Sunday Scriptures – The Innkeeper

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Have you ever wondered what the innkeeper thought when he told Mary and Joseph there was no room for them in his inn, yet offered them his stable?

When I was young I thought the innkeeper rather mean to turn them away. I wondered why he couldn’t squeeze them in somehow. Move things around. Make room amidst his crowded inn, and crowded life, for them to stay until Mary gave birth and recovered.

Maybe he was mean. Or maybe he was just preoccupied with all the busyness that surrounded him as he ran his overflowing inn, and accommodated his patrons. Perhaps he just could not handle two more people and a soon-to-be born infant.

Do you think the innkeeper regretted his decision once the multitude of angels’ voices filled the night air above his stable? Do you think he wondered what all the hub-bub was about? Do you think the innkeeper may have searched back in his memory to the scriptures he learned as a child about the Promised Messiah being born in the city of David?

Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

My intention is not to paint the man in a poor light. Nope. Not at all. My intention is for me and you to look at ourselves and see how much like the innkeeper we might be.

Have we told Jesus there is no room in our lives for him right now because of our busy schedules? We’re full up and consumed by other things at the moment. Maybe later.

Are we preoccupied with keeping the things in our lives running smoothly, and do not need to add studying the Bible to our ever-growing to-do list?

Does our busyness leave Jesus out in the cold of night until a more convenient time?

I don’t know. I only know the innkeeper couldn’t find any room for Jesus the King of kings and Lord of lords. Maybe his story is a lesson for us not to leave the Messiah out of our lives.

Just as the innkeeper needed to move something out of the way so Mary and Joseph had a place to stay, shouldn’t we move things out of the way so Jesus has a place in our hearts to stay?

What do you think? Have you any room for Jesus? If not, is that a decision you’ll regret  when the multitude of angels sing at the Savior’s return?

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

So Joseph left Nazareth, a town in Galilee, and went to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, known as the town of David. Joseph went there because he was from the family of David. Joseph registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was now pregnant.  While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby, and she gave birth to her first son. Because there were no rooms left in the inn, she wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough. Luke 2:4-7 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Sunday Scriptures - The Innkeeper Click To Tweet

Pause for Poetry — Salvation Is In Christ Alone

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

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

Salvation Is In Christ Alone

by Frances Gregory Pasch

Don’t be shy about mentioning Jesus.

Don’t go along with the crowd.

When others say “Happy Holidays”

Say “Merry Christmas” out loud.

Don’t compromise the gospel

Tell them why Jesus came…

Salvation is in Him alone

Not any other name.

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.

If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Pause for Poetry -- Salvation Is In Christ Alone Click To Tweet

The Shadow of the Cross at Christmas

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Christmastime makes it really difficult for me to keep secrets. And I’m not fond of secrets.

When I was a child, the suspense of not knowing what was in the packages with my name on them was torturous. Absolute torture. Because of that, more times than not I surreptitiously lifted the cellophane tape off one end of my brightly colored presents and peeked inside.

After years of practice, I became an expert at unwrapping the package without damaging the paper, sneaking a peek, replacing the tape, and acting surprised on Christmas morning.

When I clandestinely unwrapped my Christmas presents, if there was a toy inside, whoopee! If there was a necessary sweater, or more knee socks, well …

As an adult, I have the same problem. Only in reverse.

I get so excited about what I’ve bought Pilot, I can’t wait for him to open it. To help him figure out the gift I give him hints. Sometimes, he won’t play along.

When I think about it, I wonder if God felt the same excitement and anticipation I feel at Christmas when he prepared to send his Gift of Love to our broken world. All through the Bible God gives us hints as to what was to come. The shadow of the cross. Sometimes his clues were ignored, and the people and wouldn’t play along, but that didn’t take away the gift.

God’s prophets spoke of a Messiah. Shepherd. Cornerstone. One from the house of Jesse. One from the line of David whose kingdom would never end. A Savior. Immanuel. God with us. These words hold joy and excitement.

Unlike the words in Isaiah 53:5. Words like pierced, crushed, punishment, wounds.

That’s when I understand the shadow of the cross of Calvary hung over the joyful gift of a baby in a manger in Bethlehem.

And I cry.

When I set up our manger scene for Christmas, I place  a cross with a crown of thorns next to it.

Lest I get caught up in the presents, the baking, the decorations, and the carols, I need a reminder in front of me. Perhaps you do as well.

Christmas is about much more than a baby, gifts, and family. Christmas is about the cross. It’s about the sacrifice, the suffering, and the Savior who died and rose again so we might live.

Don’t get me wrong, I still get excited about the gifts under the tree. But it’s the gift that hung on a tree, that really matters.

What do you think?

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

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (GNT)

I wish you well,

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

The Shadow of the Cross at Christmas Click To Tweet

When the Christmas Blues Hit

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

This time of year can be beastly for so many, for so many reasons.

It can be difficult to get through the festivities when we’re dealing with personal issues that drag us into a downward spiral. When we feel like crying and the scenes surround us are filled with happy, smiling people it can be rough. I understand. I truly do.

