All posts by laura

Where are you Autumn?

Thanks to a local car commercial, we who live in Central Illinois will be saying much today…

It’s hot, Bob!

You have to live around here to understand…but if the surface of the sun has any kind of connotation for you, that’s what this week has been feeling to us here in Central Illinois.

The farmers out harvesting seem out of synch with weather that makes us wish the pools were still open.

For loved ones on the East Coast, though, as they wade through what used to be their streets and basements…it’s a different kind of struggle.

But still…too much.

And I am just going to say that for some sweet people I love, many are in a spiritual season of too much of the bad stuff and not enough of the good stuff and it’s hard.

Tensions keep heating up and it’s hot, Bob.

Or the waters are rising around your neck and you are just tired of dog-paddling every. single. day.

www.laurareimer.net

There are seasons when we cry out to God and are being as still as we can be and yet … nothing.

We have confessed…and repented…and prayed…and spoken the Word boldly.

And yet, nothing.

The silence is deafening.

Our praise and worship seems to bounce off the ceiling and mock us as it lands around our tear stained faces.

The mess not only isn’t going away, it’s multiplying.

And we cry out…it isn’t fair.

It isn’t supposed to be this way.

But this, my dear friends, is when the rubber of the faith meets the hard road of the journey.

It’s a marathon friends.

Not a foot race.

He IS faithful.

He HAS NOT forsaken us.

He WILL do and accomplish and complete ALL that He has purposed to do in YOUR life and in the life of those you love.

Hang in there.

Be strong in Him.

You are loved <3

 

Monday musings <3

 

www.laurareimer.net

Happy Monday!

We had a full weekend that just covered all the seasons of life. 

Prayers covered precious people who buried loved ones. Other prayers covered friends as they held vigil in waiting rooms for new grand babies to arrive. 

I survived the gamut of emotions watching the Packers and Viking’s game. 

There was a wedding thrown in and some sweet and bittersweet conversations with friends going through good and tough times. 

It was all the events of life rolled into a few days and I am hitting the ground running this sunny and hot Monday morning. 

So just a quick word of encouragement to start your day. 

www.laurareimer.net

God speaks in themes and for the past week, just about every book, devotion or sermon has centered on Abram/Abraham. 

He was the topic of our pastor’s teaching yesterday morning and the portion of a book I marked up earlier in the week with hearts, exclamation points and much underlining. 

The part that jumped out at me and has meant the most comes from the description of God making a covenant with him. 

In Genesis 15: 9-21, God instructs Abram in what seems bizarre to us in 2018 PETA driven America. 

He tells him to gather a select group of animals – certain gender and age…and split them in half. They are to be laid in such a way that a pathway is open between the two halves. 

One of our class members shared this was the most serious of covenant’s because both parties would walk between those carcasses and symbolize their intent to keep the contract they were making. 

They were, in essence saying, may this be done to the one who breaks this covenant. 

But as we read the passage in Genesis, we see that only God passed through. 

It was God who made the fullness of the Promise, and God who keeps the promise…and when Israel…or any descendant of Abram…even an adopted daughter like yours truly here…breaks the covenant…it isn’t us who pays. 

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God paid with the death of His Son for our breaking of the covenant. 

When we look at the Cross, we see God paying our debt. 

To steal the words of a beautiful song…Amazing love…how can it be…that You would die for me? 

Be blessed with this truth today. 

NO matter where you go. 

NO matter what you do. 

If you are IN HIM…you are covered <3

For the long haul <3

www.laurareimer.net

This week on the blog, I have been looking at a passage from Ezra that I came across in my daily reading through the Chronological Bible. 

In Chapter 7 of this book, Ezra has received the blessing of the pagan King Artaxerxes to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. Ezra is given a letter of passage, provisions and the oomph to insure that the powers that be along the way also contribute to this band of people who are making their way back home. 

The focus of my thoughts though comes from the portion of Scripture found in Chapter 8, verses 21-23.

Because as Ezra and the people were ready to set out across around nine hundred miles…with women and children and elderly people…all they owned…he stopped, dropped and prayed. 

