Love One Another As I Have Loved You

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Love, love, love, love, the Gospel in a word is love. Love thy neighbor as thy brother. Love. Love. Love. Those are the words to a chorus we sang when I was at Indian Lake Christian Service Camp during senior high school. Perhaps you sang it, too? Whether those words come to mind from a song, or from the written Word of God, they are words we need to hold onto, live out, and never abandon, don’t you agree?

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35 (NKJV)

“You should love the Eternal, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”  The second great commandment is this: “Love others in the same way you love yourself.” There are no commandments more important than these. Mark 12:30-31 (VOICE)

Love does no wrong to anyone. That’s why it fully satisfies all of God’s requirements. It is the only law you need. Romans 13:10 (TLB)

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Hebrews 13:1 (NLT)

So. How are we doing in loving others as Christ loves us?

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I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains—but if I have no love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned—but if I have no love, this does me no good.

Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.

 Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge, but it will pass. For our gifts of knowledge and of inspired messages are only partial; but when what is perfect comes, then what is partial will disappear.

When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am an adult, I have no more use for childish ways. What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete—as complete as God’s knowledge of me.

Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Faith and Hope in Jesus

Years ago when I first heard Andrew Peterson’s song, “No More Faith”, it puzzled me.

Aren’t we supposed to walk by faith, not by sight? Isn’t faith the assurance we have that something we want is going to happen? The certainty what we hope for is waiting for us? Didn’t Jesus comment numerous times about people’s great faith, or lack of?

So what’s the deal with a song called no more faith? Faith is what sustains us and gets us through the difficulties of this world, is it not?

And what about hope? When our hearts are plunged into the depths of despair, don’t we cling to hope like a life preserver?

Job declared that even if God slay him, still he would have hope. David declared we are to put our hope in God, and said our hope comes from God.

Well. It’s taken me awhile, but I think I understand what Andrew meant. Maybe. A little.

There is going to come a time, Revelation tells us, when we will see Jesus face to face. At that time, we won’t need anymore faith. Anymore hope. Why? Because in heaven what we were confident would happen; what we hoped, for has come to pass. Those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior will stand in his presence, bathed in his glorious love.

And the greatest of these is love. A never ending, everlasting, all encompassing love that can only come from the Father and his Son.

All despair will be removed. There will be no need to have faith or hope that things will get better, because in heaven everything will be perfect.

When we reach heaven, Christ’s love will prove he has wiped away every tear, every heartache, and every disease.

Glory hallelujah!

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What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. Hebrews 11:1 (TLB)

 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24-25 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Harnessed By God’s Love

courtesy bing imagesby Sandy Kirby Quandt

In a recent Max Lucado UpWords Daily Devotional he described God’s love as a harness binding us to him. Max explained that the Hebrew word hasaq meant tethered, attached to something or someone. Harnessed.

This harnessed love served two purposes … yanking and claiming.

When I was a toddler I wanted to explore. That meant I wandered. That meant I was hard to keep track of. That also meant my wandering could put me in danger.

Of course, I had no idea what that meant, nor did I care, the day I walked out of the downtown Sears store on my own and decided to take a look around.

courtesy pixabayTo remedy the problem of my incessant wandering my mother purchased a pink harness to keep me bound to her when we went out.

To this day I have vivid recollections of retrieving the hateful thing, handing it to her, and standing still while she strapped it around my chest.

I didn’t understand the purpose of that harness was to keep me safe. I didn’t understand it showed my mother loved me enough to keep me close, despite my efforts to run away. I didn’t understand it bound me to her to show I was her child and belonged to her.

All I saw was a loss of freedom.

If we think of God’s love as a hateful thing that takes away our freedom, keeps us restricted and unable to enjoy life, like I did with my pink harness, we’re missing the true reason for his harness.

God’s tether of love shows the world we belong to him and are his children.

It says his love is beyond measure and he wants to keep us safe.

Being harnessed by the ropes of God’s love means he chose us and we are precious to courtesy pixabayhim.

