Sunday Scriptures — Be Yourself

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

The week I spent as a participant at Space Camp for Teachers at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama was a once in a lifetime experience. During one activity I performed an EVA – Extravehicular Activity – on the International Space Station.

Of course, this was a mock-up. Not the real deal.

That day, four of us were assigned to two different EVAs. Before we went outside for the EVAs, we changed out of our blue flight suits and pulled white EVA suits on over our shorts and tee shirts. My teammates and I ranged in height from my 5′ 3″ to Bruce’s 6′ 6″.

We each hung our flight suits up where we’d be able to find them after the EVA, then headed for our assignments.

After our respective EVAs we returned to the room to change back into our flight suits. Only, before Bruce could return, Jonathan replaced Bruce’s flight suit with mine.

Maybe you can picture in your mind Bruce trying to squeeze into my too-small-for-him flight suit. Poor guy. He didn’t know what was going on. Jonathan told Bruce he must have grown during the EVA!

Just as my flight suit did not fit Bruce, God designed each of us to be who we are. He didn’t intend for us to fit into the space he designed for someone else. We weren’t meant to try and squeeze into parameters not meant for us.

But we do that sometimes, don’t we?

We try to be someone God never intended us to be. Instead of looking at who God made us and being grateful, we look at others and wish we had their looks, strength, family, abilities, possessions …

Instead of sharpening the skills God put inside us, we run after all kinds of things thinking we have to know how to do everything to be complete.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made, after all. Let’s celebrate that fact.

What advice would you give someone who tries to fit into the mold God made for someone else?

Leave a 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.

God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That’s why he sent Christ to make us what we are. Ephesians 2:10 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures – It Doesn’t Hurt To Be Nice

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

The other day as I drove to my son, Pie’s, apartment located across from one of the local high schools, a teenage boy sped across the divided four lane highway on his skateboard. Ninny. You could get yourself killed. I thought.

As I parked the car and walked across the parking lot to Pie’s apartment, who should scoot past? The Ninny. I mean, the teenager.

The way I saw it, I had three choices.

  • Be polite, smile and say hello
  • Let the parent/teacher in me out and lecture him on the danger of riding his skateboard across a busy street
  • Or ignore him altogether

Can you guess what I did?

I smiled, said hello and you know what? He raised his silver-studded lip into a smile, waved and said hello back.

Are there ever times when we see someone and become standoffish just because of their age, looks, or demeanor without any real basis for that reaction?

I’m not talking about tuning away from someone when the spidey-sense God gives us goes off when we’re walking through a dark parking lot alone, or when we find ourselves someplace we probably shouldn’t be.

I’m talking about refusing to acknowledge someone just because we’ve allowed a negative stereotype to take hold.

From the way the skateboarder smiled after I spoke to him, I believe he was surprised I acknowledged him at all. He may have been accustomed to adults turning away and ignoring him, for all I know.

Back to my three choices … I could have lectured him for the careless way he rode through traffic. I could have ignored him completely as if he didn’t even exist. But by being nice and not lecturing, not ignoring, maybe God used my few simple words to speak to the teen in some small way.

You never know.

Have you ever let discomfort keep you from being nice when it wouldn’t have hurt to do so?

Leave a 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.

It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others. Ephesians 2:10 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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I would like to wish each of you who is either a mother, or mother-figure, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! And yes, parents of pets count. 🙂

Feel Like a Smashed Tomato?

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Besides writing his Code of Silence novels and newly released Super Husband, Super Dad, my writer-friend, Tim Shoemaker, wrote a book entitled, Smashed Tomatoes, Bottle Rockets and Other Outdoor Devotionals You Can Do With Your Kids.

Several years ago, at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, Tim gave a devotional talk based on smashed tomatoes.

Now, you need to understand, Tim doesn’t just speak his devotions. He demonstrates them, as well. Dry ice and hot dogs? Toilet paper and leaf blower?

So…if he is speaking about smashed tomatoes, you can bet there will be some ripe tomatoes that meet up with a mallet of some sort. 🙂

I’m going to loosely interpret Tim’s devotional in this post. It won’t be word for word, so you should check out his wonderful books to hear straight from him!

Tim compares our lives to smashed tomatoes. He points out that even though God is in control and has a plan for our lives, we mess up sometimes. That’s when we might feel like a smashed tomato.

Not good for a whole lot.

But even when we do mess up, God isn’t finished with us. He doesn’t throw us away like…well…a smashed tomato.

During his devotion, Tim challenged us to think of the different things we could make out of smashed tomatoes.

People mentioned salsa, tomato sauce, tomato juice…I’m sure you can come up with your own list of delicious things created from a few smashed tomatoes.

Those things require the tomatoes be rearranged. Broken. Re-purposed. Changed. Transformed.

