Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The older I get the less I sweat the small stuff. You know what I mean? I get less irritated by things that used to really annoy me. I’m not saying small stuff doesn’t still get to me, especially when I’m tired or fatigued, just that it doesn’t bother me as often, and not to the same degree it used to.

I doubt anyone who knows my Kirby family would say we were a patient lot. (Just ask our spouses. 🙂 ) Nope. Quite the contrary. Our “Irish temper” is one excuse that has been given for our impatience. But that’s just an excuse, not a fact. The fact is we have a bent toward impatience, Irish or not.

Here are some of the things I found associated with an Irish temper. After you read them, I believe you will be able to see some of these same traits in people who aren’t necessarily “Irish”.

  • You can hold a grudge
  •  You wish bad luck on people
  •  You take stubborn to a new level
  •  Short fuse
  •  Passion steers the wheel
  •  You’re a fighter

As a follower of Christ, a Christian, we are to have a mind, a temper, like Christ. We are to daily strive to become more and more like our Savior. He is our role model, after all. Once we accept Jesus as our Savior, his Holy Spirit comes to dwell – to live – in us. The Holy Spirit can help us control our Irish temper, or any other kind of temper. He can help us let go of grudges. He can help us desire good for others, not harm.

With the Holy Spirit’s help we can tame our short fuse and become more patient. He can help us turn our passion to the things of God, and toward advancing God’s Kingdom here on earth. The Holy Spirit can take our fighting spirit and turn it for good to love mercy, seek justice, and right the wrongs we see.

Would you say you have an Irish Temper, or are you under the Holy Spirit’s control developing the Fruit of the Spirit in you?

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God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. Galatians 5:22-23 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. Those words from the book of Isaiah are often spoken to explain why our plans are delayed, or why what we thought would happen doesn’t. Perhaps you’ve said them yourself? I know I have.

We make plans expecting them to come out the way we intend; only they don’t.

That dream job doesn’t materialize. The great boss and co-workers don’t show up. Or we lose our job and struggle to start all over again.

We expect the child we carry to be perfect, but she is born with a disability instead. Or maybe he rebels, shuts us out of his life, or becomes involved in destructive behaviors that lead to an early death. Our own bodies become frail and turn against us and we can no longer function as we once did.

Natural disasters take away our homes or our livelihood. Our investments don’t pan out. Those dreams we’ve held onto for so long evaporate.

The people closest to us abandon us at our point of deepest need, and we wonder what happened to all our grand plans.

It doesn’t surprise God when life doesn’t turn out the way we thought it would because God’s ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts.

Oftentimes when we look back on our life, we find God’s ways and thoughts were much better than ours.

I know in my life I’ve planned, wished and hoped for things that didn’t come to pass, and looking back, I can honestly say, “Thank you, Jesus” they didn’t.

Of course, while going through those times, I didn’t feel that way. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, is it not?

Are there any incidences in your life where you wished for one thing and were grateful it didn’t happen?

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Look for the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. Let the sinful turn from his way, and the one who does not know God turn from his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have loving-pity on him. Let him turn to our God, for He will for sure forgive all his sins. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:6-9 (NLV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Jesus Calls His Own By Name

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

If you have ever cared for children, or been cared for as a child, one thing I believe would be safe to say is you recognize their voice. Mothers know when their child cries out among a throng of others on a playground. Children know when the voice calling them belongs to their parent.

During the years I taught students in elementary school I knew for a fact which one of my them called out to me, and they knew for a fact when I called out to them.

courtesy pixabay

Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. He knows us, his sheep, so intimately he hears our faintest cry and immediately puts a name and face to that cry.

As his sheep we in turn can discern his voice and distinguish it from the noise of the world.

I think that’s pretty amazing.

courtesy pixabay

To think the King of kings and Lord of lords can pick out our voice among the multitude of voices and put a name — our name — to it is pretty special. Wouldn’t you say?

God is the one who created us. He is the one who knows us intimately and has a plan for us.

Our value and worth lies in him, the One who knows our name, not in anything we could ever accomplish on our own. His is the voice we need to listen for and long to hear.

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The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:3 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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It’s Hard to be Honest Sometimes

bing imagesOkay, deviating from my usual, here, but feel compelled to do so.

Ever heard it said, “The church is full of hypocrites.”? I have. Many a time. And you know what, many a time I’ve seen it to be true.

But I’ve also seen it to be false more times than not.

Here are some instances I’ve personally experienced in church that caused me to shake my head and wonder.

  • The father of one of my best friends was a physically abusive alcoholic.
  • The father of another friend died of AIDS some years after his divorce.
  • The husband of a friend sexually abused their toddler.
  • One friend spent time in prison for drug abuse.
  • One friend terminated her teenage pregnancy.
  • One acquaintance often showed up with unexplainable bruises and broken bones…that wall she kept running into was her husband
  • One friend had the Bible he received at his baptism stolen from the church pew…once he left his parents’ home, he vowed never to step inside a church again.
  • One friend’s parents divorced after it was discovered her minister-father was addicted to pornography.

