Likes and Followers

courtesy pixabayLikes and followers. How important are they? In our world of around the clock social media, where buttons exist to like and follow just about anything, it seems our world believes likes and followers are very important.

In the world of publishing I have been told by editors that although they love my work, they won’t consider taking it forward to publication unless I can show X amount of followers across multiple social media sites and platforms. Likes and followers are important to them.

Apparently King David thought likes and followers were important as well. So much so,  he authorized the commander of his troops, Joab, to take a census of all the Israelites in the land from Beersheba to Dan.

David wanted to know how large his domain was. He wanted to know how many Israelites he ruled. Who knows what motivated the king to order the census? All we know from reading 1 Chronicles 21 is the census did not end well.

Joab, didn’t think the census was such a good idea. Although there were times God ordered a census, this was not one of those times. David’s desired census put the emphasis on David’s greatest. Not on God’s. It put David’s confidence in the number of men available for his army. Not in God.

Despite Joab’s protests, the king’s word stood. A census was taken. God was not pleased.

As a result of God’s displeasure over the census, God offered David three options. David was to choose which of the three punishments God would carry out against the Israelites.

Now then, dear David, decide how the LORD is to extract justice for your desire to count likes and followers.

Three years of famine. Three months of being swept away before your enemies with their swords overtaking you. Three days of the sword of the LORD ravaging every part of Israel.

Not much of a choice the way I see it.

What about you? Which would you choose?

David chose three days of the sword of the LORD ravaging every part of Israel.

So the LORD sent a plague on Israel. Seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead. As the angel of the LORD was poised to destroy Jerusalem, God was grieved because of the calamity. He told the angel, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.”

David saw the angel of the LORD standing between heaven and earth, sword drawn, extended over Jerusalem, and fell facedown. David told God he was the one who sinned and did wrong by ordering the census. He asked God to spare the people and punish David instead.

A prophet told David to build an altar to the LORD. David did. There he offered a burnt sacrifice which the LORD lit. Then God told the angel to put his sword back into its sheath.

My favorite verse in this passage relates to David buying the threshing floor where he built the altar. “I will not sacrifice to the LORD something that costs me nothing.” You can find it in verses 18-26.

So. Likes and followers. How important are they? Jesus told his disciples to follow him and he would make them fishers of men (and women). Guess that’s the only kind of follower we need to be concerned with.

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Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, “Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.” 1 Chronicles 21:1-2

You can find my February Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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On the Sidelines

Sometimes we may feel as if God set us on the sidelines to watch others work for him,  while our labor goes unnoticed. We may feel as if our contributions don’t matter as much as the contributions of those who are recognized.

If those thoughts ever flit through our brains, perhaps looking at the story of Uriah the Hittite might put things into better perspective.

Uriah was a loyal soldier in King David’s army. The Bible tells us in the spring, at the time kings went off to war, David sent out his men and the whole Israelite army. The whole army, that is, except King David. (2 Samuel 11)

We are also told once David learned Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, was pregnant with David’s child while her husband was at war, the king sent for Uriah. David hoped the soldier would go home to his wife. But loyal Uriah slept outside the king’s door instead.

Realizing Uriah would not go to Bathsheba, David sent him back to the front lines. The king gave orders to withdrew his men during the battle. Leaving Uriah unprotected. Uriah died on the battlefield. After a time of mourning, David took Bathsheba as his wife.

Although Uriah was not an Israelite, his life was devoted to Yahweh, the one true God. It appears God rewarded Uriah by mentioning his name in Jesus Christ’s genealogy. Bathsheba, however, is listed as the woman who had been Uriah’s wife in many Bible translations and versions.

It may appear to us Uriah was on the sidelines, but God knew exactly where the man was. God honored Uriah’s devotion and service to him. God chose Uriah’s wife to be the mother of King Solomon. She was one of the women through whom Christ would enter this world.

At the same time, God made sure Uriah’s name would not be forgotten.

