Jesus Forgives Us

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Recently, a friend and I discussed how easy it is to acknowledge the truth Jesus forgives us, yet not forgive ourselves. We believe God forgives those who come to him in full repentance, turn from their sins and claim Jesus as Lord, yet we often don’t extend that forgiveness to ourselves. It’s as if we want to keep feeling lousy for our sins because we rationalize after all, we deserve it.

Reminds me of the Medieval monks and their excessive self-criticism and self-flogging. Also reminds me Satan is hard at work to get those of us who belong to Jesus to doubt who God is. Did God really say ALL your sins were forgiven? What about the time … ?

We know in our heart we’re forgiven. We’re no longer bound by the chains Satan wraps around us, yet we  might feel, for possibly one brief instant, God couldn’t possible forgive us.

Could he?

We have no problem believing God forgave someone with the absolute exact sin as ours, but forgive us?

Could it be we believe God’s grace can’t reach us?

Could it be we’ve allowed other’s opinions to define who we are, and we believe their lies we are unworthy, instead of believing God’s truth he loves us with an everlasting love?

Why can’t we just accept what God says about us and leave it at that?

Why do we keep holding onto things God’s told us he no longer remembers?

I don’t know. I don’t have answers. I just have questions. 🙂

My friend and I didn’t come up with any profound revelation on the matter. Just more questions.

That plus grateful thanks to Jesus for his willingness to be the Sacrificial Lamb who was slain for the sins of the world.

Jesus forgives us.

Yes. Jesus forgives us and loves us this we know. And aren’t we forever grateful?

Have you ever pondered such things?

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Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good; his love is eternal. Psalm 106:1 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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We believe Jesus forgives us, yet we often don't extend that forgiveness to ourselves. It's as if… Click To Tweet

Work In Progress

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In the writing world a Work in Progress, or WIP, is the story or article we happen to be working on at the moment. It is unfinished.

We usually know what we want to write when we begin. We have characters and a story line in mind. Most of the time we head off in the right direction with a happily ever after planned. Sometimes, however, the characters in our stories take on a life of their own, and morph into something we hadn’t expected. They just won’t behave.

Perhaps an unexpected monster raises its head and traps the fair maiden or gallant knight, threatening their happily ever after ending. Or the characters foolishly walk into situations they should have stayed away from.

When that happens, writers step back, take another look at our story, figure out how our characters got themselves into the situation they are in, come up with a solution, and then forge ahead.

Until we pen the final word of our story, it is not finished. It remains a work in progress. No matter how detailed or outlined it may have been at the beginning, something can always be added or subtracted before the end.

In writing the story of our life, God’s plan is perfect. He has a happily ever after ending planned for us. Sometimes, though, we think we know better, take the pen into our hands, and try to write it our own way.

We know what God expects from us and are determined to do it, but then something happens that knocks us off track; either through our willfulness or the actions of others. Before we know it, an unexpected monster raises its ugly head and traps us until God comes in with his eraser, rewrites the scene, and sets us on the correct path again.

You and I are works in progress. WIPs. Until God writes The End, we’re unfinished.

Once we accept Jesus as our personal Savior Lord and King, our happily ever after is waiting no matter what twists and turns we might take to get there.

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For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us]. Ephesians :10 (AMP)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Perhaps you watched the Peach Bowl Championship game yesterday? Yep. Those are Pilot, Pie, and my UNDEFEATED UCF Knights with their happily ever after 2017 football season. Go Knights!

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God Doesn’t Judge As Men Judge

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Shang was the runt of the litter and not worth keeping. At least that’s how my dog-breeder sister judged him. Marie had little hope for the small German Shepherd puppy when he was born. Because my sister doubted she would be able to sell Shang, Marie gave us her cast-off. And am I ever glad.

I loved this puppy and he loved me back. He was perfect. Shang followed me around and protected me from anyone or anything that threatened to harm me. That included my brother, which made me especially happy.

Through Shang’s first year he proved Marie a bad judge of his potential. Shang grew to over 100 pounds, and when he stood on his hind legs and placed his paws on my shoulders, he could look me in the eye. If Shang was a runt, I didn’t want to see how big he could be if he wasn’t.

My oldest sister made the same error a lot of us do. We look at someone and judge their potential based on what they look like, the clothes they wear, the color of their skin, where they live, how much money they have …

Often, we write people off as runts without taking the time to get to know who they really are. Fortunately for us, that’s not how God judges.

God sent Samuel the prophet on a mission to the town of Bethlehem, to the home of Jesse. As Samuel listened for God to tell him which of Jesse’s sons to anoint as Israel’s future king, Samuel discovered God does not judge as men judge. God does not judge on outward appearance the way Samuel judged. God judges on what lies within a person’s heart.

When Samuel saw how handsome Jesse’s sons were, he thought surely one of them was God’s chosen. But they weren’t. No one had even bothered to call God’s chosen, David, in from the sheep fields to be included in the prophet’s selection process. That’s how little David’s father, Jesse, thought of his runt.

Because I didn’t judge as man judges, I didn’t base Shang’s worth on what he looked like when he first came into my life. Nor did I base his worth on someone else’s assessment of his potential. It would not have matter to me if Shang remained small for his bred. I would have loved him no matter what.

