Category Archives: Take Him at His Word

The shadow of disappointment that can lurk behind our hopes <3

www.laurareimer.net

Welcome to September! 

At the beginning of 2019, I may have shared, I have attempted to use my “planner calendar” as a planner.

I use the term attempted because I have not done a 100% job of it, but I have maintained the effort and done better than if I had not tried at all. 

And in that little sentence is a whole lot of life growth and healing and forward progression because I tend to quit if I can’t do it the way I had hoped so … high five for transformations, amen?

I have started about 50% of the months so far with a focused goal setting and recap of how I have followed up on previous plans and I actually did that this weekend so…

September…I see you and I am ready for you <3

We just came off a busy two weeks/weekends and I have some issues to work out with the technology side of this website space we gather together in during the week that I will be attacking this morning.

I would so very much appreciate some prayers for understanding and wisdom as I attempt to do some work on the backside of Journey Onward to keep the site running smoothly. 

Thank you in advance for those. 

And now for some musings from my readings this morning and then I shall be doing tech stuff for which I have zero interest, training or skill….sigh….

I have been working on a daily reading plan provided by our church recently and one of the passages today tugged at my heart. 

Paul is writing a letter to the church in Corinth (and really…to all of us who have chosen to follow Christ) and he is expressing his heart for them to hold on to the Gospel. 

Here are two translations and I am emphasizing the words in bold caps that jumped out at me:

Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to you, which you received, on which you have taken your stand and by which you are being saved, IF YOU HOLD TO THE MESSAGE I PREACHED TO YOU – UNLESS YOU BELIEVED IN VAIN.

1 Corinthians 15:1-2   NASB

and

Friends, let me go over the Message with you one final time – this Message that I proclaimed and that you made your own; this Message on which you took your stand and by which your life has been saved. (I AM ASSUMING, NOW, THAT YOUR BELIEF WAS THE REAL THING AND NOT A PASSING FANCY, THAT YOU’RE IN THIS FOR GOOD AND HOLDING FAST.)

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 MSG

As I read those passages this morning, the point of the reading plan was that the Gospel is important to declare, but what gripped my heart was Paul’s heart. 

He is obviously sharing the Good News one more time, yet again…with believers.

And in his words that I have highlighted I tried to grasp what name I would give the emotion that fuels his words and it seemed to my heart he is expressing a deep fear of disappointment. 

He fears the ones who had taken a stand because they heard the Gospel and believed have now turned away. 

As I sat thinking of my own disappointments and what disappointment and fear of disappointment can feel like, I got curious about the word itself.

I know for me the essence of it is expressed in a phrase I have become familiar with personally and I hear voiced by sweet and dear and precious friends and fellow believers a lot lately…

  • “Things just didn’t turn out the way we had hoped”
  • “It’s not what we signed up for”
  • “This isn’t what I thought our life would look like”

Maybe you have you own phrasing so pause a minute and let it settle in your heart. 

And then think about that feeling and Paul and his writing to the Church of Jesus Christ as he tried to fight discouragement so that he could encourage. 

According to our old Webster’s dictionary I gleaned these insights:

Dis – the Roman god of the underworld…interesting isn’t it?

dis-as a prefix is “the opposite of”: so disappoint is to have the opposite of what was arranged. 

Disappoint: to fail to meet the expectation or hope of; frustrated. 

In a lovely book called “Family Word Finder” that I scored at a garage sale from our dear friends the Kents, I find these added pieces of information:

letdown, failure, dissatisfaction, disillusionment, fiasco, disaster, thwarted expectation, miscarriage of plan, unrealization, unfulfillment, loss, frustration, setback, dissatisfaction, defeat, fizzle. 

Certainly does seem the calling card of the god of the underworld, doesn’t it?

So Paul is wondering if those he is encouraging were just on board for the short haul.

I relate to the last term the most … fizzle…makes me think of the old Alka-seltzer tablets and how they were all full of energy and action when you dropped them in the water but then…they fizzle out. 

Disappointment is usually a process…a slow fade where a dream or hope or expectation just fizzles out.

And I want to join with Paul and urge you who have taken a stand…remember the Gospel that once stirred your heart and moved you with passion for Jesus. 

Remind yourself and others believers frequently, even as you continue to pray and seek to share the Good News with the lost..because if we do not spur one another on…we will fizzle out. 

