The One Who Fights For Us

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

I certainly did not expect to have a meaningful theological discussion with a man who lived in the bushes near the pavilion on the Florida beach where we held Pilot’s brother’s memorial service.

But that’s exactly what happened as the mourners who filled the pavilion shuffled off after Tom’s paddle out this past June.

As Tom’s service unfolded with dinner beneath the pavilion following the paddle out, Steve and others with nowhere else to go waited respectfully nearby. I saw them watching us, and realized the pavilion we occupied must be where they spent their days. Probably even their nights. Each man carried his possessions in backpacks or strapped to their bicycles.

After most people left to go home, the back area of the pavilion opened up, and one by one the homeless men reclaimed their space.

While I picked up flowers from one table near the back, Steve approached pushing his bike beside him.

He paused, and asked why all the people were there. I explained about Tom. He offered his condolences, we shook hands and introduced ourselves.

It was then God opened the door for the two of us to have a conversation about the One who fights for us; Jesus Christ, God’s son.

Steve and I talked for awhile about his life and things he dealt with on a daily basis. I’m really not sure how we got around to talking about the Bible, but I do know it was a natural progression within our discussion. As Steve and I shared scripture back and forth, I found myself envious of his ability to quote massive sections of scripture from all over the Bible.

I do remember one verse I shared. I’m sharing it with you today. It’s the verse I started, Steve joined me in, and both completed together.

It’s the last verse we quoted before I shook his hand again, wished him the best, and promised to pray for him; which I have done.

But I should have prayed with him right there on the spot as well.

Because Jesus, the Sacrificial Lamb who was slain for all, tore the curtain which separated mankind from the throne of God, we can boldly approach God knowing he is there, and welcomes each and everyone of us who come through his Son.

There is now no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus, the One who fights for us, no matter who we are, or where we lay our heads at night.

Amen and amen and amen. Thank you Jesus.

Do you find it easy or difficult to share your faith with others?

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So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Romans 8:1-2 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God Is Our Solid Rock

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

I didn’t think God would use a church service under a tent flap during a Civil War reenactment to speak to me, but that’s exactly what happened at Fort Richardson in Jacksboro, Texas last weekend.

My main purpose for attending the service was to gather research for a future book to learn how a post-Civil War church service would be conducted. I spoke with the Chaplain reenactor previously, and knew his portrayal would be spot-on. Yet I believe God’s purpose for me being there went beyond gathering information for a book. I believe God wanted to remind me that no matter our circumstances, or where we might find our self, we can rejoice in the God who is our strength and our shield.

When Pilot and I arrived a little before the service began at 10 am, we were offered a folding stool in the shade, which we gladly accepted on that bright sunshiny 80 degree November morning.

The bell rang announcing the service would soon begin. Folks gathered, and Preacher opened with prayer. He led the assembly in three “line-out songs” where he sang a line, and the congregation repeated the song one line at a time.

Preacher’s message was taken from the Old Testament book of Habakkuk. I smiled as he read the familiar verses from chapters 2 and 3.

I’ve written blog posts on these favorite verses here, here, and here.

One take-away I received from Preacher’s sermon last Sunday was that despite troubling circumstances, we are to live by faith in Yahweh God alone.

During Habakkuk’s time, and ours, the world was full of evil. Enough evil to rock even the strongest Believer’s faith. Habakkuk questioned why God allowed such evil to continue.

Like the prophet, we might ask God the same thing. “Why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer?”

We want Yahweh Jehovah God to intervene. To punish the wicked. To remove evil from the world.

God reminded Habakkuk of several things when he went before God with his questions. God gives us the same answers he gave the prophet. God is aware of what goes on in the world. Nothing happens he didn’t plan or permit. God will punish evil his way, in his timing, and by his methods.

As Preacher reminded those of us under that tent flap, God still exists regardless of the circumstances we face. God sees. God knows. God’s still in control. We should not allow our circumstances to dictate our actions; or our faith.

Our faith remains in God whether the fig tree blossoms or there are grapes on the vines. We place ourselves under his protection. He is our Shalom. Our Rock. Our Anchor and Deliverer.

