Don’t Just Talk About It

If you’re going to write, don’t just talk about it, write.

That was the point a speaker made in one workshop I attended during the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in May.

The speaker mentioned a friend who talked about writing, attended writing conferences each year, and gathered writing resources but never wrote. His friend liked the idea of being a writer. Liked talking about being a writer. And especially liked having people think she was a writer. But the truth was, she never applied any of the knowledge she gathered to actually write. For her writing was fun to talk about. Hard to do.

Although I view the speaker’s words from a writer’s point of view I wonder, could the same thought be applied to those of us who call ourselves Christ followers? Don’t just talk about following Chris, live it out?

Like the speaker’s friend, do we like to talk about following Jesus, belonging to a church, and lining our shelves with books on spiritual development? Do we like for others to think we follow Jesus’ example without evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives?

Just as the speaker pointed out writers need to study the craft of writing, followers of Jesus need to study the ultimate how-to-guide book, the Bible. We need to understand what our lives should look like.

As the speaker also pointed out, all the studying in the world will do us little good if we don’t put it into practice and apply it to our lives.

Especially when it comes to following Jesus.

The book of James tells us if we only listen to God’s word without putting it into practice, we’re fooling ourselves. We have to do what the Bible says.

We fool ourselves when we say we follow Jesus without doing what he tells us to do.

Jesus said even the smallest thing we do for others we do for him. And the reverse. Whatever we neglect to do for others we neglect to do for him.

It’s one thing to say we’re writers and not write. It’s something completely different to say we follow Jesus and don’t.

Talk the talk and walk the walk, right?

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But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. James 1:22 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Our Spiritual Accident

While attending the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, I discovered the more time I spent time with a friend from the same area of Eastern Kentucky where my dad grew up, the more my accent became like his.

Although I never lived in Kentucky, I started speaking with an Eastern Kentucky accent.

As Carlton and I discussed this phenomenon the last day of the conference, he laughed and said, “It’s your Kentucky roots coming out.”

I’m thinking me dropping my Rs and Gs has something to do with his distinctive Appalachian accent drawing out my Kentucky roots. But maybe not.

Pondering this I wondered, do our accents, attitudes, and words take on the environment around us, or do they remain consistent with who we are as children of God regardless of our surroundings?

Just as being around Carlton increased the chances my Kentucky accent came out, shouldn’t spending time with God increase the chances our spiritual accent comes out?

I never thought I had an accent. I definitely don’t have a Texas accent. At least I don’t think I do. I grew up in Maryland. Marylanders don’t have accents. At least we don’t think we do.

Unless you count us dropping the Y and maybe the D when we pronounce the name of the state. And maybe we drop a couple letters when we say, Baltimore. And a couple more when we say, Orioles.

As a collective of Christ followers, you and I may not think our spiritual accent changes depending on our surroundings, but what if we see patterns that indicate it does?

What if we see patterns that show we pick up the world’s accent in certain situations? What then?

Maybe returning to our spiritual roots will help us find our spiritual accent of the Fruit of the Spirit living in us.

I always enjoy spending time talking with Carlton, especially when my Kentucky roots start to show.

Does your accent change depending on who you’re around?

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Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God Works in Mysterious Ways

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Who would have thought God would use a public restroom in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to speak words of truth into me through a perfect stranger-turned-friend, while we both brushed our teeth during the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference last month? Certainly not me. That’s for sure. And probably not Joni, either. Once again, proving God works in mysterious ways.

Let me set the scene for you.

Because Pilot and I stay in our RV in the Ridgecrest campground while I attend the writers conference, Pilot drops me off each morning at the conference where I eat breakfast before spending the day and evening in workshops and sessions. He joins me for the evening key note and afterwards, we return to our campsite for the night. Repeat the next day.

After I ate breakfast each morning, I needed to brush my teeth. So did Joni who drove in for the conference each day, and didn’t have a place to brush her teeth either.

Each morning we both ended up in the same restroom at the same time to brush our teeth. We didn’t plan it. We didn’t prearrange it. And we didn’t show up at the exact time each morning, but God had plans, and was moving behind the scenes nonetheless.

