Does Shunning Work?

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Baxter attended only one puppy obedience class before the canine influenza hit our area, eliminating all gatherings of dogs from his schedule for four weeks until his body builds up immunity from his flu shots.

At the one class he did attend, Pilot and I were taught to handle Baxter’s jumping on us by crossing our arms and turning from him. Pie calls it Amish Shunning, which is a pretty good description of the position. The puppy trainer said Baxter would automatically know not to jump up, and would sit when we turned.

Yeah. Well. I have scratches and bruises on the back of my legs to prove shunning doesn’t work.

Instead of jumping on the front of me, the turn and shun move lets Baby B jump on the back of me.

Obviously, there is a disconnect somewhere. And I think I might know part of the problem.

In Amish Shunning, we turn from Baxter and refuse to give him attention, but in the process, we expect him to figure out what his correct behavior should be without actually showing him what it should be.

He’s a puppy for goodness sake. How’s he supposed to know what humans expect from him unless that proper behavior is demonstrated?

All this shunning led me to think about how new Believers are sometimes treated by long-time Christians. Often, long-timers expect new Christians – puppies – to know what the proper way to behave is, and we do the Amish Shunning-thing by crossing our arms over our chest, and turning away from them when they don’t behave as we expect.

In the process we leave it up to them to figure out how they should live.

courtesy pixabayJesus didn’t do that. He stepped right into a person’s messiness, loved them, and lovingly explained how they should live.

He didn’t shun the woman at the well. He purposefully met her where she was and had a two-way conversation that showed her a better way to live.

Jesus did not condemn the woman the Pharisees brought before him to be stoned. He showed compassion, mercy, and grace – ah, yes, grace. Then he told the woman to go and sin no more.

When Simon huffed about a certain woman anointing Jesus’ feet with oil, Jesus told a story to illustrate which of the two did what pleased God.

Pilot and I continue working with Baxter to help him learn what is acceptable behavior in the Quandt household, and what is frowned upon. He’s a smart puppy. He’ll figure it out, but we don’t believe shunning will be the most productive way to reach that goal.

Just as Baby B needs to be shown what is acceptable in a loving way, so do those of us who strive to follow Jesus.

It’s a life-long process, so how about we all agree … no Amish Shunning?

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 You will say, “How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings! Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors? Proverbs 5:12-13 (NLT)
 I wish you well.

Sandy

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Stay in the Rut

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

I’ve never heard people say, “Stay in the rut”, have you? Usually, we hear the opposite. “Get out of your rut.” I wonder why that is.

Pilot and I walked in some of the ruts of the Santa Fe Trail through Kansas. Those ruts were dug deep into the soil making it difficult to simply hop out of them, or step over them. Once you were in them, it was easier to stay in the rut than get out of it.

As we drove along the highway next to the trail, the ruts were still visible. Amazing. Simply amazing after all these years.

In the days of the pioneer wagon trains ruts were essential to following the path westward. There was an awful lot of wide open prairie to traverse, and with no road signs other than the occasional rock formation with names inscribed on it, an inexperienced traveler could very easily get lost. I get lost driving through major cities even with road signs. I shudder to think what would happen if I set out across the prairie.

When wagons came upon the well-worn ruts of previous caravans, they knew they were headed in the correct direction. I think as followers of Jesus, it is beneficial for us to stick to the ruts laid out by those who’ve gone before us.

We need a guide. That’s where godly counsel comes in.

We need a map. That’s where the Bible comes in.

We need a fixed destination so we aren’t wandering around in circles. That’s where heaven comes in.

When Jesus called his first disciples he told them to follow him. He tells us the same.

We need to search out the path Jesus has placed before us, put our wagon wheels in it, and stay in the rut to our new home.

Have you ever seen the ruts left my wagon trains across the prairie?

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Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. Matthew 4:19-20 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Refiner’s Fire

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Okay. I realize this is another post about fire, but believe me…I’m not a pyromaniac, or anything.

During a recent study of the Old Testament book of the prophet Malachi, I rediscovered something I’d learned long ago.

Malachi told the people the Day of the Lord would come. It would be a time when God would judge the sin of unbelievers, he would cleanse his people’s lives, and he would save his people.

In the process, God would refine and purify them like silver and gold.

His judgement against sin would be swift and impartial.

Those who did not fear God and filled their lives with wickedness would receive their just punishment.

Malachi also mentioned God would send his messenger, John the Baptist, to prepare the way of the Lord, Jesus.