We may never see our name listed in a Who’s Who of Great Deeds Done for God. And that’s okay. What matters is when we commit our lives to serve God through accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, even the least thing we do for him is seen by God and listed in His Book.

Like Uriah, each of us has a part to play in the story God is writing, whether we realize it or not.

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This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar…Nahshon the father of Salmon,  Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse,  and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife. Matthew 1:2-3a, 5-6 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

God Forgives Over and Over

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

This past quarter our Sunday School class has studied the life of King David in 2 Samuel. Anyone who has read Woven and Spun for any length of time probably realizes David’s life is one I never get tired of studying.

Why?

Through David’s life God allows us to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. That gives me comfort because I, and possibly you, have my good, my bad, and my ugly. It comforts me to know when I repent of my sin and turn back, God forgives over and over and over again. Just like he did with David.

Following our lesson a week ago, I spent the days thinking about David and the later part of his life which was anything but commendable, yet this was a man God called a man after God’s own heart.

If we look at David’s life and focus on some of the things he did that make us shake our head and ask, “How could a man after God’s own heart do that?”, and falsely believe his sins were more grievous, more sinful, more heinous than our little mistakes, errors of judgments, and short comings, we forget an important thing about God’s holiness.

 

ALL sin is against God. All sin is grievous and heinous in God’s eyes. There is no big sin. There is no little sin. Sin is sin, and God hates sin. Not the sinner. He hates the sin because that sin separates us from him.

Looking at the record of David’s life we may say, “I’ve never committed adultery or had their spouse murdered to cover up a pregnancy that resulted.” The Bible tells us anyone who looks on another with lust in their eye commits adultery in their heart.

If we have maligned another, spewed venomous words, slandered, or gossiped, we’ve left mortal wounds just as deadly as an onslaught of enemy arrows to the heart. The book of James has a lot to say about the tongue.

We might look at David’s parental skills and find them lacking compared to ours. None of our sons raped their sisters, or murdered their brothers, or overthrew the throne. But have we ever displayed less than stellar parenting skills through our humiliating words of condemnation, or comparisons? Have we lashed out in anger or refused to forgive? Proverbs tells us to train up a child in the ways of the LORD, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Then there is the issue of that census David took which brought calamity upon the nation of Israel. Was it pride? Lack of trust in God? Boredom? When we examine our lives, have we ever taken credit for something we didn’t deserve the credit for? Have we ever gone ahead of God out of fear he might not take care of things the way we know they should be taken care of? Have we grown lazy in our devotion to God? Jesus said to seek first the kingdom of God and all the rest will be given to us.

Lots to think about. Lots to reflect on. Lots to be grateful for. Especially the fact God does not treat us as our sins deserve. His mercies are new every morning. He loves us with an everlasting love. He allowed his son to die a horrendous death and be separated from him so we wouldn’t have to be. And he tells us to judge not lest we be judged, and to be sure we get the plank out of our eye before we attempt to remove the speck from our brothers’.

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No condemnation now hangs over the head of those who are “in” Jesus Christ. For the new spiritual principle of life “in” Christ lifts me out of the old vicious circle of sin and death. Romans 8:1 (JB Phillips)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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[bctt tweet=”Through David’s life God allows us to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. That gives me comfort because I, and possibly you, have my good, my bad, and my ugly. It comforts me to know when I repent of my sin and turn back, God forgives over and over and over again.” username=”SandyKQuandt”]

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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The Need to Trust God

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Trust.

  • Belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc. (Webster’s Dictionary)

Trust.

  • To be bold, confident, secure, sure, put confidence in, rely on, hope. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

The Bible is filled with scriptures that talk of trust in God. Time and again we are called to boldly believe God is reliable, good, effective and will do what he says he will do. We are shown multiple instances of people who trusted God despite their situation.

One such person was King David. If we take a close look at David, we know he waited many years from the moment the prophet Samuel anointed him, until the time the people fully accepted him as their king following Saul’s death.

courtesy pixabayWe know David spent years fleeing from Saul’s wrath. As he fled, he faced one mountain-sized problem after another.

