Sunday Scriptures — Little By Little

Isaiah 40By Sandy Kirby Quandt

As a writer I face rejection right along with acceptance of the work I submit. It’s all part of the process. Obviously, I prefer acceptance over rejection.

You don’t have to be a writer to understand what I’m talking about.

Have you ever applied for a job and not gotten it?

Asked someone out and they declined?

Auditioned for something and someone else was chosen?

Dreamed of your perfect life and it turns out anything but?

After I completed my first book for middle grade children, I knew without a doubt Mandee the Manatee’s story was brilliant. It needed no editing or correction. The book was gold, I’m telling you. Gold. Pilot was even going to illustrate it for me.

But it really wasn’t ready and it definitely wasn’t gold. Maybe somewhere in the bronze category. I know that now, but I didn’t at the time. I didn’t see the flaws and lack of writing skill. I didn’t understand I had a long way to go. I didn’t realize I wasn’t ready for prime time.

When the Israelites headed for the Promised Land after their exodus from Egypt, God told them they would not quickly take the land. It was to be a gradual process. Little by little. The people weren’t ready to possess the land. They weren’t strong enough to occupy it. If they took the land too early wild animals would be everywhere, and the land would be poor.

God’s timing is perfect. His plan for our journey is perfect. Always has been. Always will be.

No doubt if I’d gotten Mandee published when I first finished it, I wouldn’t have been ready for that step in soooo many ways. Maybe you can say the same thing about your unrealized goals.

Waiting is difficult, is it not? But it’s better than going in too early and having animals running amok everywhere. Agreed?

So what is God working on, little by little, for you to take possession of?

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.

But I won’t do all this in the first year, because the land would become poor, and wild animals would be everywhere. Instead, I will force out your enemies little by little and give your nation time to grow strong enough to take over the land. Exodus 23:29-30 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Standing Firm

Bing ImagesBy Sandy Kirby Quandt

The other day while I was reminiscing several scenes popped into my mind that caused me to smile. All centered around stubbornness.

Before Sissy jumps in with a comment about how stubborn I was, am, and probably will always be, let me assure you stubbornness is a trait that runs through both sides of our lineage. I am not the only sibling who keeps the characteristic alive and well. Just ask Chief or Butter’s wife if you don’t believe me.

One of those memories that brought a smile to my face was of a friend who arrived late to Sunday School. The youngest of her three daughters had decided she did not want to go to church that morning. As my friend tried to entice her 4-year-old out of her pajamas and into her dress, the youngster stood firm. Arms tightly crossed over her chest, she belted out the song she’d learned the previous week.

“I shall not, I shall not be moved! I shall not, I shall not be moved! Just like a tree-ee planted by bing imagesthe wa-a-a-ter-er. I shall not be moved!”

At the time of the retelling we both laughed. Of course, it was not funny for my friend at the time she wrestled with her daughter to get her to move.

Several years ago while confessing my bent towards stubbornness to my sweet girlfriend, she told me that was a good thing. (You hear that, Sissy? My stubbornness is a good thing.)

Girlfriend went on to explain that because I was stubborn and refused to go along with the crowd, I was able to honor God with my decisions.

Thinking about all the trouble I could have gotten into as a teen if I hadn’t stood firm in my beliefs, makes me shudder. Possibly you can relate to your own situations where being stubborn was the right thing for you to do. Or where you wished maybe you’d been a little more hard-headed.

As believers in the One True God we are called to be different. We’ve been set apart to do the work God calls us to through the power of his son, Jesus. We are told not to let anything move us away from that work. We are to complete it to the best of our ability.

bing imagesIt’s okay for us to sing out, “I shall not be, I shall not be moved” as long as we are standing firm in God, and not in the things of the world.

Any other stubborn people out there, or is it just a Kirby-Hinson thing?

 

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.

So my dear brothers and sisters, stand strong. Do not let anything move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your work in the Lord is never wasted. 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my devotions will appear on Christian Devotions today, December 18, 2014. Please stop by and take a look.

Words

Words.

We use them everyday to convey meaning.

As someone who works at stringing written words together in a coherent, intelligent, pleasing way, words and their proper use are important to me. Ask any of my former students if you doubt that to be true.

It drives me batty when I read a misspelled or out of context word in the newspaper. Spell checker does not always get it correct. With that said…I appreciate when you respond to my misspellings or out of context words with grace. 🙂

The other morning, I was thinking about the words I use when I speak with Jesus and how inadequate they are to convey what I feel.

The depth of love and appreciation I want to express for what Christ has done for me, is doing, and will do is something I have trouble finding the correct words for. I don’t want my words to be misspelled or out of context.

Do you ever feel the same way?

As I pondered my inadequacy to tell Jesus how I truly feel I was reminded of the Holy Spirit’s work on our behalf. He helps us know what we should pray for and helps us pray as we should.

I was also reminded of a cartoon I keep on the door to my office. (Click on the cartoon to read it full-size.)

In May 1980, my son, Pie showed me the Peanuts cartoon of Linus discussing Romans 8 with his sister, Lucy, that was in Pie’s latest issue of Jack and Jill.

