Sunday Scriptures — Making Comparisons

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

You’d think by this stage of my life I’d be done with making comparison between myself and others, but you’d be wrong. If you do the same thing, or know someone who does, perhaps something I read in 365 Pocket Morning Prayers will interest you.

The author stressed the best way to deal with making comparisons is to accept who we are in Christ. Sounds simple, right? But still I struggle when I am tempted to see how I stack up with the people I encounter through the course of my week.

Some days we might do better than other days. Maybe the days when we don’t compare ourselves to others are days we feel more confident. More comfortable with how God made us. Woven and spun, after all. 😉

But on the days we’re not feeling so confident, we can become discouraged when we spend our time making comparisons between our achievements and what others accomplish. Of course, there is the other extreme where we might compare ourselves to others and become prideful. It all depends on who or what we use as our standard of measurement, don’t you think?

The author of the devotion I read said, “Instead of inspecting others and worrying about anyone else, I should focus on myself and my relationship with God. How I stack up to others has no bearing on our relationship.”

God’s timing is always perfect. It just so happened I read this devotion while Pilot and I spent several days at the beach. Talk about someplace ripe for making comparisons. 🙂

Do you find any wisdom in the above quote by the devotional writer?

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Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. Galatians 6:4-5 (MSG)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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What Good Must I Do?

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The story is told in the 19th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew of a man who came to Jesus and asked Jesus, “What good must I do to earn eternal life?” The man many call the Rich Young Ruler felt he had all his bases covered. You know; he keep all the required religious laws. Yet, he wanted to make sure he hadn’t left anything undone. So he went to the one he considered a good teacher. Mind you, this man did not call Jesus Lord or Messiah. Just teacher.

“What good must I do to earn eternal life?” Sounded like the man wanted a checklist of good deeds to follow to be sure he earned his spot in heaven.

I’ve met students like this. They never came right out and asked me what was the least they could do and still pass the class, but their actions made it quite clear that’s what they wanted.

Internal motivation to do a job to the best of their ability, was nowhere on their radar.

When Jesus mentioned several commandments recorded in what we refer to as the Ten Commandments, the man said he’d kept all of them, and wanted to know what he lacked. Jesus told the man if he wanted to be perfect, then the man must sell his belongings and give them to the poor. Then, Jesus told the man to follow him.

Matthew tells us the man went away grieving, because he had many possessions.

Although the man asked, “What good must I do to earn eternal life?” he wasn’t willing to put Jesus before his possessions when asked to.

The first commandment tells us not to place anything before God. We might not put our possessions before God, but what about our relationships, jobs, leisure activities …

Jesus told the man if he wanted to have eternal life, it wasn’t a long to-do list of external things to check off.

Jesus is more concerned with heart attitude than outward show. Our motivation to strive to keep the commandments should be because we love God and desire to please. It’s all about internal motivation, not external motivation.

Do we love Jesus enough to let go of the things that keep us from following him?

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A man came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?” Matthew 19:16 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my devotions will appear on Christian Devotions May 17, 2017. Please stop by and check it out.

Sunday Scriptures — When Love Wins Out

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

I’d like to tell you a Mother’s Day story of what happens when love wins out.

Once upon a time, long ago, in a land far away, an innocent man was betrayed by a friend. He was wrongly convicted of a crime he did not commit during an illegal trial and sentenced to die. Although heartbroken, the man’s widowed mother attended her son’s execution.

During the condemned man’s final moments, he looked at his mother. Understanding the gravity of his death upon the woman, the man spoke to a cousin standing beside his mother and asked him to take care of her. The cousin willingly agreed to take the condemned man’s mother into his home and treat her as he would his own mother.

Despite the excruciating torture Jesus endured during his crucifixion, he was concerned for his widowed mother, Mary. In his final moments, Jesus made preparation for Mary’s care. He entrusted her to John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, the son of Mary’s sister, Salome.

Before Jesus’ death, I believe many thoughts flooded Mary’s mind.

Perhaps she began to understand the prophesies spoken about her son more clearly.

Perhaps Mary understood the words spoken of her eight-day-old baby boy in the temple thirty-three years earlier when Simeon said, “I have seen God’s salvation, which God prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of God’s people Israel! This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul, Mary.”

Mary didn’t always understand the reasons Jesus did what he did. Sometimes she disagreed with her son, and was embarrassed by the way he went about his ministry. Those disagreements and misunderstandings could have escalated and separated the two, but they didn’t. Mary stood at the foot of the cross when Christ died. In his final moments Jesus made provision for her care.

That’s what happens when love wins out.

Many times our children don’t understand the reasons we do what we do, and often we don’t understand the reasons for what they do.

This lack of understanding can result in frustration and embarrassment. Fertile ground for misunderstandings and estrangement to grow and flourish, and for love to diminish.

This Mother’s Day instead of letting our differences separate and divide us, how about we consider Jesus and Mary’s example of love and devotion, and make sure in our lives, just as in theirs, love wins out.

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Standing near his cross were Jesus’ mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the follower he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the follower, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, the follower took her to live in his home. John 19:25-27 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Fine Art of Listening

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Yesterday  morning as I read through the various emails from lists I subscribe to, I noticed a trend. Out of eight different emails I read, five spoke on the subject of the fine art of listening, being still and shutting out the noise around us. You think God’s trying to tell me something? 🙂

And because I figure this was more than a coincidence, maybe God is trying to tell you something, too.

Below are excerpts with the link to the original posts. I hope you’ll take the time to go to the original posts, read and consider the full messages these authors wrote. Then join me in  developing the fine art of listening.