You getting a picture here?

Tim pointed out that things such as salsa, don’t come ready-made. Lots of things had to fit into place before those ripe tomatoes become the salsa on our chips.

Same with our lives. In God’s hands, our smashed tomatoes can become something good.

Speaking as Sandy here, when we get smacked with the mallet of life, and our dreams are crushed, we make decisions we should never have made, our bodies are broken or our strength is almost gone, we would do well to reconsider our situation. We need to never lose sight of the fact God’s still in the middle of our muddle.

Despite what we may believe, in his loving, gracious eyes, to God we are worthy.

If we let him, Jesus can take the broken pieces and rearrange them. He can re-purpose them.

If we let him, Jesus can take our mess and make something useful out of it.

If we let him, he can transform us into someone he can use to complete his work here on this earth.

Feeling like a smashed tomato? Might I make a suggestion? Hand the pieces over to Jesus.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my devotions will appear on Christian Devotions June 10, 2014. Please stop by.

Do, Or Do Not

One of my devotions will be posted on Christian Devotions November 5, 2013. Please stop by and check out the site.

In one of my college psychology classes, the professor talked about the tapes inside our head that we listen to.

More times than not, those tapes are negative thoughts we carry around, which tell us we aren’t good enough, smart enough, talented enough…

My professor suggested we erase the negative tapes, and replace them with the truth. We are good enough, smart enough, talented enough. Capable.

Easier said than done, don’t you agree? Especially if we have had people in our lives who belittle us, point out our short-comings, continue to bring up painful memories, or never acknowledge our accomplishments. Important to do, nonetheless. This isn’t about conceit, or self-promotion. Just the honest facts. We can succeed.

When Pie was young, and he said, “I’ll try”, I replied a la Yoda, “There is no try. Do, or do not.”

 

In previous posts, I have talked about our worth being in Christ alone. I have mentioned how God places specific passions in each of us.

I do not believe God puts those abilities in us for us to say, “I’ll try”. My opinion is God wants us to believe we can accomplish the good things he created us to do, through Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:10)

Satan, the father of all lies, tells us we can’t do it.

Who ya gonna’ believe?

Each of us needs to get rid of the negative tapes, the lies, we have believed for so long. We need to replace them with God’s truth.

There is no try.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

Got any negative tapes which need replaced? I know I sure do.

I wish you well.

Sandy

PS

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What’s Your Passion?

What are you passionate about? What have you spent time studying? Perfecting? Enjoying?

Pilot can tell from the sound of an engine, what kind of plane is overhead. Once the plane is in view, he can tell you pretty much, everything there is to know about it. He’s passionate about planes, and flying.

Me? I hear the same engine whine. I look up. Two wings? Larger than a bird? It’s a plane! (Now, let an Apache chopper fly over, and I can definitely identify that bad boy by it’s sound, and sight.)

Pilot can pick up an instrument and teach himself to play it rather quickly. No problem.

 

Me? I took piano lessons in elementary and junior high school. The day my instructor handed me one of Mozart’s masterpieces, you know, the ones where the left hand and the right are playing two completely different songs, I begged my parents not to force me to go back. Much to my piano teacher’s great relief, I am sure.

Now, both Sissy, and Butter played in their school bands. My dad played in the Navy’s band as it marched across the Oakland Bay Bridge, the day the bridge opened. Musical talent abounds. It just got all used up before I was born.

I have a heart for mission work, and contemplated becoming a foreign missionary. That is, until I took two years of Spanish in high school and two semesters in college. I realized I am not a linguist. Yo no hablo Espanol.

So what am I passionate about? What do I have a spark for? A light? A shot to the heart?

There are several things, but if I was forced to choose one, besides my passion for Jesus, it would have to be writing. Writing is something I have enjoyed, loved, and created since I was a wee lass. Writing is something I believe God has placed inside me. I believe it is something he wants to use for his purposes and glory.

Sometimes, we humans falsely believe we are the ones who choose what we will like to do. Be good at. Enjoy doing. Have a passion for. But, to my way of thinking, we’ve got it backwards.

God is the one who knit us together in our mother’s womb. (Psalm 139) He is the one who placed the passion, the desire, the ability, inside us, to accomplish what he wants to accomplish through us. It is up to us to pursue that passion, or not.

I can’t identify planes like Pilot, or play an instrument like my dad. I can’t converse in any language except English. But God didn’t put those things in me. I am not going to moan about what I cannot do. I am going to celebrate what I can, and work at it with all my heart.

 

So, I ask you again. What’s your passion? What would you feel lost without pursuing? Figure that out, and go after it. Because you know what? That’s what God designed you to be passionate about. That’s what he created you to do.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  Ephesians 2:10

 

I wish you well.

Sandy

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