Category Archives: Refined by the Word

Walking the walk…<3 (titles are the hardest part of this gig sometimes)

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For today I have a quick little something because the night oil is burning low and this grandma has to answer the call at five bells….

so…

short 

and sweet <3

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This week I was taking my daily walk and I have been trying to do this as a quiet time exercise. 

But my mind is a wandering fool sometimes and I needed something to focus on besides my tendency to become so off-track in my thinking that I can work myself into a skewed mood and attitude that becomes my reality so that I am fit to be tied by the time I get back home and I am undone for the day. 

I pulled up the Notes section on my phone and found where I had saved a Psalm on May 23, 2016…

ironic isn’t it…

I just now looked at the date of the note and it’s two years ago to the day as I sit here typing this. 

Seriously…I just realize that.

Only God.

I may be typing with one hand and raising the other to Him.

He amazes me…

anyway…see how my mind wanders??????

Ok back the thought…

The scripture I had saved that day in 2016, was Psalm 90: 15-17…

Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us see your miracles again; let our children see glorious things, the kind you used to do, and let the Lord our God favor us and give us success. 

I thought that was just a great place to anchor my mind, so as I walked I planned to take it line by line and pray it. 

But as I meditated on the first line….

Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery!

I stopped dead in my thinking tracks.

Oh, I kept walking…but I couldn’t get my mind to move past that verse. 

Because I was thinking to myself…

NO!!

I don’t want gladness in proportion to any former misery.

We have had us some misery…stinking misery…and I want bonus gladness. 

I went a respectable return on the investment of pain. 

I want more than what we suffered. 

So I asked God why the psalmist had settled for just an even exchange. 

Then I listened and I sensed an answer in my spirit so I dictated  it into a new note as I walked…have mercy…I need a caretaker some days to get me safely home.
And let me tell you, every time I said “a splinter” my phone typed “this winter”…so I would have to follow that with “not this winter, a splinter”…the text on my phone is hilarious as it has these lengthy splinter/winter sections…but I digress….
Here is what I ended up with, sans the winter part…

In the Psalm it says ‘give us gladness in proportion to our former misery.

Makes me think …I have to think…don’t we want even more gladness than the misery we felt?

But I think about when I have a splinter in my finger and the misery that can cause. 

And when I remove the splinter (or actually Russ removes it for me) and the misery is gone; that relief is in proportion to the pain the unwanted offender was causing.

My finger is not any better than it used to be, it is just returned back to what it was before the injury. 

Yet the relief is so great that it actually feels proportionately larger than the former misery.

In fact the absence of the splinter; the absence of the discomfort of having it lodged in my finger brings so much relief that the finger, and even life itself, seems so much better now that the source of pain has been removed. 

So all I really need is gladness in proportion to the misery…because the JOY of the relief multiplies the blessing to an abundance that exceeds all of the former misery. 

And by this time, I was rounding the corner and could see home in sight.

The rest of the Psalm will have to wait for another day and another walk…because I am still resting in the simple prayer that God opened my heart to realize that all I really want is an equal return of joy for suffering. 

It is more than enough <3 

I pray for you today, my friend. I pray that God will bring you joy in the direct amount of any sorrows He has allowed you to walk through. I pray you know and sense His Presence and His Promise as you journey onward <3

A weed by any other name….

Grass, like hair, seems to grow best in places where we do not want it.

The home we purchased a year and a half ago appeared deceptively low maintenance with all its ornamental rocking around well placed shrubs and perennials.

Since my horticulture skills are in indirect proportion to my ability to attract varmints to our property, I was kind of looking forward to finally having nice landscaping that was labor free.

Wrong.

While we work intentionally to keep the grass in the yard looking nice and healthy by hiring a service to fertilize and nurture it and watering twice weekly; there is random, unwanted grass doing just peachy-keen coming up through the rocks all by its little stubborn green self.

This errant grass is accompanied by a variety of other plant things that look like they are going to bud, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t supposed to be there and so I have this dilemma.

I am out there pulling up perfectly good grass that we are paying someone to cultivate just inches away…and I am debating if I am pulling up something that could potentially bloom and look kind of pretty even if it isn’t in the greatest location asceticaly.

And then I heard or read these words of wisdom from someone smarter than me…

A weed is anything that is growing where it shouldn’t.

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Suddenly I am freed from the endless debating in my head.

It doesn’t matter what the thing is…

if it doesn’t belong where it has sprouted up…it gets removed.

Makes it simple.

Sure there is still labor and diligence involved, but no more energy wasted wondering if I am doing the right thing.

I can apply this to other areas as well.

Like fear.

Fear has a good place in my life.

It makes me wary when I am walking to the car after dark and there are not many people around.

