my co-workers, and even my acquaintances? 

You can’t imitate someone you don’t know. Paul was confident he knew Christ in such a way that others could imitate Christ by following him. My child mimics the things she sees. She spends large amounts of time with me and then does things the way she sees me do them. She learns me through my actions. Do my actions mimic Christ? Do your actions mimic Christ? Take some time this month to evaluate if the people you spend your time with can imitate you as you imitate Christ. 

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter.

June 2019


Dr. Rikki Permenter

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

Have you ever knew God was up to something in your life? Like, you could just feel something big coming but you didn’t know what, when, or where? Maybe you’re pregnant with a ministry idea or are developing a love for a people group for no apparent reason. Maybe God is giving you just a hint of something he wants you to do but you don’t really know when it will happen or how. It is just like being pregnant, but pregnant with a promise. 

When God gives you hints of his plan for you: PRAY. Commit to pray about it until it becomes clear what it is he wants and the when and where will come along. You may never get a why or a how but God’s will for you usually just works in a way you could never have come up with. Just like God’s promise in Jeremiah to the exiles, rest assured God has a plan and and know it will be for ultimate good. 

All this to say we’re pregnant. Pregnant with a baby. We’re expecting another little girl in November and wanted to share the good news with you. Her name will be Magnolia Ruth - after a Great Aunt and a promise God fulfilled through a Moabite. 

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter.

May 2019

Big Decisions

Dr. Rikki Permenter

You make your plans but God directs your actions. 

Proverbs 16:9

Lately my husband and I have had a handful of big decisions to make. We’ve prayed about them, gone back and forth about them, sought wise counsel, and talked to each other about them. The big decisions we had to make weren’t things that were explicitly talked about in the Bible - the Bible was silent on these things. No where in Scripture did it say “do this” or “don’t do this” in regard to our choice. We were kind of stumped. Have you ever had to make a big decision and it was something the Bible was silent on? 

After much deliberation we finally decided that if the choice we made would help us to do the things that are explicitly stated as “do this” in the Bible and would help us stay away from things that are explicitly stated as “don’t do this” than we would choose to do it. While every decision you have to make in life is not explicitly spelled out in Scripture, you do have everything you need in there to make God glorifying decisions. 

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter.

March 2019

Good Gifts 

Dr. Rikki Permenter

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Matthew 7:11

Last summer we had an event with huge slip-n-slide and grilled hot dogs for our youth and children at the church. We bought a huge roll of clear plastic sheeting, an economy size bottle of dish soap, and a huge inflatable swan. After we got it all set up and ran the hose over and the kids ran and slid for hours. They had such a good time - and even a few adults had a good time, too. During this event, I had some family in town that was staying with us for a few days. They have a 6-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter. When they first came out and saw the party the little boy said to me, “Aunt Rikki, you guys had this party, and everyone came just for us?” Not to burst his bubble, I said: “Yes, buddy this party is just for y’all to hang out and play!” 

This little guy saw all the festivities and just knew we planned it all for him. In reality, we planned it for all the kids - so I wasn’t exactly lying. He knew his family loved him and assumed we would give him good gifts and plan good things for him. He just knew it… because he knows us. This got me thinking that sometimes we assume that things God has for us aren’t going to be fun or we aren’t going to like them. I often hear things like this, “I knew it was God’s plan because it was the last thing I would ever want to do.” Hear me, God has good gifts and plans for us. He loves us and wants to do what is in our best interest and what is for His glory. 

We should approach God, our Father, with the same attitude as that little boy. We should expect to see the good things he has to give us and has planned for us. If I, who is sinful and selfish at my core, can give great stuff to a kid - how much greater is what God has in store?  If I (Rikki) then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter. 

February 2019

The Best Valentine

Dr. Rikki Permenter

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

John 3:16

I write to you today from an elementary school classroom. It is February 13 and the energy is electric. Tomorrow is the big day. February 14. Valentines Day. Valentines Day is a big deal when you’re eight. The stakes are high. You’ve got to make your very own mail box and you’ve got to personalize a valentine for each person in your class. It doesn’t matter who you are - the rules are clear - everyone gets a valentine from everyone else. At the end of the day, each kid will have a big box stuffed full of valentine notes, candies, and treats but it isn’t theirs until they take it. 

