Sunday Scriptures — The Last Battle

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis’ final book in The Chronicles of Narnia series, Lewis paints his vision of what it might be like when Jesus leads his people to Paradise. A vision that had me in tears.

As the title suggests, this is the last and final battle in Narnia where good and evil have fought through the ages. With that said, if you haven’t read the book, and I suggest you do, and don’t want any “spoilers” perhaps you should skip down to the maroon quote.

As those of Narnia who stand for what is good and right battle against what is evil and unjust, their final battle cry becomes, “Further up and further in.”

When they reach a great golden gate, they aren’t sure what to do until they hear a voice say, “Welcome in the Lion’s name. Come further up and further in.”

At one point as those who have gone further in gather around Aslan he says, “You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be.” Lucy explains they are afraid he’ll send them back, as has often been the case, but Aslan assures her he won’t. He tells her, “No fear of that. Have you not guessed?”

He tells those around him they are no longer in the Shadow-Lands—as they called death. He tells them the (school) term is over. The holidays have begun.

Lewis finishes his chronicles of Narnia with these words.

And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning for the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great story … in which every chapter is better than the one before.

You and I are living the cover and title page of our stories. When we enter the Shadow-Lands and go further on and further in to stand before the Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ our LORD and Savior, that’s when our story REALLY begins.

That will be the beginning of our Great Story. The one God planned for us before time began. It will be a story in which EVERY chapter is better than the one before.

Can you imagine it? I’m not really sure I can, but I know it will be beyond anything I could ever dream, hope, or imagine.

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And the one sitting on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true: It is finished! I am the A and the Z—the Beginning and the End. I will give to the thirsty the springs of the Water of Life—as a gift! Everyone who conquers will inherit all these blessings, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But cowards who turn back from following me, and those who are unfaithful to me, and the corrupt, and murderers, and the immoral, and those conversing with demons, and idol worshipers and all liars—their doom is in the Lake that burns with fire and sulphur. This is the Second Death.” Revelation 21:5-8 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — The End of the Book

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Are you one of those who like to know the end of a story before you finish the book?

Or do you wait for the story to unfold and enjoy the journey?

I am of the first group. Pilot is of the second.

I like to know what is going to happen. Pilot is content to see what happens.

Maybe it’s a control issue on my part. Maybe it’s wanting to make sure the book is worth the investment of my time. Maybe it’s to make sure there are no dead dogs.

The first time I realized you didn’t have to read a book sequentially all the way to the end, that you could jump around and read the pages out of order, I was in 4th grade. I was stunned to hear one of my friends tell our teacher he read the ending of A Wrinkle in Time without reading the whole book. Horrors! What was he thinking?

Then I started doing the same thing. If a story piqued my interest and I couldn’t stand to know how the book ended, which was pretty often, I’d jump to the last couple chapters. Satisfied the book ended the way I wanted it to, I’d get back to reading the whole thing from where I left off.

Do you think that could be why today we have the entire Scripture written in one complete manuscript? So we can jump to the end of the book and see how it all ends?

A friend of mine used to say, “I know how the Story ends. Christ wins.”

What a comfort. We know how the story ends. Jesus Christ is the Victor, Conqueror, Mighty Warrior, King of kings and Lord of lords, and he invites us to be part of his story; part of his victory.

We don’t need to fret with whether the Author of the story gives us a satisfying ending or not. He definitely does. We don’t need to wonder if the journey is worth the investment of our time, either. Because it definitely is.  And because of that, we can get back to where we left off and lead our lives triumphantly straight through to the end.

So which one are you? Read straight through, or jump to the end of the book?

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Then he showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal as it flowed from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of the street of the city and on either bank of the river grew the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, a different kind for each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Nothing that has cursed mankind shall exist any longer; the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be within the city. His servants shall worship him; they shall see his face, and his name will be upon their foreheads. Night shall be no more; they have no more need for either lamplight or sunlight, for the Lord God will shed his light upon them and they shall reign as kings for timeless ages. Revelation 22:1-5 (Phillips)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Everlasting Love

courtesy coral castle museumby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. Saturday, February 14 is a day set aside to recognize and celebrate the loved ones in our lives. A time to think of couples with romantic connections. Couples such as:

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Tony and Maria
  • Bugs and Elmer
  • Edward Leedskalnin and Agnes Scuffs

Who?

courtesy coral castle museumFrom 1923 to 1951, Ed Leedskalnin single-handedly carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock using nothing but home made tools to complete his masterpiece.

When Ed was 26-years-old, he met and fell in love with 16-year-old Agnes. The day before their wedding, Agnes changed her mind. She told her betrothed she no longer wanted to marry him.

