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?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject.

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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?

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.

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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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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Sunday Scripture–God’s Timetable

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In a recent email exchange with a fellow writer friend I mentioned I have a problem with waiting on God’s timetable in my writing … and everything else if I was honest … even when I see evidence of God’s favor on what I’m doing.

For example: God gave me first place wins in all three of the stories I entered in the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in May 2017. In August 2017 he gave me a 9th place win in the Writers Digest Annual Competition, which truly is rather huge.

In between those events several writing pieces were accepted, and a compilation book with eleven of my devotions published.

With all the accolades and publishing credits God has blessed me with throughout the years I’ve been writing for him, you’d think I’d sit back and wait for God’s timetable in the elusive book contract I press on toward.

If you think that, you’d be incorrect. What is wrong with me?

So for this post, I’m going to reorient myself. Recalibrate, and look at several people God used in the Bible to accomplish his purpose according to his timetable, not theirs. Perhaps you’re in a place in your life where you need to push pause and consider the lives of the Israelites, David, Jesus, and Paul right along with me. Hopefully we’ll each be a little more willing to wait on God’s timetable as he choses to unfold it in our lives.

Instead of taking the Israelites the short way from Egypt to the promised land of Canaan through the land of the Philistines, God took them along the southern route. Even if they hadn’t rebelled and added years to their journey, this route was longer. Why did God do that? Because he knew the Israelites weren’t prepared to face the Philistine army. They weren’t strong enough. They knew nothing of war. In time they would, but not right then. They had to wait on God’s timetable, God’s plan, and God’s will.

David waited over a decade between the day Samuel anointed David as God’s chosen king to the day David claimed the throne. Why the long wait? Because God knew David wasn’t ready for the job. Sure. David had victories over Goliath and the bear and lion. Major victories in anyone’s book. But there was more he needed to learn to be God’s effective tool in conquering the land and establishing God’s people as his own. I’m thinking if David hadn’t spent so much time out there with his sheep, the world would not have the blessings of his psalms. God’s timetable. God’s plan. God’s will.

Jesus lacked nothing, yet he waited 33 years from birth to resurrection before God’s plan of salvation became reality. Why? I think maybe because humanity needed those years to understand the fulfillment of the prophesies about the Messiah. We needed those years to understand the reason Christ came to this earth, lived a perfect life, offered his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, defeated hell, sin, Satan, and death, rose from the grave, and ascended into heaven where he sits at his Father’s right hand waiting for the day God says, “Go get your Bride”. God’s timetable. God’s plan. God’s will.

After Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, he did not receive his sight immediately, nor did he set out on a missionary journey as soon as he regained his vision. Even when Paul began his ministry to the Gentiles, there were times the Holy Spirit blocked his way and kept him from doing what Paul felt he needed to do, or accomplish. Like most of us, Paul needed to be humbled in order to be receptive to what God’s plan was for his life.

God’s timetable. God’s plan. God’s will.

How are you doing waiting for God’s timetable in your life? Do you find it easy or difficult?

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But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Jesus is the Only Way

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Perhaps you’ve heard people say it doesn’t matter what you believe because God won’t send anyone to hell. Maybe the words were different, but the sentiment was the same. Believe whatever you want, they say. You’ll get to heaven anyway, they tell us. 

Wrong.

For one thing, it certainly does matter what we believe. Jesus is the Only Way. The Only Truth. The Only Life, the Bible says. No one can come to God except through Christ. The Bible tells us. True fact.

Secondly, God doesn’t send people to hell. People make that choice by their rejection of Jesus as their Savior who died on the cross of Calvary for the sins of the world. It’s our choice whether to accept that salvation or not. That’s another fact.

Whenever Pilot and I hike a trail for the first time we look at trail maps to be sure we’re headed the right direction to get to our destination.

As we hike, we might come upon paths people trod that departed from  the main trail.

Sometimes we might even go down that trail thinking the view will be better, or we’ll get where we’re headed quicker, or it will be easier.

Leaving the main trail and following a path other than the one marked out on the map rarely ends well. We might have to retrace our steps to get back to the main trail adding time and energy to our hike. We might get to an obstacle that we can’t move past. We might get tangled up in vines and boulders that impede our progress.

It’s always better to stick to the mapped out trail.

I compare this trail illustration to following the trail mapped out for us in the Bible.

Sure. We might think we know more than the One who designed the trail for us to follow, and go off on our own, falsely believing we’ll arrive safe and sound at our intended destination, but it doesn’t work that way.

We’ll waste precious time backtracking instead of making forward progress. We’ll run into major obstacles that we can’t overcome on our own. We’ll get tangled up in the vines and boulders of a wasted life.

We need to stick to the facts.

Jesus is the Only way. The Only truth. The Only life. Apart from him there is no way through the wilderness.

What do you say to people who tell you it doesn’t matter what you believe, you’ll get to heaven anyway?

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Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me. John 14:6 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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We Can Learn From Others

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Baxter attended his first group puppy obedience class earlier this month, and it reinforced to me the truth that we can learn from others if we listen. It also reinforced my initial thoughts this particular class may not be the best place for him to learn obedience.

The setting for Baxter’s obedience training is in a pet store with four other dogs and their owners. At this first session together, the trainer went around the room and asked each owner to describe the issues they were experiencing with their dog.

My puppy bites the kids. My puppy jumps up. My puppy is shy. My puppy is perfect.

Yep.

And for each of the descriptions of puppy behavior, except the perfect puppy, the rest of us nodded in sympathetic understanding as the trainer explained her method for dealing with each issue.

I mentioned earlier how I didn’t believe the Amish shunning way of dealing with Baby B’s jumping made sense, and in fact told the trainer my thoughts and showed her the scars on the back of my legs. To which she said she understood my frustration, but I would thank her in the years to come for the inconvenience now. Maybe not the right answer.

So, Pilot and I agreed to give shunning and rewarding with treats another try–treats seem to be the major motivator with this program.

If shunning continues not to work with our dog, we’ll explore other options.

Just as admitting our pets have problems, I believe when we willingly admit we have problems in a safe environment, free of ridicule and condemnation, honesty comes easier, and we find we learn from others; and others learn from us.

Each of us has problems we struggle with, and it isn’t all that unusual to find the person sitting next to us has the exact same problem, or a variation on the same theme.

But a word of caution.

Just because people, or pets, are gathered together with a common goal, that does not mean the person giving advice is the correct person to seek advice from. One key in resolving our problems in a Christ-honoring way is to seek help from someone who is a mature, scripturally sound Believer who will take us straight to Jesus, our Rescuer, where there is no need to fear admitting we aren’t perfect; Jesus already knows we aren’t, and loves us anyway.

Do you find it easy or difficult to admit your flaws to others?

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Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire. Proverbs 29:17 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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