Sunday Scriptures Helping Houston Flood Victims

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Christian brothers, we want you to know how the loving-favor of God has been shown in the churches in the country of Macedonia. They have been put to the test by much trouble, but they have much joy. They have given much even though they were very poor. They gave as much as they could because they wanted to. They asked from their hearts if they could help the Christians in Jerusalem. It was more than we expected. They gave themselves to the Lord first. Then they gave themselves to us to be used as the Lord wanted. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (NLV)

In an email exchange with a writer friend in Harlan, Kentucky, Carlton told me a lady from Harlan organized a donation drive for the Houston flood victims. Oh, my. The truck was scheduled to leave Kentucky yesterday, September 2, 2017.

Unless you’ve been on the receiving end of such generosity you might find it hard to understand the impact that sacrificial act of the folks in Harlan has on my heart.

Kentucky and Houston are not next door neighbors by any stretch of the imagination. I just Googled it. The distance is 1,021 miles, and the predicted time to get here from there is 15 hours and 38 minutes. That is if the roads are passable and there is no traffic. Over 1,000 miles! For strangers. Amazing.

Houston has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of sacrificial love not just from fellow Houstonians and Texans, but from people all over the country.

This outpouring reminded me of the Macedonian church Paul spoke of in his second letter to the Corinthians. Macedonians were Greeks, not Jews. They were new Christians. They were people the Jerusalem Jews often looked down on. Yet … out of their poverty they gave to the Jerusalem church because of their love for God first, then their love for their fellow man.

I am not saying that you must do this, but I have told you how others have helped. This is a way to prove how true your love is. You know of the loving-favor shown by our Lord Jesus Christ. He was rich, but He became poor for your good. In that way, because He became poor, you might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:8-9 (NLV)

Only the Sovereign LORD knows how long the recovery of the Houston area will take. He is the one who places the desire to help on people’s hearts. There is great need, but I’m aware enough of my abilities and lack of, strengths and weaknesses to know although my heart cries for those who lost so very much, I’m limited in what I can do.

As a former elementary school teacher, my heart grieves for the children who lost all their new school clothes and fresh school supplies. I grieve for the teachers who worked so hard over the summer to have their classrooms ready and inviting those first few weeks of school.

I grieve. And in my grief I make a decision. I will contribute new clothes. New shoes. New school supplies to the school district where I taught. Clear Creek Independent School District is taking donations both physical and monetary to help those students so horribly impacted by Hurricane Harvey’s destruction.

Other districts are doing the same. If this is something that interests you, here’s the CCISD link to learn more.

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If a man is ready and willing to give, he should give of what he has, not of what he does not have. 2 Corinthians 8:12 (NLV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Unsin Me

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

While preparing to lead a lesson on David’s penitential Psalm 51 this month, I read a commentator who said “purify” was the same as “unsin”. Isn’t that interesting?

Psalm 51 is David’s petition to God for forgiveness after the prophet Nathan confronted David about his adultery with Bathsheba, and murder of her husband, Uriah. In this psalm David admits his guilt, and asks for God’s forgiveness. He pleads for the restoration of his relationship with God.

David pleads with God based on knowledge of who God is.

God is gracious, loving and compassionate. David understood God is our only hope. He understood we can go before God and confess our sins, knowing God will not hurt us despite our sin.

In this psalm David didn’t rationalize his sins as we might. He did not blame others for his actions. He made no excuses. He owned his sin and bowed before God in humility, begging for God’s forgiveness.

When David asked God to purify, or unsin him, he asked for God to take David’s sin away. Cleanse him through the sacrificial blood. Blot out his guilt as if no sin occurred. David asked God to return him to fellowship with God, and change his heart and life.

Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and shed blood paid the debt we owe for our sins. Still, God wants to see evidence of sorrow and brokenness over our sins from those who claim him as Lord. It is only through repentance of our sins we can have a restored relationship with God, and that restoration allows us to be useful to him once more.

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God, be merciful to me because you are loving. Because you are always ready to be merciful, wipe out all my wrongs. Wash away all my guilt and make me clean again. Psalm 51:1-2 (NCV)
 I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures – Friends

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

While I do believe there are random encounters in our lives, I also believe God places specific people — friends — in our lives either for us to be enriched from the relationship, or for them to be enriched through us.

With that thought in mind, I have a suggestion for us today. Let’s look back and consider those who have loved, cared for, taught, discipled, encouraged, or mentored us, and thank God for them.

Paper and pencil ready? Then, let’s go.

Who comes to mind first? Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, spouses?

What about ministers, youth leaders, Sunday school teachers, any other person whether in an official, or unofficial capacity who helped further our Biblical knowledge and understanding?

Are there friends we’d add to the list? Co-workers? I sure hope so.

Teachers? There’d better be one or two on the list.

Our list will consist of those who helped shape and mold us into the people we are today. Of course, each of us knows life is not a bowl full of jello, despite what Knucklehead Nellie sang in South Pacific, and there have been toxic people in our lives, as well. But we’re not going to think about them today.

