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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Do I Believe What I Write?

If you read my blog last December, then you are aware I did not celebrate Christmas 2013 in my usual way. Nope. Christmas 2013 found me nursing a broken left hip, courtesy of a freak fall I took November 30, 2013, in a Tallahassee, Florida gas station while trying, unsuccessfully, to contain a very skittish Bear.

As a result of the fall, emergency surgery was performed at our final destination, Waycross, Georgia, December 1, 2013.

Fortunately, I had all my December posts written and in place before we started our trip.

As I sat on the couch last December and re-read everything I’d written as the posts came out, I was forced to ponder several things. Primary among the ponderings was do I believe what I write to be true?

During a season where we did not put up a tree because my walker couldn’t get around it, and decorations were very limited…presents were gift cards, because I hadn’t done my shopping before Thanksgiving…highly anticipated events — there were three big ones, several smaller ones — were missed because I just didn’t have the strength to handle them…and, I was unable to bake my favorite Christmas dessert…in light of all of this do I really, truly, believe Christmas is about the cross?

Oh, and did I mention Pilot came down with a stomach virus the second week of December, mere days after we returned home from Georgia, yet found the strength to get to the guest room to help me when I muttered to myself I’m stuck, as I floundered like a turtle on its back trying to get out of the bed?

Or tell you about the disastrous two-week dishwasher delivery that began the day after we returned?

Or tell you about the washing machine drain that backed up and gushed water all over the laundry room floor?

Or relate the tale of the two-month-long-delayed foundation repairs to our house?

For me, although I was surrounded by God’s daily mercies, no matter how hard I tried, it was a struggle not to let the disappointments that abounded sink me into a deep, dark, depression.

So I pondered…

Do I really believe what posted December 3, 2013?

Just as God heard the cries of his people all those years ago, he hears our cries today. Jesus is as real today, as he was yesterday, and as he will be tomorrow. He is our deliverer. Only he can remove our shackles.

Do I really believe what posted December 5, 2013?

What if there was someone we could hand all our problems and cares over to, and he’d take care of everything. He’d walk along beside us, and support us every second of every day. And give us peace in the process. Wouldn’t we want to be around him?

Do I really believe what posted December 12, 2013?

Just as God used these five women, he can use us. We can all be redeemed, and put back together through his grace. All we have to do is have faith enough to say yes to God, and his son, Jesus Christ.

Do I really believe what posted December 19, 2013?

God continues to use his people to accomplish his plans. We won’t give birth to the Messiah, but like Mary, we carry Christ inside us, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Once we claim Jesus as our LORD and Savior, it then becomes our responsibility to praise God for the great things he has done for us through his love, mercy and grace, and share that wonder with those around us.

Most importantly, do I believe what I penned sometime in September, 2013, that posted December 24, 2013?

Next to the manger scene I set up each December, hangs a cross, and a crown of thorns. Lest I get caught up in the presents, the baking, the decorations, and the carols, I need a reminder in front of me. Christmas is about much more than a baby, gifts, and family. Christmas is about the cross. It’s about the sacrifice, the suffering, and the Savior who died and rose again so we might live.

Yes. Yes I do believe the truth Jesus led me to write months before I stared up at the clouds from a parking lot in Tallahassee, Florida.

Even though Christmas 2013 has come and gone, and Christmas 2014 will soon be a memory, no matter where life might find us right now, I hope we all believe this Christmas and every Christmas that follows…it’s about the cross.

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.

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.             John 3:16-17 (MSG)

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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