Your Servant is Listening

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In the book of 1 Samuel in the Old Testament we read the story of a woman who desperately cried out to God for a son. Samuel was the answer to Hannah’s pray. After he was weaned, she took him to the temple of the Lord, and left him in the care of Eli, the priest.

One night when Samuel was a young boy, he woke from his sleep to a voice calling his name. Thinking it was Eli, he went to him and asked what the priest needed, but Eli hadn’t called the boy. This happened three more times before Eli realized God was the one calling Samuel. He told Samuel to lie back down, and if he heard the voice again, to say, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”

In my February 25, 2018 Sunday Scriptures post I referenced Priscilla Shirer’s book, Awaken. 

Today, I’m going back to her book. This time to talk about listening to God’s voice when he speaks to us.

Priscilla told of being on a volleyball team where team members would shout, “I’ve got it!”, then both players stepped aside believing the other player had the play.

When neither stepped up to hit the ball, it dropped and the point was lost.

I’ve seen that happen in sports. Perhaps you have as well.

The point of Priscilla’s devotion, and mine, is to question whether we yell, “I’ve got it!” when presented with a ministry opportunity, only to step back and let the opportunity fall to the ground?

Though a boy, Samuel stepped up and answered God’s call. He was listening.

Priscilla’s final thoughts were these:

If the Father allows you to see a need, and He softens your heart to be tender toward it, this is your opportunity to engage. It’s your invitation to respond and join in His work.

Just as Samuel was willing to be a part of the plan God had for his life, and join in God’s work which included anointing David as king, don’t you think we should respond as Samuel did?

Speak, LORD for your servant is listening.

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Later, the Lord came and stood there, calling out, “Samuel! Samuel!” as he had before.

Samuel said, “Speak, because your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10 (ISV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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For His Own Sake

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Recently I read a verse in Isaiah which says God forgave us for his own sake, not ours.

That caught me off guard. Does it catch you off guard as well?

When I consider how my salvation was purchased at the cost of God’s son Jesus’ life to declare me forgiven, I don’t think of it being for God’s own sake, but for mine. I’m the one forgiven, after all.

But when I look closer at forgiveness, and the benefits we receive when we forgive, I see how forgiving others is for my sake, not theirs.

When we refuse to forgive the wrongs others do against us, we’re the ones who suffer. Not them.

They aren’t sitting around wringing their hands over what they’ve done to us. They’ve moved on.

When we forgive, we forgive for our own sake. It releases us from falling into Satan’s trap of bitterness. It keeps our hearts from becoming hardened. It allows us to love and trust again.

If we allow unforgiveness to define us, to become our mode of operandi, we’ll be miserable, don’t you think?

Unforgiveness can cut us off from opportunities for joy because we’ve closed ourselves off from potential hurt … and potential love.

Forgiveness is not easy. I know. That’s where God’s Holy Spirit comes in. He is the one who gives us the ability to say, “I forgive for my own sake.”

That is not saying the wrong done to us was right. It says we leave it in God’s hands.

God is the only one who can take away our sins. He is the only one who blots them out through the power of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross of Cavalry. God is the one who tells us we are forgiven, and remembers our sins no more.

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I, yes, I alone am he who blots away your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again. Isaiah 43:25 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Prepare for Battle

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

If you’ve seen the Last Jedi, perhaps you were impressed with the battle scene between Rey and Kylo Ren. I know I was.

Before the battle, we saw Rey practice, practice, practice. She didn’t just pick up a light saber one day and become an expert the next. Nope. She practiced. Practiced. Practiced. And before the light saber, she became proficient with her staff.

In any battle there is a back and forth. Attack. Block. Attack. Counter. Attack. Dodge. Attack. It all takes practice to prepare for battle.

In spiritual warfare, like Rey, if we want to fight and win the battle Satan wages to control our thoughts, we’ve got to practice. Practice. Practice.

We know Christ defeated Satan through his death and resurrection, but our defeated foe continues the battle to try and take as many of us to hell with him as he can.

There are many ways we can prepare for battle. While this list is not exhaustive, it offers some things we can do to prepare.

  • Daily Bible reading. Even a verse or two helps.
  • Read Christian Living books written by people grounded in God’s Word.
  • Read Devotional material either on-line, or in print. (Like Christian Devotions and Inspire a Fire. 🙂 )
  • Write our thoughts and prayers in a journal.
  • Pray.
  • Be involved in a Bible study either at our church, on-line, or in our community.
  • Participate in weekly church service.
  • Never stop growing in our knowledge of who God is.

As with any battle preparation, there are also things we need to avoid.

  • Stay away from toxic people either in person or through social media.
  • Be careful of what we allow into our mind through television, movies, magazines, and books.
  • Be mindful of how we spend our time.
  • When we feel our thoughts going down paths they have no business going down, pull them back and think on what is lovely, praiseworthy, noble, honorable, of good report …

Before Rey and Kylo Ren faced off, their thoughts were manipulated by the Dark Side Supreme Leader, Snoke, to the point neither really knew what was true.

Satan does that to us sometimes too, doesn’t he? Confusion reigns. That’s when we must hang onto God’s truth; and the best way to know his truth is practice, practice, practice.

Is it not?

May the TRUE force, the ONE who fought our battle on Calvary, sent the devil running, and won be with you.

How do you practice to win the battle?

