Sunday Scriptures — Speak, For Your Servant Is Listening

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

During a recent study of 1 Samuel 3 which records God’s call on the prophet Samuel’s life, I thought about an incident that happened in the early 1970s when a friend and I attended the opening of a new shopping center.

As we walked through the shopping center, a 6 foot tall Squirrel called out my friend’s name. (Think Alice in Wonderland and the White Rabbit. No. Hallucinogenics were not involved.)

My friend looked my direction. I shrugged. It wasn’t me.

Not sure what was going on, we kept walking.

I should probably mention the name of the shopping center was Walnut Grove; so it made perfect sense to have a 6 foot Squirrel as their mascot walking around talking to people, but it did not make sense that the Squirrel knew my friend’s name.

The Squirrel followed, and called out again.

When we stopped, and turned toward the Squirrel she explained who she was. She and my friend knew each other in elementary school.

It was rather unsettling for my friend, and humorous to me, to have a Squirrel calling after him, and following us through the shopping center. He wasn’t expecting it, and didn’t really know how to respond. So he did what made sense to him. He tried to get away.

When God called Samuel as he slept, Samuel wasn’t expecting it, and didn’t really know how to respond. He did what made sense to him. He went to see what Eli, the priest, needed. Only Eli was not the one who called the boy.

After the third time God called Samuel, Eli figured out who called Samuel, and told him to go lie back down, and if God called him again Samuel was to say, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

And that’s exactly what Samuel did.

There may be times when God calls us to do something for him, but we don’t recognize his voice. Or if we do, we don’t want to listen to what God has to say, and we walk away.

One of the commentators I read during my study of this part in Samuel’s life said:

Trying to hear God’s call in our lives can be like trying to hear a conversation in a busy room full of people. He’s speaking, but the clutter of noise and distractions around us means we aren’t hearing much of what he says. We need to be intentional about carving out time and space in our lives to listen to God.

When God calls us, we need to be like Samuel and say, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

How are you intentional in carving out time and space in your life to listen to God?

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.

Then the Lord called Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. …

A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:4-5, 8-10

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Jehovah-nissi

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Jehovah-nissi. The LORD is my Banner. Moses first declared this truth during the Israelite battle against Amalek in Exodus 17.

In this battle Moses stood at the top of a hill with the staff God used in Moses’ hand to perform miracles before Pharaoh. As long as Moses held the staff high in the air, Israel won, but whenever his arms grew weary and dropped to his side, the Israelites lost ground. (I wrote more detail about this battle and the importance of helping each other when we become weary here, if you are interested.)

Many times during the Israelites’ battles to possess the land of Canaan they were told to be strong and courageous. They were told not to become discouraged when the odds didn’t look to be in their favor. Because the LORD their God would go before them and fight the battle, they were told to stand firm.

Jehovah-nissi went before them. His banner protected them. Those under God’s banner found victory through him.

God is our Jehovah-nissi just as much today as he was when Moses stood on that hill with the staff of God in his hands. Our Banner goes before us and fights our battles. We can find protection and victory under God’s banner of love.

To claim that protection, however, we must rally beneath his Sovereignty and not go off on our own to fight the battles we face every day.

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.

 Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means “the Lord is my banner”). Exodus 17:15 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — How Do We Measure Success?

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

When we measure success, ours or others, what standard do we use to measure it?

Is success wealth? Fame? Power?

Is it accomplishing something we strive for?

Is it being faithful to what God calls us to, regardless of the outcome?

Webster’s dictionary defines success as:

  • the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame

  • the correct or desired result of an attempt

  • someone or something that is successful : a person or thing that succeeds

Writer Arnold H. Glasow defines success this way. Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.

Recently, I thought about some of the prophets in the Old Testament. Not many of them would be considered successful by today’s standards; and many were not considered successful during the time God used them to turn his people back to them.

God sent these men to warn a rebellious nation of his impending judgement if they continued to refused to turn back to him. Not exactly a message that rebellious nation cared to hear. God called his people stubborn and hardheaded. That doesn’t sound like people willing to listen to anything a prophet had to tell them.

The prophets were called to give God’s message to the people, whether the people listened or not. The measure of their success was not dependent on how well the people responded. Their success was measured on how well the prophets obeyed God.

Our true success will not be measured by how others respond to us, our accumulation of wealth, or any accolades which may be heaped upon us. Nope. Our true success will be measured by how faithful we are to do what God calls us to do.

So I ask again. How do we measure success?

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.

