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 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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God’s Love is a Consuming Fire

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

God’s love is a consuming fire. It burns away the chaff and useless things we fill our lives with that replace our devotion to him. It isn’t always pleasant; more times than not, it’s rather unpleasant in fact, but if we want to grow closer to God and to Jesus, we need to submit to the Refiner’s consuming fire.

Through the years I’ve witnessed first hand how absolutely destructive fire can be. And let me say, it isn’t pretty. Because of this, and probably for other unknown reasons, I’ve been reluctant to embrace the thought that the God of love is also a consuming fire.

The first time I read the words stating God is a consuming fire in Hebrews 12, I shuddered. The first time I watched Third Day’s rather apocalyptic video, Consuming Fire, it frightened me. Yes. I sang Refiner’s Fire at church along with everyone else. Sure, I wanted to be holy, set apart for God’s use. Don’t we all?

We long to be clean vessels God can use, but does it have to be fire? Can’t we just be scrubbed clean with soap, or something?

Just like with many of you, God has taken his refining fire to my heart many, many times. I’ve been in the crucible and held over his consuming fire more times than I care to remember. But remember I must; and remember you must, in order to understand God’s purifying process burns away the useless, and brings out the valuable in our lives.

We must remember the times God’s consuming fire burned away the things in our lives that are not of him. Things and thoughts that kept us from being all he designed us to be. Because it is in those times of trial and testing we are purified to become vessels he can use for his glory and purpose.

An important thing to remember is God’s consuming fire does not destroy us. It refines us. There’s a big difference, don’t you think? So instead of shrinking from the flames and being fearful, perhaps we need to have a new perspective. If God’s refining fire is what it takes to make us more like Jesus, then shouldn’t we say, “Burn away”?

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For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. Deuteronomy 4:24 NIV

I wish you well.

Sandy

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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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Storm Clouds Forming

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

June 1 is the official first day of hurricane season. As I write this on June 21, 2017, Tropical Storm Cindy is heading toward the Texas coast. Storm clouds forming in the Gulf of Mexico threaten. The news reports warn listeners to be ready. Be prepared. Take action. Don’t be caught unaware. Foreboding images of past hurricanes flash across the television screen.

The wind chime at our back door sways with the ever increasing breeze.

Storm clouds forming off to the southeast draw closer. The rains are predicted to hit later this evening into tomorrow. Road flooding is possible. As is wind damage.

Some folks take the warnings lightly and ignore them. Others take the warnings seriously and prepare.

As I pondered the coming storm, my thoughts turned to Jesus and the warning he gave the Pharisees and Sadducees who tested him, and tried to trip him up without success.

These religious rulers knew how to tell the weather by the changes in the sky, yet they refused to acknowledge Jesus as God’s son when he stood right in front of them.

They refused to acknowledge their need for a Savior.

They refused to acknowledge God’s judgement was sure.

They refused to acknowledge God’s storm clouds were forming.

These warnings hold true for each of us today, as surely as they did all those years ago.

There are storm clouds forming on the horizon. We need to be prepared. Get ready. Don’t delay. The time is coming when it will be too late for preparation. Jesus’ return is certain. Just as he told the Pharisees and Sadducees, the time to prepare is now.

Just as with preparing for a tropical storm … some folks take the warnings lightly and ignore them. Others take the warnings seriously and prepare.

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Jesus answered, “At sunset you say we will have good weather, because the sky is red.  And in the morning you say that it will be a rainy day, because the sky is dark and red. You see these signs in the sky and know what they mean. In the same way, you see the things that I am doing now, but you don’t know their meaning. Matthew 16:2-3 (NCV)

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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