Sunday Scriptures – Where Have You Put Him?

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Where have you put him?

That’s the question Mary Magdalene asked when she saw the empty tomb where the body of her Lord was placed three short days earlier.

We can ask ourselves the same question Mary asked. Where have we put him?

Is Christ at the center of our life, or have we shuffled him off to a corner somewhere and forgotten him, until we need something?

Do we seek out Jesus first thing in the morning the way Mary did? Or do days, weeks, months pass before we even give him a second thought?

Do we long to see our Savior’s face and glorify him? Does he fill our days with the joy only he can give? Do we live to serve him and him alone?

When people look at us and ask, “Where have you put him?” can they see Jesus living in and through us?

Are our lives a testimony to the truth our Redeemer forever lives? And because our Redeemer lives, we can too.

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Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the entrance. She went running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

Then Peter and the other disciple went to the tomb. The two of them were running, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and saw the linen cloths, but he did not go in. Behind him came Simon Peter, and he went straight into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there and the cloth which had been around Jesus’ head. It was not lying with the linen cloths but was rolled up by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in; he saw and believed. (They still did not understand the scripture which said that he must rise from death.)

John 20:1-9 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Jesus is the Way Truth and Life

courtesty pixabayDecades ago, I drove from my home in the Maryland suburbs of DC to the suburbs of Virginia, on the opposite side of the Potomac River. The occasion was a cousin’s bridal shower.

Since I’d never been to the home where the shower was held, I was nervous about the drive.

The shower was lovely. The food, wonderful. The company, charming. Yet, in the back of my mind hung the dread of the return drive home.

After hugs made the rounds, I got into my car. I headed north. Then I hit a bridge I did not courtesy pixabayrecall crossing. Because of the traffic, I was hemmed in, and had no choice but to veer east.

Almost immediately, I knew I was not where I should be. I was in the SE section of Washington, DC, when I should have been headed NW.

Oy, vey!

This was in the dark ages before cell phones to call someone for directions. But, I did call on Someone.

I called on God, and prayed like crazy for him to show me the way home. Some landmark. Some divine intervention. Some something.

And there it was.

Peeking above the horizon to my left. The dome of the US Capitol building. Hallelujah, praise the LORD!

courtesy pixabayIf I kept the Capitol in my sights, I would be able to wind my way through DC toward it. If I just kept my eyes on that building, I knew I could find my way home from there.

Before long, I was in Maryland, my Maryland.

Big sigh of relief.

As I’ve mentioned before, I usually have a pretty good sense of direction, which proved beneficial.

So, I’m thinking … what should we do when we find ourselves lost spiritually? Headed the wrong direction? In a place we have no business being?

Keep our eyes on Jesus. He’s the landmark. The beacon. The road map we need to get us safely home.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one can get to heaven except through believing he is God’s Only Son who came to earth to live as all men do, die a horrific death on a cross, pay the debt we owe but could never pay, rise from the grave and ascend to heaven to prepare a place for us to live with him eternally, and claim Christ as Lord.

Just as my fears subsided when I kept my eyes on the Capitol building all those many years ago, our fears subside when we keep our eyes on Jesus.

No matter where we end up in life, we’ll be fine if we keep our eyes on Jesus. He’s the way, truth, and life that can take us safely home.

Have you ever been lost while driving in unknown territory? What helped you find your way home?

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Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. So how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.” John 14: 5-6 (NCV)

I wish you well,

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Share the Gospel of Who Jesus Is

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

At the time of Jesus’ birth the Pharisees; Jewish religious leaders of the day, had specific rules for staying “clean”. Never enter the home of a Gentile, never dine with sinners, perform no work on the Sabbath, wash your hands seven times before eating …

Well. I definitely would not have been clean according to the Pharisees’ rules. I’m a Gentile. Being a sinner myself, I’ve dined with sinners. I’ve had to work on Sundays. And although I always wash my hands before eating, I’m not obsessive about it.

It pleases me to know Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords, Christ, Messiah, Savior, Redeemer did not follow the Pharisees’ rules, either.

Jesus went out of his way to go into Gentile territory and involve himself in the lives of Gentiles and share the Gospel of who he is. He once praised a Roman centurion for having more faith than anyone in Israel. That included the religious leaders.

Jesus spent time talking with a Samaritan woman, even though the thought of the day was Jews did not associate with Samaritans. Not only was this person a Samaritan, she was a woman. The horror! (The Pharisees should have checked into Jesus’ genealogy for the number of women who were not Jews, yet their names are still recorded in the Bible.)