Nope. Today is for thanking God for those positive people in our lives who helped make us better than we were before we met them. Today is also a time to reflect and consider whether our name will show up on the positive side of anyone’s list. Hmmm.

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As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures – What to Keep

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In the mid-1990s my mother’s house was hit by lightning and burned to the ground. She refused to leave her property in the country and move to town. Instead, she purchased a mobile home and had it placed on the property which had been in her family for generations.

One of the things Pilot and I did to help Mom after her new home arrived was go through the few belongings which survived the fire to decide what to keep and what to throw away.

Funny how what one person treasures another finds little use for.

I have a vivid recollection of Pilot and me sweating under the very hot southern Georgia summer heat, washing various kitchen items that hadn’t been consumed by the fire while my mother, aunt, and uncle sat chatting inside the air conditioned living room.

Whenever I felt something was beyond saving and should be thrown away, I had to clear it with Mom first. I’d hold the item up to the sliding glass window and Mom would shake her head yes or no. She didn’t open the slider for fear some of the a.c. would escape, I guess.

Before I washed the dull, long-bladed knife which had been around since before I was born, I knew for sure Mom would agree it needed to be tossed. The point at the end of the knife broke off long ago when Mom used it to pry something open. Spots of rust dotted both sides of the blade. Surely she would agree there was no need to keep the thing, but I knew I needed to get her approval first before I threw it away.

I held the knife to the slider. Mom shook her head no. Not satisfied with her answer, I opened the slider and explained the obvious reasons why I should not waste time washing something so useless.

“I started housekeeping with that knife” was all she said, and I proceeded to wash it shaking my head the whole time.

I’m not sure how many times Mom used that knife after that, but I do know the dull, broken, long-bladed, rust-spotted knife stayed in Mom’s kitchen until the day we moved her into the nursing home decades later.

As I pondered this memory, I thought of how sometimes we struggle with knowing what to keep and what to throw away in our beliefs. Sometimes we hold onto beliefs we learned years earlier in our Christian walk which, upon closer inspection and deeper biblical study, are no longer valid or useful.

We believe certain things because our parents believed them. We heard a preacher say something once which we kinda still believe, but aren’t really sure. Some author somewhere wrote something people talked about, so it must have some basis for truth.

Instead of relying on things we’ve heard others say, how about we search the scriptures and discover God’s truth for ourselves? What say we become students of the Word to gain a clearer understanding, and once we gain that understanding, apply God’s truth to our lives?

Instead of using a dull, broken, long-bladed, rust-spotted, incomplete understanding of the Truth, let’s determine to sharpen our learning so our knowledge will lead us to a better understanding of what to keep and what to throw away.

Is there anything you’ll admit you hang onto that should be thrown away?

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Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures – Betrayal

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Right now two people I care about are struggling with the betrayal of false accusations, lies, and venom which is being spewed towards them.

Being subject to such betrayal is nothing new in this world, but the worst part is the spewers are people these two have worshiped with and worked alongside for years to further God’s kingdom.

Like I’ve said before, Christians are the only army I know who intentionally shoot their own.

Jesus warned his disciples to expect persecution. After all, he was persecuted and betrayed. He warns us of the same. Whenever we work to advance the Kingdom of God, we can expect opposition. Satan will do everything in his power to stop us. He may even use people who sit in the church pew right beside us to accomplish his goals, if necessary.

Satan is crafty. He is a lion that prowls the streets looking for someone to devour. That’s why we need to be on our guard. We need to be vigilant. And when we are attacked for doing God’s work in this world, we need to realize those who attack us are merely pawns in the Great Deceiver’s hand. Lest we get puffed up — we can be used just as easily.

We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, the Sustainer of our faith. We need to guard our mouths and make sure we don’t lean toward the side of vengeance in our desire to set the record straight. We need to remember God is the One who’s opinion matters. Not those who choose to spread lies. We need to remember the truth of who God is, and who we are in his eyes.

What steps have you taken to move past the hurt of betrayal when you’ve been unjustly attacked?

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Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. John 15:20 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Our Founding Fathers Prayed

In Billy Graham’s devotional book, Hope for Each Day, he mentions a time at the early beginnings of the formation of the United States of America during a meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The purpose was the ratification of the constitution.

The delegates to the Congress became angry with each other, and because they could not resolve their conflicts or agree on anything at all, the delegates gathered their belongings and headed for the door.

Reminds me of the attitude children have when they can’t get there way. If I don’t get my way, then I’ll take my ball and go home.

Fortunately for our country, one man had enough sense to offer the correct solution.

Benjamin Franklin spoke to the delegates. It is reported these were his words.

Wait a minute, gentlemen. This country was conceived in faith in God. Many of us here believe in prayer. Let us get upon our knees and pray to Almighty God and see whether God shall give to us the answer to our dilemma.

The delegates to the Constitutional Convention put aside their differences, and for the good of our country surrendered their egos to God, got on their knees and prayed. The Constitution of the United States of America was the result of their prayers.

We have no lesser challenge today.

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Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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