Among the fascinating things I relearned during my study were the following:

  • The melting point of silver is about 1,760 degrees Fahrenheit
  • As molten silver is stirred, the lighter impurities rise to the top
  • The refiner scraps the impurities away
  • Not until the refiner sees his reflection in the molten metal is the metal pure and ready for his purposes

For those of us taught about God’s holy refining fire, we understand the illustration to represent our lives which God tests to a very significant degree to remove our impurities.

Jesus is the one who scrapes our impurities away by the power of his sacrificial blood shed on the cross of Calvary, when we accept his gift and claim him as Lord.

The part of this lesson which I’d forgotten is the last phase of the refiner’s process…the refiner doesn’t quit refining until he can see his own reflection in the molten silver of our lives shining back at him.

Wow.

Jesus loves us so much he will not leave us partially refined. He is going to keep working on us, stirring us up, removing our impurities until we reflect his image right back at him.

As I prepared to write the word dross, I looked up its definition. Here’s what I found:

1. Waste or impure matter.

2. The scum that forms on the surface of molten metal as a result of oxidation.

3. Worthless, commonplace, or trivial matter.

That’s what Jesus removes from us…our dross.

Worthless, impure scum that forms in our lives as the result of living in this fallen world.

When we are in the midst of the refining process it can be anything but pleasant.

I know.

Tortuous comes to mind.

But as Jesus heats us to 1,760 degrees, stirs us until our head spins and we cry out for relief, perhaps we need to remind ourselves he loves us too much to leave us with a coating of scum covering his reflection.

And really, we don’t want that either, do we?

Do you feel like you’re in the refiner’s furnace?

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He will come to judge like one who refines and purifies silver. As a metalworker refines silver and gold, so the Lord‘s messenger will purify the priests, so that they will bring to the Lord the right kind of offerings. Then the offerings which the people of Judah and Jerusalem bring to the Lord will be pleasing to him, as they used to be in the past. Malachi 3:3-4 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Faith to Trust

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

When I was in junior high school, my English teacher read us The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacobs. In the story three wishes are granted to the owner of the monkey’s paw with disastrous consequences. The theme of the story? There is an enormous price paid for interfering with fate.

To this day, multiple decades later, I still remember that story and it still creeps me out.

Be careful what you wish for…it just might come true, was what I got out of the story.

I wonder…how many times have we wished for something only to find if God hadn’t intervened and stopped us the consequences would have been disastrous?

How many times have we taken matters into our own hands, rushed ahead of God, and later wished we hadn’t?

How many times have we twisted what we read in the Bible, bent it to our own plans and liking?

While wishing on the monkey’s paw in the story was an awful thing to do, we don’t need to fear praying in God’s good and perfect will. He is the One who can do immeasurably more than we could ever dream, hope, or desire.

When times seem frightening or spinning out of control we need to remember who to put our trust in. We can trust the God who will not fail. The God who holds us when we travel down unknown paths. The God who will never abandon us.

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The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. Psalm 91:14-15 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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This video is longer than most I post, and gets repetitious in the middle. For some, that repetition may be annoying. If so, forward to about 6:45 for the ending.

Grand Prix Lessons

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

While Pilot and I attended our first Grand Prix race last weekend, compliments of our son, Pie who was involved with the event, I discovered several lessons which I believe we can  apply to our everyday life.

As this was our first time at the race Pilot and I wandered a bit before finding a great seat on Turn 2. Because of not knowing our way around, we took a side-track after the race that may have contributed to a major disappointment.

Lesson?

Study up ahead of time, no matter what it is we’re undertaking, to make the most of the moment. Be prepared.

  • Unless you want to be lapped and come in last, don’t tap your brakes before Turn 2

Every time a certain driver, who shall not be named, approached Turn 2 he slowed down before he proceeded.

Lesson?

We do that sometimes, don’t we? We’re not quite sure how to proceed. The life-turns look a little scary so we back off the gas and slow down. If we expect to win the race God’s set before us, we shouldn’t back off when the going looks frightening. Especially when we’ve been around the same turn 33 times.

  • Cautions are a time to clean the track

When the yellow flag came out the track-cleaning trucks took over. (I’m sure there’s a specific name for these trucks, but I don’t know what it it.)

Lesson?

There are times when junk gets spewed over our path that can do serious damage if we don’t stop and remove it.

  • Just because we were first yesterday doesn’t mean we’ll be first todayout at 2 laps

The driver who came in first on Saturday was the first driver to leave the race Sunday on lap two.

Lesson?

Don’t rest on our laurels. The great things we accomplished yesterday are history. Today is the present we are given to keep doing the great things God has planned for us. There’s no guarantee we’ll have a tomorrow. Do it today.

