Category Archives: Refined by the Word

Did you have a good day?

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When Rachel was our first to foray out into the world of public education, I would pray every morning for her to have a good day at school.

In the afternoon as I fixed her a snack and tried to pull out any detail of the day that she might be willing to part with in conversation, I would ask if she had had a good day and typically her answer was …. It was okay. 

Okay was not what I had prayed for. 

Sometimes they were bad days. 

But I am fervent and tenacious in my prayers so I continued for months asking God to give her a good day only to receive an okay or bad day, day after day. I loved her and I didn’t want her to have just okay or bad days with only a smattering of good.

So I changed my prayer tactic and I approached the throne in tears and asked my Creator and Sustainer and Provider Father why He would not bless our firstborn with good days and not okay-bad days. 

And as I sat pouring out my heart and then resting in silence to hear what He might say, I heard in my heart Him asking me if all of my days are “good” days or were they more a mixed bag. Some good, some bad, some hard, some fun…all mixed into a large portion of “okay” and very few totally bad. 

Yes, there are red-letter GOOD days, but even those have a share of real life thrown in. 

This conversation changed my perspective on prayer and how to pray for our daughter. 

It opened my eyes to the work of prayer on my part and the things that matter to God for her and for me and for all of us. 

I began praying for deeper things in her day than just “a good day.”

I began to pray for God to help her when she struggled or was hurt or was bored or was lonely. 

I began to pray for her to know Him and His joy in all the moments of all the days – that whatever the circumstances were around her, she would be applying the seeds that had been sown in her at home and at church. 

I want to share a few more ways God has taught me to pray for our family this week. 

Please come back tomorrow <3 

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Try hard….<3

Wow…we are officially halfway through the month of November. 

While 2020 dragged by for-ev-er….2021 has zipped along at the speed of light. 

Russ and I were chatting in the car yesterday, actually I was chatting and he was just nodding his head and sort of trying to follow my out-of-the-blue insight du jour…and while I rambled and half-finished my thoughts per usual, it was a good thought and worth sharing with you. 

I think

Anyway…when I flipped my desk calendar over this morning it solidified in God’s word what I was trying to convey to Russ. 

Here’s the verse first:

Try hard to live right to have faith, love, and peace together with those who trust in the Lord from pure hearts.

II Timothy 2: 22 NCV

I have thought frequently this year how the current culture of upheaval has bred in many of us a kind of lax attitude about things we used to take quite seriously. 

Point in reference would be my personal example, which I was exhorting to Russ as he was a captive audience in our travels. 

A couple of years ago I did a little business venture and opened an LLC. I purchased clothing through wholesale vendors and sold through the store where I work, splitting profit with the owner.

It was a lot of fun, and proved successful for both of us. 

Because of book keeping and just general need to make a shift, I got out of this end of it and she took over and while it was kind of sad for me to end that as I had enjoyed it very much, it was so perfectly God’s timing and it has been a joy to see her take off and do so well. 

I closed out all the paperwork, tax information for the state and jumped through every hoop they put up to finish well on the government side of it all. 

I had neurotically saved every scrap of evidence of all the purchases and transactions and records, etc etc etc….but this week I deleted a whole file on my computer with invoices because in reality I know the system is so backlogged and understaffed and working from home that I am pretty sure I will never have to drag all of that out for someone. 

That is one small example of how easily we can slip into a sort of “who cares anymore?” attitude when the whole dang world is topsy-turvy crazy.

My deleting computer invoices is not an immoral thing, but it was so out of character for me as I am one who tries to follow all the rules and cover all my bases. 

As more and more things are mandated I have noticed more and more “you can’t tell me what to do”. And while we debate our “freedoms”…we can begin to adopt a habit of self-interest, self-protection, self…self…self…and it starts to bleed over into every area of our lives. 

I had a friend tell me how she got to her car and realized she had left something in the bottom of the cart and hadn’t paid for it. When she took it back in, the clerk told her it was more trouble than it was worth to ring it up again – just take it.

WHAT??????

Think about how that kind of attitude is encouraging people to just go ahead and steal…UNREAL….this is a sluggish and lazy mindset that we must fight against as Christians.

So read again this word of God for us today and then prayerfully apply it:

Try hard to live right and to have faith, love, and peace, together with those who trust in the Lord from pure hearts. 

Put energy towards doing the right thing. 

Put effort into having your life filled with faith, love and peace. 

Join intentionally with others who trust in the Lord – and do a heart purity check daily. 

Blessings on you as you continue to work out your salvation with a serious and purposeful intentionality! 

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Counting the Cost <3

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Yesterday I had an ambitious To Do list going. I do this every Monday and particularly when Monday is the only open day on the calendar where I will be home for the entire week. 

As I looked at it, I felt overwhelmed and was certain I didn’t have enough time, so I assigned an estimate on how long each task should take based on previous experience and it all added up to seven hours. 

The list included some housework, yard work, email work and a few personal goals for the day.

A glance at the clock let me know it was 7 AM. I knew even with adding in meals and some distractions, it was doable. 

This set me up for success and at the end of the day I had accomplished everything and a few extras. 

I was intentional with my time and I stayed focused. 

As I was reading in The Message this morning, I found some notes written by Eugene Peterson following Luke 14. The last portion of this chapter is titled “Figure the Cost”.

Peterson starts out his thoughts regarding this with this charge:

To be a disciple, you have to think ahead.

Eugene Peterson, The Message Study Bible, pg. 1613

He continues with a reminder that good impulses, enthusiasm and good will are not enough to become disciples of Christ and, I would add, share the Good News that His Kingdom has come with others who desperately need to know…even if they don’t think they do.

He says that discipleship is assessing the future and what needs to be done to advance the Kingdom and then to be intentional and focused on exactly what our commitment is as individuals.

He reminds us that Jesus told us the cost is high. Do we take time to consider that seriously?

We have to ask ourselves…I have to ask myself…you have to ask yourself…am I willing to do what it takes to be a disciple?

Have I counted the cost and made the full commitment?

As our dear friend Big Jim would put it … Are you ALL IN????

Peterson’s closing thought sums it up for me and I hope for you:

Discipleship, you see, is not so much a matter of exhortation and bluster, of pep talks and cheerleading. It’s a matter of intelligent deliberation. It is sitting in on a long strategy conference with Jesus Christ and finding the resources I need to live obediently and act redemptively.

Eugene Peterson, The Message Study Bible, pg. 1613

Much to ponder today <3

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