These valentine treats make me think of the greatest valentine. The valentine we get from God. Jesus died on the cross for our sins and has gifted each of us a box stuffed full of forgiveness. That forgiveness has our name on, he wrote it there specifically, handpicking it with us in mind. But, remember, the forgiveness isn’t ours until we take it. 

Ask any elementary student if they want to leave their newly acquired box of goodies at school - heck no! It is theirs and they want it. They don’t just want to talk about it or know they have it sitting in the class - they want to take each valentine into their little hands and eat each treat. 

This valentines season I hope you took time to truly take hold of the forgiveness that God has offered you in the form of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection. It is yours - but you have to take it! Having your name on it isn’t enough. 

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter. 

January 2019

Sleep Training 

Dr. Rikki Permenter

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:17

Over the last hand full of months, I’ve been sleep training a kid. She’s one now - she’s not a baby anymore and she really should be able to sleep through the night and she usually does… now. At first, we would rock her to sleep and gently set her in her crib and then ninja roll and stealthily sneak out of the room so we didn’t wake her up. She would inevitably wake up within two or so hours and scream until I ran to her rescue (which was usually about one minute later). Over the first few months that she slept in her own room and in her own bed she woke three, four, five, or even more times a night and I would quickly drag myself into her room and rock her back to sleep - only to do it all again maybe minutes later. After many sleepless nights, tears, and countless cups of coffee my husband had a talk with me. He leveled with me and told me that even though my daughter didn’t like it, she had to learn how to put herself back to sleep. That even though it broke my heart to hear her crying out in confusion and sorrow, the pain was necessary. The pain and sadness were helping her learn how to put herself back to sleep. Now, she (and I) are much more well rested and much happier. Through the hard time, she learned a necessary skill. 

How often are just like my daughter. We cry out to the Lord in pain, in sorrow, in the midst of confusion and sometimes he doesn’t quickly run into our rooms and fix the problem. He knows the bigger picture. He sees that the pain is necessary. The times of pain, sorrow, and confusion are teaching us necessary skills. They are helping us to become who he needs for us to be. Just like Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, we have to look at the eternal. Our light and momentary afflictions are transient. 

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter. 

December 2018


Dr. Rikki Permenter

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, 

to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 

Titus 3:1

In October our church’s nominating committee scoured our sanctuary’s pews to find the perfect teachers for each Sunday school class and the perfect volunteers for each committee. I’m not on that nominating committee (praise the Lord) but my husband is. This year I got volun-told to teach a Sunday school class. If we’re being fair, my husband volun-tells me to teach one every year - this year I just finally submitted to his God-given authority. (Yay for me being submissive, it only took 8 years.) I’m now the proud teacher of our Women’s Sunday school class. 

I think it took me 8 years to finally give in because I knew the huge responsibility that teaching a Sunday school class entails. Not only do you have to be there every Sunday (on time) but you have to be in the right frame of mind and with a lesson prepared. It isn’t just a Sunday-only gig, either. To do it right you truly want to live life with your class members and pray for them each by name regularly. 

Since it’s been a month or so, I’ve had time to reflect and I really do love to teach this class. I didn’t know I would love it as much as I do until I actually did it. God, like my husband, knows us better than we know ourselves. He calls us to do things that he knows we are equipped for and will enjoy. He presses it upon our hearts until we (finally) are submissive to the call. Is there any task that the Lord has laid upon your heart to do for a while that seems overwhelming? Is there a task that he keeps bringing to you that just don’t know if you would enjoy? Take time this new year to submit. You may find that He knows you better than you know yourself. You may find you do truly enjoy whatever it is he has equipped and called you to do.  

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter. 

November 2018

Even After You Quit

Dr. Rikki Permenter, Ph.D., Th. M.

So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but is shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 

Isaiah 55:11

One night this week our little weenie dog woke me up in the middle of the night and needed to go outside. She was standing on my chest pawing me like she was Lassie telling me little Timmy was in the well. I got up and walked to the back door and flipped on the outside lights and opened the door to let her out. I looked up through the back door windows and saw a whole deer family in our garden. I don’t know if I’ve updated you guys on the disaster that is our garden right now but it is done producing for the season and weeds have overtaken it. We kinda quit on it after we harvested the last of our jalapeños a few weeks back. 

