For His Own Sake

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Recently I read a verse in Isaiah which says God forgave us for his own sake, not ours.

That caught me off guard. Does it catch you off guard as well?

When I consider how my salvation was purchased at the cost of God’s son Jesus’ life to declare me forgiven, I don’t think of it being for God’s own sake, but for mine. I’m the one forgiven, after all.

But when I look closer at forgiveness, and the benefits we receive when we forgive, I see how forgiving others is for my sake, not theirs.

When we refuse to forgive the wrongs others do against us, we’re the ones who suffer. Not them.

They aren’t sitting around wringing their hands over what they’ve done to us. They’ve moved on.

When we forgive, we forgive for our own sake. It releases us from falling into Satan’s trap of bitterness. It keeps our hearts from becoming hardened. It allows us to love and trust again.

If we allow unforgiveness to define us, to become our mode of operandi, we’ll be miserable, don’t you think?

Unforgiveness can cut us off from opportunities for joy because we’ve closed ourselves off from potential hurt … and potential love.

Forgiveness is not easy. I know. That’s where God’s Holy Spirit comes in. He is the one who gives us the ability to say, “I forgive for my own sake.”

That is not saying the wrong done to us was right. It says we leave it in God’s hands.

God is the only one who can take away our sins. He is the only one who blots them out through the power of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross of Cavalry. God is the one who tells us we are forgiven, and remembers our sins no more.

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I, yes, I alone am he who blots away your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again. Isaiah 43:25 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Burden of Sin

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Several weeks ago, I wrote about Psalm 51. This week is a continuation of David’s petition to God to forgive, restore, and lift his burden of sin. Although Psalm 32 is placed before Psalm 51 in our Bibles, it was actually written after Psalm 51.

In Psalm 51 David confessed his sin before God and begged God to blot our David’s rebellion. In Psalm 32 David rejoiced over the fact God had not charged David’s sins against him, but had lifted the burden of sin from David and washed him clean.

David thanked God for the forgiveness of his rebellion against God’s law. David rejoiced that he owned the reality of his sin, and did not deceive himself into believing what he did was right.

After God forgave David, he covered David’s sin, and did not charge David’s sin against him.

When those of us who belong God to repent, God lifts the burden of sin we lug around and throws it into a pit, never to be seen again. When God looks at us he doesn’t see our sin, instead he sees Christ’s blood covering our sin. God does not charge us with our sin because Jesus already paid the price for our forgiveness.

Those are the things God does, but David also wrote down the things we must do.

We must acknowledge our sin, not try to conceal it, and confess we have broken God’s law. We can’t hide our sin from God. He knows everything. When we refuse to confess, and fall before God in humble repentance, we are only fooling ourselves to think God doesn’t know what we’ve done.

Something that always impressed me with these two psalms of David’s is the fact he saw no need to dwell on the lurid details of his sins. Instead, David chose to dwell on God’s forgiveness and cleansing. Oh that we would do the same.

How many times have we been more interested in learning all the details of the person’s sin than rejoicing in their forgiveness? Even if it’s only been one time, that’s one time too many.

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Happy is the person whose sins are forgiven, whose wrongs are pardoned. Happy is the person whom the Lord does not consider guilty and in whom there is nothing false. Psalm 32:1-2 (NCV)
I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Unsin Me

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

While preparing to lead a lesson on David’s penitential Psalm 51 this month, I read a commentator who said “purify” was the same as “unsin”. Isn’t that interesting?

Psalm 51 is David’s petition to God for forgiveness after the prophet Nathan confronted David about his adultery with Bathsheba, and murder of her husband, Uriah. In this psalm David admits his guilt, and asks for God’s forgiveness. He pleads for the restoration of his relationship with God.

David pleads with God based on knowledge of who God is.

God is gracious, loving and compassionate. David understood God is our only hope. He understood we can go before God and confess our sins, knowing God will not hurt us despite our sin.

In this psalm David didn’t rationalize his sins as we might. He did not blame others for his actions. He made no excuses. He owned his sin and bowed before God in humility, begging for God’s forgiveness.

When David asked God to purify, or unsin him, he asked for God to take David’s sin away. Cleanse him through the sacrificial blood. Blot out his guilt as if no sin occurred. David asked God to return him to fellowship with God, and change his heart and life.

Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and shed blood paid the debt we owe for our sins. Still, God wants to see evidence of sorrow and brokenness over our sins from those who claim him as Lord. It is only through repentance of our sins we can have a restored relationship with God, and that restoration allows us to be useful to him once more.

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God, be merciful to me because you are loving. Because you are always ready to be merciful, wipe out all my wrongs. Wash away all my guilt and make me clean again. Psalm 51:1-2 (NCV)
 I wish you well.

Sandy

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Wounded By God’s People Book Review

Woundedby Sandy Kirby Quandt

In the book, Wounded by God’s People, Anne Graham Lotz uses the Old Testament story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar to show how God’s people wound others. She also candidly shares her own personal experiences of how she has been wounded, and how she has been a wounder.

If you’ve never experienced pain or hurt at the hands of a fellow Believer, or if you have never inflicted hurt on others, maybe this book isn’t for you. But if you fall in either of those categories like I do, then maybe this book should be on your To Be Read list. I know I appreciated the wisdom and insight found within its pages.

Throughout Wounded by God’s People, Anne Graham Lotz tells us:

  • Don’t blame God for the wounds his people inflict
  • Repeatedly opening your wounds to sympathetic ears intensifies the wound by repeatedly exposing it
  • We have to come to a turning point where we want to be healed more than we want to be wounded
  • You can’t drive forward by looking in the rear view mirror
  • The healing antidote to wounds is forgiveness
  • Sometimes wounds that have not healed properly need to be lanced to allow deep healing to begin

And finally, Anne tells us to let go of the past, so we can embrace the future God has for us. Especially when it is different from the future we had planned.

Wounded by God’s People is written in an easy conversational style that is not overbearing or judgmental. It is a book to revisit and reflect on each time we find ourselves in the place where we are either being wounded, or are being a wounder.

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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Forgive as You’ve Been Forgiven

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

We’re almost two weeks out from the Easter season. That time of reflection and repentance. The time when we focused on our need for a Savior and asked for forgiveness.

Hopefully, in the process we also extended forgiveness.

For some of us, extending forgiveness is not the first thing we think of when we are courtesy pixabaywronged.

Are you kidding me?

We’re angry. We’ve been treated horribly.

We’ve been hurt beyond words.

If you really knew what happened …

The offender should suffer. They should pay. They should not be let off easy.

Why should we forgive?

Sure, the Bible tells us we’re supposed to forgive, but aren’t their exceptions? You know. For the really big things that happen to us?

The ones that really hurt. The ones that are huge. The ones we’re totally justified in withholding our forgiveness over.

Well, one of the things I’ve found unforgiveness does is it makes the unforgiving person bitter. We keep rehashing and reliving the hurtful scenario over and over and over. We imagine clever come-backs that would put the other person in his or her place. We get the attitude thing going, and let our pain fester instead of allowing God to help us heal.

After awhile, all we can think about is the hurt we’ve endured. Nothing is right with the world. The more we dwell on the pain, the more it consumes us.

But you know what?

All that bitterness pushes us further away from God, and we play right into the hands of the deceiver. Ouch.

Because we know Jesus took our sins on the cross and died to forgive us, we know we should offer forgiveness to those who sin against us, but it is soooo difficult to do sometimes, don’t you think?

courtesy pixabayWe just don’t want to forgive.

In some perverse way, it’s almost as if we’d rather make ourselves miserable holding onto unforgiveness, than be set free of its burden so we can get on with the rest of our lives by forgiving.

And you know what else?

The person who hurt us probably moved on long ago.

I truly believe we need God’s help to forgive others. In our humanness we fail. We rationalize. We hold onto the hurt. It goes against our very being to forgive, but through the power of Christ in us, we can forgive.

Maybe we start with baby steps and work up to full-blown forgiveness. I’ve found that to be the case in most of my situations. It takes time. It takes work. It takes Jesus reminding me I’m forgiven, so how can I refuse to forgive. Sigh.

Are we content to receive forgiveness, yet unwilling to extend it? Something to ponder, is it not?

What have you found helpful in forgiving those who have wronged you?

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Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Jesus Paid Our Debt

bingby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Mercy. Grace. Forgiveness.

