Category Archives: Take Him at His Word

Some thoughts on prayer <3

Anybody else marveling we are three months into 2020? 

In some ways it has flown by and in other ways, have mercy…it has been the longest three months of our lives. Bar none. 

I think back to January and how very few, if any, people had the entire world being unified by one battle on their radar. 

But God did. 

I can assure you of that one truth. 

None of this takes the God of the universe, who sees the end from the beginning and the beginning from the end, by surprise. 

He has no beginning and He has no end and He exists outside of time and space and origin. 

He always is and always will be.

He formed us and all that is out of absolutely nothing and He cares for us and loves us and has provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him though we blatantly have disregarded Him. 

We are invited during this time of a global pandemic that is shaking all the foundations of health, relationships, governments and the economy to engage in even more intimate and personal fellowship with the God of our hope and salvation. 

That is my view today and will be my view always, by His grace that holds me fast to His mercy and truth.

So this morning as I have studied along with Kelly Minter’s fourteen day glimpse at portions of the Sermon on the Mount regarding prayer, I offer you my paraphrase of Jesus’ teachings on prayer from Matthew 6: 5-8 and then I plan to put it into practice:

Whenever you go to pray – 

Go in a private space

Shut the door to all distractions and just be very alone with God

Pray to your Abba Father who dwells in the deepest and most hidden places of your heart and soul.

Don’t babble and run on with what you think sounds like good prayers. 

Pray from your heart.

Talk to Him like you would a good friend about what is on your mind and heart. 

Speak honestly and sincerely and with raw, unedited words. 

Sort things out with Him that you do not understand because…

He does…

Because He knows. 

Because He listens.

Because He hears. 

Because He helps. 

Then quiet your own words and heart and lean in. 

Be held as you listen for any words He has for you. 

And if He is silent, then just be held <3

paraphrase of Matthew 6:5-8 Laura Reimer <3

For the birds <3

I just came in from a walk. I am usually a fair weather walker, but these days it doesn’t seem to matter the temperature or moisture content of the air. I get out when I can and walk. Partly to reduce anxiety temptations, partly to clear my head and partly to walk off the effects of too much time spent too close to the pantry if you know what I mean <3

As I walk, I hear the birds singing.

I step over worms who are venturing out after yet another rainfall. Nature is going on about its business with no thought or concern. The soggy fields seem blissfully ignorant of the trouble all those pools of water will cause our farmers in a few weeks and do not frown as more grey clouds gather overhead. 

This week I listened to a teaching from Matthew 6 where Jesus reminds us to consider the birds and flowers and how they do not work or toil and yet the Father cares and provides for them. He encourages us with the words…how much more are you worth to the Father than these? 

We watch our bird feeder each morning and think how the Father has provided for their needs by prompting us to fill it each day. 

They give us so much joy in their feathered beauty. You all might notice a heart changed here, because birds are not my thing…but these little song birds have captured my attention these past winters and with all that is going on they are a delight to behold. 

The squirrel that tries to steal from the feeder, not so much…still some room for growth regarding those critters…

So God uses the things of nature to remind us of His nature and then this morning I was reading in 1 Kings and just had to get my pen out and mark up some passages because God revealed something new about who He is in a story that is so familiar I could have been tempted to skim it. So thankful I didn’t. 

I have prepared many lessons around Elijah and his show down with the prophets of Baal. I have read through it numerous times. I would have thought I had wrung all out of it I could. 

But this morning; fresh off of filling the bird feeder and meditation on Matthew 6 for a good bit yesterday, I read with a new set of eyes these words of God to Elijah immediately after he was told to pronounce to the evil King Ahab the coming of an extensively long drought in judgment on him and his acts of disobedience:

“Then the word of the LORD came to him {Elijah}, saying, “Get away from here and turn eastward and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.”

1 Kings 17: 2-6 NKJV

It caught me by surprise to see that God was using these birds…that neither sow nor reap…the ones for whom He tends and feeds…to feed His servant Elijah. 

Now I am a picture person and the idea of a bunch of ravens swooping in and dropping off my meals from their yellow beaks is not evoking all kinds of tea party images, but think about it. 

Elijah was kept fed and watered in the most unusual of ways by the very creation that neither toils nor spins nor works nor worries. 

God used the most simple and helpless of means to provide for this man’s needs. 

