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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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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During the Detours of Life

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Recently, I read an article by Tony Evans. In this article, Mr. Evans used Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as an example of how God is with us during the detours of life.

How many times have we set out to accomplish something we feel God has called us to, only to hit an impasse and be sent another direction? Can I get an Amen?

In Mr. Evan’s article the point was brought out that God’s powerful presence was with the three men in a situation-the fiery furnace-that should have killed them, but didn’t. The same goes for those who claim Christ as their Savior. God’s powerful persevering and preserving power can help us through those fiery furnace detours of life we face.

I’d like to share Mr. Evan’s words from the article with you.

It is only when we align our understanding of obedience with God’s overarching sovereign hand of purpose (and even pruning) that we will be able to approach and go through our detours with faith, trust and dignity rather than doubt.

God didn’t keep Daniel from the lion’s den; He met him in it. He didn’t keep Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace; He joined them in it. He didn’t keep Joseph from being a slave to Potiphar; He gave him favor in it. And He met him in the prison as well. The proof in knowing you are where God wants you to be in your detour is that God doesn’t deliver you from it but rather joins you in it.

The next time we face one of those detours of life, whether God delivers us from it, or not, we can be confident no matter what, he is walking right alongside us in our detour.

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Suddenly the king jumped up and shouted, “Weren’t only three men tied up and thrown into the fire?”

“Yes, Your Majesty,” the people answered.

 “But I see four men walking around in the fire,” the king replied. “None of them is tied up or harmed, and the fourth one looks like a god.” Daniel 3:24-25 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Faith and Hope in Jesus

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Years ago when I first heard Andrew Peterson’s song, “No More Faith”, it puzzled me.

Aren’t we supposed to walk by faith, not by sight? Isn’t faith the assurance we have that something we want is going to happen? The certainty what we hope for is waiting for us? Didn’t Jesus comment numerous times about people’s great faith, or lack of?

So what’s the deal with a song called no more faith? Faith is what sustains us and gets us through the difficulties of this world, is it not?

And what about hope? When our hearts are plunged into the depths of despair, don’t we cling to hope like a life preserver?

Job declared that even if God slay him, still he would have hope. David declared we are to put our hope in God, and said our hope comes from God.

Well. It’s taken me awhile, but I think I understand what Andrew meant. Maybe. A little.

There is going to come a time, Revelation tells us, when we will see Jesus face to face. At that time, we won’t need anymore faith. Anymore hope. Why? Because in heaven what we were confident would happen; what we hoped, for has come to pass. Those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior will stand in his presence, bathed in his glorious love.

And the greatest of these is love. A never ending, everlasting, all encompassing love that can only come from the Father and his Son.

All despair will be removed. There will be no need to have faith or hope that things will get better, because in heaven everything will be perfect.

When we reach heaven, Christ’s love will prove he has wiped away every tear, every heartache, and every disease.

Glory hallelujah!

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What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. Hebrews 11:1 (TLB)

 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24-25 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures When There Are No Words

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

What do you say when there are no words? How do you express the devastation your heart feels when tragedy strikes? How do you reconcile something that is irreconcilable? How do you understand something that makes absolutely no sense at all?

The morning of June 1st, 2017, as I sat in the dermatologist’s waiting room for an appointment to remove several stitches from my back, I received a text from Pilot.

Tom died last night.

Tom, Pilot’s oldest brother, was dead at age 58.

Tom the marathon runner. Tom who lived close enough to the beach he walked across the street to surf. Tom who hiked the Appalachian trail with his family. Tom the beloved husband of Brion, father of Michael and Clarisse, son of Ann and Paul, brother of Janice, Nancy, Zach, and Pilot. Tom faithful servant of God. Tom who hadn’t been sick. That Tom died in his sleep. That Tom was dead.

There are no words.

Yet, despite the pain God remains in control. He still sits on his throne. He still has a plan, even when we don’t understand it. Especially when we don’t understand it. God is El Shaddai; the all Sufficient One. Jehovah-rapha; the one who heals broken hearts. Jehovah-shammah; the one who never leaves. El Roi; the one who sees us in our pain. Our God is Jehovah-shalom; our peace.

Maybe, just maybe, that’s what you say when there are no words.

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21 Death came into the world because of what one man (Adam) did, and it is because of what this other man (Christ) has done that now there is the resurrection from the dead. 22 Everyone dies because all of us are related to Adam, being members of his sinful race, and wherever there is sin, death results.

35 But someone may ask, “How will the dead be brought back to life again? What kind of bodies will they have?” 36 What a foolish question! You will find the answer in your own garden! When you put a seed into the ground it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it “dies” first. 37 And when the green shoot comes up out of the seed, it is very different from the seed you first planted. For all you put into the ground is a dry little seed of wheat or whatever it is you are planting, 38 then God gives it a beautiful new body—just the kind he wants it to have;

 51 But I am telling you this strange and wonderful secret: we shall not all die, but we shall all be given new bodies! 52 It will all happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For there will be a trumpet blast from the sky,[f] and all the Christians who have died will suddenly become alive, with new bodies that will never, never die; and then we who are still alive shall suddenly have new bodies too. 53 For our earthly bodies, the ones we have now that can die, must be transformed into heavenly bodies that cannot perish but will live forever.

54 When this happens, then at last this Scripture will come true—“Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55-56 O death, where then your victory? Where then your sting? For sin—the sting that causes death—will all be gone; and the law, which reveals our sins, will no longer be our judge. 57 How we thank God for all of this! It is he who makes us victorious through Jesus Christ our Lord! I Corinthians 15 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Stranger in a Strange Land

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Ever felt like a stranger in a strange land? Maybe we moved from one country to another. One state to another. One city to another. Those experiences can leave us feeling like we don’t fit in, can’t they?

The first day of a new school year or new school can be daunting, as can the first day on a new job. Joining a new church and finding our place can be equally challenging. Depending on the reception we receive from those established in the school, job, or church, we might feel welcomed. Or we might feel like we don’t belong.

Perhaps we’ve lived in the same town all our life and we really don’t know what it is to feel courtesy pixabaylike a stranger in a strange land. We know everyone. Always have. Always will.

We go to the same school our brothers and sisters attend. We go to the same church our family has attended for generations.

The new job? We’ve known the boss since we were a kid. Nothing is new, or different. We know what to expect from our surroundings.

When I was in twelfth grade, the son of an ambassador from South America was in my Senior English class. Not a great place for someone who didn’t speak fluent English to spend a year. Especially when the class included reading and understanding works such as Beckett and Waiting for Godot. Oy, vey.

English class was not the only place Fernando felt like a stranger in a strange land. The combination on his locker was also a challenge. Hey. Remembering the combo on my locker was a challenge for me, too. That’s one reason why, when I saw Fernando struggling with his locker one day, I told him my secret. Write the combination in a special place in his notebook so he’d be able to look at it when the numbers refused to come to mind.

God promised Abraham he would make Abe into a great nation. God said he would bless him and make him famous. And God did. God also told Abraham he was to be a blessing to others.

I think sometimes we latch onto the fact God wants to bless us, and we leave out the part of God’s blessing being for the purpose of us blessing others.

God continues to bless his people so we can bless others.

Maybe we just need to look beyond our blessings to see how we can be the friendly face, pleasant voice, helpful hand, welcoming person who is willing to put ourselves in the place of someone who is feeling out of place, and share God’s love.

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like a stranger in a strange land? Remember. If we belong to Jesus, we are strangers traveling through a strange land until the day we reach our heavenly home.

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You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. Exodus 22:21 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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