Storm Clouds Forming

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

June 1 is the official first day of hurricane season. As I write this on June 21, 2017, Tropical Storm Cindy is heading toward the Texas coast. Storm clouds forming in the Gulf of Mexico threaten. The news reports warn listeners to be ready. Be prepared. Take action. Don’t be caught unaware. Foreboding images of past hurricanes flash across the television screen.

The wind chime at our back door sways with the ever increasing breeze.

Storm clouds forming off to the southeast draw closer. The rains are predicted to hit later this evening into tomorrow. Road flooding is possible. As is wind damage.

Some folks take the warnings lightly and ignore them. Others take the warnings seriously and prepare.

As I pondered the coming storm, my thoughts turned to Jesus and the warning he gave the Pharisees and Sadducees who tested him, and tried to trip him up without success.

These religious rulers knew how to tell the weather by the changes in the sky, yet they refused to acknowledge Jesus as God’s son when he stood right in front of them.

They refused to acknowledge their need for a Savior.

They refused to acknowledge God’s judgement was sure.

They refused to acknowledge God’s storm clouds were forming.

These warnings hold true for each of us today, as surely as they did all those years ago.

There are storm clouds forming on the horizon. We need to be prepared. Get ready. Don’t delay. The time is coming when it will be too late for preparation. Jesus’ return is certain. Just as he told the Pharisees and Sadducees, the time to prepare is now.

Just as with preparing for a tropical storm … some folks take the warnings lightly and ignore them. Others take the warnings seriously and prepare.

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Jesus answered, “At sunset you say we will have good weather, because the sky is red.  And in the morning you say that it will be a rainy day, because the sky is dark and red. You see these signs in the sky and know what they mean. In the same way, you see the things that I am doing now, but you don’t know their meaning. Matthew 16:2-3 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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New Jerusalem

Recently, one of my dear friends and I were discussing a subject that often weaves its way into our conversations. Heaven.

Like many other folk, Girlfriend and I both deal with significant health concerns. We know we aren’t exceptions. So, maybe because of our health difficulties, there are days when we think of our true home. The home we long for. The home Jesus is preparing for us.

I don’t want to get too comfortable here on this planet. I don’t want to think of this as being the best there is, because it isn’t. I don’t want to “lay up for myself treasures that moth and rust will destroy, and thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19) I want to long for home.

In this video of Caledonia, Dougie MacLean speaks of the love he has for his homeland, Scotland.

Let me tell you that I love you, that I think about you all the time…But if I should become a stranger you know that it would make me more than sad…

Oh, that our hearts should long for heaven in such a way, and we would speak as lovingly about it.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth disappeared, and the sea vanished. And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared and ready, like a bride dressed to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne: “Now God’s home is with people! He will live with them, and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.” Revelation 21:1-4

Are you looking forward to being “home”?

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Holiday Gatherings

Ahhh, Christmas. The Norman Rockwell pictures of loving families, beautifully decorated homes, where laughter, and gaiety abound. Is that a picture of your family gatherings?

Or is your family more like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, or Robert Earl Keen’s song, Merry Christmas From the Family?

Photo courtesy Wikimedia

Would it be accurate to say there were one or two in the crowd, who either carry a

Photo courtesy Wikimedia

decades-old grudge, they make sure everyone knows about – again, or who believes it is their responsibility to point out others’ short-comings and flaws, in case anyone forgot?

Maybe there are unmet expectations. Unintentionally hurt feelings. Losses. Squabbling relatives. Sullen teens. Painful scars. Secrets. Denial. Resentment.

Sometimes, getting together with family and friends, can be a trying time. Don’t you think?

In Romans 12:18 the apostle Paul said, “As much as is possible, live peaceably with all men.”

Do you think Paul meant for us to do that even during holiday get togethers, when stress is at an all time high?

Probably.

Maybe, Paul meant especially during those times.

So what should we do? A friend of mine suggests we all, “Get over yourself.”

Here’s what Paul said.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14.

Forgive as the LORD forgave you, and put on his love.

Wow.

There is a line in Dougie MacLean’s song, We’ll Be Together Again, that I absolutely love. I  need it engraved on my heart.

…and the venom stays asleep in the tooth of the snake, and we don’t hold against us the mistakes that we made, we’ll be together again.

How many times has the venom left the snake’s tooth, and spewed, unchecked? Past mistakes brought up, and played over and over again; ad nauseaum? What keeps us from being together again?

In as much as it depends on you.

In this video, Jill Phillips, sings Andrew Peterson’s song, Labor of Love, while her husband, Andy Gullahorn, plays the guitar. God’s gift of the Redeemer, and Christ’s sacrifice, continues to be a labor of love.

There were no mid-wives to be found, on the streets of David’s town, in the middle of the night.

May your holiday gatherings be filled with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, forgiveness, and patience. And may all venom be kept in the tooth of the snake.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Ready for the Storm

Welp, looks like Tropical Storm Isaac is headed west. Could be a hurricane by the time it gets near.  Pilot, Pie, Explorer, the pups, and I have evacuated twice, due to hurricanes. In 2005 it was Hurricane Rita, just weeks after Katrina. I honestly believed Pilot and I would die in that storm. We were stuck in the horde of traffic, on the evacuation route, for 40 hours. 40 hours. Fortunately, we arrived to the safety of a dear friend’s home, just before the hurricane passed over us.

In 2008, our evacuation was compliments of Hurricane Ike. There is nothing more comforting than watching CNN from a hotel room, and hearing the anchor say something like, “We are in

one of the neighborhoods that received the worst damage…”. You recognize your neighbors front yard, then see the camera pan past your home. It’s still standing! Limbs are down, but the trees in the front didn’t go through the roof.

Yea, God!

So now, we prepare for Isaac. Just in case it veers further west than the current models show. Not likely, but possible.

We’ll go to the store and stock up on essentials. Buy extra bottled water, more batteries. Put gas in the cars…

Going through the preparation drill reminded me of Dougie MacLean‘s song, Ready for the Storm, which Rich Mullins recorded.

Storms in our lives can be major sources of fear and dread. We know what can happen. We’ve experienced their impact.  Their destruction. Their pain.

Storms of nature. Storms of life. We need to be prepared. When we find little to hold onto, we know we can hold onto the hand of the one who loves us. Once we do, we realize we needn’t be frightened.

We’re ready for the storm.

Rich Mullins singing Dougie MacLean’s song, Ready for the Storm.  

Dougie MacLean singing Ready for the Storm.  

I wish you well.

Sandy

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