Clearer Vision

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Two weeks ago I had surgery to remove a cataract from my right eye. Today surgery on my left eye is scheduled. As with all cataracts, mine built up over the years, clouded my vision, and kept me from seeing things clearly.

The day after the removal of the first cataract, I visited my optometrist for my follow-up appointment. My doctor told me everything looked excellent. Yay, God!

Walking around with clearer vision in my eye got me thinking about what it takes to walk around with clearer vision in my heart.

In the same way I needed to have the clouded lens removed to see through my eye more clearly, we need Jesus to remove the clouded heart-lens we look through so we can see things through his eyes more clearly.

As with my cataracts, our clouded heart-vision doesn’t develop overnight. It takes years to harden our hearts to look at things in distorted ways God never intended. It takes years to allow prejudice and hurt to build up and blind us to the truth; God loves everyone. No exceptions.

Having clearer heart-vision means allowing Jesus to take his laser, or scalpel, to the opaque lens that covers our hearts, ridding us of unhealthy habits, and letting us see his plan for our lives with better focus.

Because of my astigmatism, I’ll still need glasses. And I’m okay with that.

The way I see it, (no pun intended) continuing to need glasses keeps me dependent on something outside myself to have clearer vision.

Just as being dependent on Jesus clears up my heart-vision.

What do you do to keep your heart dependent on Jesus for clearer vision?

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For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)

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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High As The Heavens Book Review

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

High as the Heavens, Kate Breslin’s latest book, takes place in German occupied Brussels during World War I. The main character, Eve Marche, leads a double life. Between her duties as a British Red Cross nurse and her work at her aunt and uncle’s cafe, Eve manages to provide intelligence to the Belgian underground resistance group, Le Dame Blanche. There are many twists and turns in High as the Heavens that keep you guessing as the plot unfolds.

Among Eve’s many secrets is the deadly secret that haunts her days and puts a barrier between herself and God’s free gift of grace.

I appreciated all the fascinating well-researched details Breslin populated High as the Heavens with which brought the time period to life, and added authenticity to her story.

For me, though, there were far too many characters to keep track of. I also found the frequent switch from present day 1917 to “three years earlier” in the beginning of the book rather distracting.

With that said, I would recommend High as the Heavens to all those who enjoy reading historical fiction with a touch of romance.

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

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. 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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Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

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Remember, Not All the Heroes Come Home

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Towards the end of the Viet Nam war, I was in high school and worked part-time in the Navy Exchange store at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, outside Washington, D.C. You might not think of a hospital as a place full of heroes, but let me tell you, NNMC was.

Throughout the time I worked during the war, the thump-thump-thump of rotary blades atop approaching military hospital transports was a sound I heard on a regular basis. Incoming.

By the time the helicopter landed on the heli-pad, several of us had run outside to stand on the pad’s perimeter; our silent presence welcoming the wounded to the hospital.

We watched doctors and nurses hustle gurneys to the helicopter, load the wounded, and rush them inside.

I seriously doubt those wounded warriors knew anyone cared enough to be present when they arrived, praying for them, thanking them, appreciating their sacrifice.

To those of us keeping vigil, it didn’t matter if the soldiers knew we were there, or not. For me what mattered was the fact I made the effort to show my appreciation for their sacrifice.

Among other things available to military personnel and their dependents, of which I was one thanks to my father’s military service, the Medical Center housed a theater where for twenty-five cents you could watch some really awful movies. What a deal. Definitely not first-run, that’s for sure. Nevertheless, that didn’t keep Sissy, my girlfriends, and me from showing up.

To get to the theater we walked the hospital corridors. I’m sure you’ve walked through a hospital, so you get the idea, but these corridors were filled with wounded personnel on stretchers, in wheelchairs, or walking the halls; bandaged from one part of their body to the next, making their way to the theater.

These men paid a heavy price for the freedom I enjoyed.

That included the freedom to walk down the same corridors they walked to watch really awful movies for twenty-five cents.

It also included the freedom to walk back down those same corridors and out that hospital at the end of the movie while they made their way back to hospital rooms that became their new normal.

In this country we have days set aside to remember the sacrifices our military and their families made so we can enjoy our hamburgers, watermelon, and pool parties.

Sometimes we might pause and remember those service personnel, or maybe even say, “thank you” on those set-aside holidays. But what if we made it a habit to remember, honor, pray for, and thank our military every day, realizing not all the heroes come home?

On this July 4th, Independence Day here in the States, will you join me in honoring those who give their all, so the rest of us don’t have to?

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When your people go out to fight their enemies along some road on which you send them, your people will pray to you, facing this city which you have chosen and the Temple I have built for you. Then hear in heaven their prayers, and do what is right. 2 Chronicles 6:34-35 (NCV)

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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