Category Archives: Take Him at His Word

Thankful for LIFE that swallows death <3

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one of my fav pics of my mom and dad <3

You all know I am reading through my Bible this year if you have followed this for any length of time. 

You also probably know that, for me, God’s timing is so spot on it gives me joy, tears mixed with giggles and fills my heart with praise for the intimate ways He chooses to remind us He is with us. 

It just so happens on this day before Thanksgiving in the year of 2020, with no planning on my part to land in 2 Corinthians 5 today; God knew I would be reading the words that brought me such great comfort twelve years ago. 

For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality should be swallowed up by life.

2 Corinthians 5:4-5

That mortality (death) should be swallowed up by LIFE.

On January 30th of 2008 I had read this passage and marked in my Bible “Revelation! It is LIFE that swallows/destroys death.” 

The year progressed and I can’t say this discovery of truth made much of a difference beyond that morning when I felt compelled to pen those thoughts in the margin and decorate with several hearts for emphasis. 

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On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving that same year, I got a call in the wee hours of the morning that my mother had been found laying beside her bed. She had struck her head on the nightstand from a fall. Apparently she had used her slipper to knock on the wall as best she could and a neighbor finally heard on waking, alerting the staff in the independent living center. 

The ambulance was on the way and I quickly dressed and headed to the hospital. Entering the ER treatment area, I could hear her monotone voice through the curtain as the nurse emerged from her room. Only God could have the nurse on duty be one of our former teens from church. His eyes confirmed my fear. She had followed the steps of her own mother and suffered a massive stroke. 

Later the doctor pulled me out and explained there were three areas of bleed and because of the extensive damage, location, and her age there was nothing to be done except make decisions for life support. 


My parents had requested a living will and so I knew my only decision was to advocate her desire to not prolong life on machines. 

We had good conversations in the next few days and abundant blessings and kindnesses of God; more then I could relate to you in the space I want to take for this today. She knew she was dying. She released me from any guilt that I hadn’t been there. Her last days were a gift from God as she told me she loved me and she was at peace. 

She slipped into unconsciousness before they transported her to a nursing home. She had always feared going to one and by God’s grace she never had to experience it as she lay, for the next seven days, seemingly reaching for Jesus or resting comfortably with the most peaceful look on her face that you could ever imagine. 

The staff cared for her so tenderly, keeping her skin moist with baby lotion. 

I would sit by her bed and just read my Bible for a while between running kids to things and caring for our home and it was on December 1st that my eyes fell on this passage I had marked ten months before. 

Death…swallowed up by LIFE.

As my mother was passing from this life, smelling like a newborn baby, I heard God whisper to my heart…

From your side, it looks like death is swallowing her life, but from My side…My LIFE is swallowing her death. 

She was not dying, she was being born into her eternal life. All smelling like a newborn of all things.

I cannot sing “Oh death, where is your sting?” without thinking of her being born into her eternal life in front of my eyes. 

We have had a hard year. We have listened to death tolls daily since March. We are aware that the fears we have are global. Our plans have died, businesses are dying, death seems to hang over us.

But so is God. 

He is LIFE and no matter what takes us out of this world, for those who belong to Him, this was never a place we were meant to stay in forever. 

Yes, these are serious times. 

Perhaps it is time to take God seriously. 

Blessings on you, sweet reader, who may have happened by today. 

If you have lost someone and are grieving, I pray you can take comfort in knowing God’s eternal love is holding that one and will carry you through. I pray you to know the deep love of God through Jesus Christ that saved us. 

We have, it would seem, much to be thankful for <3

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One man’s hero is another man’s zero

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I love to read the works of Christian writers from the past. As they ponder the timeless truths of Scripture, the holiness of God and the flawed nature of humanity in their day and age; I take courage and grow in my faith in the time and location designated for my span of years. 

Many people will compare our times to theirs and say things have always been bad so we are not any worse, but in this I disagree. Beth Moore stated in one of her teachings that evil has always been the fullness of itself and the capacity of depravity in mankind is the same. But as the days grow closer to the Lord’s return we will see the incidences and acts of evil grow in intensity and frequency.

I would say we are there. 