This story of our redemption and salvation never gets old and boring…let it sink deep into  your soul today…

As Paul would say:

The first thing I did was place before you what was placed so emphatically before me: that the Messiah died for our sins, exactly as Scripture tells it; that he was buried; that he was raised from death on the third day, again exactly as Scripture says; that he presented himself alive to Peter, then to his closest followers, and later to more than five hundred of his followers all at the same time…

1 Corinthians 15: 4-5 The Message

Read it for yourself today and then tell someone…He is alive and He lives to intercede for us today that we would stand and when we have done all…we will remain standing in Him by His grace and mercy…in His power. 

Any way you look at it <3

www.laurareimer.net

I have never been accused of being the sharpest tool in the shed. 

I blame a fall at age three in which I fell on my head on the concrete floor of our basement in Newfoundland where my dad was stationed.

Given the technology and location at the time I am quite certain the X-ray machine was as advanced as the cartoon versions we remember from that era where the cat patient and all the technicians jolted whilst viewing the bones and such on a black and white screen. 

So on Sunday I learned something that the rest of you all have probably known for years and years and it is so incredibly astounding to me as new information that I have gone over it in my brain numerous times. 

One of our class mates shared a prayer request for upcoming cataract procedure but used the term “getting a new lens.”

I had no idea that is what cataract surgery involves. 

I knew something grows across the eye and clouds vision, but I just assumed they removed the growth somehow. 

No. 

Not at all. 

In fact, I have had such a time processing this that I googled it and here is what I found.

From www.allaboutvision.com :

“In cataract surgery, the lens inside the eye that has become cloud is removed and replaced with an artificial lens to restore clear vision.”

And as I have sat mulling this whole new perspective over and over in my mind it kind of hit me this morning as a spiritual truth as well. 

Because sin clouds over our vision you know. 

And God doesn’t just clean it up. 

He completely removes the part of us that has become ruined and replaces it with (and this is where the analogy must take a slight detour) not with an artificial lens but with a true and genuine one that cannot deteriorate.

Ever.

We see and feel and think with His heart and His mind and He is constantly renewing us.

Pretty good exchange, don’t you think?

By faith….<3

www.laurareimer.net

Good morning to you and Happy Friday!

This morning I had a devotion that led me to read Hebrews 11:1-40 and it is such a nice, cool morning here I decided to sit out on the patio and do that. These passages always make me cry. The repetition of the phrasing “by faith…” is very effective as I read line after line of what “faith” looks like. 

I don’t like the concept much, if I have to be honest. 

I like concrete things that I can see, touch, taste, hear and feel with all my senses and it is backed up by what I know in my gut. 

But faith doesn’t work like that. 

It can’t be explained or proven. 

Hebrews 11:1 says…Faith is the substance of things hoped for..the evidence of things not seen.

I think of things I hope for and then I sit for a moment and realize how these things are without a tangible presence. 

I don’t hope for time to write you this morning…I am sitting here doing it. 

But I hold hopes in my heart for other things that are not real and happening and visible to us. And yet I hope. 

I know personally in my own life hopes that have been dashed and I have watched and loved others who saw their hopes dashed and yet we continue on. 

God didn’t heal in a way we could see. 

He didn’t deliver us from the betrayal like we knew He could.

The relationship ended, the person died too young on our calendar, or suffered too greatly beyond what we had hoped. 

The law passed…the job got eliminated….the lightening struck the house…

and yet we got up again the next day and we turned to God and asked Him for help to carry on. 

We heard of another diagnosis and we prayed and believed for healing.

We heard rumors of war and we prayed for peace that would end the evil and oppression. 

We look around for evidence of revival and we see even more turning away. 

And we continue to pray and hope and share the Good News. 

We believe, in spite of mocking and derision, that there will come a day when He will make all things new and right. 

Faith. 

This is the concrete matter of the thing inside of us that won’t turn away from Him no matter what we can see, touch, taste, feel, hear…it is the intangible that holds us when everything around us falls away and apart. 

The fact that you got up today and prayed one more time? That is the evidence of what you cannot see…faith. 

You didn’t earn it, you can’t muscle it up out of your own smarts…Faith is a gift of grace to us who would prefer to have evidence that can be seen, proven, shown to the world.

 But Hebrews 11: 38 reminds us that the world was not worthy of those who did not receive the promise and yet continued on in faith. 

If you have time today, read through Hebrews 11 and then humbly thank God for the intangible, yet powerful, gift of faith that moves you forward today. 

Take a minute and just ask God to help you fill in the blank with some of the things you are still believing even though you cannot see, touch, taste, hear or feel.

“By faith, (your name)  __________________________________

AVBS Day 3 In the shadows <3

www.laurareimer.net

Yesterday we talked about dwelling in the Secret Place of the Most High. 

Dwelling. 

We, Russ and I, we dwell in our home.