The next morning while I was drinking my coffee God had me thinking about how sometimes He uses our efforts even when we have quit putting forth the effort, even when we have deemed it a failure, even when we think its past the point of being usable, and even when we don’t realize it. That whole deer family (mom, dad, a teenager looking deer, and two little babies) were all benefitting from something my husband did months and months ago that he had even quit thinking about. They benefitted in the middle of the night - when we were (supposed to be) sleeping and without our knowledge. 

How many times has God given you a ministry or project to do that you have deemed a failure? How many times have you seen something and thought that there was no way God could use this or anyone could benefit from it? You never truly see the full impact of your kingdom work. Sometimes people benefit from your efforts in the metaphorical middle of the night when you’re sleeping and you are totally unaware that anyone is even thinking about or still aware of all your hard work. Sometimes the people who benefit the most from your hard work aren’t even the people you intended to benefit at all. Keep this in mind when you get discouraged about kingdom work. Think bigger than your ideas and plans. His Word never comes back void. 

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter. 

October 2018

Outside Your Car Experience

Dr. Rikki Permenter, Ph.D., Th. M.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 

1 John 1:8

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you may have noticed that essential oils are all the rage lately. Some people have made the shift from pharmaceuticals to natural remedies whenever possible. I was not on board until a recent trip to Haiti. I had a minor ailment and talked to a nurse who was with us about how to treat it with what we had with us. She gave me a concoction of two essential oils to rub on it and I was cured. I was hesitant to believe it would work but I was willing to try. When it worked I was shocked and completely on board with essential oils. Now if you came to my house you would see an arsenal of different oils, smell all kinds of oils diffusing, and I would be rubbing them on my kid and even you for whatever ails you. I have a variety of diffusers and even have one for my car. 

I recently started diffusing lavender in my car while I’m driving. At first, when I get in and start it up it smells wonderful. After a while, in the car, I don’t notice it anymore. I thought my diffuser wasn’t working well. I didn’t notice until I got out at the post office the other day and got back in that my car really smelled strong… like super strong… like I bet the car next to me at a red light could smell it. When I was in the middle of it and it was all around me I didn’t notice it getting stronger and stronger. I couldn’t even really tell it was there. When I had this realization I could almost hear God saying to me, “this is what sin is like.” 

At first, you notice sin and it is obvious to you but the longer you surround yourself with it and immerse yourself in it the less likely you are to see it. If you were to step outside of your life and look over it would be totally obvious to you, too but when you’re in the middle of sin you can’t always see it. When you grow accustomed to sin it begins to feel normal to you. Do you need to take an outside look at your life today? Take a minute to pull over at an imaginary post office, put your car in park, get out, and then get back in. What do you see, smell, hear, and feel? Is there sin that you have grown accustomed to? Is there sin that is has gotten so strong that others can see it from the car next to you at a red light and you are oblivious to it? Take a minute to pray that God gives you an outside your car experience this week. 

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter. 

September 2018

What would Jesus do?

Dr. Rikki Permenter, Ph.D., Th. M.

For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.

Luke 19:10

A few months back I was sitting in a women’s Bible study in town. One of the “assignments” the curriculum asked us to do was to informally interview a person who didn’t identify as a Christian and document their answers to discuss with the group when we met next. During the week allotted I realized that I didn’t routinely interact with anyone who didn’t identify as a Christian. Anyone I could interview would essentially be a stranger to me that I walked up to in a store or at the gas station. This made me sad. When the group met the next week, each of the fifteen or so members had the same story. This made me really sad. That same day I had a serious conversation with my husband about how I can’t share the Gospel with people if I’m not around them. That same week I applied to teach a class at a secular university — just so I could be around people who don’t necessarily identify as Christian. 

The more I thought about this experience the more I thought about the WWJD bracelets of the early 90s. What would Jesus do? What did Jesus do? He surrounded himself with all kinds of people… on purpose. He didn’t just hang out with his friends who looked like him, thought like him, and liked the same things he liked. Do you spend time with all kinds of people? Or do you only spend time with your friends, family, or church family? Do you put yourself in the path of non-Christian with the expressed purpose of leading them to Christ? 

This month consider how you can make yourself available to non-Christians around you. What can you do to interact with them on a routine basis to get to know them and to help them get to know Jesus? How can you imitate Jesus in seeking out the lost with the intent of pointing them to the one who saves?

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter. 

August 2018

Just Around the Corner

Dr. Rikki Permenter, Ph.D., Th. M.



The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.

