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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End of the Year Reflection

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

The end of the year is a time for reflection. Reflection on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are headed. While none of us can say with any degree of certainty what 2017 will bring, we can say with all certainty God is still on his throne. He is in control. Everything and everyone is under him. Nothing happens God did not plan or permit. He is Sovereign. He is God and we are not.

In cleaning up my home office and going through old papers, I discovered several beautiful quotes from poet Maya Angelou I would like to share as we close out 2016.

courtesy pixabay

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.”

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”

“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.”

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”

“When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”

“I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.”

“I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.”

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back.”

“Living well is an art that can be developed: a love of life and ability to take great pleasure from small offerings and assurance that the world owes you nothing and that every gift is exactly that, a gift.”

“While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s creation.”

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.”

“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”

courtesy pixabay

Which of Maya Angelou’s quotes resonates with you the most?

Happy New Year, and may 2017 be your best year, yet.

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Shall I look to the mountain gods for help? No! My help is from Jehovah who made the mountains! And the heavens too! He will never let me stumble, slip, or fall. For he is always watching, never sleeping. Jehovah himself is caring for you! He is your defender. Psalm 121:1-5 (TLB)

I wish you well,

Sandy

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Lest We Forget the True Reason for Christmas

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

December 1. Where did the year go? December 1 and Christmas is twenty-four days away. Before we get caught up in the bustle, stress and busyness that is often associated with this season, let’s make sure we pause, take a deep deep breath, and remember why we celebrate, lest we forget the true reason for Christmas.

Our story goes all the way back to the third chapter of the first book of the Bible, Genesis. God created man. Man sinned. God and man’s fellowship was broken. God sent a Redeemer, Jesus, to make us right with God again. When we accept Christ’s sacrifice and claim him as our Savior, our fellowship with God is restored.

God is Holy. He can’t be in the presence of sin. Our sin separates us from God. Christ’s sacrifice bridges the chasm between us and God. That sacrifice makes us acceptable to a Holy God. Our sins are forgiven, Glory Hallelujah!

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I believe it is easier for us to envision a helpless cuddly baby coming into our world and feeling all warm and fuzzy over that thought, than it is to face the reality of a Suffering Savior nailed to a wooden cross, and acknowledge he took the punishment for a debt we owed, but could never pay.

Lest we forget the true reason for Christmas while we deck the halls with boughs of holly, sing jingle bells, shop ’til we drop, and bake like maniacs, please, let’s remember Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for each of us. And give thanks for the gift of forgiveness.

What do you do to remember the true reason for Christmas?

Courtesy pixabay

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Yet it was our grief he bore, our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, for his own sins! But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed! We—every one of us—have strayed away like sheep! We, who left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet God laid on him the guilt and sins of every one of us! Isaiah 53:4-6 (TLB)

I wish you well,

Sandy

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When Satan Interferes

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

In August I learned I won an award from Writer’s Digest. Yes. Yes, I did. While I might have felt like Ralphie’s father in The Christmas Story, and wanted to exclaim to Pilot, “It’s a major award”, I restrained myself, and thanked God for giving me the words to write that found favor with a judge, and also that my prize was not an, um, interesting lamp.  😉

Unexpectedly this morning a winner’s badge graphic for the award arrived in my email inbox for me to add to my blog. Well. I would love to do that, but I can’t figure out how, so I’ve enlisted help from Pilot and Pie. Hopefully, they’ll figure it out so you can see the winner’s badge for yourself some day.

Enough of that … now to the real reason for this post.

After I read the email from Writer’s Digest, I decided to attempt to put the badge on my blog. Only. My website courtesy pixabaywould not load. At. All. Nothing.

After several attempts, I decided not to allow Satan to steal my joy and frustrate me. So I shut down my computer, took out the ironing board, grabbed the clothes that needed ironing, and played Crowder’s CD, Neon Steeple.

Let the good times roll, I’m telling you.

There is no way I can listen to that CD and not sing, jump around, and praise God. Nope. There surely isn’t. (I’ve posted several Crowder videos here, here, and here if you’re interested in listening.) And as we know, when we get our worship on, Satan has to flee. Sometime while I ironed and listened to the CD, my website came back. 🙂 Imagine that.

The last song on Neon Steeple is, “Here’s My Heart”. A quieter song than most Crowder songs full of truth. “Here’s My Heart” is the song I’m posting for you today.

courtesy pixabayWhen we go to God, surrender to him, listen to him, and let his truth sink deep within, then the father of all lies, Satan, has nothing to say.

God’s truth tells us we are his. We are free. He is True. He endures. He is more than enough. He is here with us.God loves us. He is our hope and peace.

God is everything we need.

What do you do when Satan interferes with you?

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… he (God) will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his truth is a shield and protection. Psalms 91:4 (CJB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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