Sunday Scriptures — Overgeneralize

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Perhaps, like me, you have been told not to overgeneralize and use words like never, always, and everyone, because there are exceptions. We may feel as if there aren’t any exceptions, but if we look at the situation carefully, there usually are.

One of my college professors told the story of the time he and his wife were having a house guest visit. His wife wanted my professor to clean his office saying, “You never clean that room.” To which my professor responded, “Never? I cleaned in back in … ”

For remembering there was an exception to his wife’s never, and he had indeed cleaned his office, my teacher spent that night on the living room couch.

Sometimes we might feel as if God never hears our prayers. Or believe others always get the breaks and we don’t. Or think everyone else has life easier. We feel as if everything is against us.

When we step back and honestly review our past, don’t we find there are exceptions to our never, always and everyone?

We might say, “You never listen to me.” “You always leave your things lying about.” “Everyone else gets to go to the party.” but is that really true?

Perhaps when those words pop to the forefront of our thinking, we should pause a second and consider if we are using the words never, always, and everyone correctly.

When we listen to God’s instructions and allow him to guide us along the best pathway for our life, we can be confident when we say God will never leave us, he is always by our side, and loves everyone the same, those aren’t overgeneralizations.

Do you tend to overgeneralize?

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I will instruct you (says the Lord) and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress. Psalms 32:8 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Put God First

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Pilot and I recently returned from a trip exploring God’s glorious creation in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. Amazing. But before we went on our trip and experienced all the greatness God had in store for us, we had a list of things which needed to be done first.

RV serviced? Check. Menu planned, groceries purchased? Check. Destination mapped out, clothes packed, blog posts for the month written ahead of time? Check and double check.

With those important things taken care of first, we were free to enjoy our trip.

While a trip might not be in your foreseeable future, putting first things first probably still applies.

Cooking dinner? I’m sure a menu was planned, groceries were purchased, and supplies courtesy pixabaygathered.

Starting a new hobby? You’ve probably looked into what the hobby will entail and proceeded accordingly, taking lessons or gathering equipment.

Beginning a new job? Maybe you’ve gone on a dry-run to make sure you’ve set aside enough time to arrive on time.

What about our relationship with God? Is God first in our lives? Do we put God before everything else? When we awake each morning, is praising God our first thought, or is it something we might get around to before our head hits our pillows at night?

Do we praise God and give him the glory for all he has done in our lives, and the lives of those around us, before we come to him with our list of wants, desires, and needs? Is our desire to know God and feel his presence an ongoing quest?

Instead of coming before God and listening to what he has to say, sometimes I believe we come to God with our list of wants, and expect to check them off much like I check off my pre-trip to-do list.

courtesy pixabayGod wants us to enjoy all the many good things he has for us, but to fully appreciate all his gifts and goodness, we must put him first in our lives. Seeking God’s face needs to be at the top of our to-do list, no matter what it is we set about doing.

When we put God first, we are then free to enjoy this trip we call life. Agreed?

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But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God’s Love Will Never Let Us Go

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

God’s love will never let us go no matter what may come our way. God loves us with an everlasting love. Webster’s dictionary defines everlasting as lasting or enduring through all time. Because God is eternal, with no beginning and no end, and because he is not bound by time, he has loved us since before time began, and will continue to love us throughout eternity.

Through the ages God promised to be with his people even when they chose to run away from him. Time and time again God waited patiently for his people to return to him. God’s promise of an everlasting love remains as true for us today as it did when first promised.

courtesy pixabay

When I was a child I wandered. I left the safety of my mother’s presence while we were in stores, and falsely believed I’d be fine on my own. Once the realization hit I was alone and didn’t see my mom, panic set in until we were reunited. I believe adults wander, too. We leave the safety of God’s presence, falsely believing we’ll be fine on our own. After we realize we aren’t fine, and look for God we find the promise of his love that will not let us go still stands.

Like children we might chafe against God’s restraints. We don’t fully understand God’s bonds of love enable us to live richer, fuller lives than we could ever live apart from him. But instead of resisting God’s love, how about we embrace it with gusto?

courtesy pixabay

His love is everlasting to everlasting after all.

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And from far away the Lord appeared to his people and said, “I love you people with a love that will last forever. That is why I have continued showing you kindness. Jeremiah 31:3 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — When We Refuse to Listen to God

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

How often do we go to God in prayer asking him to approve the plan we have, instead of seeking the plan God has for us? When his plan deviates from our plan, we refuse to listen.

