Lord, What About Him?

courtesy bingby Sandy Kirby Quandt

The book of John is my favorite Gospel. Maybe it is the storyteller in me, but I love the way John presents Jesus and how Christ interacted with those around him.

Today, I’m focusing on the last chapter of John.

By now, Jesus has been crucified, resurrected and appeared before Mary Magdalene at the tomb. He suddenly appeared in the locked room where the disciples, minus Thomas, hid. He appeared again eight days later in the same locked room when Thomas was present. He met the two on the road to Emmaus. And now waited on the shore beside the Lake of Galilee, preparing the disciples’ breakfast.

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We may remember this as the scene where Jesus pointedly asked Peter if he loved him. Three times. And each time Peter said he did.

After Jesus told Peter to “feed his little sheep” and predicted the kind of death Peter had in front of him, Peter turned, saw John, the disciple Jesus loved and asked, “What about him? What sort of death will he die?”

Jesus replied, “If I want him to live until I return, what is that to you? You follow me.”

That’s the line I love most. Always have. But it wasn’t until recently I related it to my writing and looked at it in a way I’d never looked at it before.

Jesus called Peter to feed his sheep by preaching about the resurrected Lord. I believe as a writer, Jesus has called me to feed his sheep through the words I write.

Regardless of what abilities God has given each of us, he has called us to follow him.

Peter was given his commission but behind the one question he asked, I believe a multitude more where in his mind. What about John? What was going to happen to him? Was he going to suffer or skate through life untouched? Was John’s ministry going to be bigger than Peter’s? Was he going to receive more pats on the back? More awards? More atta’ boys? Was John going to be more popular than Peter?

Jealousy.

That’s an emotion I believe each of us can understand. Maybe we’ve had similar thoughts about those we work with. What about them? How come they got the promotion, the raise, the praise? We compare. We compete. We wonder if maybe, just maybe, God loves them more.

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In writing, the whole purpose is to get what I write published so people can read it. Makes sense, wouldn’t you say? I send my writing to editors and often, not always, but more times than I’d like, I receive a rejection.

They wish me well and I keep writing and waiting. At times like this it’s easy to say, “What about them, the person who just got the contract, or just won the award? Does God love them more than me?”

These last verses in John tell us Jesus has a plan for each of us, and that plan is not cookie-cutter sameness. How could it be? We are all different. We don’t think alike. We don’t work alike. We don’t communicate in the same way. We have different abilities and personalities.

If what I write only reaches the editor who rejects my story, I pray God uses that story to touch that one life. I’m not going to kid you here, if I send something to an editor it is because I’m praying they love it enough to publish it and it reaches the multitudes.

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Still, I have to remember my job is to write to the very best of my ability. God’s job is to get what I write in front of whomever he wants it in front of.

Even if that is the editor who sends me the “Sorry. Not for us.” rejection letter.

If Jesus wants someone else to win the awards, get the promotion, receive the atta’ boys and atta’ girls what’s that to us? He’s called us to follow him. And that’s exactly what he expects us to do.

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 Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”

Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”  John 21:21-22 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scripture — Is There Any Margin In Your Day?

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Is there any margin in your day? You know, time where if something unexpected came up it wouldn’t throw you into a tizzy?

From my observations of our society as a whole, I’d say most of us run full-throttle, barely taking a breath before jumping into the next thing on our to-do list. It seems if we aren’t doing something, we’re considered slackers. Either by ourselves, or others.

During the years I taught elementary aged children it was extremely rare for me not to eat my lunch at my desk or computer. Working while I ate. One of my assistant principals  routinely came in, told me to stop working, take a break, and enjoy my lunch in the teachers’ lounge.

What? Take a break? Not work through lunch? Are you kidding? That would only put me further behind in an already too-full day.

I had no margin.

But Jesus did.

He deliberately took time to go off by himself to talk with his Father. He set an example of putting the press of life to the side for a moment to reconnect with what was important. He set aside time to recharge so he could face the next item on his agenda.

Jesus built margin into his life so he could accomplish the things God wanted him to accomplish.

When we leave space in our day we no longer consider God’s unexpected divine appointments nuisances or a bother. We’ve built in time to respond to that conversation, email, or text we weren’t expecting to encounter without it overwhelming us.

So how do we create margin?

I’m still learning, but saying no, even when I want to say yes has been the biggest way I’ve found to keep myself from being overloaded.

We can expect the unexpected and add a little more time to our chores, tasks, errands. It never fails whenever I’m running late, I hit all the red lights, traffic snarls, or realize I need to fill the gas tank.

Another thing is to give myself permission not to check my inbox every time I receive a ping on my phone notifying me of a new email.

What ways have you found help build margin into your day?

