Pause for Poetry — It’s Never Too Late

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Welcome to Pause for Poetry, featuring a poem, It’s Never Too Late, written by my writer-friend, Frances Gregory Pasch.

It’s Never Too Late

It’s never too late to start over;

God’s forgiveness never runs dry.

Just call out to Christ for deep cleansing;

He intercedes for you from on high.

Then step out in faith, fully trusting

That in Him you cannot go wrong;

With his Holy Spirit within you

You’ll rejoice and sing a new song.

©Frances Gregory Pasch

Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published hundreds of times in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Her book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry is available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991 and makes her own holiday greeting cards incorporating her poetry. She and her husband, Jim, have been married since 1958. They have five sons and nine grandchildren. Contact her at http://www.francesgregorypasch.com.

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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Happy Valentine’s Day

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. May understanding how much we are loved by the Creator God who knit us together in our mother’s womb bring joy to our hearts, and a smile to our face.

Because we are loved enough for God to allow his only son to die so we can have a relationship with him, shouldn’t we share that wonderful news with those who don’t know him?

Today and always, may we remember through Jesus we are:

  • Valued
  • Adored
  • Loved
  • Embraced
  • Nurtured
  • Treasured
  • Invited
  • Nobility
  • Esteemed

Now that’s what I call the ultimate Valentine.

What other words should we add?

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For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior. John 3:16-17 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God’s Hedge of Protection

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

A devotion I recently read in Streams in the Desert looked at God’s hedge of protection in a way I’d not considered before. Perhaps the thought will be a different way for you to think of God’s protection, as well.

In Mrs. Charles E. Cowman’s poem about the hawthorn hedge she points out although we may not always see the hedge’s thorns, they are always present. They become visible in winter and are covered in spring.

As I reflected on the devotion, but most especially on Mrs. Cowman’s poem, I realized we live our lives in seasons, do we not? There are seasons where the soft leaves of God’s hedge of protection shield us. There are also seasons where those same leaves fall, and the thorns of life protrude.

Regardless of the season we may be in at any point in time, leaves or no leaves, God’s hedge remains.

Nothing surprises the All-knowing God. He knows where the thorns in our lives are and he knows when they prick us. Whether the thorns are illness, unkind words, job uncertainty, betrayal, financial struggles, relationship problems, God knows.

And when we are pricked, he stands right there beside us comforting us until the soft leaves cover the thorns once again.

If you are in a season of thorns, I pray the soft leaves of God’s hedge will burst forth soon.

The hawthorn hedge that keeps us from intruding,
Looks very fierce and bare
When stripped by winter, every branch protruding
Its thorns that would wound and tear.

But spring-time comes; and like the rod that budded,
Each twig breaks out in green;
And cushions soft of tender leaves are studded,
Where spines alone were seen,

The sorrows, that to us seem so perplexing,
Are mercies kindly sent
To guard our wayward souls from sadder vexing,
And greater ills prevent.

To save us from the pit, no screen of roses
Would serve for our defense,
The hindrance that completely interposes
Stings back like thorny fence.

At first when smarting from the shock, complaining
Of wounds that freely bleed,
God’s hedges of severity us paining,
May seem severe indeed.

But afterwards, God’s blessed spring-time cometh,
And bitter murmurs cease;
The sharp severity that pierced us bloometh,
And yields the fruits of peace.

Then let us sing, our guarded way thus wending
Life’s hidden snares among,
Of mercy and of judgment sweetly blending;
Earth’s sad, but lovely song.”

Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

I don’t know about you, but I believe the sentiment in this poem well worth remembering.

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The Weymouth Bible translates James 1:2 as “whenever you find yourself hedged in by various trials.”

The Hawai’i Pidgin Bible translates James 1:2-3 this way.

You Like Know Wat Fo Do? Trus God!

