Sunday Scriptures — When Love Wins Out

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

I’d like to tell you a Mother’s Day story of what happens when love wins out.

Once upon a time, long ago, in a land far away, an innocent man was betrayed by a friend. He was wrongly convicted of a crime he did not commit during an illegal trial and sentenced to die. Although heartbroken, the man’s widowed mother attended her son’s execution.

During the condemned man’s final moments, he looked at his mother. Understanding the gravity of his death upon the woman, the man spoke to a cousin standing beside his mother and asked him to take care of her. The cousin willingly agreed to take the condemned man’s mother into his home and treat her as he would his own mother.

Despite the excruciating torture Jesus endured during his crucifixion, he was concerned for his widowed mother, Mary. In his final moments, Jesus made preparation for Mary’s care. He entrusted her to John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, the son of Mary’s sister, Salome.

Before Jesus’ death, I believe many thoughts flooded Mary’s mind.

Perhaps she began to understand the prophesies spoken about her son more clearly.

Perhaps Mary understood the words spoken of her eight-day-old baby boy in the temple thirty-three years earlier when Simeon said, “I have seen God’s salvation, which God prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of God’s people Israel! This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul, Mary.”

Mary didn’t always understand the reasons Jesus did what he did. Sometimes she disagreed with her son, and was embarrassed by the way he went about his ministry. Those disagreements and misunderstandings could have escalated and separated the two, but they didn’t. Mary stood at the foot of the cross when Christ died. In his final moments Jesus made provision for her care.

That’s what happens when love wins out.

Many times our children don’t understand the reasons we do what we do, and often we don’t understand the reasons for what they do.

This lack of understanding can result in frustration and embarrassment. Fertile ground for misunderstandings and estrangement to grow and flourish, and for love to diminish.

This Mother’s Day instead of letting our differences separate and divide us, how about we consider Jesus and Mary’s example of love and devotion, and make sure in our lives, just as in theirs, love wins out.

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Standing near his cross were Jesus’ mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the follower he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the follower, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, the follower took her to live in his home. John 19:25-27 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Fine Art of Listening

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Yesterday  morning as I read through the various emails from lists I subscribe to, I noticed a trend. Out of eight different emails I read, five spoke on the subject of the fine art of listening, being still and shutting out the noise around us. You think God’s trying to tell me something? 🙂

And because I figure this was more than a coincidence, maybe God is trying to tell you something, too.

Below are excerpts with the link to the original posts. I hope you’ll take the time to go to the original posts, read and consider the full messages these authors wrote. Then join me in  developing the fine art of listening.

What if we stopped dialing up to be heard, and instead started listening again? Listening is an art. One that is getting lost in the noise. Getting lost among the technology, the text messages, the emails. Do people even know how to listen anymore? Finally, remember that we can only surrender to God’s plan if we are still and listen to his plan. Does that mean once a day? Or does that surrender occur 24/7? Tina Radcliffe 

We forget to look outside. We forget to take walks or just sit, listening to the bird sounds, to crickets at night, to the call of a loon, the hoot of an owl. We forget to stand in a drizzle and let it wash down our hair and over our face. We forget to let the sunrise welcome the day or the sunset ease us into night. Normandie Fischer 

Job waited for God’s answer—easier said than done. As believers, we can say with Job, I will wait for my renewal to come (Job 14:14). Whether considering tomorrow or eternity, God has us covered. Diana Derringer

David wrote more on waiting, and Psalm 40:1-3 gives us a vivid image of God’s care for those who wait on Him:

“I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.” (NIV)

Reading this passage makes me wonder how long David waited on the Lord. Or if David had a special ability for this very difficult virtue. But then I remember that David often learned things the hard way. Waiting on God was a skill David continued to develop throughout his lifetime.

I long to be still in God’s presence, not plotting or scheming or worrying or … you name it. Unfortunately, I often find myself doing the exact opposite.

