Sunday Scriptures — Unsin Me

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

While preparing to lead a lesson on David’s penitential Psalm 51 this month, I read a commentator who said “purify” was the same as “unsin”. Isn’t that interesting?

Psalm 51 is David’s petition to God for forgiveness after the prophet Nathan confronted David about his adultery with Bathsheba, and murder of her husband, Uriah. In this psalm David admits his guilt, and asks for God’s forgiveness. He pleads for the restoration of his relationship with God.

David pleads with God based on knowledge of who God is.

God is gracious, loving and compassionate. David understood God is our only hope. He understood we can go before God and confess our sins, knowing God will not hurt us despite our sin.

In this psalm David didn’t rationalize his sins as we might. He did not blame others for his actions. He made no excuses. He owned his sin and bowed before God in humility, begging for God’s forgiveness.

When David asked God to purify, or unsin him, he asked for God to take David’s sin away. Cleanse him through the sacrificial blood. Blot out his guilt as if no sin occurred. David asked God to return him to fellowship with God, and change his heart and life.

Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and shed blood paid the debt we owe for our sins. Still, God wants to see evidence of sorrow and brokenness over our sins from those who claim him as Lord. It is only through repentance of our sins we can have a restored relationship with God, and that restoration allows us to be useful to him once more.

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God, be merciful to me because you are loving. Because you are always ready to be merciful, wipe out all my wrongs. Wash away all my guilt and make me clean again. Psalm 51:1-2 (NCV)
 I wish you well.

Sandy

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Does Shunning Work?

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Baxter attended only one puppy obedience class before the canine influenza hit our area, eliminating all gatherings of dogs from his schedule for four weeks until his body builds up immunity from his flu shots.

At the one class he did attend, Pilot and I were taught to handle Baxter’s jumping on us by crossing our arms and turning from him. Pie calls it Amish Shunning, which is a pretty good description of the position. The puppy trainer said Baxter would automatically know not to jump up, and would sit when we turned.

Yeah. Well. I have scratches and bruises on the back of my legs to prove shunning doesn’t work.

Instead of jumping on the front of me, the turn and shun move lets Baby B jump on the back of me.

Obviously, there is a disconnect somewhere. And I think I might know part of the problem.

In Amish Shunning, we turn from Baxter and refuse to give him attention, but in the process, we expect him to figure out what his correct behavior should be without actually showing him what it should be.

He’s a puppy for goodness sake. How’s he supposed to know what humans expect from him unless that proper behavior is demonstrated?

All this shunning led me to think about how new Believers are sometimes treated by long-time Christians. Often, long-timers expect new Christians – puppies – to know what the proper way to behave is, and we do the Amish Shunning-thing by crossing our arms over our chest, and turning away from them when they don’t behave as we expect.

In the process we leave it up to them to figure out how they should live.

courtesy pixabayJesus didn’t do that. He stepped right into a person’s messiness, loved them, and lovingly explained how they should live.

He didn’t shun the woman at the well. He purposefully met her where she was and had a two-way conversation that showed her a better way to live.

Jesus did not condemn the woman the Pharisees brought before him to be stoned. He showed compassion, mercy, and grace – ah, yes, grace. Then he told the woman to go and sin no more.

When Simon huffed about a certain woman anointing Jesus’ feet with oil, Jesus told a story to illustrate which of the two did what pleased God.

Pilot and I continue working with Baxter to help him learn what is acceptable behavior in the Quandt household, and what is frowned upon. He’s a smart puppy. He’ll figure it out, but we don’t believe shunning will be the most productive way to reach that goal.

Just as Baby B needs to be shown what is acceptable in a loving way, so do those of us who strive to follow Jesus.

It’s a life-long process, so how about we all agree … no Amish Shunning?

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 You will say, “How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings! Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors? Proverbs 5:12-13 (NLT)
 I wish you well.

Sandy

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Electricity and Jesus

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

When life is difficult, it might help us to think about electricity and Jesus.

Crazy, huh? Let me explain …

Seems everywhere I’ve lived as an adult there have been storms of one kind or the other that threatened the reliability of the flow of electricity into my house.

