Sunday Scriptures — Like Trees Growing Beside the Water

Isaiah 40By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Creation amazes me. Nature amazes me. The handiwork of our Creator God amazes me. Look up into the heavens. Listen to a bird sing. Watch a sunrise or sunset. Smell a fragrant flower. Taste a luscious berry. Wiggle your fingers through the deep fibers of sheep fleece. Amazing.

Driving through the plains of Central United States also fascinates me. While Pilot drives, I scan the landscape. Every time I spot a tree with green leaves I point it out. Then I look closely and make the same observation…the tree is growing near a water source. It’s probably the same trees each time we make our trips northwestward, nonetheless, I take notice.

A tree growing beside the water does not dry up no matter how harsh the conditions around it. That tree will be fruitful while others shrivel and die. It need never worry about a lack of rain, because its roots reach deep to the water source.

Can the same be said of us?

Have we planted ourselves beside the true Living Water, Jesus Christ? Do our roots grow deep through the daily study of God’s Holy Scriptures to know him and to be known by him? Are we confident he will provide for all our needs and do not fear when times of pain, sorrow, or drought arrive? Do others notice our green leaves and comment on them each time they encounter us?

If trees can do that, why not us?

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.

But I will bless those who trust me.
They will be like trees growing beside a stream—
trees with roots that reach down to the water,
and with leaves that are always green.
They bear fruit every year and are never worried
by a lack of rain. Jeremiah 17:7-8 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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New Year, New Opportunities

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

The following are some thoughts on the New Year that came to mind while I recently read Oswald Chambers’ words in My Utmost For His Highest.

Sometimes we allow the memory of yesterday’s sins and mistakes to dampen our present bing imagesenjoyment of God’s grace. God allows the memory of our mistakes for spiritual growth in our future, not to keep us chained to the past. He intends for us to learn from our failures. He doesn’t want us to keep on committing them so his grace will abound, however.

God will go before us and protect us. He smooths the way. Levels mountains and fills in valleys. Our part in this is to be mindful and intentional so we don’t repeat the same mistakes.

bing imagesThere’s no reason to enter 2015 in haste. As one who loves starting new things, I need this reminder. It’s a new year. Time for a new start. Brand new calendar. We have our plans for what we want to accomplish but unless we wait upon the LORD to direct us, we could end up in the same mess we muddled through in 2014.

Some of our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things. Just like water that flows downstream, there were lost opportunities that we’ll never get back. But when we let him, God can take our brokenness and transform it. If we truly consider what we’ve done, what we want to do, what worked, what didn’t, learn from our mistakes, and keep Jesus in the center of it all, we just might find 2015 is our best year, yet.

New year. New opportunities. Opportunities to put our past mistakes into God’s hand and bing imagesallow him to take that brokenness and direct us in the way we should go.

May 2015 be your best year, yet.

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.

But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard. Isaiah 52:12 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Farther We Get Off the Path

John Clayton's All-Pro Team Gallery

Courtesy John Clayton’s All-Pro Team Gallery

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

If you are familiar with the National Football League, there is a good possibility you have heard of defensive end for the Houston Texans, number 99. J.J. Watt. It is because of two of his quotes in the Houston Chronicle, I am writing this post. It may seem bizarre to make a Biblical connection through football, but you won’t know until you read the entire post.

This past Sunday, December 28, 2014, loyalties within the Quandt household were divided. You see, the Houston Texans played the Jacksonville Jaguars whose quarterback is fellow University of Central Florida alum, Blake Bortles. Dilemma. Dilemma.

Brett Coomer Houston Chronicle

Courtesy Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle

Pie texted me at the beginning of the game, “Go, Jags!” I ignored him.

While I do want Blake Bortles to succeed as quarterback, and I certainly wasn’t looking forward to him getting pounded by J.J. Watt each play, I was rooting for the Texans. To be more specific, I was rooting for Mr. Watt.

This season J.J. was voted to the Pro-Bowl for the third time since beginning his professional football career in 2011. His impressive stats for this year are: 78 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 29 tackles for loss, 50 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, 10 passes defensed, one interception, a safety, three receiving touchdowns, five total touchdowns, 32 overall points. In his four years of play, he has 57 sacks. The third-most in NFL history.

Brett Coomer Houston Chronicle

Courtesy Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle

He’s up for Most Valuable Player of the year. He already has one defensive MVP award, and will probably win one for this year, even if he doesn’t win the MVP award.

Who cares? You might ask.

Well, let me tell you why I care. When I read Brian Smith’s article in the Houston Chronicle, I knew I’d rooted for the right guy.

