Faith and Hope in Jesus

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Years ago when I first heard Andrew Peterson’s song, “No More Faith”, it puzzled me.

Aren’t we supposed to walk by faith, not by sight? Isn’t faith the assurance we have that something we want is going to happen? The certainty what we hope for is waiting for us? Didn’t Jesus comment numerous times about people’s great faith, or lack of?

So what’s the deal with a song called no more faith? Faith is what sustains us and gets us through the difficulties of this world, is it not?

And what about hope? When our hearts are plunged into the depths of despair, don’t we cling to hope like a life preserver?

Job declared that even if God slay him, still he would have hope. David declared we are to put our hope in God, and said our hope comes from God.

Well. It’s taken me awhile, but I think I understand what Andrew meant. Maybe. A little.

There is going to come a time, Revelation tells us, when we will see Jesus face to face. At that time, we won’t need anymore faith. Anymore hope. Why? Because in heaven what we were confident would happen; what we hoped, for has come to pass. Those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior will stand in his presence, bathed in his glorious love.

And the greatest of these is love. A never ending, everlasting, all encompassing love that can only come from the Father and his Son.

All despair will be removed. There will be no need to have faith or hope that things will get better, because in heaven everything will be perfect.

When we reach heaven, Christ’s love will prove he has wiped away every tear, every heartache, and every disease.

Glory hallelujah!

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What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. Hebrews 11:1 (TLB)

 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24-25 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Keeping Our Eyes on the Pillar of Fire

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

During their forty years of wandering through the wilderness after they left Egypt, God provided the Israelites with a pillar of fire at night and a pillar of cloud by day to guide them. When the pillar rested over a place, the Isrealites rested. When the pillar moved, the Israelites moved. These pillars assured the people God remained with them.

God did not take the Israelites the quickest route. He took them the long way home. His timing. His route. His pace.

I was reminded of this truth recently, once again, in regards to my quest to have my books published. While I may not see a physical pillar of fire, or a pillar of cloud, God is still with me on this journey. That fact right there should be enough to comfort me, but sometimes I choose not to see this journey that way, and I need God’s gentle reminder this is his timing. His route. His pace.

My assignment, should I choose to accept it, is to keep my eyes on the pillar of fire and pillar of cloud, and follow where God’s pillars lead.

It doesn’t matter whether I understand or not.

More times than not, I don’t understand. But that’s okay, because God is still the one controlling the pillars.

Any pillars of fire or pillars of clouds God is setting before you?

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During the day the Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud to show them the way, and during the night he went in front of them in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel night and day. The pillar of cloud was always in front of the people during the day, and the pillar of fire at night. Exodus 13:21-22 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God Sees Our Struggles

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Oftentimes, when we think of Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, we think of his wife, Rachel. Not his first wife, Leah.

When reading their story in Genesis 29 and 30 it would be difficult not to feel sorry, even if only a little bit, for Leah. The unloved wife. It wasn’t her fault the way things turned out.

Jacob didn’t keep it a secret his true love was Leah’s sister. Rachel didn’t keep it a secret the only reason her husband married Leah was because he was duped by their father, Laban.

Leah knew where she stood. She wasn’t stupid.

When she conceived and gave birth to courtesy pixabayher first child, Reuben, she said, “It is because the LORD has seen my misery.”

When she gave birth to her second son, she said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.”

And so it continued.

In our lives there may be people who don’t hide the fact they love one sibling over the other. One parent over the other. One child over the other. One best friend over the other …

It may even be that we’re our own worst enemy.

We doubt we are loved.

We doubt we are worthy.

We doubt we are capable.

But that’s not how God sees us.

God knows us better than anyone else ever could and he loves us even still.

So we need to quit beating ourselves up and hold to the truth. We are God’s beloved.

courtesy pixabayGod sees our situation and he cares for us just as he saw Leah’s situation and cared for her. Despite how others treat us, God is able to bless us beyond measure.

Others do not define us. God does.

We remember Rachel gave birth to two sons; Joseph and Benjamin. But her sons were not in Jesus’ lineage.

Nope.

The Messiah came from the tribe of Leah’s fourth son, Judah.

God truly did bless Leah, wouldn’t you say?

When you think of the story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah, what jumps out at you? Have you ever felt sad for the unloved wife?

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So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years. When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. Genesis 29:30-31 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Prepare to Stop

pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

A road I travel frequently has a speed limit of 55 mph which means even though I’m probably driving 60, I get passed by folks as if I’m standing still.

A stop light on this road sits at the intersection of a heavily traveled road with a speed limit of 50 mph, which most folks also ignore.

When drivers approach the stop light from any direction, they will notice a sign with a light attached and the warning, Prepare to Stop When Flashing.

Perhaps you’ve seen a similar sign?

If the light at the intersection is about to turn from green to red the sign flashes out the warning to slow down and prepare to stop. This gives drivers time to decelerate and avoid any potential accidents.

That sign doesn’t flash all the time. Only when it needs to get passerby’s attention.

Every time I see that warning sign I consider the warning signs God places in our paths. His signs don’t flash out at us all the time, either. They only flash when we’re in danger and God wants to get our attention.

Those signs tell us to slow down. Take our foot off the gas pedal. Pay attention. Stick to pixabaythe correct path.

Don’t go down that road. It’s dangerous. Remember what you’ve been taught. Don’t fall into the trap of following the crowd.

You’re being reckless. What in the world are you thinking?

Oftentimes we exceed the recommended speed limit for our lives and ignore prudent thought and decision making. We plunge headfirst onto the path we choose without pausing to consider the path God lays out before us.

We know what the right thing to do is, but don’t do it.