It helps me set parameters that enhance safety from harm.

But fear that cripples me and keeps me from walking in the fullness of all God intended for my life …. doesn’t belong there.

Just has to come out.

Or competition.

Allowing the work ethic and success of others to spur me on and keep me in the race.

That’s a good thing.

But when competition crops up in the middle of my identity and suddenly what I am not and what I don’t accomplish begins to label me as a failure…it has cropped up in a place it doesn’t belong.

It’s a weed.

Pull it.

There are a million good things God gave us.

But any one of them in the wrong place…weed.

Eliminate it.

Sooner rather than later.

Because if there is one thing my aching back has learned…the earlier you pull a weed…

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the better <3

 

So many studies, so little time <3

We got a calendar from the local library outlining all the summer fun to be had and reading programs and festivities in the park and what snagged my eye was that  the “Farewell Party” to end it all will take place on…

July 19th.

I haven’t even had my first bite of a graduation cake and the end of summer is breathing down my neck!

Ok. I exaggerate.

But truthfully, the Park and Library Team knows that summer flies by for families and so they put together a calendar of events and left room for family vacations and schools will be gearing up mid-August so they have planned to make the most of the days they have.

As we switch gears a little and enter into warmer weather and the fun that summer holds, we have to be intentional to make plans as well.

Even though my actual weekly schedule doesn’t change one little bit, my mental and spiritual schedule does.

I still take on the “School’s out for Summer” mentality and feel like we can move at a slower pace…enjoy outdoor activities until later in the evening and make plans to spend more time with family since their schedules have lightened.

I enjoy adding some kind of Bible study to the months of summer and really like it if I can share that experience with a friend.

I actually landed on two because God has raised up that many opportunities for me to share learning with others. We may not actually be able to meet regularly, but I have made agreements with a couple of friends to do…

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The Storm Inside Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are by Sheila Walsh

and

Adorned Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth with a young mom who, like me, has a heart for building relationships across generations.

Today I saw one of those awesome FREE  studies being offered through StudyGateway – also by Sheila Walsh on her new book In the Middle of the Mess. You can sign up here.

And by “free” … you usually do need to purchase the workbook/book…but they offer decent deals on those and then the videos are emailed each week.

I have done several studies this way, and they work well for our busy lives. You usually have access to the videos for an extended period of time so it is possible to get the study completed over the course of the summer.

If you live locally, there is an opportunity at First Christian Church to join the women’s study on Wednesday mornings. You do not need to be a member – there will be no pressure for you to join out church. Just a wonderful opportunity to meet with other women and make new connections. You can sign up with a friend and ask to be placed in the same small group for the discussion part.

Those start June 9th and you can register here.

And if you are a guy…sorry…not sure what is available but how about texting a buddy and setting up a Saturday morning breakfast meeting and decide on a way to study God’s Word together for four to six weeks this summer?

Or golf.

Because fellowship counts too.

Have a blessed Wednesday and I hope you are getting a stirring in your heart to make plans to do a study with someone or by yourself <3

 

 

And you thought “Lent” was over….<3

Lately our dryer has been taking a lot longer to process a load and I feared we were looking at a repair or replacement as it seemed I was restarting it two and three times. 

I decided to check the vent out back on Tuesday and lo and behold…I found the problem, Houston. 

It was absolutely packed with lint. 

Thus began the tedious task of removal.

The vent has a grate with little squares that are just big enough to poke the end of a pair of scissors or my pinky finger into, however cleverly designed so as to not allow either of these items room to bend. 

So I sat on the gravel landscaping, behind a lilac bush and picked out tiny bits of lint for what seemed like eternity. 

As I got some of the impacted grossness freed, it became a little easier to pull larger pieces as I manipulated the scissors more effectively.

I discovered I could use my pinky and the tip of my pointer finger in a kind of Edward Scissorhand’s fashion. 

The more I loosened, the more the blistering hot air from the dryer baked across my scraped fingers. Because of course…I was running the dryer through the whole ordeal.

I will say that the constant rubbing of plastic edging across the end of my finger along with the blast of heat was only enhancing the aching that had begun in my back…not to mention sitting on…hello…decorative gravel. 

All in all, I was quite relieved to see that my efforts were producing results and I saw a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, when suddenly I heard a rather violent whooshing sound and bam! 

A whole new load of lint was suddenly straining against the grate. 

Yes…apparently all this freedom of air passage had loosened chunks buried deep back in the hose and there was a fresh new clog to deal with.

I may have cried a little. 

But by golly, I am a stubborn woman so I kept digging it out…piece by fluffy piece. 

Mercifully, the last load was lighter and easier and finally…we were lint free and back in the business of drying clothes in an efficient manner again.

