Sunday Scriptures — Don’t Allow Your Heart To Be Troubled

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Last month multiple things conspired to steal my joy right out from under me. And I let them. For awhile.

As I lamented with several friends about how I felt, one sweet friend told me something profound. She said, don’t let your heart be troubled. Another told me something equally important; be gentle and give myself grace. Wise women.

Today I’m going to look further into the thought of not letting our hearts be troubled.

You need to understand; the verse my friend alluded to is one of my absolute all-time favorite passages of Scripture. I memorized the King James Version of John 14:1-4 when I was in elementary school. Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me … I’ve repeated that passage to myself countless times over the decades.

Yet, it wasn’t until my friend moved the emphasis onto the word let that I saw this verse in a whole different light.

Thank you, Jesus.

Up until that time I thought of let as don’t worry. I never looked at it as I have the power to decide whether my heart is troubled, or not. Wow.

It’s up to us whether we allow our hearts to be troubled. We have the power through the Holy Spirit who lives in us not to let our hearts be troubled. It’s a choice. We aren’t defenseless victims. We are more than conquerors. Oh, how very grateful I am for that reaffirmation of truth.

So, my friends, if you find yourself in a place where the things of life are doing their best to pull you under, be gentle and give yourself grace, and remember what Jesus told his disciples; and us. Do not let your hearts be troubled.

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“Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and I will take you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. And [to the place] where I am going, you know the way.” John 14:1-4 (AMP)

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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Sunday Scriptures Follow God’s Blueprint

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Plan ahead to reach your goals. How many times have you heard that advice, or something similar to it?

God gave Noah a plan to build the ark that would save Noah and his family, along with two of every kind of living thing, from the flood God was about to unleash upon the world. What if Noah didn’t build the ark according to God’s plan? I imagine it may not have been large enough, or sturdy enough, or may not have floated. That being the case, Noah would have perished.

Instead of making things up as he went along, Noah relied on God to provide the blueprint for the ark. Noah didn’t head off on his own to create the large boat that would be his lifeboat. He followed God’s instructions.

Noah gathered his tools and equipment and began working. Noah followed through and completed the job. I doubt Noah felt he’d accomplished the great task on his own, especially when the ark was ready, and God called all the animals to it, then closed the door once everyone was inside.

Just as Noah planed ahead and followed God’s blueprint to save his life, God gives us a blueprint to save our lives as well. It is the plan of salvation found through the sacrificial blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. We can head out on our own, gathering tools and sketching a blueprint, but if we don’t follow the plan God established in the Bible, our boat won’t float and we’ll be sunk.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Christ our Risen Lord and Savior. No matter how good a builder they might be.

Do you like to plan ahead, or are you more a spur of the moment person?

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This is how you are to make it: The boat is to be as long as 150 long steps, as wide as twenty-five long steps, and eight times taller than a man. Make a window for the boat, that goes down a cubit from the roof. Put a door in the side of the boat. And make it with first, second, and third floors …  Noah did just what God told him to do. Genesis 6:15-16 & 22 (NLV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures When There Are No Words

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

What do you say when there are no words? How do you express the devastation your heart feels when tragedy strikes? How do you reconcile something that is irreconcilable? How do you understand something that makes absolutely no sense at all?

The morning of June 1st, 2017, as I sat in the dermatologist’s waiting room for an appointment to remove several stitches from my back, I received a text from Pilot.

Tom died last night.

Tom, Pilot’s oldest brother, was dead at age 58.

Tom the marathon runner. Tom who lived close enough to the beach he walked across the street to surf. Tom who hiked the Appalachian trail with his family. Tom the beloved husband of Brion, father of Michael and Clarisse, son of Ann and Paul, brother of Janice, Nancy, Zach, and Pilot. Tom faithful servant of God. Tom who hadn’t been sick. That Tom died in his sleep. That Tom was dead.

There are no words.

Yet, despite the pain God remains in control. He still sits on his throne. He still has a plan, even when we don’t understand it. Especially when we don’t understand it. God is El Shaddai; the all Sufficient One. Jehovah-rapha; the one who heals broken hearts. Jehovah-shammah; the one who never leaves. El Roi; the one who sees us in our pain. Our God is Jehovah-shalom; our peace.