Ezekiel, I am sending you to the people of Israel. They are just like their ancestors who rebelled against me and refused to stop. They are stubborn and hardheaded. But I, the Lord God, have chosen you to tell them what I say. Those rebels may not even listen, but at least they will know that a prophet has come to them. Don’t be afraid of them or of anything they say. You may think you’re in the middle of a thorn patch or a bunch of scorpions. But be brave and preach my message to them, whether they choose to listen or not. Ezekiel 2:3-7 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Circle Maker Book Review

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson was published in 2011, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. Perhaps some of you are familiar with the book, but for those who aren’t, I’d like to give you a short review of my thoughts on the book.

The cover of the book reads, Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears. With a statement like that, I figured the least I could do was read what the author had to say. I’m glad I did.

As I usually do with most non-fiction books I read, I took notes. The first note I wrote and starred said, “Even when we can’t hear God, he can hear us.”

To prove this wasn’t another far-out-there mystically hoo-doo, voo-doo book, Batterson began by saying drawing prayer circles starts with discerning what God wants, what God wills. He says until God’s sovereign will becomes our sanctified wish, our prayer life will be unplugged from its power source. The goal is glorifying God by drawing circles around the promises, miracles, and dreams God wants for us.

One example he gave was Joshua and his army marching seven times around the city of Jericho in the Old Testament. God promised Joshua he would deliver the city into his hands if Joshua kept circling, because that was God’s will. In that example, Batterson said we need to identify our personal Jericho, define the promises God wants us to claim.

I have to say that even after reading and taking notes, defining the promises God wants me to claim is something I don’t quite understand fully.

Batterson admits not every prayer will be answered as we script it, but the prayers that do happen would not have happened if we hadn’t drawn a circle around it to begin with.

Things I already apply to my life like being specific in my prayer requests, praising God ahead of time, understanding it isn’t a matter of whether God can, it’s a matter of whether he will, and realizing sometimes a no means not yet, are mentioned in this book.

There were many points the author gave which I highlighted in this book, but I’ll leave you with only a few more.

  • God has the habit of waiting until the very last moment to answer our prayer to see if we will chicken out or pray through.
  • God provides just enough just in time.
  • Some of God’s answers to prayer won’t be revealed on this side of glory because they are invisible answers. When God makes something happen we can thank him because we can see it. When he keeps something from happening, we don’t know how to thank him because we don’t know what he did.
  • Do you trust God is for you even when he doesn’t give you what you asked for?

And lastly … if you can trust God when the answer is no, you’re likely to give him praise when the answer is yes.

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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Sunday Scriptures — Two by Two

Isaiah 40by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Among the countless things I ponder, one is how all the animals arrived at the ark Noah built all at the same time. In pairs, no less, with extras that would be used as sacrifices once the Ark landed on dry land and Noah and his family exited the very large ship.

One estimate I read of the amount of animals in this roundup based on the dimensions of the ark said it may have been able to fit close to 45,000. That’s a lot of animals.

I would have loved to witness the parade toward the ark at God’s call.

Don’t you think that’s what it was? God’s call.

I believe the animals were so in tune to God, they knew exactly when to set forth toward Noah’s arky-arky built of gopher barky-barky. (How many remember that song?)

Because the animals each proceeded at their own pace, I imagine the snails and snakes set out first, with the cheetahs and birds following later, and the elephants and giraffes somewhere in between. Yet, each reached the ark at the same time.

Amazing. Simply Amazing.

If I’d been the one building the ship that ferried the animals and Noah’s family, I’m pretty positive I’d have worried with the details of getting those animals on board. “LORD, how in the world am I supposed to build this ark, warn the people, stock food, convince my wife I am not crazy, AND gather up the animals? You know I’m not overly thrilled with snakes…could we leave them behind? How do you expect me to do all that? Hmm?”

Well, fortunately, God didn’t choose me for the task. He chose someone who would be obedient and do what God asked him to do, build the ark, and trust God to handle the details of gathering the animals.

Many times I find I worry over things I have no control over, like gathering the animals, and ignore the things I can control, like pounding nails into wood.

Do any of you have the same problem?

Maybe we need to do the job God gives us to do, and leave the details to him.

Any jobs you feel called to do that you need to trust God with the details? I know I sure do.

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.

All of them went along into the ark to Noah in pairs—all flesh into which God had breathed the breath of life. All those in the ark, males and females of all living flesh, went in just as God had told them to do. And the Eternal One shut them all in for the duration of the flood. Genesis 7:15-16 (Voice)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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