Sunday Scriptures — How Hard Can It Be?

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Summer seems to be the time when people who spent a large amount of the past six months inactive ask “how hard can it be?” when faced with something new.

During a recent outdoor event, I came across such a person. She asked if I was going to participate in the event. When I said, no – I’m not crazy. I know my limits – she replied, “How hard can it be?”

Hard enough that most of the participants were experienced, had put in the hard work to master the skill, and knew what they were up against. Unlike this person who found out how hard it could be when she had to be rescued by one of those who knew what they were doing.

Remembering this scenario got me to thinking about the times we may learn someone is struggling to overcome an addiction and hear someone say, “How hard can it be? Just quit.” Those people obviously have not dealt with an addiction or observed someone who was addicted, nor do they understand the hard work that must go into overcoming.

For decades one friend has struggled with overcoming alcoholism. There are days she makes progress. There are days she doesn’t. You want to know how hard it is for her? Extremely hard. It is a struggle she puts great effort into overcoming, only to slide back into the same familiar patterns.

The next time we hear of someone struggling with an addiction of any kind, instead of smugly saying, “How hard can it be?” how about we realize it is hard for that person, offer our support, and speak the truth in love?

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Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures – What to Keep

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In the mid-1990s my mother’s house was hit by lightning and burned to the ground. She refused to leave her property in the country and move to town. Instead, she purchased a mobile home and had it placed on the property which had been in her family for generations.

One of the things Pilot and I did to help Mom after her new home arrived was go through the few belongings which survived the fire to decide what to keep and what to throw away.

Funny how what one person treasures another finds little use for.

I have a vivid recollection of Pilot and me sweating under the very hot southern Georgia summer heat, washing various kitchen items that hadn’t been consumed by the fire while my mother, aunt, and uncle sat chatting inside the air conditioned living room.

Whenever I felt something was beyond saving and should be thrown away, I had to clear it with Mom first. I’d hold the item up to the sliding glass window and Mom would shake her head yes or no. She didn’t open the slider for fear some of the a.c. would escape, I guess.

Before I washed the dull, long-bladed knife which had been around since before I was born, I knew for sure Mom would agree it needed to be tossed. The point at the end of the knife broke off long ago when Mom used it to pry something open. Spots of rust dotted both sides of the blade. Surely she would agree there was no need to keep the thing, but I knew I needed to get her approval first before I threw it away.

I held the knife to the slider. Mom shook her head no. Not satisfied with her answer, I opened the slider and explained the obvious reasons why I should not waste time washing something so useless.

“I started housekeeping with that knife” was all she said, and I proceeded to wash it shaking my head the whole time.

I’m not sure how many times Mom used that knife after that, but I do know the dull, broken, long-bladed, rust-spotted knife stayed in Mom’s kitchen until the day we moved her into the nursing home decades later.

As I pondered this memory, I thought of how sometimes we struggle with knowing what to keep and what to throw away in our beliefs. Sometimes we hold onto beliefs we learned years earlier in our Christian walk which, upon closer inspection and deeper biblical study, are no longer valid or useful.

We believe certain things because our parents believed them. We heard a preacher say something once which we kinda still believe, but aren’t really sure. Some author somewhere wrote something people talked about, so it must have some basis for truth.

Instead of relying on things we’ve heard others say, how about we search the scriptures and discover God’s truth for ourselves? What say we become students of the Word to gain a clearer understanding, and once we gain that understanding, apply God’s truth to our lives?

Instead of using a dull, broken, long-bladed, rust-spotted, incomplete understanding of the Truth, let’s determine to sharpen our learning so our knowledge will lead us to a better understanding of what to keep and what to throw away.

Is there anything you’ll admit you hang onto that should be thrown away?

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Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures – Betrayal

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Right now two people I care about are struggling with the betrayal of false accusations, lies, and venom which is being spewed towards them.

Being subject to such betrayal is nothing new in this world, but the worst part is the spewers are people these two have worshiped with and worked alongside for years to further God’s kingdom.

Like I’ve said before, Christians are the only army I know who intentionally shoot their own.

Jesus warned his disciples to expect persecution. After all, he was persecuted and betrayed. He warns us of the same. Whenever we work to advance the Kingdom of God, we can expect opposition. Satan will do everything in his power to stop us. He may even use people who sit in the church pew right beside us to accomplish his goals, if necessary.

Satan is crafty. He is a lion that prowls the streets looking for someone to devour. That’s why we need to be on our guard. We need to be vigilant. And when we are attacked for doing God’s work in this world, we need to realize those who attack us are merely pawns in the Great Deceiver’s hand. Lest we get puffed up — we can be used just as easily.

