Holding Onto Jesus

bingBy Sandy Kirby Quandt

Comfort can be found in difficult times when we are assured of another’s presence, wouldn’t you agree?

As a child, just knowing a trusted adult was within arm’s reach or hollering distance often was enough to take care of whatever troubles seemed to be threatening. Knowing there was someone bigger than us who had our best interest at heart and had the power to deal with whatever Bogey Man was out there was enough.

When I was in sixth grade an intruder made its way down our chimney. It flew straight through the living room, turned right and ascended up the stairs. It took another right and ended up in my room where I lay in my bed, reading the latest Nancy Drew mystery before I fell asleep.

At first I wasn’t sure what flapped its wings within inches of my head. Maybe a bird attracted to my bedside lamp? On the second fly-by, I knew.

bingI threw the covers over my head and screamed, “There’s a bat in my room! There’s a bat in my room!” over and over while the monster beat its wings around me.

Within minutes my father appeared at the top of the stairs. He glanced into my room and said, “There isn’t a man in your room.” Which is what he thought I’d screamed.

As soon as the words left his lips, the denizen of the night buzzed Dad’s head. Turning  toward the stairs, my father assured me he’d be right back. He instructed me to stay absolutely still and quiet then ran downstairs, grabbed the broom, and charged back into my room.

It took several attempts before Dad finally managed to bingbeat the bat senseless enough to take it outside. On the side of my bed of all places.

Sorry if such a thought upsets any of you.

I knew enough about Dracula and blood sucking vampire bats to know my dad had just saved my life, and I didn’t really worry too much — only a little bit — about the bat’s imminent demise.

Yes, children like to be assured someone will come to their rescue when they scream out for help, but you know what? Adults want that same assurance.

Is that not so?

While it is oh so nice to have people we can rely on help us in our times of distress, our ultimate help is found in Jesus Christ alone.

When our hearts are breaking, Jesus is the Comforter who holds us and wipes away our tears until our hearts have mended.

When our pain seems unending, Jesus is the Great Physician who gives us the strength to keep going one step at a time.

When the events of life make us fearful and threaten to pull us under, Jesus is our Peace amid the storm. He’s in our boat with us. He won’t abandon ship.

Jesus is a ready help in our times of trouble. He has our best interest at heart. He is the omnipotent all-powerful one who overcame death and rose again after being buried in the ground for three days. Nothing is too hard for him.

We can rest in the knowledge Jesus is within reach. He will never leave or forsake us.

flying batsWhen life feels a little unsettled and unsure, and creatures of the night flap around our heads, we have a source of comfort available to us in Jesus.

Like a father taking his mighty broom to the things that fly through our lives and threaten to harm us, Jesus’ love will protect and keep us safe.

Any tales of terror you’ve been saved from you’d care to share?

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

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Get Moving

Isaiah 40

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Re-reading the story of Moses and the Isrealites fleeing Egypt got me to thinking how much I love the way events in the Bible apply to us today.

If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed I like to use different translations and versions of the Bible in my posts. I like to read familiar passages in different translations to see things in a new light.

This past week I used the Living Bible Translation to read the passage from Exodus 14 that tells how Pharaoh chased the Israelites after he told them they could leave Egypt. I hee-hawed myself at the wording of God’s response to Moses and the people when he told them to cross the Red Sea.

What made the passage so funny to me is the fact God could have been telling me the exact same thing, in the exact same words. Maybe he’s saying the same thing to you, too.

Just to refresh our memory on the story, Moses is leading between two and three million people out of Egypt. They see the Egyptians speeding toward them. Those Hebrews at the back of the pack may have been the most fearful.

Although they were miraculously spared when the Death Angel passed over the homes of all Egypt, and killed the first born of every family not covered by the blood of the sacrificial lamb, they still weren’t completely sold on this deliverance business. They were fearful. They cried out to the Lord for help. They whined against Moses.

The people wanted to know why they’d been brought to the desert to die. Weren’t there enough graves in Egypt? They told Moses to leave them alone. It was all Moses’ fault.

