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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Sunday Scriptures Helping Houston Flood Victims

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Christian brothers, we want you to know how the loving-favor of God has been shown in the churches in the country of Macedonia. They have been put to the test by much trouble, but they have much joy. They have given much even though they were very poor. They gave as much as they could because they wanted to. They asked from their hearts if they could help the Christians in Jerusalem. It was more than we expected. They gave themselves to the Lord first. Then they gave themselves to us to be used as the Lord wanted. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (NLV)

In an email exchange with a writer friend in Harlan, Kentucky, Carlton told me a lady from Harlan organized a donation drive for the Houston flood victims. Oh, my. The truck was scheduled to leave Kentucky yesterday, September 2, 2017.

Unless you’ve been on the receiving end of such generosity you might find it hard to understand the impact that sacrificial act of the folks in Harlan has on my heart.

Kentucky and Houston are not next door neighbors by any stretch of the imagination. I just Googled it. The distance is 1,021 miles, and the predicted time to get here from there is 15 hours and 38 minutes. That is if the roads are passable and there is no traffic. Over 1,000 miles! For strangers. Amazing.

Houston has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of sacrificial love not just from fellow Houstonians and Texans, but from people all over the country.

This outpouring reminded me of the Macedonian church Paul spoke of in his second letter to the Corinthians. Macedonians were Greeks, not Jews. They were new Christians. They were people the Jerusalem Jews often looked down on. Yet … out of their poverty they gave to the Jerusalem church because of their love for God first, then their love for their fellow man.

I am not saying that you must do this, but I have told you how others have helped. This is a way to prove how true your love is. You know of the loving-favor shown by our Lord Jesus Christ. He was rich, but He became poor for your good. In that way, because He became poor, you might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:8-9 (NLV)

Only the Sovereign LORD knows how long the recovery of the Houston area will take. He is the one who places the desire to help on people’s hearts. There is great need, but I’m aware enough of my abilities and lack of, strengths and weaknesses to know although my heart cries for those who lost so very much, I’m limited in what I can do.

As a former elementary school teacher, my heart grieves for the children who lost all their new school clothes and fresh school supplies. I grieve for the teachers who worked so hard over the summer to have their classrooms ready and inviting those first few weeks of school.

I grieve. And in my grief I make a decision. I will contribute new clothes. New shoes. New school supplies to the school district where I taught. Clear Creek Independent School District is taking donations both physical and monetary to help those students so horribly impacted by Hurricane Harvey’s destruction.

Other districts are doing the same. If this is something that interests you, here’s the CCISD link to learn more.

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If a man is ready and willing to give, he should give of what he has, not of what he does not have. 2 Corinthians 8:12 (NLV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Unsin Me

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

While preparing to lead a lesson on David’s penitential Psalm 51 this month, I read a commentator who said “purify” was the same as “unsin”. Isn’t that interesting?

Psalm 51 is David’s petition to God for forgiveness after the prophet Nathan confronted David about his adultery with Bathsheba, and murder of her husband, Uriah. In this psalm David admits his guilt, and asks for God’s forgiveness. He pleads for the restoration of his relationship with God.

David pleads with God based on knowledge of who God is.

God is gracious, loving and compassionate. David understood God is our only hope. He understood we can go before God and confess our sins, knowing God will not hurt us despite our sin.

In this psalm David didn’t rationalize his sins as we might. He did not blame others for his actions. He made no excuses. He owned his sin and bowed before God in humility, begging for God’s forgiveness.

When David asked God to purify, or unsin him, he asked for God to take David’s sin away. Cleanse him through the sacrificial blood. Blot out his guilt as if no sin occurred. David asked God to return him to fellowship with God, and change his heart and life.

Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and shed blood paid the debt we owe for our sins. Still, God wants to see evidence of sorrow and brokenness over our sins from those who claim him as Lord. It is only through repentance of our sins we can have a restored relationship with God, and that restoration allows us to be useful to him once more.

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God, be merciful to me because you are loving. Because you are always ready to be merciful, wipe out all my wrongs. Wash away all my guilt and make me clean again. Psalm 51:1-2 (NCV)
 I wish you well.

Sandy

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