Category Archives: Take Him at His Word

Truth and fiction can both be pretty strange <3

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My morning readings this week have been in Exodus and if you are about my age you know that we grew up with this story imprinted on our little minds and hearts through the magic of Cecil B. DeMille, Hollywood and  VistaVision by Technicolor. 

I looked forward to this epic event every Easter season and would sit in rapt attention in front of our TV.

I knew everyone’s lines by heart and in my later years when I read the accounts of the Exodus in the book of Exodus, I took exception at times that the book didn’t follow the movie very well.

Silly me. 

You know I jest, right? 

The book is the true story and the movie took license liberally to fill in the details and attempt to make it even more entertaining, but honestly…it’s an amazing read all by itself in the black and white pages of my bible. 

While there are additions that may or may not be true involving relationships and such, there is one part of the movie that did depict quite well the part where people like me get the willies because it involves snakes. 

For reasons that I probably should study to learn more about God and who He is, but that for now just blow my mind; God had Moses use his shepherd’s staff in a rather unusual way. 

As a sign of His divine power being vested into Moses, He has Moses throw the staff down and it turns into a snake. 

Then He commands Moses to pick it up by the tail and (I’m sorry…just a second while I breathe slowly into a paper bag just thinking of this…) and it turns back into his staff. 

Very cool.

Very convincing.

Until Moses is actually standing in front of Pharaoh and does this thing and the magicians around Pharaoh throw staffs down and voila….more snakes. 

Ok, I may need another minute to gather my wits here…in case you haven’t figured it out…I get the heebie jeebies just saying or typing the word snake. 

So anywho…as you know if you watched the movie and/or read the book…this is a bit alarming (and weird and odd and we might want to think twice about poo-poohing the powers of darkness, people) when Moses’ snake/staff slithers over and devours the fake/snake/staff’s and then Moses…oh my dear…my heart…bends down and picks this thing up by the tail and it is his staff again. 

Whew…glad I am not having my blood pressure checked today. 

As an added touch, in the movie version, the staff is also much bigger now. And I kind of like that and why not…it is now full of the other material it ate, so sure it would be bigger. 

And in the following verse and throughout the rest of the plagues and such, Moses is always carrying that staff and using it to accomplish things and I wonder if the magicians were reminded every time they saw him coming that he had a power superior to theirs. 

Interesting. 

You know there is saying about walking softly and carrying a big stick. 

You and I who have Christ in us, we have a big stick. We have a staff that has conquered death and overcome sin. 

Just something to think about today <3

Wrapping up Genesis <3

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We are two weeks into the New Year and it is a very good time to check in with all of you who said you want to read your bible this year and see how you are doing. 

If you have put it off, you only need to kick it up a notch and you will be caught up in no time. I started setting my timer for 15 minutes of reading each morning and I am able to get two extra pages in each day.

As I mentioned at the start of this year, it doesn’t hurt to read ahead for the busier weeks or the more difficult passages will come and then you are already ahead of schedule. 

Several have asked what I am using as my plan and this year is a straight read-through of Genesis to Revelation. 

I have enjoyed the past few days revisiting the story of Joseph since I did the Kelly Minter study “Finding God Faithful” this past summer. 

Doing a study on a portion of Scripture is so helpful to put it in perspective and adding to your knowledge and understanding opens up new layers on every future reading of what had become a “familiar” passage. 

One thing I noticed this time as I read about the brothers returning to their home country with plenty of grain and one brother still held in prison back in Egypt, is Jacob’s response to the news. 

As the brothers share the news that Simeon is being held hostage until they return with Benjamin, they are emptying their sacks of grain and find all the money they had paid is in the bags. 

Their father sees all of this and is so upset because he knows it will appear a theft in the eyes of the Egyptians. But his response is so intriguing.

“And Jacob their father said to them, ‘You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me.”

Genesis 42:36 NKJV

As a third party viewer standing back several thousand years, I see the selfishness of this statement. 

Yes, there is much grief that has come on this man in the loss of a son and another son in prison, but have mercy.

No mention of Simeon’s fate for his own life. No thought for what this will mean for Benjamin to leave the safety of home and go with this band of brothers back down to Egypt to face who knows what kind of punishment for the silver it looks like they kept. 

Just a woe-is-me, why does this kind of stuff happen to me response from the dad. 

I can shake my head at yet another example of why Jacob is an odd pick for being one of the patriarchs of the faith until I look no farther than my own selfish self. 

I cringe when I realize how often a disruption to my day has caused me to spiral into a self-pity litany of all the ways things go wrong for poor, poor, pitiful me and I have totally missed the personal struggle of others who are facing the upheaval that has sent a ripple across my pond. 

How good of God to not edit His Word by covering over the human character traits of those who were chosen to be the main threads in the tapestry of the story of Redemption. 

In reading these accounts of real people with real flaws and real family drama, we can see more clearly the character of God and our great need for Him. Scripture opens my eyes to the parts of me that need to be exposed, confessed, repented of and then opened to the work of the Holy Spirit to transform me from what I was to what He can make me to be <3

A late start…but it is Monday <3

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I am moving a bit slow this morning due to a new kind of head cold that seems to have snuck up on the scene where I thought I was turning the corner on a cough that has persisted through the holidays. 

It is discouraging to say the least. I was hoping to attack today with renewed energy. Instead, I have lingered over my quiet time and even taken a nap. 

So in my foggy state, I am sharing two separate thoughts that I hope somehow tie together in your mind as well as they do mine. 

