This is the Way

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Have you ever been lost? Perhaps you’ve thought, this is the way, only it wasn’t?

I seem to have more trouble with getting lost driving downtown than I do any other place. Hiking on trails, I usually do okay. Probably because they’re marked.

Of course, there is the problem of my getting lost when I’m in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Israelites of the Old Testament had a problem with going off their own way and getting lost. The first verse of Isaiah chapter 30 says, “Woe to my rebellious children, says the Lord; you ask advice from everyone but me, and decided to do what I don’t want you to do.” They went down to Egypt and sought Pharaoh’s help instead of depending on God.

The Israelites ignored God’s prophets. They ignored God’s word. They did what they wanted, and went their own direction. In reply to their disobedience, God said, “Because you despise what I tell you and trust instead in frauds and lies and won’t repent, calamity will come upon you.”

Only in listening to God’s truth and repenting would they be saved.

Sometimes we get lost, too. Maybe not because we took the wrong exit ramp off the freeway or followed the wrong hiking trail. We get lost because we ignore God’s word, thinking we know better than he does and head off in a direction of our own choosing.

We don’t listen to God’s voice when he tells us, “This is the way. Walk here.”

Instead of following others, shouldn’t we follow God?

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And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here.”  Isaiah 30:21 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my posts is scheduled to appear on Inspire a Fire today, January 6, 2018. Please stop by and check it out.

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Sunday Scriptures — The Last Battle

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis’ final book in The Chronicles of Narnia series, Lewis paints his vision of what it might be like when Jesus leads his people to Paradise. A vision that had me in tears.

As the title suggests, this is the last and final battle in Narnia where good and evil have fought through the ages. With that said, if you haven’t read the book, and I suggest you do, and don’t want any “spoilers” perhaps you should skip down to the maroon quote.

As those of Narnia who stand for what is good and right battle against what is evil and unjust, their final battle cry becomes, “Further up and further in.”

When they reach a great golden gate, they aren’t sure what to do until they hear a voice say, “Welcome in the Lion’s name. Come further up and further in.”

At one point as those who have gone further in gather around Aslan he says, “You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be.” Lucy explains they are afraid he’ll send them back, as has often been the case, but Aslan assures her he won’t. He tells her, “No fear of that. Have you not guessed?”

He tells those around him they are no longer in the Shadow-Lands—as they called death. He tells them the (school) term is over. The holidays have begun.

Lewis finishes his chronicles of Narnia with these words.

And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning for the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great story … in which every chapter is better than the one before.

You and I are living the cover and title page of our stories. When we enter the Shadow-Lands and go further on and further in to stand before the Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ our LORD and Savior, that’s when our story REALLY begins.

That will be the beginning of our Great Story. The one God planned for us before time began. It will be a story in which EVERY chapter is better than the one before.

Can you imagine it? I’m not really sure I can, but I know it will be beyond anything I could ever dream, hope, or imagine.

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And the one sitting on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true: It is finished! I am the A and the Z—the Beginning and the End. I will give to the thirsty the springs of the Water of Life—as a gift! Everyone who conquers will inherit all these blessings, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But cowards who turn back from following me, and those who are unfaithful to me, and the corrupt, and murderers, and the immoral, and those conversing with demons, and idol worshipers and all liars—their doom is in the Lake that burns with fire and sulphur. This is the Second Death.” Revelation 21:5-8 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Prepare for Battle

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

If you’ve seen the Last Jedi, perhaps you were impressed with the battle scene between Rey and Kylo Ren. I know I was.

Before the battle, we saw Rey practice, practice, practice. She didn’t just pick up a light saber one day and become an expert the next. Nope. She practiced. Practiced. Practiced. And before the light saber, she became proficient with her staff.

In any battle there is a back and forth. Attack. Block. Attack. Counter. Attack. Dodge. Attack. It all takes practice to prepare for battle.

In spiritual warfare, like Rey, if we want to fight and win the battle Satan wages to control our thoughts, we’ve got to practice. Practice. Practice.

We know Christ defeated Satan through his death and resurrection, but our defeated foe continues the battle to try and take as many of us to hell with him as he can.

There are many ways we can prepare for battle. While this list is not exhaustive, it offers some things we can do to prepare.

  • Daily Bible reading. Even a verse or two helps.
  • Read Christian Living books written by people grounded in God’s Word.
  • Read Devotional material either on-line, or in print. (Like Christian Devotions and Inspire a Fire. 🙂 )
  • Write our thoughts and prayers in a journal.
  • Pray.
  • Be involved in a Bible study either at our church, on-line, or in our community.
  • Participate in weekly church service.
  • Never stop growing in our knowledge of who God is.

As with any battle preparation, there are also things we need to avoid.

  • Stay away from toxic people either in person or through social media.
  • Be careful of what we allow into our mind through television, movies, magazines, and books.
  • Be mindful of how we spend our time.
  • When we feel our thoughts going down paths they have no business going down, pull them back and think on what is lovely, praiseworthy, noble, honorable, of good report …

Before Rey and Kylo Ren faced off, their thoughts were manipulated by the Dark Side Supreme Leader, Snoke, to the point neither really knew what was true.

Satan does that to us sometimes too, doesn’t he? Confusion reigns. That’s when we must hang onto God’s truth; and the best way to know his truth is practice, practice, practice.

Is it not?

May the TRUE force, the ONE who fought our battle on Calvary, sent the devil running, and won be with you.

How do you practice to win the battle?

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Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. Never say anything that isn’t true. Have nothing to do with lies and misleading words. Look straight ahead with honest confidence; don’t hang your head in shame … Avoid evil and walk straight ahead. Don’t go one step off the right way. Proverbs 4:23-27 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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In any battle there is a back and forth. Attack. Block. Attack. Counter. Attack. Dodge. Attack. It… Click To Tweet

Only Time Will Tell

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Last week was an unusually cold week here in southeast Texas. Temperatures below freezing most days, snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain — a wintery mix they called it — and two days of temperatures never getting out of the twenties.

