About Sandy Quandt

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Suppose

When I was in third grade, I participated in group piano lessons after school. We used wooden keyboards, which made absolutely no sense at all to my way of thinking. How were you supposed to know if you played the correct note when you sat there hitting a piece of wood made to look like a piano? That keyboard didn’t fool me.

As our end of year recital approached, the teacher told each student to bring a piece of sheet music for her approval of the song we would learn, memorize, and play. Well. I couldn’t figure out what to play. Especially since my piano proficiency was rather lacking.

My Aunt Docia in Kentucky learned of my dilemma and sent music she thought would be a good fit. It helped that Aunt Docia was a piano teacher. The piece she sent was called, “Suppose”.

I don’t remember a whole lot about the piece other than it was simple. Yay. It had words such as clouds, puppies, and kittens, I think. When I showed the music to my piano teacher, it met with her approval. Another Yay.

Although I don’t remember the words to the song, I do remember. to this day decades later, what one fellow student said–a girl whose name I don’t recall. “Suppose you can’t learn the song in time.” Bwahahaha.

I may have stuck my tongue out at her.

I probably stuck my tongue out at her.

I learned the song and though nervous beyond words during the recital, managed to play “Suppose”, and get off the stage without fainting. Or throwing up.

The catalyst for this post about “Suppose” is a devotion I read in Streams in the Desert by Hannah Whitall Smith. Ms. Smith described a joyful woman who worked hard to earn a meager living. One day another woman approached her and said, “I understand your happiness today, but I would think your future prospects would sober you. Suppose, for instance, you experience a time of illness and are unable to work. Or suppose your present employers move away, and you cannot find work elsewhere. Or suppose… ”

To which the joyful woman replied, “Stop! I never suppose. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. And besides, it’s all that supposing that’s making you so miserable. You’d better give that up and simply trust the Lord.”

Wise advice, don’t you agree?

What say we quit with the suppose, and trust the Lord knows what he’s doing.

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Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me? Hebrews 13:5-6 (GNT)

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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All the Parts and Pieces

Perhaps you’ve watched compilation virtual videos (I’m sure there’s a specific name for this, but that’s what I’m going with) during this time of social isolation, where people sing or play instruments at their homes. The video combines all the parts and pieces and shows everyone singing/playing together on the screen at one time. Pretty amazing.

Each separate part is essential to create a complete picture. By themselves, the voice or instrument is only a small piece of many which combines to create a whole.

As I considered this, I thought of all the tiny parts and pieces of our days, our lives, which look insignificant or minor in the grand scheme of things. However, when we allow some distance between those events and look over the past, we can see how God used those small parts and pieces to bring us to where we are today. In the process, creating a masterpiece which required every one of those parts.

Even the hard, wish it never happened thank you very much, parts.

At the end of the book of Genesis we read the story of Joseph. An excellent example of a life full of parts and pieces which looked anything but good. Yet, through God’s sovereignty and grace, turned out better than imagined. For what man planned for evil, God used for good.

Yeah. There are parts and pieces in my life I shook my head at, wondered about how any good could possibly come from then, and asked God what the deal was. If I really take the time and look back over these places, I see how each separate part was essential to create a complete picture. Much like a virtual choir. Or a teenager sold into slavery by his older brothers and later rose to second in command in Egypt.

How do you view all the varied parts and pieces of your life? As random events which mean little in the grand scheme of things or as part of a masterpiece being created by a sovereign God?

“God meant it unto good” — O blest assurance,
Falling like sunshine all across life’s way,
Touching with Heaven’s gold, earth’s darkest storm clouds,
Bringing fresh peace and comfort day by day.

‘Twas not by chance the hands of faithless brothers
Sold Joseph captive to a foreign land;
Nor was it chance that, after years of suffering,
Brought him before the Pharaoh’s throne to stand.

One Eye-all-seeing saw the need of thousands,
And planned to meet it through that one lone soul;
And through the weary days of prison bondage
Was working toward the great and glorious goal.