Devastated, Ed left his homeland of Latvia and set sail for America. He eventually ended up near Miami, Florida where there was an abundance of coral which had turned into rock.

Using his stone masonry skills, Ed created a coral castle for the love of his life in coral castlehopes it would convince Agnes of his everlasting love and prompt her to live with him forever.

Although the castle was completed, and still stands as a monument to his devotion, Agnes never did marry Ed.

How sad.

While some called the man crazy, he preferred the title, eccentric.

Everything inside Ed’s castle was made of coral stone or items he picked up from junkyards. Chairs, stairs, gates, self-heating bath, tower, even a heart shaped table with a potted plant so Agnes would always have flowers.

bing images

A sign above a bell at the entrance to his castle informed visitors they were to ring twice if they wanted admittance. Should they fail to follow Ed’s instructions, he either ignored them or told them, “Go away. You can’t follow directions and you might break something.”

When I first learned of Ed and his coral castle years ago while we lived in Florida, I drew a comparison to another man who sacrificed much for his love. A person who wanted to spend eternity with his Bride.

Jesus.

Jesus left his home in heaven and traveled this land we call Earth to prove how much he loves us and to woo us to himself. To show just how great his love for us was, and is, Christ suffered much. Even to the point of death on the cross of Calvary. All to make a way for us to live with him forever.

After his death and resurrection Jesus returned home. That’s where he is now. Preparing courtesy coral castle museuma castle just for us. One that has lots of special rooms and furnishings. One made by the scars of his own hands.

Just like Agnes rejected Ed’s love, many reject Jesus’ perfect love. They don’t want him to be part of their life.

How sad.

They think the whole idea of someone dying for them, paying the price for their sins so they can be forgiven and be a part of the Kingdom of God is crazy. Insane. Far beyond eccentric.

There’s a sign placed above the entrance to heaven, too, you know. It says we have to follow the rules if we expect admittance. Just like Ed’s rule, God’s rule is pretty simple.

Accept his son as Savior and Lord.

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.

Long ago the Lord said to Israel:  “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Ultraviolet Light

bing imagesBy Sandy Kirby Quandt

As I read the 22 chapter of the Book of Revelation I thought of several things. The first thing I thought of was the time in junior high when my best friend and I discussed the idea of God putting his name on our foreheads. Something, which at the time to our young minds, was beyond our understanding, to say the least.

The other thing I thought about was ultraviolet light.

Have you ever attended an event where bing imagesyour hand was stamped with visible ink to show you paid the admission price, and had the right to enter?

How about having your hand stamped with invisible ink which only showed up under an ultraviolet light?

Those stamps were the coolest! If anyone questioned your right to enter, you just placed your hand under the light and dared them to keep you out.

Well, I’m thinking maybe the stamp God places on our foreheads could be some sort of cosmic ultraviolet light that allows us admittance to the main event. Proof Jesus paid our admission cost for us, and proof we belong to him. Who knows?

It doesn’t matter how the mark is put on our forehead, the fact remains, we get to enter into the presence of the King of kings and the LORD of lords. Forever. And no one will be able to keep us out.

bing imagesThe Book of Revelation tells us nothing cursed will be allowed into heaven where the thrones of God and Jesus sit.

There will be no more pain, no more night, and no need for lamps or the sun, because God’s radiance will light up the whole place.

Those of us who have God’s name written on our foreheads will worship him forever.

How cool is that?

Thanks be to God for his glorious gift. Amen?

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.

Nothing that has cursed mankind shall exist any longer; the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be within the city. His servants shall worship him; they shall see his face, and his name will be upon their foreheads. Night shall be no more; they have no more need for either lamplight or sunlight, for the Lord God will shed his light upon them and they shall reign as kings for timeless ages. Revelation 22:3-5 (Phillips)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Inconceivable

The Princess Bride. What a fantastic movie. A classic, based on William Goldman’s novel by the same name. There are as many favorite lines and scenes in that movie, as there are people you could ask to name one.

Westley’s “As you wish.” Vizzini’s “Inconceivable.” Inigo Montoya’s “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Miracle Max’s line about a paper cut and lemon juice. Fezzik’s rhyming, or “I don’t think that means what you think it means.”

As easy as it is to rattle off a line from The Princess Bride, or some other pop culture media, I wonder … do we recite Bible verses as readily?

For God so loved the world … There is now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus … Greater is HE who is in us, than he who is in the world …

In The Princess Bride, there are the Cliffs of Insanity. The Fire Swamp with its

 

R.O.U.S. — Rodents of Unusual Size. And the Pit of Despair. There is also the Castle.

