He Is Worthy

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In the book of Revelation a mighty angel asks, “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll?”

This scroll was in the right hand of the One seated on the throne in heaven. But there was no one—no one in Heaven, no one on earth, no one from the underworld—worthy to break open the scroll and read it.

At this knowledge, John wept.

I believe if I’d been with John at this time, I too would have wept at the seeming hopelessness.

No one anywhere in all creation was worthy.

How very, very sad.

If there was no one worthy to break the seven seals on the scroll, then no one could read what it said.

As John wept in his sadness, one of the twenty-four Elders told him to stop crying. Then he pointed to the Lion of Judah, the Lamb of God, the Root of David, the Conqueror who proved himself worthy to open the scroll and break its seals.

On the Lamb’s body were wounds that once had caused his death. While John watched, The Lamb, Jesus, stepped forward and took the scroll from the hand of the One seated on the throne. His Father. God.

At times we may feel as John did and weep over the darkness and brokenness of the world around us.

We may feel the darkness closing in and forget a day is coming when a new dawn will break.

In God’s perfect timing all the darkness will banish in the Light of our Savior Jesus Christ.

All will be made new. And God will walk among us once again.

Is anyone worthy? Is anyone able to break the seals and open the scroll?

Yes.

The Lamb who was slain on a cross at Calvary and rose to ascend to heaven where he now sits at his Father’s right hand, is the only one worthy to open the scroll.

Jesus is worthy to receive the glory and power and honor and blessing.

He is!

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I saw a scroll in the right hand of the One Seated on the Throne. It was written on both sides, fastened with seven seals. I also saw a powerful Angel, calling out in a voice like thunder, “Is there anyone who can open the scroll, who can break its seals?”

There was no one—no one in Heaven, no one on earth, no one from the underworld—able to break open the scroll and read it.

I wept and wept and wept that no one was found able to open the scroll, able to read it. One of the Elders said, “Don’t weep. Look—the Lion from theTribe Judah, the Root of David’s Tree, has conquered. He can open the scroll, can rip through the seven seals.” Revelation 5:1-5 (MSG)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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When Our Timbers Get Shivered

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

According to the etymology resources I investigated, shiver me timbers means:

to break in or into many small pieces, c. 1200, from the source of shiver (n.). Chiefly in phrase shiver me timbers (1835),

To cause (a material thing) to ‘start’ or break away from its place; to displace by pressure or strain. Of a ship. To suffer the starting or giving way of (a plank, etc.).

The word shiver originally referred to a small piece, fragment, or splinter of something, or to the act of breaking something into many small pieces. Hence, “shiver my/me timbers” refers to the splintering of wooden ships upon rough seas.

Well. The last half of 2017 was a time when my timbers were shivered with one continuous thing after another. For sure.

Details aren’t necessary.

But I will say if you’ve ever been caught in a rip current, pulled under water repeatedly, popped up for a gasp of air only to be pulled under again, you might have an idea of what I’m talking about.

While I believe we are meant to learn from our past, and nothing is wasted, for this discussion I’m going with what Kylo Ren told Rey in the latest Star Wars movie. “Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.”

The last week of December 2017 I felt God reorienting the ship of my life. Although the tides of life pulled me gradually off course, pieces of wood shivered and lay splintered on the deck, my main mast split in two, and my sails tore; God began turning me back to his guiding star.

When our timbers get shivered it requires a deep trust in God to steady the ship.

It requires stepping away from the steering wheel and allowing God to take over the helm.

It requires continuous reorientation to the Guiding Star that is constant and never moves.

Is it easy? Nope. Is it doable? Yep. With God all things are possible. Even putting the shivered pieces of our life in their proper place.

Have your timbers been shivered lately?

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Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God’s throne. Hebrews 12:2 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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He Will Crush the Serpent’s Head

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

It isn’t often I go to the book of Genesis to reflect on Jesus’ birth, but that’s what I did recently.

When Pilot and I toured the painted churches of Schulenburg, Texas, the cemetery at the Praha church fascinated us. As we wandered through the grave markers, read the names, and noticed the dates of birth and death, Pilot made an amazing discovery.

 

It was a statue of Mary. If you look close, at the bottom of the statue you see a snake crushed under Mary’s foot. Fulfilling God’s prediction the day he confronted Adam, Eve, and the serpent in the Garden. Mary’s seed did indeed crush the serpent’s head.

Jesus has been, is, and always will be. Before the creation of the world, God knew man would sin and need a Savior. Jesus knew he would be the Sacrificial Lamb slain for the sins of the world.