As yet the end was hidden from the captive,
The iron entered even to his soul;
His eye could scan the present path of sorrow,
Not yet his gaze might rest up in the whole.

Faith failed not through those long, dark days of waiting,
His trust in God was reimbursed at last,
The moments came when God led forth His servant,
To comfort many, all his sufferings past.

“It was not you but God, that led me to here,”
Witnessed triumphant faith in later days;
“God meant it unto good,” no other reason
Mingled their discord with his song of praise.

“God means it unto good” for you, beloved,
The God of Joseph is the same today;
His love permits afflictions, strange and bitter,
His hand is guiding through the unknown way.

Your Lord, who sees the end from the beginning,
Has purposes for you of love untold,
Then place your hand in His and follow fearless,
Till you the riches of His grace behold.

Then, when you stand firm in the Home of glory,
And all life’s paths lie open to your gaze,
Your eyes will SEE the hand that you’re now trusting,
And magnify His love through endless days.

Freda Hanbury Allen

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So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose. Romans 8:28 (TPT)

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Gluten-free Cabbage Patch Stew Recipe

I adapted this yummy gluten-free Cabbage Patch Stew recipe from Blind Pig and the Acorn. Pilot made dumplings to go with it, but we decided it’s better without them.

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 16 oz stewed tomatoes
  • 15 1/2 oz kidney, OR black beans
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoons chili powder

Cook and stir ground beef in Dutch oven until brown. Drain

Add onions, cabbage, and celery. Cook and stir until vegetables are light brown.

Stir in tomatoes, beans (with liquid), water, salt, pepper, and chili powder.

Heat to boiling. Reduce heat.

Cook uncovered over low heat 10 minutes.

Cover and cook an additional 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Man’s Traditions or God’s Commands?

A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy. You may ask, why do we stay up here if it’s so dangerous? We stay because Anatevka is our home. And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in a word–tradition….Tradition. Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as–as a fiddler on the roof!

(Tevye. Fiddler on the Roof based on Sholem Aleichem’s Stories. Book by Joseph Stein. Music by Jerry Bock. Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick.)

Tradition, tradition–Tradition. Tradition, tradition–Tradition.

If you’ve seen the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, or listened to the recording, or read the play, perhaps the catching little phrase from the first scene is running through your mind right now.

If you are unfamiliar with this story, which ranks up there among one of my favorite musicals, it is the tale of Tevye, a hard-working dairyman whom God has blessed with five daughters. Tevye loves his family and his God. Traditions are extremely important to him. But times are changing in Tsarist Russia in 1905, which make Tevye question some traditions he once held as irrevocable. Mainly the need for a matchmaker to choose husbands for his daughters.

Before you scratch your head and wonder why I’m discussing Fiddler on the Roof, I’m getting there.

The other morning as I read the seventh chapter of Mark, Fiddler on the Roof came to mind.

Tradition.

Jesus rebuked the religious leaders as frauds and hypocrites because they held to man-made traditions. They abandoned God’s commandments so they could keep their rituals. Then Jesus added, “How skillful you’ve become in rejecting God’s law in order to maintain your man-made set of rules.”

Tradition.

We all have them. They are a part of who we are. Like, say, eating German Chocolate Cake for breakfast on your birthday. Many of us continue traditions we grew up with. Perhaps we adapt them to fit the times, but we still have them. And that’s okay. Where I believe we have problems is when we cling to man-made traditions, much like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, and in doing so we deviate from God’s commandments.

In one of my college classes, the professor told a story. One day a mother and daughter prepared a roast. After the mother cut the roast into two pieces and placed each piece in a separate pan, the daughter asked why. The mother replied that was the way her mother did it. They then asked the grandmother why. The grandmother said she cut the roast in two because she didn’t have a pan large enough to put the whole roast in.

Tradition.

Spoiler alert ahead.