Like any good leader, Moses told the people not to be afraid. He told them to stand still and watch what God would do. The Lord would do all the fighting for them.

Now again, if you’re amid the ones closest to the rapidly advancing Egyptian army, standing still may not be your first plan of action.

Here comes the part that had me laughing and looking at myself when I re-read this scripture:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Quit praying and get the people moving! Forward, march!”

Quit your praying, and get yourself moving.

God had a plan to save the Hebrews, but if they didn’t get their feet moving toward that Red Sea they weren’t going to make it across on dry land. God most definitely would do his part and save his people, but they had to do their part as well. They had to get moving.

Perhaps like me, you are in a place where you need to get yourself moving. You’ve prayed, and you’ll keep praying. God hears, and he’ll keep hearing. He’ll do his part, but we have to do our part.

Forward, march!

Where do you need to step out and move your feet?

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

 As the Egyptian army approached, the people of Israel saw them far in the distance, speeding after them, and they were terribly frightened and cried out to the Lord to help them.

And they turned against Moses, whining, “Have you brought us out here to die in the desert because there were not enough graves for us in Egypt? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Isn’t this what we told you, while we were slaves, to leave us alone? We said it would be better to be slaves to the Egyptians than dead in the wilderness.”

 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch, and you will see the wonderful way the Lord will rescue you today. The Egyptians you are looking at—you will never see them again. The Lord will fight for you, and you won’t need to lift a finger!”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Quit praying and get the people moving! Forward, march! Use your rod—hold it out over the water, and the sea will open up a path before you, and all the people of Israel shall walk through on dry ground! Exodus 14:10-16 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Lessons Learned From Pulling Weeds

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Pulling weeds can be a lot like removing sin.

Several days ago I lamented about the dreary weather we experienced throughout the first month of 2015. Today, however, the sun did indeed come out again! And with it, I was outside by 9 am determined to tackle some of the weeds in the patch of earth by our back fence.

This is the same area of real estate I commit to clearing up each year. Something I’ve noticed is, I never quite get the whole fence row looking as it should. More often than not I give up one third of the way through. And mind you, our yard is not large. I just get tired and quit worrying with the weeds.

I pull those pesky weeds, lay a “weed resistant” blanket over the dirt, and cover that with mulch.

Last year I discovered the squirrels had dug up the weed blanket and carried it off to their nests. Hope it met their needs.

Because of all the rain we’ve had recently, pulling the weeds was easy-peasy. An unexpected answer. Thank you, Jesus.

As I pulled I thought…

  • If we don’t dig out the root of sin, it will just pop right back
  • If I don’t get the whole root, the weed will just come right back
  • Some of the weeds sneaked under the fence from the neighbor’s yard
  • If we aren’t careful our neighbors’ sins can become our own
  • Getting rid of weeds is a lot easier if done when they are small
  • Getting rid of sin is the same thing
  • Those weeds I didn’t get rid of last year had time to grow and become tougher to remove
  • The sins we don’t deal with when we first notice them will be more difficult to remove the longer we allow them to take up residence
  • Weeds with shallow roots weren’t hard to remove
  • Sins we haven’t allowed to get deep into our soul are easier to remove
  • Although the weed resistant blanket doesn’t keep all the weeds out, it helps
  • We need a barrier between us and those habits that can turn into sins
  • All the weeds may not get removed in one day
  • Our sins probably will not magically disappear the first time we try to remove them
  • When removing weeds, care must be taken to keep the healthy plants intact
  • Ruthless efforts to remove sin may cause damage
  • Pulling weeds and taking steps to keep them from returning is a lot of work…I’ll probably enlist help to complete the job
  • Getting rid of our sins is work…we need to enlist help from Jesus, the one who paid the price so our sins could be rooted out and removed forever

Got a garden full of weeds in your life? What steps are you taking to get rid of them? Maybe the first step is admitting there are weeds in our garden and determining to do something about them.

Leave your comments 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—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.”