Throughout the Psalms that David wrote, we read his pleas for God’s intervention.

Although things weren’t working out the way David envisioned on his road to the throne, he never let go of his bold confidence that God was reliable, good, and worthy of his hope.

David trusted in Jehovah God.

Few of us have been tapped to lead a nation, but each of us has been tasked with using our abilities in one way or the other for God.

What I’m finding to be true is just because we’re doing something for the Lord, that does not mean all will be smooth sailing, and all the mountains will be removed. What I see happening more times than not, when we step out to make a difference for God, the mountains pop up and block our way.

Have you ever noticed that?

We may wonder, as King David did, what’s the deal? What’s with the sheer rock cliff we’re courtesy pixabayfacing? What’s with this wide river that stretches between us and our God-honoring goal? Why haven’t the dreams God gave us been fulfilled? Why?

I don’t have the answers. In fact, I ask myself those very same questions frequently.

What’s the deal?

That’s when I look at David and the psalms he wrote, and I remember how long he waited before God’s promise was fulfilled.

And I remember it all goes back to trust. Trusting the One who is faithful, good, and true. Even when the mountains ARE. NOT. MOVING.

I think of David and decide I must be bold, confident and secure that I’m heading the right direction, even though there are rivers to wade through.

In hope, I hold on to the truth God knows the future. He’s been there. His timing is perfect. Always has been. Always will be. When he says it’s time, those mountains are gonna’ fall.

I’d love to know how you handle trusting while you wait for God to move your mountains.

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But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me. Psalms 13:5-6 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my posts is scheduled to appear on Inspire a Fire March 1, 2016. Please stop by.

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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Sunday Scriptures — Rizpah

Isaiah 40by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Crows flew over the backyard and I thought of Rizpah.

Rizpah was King Saul’s concubine. The woman who shooed wild beasts away from the bodies of her two sons, and other family members, after they were murdered out of vengeance by the Gibeonites. Because Saul broke a promise made to them, the Gibeonites hung the men and left their bodies for the wild animals to finish off. (2 Samuel 21:1-14)

Gruesome. I know.

It was her love and devotion that caused brave Rizpah to spend day and night shooing the vultures and carnivorous beasts away from the corpses. We aren’t told exactly how long she stayed there protecting her loved ones’ bodies before King David heard about it, and ordered the bodies taken down and buried. We’re only told that it was from the beginning of the barley harvests until rain fell once again on the earth.

Rizpah’s devotion…love…courage…chutzpah, has always impressed me. I can’t imagine being in such a dreadful situation.

With the way my mind chases thoughts and ideas, as I thought about Rizpah, I couldn’t help but think of people we may know who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus as their Savior. I thought of them as the sons’ bodies that were left to the wild beasts. I thought of those of us who are secure in our salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross as Rizpah.

I believe Christ calls those of us who belong to him to leave our comfort zones, go out in his strength and power to those who don’t know him, and shoo the vultures and carnivorous beasts away so they can have life eternal through him. I don’t know how long that may take from the beginning of the barley harvests to when the rain falls, but I do believe it is what Jesus wants us to do. Whatever that may look like for each of us.

Don’t you?

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.

Try to help those who argue against you. Be merciful to those who doubt. Save some by snatching them as from the very flames of hell itself. And as for others, help them to find the Lord by being kind to them, but be careful that you yourselves aren’t pulled along into their sins. Hate every trace of their sin while being merciful to them as sinners. Jude 22-23 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Don’t Despair

Isaiah 40

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

There have been a couple times in my life when I believe what I felt was utter despair. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines despair as to lose all hope or confidence. Yep. That’s what I felt. And what a dreadful place to be.

When we think of the life of King David many things may pop into our minds. Shepherd boy. Goliath killer. Harp player. Psalm writer. Chased by King Saul. Beloved friend of Jonathan. Warrior King of Israel. Slayed thousands. Adulterer. Murderer. Man after God’s own heart. Jesus’ ancestor…

Throughout David’s psalms are songs of anguish, despair and doubt coupled with songs of comfort, praise and rejoicing.

