Waiting to Hear From God

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Many stories in the Bible tell of people who heard from God, and once they heard from him, they waited for his promises to be fulfilled. Some waited patiently. Some did not.

One Biblical story of someone who decided they’d waited long enough for God to act on his promises is the story of Abraham and Sarah. God promised them a son, but it took an awful long time by human standards, to provide that son, so Abraham and Sarah took matters into their own hands and paid a price for not waiting.

Another example of someone who waited a long time for God’s promise to be fulfilled was David. God promised David the throne. Again, by our way of thinking it took an awful long time before God put David on Israel’s throne. Unlike Abraham and Sarah, David did not take matters into his own hands when he had the opportunity to kill Saul.

The Israelites grumbled and complained, staged rebellions against God’s appointed leaders, and wandered forty years in the desert before they reached the Promised Land of Canaan.

After years of waiting, Hannah cried out to God for a son, he heard her cries, and within nine months her long awaited son, Samuel, was born.

Anna and Simeon were told they would not die before their eyes beheld the Promised Christ Child. They waited in the temple their entire lives for that promise to be fulfilled.

In each of these instances I wonder if, like me, they questioned if they’d heard God correctly. Did he really tell them what they thought he said? If so, then what was the hold up? Why the long wait?

While I’m waiting to hear from God right now about decisions, there are things I believe God has promised me which are yet to come. There are decisions I have made based on things I believed God told me, but which will never come true. There are also things which came true in my life that I never expected.

Sometimes I waited with patience – not my strong trait. More times than not, I’d have to say I did not wait patiently.

The key, possibly, in all of this is to be willing to truly listen as we are waiting to hear from God.

What do you do during those times when you are waiting to hear from God? Do you wait patiently, or not?

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The Lord has made both these things: ears to hear and eyes to see. Proverbs 20:12 (NCV)

 I wish you well.

Sandy

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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?

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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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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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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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Not All Storms In Life Are Hurricanes

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Tired of hearing about hurricanes?

I’m sure folks in the path of the storms sure are. I know I am. Those of us who live in hurricane prone areas know hurricane season runs from June through November, with September starting peak season. We know that. And each year we keep our eyes on anything that forms off the west coast of Africa and in the Gulf of Mexico.

We just do.

But as I thought about how destructive hurricanes can be, my thoughts turned to how destructive the hurricanes in each of our individual lives can be. You know; the things we struggle with on a regular basis just as sure as we struggle with weather events.

Relationship problems. Financial worries. Family issues. Addictions that flood our lives and leave our homes wreaked. We all don’t face the same storms, but we all face storms, do we not?

Maybe our storms crop up in certain situations or seasons, much like the storms off the coast of Africa.

Family gatherings. Work get togethers. Unexpected expenses. These are what I call unpredictable predictables. We may not know when the storm will hit or how devastating it will be, but we know the storm clouds are forming.

So just as preparations need to be made long before a hurricane makes landfall, preparations need to be made long before we encounter the events we know are destructive to the extent we are able.

Maybe the best way to deal with the inevitable hurricanes of life is to do a little prep work.

Stock up on the essentials. Faithful friends, sound Biblical knowledge, teachable spirit to learn the lessons God wants us to learn from the storm, humility to admit when we’re wrong. Add your own essentials here. _____________

Gather information from reliable sources, assess whether we need to evacuate, then make the correct decision.

Leave those toxic situations that flood our very being with unhealthy habits and thoughts. Work through those that don’t.

Monitor the situation. Keep in close contact with God. Stay vigilant. Have accountability partners and prayer warriors nearby at all times.

We shouldn’t wait until the rain pours into our home to prepare for the storms of life. The time to prepare is before they become an issue. Pray up. Stay connected to God and his people. Be willing to ask for help, and be willing to help when asked.

So how do you prep for the storms of life?

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When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The lyrics aren’t completely accurate in the video around 1:40 … here’s how it should read:

they say if the storm keeps coming
and if the water keeps rising
and if the levee starts caving
then we’re sure to quit
Oh but I know that you won’t let me go
Lord I know you’ll keep me from this storm