Everlasting Love

courtesy coral castle museumby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. Saturday, February 14 is a day set aside to recognize and celebrate the loved ones in our lives. A time to think of couples with romantic connections. Couples such as:

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Tony and Maria
  • Bugs and Elmer
  • Edward Leedskalnin and Agnes Scuffs

Who?

courtesy coral castle museumFrom 1923 to 1951, Ed Leedskalnin single-handedly carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock using nothing but home made tools to complete his masterpiece.

When Ed was 26-years-old, he met and fell in love with 16-year-old Agnes. The day before their wedding, Agnes changed her mind. She told her betrothed she no longer wanted to marry him.

Devastated, Ed left his homeland of Latvia and set sail for America. He eventually ended up near Miami, Florida where there was an abundance of coral which had turned into rock.

Using his stone masonry skills, Ed created a coral castle for the love of his life in coral castlehopes it would convince Agnes of his everlasting love and prompt her to live with him forever.

Although the castle was completed, and still stands as a monument to his devotion, Agnes never did marry Ed.

How sad.

While some called the man crazy, he preferred the title, eccentric.

Everything inside Ed’s castle was made of coral stone or items he picked up from junkyards. Chairs, stairs, gates, self-heating bath, tower, even a heart shaped table with a potted plant so Agnes would always have flowers.

bing images

A sign above a bell at the entrance to his castle informed visitors they were to ring twice if they wanted admittance. Should they fail to follow Ed’s instructions, he either ignored them or told them, “Go away. You can’t follow directions and you might break something.”

When I first learned of Ed and his coral castle years ago while we lived in Florida, I drew a comparison to another man who sacrificed much for his love. A person who wanted to spend eternity with his Bride.

Jesus.

Jesus left his home in heaven and traveled this land we call Earth to prove how much he loves us and to woo us to himself. To show just how great his love for us was, and is, Christ suffered much. Even to the point of death on the cross of Calvary. All to make a way for us to live with him forever.

After his death and resurrection Jesus returned home. That’s where he is now. Preparing courtesy coral castle museuma castle just for us. One that has lots of special rooms and furnishings. One made by the scars of his own hands.

Just like Agnes rejected Ed’s love, many reject Jesus’ perfect love. They don’t want him to be part of their life.

How sad.

They think the whole idea of someone dying for them, paying the price for their sins so they can be forgiven and be a part of the Kingdom of God is crazy. Insane. Far beyond eccentric.

There’s a sign placed above the entrance to heaven, too, you know. It says we have to follow the rules if we expect admittance. Just like Ed’s rule, God’s rule is pretty simple.

Accept his son as Savior and Lord.

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.

Long ago the Lord said to Israel:  “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Just Because

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Now for something completely different…

I’m sending this out just because I can.

As the holidays approach I hope this song by Andrew Peterson and the verses from the New Testament book of Revelation touch and comfort those of you who have lost loved ones as much as they touch and comfort me.

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.

 I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and so had the sea. Then I saw New Jerusalem, that holy city, coming down from God in heaven. It was like a bride dressed in her wedding gown and ready to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice shout from the throne: God’s home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever. Then the one sitting on the throne said: I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted. Revelation 21:1-5 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Step Out In Faith

ISS Courtesy NASA imagesBy Sandy Kirby Quandt

Fourteen years ago, Pilot received word he was transferring from working on Space Shuttles at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, to sitting in the Mission Control Room of Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where he would work with astronauts on board the International Space Station.

Life was in flux.

photo SQuandtAs we approached the anniversary of our move, I thought of someone who made a much greater move. Abraham. Husband of Sarah. Father of Ishmael and Issac.

Father of the Arabs, Jews, and Christians. From whose line Jesus Christ was born.

God called Abe to leave everything he knew. Everything he had built up. Leave his extended family and possessions.

Leave civilization and live a nomadic life in a tent, and go to a land God would show him.

Canaan.

Abe obeyed, and God blessed him. Just as he promised.

bing imagesAre you in a place where you feel God’s asking you to step out in faith? Venture into the unknown? Go to a land he will show you?

Maybe it’s a career decision. Maybe a relationship decision. Maybe God’s asking you to take on a ministry that’s out of your comfort zone.

Maybe God’s asking you to trust him with your finances. Trust him with your children. Your spouse. Your health.

Perhaps doing so means listening to God’s voice and shutting our ears to the lies of Satan.

bing photoMaybe we need to step out in faith, and trust God to lead us to the land of Canaan where he is calling us. Whatever our Canaan might look like.

Or as Star Trek beckoned, boldly go where no one has gone before.

No one except God, that is. The One who has already gone before us and prepared the way.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject.