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But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer. Luke 5:15-16 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry — Great News

pauseby Sandy Kirby Quandt

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

Great News

by Frances Gregory Pasch

Do you have an empty feeling,

Despite what you’ve amassed?

Is satisfaction fleeting?

Do you find it does not last?

Do you feel like you’ve been cheated,

Have your dreams gone up in smoke?

I have exciting news for you. . .

News to give you hope

Let me tell you about Jesus.

He’s the answer to your prayer.

He never will forsake you;

He always will be there

To help you plan your future

To fill that empty place.

His gift to you is special—

It’s called “Amazing Grace.”

If you will just believe in Him.

It’s absolutely free.

He wants to give it to you

As He offered it to me.

So open up your heart today,

Welcome Jesus in.

He wants to give you freedom

By forgiving all your sins.

You’ll be a brand new person;

Your destiny secure.

When you die and go to heaven…

He will greet you at the door.

© 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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If you want to re-post any of my blogs on your own blog or website, please contact me using the Contact Me form at at the top of the page for permission first.

Anchor in the Storm – Book Review

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In Sarah Sundin’s historical romance set during World War II, Anchor in the Storm, pharmacist Lillian Avery grows suspicious over the numerous prescriptions for large quantities of the barbiturate, Phenobarbital, that come across her drug store counter. Her suspicions lead to a large drug ring and dangers she could never imagine.

While Lillian works on shore to solve the mystery, her brother’s best friend, Ensign Arch Vandenberg, works on two goals he has in mind as his ship patrols the Atlantic waters hunting for German U-boats that are sinking merchant ships along the East Coast. Win Lillian’s affections, and solve the problem on board ship of sailors reporting to duty too drowsy to function, putting their lives and the lives of those around them in danger.

Will he succeed at accomplishing either goal?

Is there a connection between Lillian’s suspicions and the sailors’ behavior?

When danger looms for both of them, will working together to solve the mystery draw Lillian and Arch closer, or will it push them further apart?

Fears, romance, misunderstandings, danger, accusations, accidents … you’ll find these and more in the pages of Anchor in the Storm. A book full of historical details that bring this time period in our nation’s history to life.

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

Asking for Help

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

During a recent discussion on the story of Ananias and his wife Sapphira from the book of Acts in the New Testament, one person mentioned how after Ananias fell dead, he was carried out and buried by two young men. The discussion centered on the fact as we age we rely more and more on others, often those who are younger, to help us with things we used to have no problem doing ourselves.

Oftentimes that one syllable word, help, is all we need to say, but just as often, it is the hardest word to speak.

While we may think of asking for assistance when we are involved with some physical courtesy pixabaytask beyond our ability, do we also consider asking for help when we are emotionally stressed, or our health has taken a set-back?

Although our society may tell us we need to be self-sufficient, that’s not the way God designed us. He designed us to live in community with him and with others.

True, God will never give us more than we can handle, but there are times he gives us more than we can handle on our own.

Admitting we need help may be seen by some as weak, but don’t you think it’s really a sign of wisdom to know when we’re up against more than we can deal with on our own?

Asking for help also gives others the opportunity to serve.

courtesy pixabaySometimes, in our stubbornness, we find it the hardest to admit to God we need his help and his peace.

Have you ever found this to be true?

Do you find it easier to ask for help, or to offer it?

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Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him. If it is cold, two can sleep together and stay warm, but how can you keep warm by yourself. Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone. A rope made of three cords is hard to break. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — God Provides

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Perhaps you’ve heard of dramatic stories where God provided for someone’s need when the situation seemed hopeless.  No food in the cupboard and a bag of groceries appear on the doorstep. The need for a transplant donor and one becomes available just in time. Someone knows someone who knows someone and a job is secured before the last penny from the last paycheck has been spent.

While you may not have been a participant in anything you’d call dramatic, I’m sure if you look back, you’ll see God’s hand always present, providing in ways only he can.

A time I feel for certain God provided for my parents, brother and me was when we were traveling back to the States from Panama after visiting Sissy and Chief in the Canal Zone. The Miami, Florida hotel clerk informed my dad there were no available rooms. It was late, Dad and the rest of us were tired after our flight, it wasn’t the first hotel we’d tried to find a room at, and the prospects weren’t looking too good.

As my dad turned away, the hotel clerk called him back. Seems he just so happened to have a room left after all.

Now I know, finding a hotel room does not rank up there with receiving a transplant donor, but the point I’d like to make is we need to keep our eyes open to see God’s hand at work in our lives. He doesn’t always work in dramatic ways, but he is always at work. And don’t you think he’d appreciate it if we thanked him for the things we consider small as well as the things we consider big?

What has God provided that left you saying, “Wow!”?

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And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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