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?

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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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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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Sunday Scripture – Ready Our Horse for Battle

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

How many things in life do we; have we, achieved or accomplished without putting in the time to prepare and be ready for them? Probably not many, if I had to guess. At least I know that’s the case with me.

In school we prepare to pass tests by studying the material ahead of time. In our careers we learn the ins and outs of our job to be successful.

If we want to achieve a certain level of success in a sport, we spend hours learning the game, and practicing until it becomes second nature.

Few of us are gifted enough to pick up an instrument and play it with excellence the first time. It takes hours of practice to hit all the right notes and play without mistake.

A new craft, hobby or skill? Practice. Practice. Practice.

We practice to be ready.

The writer of Proverbs tells us we must ready our horse before we head out to battle. Even then, the victory belongs to the Lord.

If we expect to withstand Satan when he hurls his fiery darts of doubt, temptation, discouragement, and disappointment at us, we need to have our horse ready ahead of time. We need to study what God’s word tells us. We need to sink our souls into the truths within the pages of the Bible. We need to be bold and courageous when attacked, knowing our LORD is the one fighting the battle for us.

God is the one who gives the victory.

In fact, Jesus already won the war. Satan is defeated. He has no power except what God allows.

Yes. The victory belongs to the Lord, but we need to do our part and be ready for the day of battle.

How do you get ready for the battles you face each day?

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The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord. Proverbs 21:31 (ESV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures – Where Does Our Worth Lie?

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

I love the stories told in the two books of Samuel, especially those stories about Saul and David.

Saul was chosen by God to be Isreal’s first king after the people begged God to give them one. They wanted to be like the nations around them. They wanted to fit in, not be set apart for God as God intended.

When the prophet Samuel went to Saul at God’s direction and told the future king God tapped him for the job, Saul told Samuel he must be mistaken. Surely Saul was not king material, despite the fact God was the one who chose him.

Do we ever think as Saul did when God calls us to take up a job for him? I’m a nobody. What have I got to offer? Surely you are mistaken, sir.

Fears and insecurities pull us back and keep us from boldly stepping into God’s plan for us. We falsely believe our worth lies in the things of the world and man’s opinion of us, instead of the truth our worth is found only in Jesus.

For the record, Saul wasn’t a “nobody”. He came from a wealthy and powerful family. He was tall at a time when being tall instilled confidence and commanded respect. Yet, even after God gave Saul many victories as king, Saul continued to be jealous and obsessed with people’s opinion of him. He was insecure, deceitful, and arrogant to his own detriment.

It wasn’t enough God thought him worthy to be king, what people thought of Saul; his image, was more important to him to the point it cost him his kingship.

God can use each of us when we are willing to be used by him, realizing if he’s called us to something, he must think we’re capable of completing it through his power and grace.

The world’s standards of success or lack of are not the measuring stick Christians should use to measure our worth. Our worth lies in the favor we have found through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. The only one whose opinion matters.

Instead of looking at what we lack, as Saul did, let’s look at what God gives us, and thank him for those things.

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“Pardon me, sir,” Saul replied. “I’m from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of the tribe! You must have the wrong man!” 1 Samuel 9:21 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures–Hope Amid the Storms of Life

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

When Hurricane Irma formed recently, folks weren’t sure where it would go. Some dismissed it as a Florida or Atlantic coast storm, and saw no need to pay much attention to it. As the storm advanced and changed course, new areas were in its sites, and folks who before had no need to be concerned found they now needed to be prepared.

In thinking about preparing for storms several thoughts came to mind from things I’d heard said as Houston dealt with Hurricane Harvey. Be prepared. Don’t lose your humanity. Still we will rise. Stay strong.

So let’s see if any storm preparation wisdom can also be used for life preparation.

  • Be prepared. Just as we can’t predict the actual path of a hurricane until it hits, we can’t predict everything that will happen in our lives, but we can prepare ahead of time for when our lives get shaken, by keeping our anchor and hope in Jesus.
  • Don’t lose your humanity. There are a lot of people who act in inhumane ways, especially during crisis, but we don’t need to be one of them. The Golden Rule of do unto others as you would have them do unto you comes to mind.
  • Still we rise. Even though we may be knocked to the ground by circumstances in our life, we can rise above it when we reach out to the God who lifts us out of the slimy pit and sets our feet on solid ground.
  • Stay strong. It’s hard to keep going when you get beat up by the storms of life. It’s real hard. But we know that when we belong to Jesus, his Holy Spirit lives in us and greater is HE who is in us than anything the world throws at us. Our strength to stay strong doesn’t come from us. It comes from God alone.

We may not be going through a storm in our lives at this point in time but just as some people didn’t take Irma seriously until it was on their doorstep, we need to be sympathetic towards those in the eye of the storm and be watchful, knowing it could just as easily be us next time.

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Why am I so sad? Why am I so troubled? I will put my hope in God, and once again I will praise him, my savior and my God. Psalm 42:5 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Burden of Sin

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Several weeks ago, I wrote about Psalm 51. This week is a continuation of David’s petition to God to forgive, restore, and lift his burden of sin. Although Psalm 32 is placed before Psalm 51 in our Bibles, it was actually written after Psalm 51.

In Psalm 51 David confessed his sin before God and begged God to blot our David’s rebellion. In Psalm 32 David rejoiced over the fact God had not charged David’s sins against him, but had lifted the burden of sin from David and washed him clean.

David thanked God for the forgiveness of his rebellion against God’s law. David rejoiced that he owned the reality of his sin, and did not deceive himself into believing what he did was right.

After God forgave David, he covered David’s sin, and did not charge David’s sin against him.

When those of us who belong God to repent, God lifts the burden of sin we lug around and throws it into a pit, never to be seen again. When God looks at us he doesn’t see our sin, instead he sees Christ’s blood covering our sin. God does not charge us with our sin because Jesus already paid the price for our forgiveness.

Those are the things God does, but David also wrote down the things we must do.

We must acknowledge our sin, not try to conceal it, and confess we have broken God’s law. We can’t hide our sin from God. He knows everything. When we refuse to confess, and fall before God in humble repentance, we are only fooling ourselves to think God doesn’t know what we’ve done.

Something that always impressed me with these two psalms of David’s is the fact he saw no need to dwell on the lurid details of his sins. Instead, David chose to dwell on God’s forgiveness and cleansing. Oh that we would do the same.

How many times have we been more interested in learning all the details of the person’s sin than rejoicing in their forgiveness? Even if it’s only been one time, that’s one time too many.

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Happy is the person whose sins are forgiven, whose wrongs are pardoned. Happy is the person whom the Lord does not consider guilty and in whom there is nothing false. Psalm 32:1-2 (NCV)
I wish you well.

Sandy

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