It’s the place where our stuff is stored. It’s where we come home to at the end of the day or running errands or traveling. We eat, sleep, talk, read, dress, think, do business…live out every day here in the walls of this home we have made. 

We keep remnants of the legacy of each of our family lines and we have scattered amongst the rooms reminders of our years with a young family.

We have added treasures and we have eliminated things that would harm those we love.

Even in the short time we have lived in our new dwelling, we have accumulated times when family and friends have gathered around tables of celebration and we have held precious friends and family in our arms as they wept salty tears of grief. 

We come home here because it is where we dwell and we strive to make it a haven for anyone who needs a place to feel loved, cared for and encouraged.

How foolish we would be to go to a strange place or rent a room at the nearby hotel at the end of the day when we have this place we call home to return to.

My Holman’s Christian Standard Bible says…The one who lives in the protection of the Most High DWELLS in the shadow of the Almighty. 

When we enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ and receive the gift of His salvation through His blood on the Cross, we have found our permanent home in the protective walls of the love of the Most High God. 

We move about within the days and hours of living, going to work and school. Doing chores and serving others, but our home is in Him and we live under His protection. 

We DWELL in His shadow.

Shadows are interesting, aren’t they?

They are places of darkness in the presence of a greater light. 

On cloudy days or in the black of night we do not see shadows.

Shadows can appear frightening to a child at night when familiar objects make odd shapes in the faint glow of a light down the hall. 

Shadows can be shade that provide a cool place of rest on a hot day. 

Shadows are not substance, but they are evidence of something solid that exists. 

All of these and so many more can be used by my finite mind about dwelling in the Shadow of the Almighty. 

That I dwell in His shadow means even when, to my human eyes, I am in the darkest of places, it is only His shadow that I need to focus on.

The shadow of His hand gives me rest and peace and protection. It is not His substance, but evidence of His existence. 

I will not, can not see, God with my human eyes in the form of His deity and glory. 

But the shadows cast across the landscape of my life are evidence of the substance and faithfulness of His hand at work over, in and around me. 

Verses 14-16 give this promise to us who have chosen to make God our dwelling place, our home…the haven we seek and the one we invite others into.

Because he has his heart set on me…because she returns to Me day after day as her home…

I WILL deliver him

I WILL protect her

Because he knows who I am by name and by character:

I WILL answer when she calls and I will be with him in trouble.

I WILL rescue

I WILL give honor

I WILL satisfy those who dwell in MY shadow by giving meaning and purpose to their existence and I WILL show them My salvation <3

Today’s activity: Go outside and then enter in to your place of lodging through the front door. Sit in one of your favorite spots within the place you call home. Look around and take in the view. Feel the comfort of the chair or couch that is your go to. Ponder what it is that makes this physical building into the place you call your dwelling and think about what it means to “dwell” there. 

Then think about God’s protection and and what His “shadow” represents for you. Think about dwelling in that place. Perhaps find and read the lyrics to the old hymn “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” by Elizabeth Cecilia Clephane <3

Almighty God, Most High, El Elyon, Elohim, Adonai, Yahweh….these are names that do not fall easily from my vocabulary when I cry out to You but they are names that remind me who You are. Your glory and presence are far beyond what I can comprehend, imagine, see, understand but under the Shadow of just your Hand, I can begin to know You. Where You are is my home and it is where I choose to live. My heart is set on You and I receive the promises with a humble and joy-filled heart. Blessed be the name of our God, who calls us by His name. May Your name be forever praised. Amen <3

Our snack today is a recipe courtesy of my Grandma Lochner.

I wish you all could have known her. She was nothing short of amazing.

If anyone exemplified to me “Taste and see that the Lord is good” it would be her because she seemed to embrace all the experiences and opportunities presented to her until the very end. 

She cut asparagus, picked cherries from the tree in her yard…on a ladder…in her seventies. She was a whiz with artistic and creative endeavors in all sorts of ways. 

She wore pants in a time most housewives sported dresses. According to my dad, when The Great Depression left people hungry and out of work, she took in boarders and raised chickens in their yard to make sure they had food. He always said he would eat chicken, but not his first choice as he had witnessed their demise too many times. 

She loved good food and she loved to laugh. She had a temper and was loud and you knew what she was thinking. But she put love into every thing she ever did and I miss her terribly even though she has been gone so many more years than she was alive in my lifetime. 

While I could only hope to be as resourceful and resilient as she, I do note that I seem to have inherited her penmanship…

So today, I give you this favorite recipe. 

You have to love a dish that is called “Duff” right?

Some things you need to know –

Lochners always sifted dry ingredients. It is imperative that you make a huge mess doing this. It’s the only way we know how to cook.

