Category Archives: Discipline

focuses on the spiritual disciplines

Seeking peace in the midst of what we cannot understand <3

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Because I fail to read the newspaper and stay current on current events, I am usually completely out of the loop on a lot of news items of the day. 

I missed all of the background stuff that has been going on for far too long of a time regarding the recent suicide of Epstein and the saga of filth that is surrounding him and his life. 

I shake my head in unbelief that this has been allowed to drag out for such a long time and I have many thoughts regarding this that I choose not to air out as they have been said in much better ways by those with greater knowledge and impact than me.

Even now the constant stream of attempts to provide us with information is nauseating and I realize that media sometimes reports suppositions and accusations with motives beyond sharing truth. 

I also believe there are powerful forces that will provide protection for the guilty and there are opportunists who will take this horrendous moment to generate fame and wealth at the expense of women whose lives have been damaged. 

I believe there is an underlying mindset of sin that disregards the value of human life and the worth of protecting the innocence of childhood.

 I believe the sins perpetrated by anyone who participated in this are as old as the first fall of man when the first people decided that what they saw with their eyes appeared to be good and pleasant for them to partake of and became something that they just had to have no matter what the cost.

And I believe with all my heart that this man did not escape justice by taking his life. I do not believe that by avoiding facing his victims he missed out on facing the One who created the very lives he deemed to be his to destroy.

I believe with all my heart that he is facing judgment and finally understanding why it would have been better to have an enormous hunk of concrete tied around his neck as he was tossed into the ocean than to face the God who demands justice for unrepentant sinners. 

And I weep that he and others will never know the broken place of repentance and true godly sorrow and then finally understand that the love of God reached into the deepest, ugliest, most lost places of humanity and offered to pay the price we owed. 

I pray for the spiritual and emotional healing of men and women who were betrayed and scarred by others whose greed and lust took what did not belong to them. 

I pray for truth to be revealed and for true repentance for those who succumbed to participate in this level of depravity. 

And I tremble in fear for the levels of depravity we are all capable of given the right circumstances and conditions.

I pray for justice that can be leveled here on earth and I pray that those who would continue in this act of defiance against the Sovereignty of God over His creation would be caught and disabled from harming more people. 

I pray as a follower of Jesus Christ, who carries the Hope of His Resurrection in my heart, that my words and my actions would reflect the great joy of His salvation and the promise that He will return and He will bring justice to all. 

I pray to be a voice of healing and hope to those who are oppressed and beaten down by sin, that of their own doing and that perpetrated against them. 

I pray to not shrink back in the face of the threat to be silent about this Hope I carry. It is the only way I know that we can be saved from the sins of our humanity. 

No laws will change the hard heart of mankind. 

And I will give them one heart [a new heart], and put a new spirit within them. I will take from them the heart of stone, and will give them a heart of flesh [that is responsive to My touch],

Ezekiel 11:19 AMP

To meditate on something that really matters <3

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This morning I came across a reference to Psalm 119: 15-16 in a devotion about how King David would seek God’s wisdom when making decisions and plans. 

As I looked at the passage and then wrote it down in my journal, I began circling words to look up and study a bit more deeply. 

The first line says:

I will meditate on your precepts.

I took a pause and looked up the word precepts, because while I think I know what it means….I really don’t know that I have a grasp of it.

For all the word nerds, here is what I found:

To command; any command or order intended as an authoritative rule of action; but applied particularly to commands respecting moral conduct. 

KJV commentary

and also this take:

A commandment, an authoritative rule for action, a divine injunction in which man’s obligation is set forth.

BibleStudyTools.com

So basically, a precept is some kind of directly worded commandment that is grounded in authority and calls for action on the part of the one being commanded. 

Clearly being told what to do, by the one who has the authority to tell you to do it and the obligation of response on your part to do it.

Putting in human terms.

When your mom tells you to make your bed every morning before you go to school…she has the authority as the mom to command you to do it, the expectation that you can and will do it and you have the obligation to make follow that instruction every day.

