Category Archives: Take Him at His Word

Word nerd alert <3

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Words grab my attention particularly when they are used in an unusual way of communication.

Take the word “confirmation.”

I have two reactions to it. 

When I see or hear that word I immediately transport back to Junior High and I’m sitting in around a table in our cavernous old Methodist church in the town my family finally settled in after my dad retired from the Air Force. 

Completely distracted by whatever squirrely trail my thirteen year old brain was traveling, I joined several other similarly wired age mates as we were led through the steps we needed to take to become confirmed members of the church. 

Confirmation meant enduring several weeks of classes and then standing in front of the church and being officially made members. 

It was an important part of my faith walk story and I count it as one of the many steps I have taken that lead me ever closer to Christ by living in community through belonging to the Body.

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When I use the word confirmation, it is usually in the context of a phone conversation with a customer service representative after an arduous exchange where I either made a reservation, canceled a reservation or cleared up some kind of mistake in the services we are receiving…ie. the internet company, the cable company, the charge card. 

A confirmation number means I have some way of connecting what was promised with any further need to contact yet another representative about the same issue. 

Not that this ever happens…ha…

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So imagine my confusion lately when the subject matter of a couple of emails every day contain the word “Confirmation of subscription” or “Confirmation of offer.”

I look at the sender and ask myself what we would have ordered or agreed to.

As it turns out, we have done nothing.

This is some kind of new advertising gimmick I guess.

As if when I see that the offer they have made me has been confirmed, I will hit accept and there we go…I have gained the ability to access satellite radio from my phone. 

No thank you.

I already spend way too much time on my phone as it is, I don’t need to be adding entertainment to it. 

Or when I notice that my offer has been confirmed, I will download some coupon and follow through with placing an order for clothing that I don’t want, need or even like. 

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It occurs to me that I am offered a lot of other unnecessary offers that come in the guise of sincere “confirmations” throughout each and every day. 

Catchy phrases that sound like they are based on truths I hold to…pep talks that seem encouraging and uplifting but do not feed the empty places in my soul that long for relationship with something greater than myself. 

There are ample offers being made daily by well-meaning and by not-so-well-meaning people and companies and organizations. 

So let me remind you. 

The only one who can actually confirm anything that lasts in us is God. 

One God…three in One….Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

The synonym for “confirmation” is the word “corroborate”…(doesn’t that smack of a negative term??? It isn’t)

Corroborate – to support with evidence or authority: make more certain

Are you getting tossed around by all the loud noises of 2019? 

Here is one of many confirmations you can jot down and refer back to repeatedly throughout the day…

He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW that you have eternal life, and that you may CONTINUE TO BELIEVE in the name of the Son of God.     1 John 5:11-13

Of Missions and being called <3

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I am sharing another note I dictated into my Blackberry back in 2012.

I am stretching you because the words you are reading below are from a season in my life when we only had one baby grandson…Russ’s sweet parents were still alive but declining in health and Sarah was working as an aid one on one with a little boy in Kindergarten who had numerous challenges to interrupt his ability to learn.

They were taking a field trip to a Cardinal game and she was going along with the class. We were praying for him to have a great day of fun and to enjoy a ball game with his family.

I might note that that little boy had to repeat Kindergarten with our Sarah staying one more year to come along side him.

She sends pictures of him now and then when she reconnects with him. He’s doing great in school. He’s amazing.

That’s what mission fields look like…enjoy this blast from the past….

Pastor Wayne talked in church this morning about going to our Judea and our Jerusalem and Samaria and to the farthest regions of the world and we sang “Here am I, send me” and my eyes landed on a precious woman in our church. 

A mom and grandma and I know well. And right now, where God is sending her is into a nursing home to see her daughter-in-law who slips farther away every day to the evil of what is Alzheimers.

 To be a mom again for this woman’s children and be the grandma and support her own son.

And I think how when our kids were little, they were my mission field. 

Now I go up and give our grown up daughter little breaks in her week and I spend time with our first grandson and that is my mission field.

Our adult children are my mission field. 

I have had the opportunity to go to Africa and the opportunity to send money and prayers to Thailand and to Africa and to Iraq and different places.

For awhile my mission field was to pick my mom up and take her to see my dad so she could fulfill her for better or worse vows, and then going in her place after she was gone. 

I think how Russ is doing that for his parents long distance in this season. 

Today our prayers are for a little boy in St Louis to go to a ball game and to have a great day and for God to protect him.

I think of the kids our kids have brought into our lives over the years to love and accept and care for. 

And we all just raise our hands and go forward, trusting that God is listening to us and equipping us as we serve Him wherever He has placed us. 

I was driving home from church when I dictated that and I will confess, I was crying through the whole thing.

We live in an age where empowering ourselves is becoming a very popular theme in both the world and the Church.

But in seasons of deepest ministry, as I look back on each of those circumstances I was commenting on – there was brokenness and helplessness and surrender.

Hands raised…Here am I LORD…send me.

I want to share a couple of books I am currently reading and marking up and committing to heart that I would recommend to particularly women who are wondering what their “mission field” might look like.

