God’s Love is a Consuming Fire

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

God’s love is a consuming fire. It burns away the chaff and useless things we fill our lives with that replace our devotion to him. It isn’t always pleasant; more times than not, it’s rather unpleasant in fact, but if we want to grow closer to God and to Jesus, we need to submit to the Refiner’s consuming fire.

Through the years I’ve witnessed first hand how absolutely destructive fire can be. And let me say, it isn’t pretty. Because of this, and probably for other unknown reasons, I’ve been reluctant to embrace the thought that the God of love is also a consuming fire.

The first time I read the words stating God is a consuming fire in Hebrews 12, I shuddered. The first time I watched Third Day’s rather apocalyptic video, Consuming Fire, it frightened me. Yes. I sang Refiner’s Fire at church along with everyone else. Sure, I wanted to be holy, set apart for God’s use. Don’t we all?

We long to be clean vessels God can use, but does it have to be fire? Can’t we just be scrubbed clean with soap, or something?

Just like with many of you, God has taken his refining fire to my heart many, many times. I’ve been in the crucible and held over his consuming fire more times than I care to remember. But remember I must; and remember you must, in order to understand God’s purifying process burns away the useless, and brings out the valuable in our lives.

We must remember the times God’s consuming fire burned away the things in our lives that are not of him. Things and thoughts that kept us from being all he designed us to be. Because it is in those times of trial and testing we are purified to become vessels he can use for his glory and purpose.

An important thing to remember is God’s consuming fire does not destroy us. It refines us. There’s a big difference, don’t you think? So instead of shrinking from the flames and being fearful, perhaps we need to have a new perspective. If God’s refining fire is what it takes to make us more like Jesus, then shouldn’t we say, “Burn away”?

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For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. Deuteronomy 4:24 NIV

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Newest Puppy Family Member

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

One of our neighbors told Pilot and me we are weak, and can’t say, “no”. She is absolutely correct. We are weak, and we can’t say, “no”. At least when it comes to cute puppies.

If you recall, March 31, 2017, Pilot and I said our last good-bye to our sweet Bear. At the time, we told ourselves we wouldn’t even think about getting another dog until six months passed. Well … like Cindy said, we’re weak.

Pilot and I returned from our trip to Florida for Tom’s memorial service June 14. As I caught up with email June 15, I noticed someone in our neighborhood posted a message nineteen hours earlier about two rescue puppies he needed to find a good home for. When I clicked on the attached picture, I caved. Truly. But I resisted the urge to place the phone call.

I wasn’t really sure we needed to add a new family member at this point in time, and in fact was pretty sure we didn’t, but several texts later between Pilot and me, Pilot made the call to inquire about the dogs. One puppy, a female, remained. The male had been adopted.

Although we’ve had females before, this time I wanted another male. Even with that, it was arranged for me to go see the puppy.

I enlisted the prayers of a friend for discernment in this matter, realizing God may have already made my decision easier by eliminating the male from my choice.

Good thing I rode my bike to look at the puppy. That way I couldn’t take HIM home with me. Yep. Pilot misunderstood. The female was adopted out that morning. The male still needed a home.

After Pilot returned home from work that evening, we both went to see the puppy.

We’re weak and can’t say, “no”. That evening, at five-weeks-old, Baxter Black Quandt became our newest family member.

Although we know human lives are much, much, muuch more important in God’s eyes than animal lives, in our defense, we looked upon Baxter as one of God’s creation. An abandoned orphan who needed rescued.

I’m sure Baxter will be appearing in future blog posts, in fact I know he will. A post about redirection is forming as I type. 🙂

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Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Don’t Allow Your Heart To Be Troubled

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Last month multiple things conspired to steal my joy right out from under me. And I let them. For awhile.

As I lamented with several friends about how I felt, one sweet friend told me something profound. She said, don’t let your heart be troubled. Another told me something equally important; be gentle and give myself grace. Wise women.

Today I’m going to look further into the thought of not letting our hearts be troubled.

You need to understand; the verse my friend alluded to is one of my absolute all-time favorite passages of Scripture. I memorized the King James Version of John 14:1-4 when I was in elementary school. Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me … I’ve repeated that passage to myself countless times over the decades.

Yet, it wasn’t until my friend moved the emphasis onto the word let that I saw this verse in a whole different light.

Thank you, Jesus.

Up until that time I thought of let as don’t worry. I never looked at it as I have the power to decide whether my heart is troubled, or not. Wow.

It’s up to us whether we allow our hearts to be troubled. We have the power through the Holy Spirit who lives in us not to let our hearts be troubled. It’s a choice. We aren’t defenseless victims. We are more than conquerors. Oh, how very grateful I am for that reaffirmation of truth.

So, my friends, if you find yourself in a place where the things of life are doing their best to pull you under, be gentle and give yourself grace, and remember what Jesus told his disciples; and us. Do not let your hearts be troubled.

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“Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and I will take you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. And [to the place] where I am going, you know the way.” John 14:1-4 (AMP)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Storm Clouds Forming

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

June 1 is the official first day of hurricane season. As I write this on June 21, 2017, Tropical Storm Cindy is heading toward the Texas coast. Storm clouds forming in the Gulf of Mexico threaten. The news reports warn listeners to be ready. Be prepared. Take action. Don’t be caught unaware. Foreboding images of past hurricanes flash across the television screen.