My bruddas an sistas! Feel real good inside everytime you feel like you get hard time fo do wat God like you guys do. Cuz you know, afta you guys go thru all dat real hard time, an you guys still yet trus God, den dat goin make you guys hang in dea mo betta. James 1:2-3 (Hawai’I Pidgin)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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No More Faking Fine Book Review

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In No More Faking Fine, based on the theme of lamenting, Esther Fleece tells readers God meets them in their hurts and pain when they go to him in honest lament without a façade of fine. The author says, “God meets us where we are at and not where we pretend to be.”

Through recounting her broken childhood and dysfunctional family life Esther shows how she faked fine to deal with the pain. It took years before she realized God wants to hear our laments in order to heal us.

Some of the points Esther considered:

  • Was God doing this to me, or was God allowing this to happen?
  • Pain is not my fault. God is still with and for me.
  • Lament is expressing honest emotions to God when life isn’t going as planned.
  • We will be unsuccessful at sitting with hurting people if we have not allowed ourselves to grieve and go through the lament process ourselves.
  • Faking it will make me strong is a false promise of coping mechanisms.
  • Stuffing our emotions keeps the pain internalized where it can continue doing damage.
  • Not all pain has a direct cause and effect. Suffering may simply be a result of living in a fallen world, not a demonstration of God’s disfavor.
  • Real compassion to a person in pain is choosing not to project reasons and formulas on the why of a person’s suffering.
  • We can pray for specific outcomes, but need to be open to God’s response and not make our faith dependent on the answer I want.

A lot to think about.

Is there anything in Esther’s list that speaks to where you are at this point in time?

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I wish you well.

Sandy

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An Act of Humility and Love

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

One of the highlights of Pilot and my October trip last year was a visit to the Museum of Appalachia in Norris, Tennessee. If you ever have the opportunity to visit this wonderful museum, go. We’d been there years before and I couldn’t wait to return.

I love walking around this collection of Southern Appalachia pioneer buildings and artifacts, imagining what it was like to be one of the hardy mountain folk who lived in these buildings; gaining a greater appreciation of my Appalachian heritage.

Just like on any trip or outing, my camera got a workout focusing and snapping pictures.

There was an expansive peacock population with one male in particular giving quite the show, as he tried to impress a goat who could not have cared less. Too funny.

Pilot took advantage of the empty country church with its well-worn split log benches to play hymns on his dulcimer for an audience of One. The giver of the gift.

As I wandered around the grounds and its thirty-six buildings, my eyes more times than not, looked through my camera’s lens. Not where I stepped.

Coming down a path dug into the side of the rise behind one cabin, I planted my foot right in the middle of a copious amount of peacock poop. Yucky. Not content to stay on the bottom of my hiking boot, the watery mess seeped up the leather side as well.

No matter how much I dragged my foot through the dew-drenched grass, that mess was not about to disengage itself.

Although this is where I could turn the messy misstep into an application of watching where we trod, that’s not what I’m going to do. I’m going to tell you that in an act of humility and love, after I changed shoes, put the boots in a plastic bag outside the RV to deal with later, and continued shooting final pictures before we left, Pilot took my boots and washed them for me.

I didn’t ask Pilot to clean up the mess I got myself into. I planned to clean them later once we reached our campsite for the night.

This reminds me of what Jesus did when he took a basin of water, wrapped a towel around his waist, kneeled before the disciples in the upper room before his betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection, and washed their feet in humility and love. Christ washed ALL the disciples’ feet. Judas and Peter included.

Christ’s love for them, and us, was so great he willingly became a servant to those he created; knowing the ultimate sacrifice of taking on the sins of the world and becoming the sacrificial Lamb of God was mere hours away.

But Jesus didn’t leave it there, did he? He didn’t just wash their feet and get up. Jesus gave the disciples a command. He gives us the same command.

Jesus wants us to serve each other as he served humanity in humility and love, laying aside any claim to his right to be served.

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 I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet. You, then, should wash one another’s feet.  I have set an example for you, so that you will do just what I have done for you.  John 13:14-15 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

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