Sunday Scriptures — Eliezer Prayed

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Today’s Sunday Scriptures post, Eliezer Prayed, is written by my writer-friend, Phyllis Farringer.

It was no small request. Abraham wanted his servant to find a wife for his son. The unnamed servant, probably Eliezer, (Genesis 15:2) would travel several hundred miles, find Abraham’s relatives, convince them he was on a legitimate mission, then convince one of them to return with him to marry Abraham’s son, Isaac. Oh my!

The story unfolds in Genesis 24. A quick reading could seem to indicate a series of convenient coincidences brought Eliezer to the right place. Eliezer arrives in Nahor, stops at a well and Rebekah shows up at just the right time to relieve his thirst and that of his ten camels. Rebekah just happens to be the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother. Her family welcomes him and offers him their spare room. The next morning Rebekah begins the long journey back to Canaan with this servant who had arrived a stranger.

A closer reading reveals the whole process was steeped in prayer. Abraham’s prayers are evident in the guidance he had already received. He knew where to send his servant to find a wife for Isaac, and he had confidence God would lead Eliezer (vs. 7). Eliezer’s prayer in vs.12, seems to pick up an ongoing conversation. When he finds success in his mission, and gives the Lord all the credit for leading him, it is clear he had been relying on Him since he saddled up the camels.

When we don’t know what to do, where to go, or how to proceed, the best course is to pray. God is faithful to lead, if we just ask Him. Step by step, He reveals His plans.

Amazing. Guidance, protection, provision–available just for the asking. So many times I have experienced God’s leading and provision just as I needed it. Daily, actually. In one of the bigger for instances, my husband received a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. The doctors suggested drastic measures, with an uncertain outcome. We didn’t know what to do. We wanted a second opinion, but didn’t even know where to go to get it. We prayed. God led us to that second opinion, and to a course of treatment that, we believe, ultimately saved my husband’s life.

Another time, our family was comfortably settled where we thought would be home for the rest of our lives. We began to feel an unexplained restlessness. We had no idea what it meant. We prayed. Over time, little by little, God led us to pick up and make a move across the country. He has since confirmed, repeatedly, it was the right thing for us to do.

On another occasion, reduced income and a limited budget disturbed my thoughts as I entered the grocery store. I prayed. I bought everything I needed to feed our family for the week, but at about half our usual grocery bill. All the right things were ‘coincidentally’ on sale.

The secret to Eliezer’s success–and any believer’s–is prayer.

Phyllis Farringer delights in proclaiming God’s goodness. Her work has appeared in various periodicals including Decision Magazine , Focus on the Family publications, and Christianity Today Bible Studies. She has also written for several compilations including Cup of Comfort for Moms and God Allows U-Turns. She and her husband live in North Carolina. They have two married children and seven grandchildren.

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Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2).

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Fat Cows

In the fourth chapter of the Old Testament book of Amos, the prophet calls the women of Israel fat cows. Not flattering, and definitely not something to say if Amos’ intent was to win the women to his way of thinking.

But Amos gave the women, and men, God’s words. Not his own. He was willing to offend with the truth of God if necessary. Amos was willing to face the fall-out from being the bearer of God’s truth.

If we picture fat cows in our minds, perhaps we see them mindlessly chewing their cud. Content with the way things are. Unconcerned with the events going on around them. Swishing their tails to keep the flies away.

It seems this may be the picture Amos painted of the women of Bashan. They were content with the way things were. Unconcerned with the events going on around them. As long as their husbands continued to bring them what they wanted, they were fine. Who cared about the oppressed, poor, or needy? Certainly not them.

This kind of thinking reminds me of a phrase I often heard in high school…oblivious.

Amos went further to pronounce God’s judgment upon such callous me-first thinkers. These women would be taken into captivity by fishhooks in their noses.

Harsh. But true.

The Assyrians captured the rich and royal upper class of Israel. They put hooks through their captives’ noses and lips and paraded them through town.

God’s commands call his people to be concerned for the poor. Jesus commands his followers to take care of those less fortunate than themselves.

It seems if we want to keep from being called a fat cow and led away by fishhooks, we need to open our eyes to those around us, and be sensitive to the opportunities God presents us with to be his hands and feet in our corner of the world and beyond.

I sure don’t want God to call me a fat cow. Do you?

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Listen to me, you fat cows living in Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy, and who are always calling to your husbands, “Bring us another drink!”

The Sovereign Lord has sworn this by his holiness: “The time will come when you will be led away with hooks in your noses. Every last one of you will be dragged away like a fish on a hook! You will be led out through the ruins of the wall; you will be thrown from your fortresses, says the Lord. Amos 4:1-3 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Return to God

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In the fourteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Hosea, the prophet tells the people to return to God, petition God to forgive them for their idolatry, open their eyes to his truth, and walk along his path.