Many of us, no doubt, have felt, at one time or another, we were teetering on the cliffs of insanity, stranded in the fire swamp facing R.O.U.S., or trapped at the bottom of the pit of despair.

While in those dreadful places, we need to hang onto the truth. Jesus is preparing a place for us. A castle in the sky, where there will be no more pain. No more tears. No more sorrow. No more pits. And definitely, no R.O.U.S.

 

Beyond the love Westley and Buttercup have for each other in The Princess Bride, there is also the love that developed between a grandson for his grandfather.

At the heart of our story, is the love our Savior Jesus has for his bride, the church. There is also the love our Heavenly Father has for us, his children.

Inconceivable.

Perhaps we have a Dread Pirate Roberts in our lives who tells us, “Good night, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.” That’s when it would be wise to remember David. The shepherd who became king. More than once, King Saul probably said “Good job”, before he hurled a spear at David’s head, or chased him around the countryside. As God was with David, he is also with us. Protecting us from our Dread Pirate Roberts.

Westley promised Buttercup he would return for her. And he did. Jesus promised he would return for us. And he will.

Facing the cliffs of insanity, fire swamp, R.O.U. S., or pit of despair ? Hang on. Don’t give up. Hold tight to the promise Christ will return. It isn’t a storybook story. It’s the truth.

“Have fun storming the castle!”

So, what’s your favorite line from The Princess Bride?

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.

Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house; I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you. After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”  John 14:1-4

I wish you well.

Sandy

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And This is Love

Pilot and I enjoy watching all the various creatures in our backyard. Isn’t God’s creation amazing?

The other day, Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal flew in to check out the bird food supply. As is their usual custom, Mr. C cased the joint, and determined the area safe. He then signaled Mrs. C the all clear chirp. As Mrs. C descended to the ground, and the bird seed, Mr. C kept guard from a safe distance. Love.

Watching the pair of birds made me think of how Pilot does the same for me. Pilot protects me, and makes sure I am safe. Pilot goes to work each day to secure food for us. Love.

Taking this one step further, I thought of how God does the same for each of us. God protects us and makes sure we are safe. God provides for our needs. God allowed his son, Jesus, to die on the cross of Calvary so we could have our sins forgiven, and so we would be able to live in Heaven with Him. Jesus is preparing a place for us right now. Amazing Love.

We won’t be scrounging for leftover seed, like poor Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal have to do, once the squirrels realize the bird feeder is full. Nope. God will prepare a banquet for us at His very own table. (And I won’t have to worry about being gluten-free. Bring on the pumpernickel!) We will eat like sons and daughters of the One True LORD.

Oh, how great is the love the Father has lavished upon us. That we should be adopted into his family, and be called his beloved. There is no greater love.

Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called “children of God”—and that is not just what we are called, but what we are. Our heredity on the Godward side is no mere figure of speech—which explains why the world will no more recognise us than it recognised Christ.

1 John 3:1  Phillips Translation

I wish you well.

Sandy

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If I Only Had a Brain

The first time Pilot and I stopped at the Kansas welcome center on Interstate 35, while I  looked around the gift shop, “Over the Rainbow” played in the background. Tee shirts with pictures of the Good Witch of the North, Ruby Slippers, Toto teapots, and emerald green coffee mugs lined the shelves. The place was filled with Wizard of Oz memorabilia.

I found Pilot and asked, “What is with all the Wizard of Oz stuff?”

Pilot looked at me, as he often does, when what I have just said makes absolutely no sense to him, whatsoever. “We’re in Kansas.”

“Sooo?” It took a minute, while Pilot stared at me, then, “Oh, yeah. Of course.”

Duh.

Now I am sure none of you reading this would have been as dense, as I was. Kansas wasn’t our end destination on this trip. Colorado was. We were merely passing through the great state. I wasn’t thinking about where I was, in relationship to Dorothy’s no place like home. I was thinking more in line with wheat, buffalo, and the Santa Fe trail.

Before we left the gift shop, I purchased several books on early pioneers, a few trinkets, and a music box that plays, “Over the Rainbow”. Pilot chose a music box that plays, “If I Only Had a Brain”. I am positive he did not buy that for me!

In Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is on a quest to get home. Because, as we know, there is no place like home. We too, are on a quest to reach our eternal home. Heaven.

On our journey we sometimes run into people who need a heart, because theirs is mean-spirited or callous. We may meet people who need courage for the difficult tasks they face. Often times, we are surrounded by people who appear to need a brain, because they seem to keep making the same bad choices over and over again. Of course, there is that wicked witch with her flying monkeys, who seems to make life miserable for those in her wake.