What if we stopped dialing up to be heard, and instead started listening again? Listening is an art. One that is getting lost in the noise. Getting lost among the technology, the text messages, the emails. Do people even know how to listen anymore? Finally, remember that we can only surrender to God’s plan if we are still and listen to his plan. Does that mean once a day? Or does that surrender occur 24/7? Tina Radcliffe 

We forget to look outside. We forget to take walks or just sit, listening to the bird sounds, to crickets at night, to the call of a loon, the hoot of an owl. We forget to stand in a drizzle and let it wash down our hair and over our face. We forget to let the sunrise welcome the day or the sunset ease us into night. Normandie Fischer 

Job waited for God’s answer—easier said than done. As believers, we can say with Job, I will wait for my renewal to come (Job 14:14). Whether considering tomorrow or eternity, God has us covered. Diana Derringer

David wrote more on waiting, and Psalm 40:1-3 gives us a vivid image of God’s care for those who wait on Him:

“I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.” (NIV)

Reading this passage makes me wonder how long David waited on the Lord. Or if David had a special ability for this very difficult virtue. But then I remember that David often learned things the hard way. Waiting on God was a skill David continued to develop throughout his lifetime.

I long to be still in God’s presence, not plotting or scheming or worrying or … you name it. Unfortunately, I often find myself doing the exact opposite.

Being still takes intentionality and a heart that’s trusting. I need to stop trying to rush God and remember: God is faithful. God is good. God loves me. God never leaves me. God is worthy to be praised. Kim Johnson

Friends, it’s time to stop listening to the lies. Time to close your ears to ignorant and hurtful comments, whether they come from outside or in. It’s time to turn to the TRUTH, to embrace it and immerse yourself in it. It’s time to remember Who gave you this task, and what HE has to say about you and your work. Come to the One True source of Truth, and let His words dwell within you to put an end to writer’s obstacle. Lies. Karen Ball 

And I would add, no matter what our task, we should listen to what our Creator God has to say about our work, and let his words put an end to whatever lies the opposition dumps on us.

Do any of these quotes resonate with you more than another?

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To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. Matthew 13:12 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Final Victory

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Yesterday, May 8, was the anniversary of Victory in Europe May 8, 1945. Although V-E Day was a major victory, it wasn’t until September 2, 1945 World War II officially ended with V-J Day and the formal surrender of Japan. As the people in Europe celebrated their liberation from the enemy, I believe at the back of their mind they realized there was still a final victory yet to come.

While I contemplated the significance of those two days in history, I considered the major victories Christians have through our Savior Jesus Christ that lead up to the final victory over the enemy the day God tells his Son, it’s time. Go get your bride.

We are grateful for the liberation from God’s enemy, but we realize there is still a final victory yet to come.

Jesus’ death for the sins of the world, his resurrection and defeat of hell, sin, Satan and death, his return to his throne in heaven-where he sits at the right hand of his Father and  prepares a place for believers to live with him as he awaits the day of his return-are victories that will culminate in the grand, final defeat of Satan. Glory hallelujah!

Although it was a major victory, V-E Day was not the end to World War II. Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension were major victories, but not the end of the spiritual war. That victory is yet to come. But it will come.

While we wait for the Final Victory, let’s not grow weary in doing good.

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Then I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. The rider on the horse is called Faithful and True, and he is right when he judges and makes war. His eyes are like burning fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him, which no one but himself knows. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in fine linen, white and clean, were following him on white horses. Out of the rider’s mouth comes a sharp sword that he will use to defeat the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will crush out the wine in the winepress of the terrible anger of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his upper leg was written this name: king of kings and lord of lords. Revelation 19:11-16 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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What Steals Your Joy?

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

If you follow Woven and Spun, then you know our dog, Bear, died March 31, 2017. Pilot and I have told ourselves we won’t think about getting a new puppy for at least six months. We remind ourselves of this promise almost daily. Both of us miss Bear terribly, and I don’t think it would take much for us to jump at the chance to adopt another dog. No. This isn’t a pathetic plea for someone to drop a dog on our doorstep. Please. Don’t do that.

If you are a dog person, you understand. If you aren’t, think of something you love almost as much as the dearest thing in your life, and you’ll get an idea of what I’m talking about.

I told myself I wouldn’t devote anymore blogs to talking about Bear, but that’s what I’m doing today.

It seems everywhere I look there is a dog walking down the street, riding in a car, featured in a commercial, or up for adoption through the local pet rescues.

Friends have offered to let us visit their dogs, but that’s just not the same. You know?

I’ve found my sadness over Bear’s death has opened a door for Satan to steal my joy.

I know it’s okay to mourn and grieve. I know that. What I’m trying to avoid is allowing that grief to steal my joy and keep me from enjoying all the good things God provides each day.

As I drove around running errands last Friday, almost every car I pulled next to or behind had a dog in it. That just made me miss Bear more, until the tears flowed freely down my cheeks. During that time of sadness, God placed a song on the radio to chase those blues away. I’m sharing that song with you today in the hopes it will spark a little joy in your life.

Remember … joy and happiness are not the same thing. Joy comes from the deepest places of our heart, and is put there by our Creator God.

We may forget joy resides in us sometimes, or we may allow the world to suppress it, but that doesn’t mean our joy isn’t there; regardless of our outward situations.

When we dwell on God’s joy, our troubles lessen, and so do our sorrows. Plus, it leaves little room for Satan to weasel his way in and rob us.

How do you keep your joy bubbling to the top?

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 And now—all glory to him who alone is God, who saves us through Jesus Christ our Lord; yes, splendor and majesty, all power and authority are his from the beginning; his they are and his they evermore shall be. And he is able to keep you from slipping and falling away, and to bring you, sinless and perfect, into his glorious presence with mighty shouts of everlasting joy. Amen. Jude 1:24-25 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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