When your boss tells you that the work day starts at 8 AM, ends at 5 PM, you get a half hour for lunch and no surfing the internet, he/she has the right to give you those instructions and you have the responsibility and capability of doing them. 

My next question would be, where do we start looking for the precepts that David meditated on and the first answer I found was the Ten Commandments. 

As Christians we are alarmed when these are removed from public places, and we certainly have our favorites that we pull up to defend what we believe to be right and true….however, in full disclosure…as I look at them this morning, I move no farther past the first four and find myself harking back to David’s Psalm.

I meditate on these:

1. Do not have other gods besides Me

2. Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth

3. Do not bow in worship before them, and do not serve them

4. Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God

There are a myriad of reasons why idol worship is not a good idea. 

It robs us of the fellowship and relationship of the only God, the one who made us, formed us…loved us before we knew Him…the only One Worthy of glory and honor and praise and adoration.

But it would seem the main reason we look only to Him, worship only Him, honor His name with our mouths, hearts, minds and bodies is obedience.

OBEDIENCE

He has commanded us to do so. 

And if that rubs a rough spot in you, perhaps you have found a place where you have set up some kind of false or functional god.

If something within us still wants to be the one who controls what, how, when we worship…even if we say it’s God we want to worship…we may be bowing down to an idol we formed and fashioned by our own making. 

We may be harboring some old place of serving something or someone other than our God.

Mediate on those four “precepts” today and let the Spirit of the living God work in your heart and soul today. 

Before we move on to the other six commandments and demand those around us to adhere to them, maybe it would be good to do a heart check on our own level of obedience to the first four <3

This and that and a thought to share for a Monday <3

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I feel summer is just slipping away from us.

The Back to School displays are not helping.

We got a text this morning reminding us in 8 days we will embark on our end of summer get-away and that means when we return it is basically O.V.E.R. as we launch into the start of another season. 

So today I am sharing some randoms from the weekend and then a devotional thought gleaned from the worship time at church yesterday…

Random #1

We spent a fair amount of time at the ball park this summer and yet we are trying to make as many of the “makeup games” as we can because it’s time with family we will never get back.

So the other night I delayed returning home and stayed for Emmett’s last game and was treated to watching Joel and a little friend finding a frog.

While I am not big on reptiles (*hours later and I realize frogs are probably amphibians not reptiles…but still…not my thing….)

I did feel sorry for this little guy…

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as children squealed and tried to hold him and finally either the Lord took him like He did Enoch or the little guy made his escape when they were running to get more grass for his bucket home.

Peace be with you Freddy Frog…I hope you made it home <3

Random #2

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We missed the window for strawberry picking with this crew so I thank God Rachel was on top of blueberry season and we made it out to a farm on Saturday morning.

It was anything but relaxing because…

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we do everything loud, proud and crazy…but it’s how we roll and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

I could have held branches for this little hand all day…

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watching her grasp a berry and pull it off was like scaling the side of Everest for my heart.

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And yes…blueberry picking is not for the faint of heart…

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because Joely Bear keeps Johnson & Johnson in business.

We loved the people at http://braffetberryfarm.com and threatened to take this guy with us to keep on retainer for any brother wars that might ensue….

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Random #3

Russ and Zach went golfing with some friends while we were picking blueberries and then they met up with us at the farmer’s market

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and if there was anything sweeter than watching those four pick blueberries, it was watching my Achille’s Heal mooch the last cinnamon roll away from his Papi.

I have a strong suspicion if my sweet mother-in-law could see Joel she might recognize someone from her own early mom days….just sayin….

Random #5

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I have been to the pool twice this week with these yahoos.

I want to remind all the moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles and babysitters out there, including myself.

It is hot and we are all wearing a little thin with late nights and early mornings and lack of structure that summer brings…and we all may have just gotten a wee bit short-tempered and crabby.

