Sunday Scriptures — Advent

Isaiah 40By Sandy Kirby Quandt

November 30, 2014. The first day of Advent. The time set aside to reflect on the coming of the Good News to the world through the announcement of Jesus the Messiah’s birth. A time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas before the hustle-bustle of man’s commercialism inundates and overwhelms.

According to a devotional I read last year, “Advent is a time of preparation and expectation. It is a time of hope and faith and longing. Our anticipation rises during Advent and then our hopes are fulfilled on Christmas with the birth of Jesus.”

For Mary the mother of Jesus, her preparation, expectation, and anticipation lasted throughout her nine months of pregnancy. This was a time of hope and faith for her, too.

For many of us, our preparation begins and ends with the outward expressions of the arrival of December 25. We decorate, bake, clean, shop, visit, attend festive parties and holiday performances…

Sometimes we busy ourselves with others’ expectations, and find we are exhausted and maybe even a little resentful of those demands.

Part of my Advent tradition is lighting one candle on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. On the 25th, Jesus’ birthday, the fifth candle is lit.

Is the Advent Wreath part of your tradition, too? If so, might I suggest we make it more than a ritual or habit? More than something else to check off our already too busy to-do list?

Don’t you think we should use it as an additional time to reflect on what Jesus’ birth means to us, to the world, as we light those candles?

God didn’t send his son into this world to condemn it, but he sent Jesus so we all could be saved through him.

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.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:26-33 (NTL)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Thanksgiving, Not Just A Once A Year Thing

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Here in the United States, today is the day set aside as a day of Thanksgiving.  All through the Bible we read of times of praise and thanksgiving. Not just once a year. It was a continual occurrence. I believe the same should hold true for us. I believe we should have thankful hearts every single day of the year.

During the time of King David, the sacred Ark of the Covenant was captured by the prayingPhilistines. When it was returned to the Tabernacle, David wrote a song of thanksgiving to the LORD.

On that day David gave to Asaph and his fellow Levites this song of thanksgiving to the LordGive thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. 1 Chronicles 16:7-10 (NLT)

Many of David’s psalms expressed his gratitude to God for who God was, and what he had done.

 Oh, how grateful and thankful I am to the Lord because he is so good. I will sing praise to the name of the Lord who is above all lords. Psalm 7:17 (TLB)

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul eloquently expressed how grateful we should be empty tomb2for the victory we have over death because of Jesus’ victory over death.

 So when this takes place, and the mortal has been changed into the immortal, then the scripture will come true: “Death is destroyed; victory is complete!”

 “Where, Death, is your victory?
Where, Death, is your power to hurt?”

Death gets its power to hurt from sin, and sin gets its power from the Law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 (GNT)

Finally, Paul again tells us to be thankful…all the time. Even when we are going through tough times.

Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (CEV)

What do you think?

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.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Just Because

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Now for something completely different…

I’m sending this out just because I can.

As the holidays approach I hope this song by Andrew Peterson and the verses from the New Testament book of Revelation touch and comfort those of you who have lost loved ones as much as they touch and comfort me.

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.

 I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and so had the sea. Then I saw New Jerusalem, that holy city, coming down from God in heaven. It was like a bride dressed in her wedding gown and ready to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice shout from the throne: God’s home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever. Then the one sitting on the throne said: I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted. Revelation 21:1-5 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures –Take the Problem To Jesus and Leave It There

Isaiah 40By Sandy Kirby Quandt

In Max Lucado’s book, Before Amen The Power of a Simple Prayer, he discusses Jesus’ first miracle recorded in John 2. Jesus’ mother, Mary, told her son the wedding feast was out of wine.

Max writes that Mary wasn’t bossy. She didn’t tell Jesus what to do. She wasn’t critical of the host. She didn’t blame Jesus for allowing the problem to arise in the first place. And she didn’t blame herself for the problem.

Jesus replied his time had not come, nevertheless, his mother told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do.

Max suggests we are to be like Mary when we encounter problems:

  • Identify the problem
  • Bring the problem to Jesus
  • Leave the problem with him and trust him
  • Resist the urge to take back the problem

So I’m thinking … often we go to Jesus with our problems as a last resort, don’t we? We try to solve the situation on our own instead of going to Jesus first. Then once we do go to him, we try to tell Jesus how we want the situation resolved.

In his book, Max says Mary didn’t complain or accuse. She didn’t question why Jesus allowed the problem in the first place. Nor did she keep snatching it back and fret over it.

Mary identified the problem, took it to Jesus, and left it in his hands.

Perhaps it is time we do the same. What do you think?

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.

 The wine supply ran out during the festivities, and Jesus’ mother came to him with the problem. John 2:3 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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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

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