Blessings and Curses

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

At one of the schools where I taught in Florida, my classroom was a portable building. Across from our portable was another portable. One day at the height of college football season, the teacher in the other portable and I lined our students up the ramp leading to our respective portables, and shouted at each other.

No. We weren’t on opposing teams. Both teachers were University of Central Florida grads, (Go Knights!) and we were teaching our students one of UCF’s cheers.

Black! Gold!

Maybe you had to be there to appreciate the cheer, but for those few minutes, each class tried to out-scream the other with rounds of Black! Gold! Black! Gold!

It was great.

Remembering that day, I thought about a time near the end of Moses’ life when he told the twelve tribes of Israel to line up on opposite mountains from each other; reminding them of the blessings and curses that would come upon them depending on whether they obeyed the commandments of the LORD, or not.

Seven tribes stood on one side of Mount Gerizim to proclaim blessings, and five tribes stood across the valley on Mount Ebal to proclaim curses. No. I don’t know why it wasn’t an even six and six.

The priestly tribe of Levites stood in the valley between them.

As Moses recited what would bring a curse from God to fall upon them: idol worship, taking advantage of a blind person, injustice toward a foreigner, orphan, or widow … all the people shouted Amen. So be it.

Next Moses listed the blessings which would come if they obeyed the Lord’s commands: blessings in the field, city crops, children, flocks and herds …

It was important to Moses the people understood what he set before them before he died. Life or death. Blessing or curse. He wanted so much for them to choose life by following God.

You know, we have the same choice to make. Life or death. Blessing or curse.

Follow Jesus and be blessed.

Follow the world and be cursed.

As it was up to the individual to decide during the time of Moses, it is up to the individual to decide in our current time.

This isn’t a simple matter of standing in front of one portable and shouting to the other.

Its a matter of blessings and curses. Life or death.

It’s a matter of choosing this day whom we will follow. Amen?

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.

 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Take a Trip…Get Sick

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

What is it with me and going on trips? Seems lately, I leave the house relatively healthy. Return with some infirmary.

Fly to Florida…come home with severe tonsillitis.

Drive to Georgia…break my hip on the way.

Go to Colorado…return with pockets of air trapped in my lungs, bronchial/sinus infection, fever, dreadful cough, and the flu. In May? After receiving the flu shot in October? Oy, vey.

As I write this I have a 101.8 fever, which for me with my wacky body, means it is 102.8 for a normal person. And I’m on antibiotics!

Craziness.

Sometimes things just do not seem to go as planned.

Joseph checked up on his brothers one day, and they sold him into slavery.

David took some food to his brothers, and ended up separating Goliath’s head from his shoulders.

Paul went on missionary trips, and ended up shipwrecked, imprisoned, stoned, and left for dead.

Talk about plans going awry.

We land our dream job, only to lose it when the company downsizes.

We marry believing it is for life, only to be separated from our spouse either through death or divorce.

We become pregnant, but the birth does not go full-term.

Or our child has disabilities.

Or they rebel and end up in a jail cell.

Or makes unwise choices that end in death at their own hand or the hand of others.

Or whatever it is we placed our hopes, dreams, security, in, falls through and disappoints.

When Pilot and I were in Estes Park, Colorado in 2012, we noticed the evergreen trees that lined the mountains were brown and dying. Not long after, a devastating fire broke out.

In 2013, the area surrounding Estes Park suffered through floods. The clean-up and re-building is still being dealt with.

In Allenspark, not far from Estes, there is a retreat. Saint Malo. Although the land around the chapel has washed away, the chapel still stands. Why? Because it was built on solid rock.

Jesus tells us to build our lives on him. The Solid Rock. Because all other ground is sinking sand.

Plans changed? Ground shifting beneath our feet? Unexpected events in our lives? What to do? Hold onto the anchor. Build on the Solid Rock. Jesus.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock. Matthew 7:24-25 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Taking Thoughts Captive

Honey Cinnamon TeaI read that tea made with 2 Tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon dissolved in boiling water helps arthritis pain. If any of you suffer like I do with osteoarthritis — and I mean suffer — you know we try a lot of different things to find relief from our pain. Rubs. Pills. Remedies.

Among the remedies I have tried are a copper braided bracelet. An apple cider vinegar concoction, which fortunately didn’t work…it tasted dreadful.

I’ve drank white grape juice mixed with liquid Certo. Yep. The same Certo used to make jelly. I’ve never tried the gin-soaked white raisins. Heard they don’t help.

The jury is still out on how effective the honey cinnamon tea is for easing arthritis pain, but it is tasty, unlike the apple cider vinegar mix. And, I discovered a totally different use for the tea…taking gnats captive.

The other afternoon as I sat at my desk, tea cup at hand, I savored my honey tea. Fortunately, before I took my next sip I looked into the tea cup. Floating on the tea was a gnat. Oh, gross.

Seeing the gnat reminded me of a story my junior high English teacher told us. He and his Yellow Jacketgirlfriend were on a picnic where they were attacked by a swarm of Yellow Jackets. Fast-thinking Mr. Moore set his soft drink on the ground, as the two scrambled for his car. Instead of chasing them, the Yellow Jackets dive-bombed into the bottle of soda. Captured in the syrupy liquid, they met their demise.

So, I’m thinking…when the Apostle Paul wrote his second letter to the Corinthian church, and mentioned taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ, it’s like those Yellow Jackets and that gnat in my tea.

As soon as the gnats and Yellow Jackets of incorrect thinking, bad attitudes, selfishness, inconsideration, what-evers, begin to gather, we need to pull out the honey cinnamon tea, and take them captive. See no reason to sit around swatting at the insects, shooing them away, only to have them fly right back again.

We are told to take captive every thought and make it obedient to the way of Christ.

How do you take captive thoughts that aren’t in line with Christ’s teaching?

What are your thoughts on the subject?

It is true that we live in the world, but we do not fight from worldly motives. The weapons we use in our fight are not the world’s weapons but God’s powerful weapons, which we use to destroy strongholds. We destroy false arguments; we pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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While the pictures for this video may not seem to go with the song at first glance, being out in the middle of God’s creation, and honoring him through enjoying his gift, can be worshipful. Don’t you think?

Bless the Lord O My Soul

 

Happy 2013, Everyone!

365 days of opportunities stretch out before us.

Opportunities to refine skills. Gain new knowledge. Explore new ideas, and new places.

Opportunities to be nicer, kinder, more loving, more gracious.

Opportunities to fix the things that need fixing. Leave the things that need leaving. Embrace the things that need embracing. Finish the things that need finishing. Start the things that need starting.

Lots of opportunities to accomplish lots of different things.

In this video, Matt Redman suggests what should be a top priority everyday. 10,000 Reasons.

I wish you well.

Sandy

PS

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