So yes…your sunglass will be water splashed and your car will be like an infernal hell when you try to get into it…you will once again run a load of swim suits, towels and ball pants…but this, too, will pass…all too quickly.

Embrace and enjoy it and treasure it <3

and finally….

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One of the songs we sang yesterday had this line repeated “love has triumphed over death.” 

We have sung this song many times and I wish I could think of the name of the song…but I can’t and I am not going to google right now…but it hit me in a fresh way yesterday morning.

Because I had my eyes closed and so my brain was working out lyrics on its own and I realized that mentally I would use opposites for a line like this. 

Love…has triumphed over …. death

Because in a battle it is typically a “this versus that” and the this is usually the opposite of that

And opposites would be ….

Love has triumphed over hate….

or….

Life has triumphed over death.

But that’s not what the author of this particular song wrote. 

He or she chose love as the opposite of death. 

We think in terms of “good” versus “evil”

In an argument or a conflict we look for the “good guy” and we use our measuring stick for what we consider to be a goodness…and we cheer on that one that represents our idea of goodness to defeat what represents our idea of evil. 

But these words…Love has triumphed over death…

these remind me that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. 

These words remind me that my sin meant eternal death.

Period.

End of story.

But God’s love through the death of Jesus Christ, gave me Life sentence. 

A never-ending story. 

His love triumphed over my death. 

Over all death.

His love triumphed over what was doomed to destruction and His love mocks the decay that we see all around us. 

He lives. 

We live because He loves us. 

Praise Him <3

Sorry. Not sorry.

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Yesterday as I was driving north and my mind was rambling around as it is prone to do; for some reason I landed on a current phrase in social media that makes me chuckle first but ponder later.

You may have seen a post where someone shows a decadent dessert or a stack of Amazon Prime boxes delivered to their front door and the tag line is “Sorry. Not sorry.”

Depending on the photo, this can be a light laugh for the day and a welcome addition to other not-light posts. 

The idea is basically reflecting our human tendency to acknowledge we should be sorry for something, but in reality we are not and if we were given the chance we would do it again in a heartbeat.

It’s funny when it is something that really brings no harm to anyone including ourselves, but the underlying truth of it is not so funny. 

Yesterday I was with the band of brothers and Miss Caroline and we had some typical issues that plague childhood in that they sometimes were not quick to listen or obey. 

We had several Come to Jesus meetings with Lola that culminated in a big Come to Jesus seminar when dad got home. 

Everyone was sorry…and all was forgiven….but both Zach and I repeated what every parent has repeated since the first parent ever dealt with a child and will continue to repeat until Christ’s return…just saying you are sorry but not changing your behavior is not really being sorry. 

As I did when I was the parent and now do again as the grandparent, I usually walk away from these times of teaching, rebuking, correcting and instructing with a little playback of what I said only it comes to me as God’s voice agreeing over my own tendency to be sorry and yet not change. 

For example, I am always genuinely and deeply sorry that I make my punctual and gracious husband walk in late to things…but not sorry enough to have changed much in the 38 years we have been married.

I am truly sorry at the end of a day of eating good healthy food and then foraging the pantry just before bed and snacking on anything salty and crunchy….followed by something sweet…and then returning to the salty, crunchy to get rid of the sweet and then…repeat…repeat. And I feel sorry because I ate food I didn’t need. But not sorry enough to not do again the next time I find myself on a scavenger hunt for snacks.

When I let my frustration over a situation build up and I spew all of my sarcasm and anger and venting onto a poor unsuspecting human, I am sorry. Very sorry. But not enough to learn that this never brings healing to me, doesn’t enhance my capacity to forgive the perpetrator and leaves some poor soul covered in my yuk. 

You get the idea. 

Sorry can be regret  you got caught…or a way of buying yourself back into the good graces of someone you can keep hurting…or a cheap way to feel better about yourself.

But true sorrow over our sin should bring us to repentance and a heart change – a crying out to God to help us to overcome the evil within our own DNA that constantly lurks under the surface trying to take back what God has done in us through salvation. 

