When Our Arms Grow Tired

For Christmas this past year, Pie gifted Pilot and me with tickets to a Beach Boys’ concert which the three of us attended several months ago. We each thoroughly enjoyed the event. Especially Surfer Boy, Pilot.

Near the beginning of the concert Mike Love, one of the remaining original Beach Boys, asked everyone in the audience to take out their cell phones and turn on its light.

He then instructed us to wave our phones through the air while the band played one of my personal all-time Beach Boys’ favorites, Surfer Girl.

It was great. Arms waved back and forth in the audience in time with the song.

Well.

Pretty much.

Some folks were a little off beat.

Nevertheless, it was great.

Until …

I looked over the audience and noticed some arms no longer waved. They’d grown tired. They couldn’t keep up the pace. They fell in defeat.

After thinking about it, several things came to mind. One of those thoughts I’ll share with you today.

When we’re on the front lines for God, doing his work, fighting his battles, we can grow tired. Can we not?

Our arms can grow weak. We might want to fall on our knees in defeat to all the opposition thrown at us. It doesn’t matter our age one bit.

Just like Moses in the desert fighting the Amalekites, we need help.

As Joshua and his men fought the Amalekites, Moses stood on a hill overlooking them. As long as Moses kept his arms and staff in the air, the Israelites prevailed.

Whenever Moses’ arm dropped, the Amalekites prevailed.

Moses’ arms grew weary. He couldn’t help it. No matter how hard he tried to keep his arms in the air, he just couldn’t.

That’s when his brother, Aaron, and friend, Hur, stepped in. The two men found a large stone for Moses to sit on. Then they stood on either side of Moses, holding up his arms.

With the support of these two men, Moses was able to keep his arms and staff held high. Because of that, the Israelites were victorious over their enemy.

Don’t you think we need the support of those around us to fight our daily battles when our arms grow tired, too ?

Some days we’re Moses. Some days we’re Aaron and Hur.

When it’s our turn to hold up our friend’s arms, let’s not hesitate to step up. When we grow weak and need help, let’s not hesitate to ask.

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The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Pick out some men to go and fight the Amalekites tomorrow. I will stand on top of the hill holding the stick that God told me to carry.” Joshua did as Moses commanded him and went out to fight the Amalekites, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his arms, the Israelites won, but when he put his arms down, the Amalekites started winning. When Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arms, holding them steady until the sun went down. In this way Joshua totally defeated the Amalekites. Exodus 17:8-13 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Allow Love to Rise Above Misunderstandings

Once upon a time, long ago in a land far away, an innocent man was betrayed by a friend. Wrongly convicted of a crime he did not commit, he faced an illegal trial and was sentenced to death.

The man’s heartbroken widowed mother attended her son’s execution.

During the condemned man’s final moments, he looked at his mother. Understanding the gravity of his death upon her, he spoke to a cousin standing beside his mother. The dying man asked his cousin to take care of the grieving woman.

The cousin willingly agreed. Taking his aunt into his home, he treated her as his own mother.

Despite the unimaginable torture Jesus endured during his crucifixion, he was concerned for his widowed mother, Mary. In his final moments, Jesus made preparation for her care. He entrusted Mary to John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples the son of Salome, Mary’s sister.

I believe many thoughts probably flooded Mary’s mind as she witnessed Jesus’ excruciating death. Perhaps among those thoughts were the words said over her eight-day-old baby boy in the temple thirty-three years earlier by the aged Simeon.

I have seen God’s salvation, which God prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of God’s people Israel! This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul, Mary. (Luke 2:30-35)

Do you think it possible Mary didn’t always understand the reasons Jesus did what he did, or the way he went about his ministry?

From my experiences, I’ve found misunderstandings have a way of causing confusion which can escalate and separates people. If there were any misunderstandings between Mary and Jesus, it doesn’t appear those misunderstandings affected their loving relationship.

There might be times our children don’t understand the reasons we do what we do. There might be times we don’t understand the reasons our children do what they do.

This lack of understanding can result in misunderstanding. Fertile ground for confusion and estrangement. Fertile ground for loving relationships to diminish.

As the day set aside here in the States to remember the women in our lives who nurtured and loved us approaches on May 12, perhaps instead of letting our differences separate and divide us from people we love, even in the worst of times, we’d be wise to  consider Jesus and Mary’s example.

Perhaps we should make sure we allow love to rise above any misunderstanding that threatens to separate us from those closest to us.

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Standing near his cross were Jesus’ mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the follower he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the follower, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, the follower took her to live in his home. John 19:25-27 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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It’s A Sign

One of my fellow teachers often replied to unexpected occurrences with “It’s a sign.”