Psalm 145:18



    My husband and I have a beautiful, spunky, and very social 7-month-old daughter. She loves nothing more than to hang out with us all day. Normally her stuffed tiger or her pet weenie dog is perfect company and keep her completely entertained. She doesn’t necessarily want my husband or I to hold her all day - she just wants to know we’re there. When she is playing in her baby gym while were in the front of the house we have it set up where we can always see her. The thing is, she is short and everything else is tall. She can’t always see us. Occasionally, we will be doing something and she will realize that she can’t see us and will think we have left her all alone. She will let out a loud wail almost demanding we save her from some peril that we know doesn’t exist. All we have to do is peak our head from around the corner, or over a sofa, or from behind the island and her face will break out in the biggest grin. She knows she is safe because we are right there, and have been right there all along. She just couldn’t see us. 

    Sometimes I’m just like my daughter. I get caught up in life with the adult equivalent of a stuffed tiger, a pet weenie dog, or a play gym and look up and think I’m all alone. I can’t see God. I can’t see what He is doing, where He went, and I don’t know when He is coming back. I freak out and I cry out to God. I ask him where He has been, why He left me all alone, and wonder if I did something to warrant the abandonment. That the point when He sticks His head out from whatever is in my way and I see He has been right there all along. He could see me the whole time - it was just from my vantage point that I couldn’t see Him. The peril I was facing seems to vanish when I focus on Him. 

    Think about your relationship with God. Do you feel that he is far off? Do you think He has left you alone to fend for yourself? Just call out to Him and He will show you that He has been right there all along — you just couldn’t see Him from where you were sitting. 



his article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter. 


July 2018

Taking the First Step

Dr. Rikki Permenter, Ph.D., Th. M.

“He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.”

Matthew 14:29



    Last week I met a guy named Randy. We were on a short-term mission trip in Haiti. This was Randy’s first mission trip. When he heard about the trip he was unsure of what he would like to do once we got there. He could choose from construction, VBS, or teaching at a pastor’s conference. Teaching wasn’t really his thing. VBS wasn’t something he really wanted to do. Construction could be a fit for him - but he didn’t really do construction at home. He knew God was calling him to make the trip but he didn’t quite know why. He was obedient and made the trip - hoping it would make more sense when he got there and God would use him in some way. 

    Last week civil unrest broke out in Haiti. Our mission team was locked down on a compound for four days. While we were there a few men gathered together and made plans to keep our mission team safe. Randy is active military. Randy was gifted in securing a perimeter, being on the lookout for things that don’t belong, and keeping his team safe. God had plans for Randy but didn't tell him about them until he needed to know. Because of Randy’s obedience, even when he didn’t fully understand why, our team was kept safe. 

    Sometimes God doesn’t tell you all the details you would like to know. Sometimes he places a seemingly random thing on your heart or He calls you to do a thing that doesn’t make sense. Remember this story about Randy - remember that God knows what he is doing even when you don’t. He has a way of putting you in the right place, at the right time, with the right skill set to give Him glory. 

    Ask yourself this month how God can use you. Work on developing the trust to follow God even when you don’t fully understand. When he says “Come” — don’t ask question or second guess. Just get out of the boat. 



his article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter. 

June 2018


Dr. Rikki Permenter, Ph.D., Th. M.

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”

Screwtape, C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters



    In C.S. Lewis’ fictional Screwtape Letters a young demon, Wormwood, is being discipled by an older and more experienced demon, Screwtape. Screwtape tutors Wormwood on how to trip up a would-be believer and new believer. When it comes to spiritual warfare most people give the devil way too much credit or nowhere near enough credit. They either assume a demon is hiding behind every bush or they don’t think about demons at all. 

    According to Screwtape, “It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality, our best work is done by keeping things out.” The best work of the devil is to keep you from thinking of spiritual things. In Romans 12:2 we’re reminded “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We must re-new our mind to think upon spiritual things. In psychology, this is known as cognitive behavioral therapy -  or changing the way you think, to change the way you feel, to change your behaviors. One of the only things you can really change about yourself naturally is the way you think. You can actually change how your brain works by changing the way you think. 

    This month, take time to remind yourself to think of the spiritual realm. Are you thinking too much of it or not enough? Do you give the devil and demons more credit than they are due or not enough? Take time to make habits to renew your mind and help you to remember things of the spiritual world.


This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter. 

May 2018

Get Up and Eat

Dr. Rikki Permenter, Ph.D., Th. M.

Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you. 

1 Kings 19:7



    How do you know when your life is too chaotic - when you’ve overextended, said yes too many times, and taken on more than you should? Do you have a way to gauge? In my counseling practice I’ve noticed that most people don’t realize it until it is way too late - until they are burned out, stressed, and resentful. 

    In 1 Kings 19: 1-8 Elijah flees to Horeb. If you’re into trash talking prophets I encourage you to read the chapters around it, too - but, long story short - Elijah had just, through the power of the one true God, defeated the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel and was fleeing for his life. He seems a little depressed and lonely at this point - if you ask me. During this time the Lord gives him a task to do but also says to get up and eat because they journey will be too hard- or in other words, take care of yourself because life is hard and you can’t do it if you don’t. 

    The gauge people can use to identify when life is too much is failure to maintain self-care. Everyone has different self-care items that are the first to go when life is hard. Usually sleep is first to go but I’ve asked around a complied a list others: reading the Bible, tithing, washing your face, making your bed, bathing, eating “real” meals, spending time with friends, exercising, and spending time in leisure activity. I’m not sure what it is for you but if you’re not taking care of yourself, hear me; “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” If you’re not taking care of yourself first you can’t take care of anyone else and you will make completing the tasks that the Lord puts you in front of you much more difficult or even impossible. 

    Take time this month to evaluate your self-care - are you taking care of yourself well? A great way to identify is to ask yourself, “Am I treating myself the way I encourage others to treat themselves? Am I doing the things I need to do so I feel refreshed spiritually, emotionally, and physically?” 



This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter. 

April 2018

I Need Thee

Dr. Rikki Permenter, Ph.D., Th. M.

Behold, God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. 

Psalm 54:4



    “I need thee every hour most gracious Lord. No tender voice like thine can peace afford. I need thee, oh! I need thee. Every hour I need thee. Oh bless me now my savior I come to thee.” These lyrics to a popular hymn have run through my mind regularly over the past few months. What does it mean to need someone or something? 

    In American culture the idea of being free from need is prized over dependence on any person or thing. We are taught at a young age not to depend on others, rather to be independent. Needing the Lord is not something that doesn’t come naturally to the American Christian because we are trained not to need. 

    Over the last two months I have become keenly aware of needing something every hour. As you guys know, I had a baby in January. That baby needs me. For a solid month she awakened every hour, like clockwork needing to eat. As I would sit and feed her that sweet hymn “I need thee … oh! I need thee” would run through my mind. The Lord has been impressing upon me the question “When was the last time you truly acknowledged your need for me every hour?” 

    Take some time this month to reflect on your need for the Lord. Maybe you don’t have a newborn baby to remind you every hour but you can set and alarm on your phone to remind you to reflect upon your dependence. Take time to acknowledge all the ways in which He sustains you every hour. 


This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter. 

March 2018

Changing Seasons

Rikki Permenter, MAMFC, Th. M.

He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knows his going down.

Psalm 104:19



    The seasons are starting to change. The air feels different. Spring is on its way. The world works on seasons. Most of the world has winter, spring, summer, and fall - around here its more like deer hunting, crawfish, swimming pool, and football. While the weather’s seasons may be hard to notice since it's usually between 70 and 90 degrees most of the year, there are other seasons in your life worth looking at, too. Examples of these other seasons are the seasons of parenting, the seasons of work or retirement, the seasons of college life and singleness, and the seasons of service and ministry. 

    God has ordained seasons of service and ministry in your life. At different points in life, he will equip you for different types of service and ministry. No one ministry is usually meant for a lifetime. Our spiritual gifting fluctuates and are based on our life experience and equipping. Some seasons God has specific ministries for you to start and some seasons he has specific ministries for you to stop. Some seasons of life you will be the most equipped to teach a children’s Sunday school class - some seasons of life that may be the last thing you feel you’re equipped for. 

    What season of ministry and service are you in right now? What ministry is God calling you to start and what ministry is God calling you to stop? Just like you fluctuate - others will, too. Whenever God calls you to stop a ministry He will bring someone up behind you to fill in and keep the other one going - if that is part of His plan. When he calls you to start a ministry He will give you the place to do it. Take a minute to evaluate your season of ministry and service and identify what he has specifically equipped you to do right now. Are you doing it? If not, take this as a sign - its time to start! 

This article can be found in print in the monthly Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana newsletter.