When we moved to the Texas Gulf Coast from Florida at the height of hurricane season, one of the first things I did was place candles and matches easily accessible in every room. I put flashlights next to each bed because that is what I needed to do in Florida.

I wanted to have the security of a light within easy reach for those unexpected times of darkness when the electricity was interrupted.

I don’t understand how electricity works. All I know is when I flip the light switch, the light comes on. I expect the light to go on whether or not I see all the wires and turbines that create it.

I believe the electricity will work. I put my trust in the fact the electricity will work.

courtesy pixabayJust as we trust electricity to light the way when we can’t see it, shouldn’t we also trust Jesus to light our way even though we can’t see him?

When the power goes out in our life and the darkness of our troubling situations seem to surround us, isn’t it comforting to have the security of the Light of the World within easy reach for those unexpected times of despair?

Our hope rests in the power of Jesus through his Holy Spirit. He is the one who gives us the peace and the light to endure. He is our hope, our candle in the dark. Even the worst of storms cannot interrupt the flow of Jesus’ power to us.

Might I suggest we flip the switch on, and never turn it off?

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May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in your faith, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope. Romans 15:13 (Phillips)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures – Friends

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

While I do believe there are random encounters in our lives, I also believe God places specific people — friends — in our lives either for us to be enriched from the relationship, or for them to be enriched through us.

With that thought in mind, I have a suggestion for us today. Let’s look back and consider those who have loved, cared for, taught, discipled, encouraged, or mentored us, and thank God for them.

Paper and pencil ready? Then, let’s go.

Who comes to mind first? Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, spouses?

What about ministers, youth leaders, Sunday school teachers, any other person whether in an official, or unofficial capacity who helped further our Biblical knowledge and understanding?

Are there friends we’d add to the list? Co-workers? I sure hope so.

Teachers? There’d better be one or two on the list.

Our list will consist of those who helped shape and mold us into the people we are today. Of course, each of us knows life is not a bowl full of jello, despite what Knucklehead Nellie sang in South Pacific, and there have been toxic people in our lives, as well. But we’re not going to think about them today.

Nope. Today is for thanking God for those positive people in our lives who helped make us better than we were before we met them. Today is also a time to reflect and consider whether our name will show up on the positive side of anyone’s list. Hmmm.

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As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause For Poetry — Believing is a Must

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Welcome to Pause for Poetry featuring a poem written by my writer-friend, Frances Gregory Pasch.

Believing is a Must

by Frances Gregory Pasch

Before I knew you, Jesus,

I would worry and I’d fret.

Each time bad news came my way,

I’d really get upset.

Now I try to analyze

The news that I receive;

I look beyond the surface

So I will not be deceived.

I have learned, dear Jesus,

At times I must bear pain.

I also know it won’t be long

Before you will explain.

I’m learning to accept what comes…

In You, alone, I trust,

For if I’m to be faithful…

Believing is a must!

Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published hundreds of times in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Her book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry is available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991 and makes her own holiday greeting cards incorporating her poetry. She and her husband, Jim, have been married since 1958. They have five sons and nine grandchildren. Contact her at www.francesgregorypasch.com.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Love One Another As I Have Loved You

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Love, love, love, love, the Gospel in a word is love. Love thy neighbor as thy brother. Love. Love. Love. Those are the words to a chorus we sang when I was at Indian Lake Christian Service Camp during senior high school. Perhaps you sang it, too? Whether those words come to mind from a song, or from the written Word of God, they are words we need to hold onto, live out, and never abandon, don’t you agree?

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35 (NKJV)

“You should love the Eternal, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”  The second great commandment is this: “Love others in the same way you love yourself.” There are no commandments more important than these. Mark 12:30-31 (VOICE)

Love does no wrong to anyone. That’s why it fully satisfies all of God’s requirements. It is the only law you need. Romans 13:10 (TLB)

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Hebrews 13:1 (NLT)

So. How are we doing in loving others as Christ loves us?

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I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains—but if I have no love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned—but if I have no love, this does me no good.

Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.

 Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge, but it will pass. For our gifts of knowledge and of inspired messages are only partial; but when what is perfect comes, then what is partial will disappear.

When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am an adult, I have no more use for childish ways. What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete—as complete as God’s knowledge of me.

Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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