In the forty-second chapter of the book of Jeremiah a group of army men, led by Johanan, came to Jeremiah asking the prophet to pray to God that he would tell them where they should go, and what they should do.

These men recently engaged in a fight with Ishmael son of Nethaniah, and rescued Ishmael’s captives. But Ishmael and eight of his men escaped, and ran away to the Ammonites.

Fearing reprisal from the Babylonians, Johanan and his men decided to run away to Egypt. Before they reached Egypt, they asked Jeremiah to seek God’s will for them. That’s what they said, at least. It seems what they really wanted was God to approve their plan.

Jeremiah went to God on the men’s behalf and promised to tell them everything God said. And that’s exactly what the prophet did.

Only …

Jeremiah told Johanan God said if Johanan stayed in Judah he need not fear the Babylonians. God would protect them. But if he disobeyed and went to Egypt, it would not go well. There would be war, famine, and disease from which Johanan would not escape.

Given that choice you would think Johanan listened to what God told him, but Johanan refused to listen. Instead he accused Jeremiah of lying to make them stay and be killed by the Babylonians.

Johanan said he wanted God’s clear direction, but in truth he wanted God’s approval of the plan Johanan knew he was going to go ahead with no matter what Jeremiah said.

This takes me back to my original question. How often do we go to God in prayer asking him to approve the plan we have instead of seeking, and accepting, the plan God has for us?

Just as things did not go well with Johanan and his men when they refused to listen to God, it does not go well with us when we go to God in prayer with our plans all laid out and refuse to alter them when God gives us an answer we don’t particularly care for.

Instead of refusing to listen to God’s direction, don’t you think we should stop stubbornly insisting on our own way, and trust God knows what he’s doing?

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Johanan son of Kareah and the army officers, and the people along with them, wouldn’t listen to God’s Message that they stay in the land of Judah and live there. Jeremiah 43:4 (MSG)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry — Just As We Are

pauseby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Welcome to Pause for Poetry featuring a poem written by my writer-friend, Frances Gregory Pasch.

Just As We Are

by Frances Gregory Pasch

I’ll love you if you’re pretty

I’ll love you if you’re thin

I’ll love you if you’re witty

I’ll love you if you win.

I’ll love you if you’re rich

I’ll love you if you’re smart

I’ll love you if you love me back

Then I’ll give you my heart.

But that’s not how God loves us

He loves us as we are

It doesn’t matter what we’ve done

Or if we’ve strayed afar.

For when He sent His Son to earth

He showed us how He cared…

By Jesus dying in our place

Not one soul need be spared.

Salvation is a precious gift

And best of all it’s free.

It’s ours if we will just believe…

It’s up to you and me.

© Frances Gregory Pasch

Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published hundreds of times in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Her book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry is available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991 and makes her own holiday greeting cards incorporating her poetry. She and her husband, Jim, have been married since 1958. They have five sons and nine grandchildren. Contact her at www.francesgregorypasch.com.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this please share it through the social media buttons.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Obedience Over Ritual

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Lately I’ve thought how instead of placing obedience over ritual, we sometimes allow the chains of ritual to enslave us.  I’ve mentioned the power we have in Jesus to free us from the chains Satan throws on us. And I’ve talked about praising Jesus as he removes the shackles that bind.

Throughout the Bible there are instances where people valued the chains of ritual over obedience. Before we go pointing fingers, though, I believe it would be safe to say there are times we may do the same thing. We may not realize it, but if we take a hard look, we courtesy pixabaymay find it’s true.

I know it’s true with me.

If I’m not careful, I can allow my quiet time with God to become bound in the chains of ritual, where I go through specific steps of do this first, then this, then this … and leave little, if any, space to respond spontaneously to God.

Or maybe we argue and fight with our kids or spouse to get them out the door for church on time. We go through the ritual of sitting in the worship service, and feel anything but worshipful. We performed, but didn’t listen when God spoke to our hearts, and told us to take the time to place people above ritual.

courtesy pixabayJesus is the one who can break the chains of ritual that sometimes become so deeply ingrained in us, we unintentionally allow them to take something good, and turn it into something not so good.

Are there any chains of ritual you’ve allowed to enslave you?

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Samuel replied, “Has the Lord as much pleasure in your burnt offerings and sacrifices as in your obedience? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. He is much more interested in your listening to him than in your offering the fat of rams to him. I Samuel 15:22 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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