Jaded Book Review

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In Varina Denman’s debut novel, Jaded, she creates memorable characters in a small  town Texas setting readers care for. Characters who keep the reader turning pages until The End.

While this book is filed under romance, this isn’t your sweet, smooth-sailing read.

Through realistic dialog and honest struggles, Varina brings life to her characters. If you don’t see yourself somewhere in the story, you may find someone else among the pages who you do know.

The story begins with Ruthie Turner thinking back thirteen years to the day in church when her mother read the bulletin, grabbed Ruthie’s hand, and abruptly fled the building. Never to step foot inside again.

Gradually, the reader catches glimpses of the powerful man who led a congregation to shun Ruthie and her mother all these years. Without standing on a soap box, Varina shows the damage that can result from judging others, blind trust, and the refusal to forgive.

And the romance? Who wouldn’t root for Ruthie and Dodd to finally smooth out all the rough spots and declare their love for each other?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and doubt I will forget it any time soon.

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.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Disclosure: I received a free book for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I’ve given you.

A Man After God’s Own Heart

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Sheep. Sinner. Saved.

King David and I have several things in common. We both have been around sheep. I was the Queen of the Sheep Show in Rotorua, New Zealand, after all. We both are Jesse’s kin. My maternal grandfather’s name was Jesse. David and I both are sinners forgiven and saved by God’s undeserved mercy and grace. No further explanation necessary.

The more I study, the more I appreciate the record we have in the Bible of David’s life. We Bing imagesare given an honest look at the one who was called a man after God’s own heart. We are shown the good. The bad. And the ugly. The record of David’s life does not fill pages with his accomplishments, victories, psalms and leave out his shortcomings, deficits, sins. We are given the truth of who he was. A sinner saved by grace.

David didn’t set out to become a hero by slaying Goliath. He killed Goliath because the giant ridiculed Jehovah God. David did not seek the crown. God gave it to him. David did not believe himself above God’s justice. He repented of his sins and begged for the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy.

It seems David wanted to please God. It seems he was human and sometimes failed. It seems there were times when he messed up his life and the lives of others. It seems he had a lot in common with us.

Bing PhotosDavid believed in a God who was bigger than the sum of his sins. He believed in a God of redemption. He believed in a God of mercy and forgiveness.

Look through the Psalms David penned and you will see David believed during his highest highs and lowest lows, whatever his state in life, it didn’t matter much if his heart wasn’t right with God. He wanted to be the man God wanted him to be. He was a man who got back up when he fell.

David was a man who wanted a heart like God’s heart.

I want my heart to look like God’s heart, too, don’t you?

Leave your comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven! What joys when sins are covered over! What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record. There was a time when I wouldn’t admit what a sinner I was. But my dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration. All day and all night your hand was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water on a sunny day until I finally admitted all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, “I will confess them to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Psalm 32:1-5 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God Doesn’t Punish Us As We Deserve

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Our two-year-old German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix, Kirby, was a mess. Absolutely. She’d found a mud hole in the back yard, courtesy of the soaker hose with a pinhole leak. She was covered from muzzle to tail in mud. And she wanted in.

I let Kirby inside the laundry room and assessed the situation. She was filthy. Still … she was my dog and I loved her.

She looked repentant. She looked sorrowful. She looked at me as if she hoped I’d be merciful instead of treating her as she deserved. It was merely a momentarily lapse of good judgement on her part, I’m sure. Besides, I imagine her frolic in the oozy mud brought her pleasure on a hot summer day. Until she saw me, that is.

Although this scenario occurred years ago and Kirby has since died, I still smile when I think about it. And I reflect.

bing photosYou see, I’ve wallowed around in mud holes of my own. And I imagine so have you. You know, it’s a momentarily lapse of reasoning. We forget who we are. We forget whose we are. We forget we belong to a Holy God and are called to a life of righteousness.

Our mud romp seems enjoyable for the moment. Until we face our owner.

Then we realize we messed up. We are sorrowful. We are repentant. There is nothing we can do to clean ourselves of our mess on our own. So we fall on the mercy and grace of a God who does not treat us as our sins deserve. A God who does not repay us for our iniquities. A God who casts our sins from us as far as east is from the west.

We stand before a God who does not wait for us to get all the mud off before he will let us bing photosenter his presence. Our God takes out his garden hose and washes us clean through the power of the sacrificial blood of our Risen Savior. Jesus Christ our LORD, Messiah, Redeemer, King. The Lamb who was slain. By His wounds we are healed. Cleansed. Found not guilty.

Next time we face a tempting mud hole, I suggest we pray for the strength to walk around it. Quit lingering near it, and run as far away as possible.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Leave your comments below.

He (God) does not punish us as we deserve or repay us according to our sins and wrongs. As high as the sky is above the earth, so great is his love for those who honor him. As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us. As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honor him. Psalm 103:10-13 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Betrayal and Grace

National Archives and Records AdministrationEver been betrayed? If you’re a member of the human race, I would assume your answer to be, yes. While I’ve been betrayed multiple times before, this latest betrayal irks me. Especially since I had spoken specifically with said betrayer about the issue beforehand, and asked them not to mention it.

I’m sure if one studied the psychology of betrayal, there would be deep, profound reasons it exists. I’d imagine there would be an equal number of rather superficial reasons, as well. While this latest incidence is of little consequence, when compared with the grand scheme of things, and the devastating betrayals others have suffered, I’m irritated.