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He proclaimed a fast and cried out to God to protect them as they made their way.

They were toting a fair amount of gold, thanks to the King. 

They were vulnerable.

But they had been bold.

Ezra had told the King he didn’t need an army to go with him and the people. 

Apparently Ezra had boasted in God. 

And it wasn’t because he didn’t believe his God was able that he stopped. 

It was because as he and the people who had settled and made a life now stood with all they knew of their comfort zone behind them and the vast unknown before them, what they knew for sure was…they were vulnerable to attack. 

There were enemies along the way who had great interest in what they could pillage of their treasure and no interest at all in their well fare and safe passage.

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I am thinking this morning of some children I love dearly scattered across this vast country of ours. 

They carry a treasure of eternal value in their sweet little jars of clay. 

There is an enemy that desires nothing more than to sideline and strip them of it. 

He is powerful and crafty and has many agents working at his bidding. 

But I have boasted in my God. 

So this morning, I bend my knee to the God of heaven and I ask Him for safe passage for those I love as they cross the unknown turf of today and head toward the promise of tomorrow. 

Is the Bible relevant to us today?

Oh yes. 

It is indeed. 

Be blessed dear ones.

You are loved and your passage is being covered in prayer today <3 

In the eye of the storm <3

As you know if you visit here often, this blog is 96.2% off the cuff every morning. 

Oh sure, there are rare occasions when I actually plan and write ahead…but those blissful days are few and far between.

So if you missed yesterday’s post, you may want to hop back and read that or this one stands not a prayer of making sense. 

And speaking of prayer…I pray if you DID read yesterday’s, you can glean some thinking from this one to get your own mind and heart seeking God.

I am not coming to you with answers, just thoughts on fasting in America in the year 2018 where even Taco Bell can make a convincing argument that you need to hurry on down there and grab one of those weird combos of whatever they are peddling today. 

After I wrote my thoughts and posted on Wednesday, my mind was a rush of things and since I have to be out the door by 6:15 sharp and I still have plants to water outside…I am not prettying them up. 

Here they are in no particular order or grammatical finery…and I will check back later when I have time and attempt to correct typos so apologies up front to all the English teachers.

<3 It’s not just peaches. Fasting is about abstaining from food and possibly drink. It’s about not giving the body sustenance. and how foreign in many ways that concept is to an overindulgent culture like ours. Oh, we are used to the concept of fasting, but it is to lose weight or maintain weight. 

There are many who fast regularly to the point of famishing but it is to feed a self image of being thin. 

So the “fast” isn’t the thing.

Think of the people of this time. 

They were not inundated with choices of foods.

They didn’t seven day meal plan or prep lunches for the week.

They lived day by day on a pretty standard diet based on what was available around them.

I have visited such places in this world and I can tell you…the fast would not be about denying oneself a tasty morsel of sweet treats. 

The fast is about saying…this situation that we are facing is so much bigger than we can humanly handle, we need a big God. 

We need God to show up even more than we need the life-giving sustenance of our next meal. 

Esther and Mordecai and all the Jews fasted because the King had signed papers authorizing the annihilation of their entire people group in that country.

David fasted for the life of the child born out of the sin of his affair with Bathsheba. 

Jehoshophat called the nation to fast when they were surrounded on all sides by several great armies. 

Daniel fasted to hear from God to understand the visions he was having. 

On and on we have examples in history of people who fasted out of a response to some great need. 

We also have Scripture that sets us to believe that we probably need God more than just those moments of intense crisis. 

Jesus mentioned….to us…. “and when you fast….” setting the expectation that we would fast as part of our regular worship and spiritual journey. 

God also made clear that the heart of the fast matters when he said in Isaiah 58:6 that the fast isn’t just a rote event that we participate in, but rather there should be a heart bent toward the things God cherishes as we deny ourselves sustenance and seek only His Face. 

I had about twenty minutes near the end of the afternoon to jot down these thoughts before our Spanish class last night. 

After class, we came home and yes…ate some dinner….(no peaches, I promise) and then we turned on the Weather Channel to catch a bit of the news regarding the storm that is about to hit. 