The wind chime at our back door sways with the ever increasing breeze.

Storm clouds forming off to the southeast draw closer. The rains are predicted to hit later this evening into tomorrow. Road flooding is possible. As is wind damage.

Some folks take the warnings lightly and ignore them. Others take the warnings seriously and prepare.

As I pondered the coming storm, my thoughts turned to Jesus and the warning he gave the Pharisees and Sadducees who tested him, and tried to trip him up without success.

These religious rulers knew how to tell the weather by the changes in the sky, yet they refused to acknowledge Jesus as God’s son when he stood right in front of them.

They refused to acknowledge their need for a Savior.

They refused to acknowledge God’s judgement was sure.

They refused to acknowledge God’s storm clouds were forming.

These warnings hold true for each of us today, as surely as they did all those years ago.

There are storm clouds forming on the horizon. We need to be prepared. Get ready. Don’t delay. The time is coming when it will be too late for preparation. Jesus’ return is certain. Just as he told the Pharisees and Sadducees, the time to prepare is now.

Just as with preparing for a tropical storm … some folks take the warnings lightly and ignore them. Others take the warnings seriously and prepare.

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Jesus answered, “At sunset you say we will have good weather, because the sky is red.  And in the morning you say that it will be a rainy day, because the sky is dark and red. You see these signs in the sky and know what they mean. In the same way, you see the things that I am doing now, but you don’t know their meaning. Matthew 16:2-3 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Tom’s Paddle Out

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In an earlier post I mentioned Pilot’s oldest brother, Tom, died suddenly in his sleep June 1, 2017. Following Tom’s formal service under the pavilion, friends and family wearing floral leis took to their surf boards for a surfer’s paddle out in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast.

As is the custom within the surf community, where friends and family gather at the deceased’s favorite local surf break and paddle out beyond the break, Pilot joined the group. Straddling their surf boards, they formed a circle, shared remembrances of Tom and said a prayer. Afterwards, they splashed water in celebration of a life well-lived, and threw flowers into the center of the circle before turning back to shore.

As I watched each surfer walk away from the water, the words to Kari Jobe’s “I Am Not Alone” ran through my head.

I am not alone. I am not alone. You will go before me. You will never leave me.

Tom Quandt has gone on before us, yet his family and friends are not left alone because Jesus has promised to never leave or forsake those of us who belong to him. Jesus goes before us and walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death. Jesus is our strength and refuge. Amen?

No matter where we might be right now in our life, what we’ve been through, or what is  staring us in the face, one thing remains sure and true: We are not alone.

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The following scripture is taken from the Hawai’i Pidgin translation, and may prove difficult to read, but I felt this translation appropriate for this post.

Den I wen hear someting dat wen sound like get plenny peopo making big noise, jalike big water pounding, an jalike loud thunder. Dey say,

“God, he da greatest! Hallelujah! Cuz he da Boss dat stay in charge, An he da King ova all! He da God Dat Get All Da Power! Now we can feel good inside, An dance an sing, An tell how awesome he stay! Cuz now, get da big lu‛au Fo Godʼs Baby Sheep Guy! He goin take his peopo fo be wit him, An dey wen make demself ready fo him, Jalike da groom take his bride An she wen make herself ready fo him.” Revelation 19:6-8 (Hawai’i Pidgin)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — P.E.A.R.L.S. for Dad

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

With today being Father’s Day I thought of what each of us could give those in our lives who are either our fathers, have been like a father to us, or are the father of our children. P.E.A.R.L.S. for dad. That’s it. And the best part is they won’t cost us a thing.

P.E.A.R.L.S.

Pray. We know how effective it is to pray for one another. Mountains are moved. Burdens are lifted. Peace is restored. The dads in our lives need prayer on a daily basis, just like everyone else. Why wouldn’t we pray for them?

Encourage. We all need to be encouraged when the going gets tough. And even when it’s smooth sailing. We need to be reassured what we do is important. That we matter. That someone’s in our corner cheering us on.

Appreciate. This is a biggie. Everyone likes to know someone appreciates the effort they put into what they do. How difficult is it to tell someone you appreciate them? It isn’t difficult at all. Just do it. Say thank you.

Respect. No rolling our eyes. No muttering under our breath. No snide remarks. Respect. That’s what I’m talking about. Yes. Aretha Franklin’s song is humming through my brain. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Take care, TCB.

Love. Okay. There are a lot of songs running through my brain on this one, but how about we go with a song from my church camp days. Love, love, love, love. The gospel in a word is love. Love thy neighbor as thy brother. Love, love, love. When was the last time we said, “I love you” and really meant it? Or better yet, let’s show our love by doing something we know dad would like without being asked.

Support. It may appear our dads don’t need our support, but I believe that would be a wrong assumption. They’ve started another DIY project … support their effort regardless of the results. Another hobby added to the list? If you can’t be an active participant, at the very least, be interested. Facing a tough place? Stand by them.

Although these P.E.A.R.L.S. today are directed to dads on Father’s Day, if you think about it, they apply to each and everyone of us. Dad. Or not. What pearls would you add to the string?

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Honor (respect, obey, care for) your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land the Lord your God gives you. Exodus 20:12 (AMP)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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