Being still takes intentionality and a heart that’s trusting. I need to stop trying to rush God and remember: God is faithful. God is good. God loves me. God never leaves me. God is worthy to be praised. Kim Johnson

Friends, it’s time to stop listening to the lies. Time to close your ears to ignorant and hurtful comments, whether they come from outside or in. It’s time to turn to the TRUTH, to embrace it and immerse yourself in it. It’s time to remember Who gave you this task, and what HE has to say about you and your work. Come to the One True source of Truth, and let His words dwell within you to put an end to writer’s obstacle. Lies. Karen Ball 

And I would add, no matter what our task, we should listen to what our Creator God has to say about our work, and let his words put an end to whatever lies the opposition dumps on us.

Do any of these quotes resonate with you more than another?

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To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. Matthew 13:12 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Final Victory

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Yesterday, May 8, was the anniversary of Victory in Europe May 8, 1945. Although V-E Day was a major victory, it wasn’t until September 2, 1945 World War II officially ended with V-J Day and the formal surrender of Japan. As the people in Europe celebrated their liberation from the enemy, I believe at the back of their mind they realized there was still a final victory yet to come.

While I contemplated the significance of those two days in history, I considered the major victories Christians have through our Savior Jesus Christ that lead up to the final victory over the enemy the day God tells his Son, it’s time. Go get your bride.

We are grateful for the liberation from God’s enemy, but we realize there is still a final victory yet to come.

Jesus’ death for the sins of the world, his resurrection and defeat of hell, sin, Satan and death, his return to his throne in heaven-where he sits at the right hand of his Father and  prepares a place for believers to live with him as he awaits the day of his return-are victories that will culminate in the grand, final defeat of Satan. Glory hallelujah!

Although it was a major victory, V-E Day was not the end to World War II. Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension were major victories, but not the end of the spiritual war. That victory is yet to come. But it will come.

While we wait for the Final Victory, let’s not grow weary in doing good.

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Then I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. The rider on the horse is called Faithful and True, and he is right when he judges and makes war. His eyes are like burning fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him, which no one but himself knows. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in fine linen, white and clean, were following him on white horses. Out of the rider’s mouth comes a sharp sword that he will use to defeat the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will crush out the wine in the winepress of the terrible anger of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his upper leg was written this name: king of kings and lord of lords. Revelation 19:11-16 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Spiritual Warfare

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

In the book, Peace With God, Billy Graham states Christians have three distinct dangerous, vicious enemies who will use any method to defeat us in our Christian life; Satan, the world, and the flesh. So, we must be prepared to ward them off.

First off, Satan. We know he was defeated at the cross by Jesus, but he still has power to influence us toward sin. Just look at the names the Bible gives him. The wicked one. Devil. Murderer. Liar, and the father of lies. Adversary who seeks to devour. Serpent. Accuser of the brethren, and other none flattering titles.

Satan is not happy when anyone gives their life to Christ. In fact, it makes him really mad. Billy Graham says we shouldn’t rely on our feelings, because that’s where Satan attacks first. He’ll do whatever he can to tempt us and lead us into sin, to make us doubt, to discourage, and disappoint. Satan might tempt us by making us feel proud and important to make us confident in our our powers, instead of trusting in God.

There are a lot of ways the deceiver can tempt us; jealousy, hatred, envy. The father of all lies would like nothing more than for us to follow his example and become liars and lead others astray. He is powerful, crafty, and subtle. He is called the god of this world, the prince of this world, and the prince of the power of the air.

In his book Mr. Graham told a story regarding Satan’s attacks.

Years ago I heard my friend J. Edwin Orr compare the Christian attacked by Satan to a mouse being attacked by a housewife wielding a broom. The mouse does not sit there contemplating the housewife or the broom. It is busy looking for a hole — a way to escape. So we Christians under satanic attack should look for our “way of escape.”

He goes further to say, “The devil will tremble when you pray. He will be defeated when you quote or read a passage of Scripture to him, and will leave you when you resist him.”