The purpose for the flashing light on the sign that sits near my home is to avoid accidents and save peoples’ lives.

God’s flashing warning lights serve the very same purpose…to avoid accidents and save peoples’ lives.

pixabayGod’s warnings are written in his Holy Word.

We can ignore them and hope for the best, like some drivers do when they run through a red light, or we can pay attention to the warnings, listen to the godly counsel of others, read our Bible, and pray for guidance.

The choice it totally up to us.

Be smart, or not.

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.

This is what the LORD says:

Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.”

But you reply, “No, that’s not the road we want!”

Therefore, this is what the LORD says:

“I will put obstacles in my people’s path. Fathers and sons will both fall over them. Neighbors and friends will die together.” Jeremiah 6:16, 21 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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King of Kings

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

When I was in second grade Sissy, our brother, Butter, and I went to a Saturday matinee. Unlike most movies I attended with Sissy during my elementary school years, this movie was not an Elvis Presley movie. Yea!

This movie depicted the life of Jesus. The title was King of Kings. Jeffrey Hunter portrayed Christ. Harry Guardino portrayed Barabbas. The scene in the movie where the people cried for the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus is seared into my memory. It didn’t matter how fine an actor Guardino was in the years after, I never particularly cared for him. He did that good a job presenting Barabbas.

During Christ’s interrogation before Pilate, Pilate had a choice.

Release an innocent man in exchange for a convicted criminal, or cave into the demands of the religious leaders, have Christ crucified and set Barabbas free.

Pilate had the power and authority to make the decision to release Jesus, but he decided to grant the demands of the shouting crowds.

An innocent man died in the place of a criminal.

We might look at the scripture that recounts these details and think, “That isn’t fair. Barabbas broke the law. Everyone knew it. He deserved to die. Jesus was innocent. Sinless. He did nothing worthy of the punishment he received.”

That’s the way my brain reasoned when I listened to the crowds in the movie chant for Barabbas to be released. I remember crying because Pilate didn’t make the right choice. He should have released Jesus. He shouldn’t have released Barabbas.

I wanted Jesus to live. I wanted Barabbas to be punished.

But you know what? It could just as easily have been my name that was called out to be released. Or your name.

Because, really, isn’t that what happened?

You and I have broken God’s law. We know it. Jesus knows it. We deserve to die. We deserve to be punished.

Instead, Jesus died in our place. He took our sins upon his perfect, sinless self and paid the penalty for the debt we owed, but could never pay.

We are the prisoners, the law-breakers who should have died. Instead, we were shown God’s great mercy.

Don’t you want to thank him for that great gift?

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Then Pilate summoned the chief priests, the officials and the people and addressed them in these words. “You have brought this man to me as a mischief-maker among the people, and I want you to realise that, after examining him in your presence, I have found nothing criminal about him, in spite of all your accusations. And neither has Herod, for he has sent him back to us. Obviously, then, he has done nothing to deserve the death penalty. I propose, therefore, to teach him a sharp lesson and let him go.”

But they all yelled as one man, “Take this man away! We want Barabbas set free!” (Barabbas was a man who had been put in prison for causing a riot in the city and for murder.) But Pilate wanted to set Jesus free and he called out to them again, but they shouted back at him, “Crucify, crucify him!”

Then he spoke to them, for a third time, “What is his crime, then? I have found nothing in him that deserves execution; I am going to teach him a lesson and let him go.”

But they shouted him down, yelling their demand that he should be crucified.

Their shouting won the day, and Pilate pronounced the official decision that their request should be granted. He released the man for whom they asked, the man who had been imprisoned for rioting and murder, and surrendered Jesus to their demands. Luke 23:13-25 (Phillips)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Birthday Candles

bingby Sandy Kirby Quandt

My son, Pie, has a milestone birthday coming up. Do you think I should get him a tombstone cake like he got me on one of my big birthdays?

Seems like only days ago, okay, maybe a couple of years ago, I hovered over his crib and couldn’t believe I had actually given birth to a real live human being.

Only God could make that happen.

Thinking about those early days, middle years, teen years, and adult years made me realize several things. Some of which I’ll share here.

bingAlthough parents believe no one could possibly love their children more than they do, that’s not true, you know. God loves our children more than we ever will. And he loves us more than our parents ever could.

While parents are imperfect beings who mess up over and over, God is the perfect parent. He disciplines and restores in his perfect timing. His love knows no bounds.

Children aren’t “Mini Mes” and that’s a good thing. The goal should be to point children to Jesus. He is the one they are to model their lives after.

While we hold our child’s hand through the ups and downs of life, there are some bingboo-boos we can’t kiss and make better no matter how hard we try. That’s when Jesus steps in, wraps his arms around them, and refuses to let go.

Aren’t we glad it isn’t all up to us?

Any parenting words of wisdom you’d care to share, either from your days as a child or a parent?

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.

The Lord made an agreement with Jacob and gave the teachings to Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children. Then their children would know them, even their children not yet born. And they would tell their children. So they would all trust God and would not forget what he had done but would obey his commands. Psalm 78:5-7 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Right now I’m in the process of preparing several pieces of writing for submissions to contests and conferences. One of the things I’m preparing is a proposal for a devotional book based on my blog posts.

Will you help?

If any of my posts have resonated with you in a positive way, helped you see something in binga new light, encouraged, or helped, other than the yummy recipes :), would you tell me? I’d like to know your favorites so they can be considered for inclusion in my book proposal.

One way to let me know your choices – tell me as many as you’d like – is to put them in the comment section. If you’d rather not have the whole world see what you picked, you can send the titles to me through the Contact Me tab at the top of the page.

Thanks so much for your help with this. I’m looking forward to reading your messages!