During those times when our hearts are distressed to the point of breaking and all we can do is groan, the Spirit takes our feelings that cannot be expressed in words to the Father’s throne.

When our hearts are bursting with gladness he hears us and translates our joy to the Father as well.

When our hearts hold so much more praise and thankfulness than we could ever articulate the Holy Spirit understands and lays our praise at the feet of Jesus Christ our Savior, Lord, and King.

It’s okay if we can’t find the correct words. The Holy Spirit understands. He knows our heart and intercedes with sighs too deep for words to express.

Praise, God!

Where are you right now? Is your heart breaking? Giddy with gladness? Or humbled beyond words?

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.

 And in the same way—by our faith—the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don’t even know what we should pray for nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words. Romans 8:26 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my devotions will post on Inspire a Fire today, December 16, 2014. Please stop by and take a look.

Sunday Scriptures — No White Elephant Gifts

Isaiah 40By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Ah, December. The time of get-togethers with family and friends. Time of goodwill and cheer to one and all. Time to unload give that junk treasure we have shoved carefully stored in the closet for such a time as this.

Perhaps you have participated in a White Elephant Gift Exchange. Personally, I’m not a fan. I’m not a fan of those parties where you get a gift then anyone who wants to can steal remove it from you your hand. Do you know how dreadful that is when adults grab a gift from a child? Come on, Man.

I participated in a women’s church group gift exchange during the seventies that was NOT intended as a White Elephant exchange. I ended up with a metal address thing that had a little red arrow that slid down the side, and flipped open.

You know, the kind that might have sat on a government worker’s desk and accidentally fallen into a purse.

In a recent Bible study lecture on the building of the Tabernacle during the Israelites’ wanderings through the desert, recorded in Exodus 25-33, the teaching leader said something that is the genesis for this post.

Susan pointed out how the Israelites were to give the best they had for the building of the Tabernacle. There were to be no White Elephant Gifts.

God wants our best. Not the left-over junk we won’t miss. He wants us to bring our gifts willingly. Not grudgingly. God wants us to give him the first fruits. Not whatever we have leftover at the end of the month.

He created us. He delivered us out of the bondage of our sin through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross of Calvary. God deserves more than we could ever repay.

He definitely deserves more than a metal address White Elephant thing.

Susan added that what we give back to God reflects what we think of him. Hmmm.

How are we doing in giving back to God? Does he get the best we have to offer, no matter what our best might look like in the eyes of others, or does he get the leftovers, if that?

Any White Elephant stories you’d like to share? ‘Tis the season, after all.

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.

Then the Eternal spoke to Moses.

Eternal One (to Moses): Instruct the Israelites to bring Me a sacred offering. All those whose hearts move them are to make an offering to the One who delivered them from bondage. You should accept only the finest things: gold, silver, and bronze metals; blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fabric; fine linen and goat-hair garments; ram skins (dyed red) and sea-cow leathers; acacia wood; olive oil for the lamps; spices for anointing oil and incense; and onyx and other gems for the ceremonial vestment and the breast piece worn by the high priest. Exodus 25:1-7 (Voice)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Different Phases of Life

bing imagesOne of Jesus’ parables spoke of seed that fell on four different types of soil. Hard, rocky, thorny, and good soil. The seed represented the word of God.

bing imagesThe hard soil represented those who heard the word of God, but had it snatched away by Satan.

bing imagesThe rocky soil was those who heard, received the word with joy, but fell away as soon as things got tough.

bing imagesThe thorny soil was those who heard but allowed the things of life to crowd out God’s message.

bing imagesThe good soil was those who heard the Good News of Jesus, and produced an abundant crop for the Lord.

Like me, you may be familiar with this parable. Recently, however, I read a devotion that added a new dimension to how I viewed this teaching. Let me explain.

The writer of the Life Application Daily Devotion suggested possibly the four types of soil could be different times or phases in a person’s life. Or how we willingly receive God’s message into some areas of our lives, but resist applying it to all areas.

bing imagesMaybe there are hard areas where Satan knows he can win victories, even though the rest of our lives show we belong to God.

bing imagesMaybe there are rocky areas where our roots have dug down deep in the knowledge of scripture, but shallow in applying it in our lives.

bing imagesMaybe there are thorny areas where we elevate and pursue things that pull us from complete devotion to serving Jesus.

Something for us to examine and consider, wouldn’t you agree?

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.

Then he continued, “Do you really not understand this parable? Then how are you going to understand all the other parables? The man who sows, sows the message. As for those who are by the roadside where the message is sown, as soon as they hear it Satan comes at once and takes away what has been sown in their minds. Similarly, the seed sown among the rocks represents those who hear the message without hesitation and accept it joyfully. But they have no real roots and do not last—when trouble or persecution arises because of the message, they give up their faith at once. Then there are the seeds which were sown among thorn-bushes. These are the people who hear the message, but the worries of this world and the false glamour of riches and all sorts of other ambitions creep in and choke the life out of what they have heard, and it produces no crop in their lives. As for the seed sown on good soil, this means the men who hear the message and accept it and do produce a crop—thirty, sixty, even a hundred times as much as they received.” Mark 4:13-20 (Phillips)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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