Pilot in Command

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

As many of you know, my husband, Pilot, among other things is well…a pilot. He has a license that gives him the authority to take planes up in the air, fly them around, and land them safely.

When he is behind the controls of a plane he is the Pilot in Command (PIC). Sometimes, Pilot may temporarily hand off the controls to someone seated next to him who he believes is capable of handling the plane for a brief period of time.

If there is turbulence, the co-pilot becomes weary, or there is too much air traffic, Pilot will resume control of the plane to ensure safety stating, “My plane” not in an arrogant, “Get your hands off the controls” tone, but in an “I’ve got this” manner.

During a recent email exchange with a good friend, he mentioned how during his Air Force days the saying was “God is my co-pilot. So he lets you fly the plane ’til you break or ask for help. Pride stops the call for help.”

I was in the middle of a season of pride stops the call for help when he wrote me this.

Ever been there?

We feel confident we can fly this bird. We know where we’re headed. We’ve filed our flight plan. Checked the weather report. Done the preflight walk around. We’ve kicked the tires and are ready to light the fires. We ARE the Pilot in Command, after all.

So we strap ourselves into the pilot seat and taxi down the runway.

We do fine until the turbulence hits, the plane drops, or is buffeted with a cross wind.  Out of the clouds other planes descend and fill up the sky. Lots of chatter fills the radio and we can hardly think for all the static. We’re desperate. We’re weary. We’re tired of the job.

That’s when we realize there is someone who can handle the plane a whole lot better than we can. God.

We might hesitate, figuring we’d look weak if we gave the controls over too quickly. Maybe the turbulence will calm down. Maybe the other planes will get out of our way. Maybe the static that fills our heads will quiet. Then again…maybe not.

Could it be our pride is responsible for the death grip we hold on the controls? Determined to hang on to the last possible moment rather than admit we can’t do this on our own? Refusing to let God be the Pilot in Command?

So what exactly is PIC?

Under U.S. FAA FAR 91.3, “Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command”, the FAA declares:

  1. The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.
  2. In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.
  3. Each pilot in command who deviates from a rule under paragraph (b) of this section shall, upon the request of the Administrator, send a written report of that deviation to the Administrator.

If like me, you’ve strapped God into the co-pilot seat of your life, might I make a suggestion? Scoot over and let him be the PIC. He will do a whole lot better job than we ever could. He’ll raise us up above the turbulence and grease those landings when the flight’s over.

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.

The Lord himself will lead you and be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you, so do not lose courage or be afraid. Deuteronomy 31:8 (GNT)

I wish you well.


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One of my posts will appear on Inspire a Fire today, March 3, 2015. Please stop by.

Controlled Burns

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

My parents lived on acreage in the south Georgia pines and frequently had controlled, or prescribed, burns. Sitting in the middle of all that pine sap and straw fire was a real threat. Especially during times of drought. The day we moved my mother to town, years after my father died, ashes from a fire just the other side of the swamp fell like snowflakes to the ground. Surgical masks became a necessity as we breathed the heavy, smoke-filled air.


During a prescribed burn the previous fall, firebreaks to control runaway flames were dug along the edges of the pine forest surrounding the house.

Because I didn’t grow up in this area of the world, it took me a while to fully understand the purpose of deliberately setting the woods on fire.

Smokey the Bear always said to prevent fires, not start them.

So I educated myself on the matter.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of southeast Georgia:

  • Prescribed or controlled burns remove dead vegetation (keeping the underbrush from becoming a massive fire bomb, I would presume) and returns nutrients to the soil, helping to prepare a seedbed for plant germination.
  • Fire helps to reduce disease and insect infestations and naturally prunes vegetation.
  • Fires burn away the woody shrubs that grow around trees that, if allowed to grow, could provide snakes and other predators easy access to the woodpecker nests.
  • Southeastern pine trees, such as pond and sand pine, require heat from a fire for seed release.

So, I’m thinking…any spiritual application here? I believe so.

Point #1…we need God’s refining fire to burn away the deadwood we carry around inside to keep us from exploding and spewing flames on those around us. Removing the dead, useless things will give room for new spiritual growth.

Point #2…allowing God to prune us and shape us to his design will keep those pesky insects of pride, idolatry, laziness, gossip…fill in your own personal insect…from boring holes into us and causing our spirit to become diseased.

Point #3…sometimes we allow evil to surround us where predators can hide, waiting for a weak moment when we let our guard down, and then they attack without warning.

Point #4…okay, I’m not real fond of this one…well, I’m not real fond of snakes, or insects, either…sometimes heat has to be applied before the seeds of our spiritual growth can be released.

There you have it.

Lessons learned from controlled burns, and the Refiner’s Fire, designed to burn away everything that displeases God so we can be clean vessels to be used by him.

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

Wash me inside and out from my wrong-doing and make me clean from my sin. Psalm 51:2 (NLV)

I wish you well.


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God Doesn’t Punish Us As We Deserve

Our two-year-old German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix, Kirby, was a mess. Absolutely. She’d found a mud hole in the back yard, courtesy of the soaker hose with a pinhole leak. She was covered from muzzle to tail in mud. And she wanted in.

I let Kirby inside the laundry room and assessed the situation. She was filthy. Still … she was my dog and I loved her.

She looked repentant. She looked sorrowful. She looked at me as if she hoped I’d be merciful instead of treating her as she deserved. It was merely a momentarily lapse of good judgement on her part, I’m sure. Besides, I imagine her frolic in the oozy mud brought her pleasure on a hot summer day. Until she saw me, that is.

Although this scenario occurred years ago and Kirby has since died, I still smile when I think about it. And I reflect.

You see, I’ve wallowed around in mud holes of my own. And I imagine so have you. You know, it’s a momentarily lapse of reasoning. We forget who we are. We forget whose we are. We forget we belong to a Holy God and are called to a life of righteousness.

Our mud romp seems enjoyable for the moment. Until we face our owner.

Then we realize we messed up. We are sorrowful. We are repentant. There is nothing we can do to clean ourselves of our mess on our own. So we fall on the mercy and grace of a God who does not treat us as our sins deserve. A God who does not repay us for our iniquities. A God who casts our sins from us as far as east is from the west.

We stand before a God who does not wait for us to get all the mud off before he will let us enter his presence. Our God takes out his garden hose and washes us clean through the power of the sacrificial blood of our Risen Savior. Jesus Christ our LORD, Messiah, Redeemer, King. The Lamb who was slain. By His wounds we are healed. Cleansed. Found not guilty.

Next time we face a tempting mud hole, I suggest we pray for the strength to walk around it. Quit lingering near it, and run as far away as possible.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Leave your comments below.

He (God) does not punish us as we deserve or repay us according to our sins and wrongs. As high as the sky is above the earth, so great is his love for those who honor him. As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us. As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honor him. Psalm 103:10-13 (GNT)

I wish you well.


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