Not receiving the punishment we deserve. Receiving favor we don’t deserve. Someone else paying the debt we owe, but could never pay.

‘Tis a puzzlement to our way of thinking, wouldn’t you say?

Because God is Holy and can’t be in the presence of sin, our sin demands justice. Payment. Things made right.

Jesus did that on Calvary. He paid the debt we owed but could never pay. His blood covers our sin and makes us right with God. When God looks at us, he sees Christ’s blood covering all the things we’ve done that break God’s law, and he accepts Christ’s sacrifice in our place.

grace2

Mercy. Grace. Forgiveness.

Thank you, Jesus.

Satan tries to condemn us. He works hard to make us feel worthless. His lies tell us God has abandoned us. They say we are unforgiven, so why even try?

But we have a Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord, who paid the price for our sin, and in his great mercy and grace tells the devil he can’t have us.

We’ve been bought with a price. Christ’s precious blood. We belong to him and he isn’t about to let us go.

forgiven much

Glory Hallelujah. Amen?

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God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. John 3:16 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Slay Those Giants

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

At a conference I attended recently, the main speaker spoke on fighting the giants in our life. She based her talk on the story of David and Goliath. She stated the extra four stones David placed in his shepherd’s pouch were intended for the four brothers of Goliath, should they decide to attack once David killed Goliath. I have heard that reasoning before and it makes sense to me. Since David put his trust in God to fight his battle and slay the giant, he had no need of extra stones to take Goliath down.

In naming each of Goliath’s brothers who were killed by David’s men in the years that followed David’s victory over Goliath, Karen substituted things we face in our lives to represent them.

Discouragement.

Defeat.

Failure.

Self-centeredness.

When discussing discouragement, Karen said this giant was killed by the faithfulness of God. God is faithful to deliver us before, now, and in the future.

For those times when we feel as if there is no answer to the situation we’re currently in, the giant of defeat is killed by the super natural intervention of God.

During the times we mess up and fail through our own actions, that failure is killed by the mercy of God. The forgiveness he extends covers our sins.

The giant with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot represented our self-centeredness. That giant is killed through the gifts of God that help us beat self. We find the tools to stop thinking it’s all about us in the Bible through prayer and in thankfulness for all God has delivered us from and through.

I’ve mentioned facing the giants in our lives on several posts throughout the years. I believe as long as we live there will be giants to conquer.

I also know for a fact, as long as we live God will help us fight those giants. When we allow him to fight our battles for us, in his power, not ours, we will be victorious. Amen?

As we pack smooth stones into our little pouch let’s make sure it is in God’s strength we hurl those stones at our giants, and pop them right between the eyes.

What giants are you facing or have you recently faced and conquered through the power of Christ living in you?

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Ishbi-Benob, one of the sons of Rapha, had a bronze spearhead weighing about seven and one-half pounds and a new sword. He planned to kill David, but Abishai son of Zeruiah killed the Philistine and saved David’s life.

Then David’s men made a promise to him, saying, “Never again will you go out with us to battle. If you were killed, Israel would lose its greatest leader.”

Later, at Gob, there was another battle with the Philistines. Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, another one of the sons of Rapha.

Later, there was another battle at Gob with the Philistines. Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim from Bethlehem killed Goliath  (In 1 Chronicles 20:5 he is called Lahmi, brother of Goliath.) from Gath. His spear was as large as a weaver’s rod.

At Gath another battle took place. A huge man was there; he had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot—twenty-four fingers and toes in all. This man also was one of the sons of Rapha. When he challenged Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah, David’s brother, killed him.

These four sons of Rapha from Gath were killed by David and his men. 2 Samuel 21:16-22 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Jaded Book Review

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In Varina Denman’s debut novel, Jaded, she creates memorable characters in a small  town Texas setting readers care for. Characters who keep the reader turning pages until The End.

While this book is filed under romance, this isn’t your sweet, smooth-sailing read.

Through realistic dialog and honest struggles, Varina brings life to her characters. If you don’t see yourself somewhere in the story, you may find someone else among the pages who you do know.

The story begins with Ruthie Turner thinking back thirteen years to the day in church when her mother read the bulletin, grabbed Ruthie’s hand, and abruptly fled the building. Never to step foot inside again.