Jesus’ birth in a manager in Bethlehem brought the Gift to mankind. His sacrifice on the cross of Calvary paid the debt we owed but could never pay. His resurrection conquered sin, hell, the serpent, and death. He fulfilled the promise God made all those many, many years earlier that although the serpent would bruise Christ’s heel, Our Redeemer would crush the serpent’s head. And glory hallelujah, he did exactly that!

Have you ever considered this section of scripture during the Christmas season before?

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Then the Lord God said to the snake, “You will be punished for this; you alone of all the animals must bear this curse: From now on you will crawl on your belly, and you will have to eat dust as long as you live. I will make you and the woman hate each other; her offspring and yours will always be enemies. Her offspring will crush your head, and you will bite her offspring’s heel.” Genesis 3:14-15 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Faith and Hope in Jesus

Years ago when I first heard Andrew Peterson’s song, “No More Faith”, it puzzled me.

Aren’t we supposed to walk by faith, not by sight? Isn’t faith the assurance we have that something we want is going to happen? The certainty what we hope for is waiting for us? Didn’t Jesus comment numerous times about people’s great faith, or lack of?

So what’s the deal with a song called no more faith? Faith is what sustains us and gets us through the difficulties of this world, is it not?

And what about hope? When our hearts are plunged into the depths of despair, don’t we cling to hope like a life preserver?

Job declared that even if God slay him, still he would have hope. David declared we are to put our hope in God, and said our hope comes from God.

Well. It’s taken me awhile, but I think I understand what Andrew meant. Maybe. A little.

There is going to come a time, Revelation tells us, when we will see Jesus face to face. At that time, we won’t need anymore faith. Anymore hope. Why? Because in heaven what we were confident would happen; what we hoped, for has come to pass. Those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior will stand in his presence, bathed in his glorious love.

And the greatest of these is love. A never ending, everlasting, all encompassing love that can only come from the Father and his Son.

All despair will be removed. There will be no need to have faith or hope that things will get better, because in heaven everything will be perfect.

When we reach heaven, Christ’s love will prove he has wiped away every tear, every heartache, and every disease.

Glory hallelujah!

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What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. Hebrews 11:1 (TLB)

 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24-25 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Keeping Our Eyes on the Pillar of Fire

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

During their forty years of wandering through the wilderness after they left Egypt, God provided the Israelites with a pillar of fire at night and a pillar of cloud by day to guide them. When the pillar rested over a place, the Isrealites rested. When the pillar moved, the Israelites moved. These pillars assured the people God remained with them.

God did not take the Israelites the quickest route. He took them the long way home. His timing. His route. His pace.

I was reminded of this truth recently, once again, in regards to my quest to have my books published. While I may not see a physical pillar of fire, or a pillar of cloud, God is still with me on this journey. That fact right there should be enough to comfort me, but sometimes I choose not to see this journey that way, and I need God’s gentle reminder this is his timing. His route. His pace.

My assignment, should I choose to accept it, is to keep my eyes on the pillar of fire and pillar of cloud, and follow where God’s pillars lead.

It doesn’t matter whether I understand or not.

More times than not, I don’t understand. But that’s okay, because God is still the one controlling the pillars.

Any pillars of fire or pillars of clouds God is setting before you?

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During the day the Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud to show them the way, and during the night he went in front of them in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel night and day. The pillar of cloud was always in front of the people during the day, and the pillar of fire at night. Exodus 13:21-22 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God Sees Our Struggles

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Oftentimes, when we think of Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, we think of his wife, Rachel. Not his first wife, Leah.

When reading their story in Genesis 29 and 30 it would be difficult not to feel sorry, even if only a little bit, for Leah. The unloved wife. It wasn’t her fault the way things turned out.

Jacob didn’t keep it a secret his true love was Leah’s sister. Rachel didn’t keep it a secret the only reason her husband married Leah was because he was duped by their father, Laban.

Leah knew where she stood. She wasn’t stupid.

When she conceived and gave birth to courtesy pixabayher first child, Reuben, she said, “It is because the LORD has seen my misery.”

When she gave birth to her second son, she said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.”

And so it continued.

In our lives there may be people who don’t hide the fact they love one sibling over the other. One parent over the other. One child over the other. One best friend over the other …

It may even be that we’re our own worst enemy.

We doubt we are loved.

We doubt we are worthy.

We doubt we are capable.

But that’s not how God sees us.

God knows us better than anyone else ever could and he loves us even still.

So we need to quit beating ourselves up and hold to the truth. We are God’s beloved.

courtesy pixabayGod sees our situation and he cares for us just as he saw Leah’s situation and cared for her. Despite how others treat us, God is able to bless us beyond measure.