So when I read the words of the classic Christian voices that spoke for the Gospel and not for popularity in their time, I am strengthened to do the same in mine. 

Oswald Chambers is one of the voices who have helped expand my desire to live out the Bible that I read daily. He constantly chastens me and sharpens my understanding of Scripture. He calls me out when I am shallow and he holds nothing back in forcing me to measure myself constantly to the example of Christ alone. 

I have read through My Utmost for His Highest so many years now and every page is marked up with dates, hearts, “ouch”, “amen” and how that days passage connects to another message God is bringing to the forefront of my mind. 

Monday’s entry spoke to my heart and a question I have asked constantly in the days of upheaval in our nation recently. I want to first say that this is not a political statement. 

Let me repeat myself. 

THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT.

So please, if you are offended or want to take it to that level know that I will not entertain any comments about the events that have happened in our country. I understand both sides of preserving history and the anger that some parts of history continue to bring to our fellow citizens. 

As statues and reminders of heroes of the Confederate army have been pulled down, I have wondered in my heart why we have, as humans, such a need to build statues or honor one another in permanent ways as if any one of us was worthy of being memorialized as a perfect example of anything. 

The United States is not alone in this as it is true to all cultures that statues are built to honor leaders and monuments are raised to commemorate victories; but all of these are not precious and loved and celebrated by all people. In all cultures and periods of history, the heroes of some are the villains of others. 

We are all flawed. Even the best and finest humanitarian has things in his or her life that are ugly and if left unchecked would bring harm to themself and others. But we are always looking for the next cause or person to deify with some kind of concrete (sometimes literally) memorial. 

I think that is why Moses was taken off by God and buried in a secret place and why the tomb of Jesus was left unmarked. If there had been a definite place marked, most assuredly a statue would have been erected and a new symbol of “worship” would have come about. 

When I thought about it, the only monument I could think of that God asked the Israelites to build was a pile of stones picked up from a dry river bed. Twelve stones, one for each of the tribes, were carried from the Jordan as they crossed into the Promised Land. God told them to stack them there along the river bank and when, in the years to come, their children asked what the stones were for; they could recount how God had carried them from slavery to freedom.

Ah. But I digress…because Oswald speaks to this question in me.  He equates our need to find or be heroes to our faith life and our tendency to look for “spiritual heroes.”

“In the Scriptures, the great miracle of the incarnation slips into the ordinary life of a child; the great miracle of the transformation fades into the demon-possessed valley below; the glory of the resurrection descends into a breakfast at the seashore. This is not an anticlimax, but a great revelation of God.”

Oswald Chambers, November 16; My Utmost for His Highest, edited by James Ryman, Discovery House 1992

Oswald goes on to say that “we have a tendency to look for wonder in our experiences, and we mistake heroic actions for real heroes.” He says that there is a difference between going through a crisis experience in a grand and admirable way and living out the ordinary demands of the regular every-day glorifying God when no one sees or notices. 

He points out that we make assessments of who the movers and shakers are by what we see, but for God it is the hidden life of His saints who serve without fanfare that is noted and precious in His sight. 

Rather than building statues and monuments to humans who were called to rise up and lead during more eventful times of history, we should be cultivating in ourselves a determination to…

seriously…

-> prepare the frozen pizza for the kiddos, for the glory of God

-> stand outside the window and try to talk through a cell phone to our loved one, for the glory of God

-> put on the scrubs and masks and hand the doctor a scalpel, for the glory of God

-> answer the email and solve the problem, for the glory of God

-> send the “just thinking of you card”, for the glory of God

-> pick up the neighbor’s garage cans that blew into the street, for the glory of God

-> bite back the retort that rose to the lips, for the glory of God

-> erect an altar in your heart where you worship Jesus Christ alone and trust Him for all your needs, for the glory of God

-> do any of the mundane, repetitive tasks that mark our days, for the glory of God

We are living in trying times, my friends, but times in which we were most assuredly placed to serve and to bring glory to God. 

Oswald reminds me that my purpose is not to be noticed for myself; but that in all I do, people would see the living Christ in me and the difference He has made.

He is my hero. 

