Please Pray for Casting Crowns’ Mark Hall

Mark Hall

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Friends, I’ve just been made aware lead singer with Casting Crowns, Mark Hall, will have surgery March 11th, 2015 to remove his right kidney due to a solid mass presumed to be cancerous.

Please lift Mark, his family, and Casting Crowns up to the Great Physician for peace, comfort and complete healing. Thanks.

Quoting from his announcement that he released on the group’s Facebook page, the singer states,

 

“Hey Casting Crowns Family, I would appreciate your prayers.

Doctors found a solid mass in my right kidney about a week ago. They are 90% sure it’s cancer and they are going to remove the entire kidney next Wednesday, March 11th. They believe the cancer is contained in the kidney, which is also a great hope. They will know more once it is out and Pathology can see it.

I’ll be in recovery for a month or a little longer because of the surgery. Please pray for healing and for God’s peace for my family.

Praising Him in This Storm,
Mark Hall”

Leave your 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.
With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine. To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Real Time-traveler

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Earlier this month, Pilot and I did something we’d never done before. We donned goggles and other attire recognized as Steampunk and attended Dickens on the Strand in Galveston, Texas. Actually, the outfit I wore except for the goggles, pistol, and sonic screwdriver, was made up of clothes that hang in my closet for everyday use. Our attire was tame compared to some.

Dickens on the Strand is an annual event which allows people to dress up in all sorts of costumes. There were characters from the Victorian era of Charles Dickens. Pirates due to Galveston’s association with Jean Lafitte. And Steampunkers for reasons I do not yet understand.

Among the crowd there were also Cowboys, American Civil War soldiers and Antebellum Belles. British Bobbies and 1880s British Indian Army soldiers. Queen Victoria, Bagpipers, a Town Crier. Plus lots of corsets and top hats.

One unexpected delight was coming upon a replica of Doctor Who’s TARDIS. Time And Relative Dimension In Space time machine and space craft all in one. Of course, this blue Police Box was nothing like the real thing once you stepped inside.

Where were the gears? Where were the levers? Where were the whirling sounds and pulsing lights?

In the BBC television show, when the Doctor travels in the TARDIS he comes up against numerous fearsome enemies set on destroying him. Fortunately, he has the ability to regenerate when his body is mortally damaged, taking on a new appearance and personality as needed.

Thinking about the time-traveling humanoid-alien Time Lord Doctor, who travels with various companions and faces a variety of menacing foes while working to save civilization, help innocent people, and right wrongs, set my mind to wandering, as is sometimes its way.

Earth to Sandy…what has this got to do with your usual Christian devotional posts of encouragement? Have you been out in the sun too long? Did you get zapped with the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver? Were your goggles a bit too tight?

Stick with me. I’m getting there.

I believe the Doctor has relevance to what I usually post.

Let me explain…

bing imagesAs a believer in the Resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I see Jesus as the ultimate time-traveler who descended to this earth, traveled with an assortment of companions, helped innocent people, set wrongs right, paid the penalty we owed to the point of his own death to save humanity, rose victoriously from the grave, ascended into heaven, and will return for us one day.

The Great I AM who was, and is, and is to come, King of kings and LORD of lords is not bound by time as we mortals are. He has conquered hell, sin, Satan, and death. Yes!

If those aren’t fearsome enemies, I don’t know what is.

Jesus is the Great Physician. He’s no made-up science fiction time-traveling humanoid-alien Time Lord Doctor. He’s the real deal.

Can I get an amen?

Bing imagesNow if I could just find an excuse to wear Elsa’s Frozen costume…and could actually fit inside it…

Anyone else out there like to dress up? Steampunk or otherwise?

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 am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end, says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” Revelation 1:8 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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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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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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Deep Roots Support Our Limbs

bing imagesBy Sandy Kirby Quandt

I’ve just finished reading Casting Crowns’ lead singer, Mark Hall’s book, Thrive. Great book!

In his book, Mark talks about an enormous oak tree in Alabama. He explains that the invisible roots that support everything going on above ground are as massive as the visible limbs that we are able to see.

He compares the tree to us.

We need deep roots to support our limbs. We need to dig deep into the Bible to learn how we should live, but we need to move from merely studying. bingWe need to reach out our limbs to help others, and apply the knowledge we gain by allowing God to use us.

Mark says we were made to thrive, not just survive. He writes that the only way to thrive is to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

To do that, we have to study who the Bible says God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are, and who we are in relation to them.

It is our personal relationship with Jesus that defines us. Not our parents’ relationship. Not our siblings’ relationship. Nor our neighbors’ relationship. But OUR relationship.

In writing this book, Mark’s goal is for us to realize a relationship with Christ doesn’t happen just because we sit in a church. Or because our family did. We have to make the commitment to continue to grow in our own personal relationship. That’s the roots.

Strong roots support the tree during life’s storms.

When I was a pre-schooler living in Norfolk, Virginia, a hurricane uprooted a huge Weeping Willow tree in our back yard and sent it crashing through the back porch, and through part of my bedroom. That tree looked healthy on the outside, but  underneath, it’s roots were shallow.

We can look like we’re living the life God wants us to live with all the busy-ness of “good works” we’re involved in, but if we haven’t dug our roots deep into the Bible, we’re apt to topple over when the storms hit. Just like that Weeping Willow in my backyard.

On the other hand, we can spend all our time studying, studying, studying, digging those deep roots, and never bing imagesreach out and apply what we’re learning to help others.

That’s what a friend of mine calls a stinky sponge. You know, the sponge that has soaked up the water and is left to sit on the counter without being used.

If the water is never squeezed out, that sponge is going to stink.

Let’s not be a stinky sponge. Let’s dig our roots deep into the Word of God, and then squeeze it out through our limbs of outreach to others.

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.

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely. They are like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper. Psalm 1:1-3 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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