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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Before the Throne of God

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Someday each of us will stand before the throne of God. It won’t matter if we chose to serve God, or not. Everyone is subject to God’s authority and rule. But those of us who named Jesus as our Lord and Savior have the privilege to come before the throne in confidence, boldly even, as joint heirs to the King.

One of my favorite names for God is El Elyon; the God Most High. As Yahweh, Adonai, and El Shaddai, God is LORD, Master, and the All-Sufficient One. Everyone and everything is under God. He lacks nothing. Everything we need is found in him. God sits on his throne and reigns now and forever. Always has. Always will.

I love that image. God reigns supreme. We are ALL under him. No exceptions. We are not God’s equal. We are not his best buds. We are subject to his authority. He is God and we are not.

One thing that fascinated me about the various castles I have toured is the opulence of each.

Especially the throne rooms with their raised dais that made sure the kings’ or queens’ heads were above all others in the rooms to emphasize the power of the ruler, lest anyone who entered forgot.

God and Jesus are seated in the throne room of heaven. I imagine their thrones are quite marvelous to behold, don’t you? Beyond description.

Because Jesus paid the debt of sin for those of us who claim him as our Lord and Savior, we can boldly stand before the throne of God without fear or trembling. We aren’t allowed entrance because of anything we’ve done. No. It is because of what Jesus did on the cross that makes us right with God. Christ’s sacrifice made a way for us to be adopted into the King’s family.

As spectacular as heaven’s throne room is, Jesus invites us to come. Not just to come, but to come boldly to the throne of grace. Wow.

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So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrew 4:16  (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Learn to Trust the Writer of Our Story

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

(This post was written prior to Hurricane Harvey descending on Texas this past week, yet it is so timely.)

A recent article by Lin Christianity Today got me thinking about how we need to learn to trust the writer of our story. God.

In this article, Laurie 

In a discussion of Job, the author says although Job asked God for an explanation, God gave none. Instead God showed all that he was capable of, and Job learned what God wants most from us. To trust him.

The truth is, when we give up being the center of our story, we are better able to live it. For our story now stars someone other than ourselves. As supporting players, we can play our roles with the awareness that we are part of God’s bigger story, and accept our script as the one we are meant to live.

Perhaps it’s time to shift our focus from ourselves and how we view our life, trust God; the writer of our story, and see things from his perspective.

What do you think?

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I know that you can do all things and that no plan of yours can be ruined. You asked, ‘Who is this that made my purpose unclear by saying things that are not true?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand; I talked of things too wonderful for me to know. Job 42:2-3 (NCV)
 
 I wish you well.

Sandy

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God Is Faithful

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

As I sat outside with Baxter in the windy and rain-free morning sunshine last Wednesday after four days of constant flooding rainfall, courtesy of Hurricane Harvey, I praised God for this faithfulness and prayed for those so horridly impacted by the destruction.

Pilot and I were spared with very minimal damage. Many, many others unfortunately were not.

Isn’t it peculiar how a few short hours and a shift in the wind can shift our perspective?

Monday evening after three very long, hard days of dealing with incessant rains which caused water to leak into our living room, and maybe a grand total of six hours of sleep during those three days, I felt depleted physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Almost.

Prayer partners worked overtime on our behalf. Thank you, Jesus.

We knew the same Jesus who stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee could calm our storm. We knew the Maker of the Wind could blow the bands of rain stuck between two high pressure systems out of our area, or better yet, simple remove the storm’s power altogether. We knew this. What we didn’t know was when.

Although Monday night was bleak, Tuesday dawned with promise. The rain didn’t come down so hard. There were breaks between downpours. The water that came into our house slowed. The end looked like it might be in sight. Praise God.

So Tuesday evening, after four dreadful days, God decided it was time.

No matter what storm each of us faces in our lives when we know the Maker of the Wind and Master of the Waves, we can be confident God is faithful and he is able. Although we may wonder when he’s going to rescue us, his timing is perfect. Just because we can’t see God working, that doesn’t mean he isn’t.

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On one of those days Jesus and His followers got into a boat. Jesus said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” Then they pushed out into the water. As they were going, Jesus fell asleep. A wind storm came over the lake. The boat was filling with water and they were in danger. The followers came to awake Jesus. They said, “Teacher! Teacher! We are going to die!” Then Jesus got up and spoke sharp words to the wind and the high waves. The wind stopped blowing and there were no more waves.  He said to them, “Where is your faith?” The followers were surprised and afraid. They said to each other, “What kind of a man is He? He speaks to the wind and the waves and they obey Him.” Luke 8:22-25 (NLV)

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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Hurricane Harvey and Houston Texas

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

If, like most people, you spent the greater part of this past week glued to your television or device for updates on the news regarding Hurricane Harvey and Houston, Texas; the rain event the weather service called an unprecedented catastrophic event with record-setting historical rain fall, perhaps your heart was grieved at the sight of people young and old rescued by boat, front loader, dump truck, and helicopter from the rising flood waters.

Pilot, Pie, and I live in the Houston area. We’ve been through Alison, Rita, Ike, and now Harvey since moving here from Florida in 2000.

Right now I’d like to thank each and every one of you who faithfully prayed for us, and the rest of the area, during this unprecedented catastrophic event. God was again faithful to hear and answer. Proving it is through placing our trust in him that fear is driven out.

You may have heard Houston Texans football player, JJ Watt, established a fundraiser to help with the recovery efforts. Here’s a link if you feel moved to contribute to help those who lost so much. The storm may be in our rearview mirror when you read this, but the recovery efforts will last far into the future.

I find it interesting that right before Harvey hit Texas, I’d been thinking about Job’s conversation with God. I wrote a post on that conversation before Harvey was a blip on the weather screen. I bumped it from today, and rescheduled it for September 7, 2017.

Near the end of the Book of Job God challenges the man who dared question him. These last five chapters may have been intended for Job, but are written for each of us as well.

In the midst of Job’s suffering he and his friends talked to each other a lot. But they didn’t talk with God very much. Did you ever notice that? It took the whole Book of Job before God answers Job from the whirlwind and asks, “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.” (Job 38:1-3)

In the midst of our personal suffering we may talk a lot to our family and friends, without spending much time talking with God about our situation.

I sent more texts to family and friends during the days of Hurricane Harvey than I have at any other time. (I am not a proficient texter as those who receive my texts can attest.) Sissy also served as a contact person dispensing updates on our situation.

Along with communicating with others, I stayed in constant communication with God. As Job showed us, that is key is it not?

Our lives and wellbeing are ultimately in the hands of an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator God who spoke the world into being, laid the foundations of the earth, told the sea it can only go THIS far, and controls the wind, rain and lightning.

Friends are good to bounce things off and listen to their counsel, but in the end it is better to spend more time listening to God than discussing the hows and whys of things that are beyond our comprehension and control, don’t you think?

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“Who shut up the sea with doors, when it rushed out from its secret place? I made clouds its clothing, and put much darkness around it. I marked the places where it could not pass, and set locks and doors. And I said, ‘You will come this far, and no farther. Here will your proud waves stop.” Job 38:8-11 (NLV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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