Keep the Flame Burning Bright

bing imagesBy Sandy Kirby Quandt

One of the things I learned to do well while I was in Girl Scouts was build a fire. Whenever Pilot and I went camping, he put up the tent, and did most everything else, and I was in charge of building the fire. My favorite type, and the one I have the most success building, is the tepee.

For any type of fire, you need tinder. Something that flares up when you touch it with the bing imagesflame from a burning match. That could be dead bark chips, dead twigs, pine straw, dry leaves.

bing imagesOnce you gather your tinder, you need kindling. Kindling catches the flame from the tinder. Kindling can be dead sticks or small branches that snap in two. As the saying goes, “If you can’t snap it, scrap it.”

Next comes the fuel. This is where you get the larger dead branches about a foot long.

For the tepee fire, you place a large handful of tinder on the ground, preferably in a fire pit. Lean a circle of kindling sticks around the tinder. The tips of the sticks should meet at the top like poles on a Native American tepee.

With your back to the wind, light the tinder. After the kindling is blazing, feed the fire with bing imagesyour fuel sticks. Start with thin pieces at first, then add thicker pieces. Continue feeding the fire until it is the size you want.

Now that you know how I make a fire, let me explain how I see this apply to our lives.

As Believers in Christ Jesus, we start out as tinder. We’ve turned our back to the world and allowed Jesus’ word to start a spark inside us. We flare up when we’re touched by the Word of God through his Holy Spirit.

But if we don’t add kindling to take us to the next step, and allow all the dead stuff we carry around inside to be destroyed through Jesus’ refining fire, our flame’s gonna’ die out. We need to study the Bible. We need to surround ourselves with the right kind of friends. We need to support one another through prayer. We need to apply what we’re learning, to take our spark to the next level.

bing imagesBut we can’t stop with tossing a couple scripture verses or prayers on our fire. We need to add solid fuel that comes from digging deeper into the Bible. Without constantly feeding the flames with thicker branches, the fire’s gonna’ sputter and turn cold.

At some point, we need to step up and become the fuel, the spark, the flame, for others that will help feed their fire.

What do you think? Any campfire experts out there? Is it time for us to build a fire?

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.

 Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:15-16 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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

Going Home

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Last week Pilot, Pie, and I stood in a small cemetery in Georgia and bid a loved one good-bye.

On November 6, 2014, Jesus escorted my mother, Edna Mae Hinson Kirby, (9/16/19 – 11/06/14) to her forever-home that he prepared just for her.

I imagine my dad is showing Mom around as they make their way down those streets paved with gold and introducing her to all his new friends.

I imagine friends and relatives who preceded Mom will eagerly embrace her and talk about all they’ve done since they last met.

At some point in time that only God knows I too, will leave this world and join them.

Some of you reading this have met my mother but for those who never had that privilege, I’d like to tell you an anecdote about her.

About a year and a half ago when Mom was seriously ill and very much near death, Pilot placed an order for a floral arrangement to be delivered to her hospital room.

The floral shop had already closed for the day that Saturday but the owner answered the phone anyway.

We’d ordered flowers from Sapp’s Florist several times before. The first time was for Mom’s 92nd birthday, mere weeks after she moved into the nursing home. I cried as I gave the owner Mom’s new permanent address. So maybe our phone number came up on his caller ID and he decided to answer. I don’t know why he took the call, but I’m glad he did.

The next day, Sunday, he hand delivered the flowers to Mom’s hospital room.

When I called that day to check on Mom I was surprised when she told me how the flowers had been delivered.

In typical Edna fashion Mom said, “When the man came into my room carrying that big ole bunch of flowers I wanted to tell him, “Lord, I’m not dead, yet!”

To which I replied, “If you’re doing that well, send the flowers back!”

That was my mom. Feisty to the end.

Mom has run her race and fought the good fight. She has left a legacy for those who come behind.

Her blood courses through my veins and through my son, Pie’s, veins and through all her descendants for generations to come.

Woven and spun.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for my mother’s life and for knitting me together in her womb.

 “Let not your heart be troubled. You are trusting God, now trust in me. There are many homes up there where my Father lives, and I am going to prepare them for your coming. When everything is ready, then I will come and get you, so that you can always be with me where I am. If this weren’t so, I would tell you plainly. And you know where I am going and how to get there.” John 14:1-4  (TLB)

I wish you well,

Sandy

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

Sunday Scriptures — Turning Our Hardhips Into an Idol

Isaiah 40By Sandy Kirby Quandt

In a recent blog post my writer-friend, Vonda Skelton, had an interesting insight into one of the things we might turn into an idol…our hardships. Turning our hardships into idols was something I’d not thought about in the way she expressed it.

Vonda said, “Sometimes we put our hardships of life on a pedestal, visiting and revisiting it often, making sure we hold it up high for all to see.”

But that’s not what God’s word tells us to do, is it?

The very first law in the Ten Commandments tells us not to allow anything to come before God. We have our list of things we think could be turned into idols, but is the idol of hardship and suffering one of them?

As I thought about what Vonda wrote, I realized how very easy it is to let our physical problems, relationship problems, financial problems, career problems, fill-in-your-own- problem, become idols.

Something we hold up before others to show how much we endure. Something to show how brave it is of us to soldier on. Something to show how much we suffer.