So take heart dear friends. Trust in Christ alone, the Solid Rock on which we stand.

How do you choose to live by faith and not by the circumstances that surround you?

One of the songs we sang during the service is the familiar “Solid Rock”.

I’ve included a song by Tasha Cobbs and Jamie Grace that’s updated from the original, but has the same message … Christ is the Solid Rock on which we stand. All other ground is sinking sand.

Amen?

You are my Solid, my Solid Rock. Sing it like no one’s watching you!

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The Lord God is my strength: he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. Habakkuk 3:19 (GNV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Shortly after this church service at Fort Richardson ended, a gunman opened fire in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas killing twenty-six people and wounding many more. Christ is our Solid Rock in a world of chaos and evil. Our faith remains in Yahweh God and him alone.

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Keep Chasing After Your Dream

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

What dream has God placed on your heart? What is the one thing you desire above all others? What one thing do you spend time perfecting and pursuing?

I’m not talking about the dream of the perfect island getaway, or best apple pie EV-ER.  I’m talking about the thing that makes you tick.

As we age, I believe our dream may change but deep deep down inside, at the core of who we are, there lives one dream which God placed inside us before we were born. A dream he wants us to realize. A dream he enables us to achieve through his power.

Our dreams are as varied as we are. And that’s a very good thing, is it not? How boring would it be if we all pursued the same dream? Or looking at it from a totally different perspective, in an overly crowded field can you imagine the jealousy and meanness that would threaten to steal the joy of our dream clean out of us? It’s hard enough realizing our dream as it is.

Chasing after our dreams can be tiring. It can be beyond difficult. It can be exasperating to the point of giving up. How well I know. It can also be fulfilling. Joyful. Rewarding. This I know as well.

For me, and perhaps for you, the key to remember as I chase down my dream is that this is what God made me to do. This is the dream he placed inside me. This is the dream he will reward me for. Not someone else’s dream.

At the end of the day; or our lives, God will look at us and see what we’ve actually done with the dream; the life he’s given us.

So what dream are you chasing?

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God will reward each of us for what we have done. He will give eternal life to everyone who has patiently done what is good in the hope of receiving glory, honor, and life that lasts forever. But he will show how angry and furious he can be with every selfish person who rejects the truth and wants to do evil. Romans 2:6-8 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my posts will appear on Inspire a Fire today, Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Please stop by and check it out.

Okay. Because today is my birthday, and I can, I’m deviating from my typical videos, and posting a classic Tom Petty Southern Rock and Roll song; may he rest in peace. You can mute the volume and read the words, if you prefer. Or just skip the whole thing altogether. 🙂

Keeping Our Focus

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Focus.

How many times do we start off doing one thing, and end up distracted, pulled away, unable to complete what we set out to do? If you’re like me, perhaps this happens more than once in your life.

Sometimes distractions can be a good thing, but often they are not. Distractions might pull us out of the doldrums and lead us on to something meaningful. They might also lead us away from something worthwhile to something useless.

Because Baxter has problems with inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, his trainer has identified him with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. ADHD. As an elementary school educator, I dealt with ADHD children, but never expected I’d have an ADHD dog, although it does make perfect sense.

Baxter tries to focus and follow commands. He really does, but like Pie told me when he was young, he only has so much good in him. Once it’s gone. It’s gone.

Several ways we’ve found to help Baxter is to redirect his attention to what he should be doing, give him a time-out where he can compose himself, regain control, and simply rest, or kneel beside him and stroke his head.

In the book of Nehemiah we read of the gigantic task Nehemiah began in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem after the city was destroyed by the Babylonians. He faced opposition, ridicule, planned attacks, calls for special meetings, espionage … numerous distractions all designed to keep him from completing the task the LORD placed on his heart to complete.

Still, Nehemiah was faithful. He kept his eyes and focus on God. He was committed to completing the work set before him. He didn’t let all those outside distractions stop him. It would appear Nehemiah did not have ADHD.