Others do not define us. God does.

We remember Rachel gave birth to two sons; Joseph and Benjamin. But her sons were not in Jesus’ lineage.

Nope.

The Messiah came from the tribe of Leah’s fourth son, Judah.

God truly did bless Leah, wouldn’t you say?

When you think of the story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah, what jumps out at you? Have you ever felt sad for the unloved wife?

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So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years. When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. Genesis 29:30-31 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Prepare to Stop

pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

A road I travel frequently has a speed limit of 55 mph which means even though I’m probably driving 60, I get passed by folks as if I’m standing still.

A stop light on this road sits at the intersection of a heavily traveled road with a speed limit of 50 mph, which most folks also ignore.

When drivers approach the stop light from any direction, they will notice a sign with a light attached and the warning, Prepare to Stop When Flashing.

Perhaps you’ve seen a similar sign?

If the light at the intersection is about to turn from green to red the sign flashes out the warning to slow down and prepare to stop. This gives drivers time to decelerate and avoid any potential accidents.

That sign doesn’t flash all the time. Only when it needs to get passerby’s attention.

Every time I see that warning sign I consider the warning signs God places in our paths. His signs don’t flash out at us all the time, either. They only flash when we’re in danger and God wants to get our attention.

Those signs tell us to slow down. Take our foot off the gas pedal. Pay attention. Stick to pixabaythe correct path.

Don’t go down that road. It’s dangerous. Remember what you’ve been taught. Don’t fall into the trap of following the crowd.

You’re being reckless. What in the world are you thinking?

Oftentimes we exceed the recommended speed limit for our lives and ignore prudent thought and decision making. We plunge headfirst onto the path we choose without pausing to consider the path God lays out before us.

We know what the right thing to do is, but don’t do it.

The purpose for the flashing light on the sign that sits near my home is to avoid accidents and save peoples’ lives.

God’s flashing warning lights serve the very same purpose…to avoid accidents and save peoples’ lives.

pixabayGod’s warnings are written in his Holy Word.

We can ignore them and hope for the best, like some drivers do when they run through a red light, or we can pay attention to the warnings, listen to the godly counsel of others, read our Bible, and pray for guidance.

The choice it totally up to us.

Be smart, or not.

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.

This is what the LORD says:

Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.”

But you reply, “No, that’s not the road we want!”

Therefore, this is what the LORD says:

“I will put obstacles in my people’s path. Fathers and sons will both fall over them. Neighbors and friends will die together.” Jeremiah 6:16, 21 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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King of Kings

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

When I was in second grade Sissy, our brother, Butter, and I went to a Saturday matinee. Unlike most movies I attended with Sissy during my elementary school years, this movie was not an Elvis Presley movie. Yea!

This movie depicted the life of Jesus. The title was King of Kings. Jeffrey Hunter portrayed Christ. Harry Guardino portrayed Barabbas. The scene in the movie where the people cried for the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus is seared into my memory. It didn’t matter how fine an actor Guardino was in the years after, I never particularly cared for him. He did that good a job presenting Barabbas.

During Christ’s interrogation before Pilate, Pilate had a choice.

Release an innocent man in exchange for a convicted criminal, or cave into the demands of the religious leaders, have Christ crucified and set Barabbas free.

Pilate had the power and authority to make the decision to release Jesus, but he decided to grant the demands of the shouting crowds.

An innocent man died in the place of a criminal.

We might look at the scripture that recounts these details and think, “That isn’t fair. Barabbas broke the law. Everyone knew it. He deserved to die. Jesus was innocent. Sinless. He did nothing worthy of the punishment he received.”

That’s the way my brain reasoned when I listened to the crowds in the movie chant for Barabbas to be released. I remember crying because Pilate didn’t make the right choice. He should have released Jesus. He shouldn’t have released Barabbas.

I wanted Jesus to live. I wanted Barabbas to be punished.

But you know what? It could just as easily have been my name that was called out to be released. Or your name.

Because, really, isn’t that what happened?

You and I have broken God’s law. We know it. Jesus knows it. We deserve to die. We deserve to be punished.

Instead, Jesus died in our place. He took our sins upon his perfect, sinless self and paid the penalty for the debt we owed, but could never pay.

We are the prisoners, the law-breakers who should have died. Instead, we were shown God’s great mercy.

Don’t you want to thank him for that great gift?

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Then Pilate summoned the chief priests, the officials and the people and addressed them in these words. “You have brought this man to me as a mischief-maker among the people, and I want you to realise that, after examining him in your presence, I have found nothing criminal about him, in spite of all your accusations. And neither has Herod, for he has sent him back to us. Obviously, then, he has done nothing to deserve the death penalty. I propose, therefore, to teach him a sharp lesson and let him go.”