I’d like to say this isn’t an area I struggle with, but that wouldn’t be the truth. This is an area I struggle with, and something very easy for me to fall into. Especially when I feel no one understands, or appreciates the effort.  (There I go again…;) )

“If you only knew what I go through…”

“You have no idea…”

“Well…let me tell you…”

Something I find works is simply sighing rather deeply in a pitiful way. If it doesn’t work the first time, I sigh louder with more emphasis. After that, Pilot will usually ask, “You okay over there?”

To which I’ll reply, “I need attention.”

How about you? Is turning your suffering into an idol an area of concern with which you deal?

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.

Joshua said, “You have heard yourselves say that you will worship and obey the Lord. Isn’t that true?”

“Yes, it’s true,” they answered.

Joshua said, “But you still have some idols, like those the other nations worship. Get rid of your idols! You must decide once and for all that you really want to obey the Lord God of Israel.”

The people said, “The Lord is our God, and we will worship and obey only him.”  Joshua 24:22-24 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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

Real Or Imitation?

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

I have a special tea I purchase at the Oriental grocery store near my home. Loose Jasmine tea. I love the aroma. I love the taste. I love the whole morning ritual of scooping the loose tea leaves into my mesh tea ball, placing it into my cup of choice, and pouring boiling water over it. It is perfect to my way of thinking.

On one visit to the Dead Animal Store, as I fondly call it due to the abundance of animal carcasses hanging from various hooks throughout the store, (Yuck-o) I absently reached for my favorite tea and placed the tin in my basket. It wasn’t until I prepared my tea from this new tin that I realized something was amiss.

This tea did not smell the same as my regular Jasmine tea. And worse, it did not taste the same, either. I looked closer at the container. The colors were similar. The wording appeared the same. But this was not my tea.

Jasmine? Yes. My Jasmine? No.

Similar. But not the same. One was genuine. One was not.

So I’m thinking…am I the only one tricked by imposters?

I don’t think so.

Other things besides tea trick us, don’t they? We come upon imposters almost daily.

We meet people who say things we want to hear although we know what they’re saying doesn’t exactly line up with what God tells us in his Bible. Still, we listen. Maybe even go along with what we’re being told.

We read something on the internet and it has to be true, right? Even if it is written from a view outside of God’s. We don’t consider checking the Bible to see if the facts line up.

We hear a message from a persuasive speaker with a friendly smile and believe it. Hook. Line. And Sinker. We’re reeled in before we realize it.

Imposters. One and all.

How do we discern the real from the fake? The Truth from the lies? Genuine from imposter?

I believe we need to make sure we know the real thing. The authentic word. The reliable source. The tin of tea that is marked correctly. Not the one that looks like it is.

We need to be so familiar with the real deal, we aren’t tricked by the imposter.

We need to study God’s word, the Bible, so we aren’t easily bamboozled.

While picking up the wrong Jasmine tea is not a dreadful thing in the big picture, picking up the wrong beliefs, the wrong teaching, the wrong truth, certainly can be.

Ever since that day I picked up the dragon tea, I’ve paid attention to the tin I wrap my hand around and place in my basket. I’m equally attentive to the Truths I take hold of and assign a place in my life.

How about you? Ever grabbed onto something you believed was right, only to find out later it wasn’t?

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.

Dearly loved friends, don’t always believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God: test it first to see if it really is. For there are many false teachers around, and the way to find out if their message is from the Holy Spirit is to ask: Does it really agree that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, actually became man with a human body? If so, then the message is from God. If not, the message is not from God but from one who is against Christ, like the “Antichrist” you have heard about who is going to come, and his attitude of enmity against Christ is already abroad in the world. 1 John 4:1-3 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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

Sunday Scriptures — Delayed Answers

Isaiah 40By Sandy Kirby Quandt

John 11 records the account of the death of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha.

The Bible tells us the two sisters sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick. Their expectation was that Jesus would come to Bethany right away and heal their brother. Why wouldn’t he? They knew Jesus had the power to heal. They knew Lazarus was Jesus’ friend. They had hosted Jesus and his disciples on many occasions. Surely, Jesus would fulfill their request.

But that isn’t what happened.

When Jesus received word about Lazarus’ condition, he stayed where he was for the next two days. It wasn’t until the third day Jesus told his disciples they were headed to see about Lazarus. Jesus knew Lazarus had died. He also knew this was another opportunity for people to believe in him.

By the time they arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been in his tomb for four days. Martha heard Jesus was on the outskirts of the village and went to meet him. She told Jesus she knew if he’d been there, her brother would not have died.

Mary said the same thing when she fell at Jesus’ feet outside the village…if only you’d been here, my brother would not have died.

At that point, the Bible tells us Jesus was deeply moved and wept.

Jesus went to the cave where Lazarus was buried and shouted, “Lazarus, come out!”

Out came the no-longer-dead-man, still bound in his grave cloth.

There’s a PS to this story.

Verse 45 says, “And so at last many of the Jewish leaders who were with Mary and saw it happen, finally believed on him.” (TLB)

Jesus delayed on purpose so God’s glory would be shown and others would believe in him.

Sometimes Jesus does the same with our requests, doesn’t he?

He delays. We know he can. No doubt. We pray he will, realizing he may not.

Struggling with delayed answers? Maybe those delayed answers are to show us God’s glory and sovereignty, and so others will believe on him.

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.

When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

“Where have you put him?” he asked them.

They told him, “Lord, come and see.”  Then Jesus wept. John 11:32, 34-35 (NLT)

I wish you well,

Sandy

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