Next, among our enemies is the world. Mr. Graham said when anyone asks him how to know what is “okay” to do, and what isn’t he tells them to “earnestly and prayerfully ask, ‘What would Christ have me to do?’ ‘Can I ask His blessing upon this particular thing for me?’ ‘What would Christ think about my amusements, recreation, books, companions, and television programs?’ ‘Could I ask Christ to go along with me to this particular event?’ Being omnipresent, He’ll be there anyway. The point is, should you?”

He continues by saying, “This does not mean that in society we are snobs or have a superiority complex, lest we be in danger of spiritual pride — which would be far worse than any worldliness. But today there are so many professing Christians who are walking hand in hand with the world that you cannot tell the difference between the Christian and the unbeliever. This should never be.”

Lastly, Mr. Graham addresses the third enemy we face; the lust of the flesh, which he calls that evil tendency of your inward self. “It is the battle of the self-life and the Christ-life. This old nature cannot please God. It cannot be converted, or even patched up. Thank God, when Jesus died He took you with Him, and the old nature can be made inoperative and you can “reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin” (Romans 6:11). This is done by faith.

Aren’t we glad we don’t have to fight these battles alone?

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For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. Ephesians 6:12 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry — Love Notes

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Welcome to Pause for Poetry featuring a poem written by my writer-friend, Shirley Specht Johnson.

Love Notes
By Shirley Specht Johnson

Love’s words are spoken in peaceful ways,

Love walks in kindness through its day.

Love discerns along the way,

in solitude, there Love prays.

Love sustains the wounded soul,

when others say just let go.

Love forgives those that broke its heart,

Love is willing to make a new start.

Love dresses not in trendy styles,

but clothes itself with grace.

Love appears in moments in an ordinary place.

Love helps with homework, tends to the sick, runs to the grocery store.

Love goes to work, pays the bills, and Love does so much more.

Love perseveres, is confident and is assured,

Love never whispers an unprofitable word.

Love listens to understand, encourages along the way,

Love celebrates with others the joy of their day.

Love walks in wisdom, never acts foolishly,

Love seeks no profit, it seeks no victory.

Love embraces goodness, holds to what is true,

Love can change a circumstance, Love can make things new.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (AMP) …….but the greatest of these is love.

Shirley Specht Johnson loves to share inspiration and encouragement through her writing. She is a member of SCBWI. She loves to read and has volunteered at her local Public Library as an Adult Literacy Tutor. She shares moments of inspiration and her writing life at her blog.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Why Keep Praying When You Don’t See Results Book Review

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In Robert Morris’ book, Why Keep Praying When You Don’t See Results, he writes we must be persistent in our requests and never give up. Using the Bible story of the woman who persisted in coming before the judge day after day to seek justice, the author assures us God does hear, is able, and answers.

Although I consider myself someone who knows how to pray, I gained much from reading this book. One of the first things Mr. Morris states is “If we are pleased with ourselves and with our own devices for coping with life, we won’t feel the need or inclination to seek the Lord and call out to him.” How very true that is.

One area of explanation I especially appreciated was the section on We Pray Because God is Changeless. God is immutable. He does not change and cannot change. Because God is perfect, there is no need for him to change. “Satan tells us God will do whatever he wants to do, so it doesn’t matter if you pray. You can’t change God’s mind, so your prayers are useless.” So says the father of lies.

Have you ever felt that way? I have. So why bother?

Mr. Morris tells us why we should bother and persist in praying. He tells of the persistent prayer of Abraham asking God to reconsider his plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, and  Moses’ pleas asking God to change his mind about destroying the Israelites. Mr. Morris explains God will never change his character, but he can and will change his mind when people pray. Wow. So much clearer.

Why Keep Praying When You Don’t See Results asks thoughtful questions such as what have you neglected to pray for in your life? It discusses intercessory prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit in our prayer life. It states our sin can keep our prayers from being effective, and uses the Psalms of David to show when we sin we must admit it, agree with God that it’s wrong, ask for forgiveness, then open our arms to accept what God freely and graciously gives. Jesus has already paid for our forgiveness. It’s available, but we have to ask.

There is much more in this book than one blog can tell. Guess you’ll have to read it for yourself, and find out. 😉

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

I wish you well,

Sandy

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