A twist in the story that would not be expected. 

And humbling for the prophet to be provided for by a flock of birds and a stream kept filled in a drought by a God who was watching over him. 

I have been hearing of resources for hospitals being raised up from the most usual places. Donations of masks from the Morman church in one city. They had them stockpiled for some reason and decided to donate them to the local hospitals. 8,000 masks mind you, delivered to hospitals. 

 In another place, a private business in a small community donated masks to a hospital in a city far away that is in deep need. 

God raising up resources from unlikely places. 

As we are tempted to be worried, let’s look at the birds and follow their example.

Perhaps if we do this, God will use us – through our prayers or through our activity – to care for and tend others who are in need at this time. Our prayers of faith avail much and move the hearts of leaders in industry, government and the Church to be open to the nudges of God. 

Let’s keep our ears tuned to hear how God is working behind the scenes in incredibly unusual ways and let’s share those stories to urge one another on in faith!

May God bless and watch over each of you during these times of great uncertainty.

May you be filled with the certain knowledge of His love and mercy, grace and salvation extended to all people. 

You are loved and prayed for and I hope you don’t have to wait for a raven to feed you, but if you do…wash your hands

Be blessed   <3

Perfect love casts out all fear <3

One of the downsides of having an active imagination is the inevitability of over thinking in the midst of any kind of possible threat and carrying all the plot lines out as if they were actually happening. 

Add to that imagination an ability to embellish with vivid details and you have before you the battle of my mind these days. 

I listen to all the mix of reports on the virus, the economy and the uncertainty of decision being made and I find I am fighting the urge to work through all the potential scenarios as if they were actually happening. I am purposefully focusing my thoughts on what is real and present right at this moment.

Throughout the day I have to pray for a sound mind and readjust that helmet of salvation over this scattered and over-thinking brain of mine. 

As I have prayed, I was reminded of an experience with fear and health from my first visit to Kenya so I am sharing today. 

When our church decided to send a vision team to explore ministry opportunities in the region where our home missionaries were set up, I felt a tug in my heart to go to this area we had supported financially and with our prayers for so many years. 

But as the time drew closer for the actual trip, I realized that there was a fear in me regarding the inevitable exposure we would have to both HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis.

While I am not a germaphobe, I can easily become panicky about serious illnesses and conditions in a way that can border on irrational. 

I know me well enough to know that the fear of contracting any of those could cause me to completely withdraw in such a way that I would be crippled and ineffective in engaging socially with these people I had come to love already through prayer and photos from the teams serving them. 

So I asked some people to pray that I would not get weird and miss the whole experience because of my fears. 

Well, they prayed and I was able to meet and greet and talk with not a shadow of the grip of the fear I had feared; and then very near the end of our time there, God just had to look down on this child of His and decide to make one more good, faithful and strong answer of His power at work in me to be visible so I wouldn’t forget. 

The Maasai, I learned, have no concept of our social hula hoop/bubble.

I had been crammed into vehicles with far too many people, held hands or walked arm and arm with many young women and older women as is their charming custom to do with friends. 

I had sat in the close quarters of dormitories with the women’s ministry team from the area as they shared their desire to learn more and teach others about Jesus. 

And then we were hosted for a meal at the boma (home) of one of the Maasai families we were visiting. 

I was approached at one point by a very tall and very thin Kenyan man, who coughed consistently and had the haggard eyes that were a telltale sign of the disease that would eventually take his life. 

He told me his name and that he was dying of AIDS. His wife had died from same just recently and he was asking for prayer for their three young daughters who would be orphaned. He wanted me to pray over them and not forget them.  

Knowing the culture, I called for one of my friends to come and stand with us in prayer and she bowed her blonde head next to mine as we put our hands on these three young girls. 

Immediately their father stepped up to the tight circle and bowed his head over all of us. 

So there we were. 

Praying over these young lives as their father stood like an umbrella over our heads as we prayed.

And I had no fear. 

Because over the top of it all, I felt the Father of all mercies smiling the way He does when He answers my prayers in ways I could not have imagined. 

Instead of protecting me by keeping me clear of all my fears, He led me right into the thick of them and made His sweet Presence known. He showed me His heart and made mine a teeny bit more like His.

I wrote their names down and carried them in my prayers for many years. 