She left out pertinent information like pan size, steps galore and her abbreviations are hilarious so I fixed it to be readable. 

She called apricots “cots”…I have no idea if this is a thing out in the Yakima Valley of Washington state or Lochner thing. But it cracks me up.

Enjoy…it is delicious and for the love of all things good…do not use margarine…use butter <3

Lazy Day Duff (my Peach pie)

1/2 C butter

3 tsp baking powder

1 C flour

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 C sugar

2/3 cup milk

2 Cups fruit (peaches but see note below)

Melt butter, sift together all dry ingredients. Add milk until blended. Put sweetened fruit in a 9×9 pan and spoon batter over this. Dot with butter. Do not stir. 

Bake 375 degrees for 35 minutes

*Fruit can be cots, peaches or cherries

AVBS Day 2: Dwelling under the Shadow <3

www.laurareimer.net

Welcome back to Day 2! 

I was so lengthy yesterday, that I will be a bit fewer on words…or at least I will try.

If you are just joining us, take some time to go back to Day 1 and read about the names and meanings of the names for God in Psalm 91:1-2

Today we are going to camp out on a thought found in our key verse for the week using a couple of different translations. Please read all three as together they give us richer picture of this passage of Scripture:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” NKJV

The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say concerning the LORD, who is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust:… HCSB

and finally from Eugene Peterson

You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’me safe!” MSG

The phrasing I am most familiar with in this passage is “the secret place of the Most High” and that wording draws me with great interest. 

It speaks to me of a place of such solid security, a well-protected and private place. 

Odd for one who has chosen to allow her soul to be bared so publicly isn’t it? 

But those who know me know I am deeply protective of my inner thoughts and feelings. 

I am choosy about who gets a glimpse of them and yet, so like God, He asks me to spread them wide open in a public way because He also speaks to other’s hearts through them. 

And yet, there are hidden treasures He and I have shared that are safely kept secure deep in the wells of not only my heart, but His. 

The summation of the translations above is, in my mind, a picture of a place so intimate and private between God and each individual, that it can only be found when we are in a place of brokenness and complete dependance on Him.

Or those times where joy is so intense that we are overcome by an ocean of the purest of lights and it is more than our human hearts were made to handle.

This is the secret place and the source of our life in Him, and in that fellowship with Him we learn to “dwell” so that the world around us increasingly loses its power over us as we choose to do what it takes to pursue His presence throughout the ordinary moments of our days. 

www.laurareimer.net

Last night as Russ and I ended our evening walk, I saw a bright colored pillow under a grove of pine trees that line the walkway and form a natural fence for the adjacent home.

On closer inspection we could see a quilt spread over the pine needles, more colorful pillows and some paper with drawings hung along a wire. 

I assume some little girls had set up a camp under that area and had tucked away there for a summer day of giggling and drawing and dreaming. 

A secret place. 

God has a secret place for you and for me.

He is inviting you to come and dwell under the shadow of His hand…His protecting and loving and guiding Hand. 

It is scarred with the price of our sin, that Hand. 

It is gentle and patient and kind. 

Enter in, dear one. 

Enter in <3

www.laurareimer.net

Oh my good and gracious Abba. Thank you for making a place for me in the deepest places of Your heart where we can meet and I can rest and live and dwell. Thank you that there is always room for more and that all are welcome to enter in. I am a refugee from this world. I had no home here because I wasn’t meant to dwell forever on earth. You have made a way for me to be where I belong and that is with You. Thank You for showing me the way <3

Today’s activity is to ask God to show you what the Secret Place looks like for you. Be open in your heart to recognize His Shadow and then choose to set up camp right there and rest in Him.

Today’s snack is a favorite in our home. 

While I have found the recipe on the internet when I was at the grocery without the ingredient list, I credit our dear friend Peggy with giving it to us. 

The copy in my recipe box includes a grade school picture of her sweet daughter because it was an entry in her class’s cookbook one year. 

It makes me smile and thank God for friends who we have grown up and grown older with. 

Tijuana Tidbits

4 cups tortilla chips broken into pieces

3 cups Crispix cereal

1 bag microwave (I pop regular or use bagged snack kind) popcorn

1 12 oz can mixed nuts

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/8 tsp cinnamon 

1/3-1/4 tsp ground red pepper

Heat oven to 250. Combine the first four ingredients in a big roaster. Heat remaining ingredients to boiling in a saucepan. Pour over cereal mixture and stir. Bake 1 hour stirring every 20 minutes. Remove from oven and turn onto a sheet of waxed paper to cool – break apart. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks….don’t worry…it won’t last 2 days!!!