“Sorry. Not sorry.” may be a funny post on Instagram but in real life it is an ungodly attitude that needs to be confessed, repented of…prayed over and then a walking forth in a new state of…

Forgiven. Done and done. 

We are all works in progress…let’s keep progressing as we Journey Onward <3

The selfish part of low self-esteem…ouch….<3

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I am enjoying catching up on my morning favorite reads and devotions and today I was blown away by the pages I covered in that book from my aunt’s library that I discovered this summer.

Walking Wisely by Charles Stanley and published in 2002, it is still relevant to today because 1. biblical truth and 2. human nature….don’t change.

In the chapter I am reading, he has written about eight benefits of wisdom. 

#6 addresses the effects of godly wisdom on our self-image and I am thinking if this was an issue in a book published in 2002, than whatever we have been doing in the ensuing 17 years has not enhanced and helped us out of that black hole.

In the opening paragraph of this section he marvels at the number of books that are being published and the seminars being held on the topic of self-esteem.

Oh Charles…you had no idea that we would be adding blogs, Instagram stories, tweets, printed t-shirts and coffee mugs and billboards by 2019.

But have we moved any closer to the truth that unless we find our identity in Christ alone we will always face a big void in this?

No.

Have we grown any closer to just embracing the truth of the Proverbs 8 passage he uses to anchor this section of his book…

“Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear (listen and obey*) instructions and be wise, and do not disdain it. Blessed is the man (and woman*) who listens to me (obeys*), watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the LORD.” Proverbs 8: 32-35

*indicates my additional paraphrase added to verse

And who is this “me” that we are to seek and listen to and keep the ways of?

Godly wisdom….found in the pages of Scripture and prayerfully asking the Spirit to lead us into understanding as we read and ponder what is written and then obediently look for ways to apply truth to our daily lives. 

And how would this help with the self-esteem issues that plaque us?

Charles Stanley writes:

“If you genuinely believe that God desires to bless you and that He approves of you and loves you unconditionally,  you must ask yourself, ‘On what is my poor self-image based?’ You’re going to have to draw your own conclusions – your poor self-image comes from lies of the enemy or lies from other people. And you must take responsibility for the fact that you have bought into those lies and continue to accept them as truth.”

Walking Wisely, Charles F. Stanley; 2002 Thomas Nelson Publishers page 59

How do we apply this in a practical way in 2019 – a way that we all at various points can relate to?

If I base my self-worth and value as a human being on how everyone else around me is doing that is better or worse than how I am doing it….(whether it is based on what I know to be true or am perceiving to be true), then I am buying into a lie.

I am using other people as a measuring stick for my value. 

And reading an empowering post of a quote that tells me something good about myself is only going to carry me about as far as the next post that shows someone doing life better than me and then I am back to ground zero.

Instead, Charles Stanley offers us a dose of truth to get into our bones and gut and heart so that we know who we are before we ever head out into the day. 

“The person who seeks godly wisdom comes to believe, ‘I am blessed by God. God loves me and approves of me. I am saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, filled with God’s Spirit, and on the basis of what Jesus has done for me and the Holy Spirit continues to do in me, I have favor from God. All of God’s promises pertain to me. All of the talents that God has built into my life are worthy to be developed and used. God has a plan for my life and it is unfolding. God is refining me, preparing me, and molding me into the likeness of Christ Jesus. I belong to Him forever, and He is my loving Father who is continually seeking my good.’”

Walking Wisely, Charles F. Stanley; 2002 Thomas Nelson Publishers page 60

I have read that over and over this morning and every time I feel His love and care for me pouring over me. 

Believing this to my core will change how I see my own self-worth and then will affect how I treat others. 


If I believe this about myself, then I can love and care for others more effectively because I am not threatened by how I am received. Whether I am cherished or cast off matters not if I know where my value is found.

Such a good word!

Bless you as you go about your day choosing to believe the truth about you instead of the lies that would derail you!