Sunday Scripture — Be the Light

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

As I sat outside in the quiet pre-dawn morning with Baxter, my attention went to the small solar lights spaced throughout our yard.

Against the darkness of early morning their glow was welcomed. The intensity of each light varied according to the amount of sunlight it received during the day, depending on where it sat in the yard. Even the dimmest light was comforting.

While I sat in the stillness, I pondered what God might have for me to learn from those lights, and here’s what I considered.

Those of us who have been called by God to be his light in a world of darkness don’t all shine with the same brightness, the same illumination, but we all shine nonetheless. Sometimes our absorption of God’s light may not be as pronounced as those around us because we each absorb God’s light in our own way. Even the dimmest light shines in the darkness.

How about we quit comparing ourselves to others, and shine as bright as we can wherever we are placed; understanding we’re all important and created to shine in our own special way.

How do you shine in your world?

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No man lights a lamp and then hides it under a pail. He puts the light on a lamp-stand so those who come in can see it. The eye is the light of the body. When your eye is good, your whole body is full of light. When your eye is sinful, your whole body is full of darkness. Be careful that the light in you is not dark. Luke 11:33-35 (NLV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Gluten-free French Onion Soup Burgers Recipe

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Pilot has quite a culinary repertoire of burger recipes, and he’s just added French onion soup burgers to the list. Delicious!

This recipe is for four quarter-pound burgers.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing on gluten-free bread
  • 3 cups packed thinly sliced onion
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic plus 1 whole clove cut in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 cup beef or chicken broth or water
  • Pepper
  • Four 4-inch pieces of gluten-free French bread, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 pound ground beef, shaped into 4 burgers
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced Gruyere, or Swiss cheese
  • 1/3 cup red wine, or water

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very tender, about 15 minutes. (While the onions are cooking, pre-heat the broiler. Brush the cut sides of the French bread liberally with olive oil and broil the bread cut side up, until it is golden.)

Remove the skillet lid and continue to cook the onion, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the onion is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add the minced garlic and the thyme and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add the broth and cook, stirring the onions constantly to scrape up the glaze at the bottom of the pan, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Remove bread from oven and rub with the cut garlic clove. Transfer the bread to plates.

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and the mustard and spread evenly on the bread.

In the skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over high. Season the burgers on both sides with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook.

Remove the skillet from heat, spoon off and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat and top each burger with 1/4 of the onion mixture and 1/4 of the cheese.

Pour the wine into the skillet and put it on the burner. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook the burgers just until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Transfer the burgers to the bread.

Simmer the liquid, scraping the bottom of the skillet until it is syrupy and spoon it over the burgers. Top with remaining bread half.

Enjoy!

I wish you well.

Sandy

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When the Rough Time Comes

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

One of my sweet friends is going through a very rough time right now. She is dealing with multiple problems and situations that threaten to undo her. Her faith is strong, but like Job, she doesn’t understand why God hasn’t intervened and solved the problems before now.

She knows her faith is being tested, and she is confident she’ll come through the refiner’s fire stronger, but that doesn’t make it easy to endure.

She has dreams and hopes like each of us do, and it pains her deeply not to see those dreams and hopes materialized.

Her situation is complicated, and she knows only God can resolve the issues. She also knows while God is the One with the ultimate answer, she must do her part while she waits for his plan to unfold.

I believe each of us can relate to having dreams dashed and hopes destroyed. We each carry things inside we desire to accomplish. Good things. Things we believe are God’s will. We shake our heads and wonder what happened when there is a disconnect between what we feel God has called us to, and the actuality of life without those things.

As Yul Brynner said in “The King and I”, tis a puzzlement.

We quote scripture. We read the Bible stories. We say the right words. Still our hearts break at the unfulfilled dreams.

When the rough time comes, we know God is able. We know he can. We also know he might not. Though we might be crushed, we are never forsaken.

What do you do when your dreams and hopes come crashing down around you?

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Then Job answered the Lord: “I know that you can do all things and that no plan of yours can be ruined. Job 41:1-2 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — 20-20

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

It’s been months since I had cataract surgery on both eyes, yet my sight never seemed quite in focus despite the fact my eyeglass prescription is correct, my vision is 20-20, and my optometrist patiently insists everything is fine. I think he’s about as frustrated with this as I am.

So what’s the deal?

In the back of my mind I kept thinking the progressive lens weren’t lined up correctly since I could wiggle the glasses a little, and things would briefly pop into focus, only to go back to not being perfect seconds later.

