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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Sunday Scriptures — Keep Our Guard Up

Isaiah 40By Sandy Kirby Quandt

After a two-day drive east last month, Pilot, Pie, and I had dinner with Sissy and Chief at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I’ve been to this restaurant every time I visited my mother when she lived in the nursing home near it. I knew the menu pretty much by heart, and knew there were a lot of items I could not eat, due to being gluten-intolerant.

Maybe it was my distressed emotional state at the death of Mom three days earlier. Maybe it was exhaustion from the drive. Maybe it was pain from the fibromyalgia flares. Who knows? But I did something I should not have done. I let my guard down. I stopped being vigilant. I was careless. I picked up a cute little pot of meat, potatoes, and carrots.

When I put a forkful of beef into my mouth, I discovered it had brown gravy on the underside.

Wheat. Gluten. Pain.

That one forkful was all it took. Within ten minutes the pain I used to live with daily, returned. Sharp. Like a knife plunged into my lower abdomen. I knew the pain would last one to two weeks before subsiding, and it did.

I believe there are times in our lives when we let our guard down. Don’t you?

We stop being vigilant. We’re careless regarding our relationship with Jesus, and doing his will. We pick up the cute little pot of something we have no business messing with.

We become frustrated or tired and choose the path of least resistance. Or we respond in ways we know we shouldn’t. We feel angry or mad and make foolish choices. We are lonely or sad and surround ourselves with toxic individuals.

In her book, The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst says there are four times in particular where we need to pay attention, and should be careful of decisions we make during those times.

These are times when we need to HALT. When we are Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired.

Choosing what to eat isn’t a major issue for a lot of people, but for people with food allergies, it can be.

On the other hand, choosing whether or not we follow Jesus is a major issue for everyone. It is something we need to make certain we are not careless about.

What do you do to keep from letting your guard down?

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.

 Be self-controlled and vigilant always, for your enemy the devil is always about, prowling like a lion roaring for its prey. Resist him, standing firm in your faith and remember that the strain is the same for all your fellow-Christians in other parts of the world. 1 Peter 5:8-9 (Philips)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Surrender

bing imageBy Sandy Kirby Quandt

During one particularly stressful year of teaching, I developed an unhealthy habit of eating Tootsie Roll Midgees. Not just one or two pieces at a time…one or two HANDFULS.

It was mindless munching in a failed attempt to ease the never-ending pressure of too many demands and not enough time.

As was my habit, I sat in my classroom long after the students and everyone except the janitorial staff had left the school, trying to find ways to help my students grasp essential concepts.

One of my sweet co-teachers stepped into my room and spied the pile of discarded candy bing imageswrappers next to the pile of uneaten candy on my desk.

I offered Paula several Tootsie Rolls as I continued to unwrap and pop the remainder into my mouth with record speed.

“What are you doing?”

“Going over these math scores again. Susan’s not happy with the results,” I said between bites.

“No. What are you doing eating all this candy?”

“Stress.”

bing imagesPaula held out her hands. I gave her another piece of candy. She shook her head.

“I’m here to save you from yourself. Give me all the candy.”

I looked at my friend, then back to my desk. I willingly scooped up the Tootsie Rolls and handed them to her. She must have been suspicious regarding my lack of resistance.

“Any more?”

After a moment, I opened my desk drawer and pulled out a sandwich sized baggie.

Paula smiled.

I sat for a moment. Then I walked to the closet. From there I pulled out a half-full bag of that chocolatey delight. It wasn’t just a small sized bag. Nope. This was one of the mega sized bags you need two arms to carry.

Paula’s eyes grew big as I sheepishly handed over my stash.

“Do you have any more?” I doubt she really believed I did.

bing imagesWhen I walked to the front of the classroom and opened up the file cabinet, we both started laughing.

Paula wiped tears from her eyes as I handed over another 720 piece bag.

After all these years that moment in time is as fresh as if it just happened. But I’d like to explore the concept of surrendering all my Tootsie Rolls to what Jesus asks us to do.

Jesus asks us to surrender everything to him. Not just the candy on our desk that people see, but also the candy we’ve hidden away hoping no one will discover it.

We are asked to surrender our time. Our resources. Our talent.

We are asked to surrender our families. Our health. Our jobs.

Our hurts, scars, addictions…

We are asked to surrender our hopes, dreams, ambitions, wants, desires…all so we can become the person God created us to be.

It is my belief that as Paula stood in my classroom with her hand outstretched to receive all the bing imagesTootsie Rolls I’d stashed away to save me from myself, Jesus holds out his hand to save us, as well.

Jesus wants us to lay it all down. Hand it over to him and pick up only what he wants us to pick up in his perfect timing.

I survived the year, and even though Paula promised she’d hold onto my candy and dole it out a little at a time if I needed it, I realized those Midgees really weren’t what was going to get me through the stress of that year.

Jesus was.

And he did.

Dealing with stressful situations? Surrender them to Jesus.

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 give yourselves completely to God. Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you. James 4:7 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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