Sunday Scriptures — Spilt Milk

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Don’t cry over spilt milk.” Well, I’d like to tell you a story about a friend who did just that.

As an adult Connie attended church but hadn’t given her life to Christ. That is, not until she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. When Connie realized this life is finite, eternity is forever, and Jesus offers eternal life in heaven with him to those who claim him as Savior, she knew what she needed to do. Connie gave her life to Jesus.

Now, while this was indeed a wonderful time of celebration, not everyone in the congregation felt that way. Some long-time members criticized Connie. They said the only reason she wanted to be baptized was because of her disease. They said without the diagnosis, she’d never have done it.

Okay. Made me mad. It also reminded me of Jesus’ parable about the disgruntled workers who were paid the agreed upon wage for a day’s work, but grumped when those who came to work in the last hour were paid the same.

As Connie’s disease progressed, she lost her eyesight and use of her limbs. One morning before she was confined to a wheelchair, she went about fixing her cereal for breakfast; only it didn’t turn out well.

When she poured the cereal, most of it ended up on the floor instead of in the bowl.

After she swept up the cereal and threw it away, she was more careful with the next attempt. Mission accomplished, she went on to pouring the milk.

In those days, before handy plastic milk jugs, our milk came in slippery, bendable paper cartons which often needed two hands to manage.

With unsteady hands, Connie began to pour. The carton slipped out of her hands, landed at her feet, and spilled all over the floor.

At that, my friend sat down in the middle of the mess and cried over her spilt milk.

Who wouldn’t given the circumstances?

But there’s something I want you to know. Connie didn’t cry because of the spilt milk, and she didn’t cry because she felt sorry for the condition she now found herself in. Connie cried because she understood her body would no longer be able to do all the many, many things she longed to do for her Lord and Savior whom she loved so very much.

None of us has a guaranteed next breath, next hour, next year. We make plans as if we do, and we put off things for later. Only, sometimes, later doesn’t come. Or if it does come, we find we are no longer physically able to do what we planned to do.

2017 is coming to a close. Do you have anything you’ve put off you need to do before it’s too late? I know I do.

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All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, for there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end. John 9:4 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — First Day of Advent

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Today is the first day of Advent 2017. It is a time set aside to reflect on the coming of the Good News to the world through the announcement of Jesus the Messiah’s birth. It is a time to prepare our hearts to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas before the hustle-bustle of the season takes over.

A devotional I once read put it this way. “Advent is a time of preparation and expectation. It is a time of hope and faith and longing. Our anticipation rises during Advent and then our hopes are fulfilled on Christmas with the birth of Jesus.”

Sometimes in our preparation for Christmas Day we might busy ourselves with long to-do lists, and end up exhausted. Sometimes we might allow others’ ideas of what Christmas should look like highjack our celebration, leaving us resentful of their demands. Sometimes the various situations in our life may steal our joy right out from under us. When any of these things happens, we might find the expectation and peace we hoped to experience nowhere to be found.

Today Pilot and I will light the first candle of our Advent Wreath, and as we do, I will recommit to centering my thoughts on the Gift God graciously sent into our world. I will focus on the flickering candle and think of Jesus. The Light of the World who left his throne in heaven, came into our world, lived a sinless life, yet died for the sins of the world, was resurrected, and now sits at the Father’s right hand in heaven so that through Jesus we can have eternal life.

And I will wait in hope and expectation for his return.

Is the Advent Wreath part of your Christmas tradition? If so, do you prefer red and white, or pink and purple candles?

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In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:26-33 (NTL)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Anger

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

There is a person I know who has a lot of anger inside and is angry pretty much most of the time. It doesn’t seem to matter the cause, either. Her outbursts would be laughable if it weren’t for the fact she leaves wounded people in her wake. While I don’t believe anger in itself is wrong; Jesus vented his anger at the money changers in the temple after all, I do believe allowing it to control us and injure those around us, is wrong.

While thinking about the ability or inability to control our anger, I’m reminded of King Saul. It seems he was a person who didn’t know how to handle his anger in an acceptable manner.

In his fits of rage he’d lash out verbally and physically to those around him. Instead of looking at the root of his anger; jealousy and self-doubt, Saul allowed his anger to fester to the point of irrational rage.

Saul was jealous of David’s popularity. That jealousy led to anger. That anger led to attempts on David’s life.

David wasn’t the one going around singing songs of praise about his accomplishments. The people were. David’s songs were songs of praise to the LORD.

When David had the opportunity – twice – to take Saul’s life he refused, despite the fact if it had been the other way around, Saul would not have blinked before plunging a spear through David’s heart.

Instead of retaliating, David took his problem with Saul to God, and let God handle it.

I think it’s fair to say each of us deals with anger in our lives. If you’ve never been angry, I’d like to know your secret. Some of us face the fact we’re angry and try to discover the root cause, then we take it to God for healing. Some of us allow Satan to take that pain and hurt and use it as a weapon against those around us.

Do you know someone who has a problem handling their anger in a positive way? What do you do or say to help them?

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Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 29:11 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Satan is Vicious But Not Victorious

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

On October 2, 2017 Max Lucado wrote a compelling blog post titled Evil: Why in the World? after the shootings in Las Vegas. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do. In light of the shootings last Sunday in Texas, I decided to share some of the points Max made in his post.

Max began his post by stating, Where the Bible may not tell us the why of the tragedies, it is quick to tell us who.”

Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world. Ephesians 6:12 (NCV)

He goes on to say, “The Bible names a real and present foe of our faith: the devil. He is not just a symbol for evil, he is the source of evil. He doesn’t live in myths and fables, he is an actual being who stalks our planet. He knows his time is short so he seeks to wreak havoc on every occasion.”

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

The are several main take-aways I received from Max’s post that I would like to share with you: “We play into the devil’s hand when we pretend he does not exist. The devil is a real devil … Be alert to the devil, but don’t be intimidated by him. … But, and this is huge, the devil is a defeated devil.”

Near the end of his post Max reminds the reader what we should do when Satan threatens. Turn to God in prayer. Go immediately to Scripture. Stand on the promises of God regarding Satan.

God’s Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world (1 John 4:4 NCV)

Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7)

[The devil] is filled with fury because he knows his time is short (Revelation 12:12)

 

I will close my post with the same words Max closed his. “Satan may be vicious, but he is not victorious.”

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The God who brings peace will soon defeat Satan and give you power over him. Romans 16:20 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — When God Says No or Not Yet

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

For numerous years now, I have participated in a wonderful non-denominational weekly Bible study that delves deep into a book of the Bible from September to May. The mission of Bible Study Fellowship is global, in-depth Bible classes producing passionate commitment to Christ, His Word and His Church. Our vision is to magnify God and mature His people as they cultivate a deeper relationship with Him. If you aren’t in a BSF class, I suggest you check the link above, and see if there is a class near you.

This year we are studying the book of Romans. Some of you who read this blog attend Bible Study Fellowship also. Although BSF began worldwide this year on September 13, 2017, those of us here in Houston did not begin until October 11 due to Hurricane Harvey, so we are playing catch-up with our lessons for a bit.

While preparing one of my early lessons for discussion, I knew I needed to share some thoughts from that lesson with you on the subject of when God says “No” or “Not Yet”.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Our requests are good. They are godly. They aren’t selfish. Yet, God says no or not yet. Frustrating, is it not?

Looking at Paul’s request to go to the church in Rome to preach and see how they were doing gives us insight into this very idea and I’m pretty sure if you are like me, you can see similarities with your requests.

Paul’s request was for godly purposes, still God told Paul no, not yet. Paul did go to Rome, however, the day near the end of his life when he was taken in chains as a prisoner, and later executed there.

In my life there are unanswered prayers I will never understand until I reach heaven. There are some unanswered requests I’ve made where I’ve later said, “Thank you Jesus for not answering that request.” There are also prayer requests I feel are stacked up like airplanes on the tarmac waiting to take off.

Perhaps you can nod in agreement. Maybe God tells us no or not yet because we are not the one God has tapped to accomplish the thing we’re praying to accomplish. If we find that to be the case, then shouldn’t our prayers shift toward praying for those God has tapped?

Could it be when God tells us no or not yet he has something else mo’ better planned instead? How many times have we prayed for a certain job position or relationship, not gotten it, and found the one God does provide fits us much better?

Finally, God may be working on us to change our heart, or the heart of others. Who knows?

Because we don’t know if our unanswered prayers will result in a no or not yet, let’s follow Paul’s example and pray without ceasing.

How do you handle your unanswered prayers?

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Please don’t misinterpret my failure to visit you, friends. You have no idea how many times I’ve made plans for Rome. I’ve been determined to get some personal enjoyment out of God’s work among you, as I have in so many other non-Jewish towns and communities. But something has always come up and prevented it. Romans 1:13 (MSG)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — The Opportunity to Repent

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

During a recent Sunday School class discussion on Exodus 32 where the Israelites convinced Aaron to build them a golden calf to worship, while Moses tarried on Mount Sinai receiving the handwritten commandments from God, we wondered why in the world Aaron gave in to the people’s request. What was he thinking? Or not thinking?

One person said she was glad all our misdeeds aren’t written down for generations to look at and critique. Yep. So am I.

Because we know all Scripture is God-breathed and given for our instruction, after class I pondered what we’d discussed, and what God wanted me to learn from this very familiar lesson.

I’d like us to consider one lesson I came up with. The second lesson on peer pressure will wait for another time. 🙂

Although Aaron sinned by giving in to the people, forming an idol to worship, and honoring it instead of worshipping and honoring the One True Jehovah God, God gave Aaron, and everyone else who participated in the idol worship, an opportunity to repent, follow God’s command, and avenge his honor.

Aaron and some of the others did repent, and they did follow God’s command to avenge God’s honor by killing those who chose not to repent.

Harsh to our way of thinking, yes, but the point I want us to consider in this part of Aaron’s story is the fact it is in the Bible for a reason.

I don’t believe the sole purpose of Aaron’s story is for us to scratch our heads and question how in the world he could do such a thing. Although we will do that. No. I believe Aaron’s story is there for us to prick our hearts and realize if our story was recorded for the whole world to read, we’d be the one others scratched their heads at and wondered how we could do such a thing.

I believe Aaron’s story is yet one more example God uses to display his amazing grace. Just as God allowed anyone who would accept it, the opportunity to turn from their idol worship, repent, and follow him and him alone, he gives each of us the same opportunity to turn from the things in our lives we’ve made into idols, repent, and follow him and him alone.

Have you ever consider Aaron’s story this way before?

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Finally, he (Moses) turned to Aaron and demanded, “What did these people do to you to make you bring such terrible sin upon them?”

 “Don’t get so upset, my lord,” Aaron replied. “You yourself know how evil these people are. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has gold jewelry, take it off.’ When they brought it to me, I simply threw it into the fire—and out came this calf!” Exodus 32:21-24 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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