One Piece at a Time

This is the most detailed view of the distant object Ultima Thule taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft Jan. 1, 2019. (Image: © NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute, National Optical Astronomy Observatory)

Ultima Thule may not be your first thought for a devotion on becoming who God created us to be, but it sure was one of the first things I thought of when Pilot and I watched a special on NASA’s New Horizons. A spacecraft zoomed past Ultima Thule January 1, 2019, setting a record for the most distant planetary encounter in history. (Ultima lies about 1 billion miles beyond Pluto.)

Scientist believe this bowling pin or snowman shaped 21-mile-long planetary object was created not as a complete object at its beginning, but one piece at a time as different pebbles and marbles joined together. It’s a process.

In the same way Ultima Thule did not appear complete at the beginning of its existence, we don’t arrive complete the moment we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

We’re a process affected by the pebbles and marbles of life that impact us. Our growth  continues until the day Jesus calls us to join him in heaven. It’s a daily process called sanctification through the power of the Holy Spirit living in those called according to God’s purpose.

We can count among the pebbles and marbles that join together to make us who we are sins as well as victories over sin. Neither of those things by themselves define us. They are a composite of who we are.

An area of psychology called Gestalt, would say the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

Only our relationship with Jesus and what he does with those pebbles and marbles defines us.

Some may want to point to the times we’ve failed God and define us by those failures. We may even allow Satan’s lies, deceptions, and deceits to do the same.

Thankfully, that’s not how God sees us.

Through Christ Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection, we are reconciled with God. Our sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west.

Who knows? The next pictures seen of Ultima Thule may show the planetary object has grown, continuing to add more pebbles and marbles in the process.

Hopefully, those who look at us see the pebbles and marbles of our life have day by day grown us closer to becoming the person God created us to become.

So what do you think? Does Ultima Thule look like a bowling pin, or snowman?

I opt for snowman. After all, it was found in the Kuiper Belt which is not known for its tropical heat waves. Pilot, however, thinks it looks like BB8 from Star Wars. 🙂

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This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Follow the Leader

In preparation for several upcoming road trips, we needed to drop our RV at the dealership. Pilot led the way in the RV and I followed in my car.

While playing Follow the Leader on the playground in days of old brings back fond memories, following Pilot through heavy early morning traffic, road construction, fog, and drizzly rain does not. Especially when unsure of the route he chose to travel.

Being behind something the size of the RV, which blocks any view of what’s ahead, meant I had to stick close, but not too close. I had to prepare to stop quickly, get through yellow lights before they turned red, and switch lanes as soon as Pilot turned on his blinker.

Although I had no idea if there were obstacles ahead, traffic lights, or lanes which ended abruptly, Pilot did. I needed to trust him and stay vigilant. I needed to keep my eyes on the signal lights at the back of the RV and respond correctly. This was definitely not a time to allow my eyes to wander.

We sped up and slowed down. We wove around construction barrels and potholes. We crawled past concrete barriers and machinery.

Although I usually allow vehicles to scooch in between me and the vehicle in front of me, not this day. No siree. Sure. I could still see the top of the RV if another car or truck got between Pilot and me but I wouldn’t be able to see the indicator lights. I wouldn’t know when I needed to change course.

During this drive I thought of how we are to Follow the Leader – Jesus. We need to keep our eyes on his indicator lights to see the direction he wants us to go. We can’t see ahead in the fog and drizzle of life, and aren’t sure of the path ahead. But Jesus knows the way we should go.

We need to be prepared to stop quickly or change lanes immediately to avoid potholes and debris. If we pause to analyze or debate the decision, we might find our self in an unpleasant situation, or dead end lane we could have avoided.

We also need to be willing to press the gas pedal to make it through those yellow lights. We don’t want to be left behind and lose sight of our Leader.

Like Pilot and my route through miles of road construction, life can be filled with unending delays, setbacks, frustration, and short tempers.

We need to be mindful of things in our life which try to get between us and our Leader. We don’t want to allow anything to get between us and Jesus which blocks our view of him. If we do, we might miss a turn and have to circle back to find the correct road.

Sometimes we may question the path Jesus takes us down. We may believe we’d do a better job leading. We might even head out in a different direction to prove our point, believing there surely must be a better, more convenient, less stressful way to get where we’re going.

It’s during those trying times we need to scooch closer, trust he knows where we’re going, and keep our eyes on his signal lights so we don’t miss a turn or run into the debris in our path we aren’t able to see.

So what do you think? Do you find it easier to lead, or to follow?

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Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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When the Way is Dark

Several years back, Pilot and I visited Oahu. One of the many wonderful things we did was hike through Diamond Head. It was quite a hike.

At 0.8 miles one way with a 560 foot ascent to the 750 foot tall volcano straight up, it was strenuous but very much worth the effort.

After we wound our way upward through the mountainside for half an hour, we reached 99 steep, concrete stairs.

Following the stairs, we reached the 225 feet long narrow, winding, pitch black, scary tunnel. You truly can not see your hand in front of your face.

BUT …

Because I read the guidebook. I was prepared. I had a flashlight!

Once we passed through the first tunnel, there was another shorter tunnel.

Here we climbed up a three-leveled spiral staircase which ended in a bunker.

The only way out?