But they all yelled as one man, “Take this man away! We want Barabbas set free!” (Barabbas was a man who had been put in prison for causing a riot in the city and for murder.) But Pilate wanted to set Jesus free and he called out to them again, but they shouted back at him, “Crucify, crucify him!”

Then he spoke to them, for a third time, “What is his crime, then? I have found nothing in him that deserves execution; I am going to teach him a lesson and let him go.”

But they shouted him down, yelling their demand that he should be crucified.

Their shouting won the day, and Pilate pronounced the official decision that their request should be granted. He released the man for whom they asked, the man who had been imprisoned for rioting and murder, and surrendered Jesus to their demands. Luke 23:13-25 (Phillips)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Birthday Candles

bingby Sandy Kirby Quandt

My son, Pie, has a milestone birthday coming up. Do you think I should get him a tombstone cake like he got me on one of my big birthdays?

Seems like only days ago, okay, maybe a couple of years ago, I hovered over his crib and couldn’t believe I had actually given birth to a real live human being.

Only God could make that happen.

Thinking about those early days, middle years, teen years, and adult years made me realize several things. Some of which I’ll share here.

bingAlthough parents believe no one could possibly love their children more than they do, that’s not true, you know. God loves our children more than we ever will. And he loves us more than our parents ever could.

While parents are imperfect beings who mess up over and over, God is the perfect parent. He disciplines and restores in his perfect timing. His love knows no bounds.

Children aren’t “Mini Mes” and that’s a good thing. The goal should be to point children to Jesus. He is the one they are to model their lives after.

While we hold our child’s hand through the ups and downs of life, there are some bingboo-boos we can’t kiss and make better no matter how hard we try. That’s when Jesus steps in, wraps his arms around them, and refuses to let go.

Aren’t we glad it isn’t all up to us?

Any parenting words of wisdom you’d care to share, either from your days as a child or a parent?

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 made an agreement with Jacob and gave the teachings to Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children. Then their children would know them, even their children not yet born. And they would tell their children. So they would all trust God and would not forget what he had done but would obey his commands. Psalm 78:5-7 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Right now I’m in the process of preparing several pieces of writing for submissions to contests and conferences. One of the things I’m preparing is a proposal for a devotional book based on my blog posts.

Will you help?

If any of my posts have resonated with you in a positive way, helped you see something in binga new light, encouraged, or helped, other than the yummy recipes :), would you tell me? I’d like to know your favorites so they can be considered for inclusion in my book proposal.

One way to let me know your choices – tell me as many as you’d like – is to put them in the comment section. If you’d rather not have the whole world see what you picked, you can send the titles to me through the Contact Me tab at the top of the page.

Thanks so much for your help with this. I’m looking forward to reading your messages!

 

Led By the Pillar of Fire

bingby Sandy Kirby Quandt

We’ve heard the story…God led his people through the wilderness for forty years by a pillar of cloud during the day, and a pillar of fire at night.

The cloud provided shade and protective cover. The fire provided heat and light. Both provided direction. Those physical manifestations were signs to the Israelites that God’s Shekinah Glory, his very presence, was with them. When the cloud moved, the people moved. When the cloud stayed put, the people stayed put.

Many a time I’ve prayed for God to lead me by his cloud and fire. Don’t leave it up to me. I’ll get lost, or stay put too long, or move too quickly. Ever feel like that?

The good news is although we may not see a pillar of cloud or fire, God still provides direction. He still provides light, shade, protection and heat as needed.

bingWhen we feel surrounded by darkness he is with us showing the way. We are told Jesus is the Light in whom there is no darkness. Because God is not bound by time, he has already gone before us and shed light on our path.

When we are weary and worn out Jesus invites us to rest in the shade of his love. He wants us to turn over our cares, because he cares for us.

When our world seems cold and hopeless the fire of Christ’s love can warm us. He is the one who protects and gives hope.

The thing with the cloud and fire is this…when they moved, the people moved. When they stopped, the people stopped. If the people decided not to follow where the pillars led, or struck out on their own, they’d be lost. They’d end up separated from God. They’d die.

In our journey today those of us who claim Jesus as our Lord have the Holy Spirit as our bingpillar to guide us. He won’t force us to follow. It’s up to us to move when he tells us to move, and stay put when he tells us to stay put.

How has Jesus’ pillar of cloud and pillar of fire helped you through your wilderness wanderings?

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.

During the day the Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud to show them the way, and during the night he went in front of them in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel night and day. Exodus 13:21 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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