Good advice for us today, as well, wouldn’t you agree?

The people of Israel abandoned God and trusted in man-made idols. Hosea’s call was for them to abandon their idols and trust God.

We may look at people in the Old Testament with their idols and tell ourselves that’s them, not us. We don’t bow to idols made by man, but would we be correct in saying that?

Sure we may not have Asherah poles on high places, or statues of Dagon or Molech lining our streets, but what about those things we do idolize? Those things we put before God?

Possessions, family, jobs, self, wealth …

Hosea told the people to acknowledge nothing but God could save them. Not their military, not their country, not their leaders, not their wealth, not their leisure pursuits, not themselves.

He told them God promised to cure them of their idolatry and faithlessness when they turned from their idols to him. God’s love for them would know no bounds. He would remove his anger from them.

God promised his restoration would bring life and new growth. It would being peace and rest to the people. Once restored, life would bloom under God’s hand.

Hosea ended his book saying the wise and intelligent were the ones who opened their eyes to God. They were the ones who would understand God’s word and listen. They were the ones who would walk along God’s true and right paths.

The unwise were those who did not follow God’s path.

God’s promises are the same for us today. Despite how far from him we may have gone, he is willing to forgive and restore when we give up our idol worship and return to God.

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O Israel, return to the Lord, your God, for you have been crushed by your sins. Bring your petition. Come to the Lord and say, “O Lord, take away our sins; be gracious to us and receive us, and we will offer you the sacrifice of praise. Hosea 14:1-2 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures–Grow the Seeds God’s Planted

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Many of us are familiar with the parable Jesus told of the sower in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew. We understand the seed to represent the Word of God in our lives. Some seed falls on receptive ears and those lives exhibit evidence of growth. Some seed falls on ears turned away and those lives exhibit evidence of the lack of growth.

Although it is the same seed, not all results are the same.

The same Truth, the same Word, goes out into the world, but the results differ depending on what each individual does with that Truth.

Each of us is responsible for tending the seeds planted in our lives, nourishing and watering them by digging deep roots into the soil of the Bible; to learn what God would have us do.

We’re not all the same. We won’t all produce zucchini or tomatoes, roses or gardenias, oaks or willows. Although what we produce may differ, God expects each of us to produce a bumper crop for him from what he’s planted inside us.

The seeds of truth in the Bible show us how to deal with adversity the proper way so we can grow from it, not wither under its heat. That same Word shows us how to deal with blessing by giving all the glory to God, not self. It shows us what is required … to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

Growing the seeds planted inside takes effort. It takes diligence. It takes weeding out all the destructive things in our lives that threaten to choke the life out of the seeds God planted.

Sitting beside a healthy plant does not make another plant healthy. Each plant is responsible for its own growth.

What do you do to produce an abundant crop in your life?

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“Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up. Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants. But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants bore grain: some had one hundred grains, others sixty, and others thirty.” Matthew 13:3-8 GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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[bctt tweet=”Growing the seeds planted inside takes effort. It takes diligence. It takes weeding out all the destructive things in our lives that threaten to choke the life out of seeds God planted. Sitting beside a healthy plant does not make another plant healthy. Each plant is responsible for its own growth. ” username=”SandyKQuandt”]

Sunday Scriptures — God Remains Faithful

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Last week was a doozy on many different levels.

BUT God remains faithful. He is not just good, he is good, good, oh good. Amen?

Sunday was a lovely day capped off by a great Mexican dinner with Pilot after my writing critique group following church.

Monday was pretty uneventful.

Then came Tuesday. Wham! The primo event of the day, among a day of headshaking and thinking, really? regarding an email correspondence, was being attacked by a killer hornet. Yeah. That was fun. You can read about the event on Thursday, July 26th. 🙂

BUT God remains faithful. When the hornet attacked, its stinger lodged in my leg. Painful, yes. But without its stinger that bee could no longer continue to attack as is their aggressive way. Yay.

Wednesday I was in recovery mode from the vicious sting.

Thursday the doctor appointment I’d scheduled on Tuesday was cancelled.

BUT God remains faithful. I had an additional appointment previously scheduled for Thursday with a different doctor, and she was able to address the issue of the sting, plus the issue I’d originally gone to see her about.

As I write this, it is Friday morning and all is once again uneventful.

And God continues to remain faithful.

I don’t know how your week, or month, or year has been, but what I do know is God remains faithful. He is good, good, oh good. Amen?