Sometimes I’ll jokingly say the same thing. I don’t know about you, but I like to have assurance I’m heading the right direction whether that means driving in downtown traffic, which I strongly resist, or following God.

Throughout the Bible people asked God for signs to know they understood him correctly. Gideon and his fleece come to mind, as does Moses. In Gideon’s case, God provided a sign – twice – before Gideon acted. In Moses’ case, God told Moses he’d see the sign when he brought the people up out of Egypt.

It’s been said the most compelling signs are revealed after faith is exercised, not before. Funny how things become clearer when we look back on a situation, and see all God did to get us on the other side of it.

When God addressed Moses from the burning bush, and tasked him with bringing the Israelites out of bondage, God believed in Moses even before Moses believed in himself. It’s the same with us today. We believe in our I CAN’Ts more than we believe in God’s YOU CANs.

Moses’ mission wasn’t all on his shoulders, although at times he sure thought it was. His mission was accomplished through God’s power every step of the way. Moses’ job was to trust God completely and absolutely, then act on that trust.

God led the Israelites through the wilderness. He didn’t simply give Moses a job, then disappear. He accompanied Moses every step of the way.

Moses had plenty of reasons to fear returning to Egypt. Plenty. There was great risk involved. There was also the issue of a former prince of Egypt returning as a humbled shepherd.

Like Moses, when we accept the mission God has for us, when we step out even while shaking with fear, we see God work, we see his sign, and our faith has a chance to grow stronger.

When have you seen God work in your life after accepting the mission he sends you on?

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God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.” Exodus 3:12 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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I know I said I wouldn’t post videos due to the large amount of media space they take up on the blog, but after hearing a group play Take Your Shoes Off Moses last month at the Ozark Mountains Dulcimer Festival, I couldn’t resist. Hope you enjoy this song.

Superior Way

Is there anything in your home you replaced because it was obsolete? Maybe an electronic device which was the absolute must have until the next latest and greatest superior thing came along? I believe it safe to say each of us has something like that.

For me, something I needed to replace was my Nikon FE2 camera. Not because I thought it inferior, but because I broke it during a tragic fall wandering around the Aztec ruins of Chichen Itza, Mexico.

Long story.

I loved that camera. It accompanied me on numerous trips all over the world. It was familiar. Comfortable. I knew how to operate it. I knew how it performed. I saw no reason whatsoever to look for a replacement until that fateful day.

Although I did revert to a different Nikon I already owned after losing the FE2, in my mind nothing was superior to that camera. Nothing.

Through the years Pilot tried to convince me to give up shooting pictures with film, and switch to digital. Nope. Wasn’t interested. Until one Christmas I gave in, and he gifted me with a digital Nikon D5000.

The new camera has its advantages.

Lighter. Less cumbersome. Ability to see pictures I shoot immediately.

No need to purchase film or have it developed. Definite plus these days.

Still … I attached quite a bit of sentiment to the FE2.

Comparing my resistance to changing my camera habits reminds me of the Jewish leaders who insisted on sticking with the old, comfortable, familiar way they practiced their religion.

They knew what they needed to put into their religion, and knew what they could expect from it. They saw no need to change, even when the Superior Way of Jesus Christ stood right in front of them.

Some of us react the same way today when we study a familiar scripture, and God sheds light on a different way to look at what his words say.

Or maybe that familiar passage requires us to examine our lives in a way we’d rather not, because doing so means we must change how we live or how we treat others or how we treat God.

We like our traditions. We like our comfortable, reliable.

We don’t like thinking maybe there’s a better, superior way than what we’re already doing.

There are aspects of my FE2 I miss. But you know what? I don’t want to return to it. Just as I sure wouldn’t want to return to a religious system that required an animal or grain sacrifice every time I sinned.

I am so very grateful for Jesus Christ, The Superior Way. The Son of God. Perfect Sacrificial Lamb who died once. For all.

Amen?

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Christ is not like other religious leaders. They had to give gifts every day on the altar in worship for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. Christ did not have to do that. He gave one gift on the altar and that gift was Himself. It was done once and it was for all time.  Hebrews 7:27 (NLV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Jesus is Our Living Hope

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Hallelujah, Jesus Christ is our Living Hope.

The Lion of Judah roared mightily that Resurrection Day so long ago, and his victorious voice continues to speak to all with ears to hear.

He set us free. He broke every chain that bound us to the evil one.

Jesus is the Victor. The Mighty Warrior. The Conqueror. He defeated Satan, hell, sin, and death.

Jesus Christ is the One in whom our hope is found.

He sits at the right hand of his Father in heaven, waiting for the day he returns for his Bride, the Church. On that day, Christ will take those who confess their hope, trust, and allegiance to the King of kings and LORD of Lords with him to their eternal home in heaven.

Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.

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Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.” Matthew 28:5-7 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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