Abraham trusted God, and when God told him to leave home and go far away to another land that he promised to give him, Abraham obeyed. Away he went, not even knowing where he was going.                            Hebrews 11:8 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sometimes, It Takes a Donkey

Bing photosWhen I first read the story of the Prophet Balaam and his talking donkey, (Numbers 22:21-35) I was in elementary school. The story made me giggle. This was around the same time Mister Ed, the talking horse, was on television. If you ever saw the show you remember Mister Ed was a whole lot smarter than his owner, Wilbur.

It was also when, as the youngest member of my family, no one took what I said seriously. Or at least, that’s the way it felt. Not sure that’s changed too much. 😉

Bing PhotosAnyway, in the story of Balaam’s talking donkey she sees danger in front of them, and tries to avert it. (Although the Bible doesn’t give the donkey a name, I’ve named her Princess.)

God opened Princess’ eyes to something he had closed Balaam’s eyes to. An avenging angel, sword in hand, stood in front of Balaam and Princess, determined to stop Balaam from the journey he had planned.

Every time Princess swerved to get away from the angel, Balaam beat or kicked her. Then the most wonderful thing happened. God let Princess speak! And Balaam talked right back to her as if it was nothing unusual.

Princess states the facts. She’d never led Balaam astray all the time they’d been together. So, why did he think she would do that now?

When God allowed Balaam to see what Princess had been protecting him from, Balaam fell to Bing Photoshis knees. I’m thinking the guy should have given Princess a hug before hitting the dirt. After all, she had saved his life.

Got any Balaam’s in your life? You know. People you’ve been around long enough for them to trust your counsel but who, for whatever reason, think you’re a donkey without the sense enough to know what you’re talking about?

Like me, I’m sure you’re not fond of being thought of as a donkey.

What to do?

We can pray for the Holy Spirit to give us the words to say the right things. Just like God gave Princess. And for God to open the eyes and ears of our Balaams so they can see the truth.

Sometimes it works. Other times, God allows our Balaams to keep on their destructive paths until such a time He decides to make the truth clear to them. Either way, we need to carry the fire of truth until the day they choose to see it.

Then the Lord gave the donkey the power of speech, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you? Why have you beaten me these three times?”

Balaam answered, “Because you have made a fool of me! If I had a sword, I would kill you.”

The donkey replied, “Am I not the same donkey on which you have ridden all your life? Have I ever treated you like this before?”

“No,” he answered.

Then the Lord let Balaam see the angel standing there with his sword; and Balaam threw himself face downward on the ground. Numbers 22:28-31 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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What If the Shepherds Didn’t Go?

Christmas 2013 is past. We’re on the way to 2014.

Gifts have been opened. Food has been eaten. Carols have been sung.

We have heard the part of the Christmas story that told us a multitude of Heavenly Hosts filled the sky that night. The angels scared the poor shepherds with their appearance. I’d be frightened, too, if an army of angels suddenly appeared in the sky. Wouldn’t you?

The angel told the shepherds the news he shared was great. He said it would bring great joy to everyone. The angels made their announcement of the Savior’s birth, praised God, and told the shepherds to go see what had happened. We remember the shepherds left their flock of sheep, their livelihood, and went to Bethlehem. The City of David.

The shepherds went and found the baby in the manger.

They did not form a committee to figure out the best way to get to Jesus. They did not ponder what they should say when they found the baby. They didn’t vote to see who got to lead the way. They simple got up, and went.

The shepherds left their sheep, and went QUICKLY into Bethlehem. Once they found the newborn baby, they told Mary and Joseph what the angels had said to them in the field. Today your Savior was born…He is Christ, the Lord. Then the shepherds returned to their sheep, praised, and thanked God.

But what if the shepherds didn’t go?  What if the shepherds didn’t leave the security of their fields?  What if they didn’t walk however-many-miles into Bethlehem?  What if they didn’t search for Jesus?  Would their lives have been changed, or would they have been content to let the day of Christ’s birth pass by without notice?

Like the shepherds, we have been given a glorious message. Unlike the shepherds, we live this side of the cross. We know what it cost God to send his son, Jesus, into our world to save us from our sins. The baby in the manger became the Savior on the cross.

As we reflect on the Christmas we have just celebrated, we too, must seek the Messiah. We must go quickly, and tell others the Good News of a Savior who came to seek and to save everyone who is lost.

When the angels went away from them back into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and saw the baby lying in the manger. When the shepherds saw him, they told them what the angel had said about the child. All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said. Luke 2:15-18

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my devotions will be posted on Christian Devotions December 30, 2013. Please stop by and check out the site.