Chafing against the tether of God’s love?

Perhaps we need to see it from his point of view and realize he tethers us because he loves us and claims us as his own.

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Look around you: Everything you see is God’s—the heavens above and beyond, the Earth, and everything on it. But it was your ancestors who God fell in love with; he picked their children—that’s you!—out of all the other peoples. Deuteronomy 10:14-15 (MSG)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Speak the Truth

Bing PhotosThe truth hurts sometimes, doesn’t it? We like to think we have it all together. There’s no area in our lives that needs correction. It’s the others in our lives who need help. Boy, howdy, do they ever. And we are more than eager to point out their flaws. Tell it like it is. Get right to the point. Shoot straight. Let the chips fall where they may.

Maybe others do need correction, just as we might, but it’s all in the way we handle it, that makes the difference.

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Bing PhotosWhile I was in the hospital recently, following surgery to place three screws into my left femur due to a hip fracture, I had two nurses who administered my much-needed medication into my IV line differently. Each had their own way. One inserted the needle into the line, took her time, and gently pushed the plunger until all the medicine flowed through my veins. Nice.

The other nurse inserted the needle into the line, then jammed the syringe plunger like she was setting a new speed record. EEOOWW! Man, that hurt. Burned like fire, and left my head spinning.

Both nurses accomplished the task they were assigned…they administered the medication I needed into my body. And I appreciate them both, equally. But, one did it gently. The other, not so much.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians, and to us, that we are to speak the truth in love. Paul pointed out the sins of the people so they would put off their unrighteous ways, and follow Jesus more closely. His intent was to instruct. To support. To help.

What is our motive when we feel the need to correct others? Is it out of love for that Bing Photosperson? To draw them closer to the LORD? Or to prove ourselves right, and prove them wrong?

When we need to confront others we have a choice. We can speak the truth gently, in love. Or we can deliver the same truth, by jamming down the plunger. It’s our choice.

I pray we all choose wisely. In love.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Love You Forever

For better. For worse. In sickness. In health. Oh, yeah. I’m all for the better and health part, aren’t you? But, what happens when the worse and sickness hits? Well, you show up. That’s what happens.

You put the closest hospital into the GPS after the accidental fall…just in case.

You pull into the drugstore on the way, and buy over the counter meds and a cane…because the pain’s real, and I can’t walk on my own.

You stand at the fast-food, women’s bathroom door…and wait for a knock, to open it from the outside…because I can’t open it.

You drive to the Emergency Room, get a wheelchair, and push me into the hospital…not knowing what might come next.

You tell the ER doc, after he shows you the x-rays of my broken hip, he’ll have to get permission from me, not you, to operate…you know me too well.

You hold my hand as they wheel me to surgery…and kiss me one more time.

You accompany me to the rest area family handicap restroom on the drive home…hunt down someone who has a key…only the key doesn’t fit…so you help me hobble to the women’s restroom.

You put foam on the handles of my walker to stop the blisters from forming on my hands. You put the orthopedic stockings on my legs because I can’t reach my feet. You make sure the bath chair is warm before you help me into the shower. You diligently place the bandage over my incision, even though that’s not in your comfort zone. You help me get dressed. You fix all my meals, and make special treats. You fill my water bottles day and night, so I can take my pain pills. You help me get into and out of the bed, until I’m able to do it on my own. You take time off work to drive me to my doctor appointments, and much, much, more. Why?

Because twenty-two years ago, you made a vow to love, honor, and cherish. In sickness. And in health. And because you put your love into action.

Thank you.

Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.                            1 Corinthians 13:7-8 (Phillips Translation)

My prayer for each of you reading this, is that you have people in your lives who show up, and that you do the same.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Someone To Walk Us Home

Last year, (seems funny to say that!) I mentioned an organization, National WWII Museum, that sends handmade knitted, or crocheted scarves to American Veterans, which Sissy and I both donate scarves to. This year, 😉 I’d like to mention another organization that sends handmade knitted, or crocheted sweaters – these are SUPER simple – baby blankets, and newborn caps to children all over the world, through World Vision. If you knit, or crochet, please consider creating an item or two, for a child who would greatly benefit from your labor of love. Thanks!