Throughout the week Joni and I chatted, but on the next to last day when she asked how things were going, I mentioned the fact I’d been told the disappointing news, by several industry professionals at the conference, there was no market for the genre I write; middle grade and young adult historical fiction.

Joni put her toothbrush down and told me God will make the market. I just need to keep writing what God puts on my heart. Funny thing about this, one of the workshop presenters told me the exact same thing the day before. For my final third confirmation that God wants me to keep writing my historicals and he’ll make a way to market them, I won first place in all three contest entries I submitted at the conference. Thank you, Jesus.

DiAnn Mills, Me, and Edie Melson 2017 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Photo courtesy Mary Denman

You guessed it. All three entry wins are middle grade and young adult historicals.

Since God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to cross on dry land, what’s a little making a way through closed markets?

Who knows? God may use the person standing next to you at the restroom sink to speak words of truth to you, too. Then again, maybe not. 🙂 Regardless of how God chooses to deliver his message, he will speak to us if we’ll listen.

Yes. God works in mysterious ways. How have you seen him work?

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The Lord says, “Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do.
It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land.
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Of Moose and Men-Lost and Found in Alaska Book Review

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Of Moose and Men-Lost and Found in Alaska is the latest book by award-winning actor, comedian, writer and Hippie for the Holy One, Torry Martin, that tells of Torry’s time looking for and finding God in Alaska.

I met Torry three years ago at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and do not believe I have ever laughed so hard listening to someone speak of their life adventures the way I laughed when Torry told about his.

Gospel tract flinging mall walkers asking for prayer because their corns are killing them?

Explaining to one of the Point of Grace singers during an awards ceremony how the Incinolet toilet in his Alaska cabin worked?

The disastrous tale of dying his beard neon-orange Luscious Mango only to be pulled over while driving by the police because he wore a ski mask in the heat of summer to hide it?

Torry relates each of these misadventures in Of Moose and Men-Lost and Found in Alaska, yet hearing them with his comedic pauses and gestures is 100 times funnier. Guess you had to be there. 🙂

Torry is a master story teller but not just because he is soooo funny, but because he ties his life lessons to scriptural life lessons each of us can learn from. At the end of each chapter of his book Torry relates how his misadventures, and let me tell you, he definitely has had some doozies of misadventures, holds a life lesson for all of us.

Then there is the story of the day Torry fed a bull moose carrots through the window of his cabin. Yes. He. Did. The moose decided to stick his head, antlers and all, through the tiny window and got stuck. Understandably, the moose was not pleased with Torry’s attempts to push his head back outside.

You’ll need to read the book to find out what happened but at the end of that chapter, Torry compared that misadventure with the way we often underestimate Satan’s power and the havoc Satan causes in our lives.

Torry is an extremely funny guy but more importantly, he is a Child of the One True King who lives his life as a Hippie for the Holy One, spreading the Gospel wherever he goes.

And he does it without flinging tracts at you while walking around the mall.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

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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Take That Leap of Faith

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Faith is a theme that runs through many of my blog posts. Maybe you’ve noticed. Abraham. Moses. Esther. To name a few.

During the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference last month, I spent time with other writers as we encouraged each other in our writer’s journey. For those who do not write, you may not understand how much faith it takes to believe God has called us to weave words together for him to use.

It’s a privilege that requires large quantities of faith.

The same amount of faith it takes any of us to accept the privilege God gives to use the abilities and skills he’s placed within us. It takes faith to make that incredible leap to step out and trust.

But you know what?

fearNo matter how fantastic the opportunity, facing the unknown can be frightening. Especially when doing so seems … crazy.

We might listen to Satan’s lies telling us we aren’t good enough.

Who are we kidding?

What have we got to offer?

Why do we think we’re capable?

It’ll be too difficult.

And on and on and on.

So this post is for all of us who need a little encouragement to step out in faith no matter courtesy pixabayhow crazy it may seem.

Encouragement to grab hold of all the marvelous things God has waiting for us and trust he knows what he’s doing when he calls us to be a part of his plan.

Am I the only one who struggles with a lack of confidence that can morph into a lack of faith that can become a lack of obedience when I face the unknown?

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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)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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