Well this morning I took matters into my own hands, literally. I noticed the frame wasn’t exactly straight and applied a little pressure on one side and straightened it. That seems to have remedied the problem of blurry vision.

If only the way we look at the things of life were so easy to get into focus and straighten out. Amen?

Back in July I wrote a post about allowing Jesus to remove the cataracts of our clouded vision, but as I think about my crooked glasses frame, I realize just because Jesus removed the cataracts of our clouded vision, being able to see clearly is ongoing, often requiring frame adjustments, or a new prescription.

Believe me, after my surgery I had extremely high expectations of what my world post-surgery would look like. I truly did. These past few months have not lived up to those expectations. But with the frame adjustment, I’m hopeful again.

When new Christians come to Christ, I believe they come with high expectations much like I did with the removal of my cataracts. They expect things to be different certainly, but they also expect things to be much better. Don’t you think?

As we grow in our understanding of what God tells us in the Bible, we may need a new prescription before our vision becomes clearer. We may need to change our frame of mind so it aligns with the mind of Jesus. We may need some adjustments to the way we look at others in order to see 20-20 through the eyes of our Savior, and love as he loves. We may even need to allow God to take us into his hands, apply pressure, and straighten us out. Yikes.

If our goal is to be God’s hands and feet on this earth to advance his kingdom, then don’t you think we should keep our eyes focused on him, and allow him to make the adjustments necessary for us to see clearly?

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Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) 

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Fire Road Book Review

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Fire Road, is the story of Kim Phuc Phan Thi, often referred to as the “Napalm Girl”, whose image was splashed across countless magazines and newspapers worldwide during the Vietnam War. Kim’s incredible memoir retells her story from the time she ran naked through the streets of her village, Trang Bang in South Vietnam near Saigon, as napalm bombs burned away her clothing and scorched her skin, to her present day life as an UNESCO ambassador and follower of Jesus.

If you are of a certain age, I’m sure you remember the picture shot June 8, 1972 of nine-year-old Kim. Because I remember that photograph, I wanted to read this book, for somehow, Kim Phuc Phan Thi’s story, is part of my story. Perhaps her story is part of your story as well. Although there were times I had to put this book down, take a deep breath, and walk away, at no time did I ever consider not finishing it. This is a must-read book and I applaud Kim Phuc Phan Thi’s courage in writing it.

At the beginning of her book, Kim states her life centers on receiving God’s gift of peace each day and because of that, if you came to this book in hopes of picking up “weighty opinions on war”, she fears she will disappoint you. Her belief is that a careful study of peace will have a far greater unifying effect than even the most exhaustive excavation of the horrors of war.

To be sure, within the pages of Fire Road you will read of the horrors of war, the destructive effects of war, the price paid for living in a war-torn country, but you will also read of the determination of one woman to find the One True Living God, live in the peace only he can give, and share that peace with others.

There is so much about this book I could write, but perhaps the best thing I can do is suggest you pick up a copy and read this beautiful woman’s story of pain, suffering, loss, determination, courage, and finally the strength to be willing to show her scars in public as a demonstration that fear cannot be present wherever faith is exercised.

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

Clear Out the Debris

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

It took over a month, but most of the debris in our neighborhood as a result of Hurricane Harvey has been picked up. I imagine those who were impacted the worst wondered day after day when someone would come through and clear out the debris that sat in front of their homes. Reminders of destruction. Reminders of loss. Reminders of pain.

Each day I drove past one house in particular that suffered extreme damage, I wondered how they felt having their destroyed possessions piled up on the curb for passersby to see. Refrigerator. Dresser. Desk. Cabinets. Carpet. Children’s toys.

You get the idea.

All this led me to think about the debris each of us carries around as part of our story. The pain. The hurt. The betrayal. Sometimes we do an excellent job of allowing Jesus to come into our life and clear out the debris to make room for healing and restoration. Sometimes we do not.

We may clear out the debris from the house, but we leave it piled up on the curb. Reminders of the destruction. Reminders of the loss. Reminders of the pain.

Only Jesus can completely clear out the debris and give us hope, life, mercy, and grace that is greater than all our sin. Only Jesus gives victory over the storms that destroy. Only he can bring the restoration we each so desperately need.

Jesus can clear out the debris of our life, but first we’ve got to be willing to toss it to the curb, and let him take it away.

Knowing Jesus can clear out the debris of your life, do you find it easy or difficult to allow him to do so?

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I, the Lord your God, will make up for the losses caused by those swarms and swarms of locusts I sent to attack you. Joel 2:25 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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