In sixth grade, I had a friend who walked me home from elementary school. Billy and I were in the same class, and when school dismissed, he inevitably found his way headed out the door at the same time I did. Since we both lived in the same direction from school, I never thought much about it. I did think it a little strange when he’d ask to carry my books, though. Why ever would he want to do that?When we reached my house, Billy walked me to my door, and said he’d see me the next morning. He pretty much always was on the sidewalk, waiting, when I came outside the next day.Now, to my preteen brain, it never dawned on me Billy walked me home, and carried my books because he cared for me.

Duh.

That is, until one day Billy wasn’t waiting for me when I walked to school. He wasn’t in class, and he obviously wasn’t going to walk me home.

But, Billy sent a substitute. A representative. A stand-in. His little brother, Charlie.When I walked out of my classroom, there stood Charlie. He told me Billy was sick. Billy had told Charlie to walk me home for him. I tried to assure Charlie I could manage by myself, but he said he’d get in trouble with Billy if he didn’t walk me home. When Charlie asked to carry my books, I reluctantly handed him one.

So, what in the world has this got to do with anything, you might ask. Well, let me tell you.Jesus walked on this earth with his disciples for three years. Back and forth. Back and forth. Jesus talked with them each day. Still, I’m not so sure the disciples fully grasped how deep, how wide, and how high Jesus’ love was for them.

Then, one day Jesus was gone. The disciples were on their own. But Jesus didn’t leave it that way. Nope. Jesus wasn’t about to leave his friends alone like orphans. Jesus sent his Holy Spirit to walk with those he cared about. To help carry their load.When the world crashes down upon us, and we feel all alone, we need to remember, God is with us. We aren’t walking home alone. Jesus sent his Holy Spirit to walk beside us, and help carry our load.

Feeling overwhelmed? Reach out to Jesus. He’ll send his Holy Spirit in His place.

I will ask the Father to send you another Helper, the Spirit of truth, who will remain constantly with you. John 14:16 (Voice)

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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Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers out there. I hope each and every one of you have a relaxing, joyful day.I’ve talked about my dad in other posts I’ve written. Seems to be a subject I like.

My dad died in 1980, from a massive heart attack, a couple months after his 62nd birthday. He is dearly missed.

Fathers come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They come in all kinds of colors and dispositions. Some are stormy. Some are calm. Some are demonstrative with their affection. Others are not. Some are actively involved in their children’s lives. Others are absent, and couldn’t care less.

I’ve mentored juveniles in our prison system, who had less than kind words to say about the men who contributed to their birth. Flip-side, I’ve been around children who couldn’t wait to spend time with their dads.

Good dads. Not so good dads. Both abound.

When I created a counted cross-stitch sampler for Pilot, one Father’s Day, I had trouble deciding between stitching the saying, Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad, or A father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us there, but always a guiding light whose love shows us the way.

I picked the second message, partly because of the nautical reference.

No matter what our earthly fathers, dads, may be like, or have been like, we have an amazing Father in Heaven. He is unlike any father we could ever know, or even imagine. His love is unfailing. It never ends. God’s love doesn’t depend on how good we are. Sure, our Heavenly Father disciplines us, and that hurts, but he does it because he loves us too much to leave us in our sin. He doesn’t want us to be separated from him.

Our Heavenly Father wants what is best for us. He loved us so much, he sacrificed his son, Jesus Christ the Messiah, so we could have a way to live with God in Heaven.

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.

I John 3:1 The Message

High Valley sums up how some of our earthly dads may have shown us their love. Even when we didn’t realize that’s what they were doing, at the time.

Author, Michael K. Reynolds, has an excellent post on his blog, Real Life. Real God.  Is This the Best Father’s Day Present…Ever? Stop by and check it out.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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