There’s more, but that’s more than enough.

old churchSome of the people in the above examples were honest with themselves, God, and those around them. They turned their brokenness into healing through the power of Christ’s love. They made it their mission to educate and serve others from what they experienced and learned of God’s grace.

As I’ve said before, and I’ll say along with the Apostle Paul…I am chief among sinners, saved by the wonderful love, mercy, and grace of God through the forgiveness of my sins, by the power of Jesus’ shed blood on the cross of Calvary.

Yes, there is hypocrisy in the church. Always has been. Always will be. Just look at the Pharisees in the time of Christ to see a perfect example. But that shouldn’t keep us from being involved with a local body of believers who are just as flawed as we are. It should compel us to use our brokenness to bring Light to a world of darkness.

worship service2The difference, I believe, is in letting God take our brokenness and using it to help heal others. That takes honesty, and that, my friend, is a very difficult thing to do.

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

How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You are like tombs that are painted white. Outside, those tombs look fine, but inside, they are full of the bones of dead people and all kinds of unclean things. It is the same with you. People look at you and think you are good, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and evil. Matthew 23:27-28 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Bring Them To Me

bing photosHow many times have you read a passage of scripture in the Bible for the umpteenth time, and found something new in it, which you hadn’t noticed before?

Well, it happened to me again, when I read the scripture from Matthew about Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the week before he was murdered on the cross of Calvary. There is no telling how many times I have either heard, or read that passage, but  never noticed the word them.

bing photosI remember Jesus sent the disciples to bring him the colt he rode into Jerusalem, but this was the first time I saw he said to bring both the colt, and the donkey. Have you missed that too? Or am I the only one?

Jesus rode the colt. He had no need of the mother, too. Yet, he said to bring them both.

Now, to my maternal instinct, I understand why Jesus didn’t want to separate the two. What mother wants to be separated from its child, no matter how noble the reason? Jesus sympathized with the mother. He would not cause her, or her child, distress for his sake. Bring them both.

Maybe she walked beside her young colt, kept an eye on him, and held her breath he wouldn’t stumble. bing photosMaybe she was led by one of the disciples, so she wouldn’t interfere. Maybe the mother told her colt to pay attention. This is Jesus, God’s son. Show him respect. Don’t go stepping in the mud puddles. Look sharp! And for goodness sake, keep your hoof away from your nose.

This whole idea of Jesus requesting both donkeys absolutely blows my mind, as those of us of a certain age, may be in the habit of saying.

But what really blows my mind is that I never noticed Jesus said, THEM, before.

Jesus wants parents to bring their children to him. Children to bring their parents.

He wants us to bring our co-workers. Our friends. Even our enemies.

Jesus has a purpose for each and every one of us in his Kingdom. He told the disciples to bring them to him. Not just one donkey, but both. Not just the colt, but the parent also.

bing photosJust as he requested both animals be brought to him, Jesus is asking us to come to him, and bring those we love along. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but as our scripture tells us, If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.”

 

What are your thoughts on the subject?

As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.” Matthew 21:1-3 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Blessed Among Women

Bing PhotosBy Sandy Kirby Quandt

Many a time, I’ve tried. I really have. But I just cannot imagine what it was like. To be a teenager engaged to one man, and be told you would become pregnant with a child that was not his? To be told by an angel, of all things. That right there, would be scary enough.

Mary had found favor. She was the one chosen to give birth to the long awaited, much prayed for, Messiah. Savior. Deliver. She was blessed above all others.

Bing PhotosMary. A poor girl from the village of Nazareth. A descendent of the House of David. She was honored above all women who ever were, and ever would be. Her son’s kingdom would never end.

How can you be the mother of the child of God? It’s difficult enough being the mother of a regular, everyday, garden variety child. But to raise the son of the One True Creator God? Like I said, I just cannot imagine it.

I can’t truly understand the flood of emotions that must have coursed through Mary’s every waking, and probably sleeping, moment. Me? The vessel chosen to deliver the Messiah to the world? I believe that in God’s omnipotent, omniscient love and grace, he shielded Mary from the shadow of the cross for as long as he could.

Beyond the awesomeness of being chosen to carry Immanuel in her womb, must have Bing Photosbeen the pain of telling Joseph she was pregnant. Would he believe her? Really believe her? Fortunately, God took care of that when he sent an angel to inform Joseph of what was going on.

Then, of course, there were the neighbors. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Did the gossip sting Mary’s heart? God took care of that, too, when Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth pronounced Mary held the Savior inside. Affirmation of who Jesus was. Who Mary was.

There were the angels. The shepherds. The wise men. Anna and Simeon in the temple.  Witness to the great thing the LORD God Almighty had done, and would do.

God continues to use his people to accomplish his plans. We won’t give birth to the Messiah, but like Mary, we carry Christ inside us, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Once we claim Jesus as our LORD and Savior, it then becomes our responsibility to praise God for the great things he has done for us through his love, mercy and grace, and share that wonder with those around us.

Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him.” Luke 1:46-50

I wish you well.

Sandy

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