Those girls are grown now and recently friends were able to snap a picture and send to me from their trip to Kenya. 

We have many real things that could produce fear in us right now. But we have been told to not be afraid.

It is easier said than done, but we know…

Love casts out all fear. Perfect love, that is.

And the only Perfect Love is from the Father <3 

Inquiring + Listening + Obedience is a good formula <3

There is so much rich material in 1 Samuel, I am going to have to share another thought today. 

In Chapter 23, David is being confronted with conflict at every turn. 

He is fleeing from Saul and his army and hears the Philistines are attacking a city. 

Rather than take matters into his own hands, or decide he has enough trouble dealing with a psychopath who wants him dead, we are told in verse 2 that he “inquired of the Lord.”

He got an answer of affirmation to defend this city, but his troops were not on board. 

So he didn’t discuss it with them further or reason it out with a pros and cons chart, like I would have done probably based on my track record.  

In verse 4 we are told he just inquired of the Lord again. 

Once again the Lord gave him the thumbs up. 

And the very next verse says, and they went. David and his men. 

Obedience implied. 

David’s obedience. 

His men’s obedience. 

The men that were quaking in their boots trying to get away from Saul’s pursuit and the fact that these were the Philistines and they were a bunch of guys who had joined up with David…who had fled Jerusalem without even a sword. (see 1 Samuel 21)

David consults with the Lord a lot and the times he doesn’t are painful for himself, his family and the nation he has been called to lead. 

There are no perfect rulers or governments or leaders or followers or citizens. But it sure does help when individuals at every level respond to the battle at hand by inquiring of the Lord first and foremost. 

It’s better for the individual and the community. 

We can’t answer for those who balk at what God told us to do. 

We can’t bow to the popular vote or opinion. 

It’s a matter of each one of us inquiring of the Lord…and if we are questioned or voted down…inquiring again. And when we are sure, we move forward in obedience with those who will also respond in obedience. 

And we leave the rest to God. 

You and I can only answer for our own part in this process but it will bless many when we follow through <3

Sharing some feedback that touched my heart <3

Good morning and welcome to Monday <3

How did the time change go in your home? 

We did pretty good although there is a learning curve every time we move the clocks forward or back. 

We certainly enjoyed the sunshine and warmer temps and took a couple of walks while the skies were clear. 

Last week I had the sweetest and most thoughtful response from one of you and I asked permission to pass along the heart of it, but the writer desires to remain anonymous. 

I love hearing your thoughts in the comments, but always know if you do not want them made public TELL ME!! 

However we learn from each other and this one was a great teaching on how to meditate so I am sharing the essence of the comment for you to perhaps learn a little more from example of someone who digs in to the word.

Thank you, dear reader…you know who you are and how much I appreciate your feed back <3

In response to the post on Thursday, she wrote that she had been trying for several days to really know what it means that Christ took on all the sin of the world. She thought about those things that she has done that she could never forgive herself for as well as the atrocities of sin that stand out in history or the news items of our day. 

Really meditating for a bit on the depth of depravity in humanity, and also forcing focus on the things we have done that make us cringe and feel ashamed is part of this exercise my dear friend allowed herself to experience. 

I think about how she took “several days to really know what it means…” Time well invested, my sweet friend <3

Carrying this thought further, she then thought about and meditated on our precious, sinless Savior becoming these things. She thought of Him crying out to God “Why have you forsaken me?”

Because God had turned His back to Jesus. 

Jesus, who had never ever been separated from the Father, felt the full measure of complete abandonment. 

This led her to a deeper appreciation for what Jesus did, not only for her, but for all of us on the Cross. This kind of exercise not only draws us closer to God, but it makes our hearts break for those who do not know the love and forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ.

I am thankful this reader took the time to not only apply the Word of God, but to share the thoughts gleaned. We need dialogue with one another about how we are growing in the disciplines of prayer, meditation and study.

Lent is a powerful time to do some soul-searching and deep cleaning in our hearts. 

To own our sins and transgressions is important. To recognize and acknowledge the power of sin the world and to own that as well because we are all fallen, this is a way to grow deeper in worship of God. 

It expands our understanding of His grace and mercy. 

Scripture is given so we can see us for who we are and God for who He is. 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes will not perish – but will have eternal life. John 3:16

It is worth spending some time thinking about that deeply. 

He is worthy