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Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. Never say anything that isn’t true. Have nothing to do with lies and misleading words. Look straight ahead with honest confidence; don’t hang your head in shame … Avoid evil and walk straight ahead. Don’t go one step off the right way. Proverbs 4:23-27 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Keeping Our Focus

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Focus.

How many times do we start off doing one thing, and end up distracted, pulled away, unable to complete what we set out to do? If you’re like me, perhaps this happens more than once in your life.

Sometimes distractions can be a good thing, but often they are not. Distractions might pull us out of the doldrums and lead us on to something meaningful. They might also lead us away from something worthwhile to something useless.

Because Baxter has problems with inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, his trainer has identified him with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. ADHD. As an elementary school educator, I dealt with ADHD children, but never expected I’d have an ADHD dog, although it does make perfect sense.

Baxter tries to focus and follow commands. He really does, but like Pie told me when he was young, he only has so much good in him. Once it’s gone. It’s gone.

Several ways we’ve found to help Baxter is to redirect his attention to what he should be doing, give him a time-out where he can compose himself, regain control, and simply rest, or kneel beside him and stroke his head.

In the book of Nehemiah we read of the gigantic task Nehemiah began in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem after the city was destroyed by the Babylonians. He faced opposition, ridicule, planned attacks, calls for special meetings, espionage … numerous distractions all designed to keep him from completing the task the LORD placed on his heart to complete.

Still, Nehemiah was faithful. He kept his eyes and focus on God. He was committed to completing the work set before him. He didn’t let all those outside distractions stop him. It would appear Nehemiah did not have ADHD.

Sometimes when we are called to complete the work God’s given us to complete, we get distracted. We get pulled from the task. We lose our focus. Maybe we have a little ADHD going on. Maybe it’s Satan’s strong pull to keep us from the work God’s called us to. Who knows? Whatever the reason, our loss of focus allows the work to go unfinished.

At those times it may be wise to keep our eyes on Jesus, take a time-out, draw close to the One who has the power to keep us focused and allow him to comfort us. We need to go to God in prayer, compose ourselves, seek his clear direction in what to chase and what not to chase. Then we can ask him what distractions are from him, and which ones are not. After all that, we are able to simply rest in who he is, and who we are in him; his Beloved child who he loves with an everlasting love.

Do you have difficulty completing tasks you set out to complete? If so, how do you overcome that tendency?

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I sent messengers to say to them, “I am doing important work and can’t go down there. I am not going to let the work stop just to go and see you.” Nehemiah 6:3 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Our Hope is in Jesus

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

In studying the Israelite’s exodus from Egypt, I once again marveled at how God protected his people as the Egyptian army chased them to the Red Sea.

During our class discussion of Exodus chapter 4 we joked about the Charlton Heston movie, Ten Commandments.

We discussed the fact if the Israelites hadn’t broken camp when God told them to, courtesy pixabaytrusted God, and walked into the dry sea bed God provided after Moses held his staff over the sea and told them to get moving, they would not have reached the other side.

We talked about God’s provision for his people and the fact he went before them and came behind them to protect them from their enemies.

We agreed that just like us, the Israelites had to do their part before God did his. They had to swallow their fears and take that first step between the walls of water before they reached safety.

We mentioned the fact the Egyptians trusted in their military might and the large numbers of chariots they used to pursue the former slaves, but when the wheels of those mighty chariots caught in the mud and fell off, they realized too late, who they were up against. They cried out, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt.”

The Egyptians trusted in their chariots.

Those of us who belong to Jesus trust in him alone. All our hope is in Jesus.

He is the one who breaks the chains of slavery. He is the one who sets us free from our sins. He is the one who fights for us and brings the victory.

Where do you place your trust? In chariots or in the LORD?

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Some trust in chariots, others in horses, but we trust the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my posts is scheduled to appear on Inspire a Fire today, October 3, 2017. Please stop by and check it out.

An Ever-Present Help in Times of Trouble

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

After Hurricane Irma passed over the hotel where Sissy and Chief evacuated, they found God to be their ever-present help in times of trouble. Again. For you see, when they found Sissy’s car, they discovered a huge oak tree sitting on top of it.

BUT GOD …

While they stood there trying to figure out who to call to get the tree off the car, a National Guard Humvee pulled up to the hotel. Coincidence? Hardly.

Sissy, Chief, and the Guardsmen had a conversation, and then Sissy headed back to the hotel.

When I spoke with her on the phone as she stood outside the hotel she said, “Here comes my car!” It wasn’t being towed. Chief was driving Sissy’s dent-free, barely-scratched car toward her.

Amazingly, the three Guardsmen lifted the tree off the car while Chief slid in from the passenger side, over the console, and into the driver’s seat where he proceeded to drive the car out from under the tree.

Seems when the hurricane uprooted the tree, it landed over the car, but not directly on the car.

Apparently, a branch large enough to support the tree hit the parking lot and kept the tree from crashing down on the car and crushing it. And that, my friends, is a major yay, God. Is it not?

God is our hope. An ever-present help in times of trouble. It doesn’t matter what our trouble is, God is able to do exceedingly more than we could ever dream, hope, or imagine.

He is our Jehovah-nissi who covers us in the shelter of his hands and fights our battles for us. Now. And forever.

When have you witnessed God’s help in your times of trouble?

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God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 (NIV)

 

I wish you well.

Sandy

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