  • Every driver needs a pit crew

Oh, yeah. This is majorly important. Can you imagine a Grand Prix where the driver has to hop out, put gasoline and new tires on his car before getting back on the track?

Lesson?

We all need a support group. Not only a group who assist us physically with the flat tires of life and add gasoline when we’re running on fumes, but especially a pit crew of prayer warriors.

 

  • Even when you’re down 5 laps don’t give up

Our cautious driver from a previous point never gave up. Because of that, Pilot and I eagerly looked for him and found ourselves cheering for him the whole way.

Lesson?

Don’t give up. Never, never give up. Keep fighting. Stay in the race until the checkered flag flies.

  • You’ve got to finish the race to win

Two of my favorite drivers both hit the wall and left the race. One was knocked out on the final lap AAAGGGHHH!

Lesson?

It doesn’t matter how many times you’re in the lead going around the track, you’ve got to finish the race to win.

  • You never know what you’ll find

After the race Pilot made a wonderful discovery.  A dog sled! And a display for Iditarod musher, Dee Dee Jonrowe! One of my all time favs.

Lesson?

Keep our eyes open. The unexpected both good and bad, may catch us unaware just around the next corner.

  • Even in disappointment there can be reward

Unfortunately, Dee Dee had just left. This goes back to the first point…know the lay of the land. But…Sandra was there and she gifted me with an amazing book full of photographs taken by renowned Iditarod photographer, Jeff Schultz. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Lesson?

Don’t despair. Don’t grump. There’s no telling what treasures God may have hidden in our dark places.

  • Everybody has a fan

At the end of the race every car that passed the grand stands had cheering fans.

Lesson?

Even when it may not seem like it we’ve got a fan. Our greatest fan is Jesus who claps and cheers us on every second of every day.

  • Watch out for that pesky wall

As I mentioned earlier, my two favorite racers, except for the one who came in last ;), hit the wall and didn’t finish the race.

Lesson?

Watch out for those pesky walls that pop up and threaten to knock us out of the race. Keep our distance from the walls. Especially when others try to shove us into them.

So, there you have it. Lessons learned from my recent Grand Prix adventure.

What helps have you found that keep you on track in this race we call Life?

You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (MSG)

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Tomorrow, July 4, 2014, I am the guest blogger on Inspire a Fire. Please stop by.

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

Pushing Too Hard

Bing PhotosI’ve never been known for my high energy level. Compared to Energizer Bunny, Sissy, I’m standing still. That woman never slows down. Makes me tired just watching her. But, when I’m injured or sick, I put my efforts into over-drive. I don’t like being dependent. I try to push through. Soldier on. Keep going. Stiff upper lip, and all that.

In the past, I’ve made record-time recoveries from surgeries, and paid the price for that stupidity. During the rehab with my ORIF hip surgery, I was in danger of doing the same thing. Pushing too hard, and paying the unnecessary price for such stubbornness.

Bing PhotosPeople who know about such things, instructed me to slow down. Rest more. Stop trying to do too much.

But that’s not wired into my DNA. Not when recovery is concerned. I don’t like feeling weak.

My hesitancy to lean on others finds its way into my relationship with God. It’s the same thing. I’m hesitant to lean on Him. I have this warped idea that I’m fine. Okay. Can muddle through on my own. WRONG!

There have been several times in my life where God has had to knock me to the ground to Bing Photosget my attention. November 30, 2013, being a very literal example.

I think God knocks our feet out from under us to remind us who’s in charge, in case we get too close to forgetting. I think He does it to remind us how fragile life is, in case we start to waste the days He has given us.

I think God knocks us to the ground to remind us how important the people around us are, in case we start to take them for granted. And I definitely believe God knocks us down, to show us how weak we truly are. That apart from Him and His power, love, mercy and grace, we can do nothing.

Ever been there, done that?

In my office, I have sticky notes all over the place. One note I wrote several years ago says, LORD, help me be strong enough to be weak. Don’t remember exactly what prompted me to have that thought, but it’s one worth remembering. We need the strength to give up our false belief we can do it on our own. We need the strength to admit we’re weak. That we need God’s help. His strength. His power.

Bing PhotosPerhaps you’re in the same place. The good news is, we don’t have to pretend to be so strong. We don’t have to manage on our own.

There is someone who is waiting to carry our load. Help us manage. Help us navigate the craziness of this world. We’ve just got to be strong enough to admit our weakness, and accept his perfect strength.

How awesome is God as he comes from his sanctuary—the God of Israel! He gives strength and power to his people.  Praise God! Psalm 68:35

I wish you well.

Sandy

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