Maybe we are the ones who need the heart, courage, or brain. Or who, occasionally, hiss, “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too.”

Instead of looking for the not-so-great Wizard behind the emerald curtain, we need to turn to our true friend, Jesus. He’s the one who can make our hearts brand new. He’s the one who will give us the courage we lack. If we let him, Jesus can straighten out our brains, and help us make the right choices. As we follow Jesus, He can also teach us how to deal with the flying monkeys.

We may not have ruby slippers, but we have something far superior. We have a Savior who will lead us home.

So Christ was offered as a sacrifice one time to take away the sins of many people. And he will come a second time, not to offer himself for sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Hebrews 9:28

Which character from the Wizard of Oz do you most relate to?

I wish you well.

Sandy

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VIP Tour

I have been fortunate to have VIP tours of Johnson Space Center. On these tours I’ve seen the Space Station Control Room, Shuttle Control Room and the Historic Apollo Control Room.

I’ve been inside the Space Station Modules which are used to train astronauts. I’ve been inside the Space Shuttle trainer. I’ve gotten up close to the Robotic Arm trainers and the Lunar Rovers.

I’ve meet Pilot for lunch on site and attended various space events where I had the opportunity to speak with astronauts, flight directors, and mission control specialists.

 

It’s like having a backstage pass!

One way cool day Pilot and I explored the inside of the Space Shuttle trainer. Just like real astronauts when the shuttle still flew.

The most I’ll-never-get-to-do-this-again moment? Besides sitting in the Commander’s seat? Sitting in the um, how should I put this? Necessary room.

It’s much more complicated than it looks!

 

So how did I get access to all these great off-limits places?

Was it because of who I am? No.

Because I sneaked in? No.

Because I’m so irresistible? Hardly.

I was able to experience all this fantastic space stuff because of who I know. Pilot.

Same holds true with each of us who know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Dude, we know the King! God’s one and only son!

Talk about a backstage pass …

Because of that relationship we’re allowed access to all the REALLY cool space stuff. On that day Jesus will take us by the hand and lead us on our very own VIP tour of Heaven.

Just think of it.

We’ll stand before the throne of God. Walk on streets of gold. Have our own mansion with our name on it right down the street from where God lives. We will have eternity to praise and worship our Redeemer. The lion will lay down with the lamb. There will be no more night. No more pain. No more tears. We won’t need to lock any doors.

We’ll be able to ask all those questions we’ve wanted to ask the saints who went before us. But I’m thinking that when we’re in Heaven those questions won’t be all that important to us anymore. Who knows?

Going on a VIP tour with Jesus tops sitting in the Shuttle trainer any day. Amen?

 

In celebration of Pie’s birthday I have included the recipe for his annual celebratory dinner. Sweet and Sour Meatloaf. If you make it let me know what you think. It’s gluten-free, so no worries.

 

Every year for I don’t know how long I have made this Sweet and Sour Meatloaf for Pie’s birthday dinner. Since being diagnosed as gluten-intolerant I adapted the recipe and removed the gluten.

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 C crushed gluten-free saltine-type crackers (I use Schar table crackers, or if you can’t find any g-f crackers, crush up either Corn or Rice Chex. They work just as well.)
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 eggs beaten

Combine all ingredients, shape into loaf, and place in greased baking dish.

Sauce:

  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 C lemon juice
  • 1 C sugar

Mix well and pour over meatloaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Baste frequently.

Enjoy!

Are there any special foods you have for your birthday celebrations?

This song’s for Pie. Happy Birthday!

I wish you well.

Sandy

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New Jerusalem

Recently, one of my dear friends and I were discussing a subject that often weaves its way into our conversations. Heaven.

Like many other folk, Girlfriend and I both deal with significant health concerns. We know we aren’t exceptions. So, maybe because of our health difficulties, there are days when we think of our true home. The home we long for. The home Jesus is preparing for us.

I don’t want to get too comfortable here on this planet. I don’t want to think of this as being the best there is, because it isn’t. I don’t want to “lay up for myself treasures that moth and rust will destroy, and thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19) I want to long for home.

In this video of Caledonia, Dougie MacLean speaks of the love he has for his homeland, Scotland.

Let me tell you that I love you, that I think about you all the time…But if I should become a stranger you know that it would make me more than sad…

Oh, that our hearts should long for heaven in such a way, and we would speak as lovingly about it.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth disappeared, and the sea vanished. And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared and ready, like a bride dressed to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne: “Now God’s home is with people! He will live with them, and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.” Revelation 21:1-4

Are you looking forward to being “home”?

I wish you well.

Sandy

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