by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Last month I mentioned how excited I was about our new gardenia bush.

Everyday after Pilot planted it I walked outside and admired the bush. It was lovely with several blooms and additional buds ready to burst forth.

I smiled with joy as I envisioned how grand it would be to watch this small plant grow into a large bush. I looked forward to placing vases of fresh gardenias throughout the house.

Until ..

Our weather decided to spike into triple digits and the clouds refused to send rain. After being flooded in May, our area plunged into a drought reminiscent of one several years ago.

As I watered my struggling gardenia bush each day in the cloudless 100-degree-plus heat, I watched the buds die and the blooms turn brown. Scorched leaves shriveled.

Thankfully, the past few days our yard has received much-needed rain and the temperatures have dropped to the upper 80s.

On my morning inspection of the dying gardenia today I noticed hope. Tucked close to the branches of the tree spots of green shone through the brown.

It reminded me of the times I’ve faced opposition in this life. I start out strong, confident what I’m doing is what God wants me to do. Then Satan applies pressure.

He sends scorching heat and dries up refreshing rain. He does his very best to kill the blooms God’s planted in my heart and shrivel the buds yet to flourish.

He steals the dreams. The hopes. The enthusiasm. The fruit of our labor.

Jesus told us in this world there will be trouble. But he also told us he has defeated this world.

Praise, God!

Just as with my gardenia bush, there is hope when things in our lives seem to shrivel and die.

When we keep holding onto Jesus’ hand, a small spot of green sprouts and refuses to die. Evidence the battle isn’t over.

Once again I look forward to filling the house with the sweet fragrance of gardenia flowers.

It may not be this year, but I wait in expectation for next year.

Have you stepped out to do something you believe God has called you to only to be faced with opposition? How did you push past it and complete the good work you were called to?

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.

“I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.” John 16:33 (NCV)

I wish you well.


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Got Problems? Get Jesus

Are there ever any times in your life when you feel totally overwhelmed? Are there times when you shake your head, and struggle to remember the times when life didn’t overwhelm?

Sometimes, it seems as if trials, troubles and adversities pile up, and hit relentlessly, without any sign of letting up. Disappointments. Frustrations. Set-backs. We get attacked from every side. It’s enough to bring us to our knees.

Maybe that’s where we should be. On our knees. Surrendering. Not to defeat, under pressure, but surrendering to God’s sovereignty, under His grace.

When life beats us up and threatens to undo us, whether it’s illness, loss, estrangement — fill in your own personal blank — peace can be found in remembering all that Jesus has done for us, and simply telling our Savior we love him.

Taking our focus off our problems can be difficult sometimes. We try, but then something else attacks us, and brings us right back to the center of worry, disappointment, pain.

In marbles, there is a game, Bombardier, where the players hold their shooters over the ring of unsuspecting marbles below. The released shooters fall, smack into the marbles, and scatter them every which a way.

Life can be a lot like that.

That’s when we need to be mindful that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above. Savor those gifts. Take them into our being, and thank Him.

First sip of hot tea, or coffee in the morning…Jesus, I love you.

First bird song of the day…Jesus, I love you.

The presence of a friend…Jesus, I love you.

Smile from a stranger…Jesus, I love you.

Food in the pantry…Jesus, I love you.

Rest from a day well-lived…Jesus, I love you.

Forgiveness from our sins…Jesus, I love you.

When we take our eyes off our problems and disappointments, and direct them to the goodness around us, how can we not tell Jesus we love Him?

What are your thoughts on the subject?

 I (Jesus) told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world. John 16:33 NCV

I wish you well.


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One of my devotions will appear on Christian Devotions May 5, 2014. Please stop by.

You Can Do This

The first elementary school I taught at was an inner-city, impoverished school. Quite different from the middle-class environment I grew up in. My little second graders experienced things that broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

They walked to school past crack houses and drug dealers. This was a neighborhood where school lock-downs and police helicopter fly-overs were common place. Yet, these children never gave up. They were at school every day, and tried their hardest to succeed. Their eyes were on the prize.

Several years ago, I mentored young teens at a juvenile facility in the criminal justice system. These 13-15-year-old boys and girls had seen, and done things, I could hardly imagine.

One girl chose to stay in lock-up, and get her GED, rather than return to her home where a predatory step-father waited. Her younger sister pleaded guilty to a crime she didn’t commit, so she would be sent to jail, to avoid the same step-father.

On the last day with another mentee, as we both sat there crying, I told her Jesus would always be with her, looking out for her, taking care of her, and even though I wouldn’t be able to stay in touch with her, I would be praying for her. She said something I remind myself every day, “So, Jesus is like my homies…he’s got my back.” Absolutely.

These girls were determined to persevere, and overcome their present situations for a brighter future. They’d been knocked down, but refused to be knocked out.

There may be things you are facing right now, that seem impossible to overcome. Life’s tough. It truly is.

War. Unrest. Natural disasters. People with evil intent. Political turmoil. Divorce. Addictions. Disease. Death…It’s hard some days to keep on keeping on. But that’s what we need to do.

Keep pushing. Keep trying. Keep believing. Keep getting back up, when life knocks us down. Why? Because we belong to the One who overcame it all.


I (Jesus) have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Never doubt it…through Jesus’ power, you can be an over comer.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject.

I wish you well.


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