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Wandering Aimlessly

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The summer before Pie, our son, went into 9th grade, he and I took a trip to Australia and New Zealand with stops in Hawaii and Fiji.

I’d always wanted to explore Down Under. I particularly wanted to see if the sinks really drain counter-clockwise. They do!
The scenery was beautiful and varied. The people friendly and really do call you “Mate”. The wildlife was amazing and oh so unique.

When I’m north of the equator, I usually have no problem with direction, knowing where I am, and which way to head. Not so, south of the equator. My sense of direction was totally scrambled. Every time the hotel elevator doors opened, I’d head off in the wrong direction.

At first, Pie said something like, “You’re going the wrong way.”

I’d correct course, and we’d end up where we needed to be.

Eventually, as my lack of direction became more evident with no hope of improving, Pie anticipated my waywardness, grabbed, and pulled. No need for discussion.

Near the end of the trip I let Pie lead. Especially after I spent about half an hour wandering through our hotel on Mt. Cook in New Zealand trying to locate our room on my own.

This lack of sense of direction isn’t confined to adventures south of the equator. It applies to life.

How is our spiritual compass doing? Do we navigate without any problem when we’re in familiar surroundings, but lose our way when faced with the unknown?

When faced with the unknown, do we stay on our errant path, or rely on the true guide, Jesus, to grab and pull us the right direction?

How many times do we have to wander aimlessly on our own before we simply stop when the elevator door opens and let Jesus lead?

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The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in fields of green grass and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised. Psalm 23:1-3 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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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.

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.

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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