“I don’t know,” said Watt, when asked if this was the best he’s ever been. “That’s mainly for everybody else to discuss. You all can write about it. My goal is just to go out there and do whatever I can. You work hard for the respect of your teammates and coaches and other players around the league. … I want to make my family proud. Those are really, mainly the only opinions I care about. No offense.”

Who do we try to impress? Those who may be in a position to award us in some way? Are we concerned with living so that our families, and most importantly our Father in heaven, are proud of us? Whose opinion really matters to us? The Father who will never let us go, or the crowd that disappears when the celebration is over?

When talking about taking time off now that the season is over, J.J. said,

“When I first came into the league, the veterans tried to tell me how much time to take (off). So my first year I tried to give myself a full month but I was back to work after about a week and a half. Last year, I tried to give myself two weeks and I took my brothers to Europe. But even over there we found ourselves working out a couple times. It’s one of those things where the farther you get off the path, the harder it is to get back.”

Bing imagesThe farther you get off the path, the harder it is to get back…The farther we get off the path of regularly meeting with other Christians, the harder it is to get back…The farther we get off the path of daily spending time in prayer, the harder it is to get back…The farther we get off the path of helping those God places in our path, the harder it is to get back …

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.

Does this sound as if I am trying to win human approval? No indeed! What I want is God’s approval! Am I trying to be popular with people? If I were still trying to do so, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my post appears on Christian Devotions today. Please stop by and check it out.

Sunday Scriptures — Superiority

Isaiah 40By Sandy Kirby Quandt

The other day I baked a frozen gluten-free pizza. When the time came to remove it from the oven, I looked for my pizza cutter and realized it was being washed in the dishwasher. Inaccessible at the moment.

I rummaged through the utensil drawer hoping I hadn’t thrown out our old cutter.

There it was. In the far corner. I pulled it out and dusted it off.

As I pushed the rotary cutter through the crust I remembered why we’d bought a new one. This one worked, eventually, but was dull. Not as efficient. More work. The new one was far superior.

As I bit into my slice of pizza, I thought of something the writer of Hebrews wrote in his letter to the new Jewish converts to Christianity. He compared the covenant of the Old Law they grew up under, with the superiority of the New Covenant through Jesus Christ.

Through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross of Calvary, Jesus paid the price to wash away our sins with his own blood, and allowed us admittance into the Holy of Holies. Through Jesus we have entrance into the presence of the Living Jehovah God.

Christ sacrificed once.

For all.

Like my old pizza cutter, the Law that required a High Priest go into the Holy of Holies within the Tabernacle, and offer sacrifices year after year, was replaced.

There was something far better. Far superior. Jesus.

And aren’t we glad?

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

When the Anointed One (Jesus) arrived as High Priest of the good things that are to come, He entered through a greater and more perfect sanctuary that was not part of the earthly creation or made by human hands. He entered once for all time into the most holy place—entering, not with the blood of goats or calves or some other prescribed animal, but offering His own blood and thus obtaining redemption for us for all time. Hebrews 9:11-12 (VOICE)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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What A Glorious Night

bing imagesBy Sandy Kirby Quandt

Christmas Blessings to each of you as we celebrate the glorious birth of the Savior who came into this world to set us free from the chains and penalty of sin.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

After the wrapping paper has been picked up off the floor. After the dishes have been washed and put away. After the guests have left, or you have returned home, I would urge you to find a quiet place to reflect on what this day truly means to you. To the world. And give thanks.

Max Lucado has a wonderful devotion on FaithGateway which I believe would be well worth your reading.

I pray each of you have a blessed, Christ-centered Christmas, and that we all remember to keep Jesus number one in our lives not just on the day we celebrate his birthday, but everyday of the rest of our lives.

Peace. Grace. Hope.

As you will notice, I’ve included an additional video to this post. I hope you view them both. While the first video by Sidewalk Prophets celebrates the Christmas Miracle of Christ’s birth, the second video by Garth Brooks recounts the Christmas Miracle Truce that took place December 25, 1914 during the Great War, as World War I was called at the time. The truce was short-lived, but a miracle nonetheless.

But for just one fleeting moment the answer seemed so clear
Heaven’s not beyond the clouds it’s just beyond the fear
No heaven’s not beyond the clouds it’s for us to find it here

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 Christ became a human being and lived here on earth among us and was full of loving forgiveness and truth. And some of us have seen his glory—the glory of the only Son of the heavenly Father! John pointed him out to the people, telling the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming who is greater by far than I am—for he existed long before I did!’”  We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us—blessing upon blessing heaped upon us! For Moses gave us only the Law with its rigid demands and merciless justice, while Jesus Christ brought us loving forgiveness as well. No one has ever actually seen God, but, of course, his only Son has, for he is the companion of the Father and has told us all about him. John 1:14-18 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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This video starts out very soft. You might need to adjust your volume before starting it.