Mary Was Blessed Among Women

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Many a time I’ve tried. I really have. But I just cannot imagine what it was like to be Mary, the mother of Jesus. To be a teenager engaged to be married, and told you would become pregnant with a child that was not your intended’s? To be told by an angel, of all things.

That right there would be scary enough.

God found favor in Mary. He chose her to give birth to the long awaited, much prayed for Messiah. Savior. Deliver. Mary was blessed above all others.

Bing Photos

A poor girl from the village of Nazareth. A descendant of the House of David. Mary 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 the fact Mary held the Savior in her womb. Affirmation of who Jesus was. Who Mary was.

There were the angels. The shepherds. The wise men. Anna and Simeon in the temple.  Witnesses 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 if we’ve claimed Jesus as our LORD and Savior, we carry Christ inside us through the power of the Holy Spirit.

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.

Do you ever wonder how Mary felt when she found out she would be the mother of the Messiah?

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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 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Ezekiel and the Valley of Dry Bones

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

The Bible story of Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones both scared and fascinated me when I first heard it as a child. The thought of Ezekiel walking around a valley full of the bones of dead people, and then watching those same dry bones turn into living human beings once more, was really more than I could comprehend.

God’s people were, as Ezekiel’s vision described them, a valley of very dry bones. They courtesy pixabayhad wandered far from the God who loved them, and in their turning away were punished.

Their hopelessness felt as dry as a valley of bones. They had no life in them. As far as Ezekiel could tell, those bones were wasted and good for nothing.

But God asked Ezekiel a question. He asked if those bones could become people again. To which Ezekiel replied only God knew the answer.

God said he would make the dry bones live and breathe again. He would replace their flesh and muscles and cover them with skin. God would put breath into the bones, and they would live and know God is the Lord. God revived, restored, and made the people usable once more.

courtesy pixabayJust as God restored the house of Israel and returned his people to him, he can do the same for each of us. God cares about every one of us, and can give us new life, even when our life feels like a valley of  bones.

We may feel dried up, shriveled, and empty, but in the hand of the Creator God, there is hope.

The One who created us and knit us together in our mother’s womb is the One who can revive, restore, and make us usable once more. All it takes is for us to allow God to put his breath into our bones and acknowledge he is Lord.

How does Ezekiel’s story of dry bones coming to life make you feel?

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The power of the Lord was upon me and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley full of old, dry bones that were scattered everywhere across the ground. He led me around among them, and then he said to me: “Son of dust, can these bones become people again?”

I replied, “Lord, you alone know the answer to that.”

Then he told me to speak to the bones and say: “O dry bones, listen to the words of God, for the Lord God says, ‘See! I am going to make you live and breathe again! I will replace the flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you shall live and know I am the Lord.’”

So I spoke these words from God, just as he told me to; and suddenly there was a rattling noise from all across the valley, and the bones of each body came together and attached to each other as they used to be. Then, as I watched, the muscles and flesh formed over the bones, and skin covered them, but the bodies had no breath. Then he told me to call to the wind and say: “The Lord God says: Come from the four winds, O Spirit, and breathe upon these slain bodies, that they may live again.” Ezekiel 37:1-9 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Happy Veteran’s Day on the 11th to all those of you out there who bravely and sacrificially served, or are currently serving, the United States of America. I appreciate you.

God Gives Us More Than We Deserve

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

God gives us much more than we deserve. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. He lavishes his love upon us. We are adopted into his family through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus. Because of that sacrifice, we have an inheritance beyond measure. We are joint heirs with Christ. A child of the King.

None of this is due to anything we have done, or who we are. It is only because of what Jesus did, and who he is. Jesus bought us with his precious blood. He paid our debt. He conquered Satan, and broke the chains of sin that bound us.

Daily Jesus stands before his father, the Righteous Judge, pleading the case of those who courtesy pixabayhave accepted him as their Savior.

When we mess up one more time, and wonder how Christ could possibly continue to love us, grace and love flow from the Father’s throne and cover us.

Jesus provided a way for each of us to receive the gift of life, which is much more than we deserve, and spared us from receiving the penalty of death, which apart from him, we did deserve.