Missionary Mom: Embracing the Mission Field Right Under your own Roof by Shontell Brewer http://shontellbrewer.com

https://www.amazon.com/Missionary-Mom-Embracing-Mission-Field/dp/0825445388

Adorned Living out the Beauty of the Gospel Together by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

https://www.amazon.com/Adorned-Living-Beauty-Gospel-Together/dp/0802412599

and Brave Moms Brave Kids: A Battle Plan for Raising Heroes by Lee Nienhuis

https://www.amazon.com/Brave-Moms-Kids-Battle-Raising/dp/0736970037/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1549465693&sr=8-1&keywords=brave+moms+brave+kids


Back to Ezekiel <3

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I kind of checked out of sharing about the Ezekiel study this week. 

Partly because I didn’t get to hear the sermon until Monday and also the material is as graphic and rough as the first week was fantastical and other-worldly. 

But I would be remiss to skip the more unpleasant aspects of how doing this study with our church family has been working on me. 

So welcome to a glimpse into my journal entries from Monday this week.

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The passage was Ezekiel 4 and the first question from the study guide asked about an area where God might be calling me to repentance. 

I was slightly offended at how little time it took God to help me fill in the answer. 

Just kidding. 

He is God after all and it is His way to be direct with me so here was my fairly immediate response:

Two things come to mind this morning that I have recently been strongly convicted about

1. The “sin of prayerlessness” as Andrew Murray calls it in several of his books

and

2. The sin of slander

First off: Regarding #1… yes, I lead three prayer teams at our church and yes, you would think I pray all the time.

And while I do pray, the reality is that my prayer life has become weak, powerless and dead of late. 

And when I look critically at the reason for this I see clearly the sin of unbelief. 

I could blame that on a lot of different things but in the end it comes down to the fact that I have let my doubt become bigger than our God.

As for the sin of slander: for way too long my thoughts and my mouth tend to lean toward words that do not edify or build up but rather take swipes…sometimes out loud… but more often in my inner conversations. 

Both are equal in the eyes of God – the seen and heard and the ones buried deep inside of me. He knows the heart and what doesn’t get said matters as much as what does.

When I lay that out for consideration I can see the root of bitterness has fueled this sin. 

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The next question in the study asked me what it would look like to turn from my sin and turn toward God. 

So as I examined my sinful bent and the roots that were behind them, I came up with this;

Acknowledging that my unbelief and bitterness ARE Sin – and thus as disgusting to God as cooking my evening meal over a pile of human excrement

Gross?

Very….

(look up the passage and read Ezekiel 4)….

To OWN this as my own sin and to confess and agree with God that this IS indeed SIN

and then to ask for forgiveness and to REPENT

to make every effort to walk away from both of these sins and choose to live in complete contrast to them…that is what is called for in response to the work of God in me through the series we have been looking at the past two Sundays.

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And here is the prayer I wrote in conclusion:

Heavenly Father, I am confessing to you how I have let hopelessness and unbelief take precedence over faith and the Hope that is in me through the work of Jesus Christ alone. 

I also confess my sin of bitterness and envy and a critical spirit that have found a greater place in my heart than the love I should have in You. 

I have not followed Your command to rid myself of doubt, envy, wrath, anger and malice but have let my own pride and sense of self-righteousness to rule my thoughts and words and actions. 

I have spoken ill of people to make me feel better about my circumstances.

When I envy others in what they have been given or for what they have accomplished – in Your sight this is the same as if I  hoped for them to fail.

This is sinful and as disgusting to you as human excrement. 

Father, I confess this has been my heart attitude.

I ask you to forgive me LORD and I know that I am forgiven in Christ – my LORD and Savior. 

I do repent but also fear the depth of sin in me – I ask You to help me LORD to turn from this and to choose Your way only. I ask in Jesus’ Name. 


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The final question was what action steps I can take to show my repentance. 

Here are the conclusions I came to after my time in prayer:

<3 Just like the suggestions gleaned from reading “Adorned” by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth; aggressively resist mean, jealous and unloving thoughts when they crop up – GET. RID. OF. THEM. 

<3 Pray – start somewhere. Probably for me right now it is best to just open up my Bible and pray directly from Scripture. Ephesians 1 – 3 has always been a good place for me to pray through, so I can start there. Also to use the Scripture prayers provided in several prayer books to get my mind and heart back in the language of prayer. 

There are times when we feel God does not hear or answer our prayers because we do not see anything changing in situations that have made us desperate for His involvement. 

However; the above prayers are something He very quickly has answered…prayer for conviction of my particular sins…prayer for forgiveness…prayer for repentance…prayer for actions steps I can begin to take and prayer for obedience to follow through. 

As I have taken these steps, I have found He has heard and answered with abundant mercy and grace. 

No matter how far we move away from Him, the moment we turn back He is already there to meet us and help us. 

There is only ONE God, three in One, and He is full of mercy and kindness and grace for all who will return to Him <3


We seem to be in a series all of a sudden….<3

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What is this strange bright orb in the sky? Oh…the sun…ah yes…I remember it…Ha!