By the end of Fiddler on the Roof, three of Tevye’s daughters marry. For the first daughter, he concocts a bizarre dream scene to explain breaking the tradition of a perfect match made by the matchmaker. The second daughter’s decision to marry causes a little more unease for Tevye. He notes breaking tradition is like pulling out a thread…where will it lead? When the last daughter decides to marry someone outside the Jewish faith, this tradition Tevye cannot agree with.

As I considered this passage in Mark alongside this musical, I wondered how much do I, do you, cling to man-made traditions, giving little regard to God’s commands? Do we value looking good in the eyes of men above pleasing our Father? Do we abandon living as Jesus lived and instructed us to live, to fit in with the world around us and keep men’s rituals?

Tradition.

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Jesus replied, “You are frauds and hypocrites! How accurately did Isaiah prophesy about you phonies when he said: ‘These people honor me with their words while their hearts run far away from me! Their worship is nothing more than a charade!  For they continue to insist that their man-made traditions are equal to the instructions of God.’

“You abandon God’s commandments just to keep men’s rituals, such as ceremonially washing utensils, cups, and other things.”

Then he added, “How skillful you’ve become in rejecting God’s law in order to maintain your man-made set of rules.” Mark 7:6-9 (TPT)

You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks.

Use What God Gives

In the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Judges, we read God wanted to give opportunity to the people of Israel to exercise faith and obedience in conquering their enemies. It was a test to see whether they would obey the commandments the Lord gave them through Moses. But the people didn’t destroy the enemies of God. Instead they adapted their ways and disobeyed God. So God’s anger flamed out against Israel. (Judges 3:8)

After Israel cried out to the Lord, he raised up a judge, Othni-el, to reform and purge Israel to help conquer their enemies. For forty years there was peace in the land. When Othni-el died, however, the people of Israel turned once again to their sinful ways. So God let them be conquered by their enemies.

The cycle repeated. The people cried out to God. This time he sent Ehud, a left-handed man, to save them. After Ehud’s death, the people again sinned against the Lord, so he let them be conquered.

The judge following Ehud was Shamgar. We have one verse in the Bible to tell us about Shamgar. In that one verse we learn Shamgar used what he had, an oxgoad (cattle prod). By using what he had, Shamgar saved Israel from disaster.

Shamgar was a herdsman when God called him to go against Israel’s enemy, the Philistines. He was a simple man going about his everyday, maybe even mundane, job in a non-specific place far from the spotlight. Nothing heroic about that. Kinda reminds me of how Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars movie started out.

Shamgar wasn’t a soldier equipped with a sword. His weapon was what he had on hand, what he was comfortable using. An oxgoad. And actually, few in Israel even owned a sword at this time since they lacked the technology to forge one. (1Samuel 13:19-22)

One thing though, Shamgar’s willingness to be used by God ranks as heroic in my eyes, regardless of the weapon. Even more so. He offered God what he had, the thing God gave him, in the place God put him, and let God take care of the rest.

Use what God gives you. Easy to say, right? How often do we actually follow through with that thought?

More times than not, I suspect we look at what God gives us and believe it is too small to be of any use. Or that whatever we have couldn’t possibly serve any real purpose. Maybe we believe what God gives us is nothing compared to what our enemy comes against us with.

When we tell ourselves these things, we lean toward believing in our inability more than we believe in God’s ability.

Maybe we look at our oxgoad and wish for a sword to do God’s work, thinking surely we’d be more effective holding something else. Maybe we look at our ordinary world and believe we could accomplish more to advance God’s kingdom if we lived somewhere else. Maybe instead of doing all that, we should look at Shamgar’s example and willingly offer God what we have, leaving the results up to him.

There be giants in the land, my friends. Giants as large as any Goliath. God calls us to use what God gives us to battle those giants. He wants us to use the tools he places in our hands. It might be a slingshot and a stone. It might be an oxgoad. Doesn’t matter. When we willingly use what God gives, giants will fall and mountains will move.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

The next leader was Shamgar son of Anath. He too rescued Israel, and did so by killing six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. Judges 3:31 (GNT)

You can find my July Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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