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Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good, and his love is eternal. Let the people of Israel say, “His love is eternal.” Let the priests of God say, “His love is eternal.” Let all who worship him say, “His love is eternal. “ In my distress I called to the Lord; he answered me and set me free. The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid; what can anyone do to me? Psalm 118:1-6 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures–Are You in A Place of In Between?

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Are you in a place of in between?

I’m in a place of in between, and imagine many of you may be as well. You left one place in your life and are headed to another. You aren’t where you were, but you aren’t where you’re going, either. You are in between.

After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea in a magnificent display of God’s power, glory, and grace, they came to the desert oasis of Elim with its twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees. God provided this stopping point for his people to rest before they hit the wilderness again on their way to the place Moses would receive from God’s hand his commands for how his people are to live. Mount Sinai.

Between Elim and Mount Sinai stretched the wilderness. That place Priscilla Shirer in her book, Awaken, calls the in-between. Priscilla says in between times are necessary because they are the bridge between what God has done for us, and what he’s preparing to do in our future.

This is where we learn to draw close to God as he teaches us how to depend on him for everything.

Perhaps at this moment, the wilderness feels as though it’s draining you dry. The refreshment of Elim is no longer dripping off your tongue, nor is Sinai’s peak in your line of sight. … But trust God. Believe that if He has positioned you in-between, for now, this is where you’ll grow nearer to Him and where you’ll be best prepared for what lies ahead.

The in-between time is not a waste.

Elim was yesterday, Sinai is tomorrow.

But for now … be in-between.  (Awaken)

If you are in-between, what do you do to draw near to God as you wait expectantly on the LORD?

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They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. Exodus 16:1 (ESV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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[bctt tweet=”Between Elim and Mount Sinai was the wilderness. That place Priscilla Shirer in her book, Awaken, calls the in-between. Priscilla says in between times are necessary because they are the bridge between what God has done for us and what he’s preparing to do in our future.” username=”SandyKQuandt”]

Sunday Scriptures — God is the Potter

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Jeremiah was often called the Weeping Prophet, and with good reason, for the LORD called Jeremiah to preach warning and judgment to his people. He was persecuted by his own people for speaking God’s truth regarding their impending captivity and punishment, yet never wavered in his compassion for them, or his dedication to speaking the truth as God instructed him.

His warnings came with a promise. If the people turned from their wicked ways and returned to God, he would forgive, hold back his hand of judgment, restore, and bless.

But the people refused to repent of their sins, and God allowed Babylon to come in, capture the people, and carry them off to captivity in Babylon. Leaving behind a poor remnant. A remnant Jeremiah chose to stay with and minister to.

At one point before the captivity, the LORD told Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house. Here the prophet saw a potter at his wheel with a marred pot in his hands. The potter took that pot and reshaped it as it seemed best to him.

Then God gave Jeremiah his message asking, didn’t God have the right to do with his people what the potter did with the clay?

Of course he did. The Creator God of the Universe has the right to do whatever he wants to do. He is the Potter. We are the clay. He is the Creator. We are the created. He is God. We are not.

God is patient, wanting none to be lost. He wants people and nations to repent of their sins, turn back to him, and be blessed. But he is also a Righteous Judge who cannot be in the presence of sin.

It’s our choice.

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Then the Lord said to me,  “Don’t I have the right to do with you people of Israel what the potter did with the clay? You are in my hands just like clay in the potter’s hands. If at any time I say that I am going to uproot, break down, or destroy any nation or kingdom, but then that nation turns from its evil, I will not do what I said I would. On the other hand, if I say that I am going to plant or build up any nation or kingdom, but then that nation disobeys me and does evil, I will not do what I said I would. Jeremiah 18:5-10 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures–What is Success?

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

What is Success? How do we measure it?

When measuring success, ours or others, what standard do we use to measure it?

Is success wealth? Fame? Power?

Is it accomplishing something we strive for?

Is it being faithful to what God calls us to, regardless of the outcome?

Webster’s dictionary defines success as:

  • the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame

  • the correct or desired result of an attempt

  • someone or something that is successful : a person or thing that succeeds

Writer Arnold H. Glasow defines success this way. Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.

Recently, I thought about some of the prophets in the Old Testament. Not many of them would be considered successful by today’s standards; and many were not considered successful during the time God used them to turn his people back to them.

God sent these men to warn a rebellious nation of his impending judgement if they continued to refused to turn back to him. Not exactly a message that rebellious nation cared to hear. God called his people stubborn and hardheaded. That doesn’t sound like people willing to listen to anything a prophet had to tell them.