So, what to do about it? Pray. I pray for God to soften my heart towards this other person. I Bing Photospray for the other person. And I keep praying. Because I know I’m not at a place where I should be.

While I pray, I think about Jesus. I think about Judas. I think about the grace and forgiveness Jesus extended to the betrayer. And the grace and forgiveness He daily extends to me. I think about how Judas’ kiss must have stung Jesus, even though He knew it was coming.

As I pray, God whispers, This too, shall pass. I’ll get over this minor breach of trust. I’ll survive this annoyance. I have a choice. Move on, or stay stuck in irritation. I choose to move on.

Why? Because of grace. Unmerited favor. Something I do not deserve, but which God freely pours down on me, and you. Grace comes to us through the gift of God’s son, Jesus Christ. The Messiah who paid our debt on the cruel cross of Calvary. We’re called to be like Jesus, and that means we’re called to extend forgiveness and grace, even if we don’t feel like it. Especially when we don’t feel like it. Because greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world.

Anyone you need to extend grace and forgiveness to? Need grace and forgiveness extended to you? Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift, that makes it all possible.

Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13 (TLB)

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my devotions will appear on Christian Devotions May 5, 2014. Please stop by.

Do-Over

Bing ImagesI’ve sat through plenty of discussions on Adam and Eve, and the fall of the human race. The way I see it, if it hadn’t been Adam and Eve, it would have been someone else. We’re all sinners. The only one to walk this earth and not sin, was Jesus.

When we visited with my mom during one of her nursing home activities — Bible Trivia —Bing the question was asked…Who sinned in the Garden of Eden? Not missing a beat, Mom said, “Eve. Women get blamed for everything.”

She’s right. Eve did sin in the Garden. And she is blamed for it.

In The Story, the second song is “Good”. It speaks of Adam and Eve’s desire to have a do-over, of sorts. It speaks of changing history, if they could, and choosing differently. The song says Adam and Eve would leave out the part where they broke God’s heart. They long to turn back time, and walk in the sunset with their LORD again. But then they ask God how he could look at them, and what they’d done, and still call them good.

BingI’d like to submit many of us may feel the exact same way…we’ve sinned. Done what we know we shouldn’t do, but did it any way. We’d like another chance. We miss the closeness we experienced with our God. We want a do-over.

Fortunately, God gives us that chance through his grace. Undeserved favor. Something we didn’t do anything to earn. A gift. The gift of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross of Calvary, that paid the price for our sins. The Sacrificial Lamb. By his wounds, we are healed.

February. The second month of 2014. Already two months into another new year. No matter. Each day, we have a clean slate in front of us. WikimediaIt’s ours to use as we please. As we desire.

Do we need to choose differently than we did in 2013? Are there areas of sin we need to surrender to Jesus, for his help in overcoming? Are there people we need to reach out to, apologies we need to make, forgiveness we need to extend? A do-over?

Despite all our messes and faults, God still calls us good.

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day. Genesis 1:27 & 31

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God’s Got A Big Eraser

One of my devotions will be posted on Christian Devotions November 6, 2013. Please stop by and check out the site.

Microsoft ClipartIn the days before overhead projectors and smart boards, how many of you ever asked your teacher if you could erase the blackboard? Oh, yeah. Hand’s raised. It was a feeling of accomplishment, wasn’t it, when you pushed that black felt eraser back and forth, and obliterated the words dear teacher had scrawled all over the board.

Only, no matter how hard you scrubbed, there was always a trace of the written word on the board. Until it was washed clean with water.

Well, when I switched places, and became the teacher erasing the blackboard, I realized how really awful it is, and was more than glad to have little hands do the job for me. The dust got all over the place. Even the dustless chalk. It got on my hands. Particles flew through the air and made me sneeze. They settled on my clothes. Residue rested in the dust tray, which I inevitably leaned against, and ended up with chalk streaks across my backside. Not pretty.

MorguefileOne day, however, I found an amazing, new eraser. This thing was the best. It was made out of foam, or rubber, of some sort, instead of the usual black felt. Loved. Loved. Loved it. This eraser took away ALL the dust. It didn’t leave any residue on the board, or in the tray. Yes!

You couldn’t see remnants of previous words or numbers. They were all gone. All erased. All forgotten.

So, I’m thinking…God’s got an eraser like that, doesn’t he? When he erases our sins, through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross, there isn’t any residue left. No faint reminder, where if you really tried, you could see everything that had once been on the board. It’s all gone. All erased. All forgotten. Washed clean.

Satan’s not real happy with that, though, and he wants us to use the black felt eraser. He Microsoft Clipartwants to keep reminding us of our sins. He wants us to stay guilty. To walk around with chalk lines on our backside.

BUT JESUS took all our sins upon himself and nailed them to the cross. When we name him as LORD and King of our life, we don’t need to keep dredging up the past and its sins. Jesus has an eraser that’s far superior to the foam one I used. His eraser stretches from one scarred hand to the other.

Hanging on to past sins? Talk to Jesus about them. Let him forgive you and take them away.

As high as the sky is above the earth, so great is his love for those who honor him. As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us. Psalm 103:11-12

I wish you well.

Sandy

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