Before the Risen Christ returned to his Father in heaven, Jesus told his disciples to go into ALL the world and share the gospel to EVERYONE in Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. No one was to be rejected or eliminated from the Good News of salvation through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. No one.

Before the apostle Paul; that Pharisee of the Pharisees, saw the light – literally – he thanked God daily he was not a Gentile, slave, or woman. Yet, after his conversion, Paul became the disciple who shared the Gospel to the Gentile world. The man who once was grateful not to be a Gentile, slave or woman declared There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

We are all one in Christ. We are not separated into boxes or labels of people. We are simply people Christ died to save. Christ died for EVERYONE. It is by his grace we are saved through our faith in the power of his blood and resurrection.

Since someone was willing to share the Gospel with us at some point in our lives, shouldn’t we do the same, no matter who they are, what they look like, or where they live?

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In Christ, there is no difference between Jew and Greek, slave and free person, male and female. You are all the same in Christ Jesus.Galatians 3:28 (NCV)

Happy New Year, everybody! May 2017 be your best year, yet.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God’s Indescribable Gift

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Of all the gifts I’ve received one stands out—maybe because it was unexpected, unusually wrapped, and something I’d never seen before.

My father had a whimsy about him. At a time when money was tight and the gifts my parents gave were utilitarian, my father found a way to give me a special gift I needed.

One Christmas morning I stared at an enormous industrial-sized buff-colored bag leaning next to our tree. The bag was almost as tall as I was. There was no name on the bag. It could have been for any of us.

After all the gifts were opened except for the gigantic bag, I asked who it was for.

When my courtesy pixabayfather said it was mine, I rushed to the bag. Expecting to find a gigantic doll house or super sized doll, I ripped at the staples that held the bag closed.

But the bag wasn’t heavy enough to hold a doll house or large doll.

Not knowing what was inside, I stuck my hand in as far as it could go and found nothing.

I laid the bag on the floor, crawled inside, and bumped into something furry. Which caused me to scream.

When my father picked up the bag and turned it over, the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen fell out: a large black and brown fake-fur hat with pompoms at the end of the ties that would hold the hat on.

Thinking about God’s indescribable gift our heavenly Father gave the world more than 2,000 years ago, some might say that although the Messiah’s birth had been predicted, it was still unexpected. Because of the unusual way God wrapped his Gift, some found it difficult to accept. Nothing like God’s gift of his Son had been seen before.

Yet this special Gift was needed.

courtesy pixabay

To receive the unexpected and much needed gift my father gave me, I had to look beyond its unusual wrapping, open it, accept it, and put it on.

Just as with my furry hat, we have to open God’s indescribable gift, accept it, and put it on before it becomes ours.

Have you ever been surprised by a gift wrapped in an unusual package?

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Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!  2 Corinthians 9:15 (NIV)

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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Thy Will Be Done

courtesy milada vigerova_unsplash photosby Sandy Kirby Quandt

In the hours before Jesus was arrested and crucified he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane for God’s will to be done. Jesus asked for the horror of what he knew lie ahead of him to be removed if there was another way to save mankind; yet he prayed, “Thy will be done”, knowing God’s will truly is best.

We’ve read the account of Christ’s suffering and we also pray thy will be done in our lives, courtesy pixabaybut you know what? It’s awfully difficult to accept God’s will in those times when it goes so contrary to what we thought God had planned for us. When our dreams lie in ashes all around us, counting it all joy is probably not at the top of our to-do-list, but it should be.

When life pulls the rug out from under us we may become confused. We thought we were headed the direction God set before us. We don’t understand how the heartache we feel could possibly be part of that plan. God loves us, after all. How can this be?

courtesy pixabayWe find ourselves on our knees wondering. Questioning. Begging for answers. God may someday reveal to us how he brought beauty from these ashes. Or he may remain silent. The point we need to never forget is HE is God and we are not.

Have you found that as we surrender to God’s will in our lives, it becomes easier to pray thy will be done, believing God’s will truly is best? Easier. Not always easy.

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He walked away, perhaps a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed this prayer: “Father, if you are willing, please take away this cup of horror from me. But I want your will, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him, for he was in such agony of spirit that he broke into a sweat of blood, with great drops falling to the ground as he prayed more and more earnestly. Luke 22:42-44 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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