Because one of the things I find every time I do a complete read-through of the Bible is that I discover some new things about God and His character that call me to live differently in this world.

Invariably, I am also given an even deeper understanding of how I am called to be a follower by dying to myself and living for God’s purposes in ways that stretch me as layers of selfishness continue to be peeled away. 

My Genesis reading this morning covered chapters 22-25 and my first thought is from the account of Abraham’s servant traveling back to his home land to find a wife for his son Isaac from among his family who remained back there. 

The servant takes an oath to find a wife for Isaac and bring her back with him. He would only be free to go if she refused to leave that land and come with him. 

Here are the aspects of this story that particularly touched my heart this morning as they have in past reading. 

The servant prays a pray asking for God to act in a clear and miraculous way, but it is not out of selfish motives. 

The prayer is not a prayer for HIM to succeed, but for God to show kindness “to my master Abraham.” (vv. 12 and 27)

This morning, it occurs to me that this servant’s testimony and joy regarding God’s faithfulness and kindness was in what He did for someone else. 

Think about that while I share my second thought. 

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In a book I am reading entitled Your Best Life in Jesus’ Easy Yoke by Bill Gaultiere, the author shares a story he heard once of a Quaker named John Woolman who worked as a tailor many centuries ago.

Because of his hard work and skill at his craft, he developed a good reputation and a growing list of clients and prosperous shop.  

But he realized that to continue to take on more clients and have to hire workers and expand his business would mean less and less time to also develop his relationship with Christ. 

He did the unthinkable in a capitalist world…he did not worry about losing money or work and instead he accepted the work he could manage and sent the overflow to other tailors who also needed business. 

 How different are these two mind-sets to us, even us who walk with Christ and seek to learn His ways? 

As I read Scripture, I am reminded how much of my thinking is shaped and etched with the culture I live in and the mindset of my here and now, of my own experiences and my own perspectives. 

It is refreshing to me to let God speak to me about the better way as I meditate on His Word and the examples of those, both in Scripture and through the generations, who have chosen to walk in step with Jesus instead of the world. 

What if the joy of my testimony was about how God showed faithfulness and kindness to those He calls me to serve?

What if I had the courage to turn down any good thing that keeps me from the best thing

Interesting thoughts to ponder, right? 

Have a good Monday and I will check in with you tomorrow…hopefully rested and on the mend! 

Christmas Countdown 2019….Day 24

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Good Christmas Eve to you!

As I type, I can see the word count at the end of our journey and we are at 12,000 plus words and yet this morning I struggle to form any cohesive thoughts as I finished reading the Easter story while I drank my coffee from a Christmas mug and thought back over this Advent season spent with you. 

My throat is constricted tight as hot tears fill my eyes. 

I read about the angels this morning and I wonder if they were some of the same ones who sang the night He was born. 

These angels who were there when the Holy Spirit busted open the grave and were filled with awe and wonder to see Him emerge. 

The ones who hung around in the garden waiting for people to wander back to tend His broken and dead body and leave filled with mind-numbing amazement that He was gone. 

Were they the ones who had ministered to Him after the temptations in the desert? Did they rest around Him as He slept in the boat? Did they attend His parents when this young family fled to Egypt and were they wrapped tight around Him when He would slip through angry mobs? 

I wonder if it was with great restraint that they kept from filling the skies with their hallelujahs over this surprise ending of final victory just days after having to have turned their heads away as God turned His back on His Son for us.

I think about the disciples and wonder about Peter and the way he was kicking myself for denying Christ and yet was compelled to run with all his might to see if what the women had said was true. 

I think of the women, fixers we are you know, always ready to get all the things together and do what needs to be done for our people. There they were with spices and wraps and such to prepare the perfect burial and yet robbed of the corpse needed to complete the project. 

I think of the men headed home who shake their heads at this goober of a guy who hasn’t even heard about Jesus and as they explain it to this ignorant man, He explains all of Scripture to them so that their hearts burn within them and they get to share the first communion with their Savior. 

I think of His followers huddling in a room and all of a sudden He is there and eating fish and then disappearing and how they followed Him out to where He finally ascends to heaven and how they went back to Jerusalem rejoicing and telling everyone and it is because of them that we can know. 

This Christ of Christmas is alive. 

This story of beginning that we celebrate is the story of hope and restoration and a promise of His return. 

He came and He is coming again. 

Rejoice and be filled with great joy. 

Emmanuel is God WITH us.

The Word of God made His dwelling among us.

There are no other words needed.

<3

Christmas Countdown 2019….Day 23

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Distracted? Why, yes…yes I am just a little bit.

We have the first of our two youngest home and we have been enjoying being with him and doing family and friend things while also tying up all the loose ends and so this morning instead of doing this post first thing, I got a hair cut and met John for coffee and ran half of the last zillion errands. 

But I did read Luke 23 and what I notice is the way the ones who wanted to get rid of Jesus waited until they could sway the crowd in their favor. 

I notice how Herod was only interested in Him for entertainment value and Pilate didn’t want to make some kind of decision that would be a negative mark on his political record. 

I notice how Jesus never had an agenda and the people who really understood who He is and why He came didn’t have one either. 

They, like He, are focused on a kingdom that is not of this world. 

It’s not political or popular or designed to make us happy and feel good about ourselves. 

It is a kingdom that saves us one by one when we realize how unworthy we are and yet He came to make a way for us to be with Him forever. 

I am so deeply grateful and I will spend every last breath here proclaiming that He alone is worthy of all glory and honor and praise and yet…He came for the likes of one such as me <3