And it is up to me to make His name and His deeds famous; not be erecting a statue, but by being a living testimony of His mercy, grace and truth. 

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Bless you as you ponder this today <3 

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Belonging is a beautiful thing if what we belong to is beautiful <3

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Happy Monday! 

I hope you are off to a good start to your week. Mine is a bit fuller than usual, but I already have some notes jotted down for our time together so will jump right in with today’s reflection.

As I was in the book of Acts last week for my read-through of the Bible, I had one of those “jump off the page” moments in Chapter 27. 

First off, let me say that as a younger Bible student, Paul was my least favorite, most intimidating and dead last answer on the question “Who do you want to sit and talk with in heaven?” 

He seemed too intense, too tactless at times…very bold. And if you know me for five minutes, you know “bold” is not a character trait in a person that draws me out like a flower in the sun.

Bold throws me into a defensive mode that has me scrambling to find what shaky footing I had on how to respond conversationally with people. 

But thanks to amazing Bible teachers like our pastors, Beth Moore and my own maturing as I read Scripture over and over, I have learned that, while Paul was bold, there was a presence of Christ in him and a humility and warmth that I had missed in my younger days. 

Most likely what I labeled as “too bold, too confident, too arrogant” was actually a defense of my old self to the conviction Paul’s anointed words often evoke. But as I am maturing in faith and owning up to my own selfish, prideful ways, I have begun to see him in a different light and he is now one of my favorites. Oh I do hope he drinks coffee….

Throughout the book of Acts, I can now see his fervor and passion were bathed in the knowledge and admission of what he would have been without encountering the Living Christ. His writings are filled with his own journey of faith while calling other Christians to accountability in growth and dedication. 

And he was well loved by people. Over and over as I read the final chapters of Acts, I cried as congregations of all sizes would gather on shores weeping and bidding him farewell knowing they would never see him again. Verse after verse, he proclaims his own sorrow and love for PEOPLE. 

The passage that jumped out happened on his famous voyage as a prisoner that ends in a shipwreck. He and the soldiers guarding him, the crew and the rest of the passengers are tossed up on the shore of some island where even more people come to know Jesus while befriending this most famous of missionary authors, Paul of Tarsus. 

During the storm that sets about the events on the island of Malta recorded in the following chapter, Paul is encouraging his traveling companions with a vision he had had in the night.

 (Please pause and go back to remember he is a PRISONER and yet is giving guidance to save the lives of those on board this  doomed vessel)

In verse 23 he says:

For last night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me. 

Acts 27:23 CSB

This short passage, completely separate from the context of the entirety of this particular account of his voyage. And this is why I encourage you to read larger portions of Scripture daily. Within the daily reading, God will speak to you. Not every day or necessarily in answer to your current situation. But if we are consistent in the discipline of daily Bible intake, more and more, we will HEAR His Word to us. 

Here is what I wrote from this passage in my journal:

First Pauls says, “the God I belong to and serve. Isn’t that it? I belong to Him AND I serve Him. 

11-13-2020 journal entry

Do you see the difference between me belonging and serving verses just me as a servant of God? When my serving is tied to my belonging to Christ, my serving is filled and empowered with HIS grace, love, mercy and power.

I fear that for many unbelievers or those who have walked away from the faith, I have missed exemplifying that my service is intimately bound to my belonging to Him. 

We all need to belong to something. We are wired for it.

It is why even in the most dysfunctional of families, there is a strong tie to that family. No matter what has happened to destroy unity, there is a desire for it because we were made to “belong.” 

And in this passage, I see my need to belong has been fulfilled in Christ. I belong, not as in He owns me, but in that He purchased me back so that I could be fully a part of Him. He is my Lord and He is my Savior, but it is tied to my belonging to Him in the most precious of ways.

Just as I belong to the Reimer family and thus out of my love for the others who belong flow acts of service, I belong to my Father’s Kingdom and what I do for Him is service to this place where I have been accepted and welcomed. 

All are welcome, you know. 

Remember Paul? How he once persecuted Christians and then became one? 

All are welcome.

For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God but He loved us first and sent His Son that we might all belong and we might all serve gladly in His Kingdom <3 

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