Gradually, the reader catches glimpses of the powerful man who led a congregation to shun Ruthie and her mother all these years. Without standing on a soap box, Varina shows the damage that can result from judging others, blind trust, and the refusal to forgive.

And the romance? Who wouldn’t root for Ruthie and Dodd to finally smooth out all the rough spots and declare their love for each other?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and doubt I will forget it any time soon.

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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Disclosure: I received a free book for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I’ve given you.

A Man After God’s Own Heart

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Sheep. Sinner. Saved.

King David and I have several things in common. We both have been around sheep. I was the Queen of the Sheep Show in Rotorua, New Zealand, after all. We both are Jesse’s kin. My maternal grandfather’s name was Jesse. David and I both are sinners forgiven and saved by God’s undeserved mercy and grace. No further explanation necessary.

The more I study, the more I appreciate the record we have in the Bible of David’s life. We are given an honest look at the one who was called a man after God’s own heart. We are shown the good. The bad. And the ugly. The record of David’s life does not fill pages with his accomplishments, victories, psalms and leave out his shortcomings, deficits, sins. We are given the truth of who he was. A sinner saved by grace.

David didn’t set out to become a hero by slaying Goliath. He killed Goliath because the giant ridiculed Jehovah God. David did not seek the crown. God gave it to him. David did not believe himself above God’s justice. He repented of his sins and begged for the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy.

It seems David wanted to please God. It seems he was human and sometimes failed. It seems there were times when he messed up his life and the lives of others. It seems he had a lot in common with us.

David believed in a God who was bigger than the sum of his sins. He believed in a God of redemption. He believed in a God of mercy and forgiveness.

Look through the Psalms David penned and you will see David believed during his highest highs and lowest lows, whatever his state in life, it didn’t matter much if his heart wasn’t right with God. He wanted to be the man God wanted him to be. He was a man who got back up when he fell.

David was a man who wanted a heart like God’s heart.

I want my heart to look like God’s heart, too, don’t you?

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What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven! What joys when sins are covered over! What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record. There was a time when I wouldn’t admit what a sinner I was. But my dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration. All day and all night your hand was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water on a sunny day until I finally admitted all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, “I will confess them to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Psalm 32:1-5 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God Doesn’t Punish Us As We Deserve

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Our two-year-old German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix, Kirby, was a mess. Absolutely. She’d found a mud hole in the back yard, courtesy of the soaker hose with a pinhole leak. She was covered from muzzle to tail in mud. And she wanted in.

I let Kirby inside the laundry room and assessed the situation. She was filthy. Still … she was my dog and I loved her.

She looked repentant. She looked sorrowful. She looked at me as if she hoped I’d be merciful instead of treating her as she deserved. It was merely a momentarily lapse of good judgement on her part, I’m sure. Besides, I imagine her frolic in the oozy mud brought her pleasure on a hot summer day. Until she saw me, that is.

Although this scenario occurred years ago and Kirby has since died, I still smile when I think about it. And I reflect.

bing photosYou see, I’ve wallowed around in mud holes of my own. And I imagine so have you. You know, it’s a momentarily lapse of reasoning. We forget who we are. We forget whose we are. We forget we belong to a Holy God and are called to a life of righteousness.

Our mud romp seems enjoyable for the moment. Until we face our owner.

Then we realize we messed up. We are sorrowful. We are repentant. There is nothing we can do to clean ourselves of our mess on our own. So we fall on the mercy and grace of a God who does not treat us as our sins deserve. A God who does not repay us for our iniquities. A God who casts our sins from us as far as east is from the west.

We stand before a God who does not wait for us to get all the mud off before he will let us bing photosenter his presence. Our God takes out his garden hose and washes us clean through the power of the sacrificial blood of our Risen Savior. Jesus Christ our LORD, Messiah, Redeemer, King. The Lamb who was slain. By His wounds we are healed. Cleansed. Found not guilty.

Next time we face a tempting mud hole, I suggest we pray for the strength to walk around it. Quit lingering near it, and run as far away as possible.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Leave your comments below.

He (God) does not punish us as we deserve or repay us according to our sins and wrongs. As high as the sky is above the earth, so great is his love for those who honor him. As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us. As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honor him. Psalm 103:10-13 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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