Could it be said of the story of our lives that anguish, despair and doubt can be replaced by comfort, praise and rejoicing? I believe so.

During the times when it appeared I had lost all hope, like David, there remained a spark. A flicker. An ember which refused to be doused by the events that threatened. A reminder that God’s faithfulness could not be removed.

Feeling at the point of losing all hope and confidence?

May I suggest you do what David did, what I do? Remember everything God has brought us through and realize he didn’t bring us this far to drop us now.

Praise God in the midst of the bleakness for who he is. Praise him for what he has done. Praise him for what he is capable of doing. Praise him. Simply praise him.

Get your praise on and send the devil running!

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.

Take courage, my soul! Do you remember those times (but how could you ever forget them!) when you led a great procession to the Temple on festival days, singing with joy, praising the Lord? Why then be downcast? Why be discouraged and sad? Hope in God! I shall yet praise him again. Yes, I shall again praise him for his help. Psalm 42:4-5 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Thanksgiving, Not Just A Once A Year Thing

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Here in the United States, today is the day set aside as a day of Thanksgiving.  All through the Bible we read of times of praise and thanksgiving. Not just once a year. It was a continual occurrence. I believe the same should hold true for us. I believe we should have thankful hearts every single day of the year.

During the time of King David, the sacred Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines. When it was returned to the Tabernacle, David wrote a song of thanksgiving to the LORD.

On that day David gave to Asaph and his fellow Levites this song of thanksgiving to the LordGive thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. 1 Chronicles 16:7-10 (NLT)

Many of David’s psalms expressed his gratitude to God for who God was, and what he had done.

 Oh, how grateful and thankful I am to the Lord because he is so good. I will sing praise to the name of the Lord who is above all lords. Psalm 7:17 (TLB)

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul eloquently expressed how grateful we should be for the victory we have over death because of Jesus’ victory over death.

 So when this takes place, and the mortal has been changed into the immortal, then the scripture will come true: “Death is destroyed; victory is complete!”

 “Where, Death, is your victory?
Where, Death, is your power to hurt?”

Death gets its power to hurt from sin, and sin gets its power from the Law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 (GNT)

Finally, Paul again tells us to be thankful … all the time. Even when we are going through tough times.

Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (CEV)

What do you think?

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 — God Will Fulfill His Plans

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Waiting is tough. Don’t I know it. Who likes to wait for something you’ve been promised? Certainly not me. Perhaps not you. It was fourteen years between the day the Prophet Samuel anointed the shepherd David as Israel’s next king, and the day David actually took the throne. During that time David waited. He waited in caves and wilderness while King Saul pursued him with the intent to eliminate the threat David posed to Saul’s throne.

I’ve often pondered how David felt during this time. Did he wonder if Samuel got it wrong when he anointed David? Did he wonder if God had changed his mind? Did he wonder if he’d done something that caused the promise to be rescinded?

David penned numerous psalms during his time running from Saul. Many of those psalms are filled with questions, fears, petition and repentance. They are also full of faith and hope in the God who saves.

He could have taken Saul’s life on two separate occasions, but he didn’t. David didn’t rush God’s agenda. He waited on God’s perfect timing. He had confidence the LORD would work out his plans for David’s life.

Have there been times when you were absolutely positive God called you to something, yet the way was delayed? There were blockades at every turn? Or you were told you didn’t have what it takes?

I’m learning if God has truly called us to do something for him, he’ll make it happen. In his timing. Not necessarily in ours. Like with David, God might be delaying what he has promised us to better prepare us to do the job. God might be giving us life-experiences now that will make the job easier once we do begin it.

Like I said, waiting is tough. But I’m learning God’s timing is perfect.

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

Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will bring me safely through them. You will clench your fist against my angry enemies! Your power will save me. The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your loving-kindness, Lord, continues forever. Don’t abandon me—for you made me. Psalm 138:7-8

I wish you well.

Sandy

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