The prophets were called to give God’s message to the people, whether the people listened or not. The measure of their success was not dependent on how well the people responded. Their success was measured on how well the prophets obeyed God.

Our true success will not be measured by how others respond to us, our accumulation of wealth, or any accolades which may be heaped upon us. Nope. Our true success will be measured by how faithful we are to do what God calls us to do.

So I ask again. What is Success? How do we measure it?

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Ezekiel, I am sending you to the people of Israel. They are just like their ancestors who rebelled against me and refused to stop. They are stubborn and hardheaded. But I, the Lord God, have chosen you to tell them what I say. Those rebels may not even listen, but at least they will know that a prophet has come to them. Don’t be afraid of them or of anything they say. You may think you’re in the middle of a thorn patch or a bunch of scorpions. But be brave and preach my message to them, whether they choose to listen or not. Ezekiel 2:3-7 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Perseverance Until the Thirteenth Time Around

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Lately I’ve thought about perseverance and the will to keep going when we’d rather give up. When we’ve hit one too many walls in your attempts to achieve something we have our heart set on accomplishing.

The story found in Joshua chapter six of the conquest of Jericho by the Israelites is a story of perseverance we can gain encouragement from.

Word of the Israelite’s might went before them. As a result, Jericho was tightly shut up. No one entered or left because they feared the Israelites.

God told Joshua to walk around the walls of the city once a day for six days, and then walk around it seven times on the seventh day.

In the middle of the procession were seven priests with trumpets of ram’s horns walking in front of the ark of the covenant of the LORD. Armed guards walked in front of the priests, and armed guards walked behind the ark. All the people marched with the armed guards ahead of the ark.

On the seventh day the people showed true perseverance, waiting until the thirteenth time around when Joshua gave the command to “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city.”

They shouted. The walls of Jericho fell. And the men charged in, taking the city, devoting it to the LORD.

Just as we may wonder at God’s command to Joshua to conquer a city by walking around it thirteen times, we may wonder why our quest, our goal, is often put on hold until the thirteenth time around, but who are we to question the Almighty’s ways?

Perhaps, like me, you feel like you’ve circled the walls of your own personal Jericho for a very long time, waiting for the LORD to tear down those walls keeping us from our goals.

When we look at the story of the conquest of Jericho, we see perseverance and obedience to the LORD’s commands. We see a willingness to keep circling the walls until such time the command went out. “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city.”

Looking at this story we see a people who did not give up on the twelfth time around. And neither should we. They remained bold and courageous until the LORD gave the victory. And so should we, don’t you think?

Do you ever wonder if the Israelites felt like giving up on the twelfth time around? What would have happened if they did?

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When the people heard the sound of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it. Joshua 6:20 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Peter The Hot-headed One

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

After spending the past year studying Romans along with First and Second Corinthians, I decided to read an epistle not written by Paul. I ended up reading First and Second Peter; the apostle Herbert Lockyer titled a chapter in his book, All the Apostles of the Bible, “The Apostle Who Was Hot-Headed. Lockyer titled his chapter on Paul, “The Apostle Extraordinaire.”

With comparisons like that it’s easy to see how people may overlook Peter’s contributions to the advancement of the Gospel and God’s kingdom here on earth.

We know Peter was a prosperous fisherman who left his nets to follow Jesus. We know Jesus changed the fisherman’s name from Simon to Peter, saying he would build his church upon Peter-the rock.

As a Jew, we can assume Peter attended the synagogue, but did not receive any special rabbinical training until he met Jesus.

Peter was impetuous. He acted first, and thought later as evidenced on many occasions. Including his denial of Christ. Peter’s prejudice against the Gentiles kept him from taking the Gospel to them until he was shown in a vision God accepts everyone.

It was Peter who preached the first sermon after Christ’s resurrection on the day of Pentecost. A day which saw about 3,000 people accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. He endured unimaginable hardship and sacrifice to lead in the cause of Christ. To the point of death by crucifixion.

As I read Peter’s letters, I realized although the books are short with a total of only eight chapters, there is not one chapter in either book in which I haven’t underlined and memorized a large amount of verses. Not going to try and figure out the percent. I just know it’s a lot. 🙂

Thinking about the differences between Peter and Paul it once again became clear to me that God calls different individuals to him to spread the message of salvation through his son. He calls unique individuals who aren’t perfect, just forgiven. He calls men and women with both good and bad qualities.

God calls those with different skill sets and interests. All of which can be molded in the Father’s hands to advance his kingdom on earth.

Do you have a favorite verse from First or Second Peter? I have lots, but I’ll close with one I repeat often.

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Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:8-10 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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