We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, the Sustainer of our faith. We need to guard our mouths and make sure we don’t lean toward the side of vengeance in our desire to set the record straight. We need to remember God is the One who’s opinion matters. Not those who choose to spread lies. We need to remember the truth of who God is, and who we are in his eyes.

What steps have you taken to move past the hurt of betrayal when you’ve been unjustly attacked?

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Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. John 15:20 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Made in the Shade

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Have you ever noticed the difference between plants and grass that are constantly exposed to the heat of direct sunlight, compared with plants and grass that receive shade? The shaded plants and grass seem better able to thrive when the intense summer heat comes than those that do not get any relief from the heat. Simple right? Makes perfect sense. The shade offers relief.

Let’s look at our lives and think of them as plants in the direct heat of irate employers or customers. The heat of strained relationships. The heat of worries and cares that feel as if they will burn us to a crisp. The withering heat of condemning words. False accusations. Endless pain.

I’d venture to guess we’ve all had our share of being scorched without the relief of a bit of cooling shade. It hurts. It wilts our soul. It zaps our energy and strength. It leaves us listless and ready to give up.

But we do not have to live in the blazing heat of day because God is our protector who shades us with his love. Just as the cool shade of a large oak offers relief, the shade of God’s love offers us relief from the heat of our world.

Unlike plants and grass that can’t get up and relocate to a shadier spot, we have the choice of whether to rest and be refreshed beneath the shade of God’s love, or stubbornly stay outside it withering in the heat we face day after day.

Our choice. Which will you choose? Shade or heat?

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The Lord is your protector, there at your right side to shade you from the sun. You won’t be harmed by the sun during the day or by the moon night. Psalm 121:5-6 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Our Founding Fathers Prayed

In Billy Graham’s devotional book, Hope for Each Day, he mentions a time at the early beginnings of the formation of the United States of America during a meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The purpose was the ratification of the constitution.

The delegates to the Congress became angry with each other, and because they could not resolve their conflicts or agree on anything at all, the delegates gathered their belongings and headed for the door.

Reminds me of the attitude children have when they can’t get there way. If I don’t get my way, then I’ll take my ball and go home.

Fortunately for our country, one man had enough sense to offer the correct solution.

Benjamin Franklin spoke to the delegates. It is reported these were his words.

Wait a minute, gentlemen. This country was conceived in faith in God. Many of us here believe in prayer. Let us get upon our knees and pray to Almighty God and see whether God shall give to us the answer to our dilemma.

The delegates to the Constitutional Convention put aside their differences, and for the good of our country surrendered their egos to God, got on their knees and prayed. The Constitution of the United States of America was the result of their prayers.

We have no lesser challenge today.

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Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scripture – God is For Us

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Do you ever have moments when despair and fear threaten to swallow you whole? I know I for sure have. And according to Numbers 14, so did the Israelites while they wandered in the desert. They forgot an important fact. God is for us.

All it took for the Israelites to lose sight of who God was, and to forget all the miraculous things he had done for them, were reports of giants in the land.

We remember the story.

Twelve spies were sent to Canaan to scope out the land. Of the twelve, two reported that since God was with the Israelites, they could take the land. No problem.

The other ten shook in their sandals, and said no way the Israelites could take the land. The sight of Canaan’s inhabitants instilled despair and fear into them, and the ten forgot if God is for us, nothing one can stand against us.

Fear ran throughout the camp at the thought of entering the land. The people forgot what God had done for them. Caught up in the moment, they allowed emotions to replace truth. They were paralyzed to move forward because they forgot what God had done in the past.

I have a feeling after multiple years of gathering manna every morning, the Israelites may have considered the miracle of food as commonplace, and not given God the measure of awe he deserved for the provision. We do that sometimes too, don’t we? We see God’s hand at work in our lives, and maybe acknowledge it the first or second time. But after a while, do we mark God’s provision off as expected, insignificant, or no big deal?

When something really big comes up in our lives, like facing a land full of giants, do we become afraid? Do we believe falsely because something is big and insurmountable to us it must also be big and insurmountable to God?

I’ve mentioned before what Girlfriend says. “It’s all small to God.” There is nothing too big for the All Sufficient El Shaddai. Nothing. No giants in our land, however they manifest themselves in our lives; be it loss, illness, financial setbacks, prodigal family members, wars and rumors of wars, is beyond our God.

When facing our giants, let’s agree not to give in to our emotional first response of fear, but instead remember everything God’s already brought us through and press on. Knowing if God is for us, nothing can stand against us.

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They said to all of the Israelites, “The land we explored is very good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land and give us that fertile land. Don’t turn against the Lord! Don’t be afraid of the people in that land! We will chew them up. They have no protection, but the Lord is with us. So don’t be afraid of them.” Numbers 14:7-9 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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