Sunday Scriptures — Remembering the Victims

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Remembering the victims of the Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Serenity Prayer

God, give me grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,

Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did,

This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,

If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen

          Reinhold Neibuhr

Please join me in praying for the families, friends, and classmates of:

Alyssa Alhadeff

Scott Beigel

Martin Duque Anguiano

Nicolas Dworet

Luke Hoyer

Aaron Feis

Jaime Guttenberg

Christopher Hixon

Cara Loughran

Gina Montalto

Joaquin Oliver

Alaina Petty

Meadow Pollack

Helena Ramsay

Alexander Schachter

Carmen Schentrup

Peter Wang

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They act as if my people’s wounds were only scratches. ‘All is well,’ they say, when all is not well. Jeremiah 8:11 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry — A Gentle Reminder

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

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

A Gentle Reminder

by Frances Gregory Pasch

Too often, Lord,

instead of letting You navigate,

I rush around

trying to orchestrate everything myself.

How blessed I am

that you care enough

to point out my mistakes,

to discipline me, and

to direct my paths.

You gently remind me

that Your yoke is easy

and Your burden is light…

that I don’t have to prove myself,

nor compare myself

to others.

I only need

to please You.

©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.

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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Fear Not For God is With Us

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

I’ve never been a fan of scary movies or Stephen King novels. Nope. There is enough to worry, fear, and fret over without deliberately adding something else. And what I have found to be true is whatever our troubles, we need fear not for God is with us.

During a recent conversation with a friend the topic of being fearful came up. Whether others consider our fears rational or real doesn’t matter. What matters is the things that make us fearful are real to us.

All throughout the Bible God and Jesus tell those who are listening to fear not.

Joshua was told to be bold and courageous multiple times. He was told to fear not for God was with him.

The Babylonian captives were told to fear not for God was with them.

Esther was told not to fear. Ruth was told not to fear. Christ’s disciples were told not to fear.

Don’t you think if the Bible says fear not so many times, then we humans are a people with things in our lives which cause us to fear? Don’t you also think if the Bible tells us to fear not for God is with us; to cast all our cares – fears – on God because he cares for us; to not let our hearts be troubled; and be anxious for nothing, then we need to turn our fears over to God right away, and rest in his love and care?

Easy to say. Difficult to do.

Just as I choose not to watch slasher films or read King’s books, I must also choose to run to Jesus at the first moment fear begins to grab hold of my heart, and not wait until I am totally paralyzed by it before I seek his help.

Fear is a liar. God is not.

We have the freedom to choose who and what we will believe.

How about you?

Do you thrive on the adrenaline rush and enjoy being scared out of your wits by fear? Whether you do or not, one thing is certain, we need not be afraid of what happens in our world, because we know God will never leave or forsake us in the midst of all the scary stuff that surrounds us.

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Do not be afraid—I am with you! I am your God—let nothing terrify you! I will make you strong and help you; I will protect you and save you. Isaiah 41:10 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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For His Own Sake

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Recently I read a verse in Isaiah which says God forgave us for his own sake, not ours.

That caught me off guard. Does it catch you off guard as well?

When I consider how my salvation was purchased at the cost of God’s son Jesus’ life to declare me forgiven, I don’t think of it being for God’s own sake, but for mine. I’m the one forgiven, after all.

But when I look closer at forgiveness, and the benefits we receive when we forgive, I see how forgiving others is for my sake, not theirs.

When we refuse to forgive the wrongs others do against us, we’re the ones who suffer. Not them.

They aren’t sitting around wringing their hands over what they’ve done to us. They’ve moved on.

When we forgive, we forgive for our own sake. It releases us from falling into Satan’s trap of bitterness. It keeps our hearts from becoming hardened. It allows us to love and trust again.

If we allow unforgiveness to define us, to become our mode of operandi, we’ll be miserable, don’t you think?

Unforgiveness can cut us off from opportunities for joy because we’ve closed ourselves off from potential hurt … and potential love.

Forgiveness is not easy. I know. That’s where God’s Holy Spirit comes in. He is the one who gives us the ability to say, “I forgive for my own sake.”

That is not saying the wrong done to us was right. It says we leave it in God’s hands.

God is the only one who can take away our sins. He is the only one who blots them out through the power of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross of Cavalry. God is the one who tells us we are forgiven, and remembers our sins no more.

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I, yes, I alone am he who blots away your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again. Isaiah 43:25 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — The Power of God’s Spirit

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In the 5th Century B.C. King Cyrus of Persia announced the God of heaven, the One who gave Cyrus his vast empire, gave him the responsibility of building God a temple in Jerusalem to replace the one that had been destroyed. All Jews throughout the kingdom of Persia were allowed to return from their Babylonian exile to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.

The actual construction of the temple began in the second year after they arrived in Jerusalem.  Zerubbabel was given the responsibility of overseeing the rebuilding of the temple. The supervision of the project was given to Jeshua. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah provided moral and spiritual encouragement. People of all talents and abilities returned. Ezra chapter two lists a total of 42,360 people, in addition to 7,337 salves and 200 choir members who returned to Judah.

The construction was not an easy task and it was not completed overnight. There was opposition to the project from multiple sources. Yet, the work continued through to completion. As the work was being completed, the prophets encouraged Zerubbabel and told him of a time when spiritual apathy and foreign oppression would forever be abolished.

The temple wasn’t completed by people who believed that in order to survive in this world, a person must be tough, strong, unbending, and harsh. It was completed not by force nor by strength, but by God’s Spirit.

When we feel called to do something for God, we may be weak, tired, face opposition from all around us, and feel like giving up. But just like those who rebuilt the temple, we aren’t called to trust in your own strength or abilities to complete the job. Instead, we are instructed to depend on God, and him alone, to complete our work in the power of God’s Spirit.

Is there something you feel called to complete for God? Isn’t it great to know the work is dependent on the power of God’s Spirit, no on us?

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Then he said to me, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!'” Zechariah 4:6-7 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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I Will Not Fear Book Review

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

I Will Not Fear, is Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals’ account of her life beginning in September 1957 when at age fifteen she and eight other African American students, known as the Little Rock Nine, integrated the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas under the protection of the 101st Airborne unit of the United States Army. An event she states would become the foundation for a lifetime of sustaining faith and trust in God. Even after her Grandma India died in October 1958, her words of faith flowed through Melba’s life. Words she drew strength from time and time again. This is a story of building faith under fire.

The beginning of the book details threats from the Ku Klux Klan, angry white mobs, threats of lynching, physical and mental abuse, acid in her eyes, raw eggs on her head, flag points piercing her back, flyers offering $10,000 if dead; $5,000 if alive. She also describes how in her senior year of high school she was sent to California to live with a Quaker family to save her life.

I Will Not Fear mentions her marriage, daughter’s birth, her divorce, the struggles of being a single mother, and adopting twin boys after she age 50. It mentions her jobs as a public television journalist, news reporter, television broadcaster, talk show host, author, professor, and public relations businesswoman.

Within the pages of this book were many, many instances of terror, oppression, prejudice and persecution. But the theme throughout I Will Not Fear is the fact God is always available when we call for help, and is as close as our skin.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below.

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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Revell provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

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