Even when we aren’t, He is <3

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photo credit Big Jim Peck

Sharing a little word from my devotional time. 

I am studying the book of Elijah through the new Priscilla Shirer study, as mentioned yesterday. 

Our church is offering the study through the women’s ministry, but Lifeway is also offering the book and rental of the videos for several months at a pretty affordable price if you are interested. Here is the link https://www.lifeway.com/en/product-family/elijah-bible-study

Today she was talking about the time frame Elijah’s story is set in history and it was about 80 years since the dedication of the Temple by King Solomon. 

When you read of that day, it was glorious. Solomon prayed an amazing prayer, God showed up and blessed it all and the people responded with worship and adoration. 

Sadly if you read the accounts of Solomon that follow, you see him compromising and letting the very things he prayed against take over his life. 

From there his son managed to split the Kingdom into Israel and Judah and from there it is a downward spiral that makes the head spin. 

As I am participating in this study, I see the notes I took last year on my annual read through of 1 Kings and how I tried to keep track of all the rulers of both Judah and Israel. It’s a mess. 

In what was easily the lifetime of a person, who as a child had witnessed God’s consuming fire of the offering of Solomon on the day of dedication to the time when Ahab changed the religion of Israel to Baal worship is staggering. 

Even though I have read these passages many times for both read through and to prepare for a teaching or taking a class, I never connected it was the span of a human life that all went out of kilter.

And then I lift my head from the pages of Scripture and I cast an eye backward to the span of my own lifetime and I see how easily we can fall asleep at the wheel and drive an entire culture off the road and down the side of a cliff. 

I blame no one group of people for doing this. 

Somewhere along the way, every group of people and every individual, having full on experienced the fullness of God and know Him, will at some point let one little foot step at a time lead them off track. 

When we do, God either yanks us back or lets us continue to wander until we are so lost, we realize what a foolish mistake we made. 

He is good and patient and kind. He is, indeed, a good good Father. 

Whether He is out looking for the one lost sheep or pacing the hillside scanning the horizon for our return, He is always faithful. 

My desk calendar today reads:

“Worship is my response to what I value most. What I value most is God. I was made by Him and for Him. He is awesome beyond comprehension. I exist for the purpose of reflecting back to God His matchless glory. I will exalt Him with my mouth and with my life for He is my hope, my joy, my strength, and my salvation.

February 23, Dayspring desk calendar, author unknown
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Back on track <3

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Hey-ho and Happy Monday!

We had a good weekend and thank you for your prayers for our John. He is back in his apartment with power, no water yet as of last night, but able to find places to wash dishes and take a shower. 

Thank you for continued prayers for the state as they recover. I don’t think we can adequately understand the breadth of damage and heartache they endured last week. 

On Sunday we had some wanted and unwanted guests. 

These three needed a place to hang for a while…

and this one must have been very hungry because it camped under our bird feeder most of the day. 

Rachel said it took him a while to get across town but he finally found us. Hope he didn’t bring Gary Groundhog with him. 

For our devotional thoughts today, I wanted to be very upfront with you about a little struggle I had and almost lost a battle that I am so grateful I didn’t cave into. 

I have gotten behind in my Bible in a year reading and as I added the Elijah study with Priscilla Shirer and began contemplating what else I might want to do for Lent, I jotted down in my journal around Wednesday that maybe it was a year to not read through the Bible. 

Then I picked up Priscilla’s study for the day and she opens with how one year she determined to read through the Bible and found it challenging but hung in there. 

Okay. 

So on Friday I took The Message to work with me and decided that in down time moments instead of scrolling or texting, I would catch up reading. 

I am so very glad I did. 

I am in Deuteronomy now and everywhere I turn, I am seeing passages from that same chapter shared and posted and talked about. 

The Word is jumping off the pages to me as I read Moses final sermon to God’s people. 

There are so many thoughts I could share but for today, I have to land on this one from my morning reading. 

Often when I am praying for something good, I tend to want to point out to God why I deserve it…sigh…yes…that’s why I need to read through this book every year…still a work in progress. 

Then I read in Deuteronomy 9 what God had to say to Israel about how He was going to clear the way for them as they moved into the land that He had promised Abraham and his descendants. 

He basically tells them…don’t think I am doing all of this for you because you deserve it. You are stubborn, disobedient, rebellious and unfaithful of heart. Prone to straying frequently and rather unpleasant to be around when things aren’t going your way…no. I am clearing this area because I promised I would and I don’t break My promises. I am emptying this land of wickedness not because you all are good but because I am holy. 

Wow. 

I love it. 

I love God. 

He puts me in my place and then He meets me where I am and dwells with me. 

Wonderful <3

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White as snow <3

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Hopefully you are more aware of the church calendar than I am this week. If not, welcome to my shock that Lent began on Wednesday. 

I saw a post for a church service sometime during the day and realized with all the snow and such, this season has snuck up on me quickly on the heels of Valentine’s Day. 

It is always a part of my discipline to set aside the Forty days of Lent as a time of reflection and meditation. Scrambling around has not enhanced the practice. 

So as I try to grasp that this precious time in the year is here already, I have nothing profound to say to you but just a simple thought from my drive through our snow covered land this morning. 

As I drove, I wanted to pull over and start trying to capture the beauty of it all with my iPhone and realized I can’t. Nothing can capture the ten zillion billion sparkles as the sun brought the crystals of snow to life through our smudgy, salty, splattered windows. 

They were …. Radiant, captivating, spectacular, unearthly, dazzling, blinding, beautiful.

And I was reminded that though my sin be as scarlet, I am washed white as snow. 

I meditated on that all the way to work. 

Though my sin be like a red stain of blood that is nearly impossible to get out of clothing…often leaving a yellowish mark even after you have tried everything to get it out…when it is covered by the blood of Jesus shed for me, I am like that view I had out my window today. 

It is a miracle worth pondering today and every day. 

And my life will be poured out in gratitude to Him as the only worthy response.

Blessings you each of you as you think how you would like to spend the season of Lent growing more in love with Jesus <3

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