We have had some bleak days this week so I am opening all the blinds and letting the light in while we have it. 

I certainly had not planned on doing a series from our church’s study of Ezekiel but then I rarely plan what I am going to write so here we go!

Today’s passage was from 2:8-3:11. After God gives Ezekiel directions for what he is being called to do, He tells him to literally eat the scroll of God’s written word. 

I have had a book on the shelf for several years that grabbed my attention and because we are currently doing a series on how to study your Bible in Sunday School, I have been reading it finally. 

It just happens to be called Eat This Book and is written by Eugene Peterson. 

Just as the title suggests, the text is about ingesting God’s Word in such a way that it fuels us spiritually the way food gives our body the energy to move and function. 

Coincidence? 

I think not. 

The pastor who wrote our study material points out that Ezekiel is accepting the Lord’s message by eating the Scroll God hands him. 

God instructs Ezekiel to deliver the message without fear and to a group who will most likely be hard and unreceptive. 

And God then makes Ezekiel hard as well. 

It reminds me of Jesus when He set His face like flint and headed off to Jerusalem. 

Often I get this confused.

I think that because God’s message is about extravagant grace and unmerited mercy, I need to deliver it all soft and pretty and in a way that should in all intent and purpose result in pretty much a resounding nod of applause from any and all with whom I share the wonderful news of Jesus Christ. 

And when it is met with derision or opposition, outright confrontation or smug condescension…I back peddle and try to figure out what I did wrong. 

I forget. 

The success of the mission was my obedience to deliver the message I was given, not the reception of the message. 

So two things right there…

First, what message has God assigned me to deliver to what group?

And second is to evaluate if I am I doing it and if not, why?

Our study guide offered us some questions to get us thinking about this and one of them was to think of the ways God has equipped you to share His message. 

As I looked at that I was able to list several resources I have been blessed with and also gifts/talents/affinities that serve as vehicles for me to use in the areas of influence He has given me. 

Your list will look different from mine. 

Not better. Not worse. 

Our equipping is unique because our reach is specifically assigned by God. 

I will close with the same prayer suggestion that was offered at the end of our study guide today  – ask God to equip you to share the message He has given you. 

This will only happen when we humble ourselves before God and listen, receive and ingest His Word for us and then move out in obedience, trusting Him to go with us and leaving the results in His hands. 

Also…PS!! I had gotten behind on reading comments, but read them today and LOVED them!! Have answered you so check back to the post you commented on – riveting, trust me <3


Clear messages

It’s windy and rainy here on the prairie and I am trying to get a soup started for the crock pot and get ready so just a quick thought and then I must hurry scurry…

The passage for our morning bite of Ezekiel today was from Chapter 2 verses 1 through 7.

In a nutshell, God is telling Ezekiel the clear cut direction He is giving. 

Wow. 

Don’t we all ask for that on a regular basis?

“Lord, just tell me what you want me to do. Skywrite it for me. Make it so clear I can’t miss it.”

I am giving you my version of the mission Ezekiel was given.

Go to My people and deliver the words of My message that I am going to speak through you. I will give you exactly what you need to say and you just say it. Oh, and by the way. The people I am sending you to, they are rebellious and stubborn and have turned their backs on Me. They are rude and inconsiderate and blind as bats. I am basically sending you into the least receptive and welcoming audience on planet earth. But don’t worry. Don’t let it get you down. They probably won’t listen to you and they will most likely make fun of you. But if and when that happens, you have not failed. The success of your mission is not based on their response, but on your obedience. 

So let that sink in to your soul today.

Still want God to tell you exactly what He wants you to do? 

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Even if?

Each of us has an area of influence today. 

It may expand to social media and an unknown audience or it may be a set of preschoolers fighting over a toy. 

We may be in a board room or ringing up a sale for a customer.

The words God gives us may be for the strangers we rub elbows with in an airport or the lives we fear for around our dining room table. 

If you are a believer in the salvation of Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection, you have been given a commission. 

And as believers and followers of a Risen Savior, we are to go and share the Gospel from the streets of our own neighborhoods to the ends of the earth. 

The success of the mission will not rest on the response of others but on our obedience. 

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Are you all in?

Father, I read your word to Ezekiel and I am thrilled by the grand story of Your plan of salvation. I cheer for Ezekiel and I admire his strength and courage to obey you. And then I turn to the reality of the world I live in and I shrink back because everything in me wants to be liked and accepted. I run from conflict and I take personally every hint of rejection. Renew my heart and spirit to be bold. Teach me to share the truth in love and not fear. Give me Kingdom eyes to see that You stand in my place and I am simply Your ambassador. Help me to love Your approval more than that of any group of people. I know that when I am speaking Your words, only sin and pride will be offended. Your words are always attended with extravagant measures of grace and mercy and love. If I bring my words under the authority of Your Word, true hearts who long to draw closer to You will respond with repentance that leads to salvation. Help me to trust Your heart more than my own. 

I ask in Jesus’ Name <3