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You know that in the past you were living in a worthless way, a way passed down from the people who lived before you. But you were saved from that useless life. You were bought, not with something that ruins like gold or silver, but with the precious blood of Christ, who was like a pure and perfect lamb.1 Peter 1:18-19 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Put God First

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Pilot and I recently returned from a trip exploring God’s glorious creation in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. Amazing. But before we went on our trip and experienced all the greatness God had in store for us, we had a list of things which needed to be done first.

RV serviced? Check. Menu planned, groceries purchased? Check. Destination mapped out, clothes packed, blog posts for the month written ahead of time? Check and double check.

With those important things taken care of first, we were free to enjoy our trip.

While a trip might not be in your foreseeable future, putting first things first probably still applies.

Cooking dinner? I’m sure a menu was planned, groceries were purchased, and supplies courtesy pixabaygathered.

Starting a new hobby? You’ve probably looked into what the hobby will entail and proceeded accordingly, taking lessons or gathering equipment.

Beginning a new job? Maybe you’ve gone on a dry-run to make sure you’ve set aside enough time to arrive on time.

What about our relationship with God? Is God first in our lives? Do we put God before everything else? When we awake each morning, is praising God our first thought, or is it something we might get around to before our head hits our pillows at night?

Do we praise God and give him the glory for all he has done in our lives, and the lives of those around us, before we come to him with our list of wants, desires, and needs? Is our desire to know God and feel his presence an ongoing quest?

Instead of coming before God and listening to what he has to say, sometimes I believe we come to God with our list of wants, and expect to check them off much like I check off my pre-trip to-do list.

courtesy pixabayGod wants us to enjoy all the many good things he has for us, but to fully appreciate all his gifts and goodness, we must put him first in our lives. Seeking God’s face needs to be at the top of our to-do list, no matter what it is we set about doing.

When we put God first, we are then free to enjoy this trip we call life. Agreed?

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But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Need to Trust God

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Trust.

  • Belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc. (Webster’s Dictionary)

Trust.

  • To be bold, confident, secure, sure, put confidence in, rely on, hope. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

The Bible is filled with scriptures that talk of trust in God. Time and again we are called to boldly believe God is reliable, good, effective and will do what he says he will do. We are shown multiple instances of people who trusted God despite their situation.

One such person was King David. If we take a close look at David, we know he waited many years from the moment the prophet Samuel anointed him, until the time the people fully accepted him as their king following Saul’s death.

courtesy pixabayWe know David spent years fleeing from Saul’s wrath. As he fled, he faced one mountain-sized problem after another.

Throughout the Psalms that David wrote, we read his pleas for God’s intervention.

Although things weren’t working out the way David envisioned on his road to the throne, he never let go of his bold confidence that God was reliable, good, and worthy of his hope.

David trusted in Jehovah God.

Few of us have been tapped to lead a nation, but each of us has been tasked with using our abilities in one way or the other for God.

What I’m finding to be true is just because we’re doing something for the Lord, that does not mean all will be smooth sailing, and all the mountains will be removed. What I see happening more times than not, when we step out to make a difference for God, the mountains pop up and block our way.

Have you ever noticed that?

We may wonder, as King David did, what’s the deal? What’s with the sheer rock cliff we’re courtesy pixabayfacing? What’s with this wide river that stretches between us and our God-honoring goal? Why haven’t the dreams God gave us been fulfilled? Why?

I don’t have the answers. In fact, I ask myself those very same questions frequently.

What’s the deal?

That’s when I look at David and the psalms he wrote, and I remember how long he waited before God’s promise was fulfilled.

And I remember it all goes back to trust. Trusting the One who is faithful, good, and true. Even when the mountains ARE. NOT. MOVING.

I think of David and decide I must be bold, confident and secure that I’m heading the right direction, even though there are rivers to wade through.

In hope, I hold on to the truth God knows the future. He’s been there. His timing is perfect. Always has been. Always will be. When he says it’s time, those mountains are gonna’ fall.

I’d love to know how you handle trusting while you wait for God to move your mountains.

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But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me. Psalms 13:5-6 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my posts is scheduled to appear on Inspire a Fire March 1, 2016. Please stop by.