God doesn’t measure our worth based on what we look like. It’s what’s inside our heart that matters to him. Are we passionate for Christ? Do we desire God above all other persons or things? Are we willing to do what God asks of us? Those are the things God looks at.

Outward appearances don’t fool God. He knows what we’re really like. And he loves us no matter what.

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But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (The Message)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Given Freely Not Stolen

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

While re-reading the story of the woman with the years-long ongoing health issue that left her bank account empty, and her body weak, a thought came to me. The healing she sought from Jesus, and believed she had to steal, he freely gave.

As I contemplated this thought, another scene popped into my brain. A scene from Les Miserables. Perhaps you’ve either read the book, seen the play, or watched the movie, and know where I’m going with this.

courtesy bingAt one point, in an act of desperation, ex-convict, Valjean, steals expensive silver candlesticks from the priest who took Valjean in and showed him kindness. The police find Valjean with the candlesticks and take him back to the priest.

Here’s the connection …

The priest shows mercy, and says he gave Valjean the candlesticks. They weren’t stolen. Before the priest in Les Mis lets Valjean leave, he gives one of the most important messages of the story. The priest shows Valjean he is a person of value, one the priest cares about. One who God cares about.

Valjean didn’t need to steal the candlesticks. The priest gave them freely.

The woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak seeking healing. When she did, power flowed out of Christ, and the woman was immediately healed.

She didn’t need to steal the healing. Jesus gave it freely.

This woman was desperate. She had exhausted all her known resources. Out of embarrassment and being ostracized for her condition, she didn’t want to draw attention to herself. She just knew Jesus was her only hope for healing.

When Jesus felt the power leave him, he asked who touched him. In a crowd, lots of courtesy bingpeople touched Jesus, but only this woman was healed. Jesus could have gone on his way without requesting the woman show herself, but he didn’t.

Jesus wanted to offer the woman something more. Something important. He wanted her to know he cared for her and her concerns.

Jesus wanted the woman to know he valued her. Despite how others treated her, she was precious in his eyes.

Although her physical healing was what drew the woman to seek out Christ, she received emotional and spiritual healing as well.

Jesus is the Great Physician who heals all our hurts. We don’t need to steal his blessings. He gives them freely when we seek him out, come to him humbly, and acknowledge he is able.

We need no longer fear. We are children of God.

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Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and told him what she had done.  Mark 5:33 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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No Other Argument

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

In a world where worth is measured by busyness and product, it is refreshing to know that’s not how things work in God’s economy. We are saved by God’s gift of grace. Our salvation is not the result of our own efforts. Thank you, Jesus. Literally.

Because Jesus willingly took our sins on his perfect sinless self, our debt was paid on that hill long ago. We can rest in the assurance Christ’s payment is all that is required for our salvation.

We don’t need to argue or plead our case before God the Righteous Judge. Jesus’ payment was more than enough. True, our worth is not measured by our deeds, but because of the love and gratitude we have for our Savior, we desire to serve him. There’s a big difference between the two.

courtesy pixabayThere is no fear of wondering whether we hit the quota for the week. There are no Employee of the Month posters splashed around heaven. No charts compare our efforts with others.

Legalism was removed when Jesus rose from the grave, and established a new covenant between God and his people.

There is no other argument.

Jesus died for each of us. That is enough. He is the Way, Truth, and Life. No one can come to the Father except through surrendering to Christ as Lord of their life.

Have you ever struggled with measuring your worth through busyness and product?

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For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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So Be It

bingby Sandy Kirby Quandt

When you hear the word amen what comes to mind? The end of a prayer? So be it? Strong agreement? I tell you the truth?

We say amen at the end of our prayers.

We say amen to confirm our agreement with what others say.

Jesus is called the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. (Revelation 3:14)

Our dog, Bear, is 4-years-old now. You would think after all this time he would be obedient in everything, come when he’s called and stay when he’s told to stay.

You’d think he’d give us a hearty, “So be it! Amen!”

You would think …

But that isn’t the case.

Some days he’s really good with following directions. Other days … not so much.

There are days he is so sweet and does what I ask, that I begin to believe, Yes! He’s figured this all out! Only to have him stare at me when I give him a command and do the exact opposite the next day.

I attribute his lack of complete obedience to multiple factors, one being the fact he is really smart and to his way of thinking, sees little wisdom in saying amen to all of our requests.

If only he would trust that Pilot and I have his best interest in mind when we tell him to do something, or tell him not to do something.

Oy, vey.

But I wonder. Are we ever like Bear? You know. Pick and choose what we will say so be it to?

Sometimes our life may be going along smoothly and it is easy for us to say amen to where we are, what we are doing, where we are headed.

God’s in control after all. So be it! I’m in full agreement.

Then there are times we plunge into sorrow, suffering, defeat and disillusionment. Say amen to this? You’ve got to be kidding. God’s still in control, but I don’t like it, and I’m not about to agree. Definitely not in strong agreement with this one.

I keep hoping for the day Bear is in total agreement with what we tell him. I long for the day he says so be it to our requests. We do know what’s best for him, after all.

So I’m wondering … does God hope the same for us?

Does he hope that in the good times and bad we will state with every fiber of our being amen, so be it, I’m in total agreement, let your will be done and do it through me?

Amen?

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Praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and Amen. Psalm 89:52 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my posts is scheduled to appear on Inspire a Fire February 2, 2016. Please stop by and check it out.