Isaiah 43:25 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Rebuild The Wall

Isaiah 40by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Around the 5th Century B.C. the cup bearer of the Persian King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah, felt God leading him from Susa back to his forefather’s land of Jerusalem to rebuild the wall of the city that had been destroyed when the Jews were taken away into captivity by the Babylonians years earlier.

In the Book of Nehemiah, we see a man who prayed to God for guidance before he began a task, prayed as he worked on the task, and prayed giving God the praise and glory for answers to his prayers. He prayed as events in his life unfolded.

We should learn from his example and do the same.

When Nehemiah asked Artaxerxes to allow him to leave his position in the palace and go to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall around the city, he prayed “to the God of heaven” before he made his request. (2:4) When the king granted Nehemiah’s request he gave God the credit for the favorable answer saying, “And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.” (2:8)

As the people of Jerusalem worked together to rebuild the wall and secure the city, their efforts were met with opposition. Threats were made. Intimidating messages were sent to discourage them. Murderous plots were planned to lure Nehemiah away. Yet, in the midst of all this, Nehemiah stuck to the work God set before him…rebuild the wall. He told his detractors, “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” (6:3)

In 52 days the work to rebuild a 1 1/2 mile wall around the city of Jerusalem was completed. “The enemies were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.” (6:15-16)

You think God had something to do with the completion of that wall? You think Nehemiah’s prayers had something to do with the work being completed? You think?

We have tasks God has set before us, too, don’t we? Maybe we aren’t building a 1 1/2 mile long wall around a city,but nevertheless, if we are building for God, we will face opposition. Satan is not happy when we ignore the negative voices around us that try to discourage, threaten, and intimidate us. He especially is not happy when we seek out God in prayer.

Like Nehemiah, we have the best weapon ever…we have the privilege to go to our God, the Creator of the Universe, in prayer for his help and strength to complete the good works we were created in Christ to complete, through the power of the Holy Spirit living in us.

When we are frightened and feel like giving up, we need to remember Nehemiah and how he refused to listen to his enemies. Instead, he talked with God before he began a task, while he was working on the task, and once the task was completed.

Are there things you believe God’s calling you to do, but detractors are trying to pull you away from completing the tasks? What are you going to do?

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

 For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands.” Nehemiah 6:9

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunshine in My Soul

bingby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Dreary weather. No sunshine. Bitter wind. Cold temperatures. Rain. Yuk. Sigh.

That pretty much sums up the beginning of 2015 in my part of the world. I understand we aren’t the only ones to experience nasty weather, and I sympathize with those who battle the elements to a greater intensity, but for us, where it is usually at least partly sunny most days, the absence of sunshine has been downright depressing.

A small ray of the bright stuff every now and then is appreciated.

Fortunately, the rain stopped and the sun is once again casting shadows across the yard.

While we waited for the dreariness of the past month to end, it would have been bingeasy to think the sun was never going to come out. It would have been easy for our attitudes to become as gloomy as the weather.

In life, I believe, there are times our  outlook on life can become dreary without a ray of hope in it. Those times are enough to turn even the most cheerful person into a person of gloom, despair, and agony.

When those clouds of darkness come over us, it’s easy to wonder if we’ll ever experience the glow of light again. It becomes difficult to look past the darkness that envelopes to even consider things could get better. Hope of brighter days can vanish like the morning fog.

During these times of misery and seeming defeat we need to keep our eyes off our situation, and keep them on Jesus, the Light of the World in whom there is no darkness. He is the one who can turn our darkness into light. It is his hand that can guide us by faith through the dreariness of life.

bingLike Annie sang in the musical of the same name, the sun will come out tomorrow. We won’t be left in perpetual darkness, gloom, and despair if we hold onto the Light of the World, because no matter what it looks like outside there is sunshine in our souls.

Amen?

Feeling like the sun will never shine again? Call out to Jesus. Look to him to replace your dreariness with his light.

What do you do when the dreariness of life seems to overwhelm?

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

And the city did not need the sun or the moon. The glory of God was shining on it, and the Lamb was its light. Revelation 21:23 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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