Only time will tell if the plants I covered survived the cold.

Now, I know many of you reading this are used to it being bitter cold in winter. That’s what winter is all about, right?

I lived in Maryland for twenty-two years. I know cold. I know blizzard white-out conditions. I know frozen car door locks, iced over windshields, unsafe road conditions. Black ice. Snow banked against the back door so high I couldn’t get out. I understand winter. I get it. I really do.

But most of us in my part of Texas are not used to it, and most are not equipped for it.

Before the freeze hit, I knew the huge philodendron that grew up the large tree in the back could not be saved. The ginger plants bounced back before, so I didn’t worry too much with them, but they’d never been in temperatures this cold for this long.

I did cover some of the ferns, snake plants, and Thai plants, hoping to save them.

Not sure the effort helped.

When the temperatures rose to the forties Friday, and the forecast said we’d have at least a week of above freezing temps, I removed the plant coverings.

There were clumps of ice clinging to the sheets. There was ice on some rooftops. Patches of ice even remained on the ground for goodness sake.

As I put away the plant coverings and wondered what, if anything, will survive, I thought about the hopes and dreams we have which sometimes get walloped by unaccustomed freezing cold they aren’t prepared for.

We might cover and protect those dreams the best we can, hoping they’ll survive, but the sustained bitter cold snatches the life right out of them. They are left frozen, with little option but to die.

Some of our dreams may survive the adverse conditions, but they are damaged. They may need extensive pruning to cut off the dead areas, in hopes the freeze didn’t reach all the way to the core. Only time will tell if anything survives or not.

So what do we do in the meantime?

Well. Just as I’m forced to do with my plants, I guess we wait. We watch. We look for signs of life. We continue to hope for the best, realizing that might be extremely optimistic.

And if our dreams don’t survive the freezing bitter cold?

Then I guess we mourn their loss and decide if it might be better to plant a different type of dream. One better suited for the current climate we find ourselves in.

Only time will tell.

Do you have to deal with frozen plants where you live? Or are you dealing with a frozen dream?

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Even though the fig trees have no fruit and no grapes grow on the vines, even though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no grain, even though the sheep all die and the cattle stalls are empty, I will still be joyful and glad, because the Lord God is my savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Jesus Forgives Us

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Recently, a friend and I discussed how easy it is to acknowledge the truth Jesus forgives us, yet not forgive ourselves. We believe God forgives those who come to him in full repentance, turn from their sins and claim Jesus as Lord, yet we often don’t extend that forgiveness to ourselves. It’s as if we want to keep feeling lousy for our sins because we rationalize after all, we deserve it.

Reminds me of the Medieval monks and their excessive self-criticism and self-flogging. Also reminds me Satan is hard at work to get those of us who belong to Jesus to doubt who God is. Did God really say ALL your sins were forgiven? What about the time … ?

We know in our heart we’re forgiven. We’re no longer bound by the chains Satan wraps around us, yet we  might feel, for possibly one brief instant, God couldn’t possible forgive us.

Could he?

We have no problem believing God forgave someone with the absolute exact sin as ours, but forgive us?

Could it be we believe God’s grace can’t reach us?

Could it be we’ve allowed other’s opinions to define who we are, and we believe their lies we are unworthy, instead of believing God’s truth he loves us with an everlasting love?

Why can’t we just accept what God says about us and leave it at that?

Why do we keep holding onto things God’s told us he no longer remembers?

I don’t know. I don’t have answers. I just have questions. 🙂

My friend and I didn’t come up with any profound revelation on the matter. Just more questions.

That plus grateful thanks to Jesus for his willingness to be the Sacrificial Lamb who was slain for the sins of the world.

Jesus forgives us.

Yes. Jesus forgives us and loves us this we know. And aren’t we forever grateful?

Have you ever pondered such things?

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Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good; his love is eternal. Psalm 106:1 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Jesus Will Shepherd His People

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In Isaiah 40 we read that the Sovereign Lord would come to rule with power. He would shepherd his people and carry them in his arms. No one compares to him. No one is his equal. He is the one who created the stars and knows them by name. He knows our troubles. He cares for us in our weakness.

If we find ourselves wondering if God sees our struggles and cares for us, all we need do is read to the end of the chapter. There we are reminded God does see our struggles, and he does cares for each of us. He is the one who gives strength to the weary, and helps us through our difficulties.

Sometimes in the midst of our struggles and pain we might wonder if God sees our troubles, and if he does, then why doesn’t he do something about them?

Well, God did do something the day he sent his son, Jesus Christ the Messiah as a tiny infant into our world to save us from our sins.

He sent a Redeemer who has conquered hell, sin, Satan, and death.

He sent a High Priest who knows what it’s like to live in this fallen world, yet be victorious.

God sent his only begotten son into the world that it might be saved through him.

The people who lived at the time of Isaiah waited for the Messiah to be born. Those of us living this side of the manger and the cross wait for the King of kings and Lord of lords to return in triumphant victory.

Because Jesus came into this world as an infant and died as our Savior, all is well.

What do you do to remind yourself all is well in your moments of doubt or despair?

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Israel, why then do you complain that the Lord doesn’t know your troubles or care if you suffer injustice? Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The Lord is the everlasting God; he created all the world. He never grows tired or weary.
No one understands his thoughts. He strengthens those who are weak and tired. Even those who are young grow weak;
young people can fall exhausted. But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak. Isaiah 40:27-31 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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In Isaiah 40 we read that the Sovereign Lord would come to rule with power. He would shepherd his… Click To Tweet