God’s Love is a Consuming Fire

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

God’s love is a consuming fire. It burns away the chaff and useless things we fill our lives with that replace our devotion to him. It isn’t always pleasant; more times than not, it’s rather unpleasant in fact, but if we want to grow closer to God and to Jesus, we need to submit to the Refiner’s consuming fire.

Through the years I’ve witnessed first hand how absolutely destructive fire can be. And let me say, it isn’t pretty. Because of this, and probably for other unknown reasons, I’ve been reluctant to embrace the thought that the God of love is also a consuming fire.

The first time I read the words stating God is a consuming fire in Hebrews 12, I shuddered. The first time I watched Third Day’s rather apocalyptic video, Consuming Fire, it frightened me. Yes. I sang Refiner’s Fire at church along with everyone else. Sure, I wanted to be holy, set apart for God’s use. Don’t we all?

We long to be clean vessels God can use, but does it have to be fire? Can’t we just be scrubbed clean with soap, or something?

Just like with many of you, God has taken his refining fire to my heart many, many times. I’ve been in the crucible and held over his consuming fire more times than I care to remember. But remember I must; and remember you must, in order to understand God’s purifying process burns away the useless, and brings out the valuable in our lives.

We must remember the times God’s consuming fire burned away the things in our lives that are not of him. Things and thoughts that kept us from being all he designed us to be. Because it is in those times of trial and testing we are purified to become vessels he can use for his glory and purpose.

An important thing to remember is God’s consuming fire does not destroy us. It refines us. There’s a big difference, don’t you think? So instead of shrinking from the flames and being fearful, perhaps we need to have a new perspective. If God’s refining fire is what it takes to make us more like Jesus, then shouldn’t we say, “Burn away”?

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For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. Deuteronomy 4:24 NIV

I wish you well.

Sandy

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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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God Works in Mysterious Ways

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Who would have thought God would use a public restroom in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to speak words of truth into me through a perfect stranger-turned-friend, while we both brushed our teeth during the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference last month? Certainly not me. That’s for sure. And probably not Joni, either. Once again, proving God works in mysterious ways.

Let me set the scene for you.

Because Pilot and I stay in our RV in the Ridgecrest campground while I attend the writers conference, Pilot drops me off each morning at the conference where I eat breakfast before spending the day and evening in workshops and sessions. He joins me for the evening key note and afterwards, we return to our campsite for the night. Repeat the next day.

After I ate breakfast each morning, I needed to brush my teeth. So did Joni who drove in for the conference each day, and didn’t have a place to brush her teeth either.

Each morning we both ended up in the same restroom at the same time to brush our teeth. We didn’t plan it. We didn’t prearrange it. And we didn’t show up at the exact time each morning, but God had plans, and was moving behind the scenes nonetheless.

Throughout the week Joni and I chatted, but on the next to last day when she asked how things were going, I mentioned the fact I’d been told the disappointing news, by several industry professionals at the conference, there was no market for the genre I write; middle grade and young adult historical fiction.

Joni put her toothbrush down and told me God will make the market. I just need to keep writing what God puts on my heart. Funny thing about this, one of the workshop presenters told me the exact same thing the day before. For my final third confirmation that God wants me to keep writing my historicals and he’ll make a way to market them, I won first place in all three contest entries I submitted at the conference. Thank you, Jesus.

DiAnn Mills, Me, and Edie Melson 2017 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Photo courtesy Mary Denman

You guessed it. All three entry wins are middle grade and young adult historicals.

Since God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to cross on dry land, what’s a little making a way through closed markets?

Who knows? God may use the person standing next to you at the restroom sink to speak words of truth to you, too. Then again, maybe not. 🙂 Regardless of how God chooses to deliver his message, he will speak to us if we’ll listen.

Yes. God works in mysterious ways. How have you seen him work?

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The Lord says, “Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do.
It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land.
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NCV)

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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