No matter where we might find ourselves right now, I believe God knows what we’re going through and is right there with us. If you’re struggling, please know I’m praying God’s peace which passes all understanding will surround and comfort you.

According to many studies holidays increase feelings of loneliness and despair. Christmas blues.

The reason can be because we’ve lost loved ones, or because our high expectations of renewed happiness during the holidays don’t materialize.

Throw in SAD, and some of us may feel like hibernating until springtime.

So, how do we manage to put one foot in front of the other during times when things just seem so wrong?

The following suggestions are by no means a thus sayeth. They are merely observations.

For one thing, stay away from the Hallmark and Lifetime Channels. Even if the guy gets the girl by the end of the movie, and maybe because the guy gets the girl, those movies more times than not, are depressing when we feel like everyone has a perfect life except us. Turn. Them. Off.

Go through your DVDs. Check out movies from your library. Watch something funny, something uplifting. Watch The Princess Bride for the umpteenth time. (Inconceivable!) Watch a musical, just not The King and I. The ending makes me cry every time.

Lose yourself in a mystery. How about Foyle’s War? If all else fails, what about viewing It’s a Wonderful Life, or The Christmas Story? (You’ll shoot your eye out!)

Go to free holiday events. Window shop. People-watch.

Purchase something within your budget for yourself.

Volunteer for a worthy cause.

Get in touch with a friend you haven’t spoken to for awhile.

Listen to music you enjoy.

One suggestion if you’re really in a funk, listen to something snappy that sets your feet tapping and you can warble out loud to. Avoid those beautiful ballads like,”My Heart Will Go On”, and “The Way We Were”, unless you really need to cry it out. If that’s the case, set a limit to how long you’ll give yourself to feel the pain.

Make new traditions if you need to. Life is not static. It moves and flows with each breath we take. It’s okay to change things up a bit. If it doesn’t work, try something different.

What’s the best way you know to get out of a funk?  Especially during the holidays.

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

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Here’s a toe-tapper to get you going!

When the Christmas Blues Hit Click To Tweet

Sunday Scriptures — Spilt Milk

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Don’t cry over spilt milk.” Well, I’d like to tell you a story about a friend who did just that.

As an adult Connie attended church but hadn’t given her life to Christ. That is, not until she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. When Connie realized this life is finite, eternity is forever, and Jesus offers eternal life in heaven with him to those who claim him as Savior, she knew what she needed to do. Connie gave her life to Jesus.

Now, while this was indeed a wonderful time of celebration, not everyone in the congregation felt that way. Some long-time members criticized Connie. They said the only reason she wanted to be baptized was because of her disease. They said without the diagnosis, she’d never have done it.

Okay. Made me mad. It also reminded me of Jesus’ parable about the disgruntled workers who were paid the agreed upon wage for a day’s work, but grumped when those who came to work in the last hour were paid the same.

As Connie’s disease progressed, she lost her eyesight and use of her limbs. One morning before she was confined to a wheelchair, she went about fixing her cereal for breakfast; only it didn’t turn out well.

When she poured the cereal, most of it ended up on the floor instead of in the bowl.

After she swept up the cereal and threw it away, she was more careful with the next attempt. Mission accomplished, she went on to pouring the milk.

In those days, before handy plastic milk jugs, our milk came in slippery, bendable paper cartons which often needed two hands to manage.

With unsteady hands, Connie began to pour. The carton slipped out of her hands, landed at her feet, and spilled all over the floor.

At that, my friend sat down in the middle of the mess and cried over her spilt milk.

Who wouldn’t given the circumstances?

But there’s something I want you to know. Connie didn’t cry because of the spilt milk, and she didn’t cry because she felt sorry for the condition she now found herself in. Connie cried because she understood her body would no longer be able to do all the many, many things she longed to do for her Lord and Savior whom she loved so very much.

None of us has a guaranteed next breath, next hour, next year. We make plans as if we do, and we put off things for later. Only, sometimes, later doesn’t come. Or if it does come, we find we are no longer physically able to do what we planned to do.

2017 is coming to a close. Do you have anything you’ve put off you need to do before it’s too late? I know I do.

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

All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, for there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end. John 9:4 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Sunday Scriptures - Spilt Milk Click To Tweet

Gluten-free No-bake Peanut Butter Caramel Bars Recipe

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

These No-bake Peanut Butter Caramel Bars courtesy of TIPHERO are delicious, but awfully sticky.

  • 6 cups Rice Chex cereal
  • 1-1/4 cups roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz milk chocolate chips

Line a 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, and set it aside. In a large bowl gently combine the Rice Chex and chopped peanuts. Set aside.

In a 4-cup measuring cup stir together the corn syrup and brown sugar. Microwave on high for 2 – 3 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly.

Stir in the peanut butter, vanilla extract, and salt until everything is fully blended.

Pour the mixture over the cereal and nuts and gently stir to evenly coat. Pour the caramel-coated cereal mixture into the prepared pan. Gently spread it out and press evenly into the pan. Let cool to room temperature.

Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the bars. Let the chocolate harden then cut into bars. Store the bars in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Gluten-free No-bake Peanut Butter Caramel Bars Recipe Click To Tweet