Through narrow slits designed for guns to poke through. Not people.

I was afraid I’d end up like Winnie-the-Pooh when he ate too much honey in Rabbit’s house, with one half of me sticking outside the opening and one half stuck inside.

I wasn’t sure whether to have Pilot go out first so he could pull me through if I got stuck, or have him stay behind so he could push me out.

Even after we got out from the tunnel, we weren’t finished.

Ahead of us stood 54 more stairs to the summit.

This hike is not for the claustrophobic, those afraid of the dark, or those unable to crawl through tiny bunker slot-windows.

Was it worth it?

You bet it was!

The 360 degree panoramic view from the top of Diamond Head Crater of Waikiki and beyond was literally breathtaking.

We made it through the dark tunnel without serious injury and without needing to turn back because I read the guidebook.

We weren’t sure how long the darkness would last but we had a light with us, so weren’t afraid.

If we hadn’t gone through the tunnel, if we weren’t willing to go the distance and take each challenge as it came, we’d never reach the summit. We’d never see the splendid view.

Same with life.

You and I have to read the guidebook. God’s Word. The Holy Bible.

Life is tough. When the way is dark, straight up hill, or so constricted we don’t think we will get through, our only hope is to hang onto the Light of the World, Jesus Christ.

Just like getting through that 225 foot dark, scary, winding tunnel, when we walk with the Light, things aren’t quite so bad. The final reward, the end prize, the splendid view, will all be well worth the effort it took to get there.

Have you visited Diamond Head and gone through the tunnel? What was your experience like?

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Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling. Psalm 119:105 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Controlled Without Physical Contact

Carolina Eyck courtesy Theremin World

Pilot and I recently attended a theremin concert with super star thereminist, Carolina Eyck. This was a first for both of us and well worth attending. Throughout the concert my question remained. How are otherworldly sounds played without touching the instrument? Amazing. Absolutely amazing.
The theremin was invented in 1920 by a Russian physicist named Lev Termen (in the United States his name was Leon Theremin) and is played without the thereminist making physical contact with the theremin.
The spooky sound of the theremin was used in several movie soundtracks during the 1950’s and 1960’s. It provided background music for such sci-fi classics as The Day the Earth Stood Still and It Came From Outer Space, as well in Spellbound and The Lost Weekend.
I wish I could explain the science behind playing a theremin, but truthfully, I cannot.
All I know is it has something to do with electromagnetic energy.
This is how Theremin World explains it.
Two antennas protrude from the theremin – one controlling pitch, and the other controlling volume.  As a hand approaches the vertical antenna, the pitch gets higher.  Approaching the horizontal antenna makes the volume softer.  Because there is no physical contact with the instrument, playing the theremin in a precise melodic way requires practiced skill and keen attention to pitch.
Watching Carolina perform led me to ponder the way God works in the lives of those who claim Christ as their Lord and Savior. Although we don’t see God’s physical hand reach from heaven to touch us, we know he is at work; evidenced by changed lives and events with no explanation other than the Hand of God.
If we look at how the theremin is played, we see there are extremes in pitch and volume controlled by the moment of the musician’s hands. When we submit our lives to the Father’s plan, he controls the pitch and volume. He controls the events which reach us.
Sometimes God speaks to us in soft whispers. Sometimes he speaks in thunderous voice. Similar to the notes of the theremin, some notes are calming, others dissonant. Yet each note is a planned part of God’s symphony for our lives which, when blended together, create a masterpiece.
Have you heard a theremin, other than in the movies? What did you think about it?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

But the time is coming and is already here, when by the power of God’s Spirit people will worship the Father as he really is, offering him the true worship that he wants.  God is Spirit, and only by the power of his Spirit can people worship him as he really is. John 4:23-24 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Wandering Aimlessly

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The summer before Pie, our son, went into 9th grade, he and I took a trip to Australia and New Zealand with stops in Hawaii and Fiji.

I’d always wanted to explore Down Under. I particularly wanted to see if the sinks really drain counter-clockwise. They do!
The scenery was beautiful and varied. The people friendly and really do call you “Mate”. The wildlife was amazing and oh so unique.

When I’m north of the equator, I usually have no problem with direction, knowing where I am, and which way to head. Not so, south of the equator. My sense of direction was totally scrambled. Every time the hotel elevator doors opened, I’d head off in the wrong direction.

At first, Pie said something like, “You’re going the wrong way.”

I’d correct course, and we’d end up where we needed to be.

Eventually, as my lack of direction became more evident with no hope of improving, Pie anticipated my waywardness, grabbed, and pulled. No need for discussion.

Near the end of the trip I let Pie lead. Especially after I spent about half an hour wandering through our hotel on Mt. Cook in New Zealand trying to locate our room on my own.

This lack of sense of direction isn’t confined to adventures south of the equator. It applies to life.

How is our spiritual compass doing? Do we navigate without any problem when we’re in familiar surroundings, but lose our way when faced with the unknown?

When faced with the unknown, do we stay on our errant path, or rely on the true guide, Jesus, to grab and pull us the right direction?

How many times do we have to wander aimlessly on our own before we simply stop when the elevator door opens and let Jesus lead?

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The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in fields of green grass and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised. Psalm 23:1-3 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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