And I thought; as I lifted my creaking body up from the gravel and limped back into the house…as I applied melaleuca to the scratched up, toasted cuticle around my fingers…as I debated scheduling an emergency trip to the chiropractor but nixed it because I just didn’t want to explain how I threw my hip and back out cleaning a dryer vent…

this is much like my life.

As I go along, suddenly I find that I am not functioning at the capacity I know I should be. 

I wonder how to fix it, and discover there is a build up of some kind…

* spiritual neglect

* negative overflow of the heart

* a roadblock of bitterness and resentment because I haven’t addressed some unforgiveness 

* coveting what others have

* ingratitude for what I do have

* gluttony over food or memories or attention-seeking or possessions

* comparison and over-thinking what other’s might be thinking

* procrastination and distraction to avoid doing the mundane parts of my responsibilities

All kinds of gunk that builds up in me. 

And so I start getting serious with seeking God and hearing what He has to say. 

I allow Him to work in me and we start pulling out some heart clutter. 

Progress is made…the Spirit is flowing more freely in my life…and whooooooshhhhhhhh!!!! A big old hunk of more of lint comes flying out of nowhere.

It looks like God and I are back to square one. I consider throwing in the towel because it appears all the work we did…was for naught. 

But just like my little cleanup project on Tuesday…it may be painful and tedious, but there is an end in sight. 

Keep plucking away by cooperating with God as He helps you cleanse your heart from the yuk-stuff of just living on planet earth. 

Our souls are saved but they are not maintenance free. We have been regenerated…reborn…but we need check ups and repairs along the way. 

Yes, God does the work in us…but we are not released from the labor.

From His word to us through the apostle Paul as written in Philippians 2:12-13

“Dearest friends, when I was there with you, you were always so careful to follow my instructions. And now that I am away you must be even more careful to do the good things that result from being saved, obeying God with deep reverence, shrinking back from all that might displease him. For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.”

Yes, we must sit cross-legged before the vent of our life and be willing to labor…but it is God who works with us and through us to both WANT TO…and TO DO…that which is needed to live like people who are saved.

Bless you…and you thought “Lent” was over…LOL…have a good day <3

Just some thoughts on the panic that can ensue when we catch bits and pieces of news lately

So this is how it goes down for me regarding hot news items.

Perfect example was a blurb on someone’s FaceBook post about California and banning Bibles.

And while that seems quite disturbing, along with some upset people over comments made about Christians and Chick Filla and such in New York, I am getting kind of used to the fact that being a Christian is not popular.

Which, to the point of this Bible mentioned above, it never really was.

Often we say we want to model the “early Church” and have lost much of the ways of those first Christ-followers, but we kind of forget that the majority of the disciples endured rather gruesome and painful deaths of the martyr variety.

So to be banned, hated, persecuted is nothing new to Christianity, it’s just new to us who are used to the American ideal of “freedom.”

So yes it is disconcerting, however we also have to consider that “news” these days is so skewed and twisted that it is nearly impossible to get to the facts, let alone the truth.

After a few days of initially seeing this post, I googled it yesterday morning and found all kinds of stories reporting it, reporting how it is false, reporting how the reports that say it is false are false. On and on.

So not really sure who to believe or what is going on, but this much I know.

If it is upsetting to think that it could be possible that the Bible would be banned, wouldn’t it be a good idea to be absorbing as much of it into our minds and hearts NOW as  we possibly can?

And wouldn’t it be even better to spend time studying it and then applying what we read to our every day life and conversations.

Because if we truly believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word about Himself, His story and His plan…well…I’m pretty sure it is more than just ink on paper. So if it is written on our hearts, it lives in each of us…even IF the day comes when the actual printing of it is banned.

Also, before we get downhearted and discouraged at the idea that some bunch of politicians might get together and decide the Bible is irrelevant at best and harmful to society at worst…well…it kind of makes you realize just how powerful it must be if it’s that big of a threat to world systems.

It would seem that the power to convict us of sin, comfort our sorrows, and transform our hearts found in the pages of God’s Word is indeed powerful enough to cause those who are resisting Him to want to banish it.

So when my inner man is tempted to quake at attacks against the Bible or the eternal values of God’s written Word found on its pages, I turn to that very book and I am instructed…

“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” 1 John 2:28

 and …”Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.”  1 John 3:13

and…”You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” 1 John 4:4-6

There is more.

Much more.

To encourage us and equip us and instruct us and convict us. To guide us and feed our weakened spirits and strengthen our trembling hearts.

So while it is still day…while we still have full access to the power of God’s Word in our hands…let us use this time wisely for it is a gift of God that we must not waste.

Be blessed, little children, today…to freely dig into God’s Word and let it take root in your souls  <3