Maybe, just maybe, that’s what you say when there are no words.

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21 Death came into the world because of what one man (Adam) did, and it is because of what this other man (Christ) has done that now there is the resurrection from the dead. 22 Everyone dies because all of us are related to Adam, being members of his sinful race, and wherever there is sin, death results.

35 But someone may ask, “How will the dead be brought back to life again? What kind of bodies will they have?” 36 What a foolish question! You will find the answer in your own garden! When you put a seed into the ground it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it “dies” first. 37 And when the green shoot comes up out of the seed, it is very different from the seed you first planted. For all you put into the ground is a dry little seed of wheat or whatever it is you are planting, 38 then God gives it a beautiful new body—just the kind he wants it to have;

 51 But I am telling you this strange and wonderful secret: we shall not all die, but we shall all be given new bodies! 52 It will all happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For there will be a trumpet blast from the sky,[f] and all the Christians who have died will suddenly become alive, with new bodies that will never, never die; and then we who are still alive shall suddenly have new bodies too. 53 For our earthly bodies, the ones we have now that can die, must be transformed into heavenly bodies that cannot perish but will live forever.

54 When this happens, then at last this Scripture will come true—“Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55-56 O death, where then your victory? Where then your sting? For sin—the sting that causes death—will all be gone; and the law, which reveals our sins, will no longer be our judge. 57 How we thank God for all of this! It is he who makes us victorious through Jesus Christ our Lord! I Corinthians 15 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — If/Then

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Earlier this month I wrote about the man who came to Jesus and asked what he must do to earn eternal life. The if/then way he lived his life was if he checked off his to do list, then he would earn eternal life. He saw no need to apply what the law said to his day-to-day life.

Today I’d like us to consider an if/then statement from the book of James. James says if we listen and don’t obey, then it is like looking at our reflection and forgetting what we look like. He also says if we look carefully into God’s word and then do what it says, we will be blessed.

Seems the man from my previous post was in the first if/then situation. He listened, but when Jesus told him what he needed to do, he didn’t put what he heard into action.

How many times do we read the Bible, God’s holy word, and not do what it says? For me, far too many times. God’s word is accessible to us today. In fact, if you remember me mentioning the Africa Study Bible project in April, that Bible is now in the hands of people across the African continent. Yay, God! I am enjoying exploring the copy of this Bible I received from Oasis. The application, proverbs and stories, and touch points add extra insight and dimension to my study of God’s word.

Those of us living in the US really have no excuse for not picking up a Bible and studying it. Do we?

Our own if/then statement could be if we read and study the Bible, then don’t apply it’s teachings to our life we’ve learned nothing. We’ve accomplished nothing. But if we read and study the Bible, apply it to our lives and reach out to others with the love of Christ, then we have accomplished much indeed.

Father, help us read and study your word. Open our eyes to see and comprehend your truths. Take us beyond the head knowledge stage to the life application stage. Help us live out your law and your truths and be a light to a world in darkness.

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For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. James 1:23-25 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Making Comparisons

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

You’d think by this stage of my life I’d be done with making comparison between myself and others, but you’d be wrong. If you do the same thing, or know someone who does, perhaps something I read in 365 Pocket Morning Prayers will interest you.

The author stressed the best way to deal with making comparisons is to accept who we are in Christ. Sounds simple, right? But still I struggle when I am tempted to see how I stack up with the people I encounter through the course of my week.

Some days we might do better than other days. Maybe the days when we don’t compare ourselves to others are days we feel more confident. More comfortable with how God made us. Woven and spun, after all. 😉

But on the days we’re not feeling so confident, we can become discouraged when we spend our time making comparisons between our achievements and what others accomplish. Of course, there is the other extreme where we might compare ourselves to others and become prideful. It all depends on who or what we use as our standard of measurement, don’t you think?

The author of the devotion I read said, “Instead of inspecting others and worrying about anyone else, I should focus on myself and my relationship with God. How I stack up to others has no bearing on our relationship.”

God’s timing is always perfect. It just so happened I read this devotion while Pilot and I spent several days at the beach. Talk about someplace ripe for making comparisons. 🙂

Do you find any wisdom in the above quote by the devotional writer?

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Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. Galatians 6:4-5 (MSG)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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