Sometimes when we are called to complete the work God’s given us to complete, we get distracted. We get pulled from the task. We lose our focus. Maybe we have a little ADHD going on. Maybe it’s Satan’s strong pull to keep us from the work God’s called us to. Who knows? Whatever the reason, our loss of focus allows the work to go unfinished.

At those times it may be wise to keep our eyes on Jesus, take a time-out, draw close to the One who has the power to keep us focused and allow him to comfort us. We need to go to God in prayer, compose ourselves, seek his clear direction in what to chase and what not to chase. Then we can ask him what distractions are from him, and which ones are not. After all that, we are able to simply rest in who he is, and who we are in him; his Beloved child who he loves with an everlasting love.

Do you have difficulty completing tasks you set out to complete? If so, how do you overcome that tendency?

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I sent messengers to say to them, “I am doing important work and can’t go down there. I am not going to let the work stop just to go and see you.” Nehemiah 6:3 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Made Clean Through Jesus

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

As I put the dirty clothes into the washer, added detergent, and selected the correct water temperature and cycle, I knew I would go through these exact same steps again before the week ended. Just as I had done for countless years before.

Clothes are worn. Clothes get dirty. Clothes are washed. Clothes become clean. Clothes are washed. Clothes get dirty … An endless cycle of washing away dirt to make presentable, usable, and clean again.

Once we claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior and commit our lives to him, we are washed clean by the power of his sacrificial blood which he freely spilt on the cross of Calvary to save us from our sins. Mercy. Grace. Love. Forgiveness.

We become whole in his eyes. Presentable to his Father. Usable. Clean.

There is no stain too deep or spot too dirty that Jesus can’t clean. Let me repeat that. There is NOTHING Jesus’ blood can’t make clean.

Are we perfect, never to get the dirt of sin on us again? Certainly not. But when we recognize our sin for what it is, and don’t brush it aside; when we repent, and turn back to God; though our sins be like scarlet, we are washed whiter than snow.

My clothes don’t miraculously get clean by themselves. They don’t jump into the washer and add the detergent. I have to make the effort to clean them. I have to choose not to walk around in dirty clothes. I have to do my part to make those clothes usable again.

I mentioned before we humans have a tendency to find mud holes to wallow in. It’s up to us to choose whether we’ll step into that mud, or walk around it. We choose whether we’ll walk around with the dirt of sin in our life, or turn it over to Jesus, the only power able to clean us. Our choice.

Unlike needing to wash our clothes over and over, once we’re washed by the blood of the Lamb of God we’re clean.

And aren’t we glad? Amen?

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Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior]. For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:1-2 (AMP)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Watch Me

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

One of the commands Baxter is learning is, “Watch.” When Pilot or I tell Baby B watch and point to our eye, amazingly, more times than not, he sits and looks at us. Yay!

Apparently the key to modifying his behavior from Monster Mash to Sweet Pea is to get his full attention focused on us. Some days that is no problem. Other days it is. It seems to depend on his excitement level and the activity going on around him, much like the dogs in the movie, “Up!” Squirrel!

When Baxter stops what he is doing, sits, and looks at us, it is a truly wonderful moment. When he continues ignoring our commands, doing as he pleases, it is beyond frustrating.

I compare this training to us humans.

God tells us to watch him. To keep our eyes on him, not the things of the world. We are told to seek after Jesus and his righteousness. We are to model our lives after him and become more like him each and every day.

Like Baxter, sometimes we do good, and turn our eyes to Jesus when he tells us to watch him. Sometimes we ignore his plea, and look to the shiny things of the world that grab our attention and distract us from his commands.

Baxter is a work in progress, as are each of us. There will always be something for us to learn. There will always be areas in our lives in which we can improve. We will have days full of obedience that make Jesus smile. We will have days where our actions bring a tear to his eye.

One thing for certain … the best way to achieve what God has planned for each of us is to become so well-trained we constantly watch, and  keep our eyes on Jesus.

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Turn us around and bring us back to you again! That is our only hope! Give us back the joys we used to have!  Lamentations 5:21 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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