As I watched the team of meteorologists forecasting all their theories of patterns in front of colorful swirling maps and the Governor giving warnings and some command center filled with important people in a room in Washington DC and interviews with people who have evacuated, it came to me the contrast. 

And I wonder. 

What if at the first sign of it gathering strength out there in the ocean, long before it hit a small island or was headed to the populated areas of the southeastern United States…what if the whole nation had, as one, fasted and prayed to God to save us?

We will never know, will we?

I do know many, many have been praying though. And I know that there are those who have most likely fasted and I see the progression of the downgrading of this storm from previous predictions. 

So there are some more thoughts for you to mull over…sorry they are scattered…but for me it is time to gather my things and head out. 

Will you come back tomorrow? I promise the concluding thoughts on this are going to encourage you <3

Real fast…here are my thoughts for today <3

www.laurareimer.net

On Monday I didn’t write because I was simply exhausted from too many days in a row of being on the go. 

I spent the extra time that morning reading the entire book of Esther and I loved every single word of it. 

Today I knew I wanted to write something, so I just read a shorter passage as I move on through finishing the Old Testament and guess what. 

I loved every single word of that too. 

And I came away with something to share, even though I only read a page and a half this time. 

www.laurareimer.net

I love the Chronological Bible because it is putting the books of Scripture in time order and helps me gain new understanding as I am able to place God’s Word into the time frame of the history of His people. 

My reading today covered the miraculous and gracious letter of commendation and the equally miraculous and gracious gifting of provisions given to Ezra by King Artaxerxes. All of that amazing information is outlined in Ezra 7. 

How a pagan King wrote a letter of passage and gave a ton of material goods to Ezra so he could take a group of people back to Jerusalem and rebuild. 

How this King mentions the God of heaven so many times, you start to think you lost your place and are reading the same sentence over and over. 

And all of Chapter 7 is good stuff. 

However, my thought for today comes from his passage:

There by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask Him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the King for soldiers and horseman to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the King, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to Him, but His great anger is against all who forsake Him.” So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and He answered our prayers. 

Ezra 8:21-23

I have several thoughts about this as I read that familiar passage of Scripture. 

First of all, Ezra says that in order to humble themselves, they proclaimed a fast. 

Yesterday I used the passage from 2 Chronicles 7:14…If My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves….

I will put myself in the examining seat here and say that I do not often make the connection between “humbling myself” and “fasting.”

I think I get humbled when I trip up socially or spiritually. 

I can feel humbled when I complain about some small first world problem and then realize some people exist every single day without even the most basic of necessities. 

But to intentionally humble myself usually ends up with me being hypersensitive to trying to play down anything that is looking like a blessing…piously bowing my head and chirping about how grateful I am to God for all He has done…trying to point to others and to Him so the spotlight is off of me…and while all of those things are definitely good things…they are not what Scripture is suggesting is the means to humbling myself before God. 

Ezra …. proclaimed a fast…..so that…the people might humble themselves before their God. 

Not sing praise songs to feel His presence more….

Not lay everything out and dedicate it to God and ask Him to bless it….

No. 

Do without food so that they would be humbled before God. 

Let me tell you. 

That is hard to do. 

Right now we have a box of peaches that I believe God Himself sent to us from Heaven straight to the fruit section of our local Sam’s Club. 

We bought them on Sunday and I have had at least one every single day. 

And right after I eat one, I stare longingly at the remaining orbs of deliciousness and plan when I will be able to eat another. 

I think about them when I am away from them. 

And while I thank God for every bite of them, who do you think I am exalting in all of this?

Me

My wants. My appetites. My happiness. 

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So do you see that by denying myself the fulfillment of my need to eat one of those today, I would be intentionally humbling MYSELF before my God?

Powerful.

The peaches are not evil. 

My enjoyment of them is not wrong. 

But to be intentional about denying myself one by fasting today, would be to … by faith…obey a spiritual law. 

In fasting we ARE humbling ourselves before God. 

The example is clear in Scripture. 

There are so many other things I want to share about this so come on back tomorrow…that is enough for us to … wait for it…chew on today <3