When the Rough Time Comes

One of my sweet friends is going through a very rough time right now. She is dealing with multiple problems and situations that threaten to undo her. Her faith is strong, but like Job, she doesn’t understand why God hasn’t intervened and solved the problems before now.

She knows her faith is being tested, and she is confident she’ll come through the refiner’s fire stronger, but that doesn’t make it easy to endure.

She has dreams and hopes like each of us do, and it pains her deeply not to see those dreams and hopes materialized.

Her situation is complicated, and she knows only God can resolve the issues. She also knows while God is the One with the ultimate answer, she must do her part while she waits for his plan to unfold.

I believe each of us can relate to having dreams dashed and hopes destroyed. We each carry things inside we desire to accomplish. Good things. Things we believe are God’s will. We shake our heads and wonder what happened when there is a disconnect between what we feel God has called us to, and the actuality of life without those things.

As Yul Brynner said in The King and I, ’tis a puzzlement.

We quote scripture. We read the Bible stories. We say the right words. Still our hearts break over the unfulfilled dreams.

When the rough time comes, we know God is able. We know he can. We also know he might not. Though we might be crushed, we are never forsaken.

What do you do when your dreams and hopes come crashing down around you?

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

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Then Job answered the Lord: “I know that you can do all things and that no plan of yours can be ruined. Job 41:1-2 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Hurricane Harvey and Houston Texas

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

If, like most people, you spent the greater part of this past week glued to your television or device for updates on the news regarding Hurricane Harvey and Houston, Texas; the rain event the weather service called an unprecedented catastrophic event with record-setting historical rain fall, perhaps your heart was grieved at the sight of people young and old rescued by boat, front loader, dump truck, and helicopter from the rising flood waters.

Pilot, Pie, and I live in the Houston area. We’ve been through Alison, Rita, Ike, and now Harvey since moving here from Florida in 2000.

Right now I’d like to thank each and every one of you who faithfully prayed for us, and the rest of the area, during this unprecedented catastrophic event. God was again faithful to hear and answer. Proving it is through placing our trust in him that fear is driven out.

 

You may have heard Houston Texans football player, JJ Watt, established a fundraiser to help with the recovery efforts. Here’s a link if you feel moved to contribute to help those who lost so much. The storm may be in our rearview mirror when you read this, but the recovery efforts will last far into the future.

I find it interesting that right before Harvey hit Texas, I’d been thinking about Job’s conversation with God. I wrote a post on that conversation before Harvey was a blip on the weather screen. I bumped it from today, and rescheduled it for September 7, 2017.

Near the end of the Book of Job God challenges the man who dared question him. These last five chapters may have been intended for Job, but are written for each of us as well.

In the midst of Job’s suffering he and his friends talked to each other a lot. But they didn’t talk with God very much. Did you ever notice that? It took the whole Book of Job before God answers Job from the whirlwind and asks, “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.” (Job 38:1-3)

In the midst of our personal suffering we may talk a lot to our family and friends, without spending much time talking with God about our situation.

I sent more texts to family and friends during the days of Hurricane Harvey than I have at any other time. (I am not a proficient texter as those who receive my texts can attest.) Sissy also served as a contact person dispensing updates on our situation.

Along with communicating with others, I stayed in constant communication with God. As Job showed us, that is key is it not?

Our lives and wellbeing are ultimately in the hands of an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator God who spoke the world into being, laid the foundations of the earth, told the sea it can only go THIS far, and controls the wind, rain and lightning.

Friends are good to bounce things off and listen to their counsel, but in the end it is better to spend more time listening to God than discussing the hows and whys of things that are beyond our comprehension and control, don’t you think?

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.

“Who shut up the sea with doors, when it rushed out from its secret place? I made clouds its clothing, and put much darkness around it. I marked the places where it could not pass, and set locks and doors. And I said, ‘You will come this far, and no farther. Here will your proud waves stop.” Job 38:8-11 (NLV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Fine Art of Listening

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Yesterday  morning as I read through the various emails from lists I subscribe to, I noticed a trend. Out of eight different emails I read, five spoke on the subject of the fine art of listening, being still and shutting out the noise around us. You think God’s trying to tell me something? 🙂

And because I figure this was more than a coincidence, maybe God is trying to tell you something, too.

Below are excerpts with the link to the original posts. I hope you’ll take the time to go to the original posts, read and consider the full messages these authors wrote. Then join me in  developing the fine art of listening.

What if we stopped dialing up to be heard, and instead started listening again? Listening is an art. One that is getting lost in the noise. Getting lost among the technology, the text messages, the emails. Do people even know how to listen anymore? Finally, remember that we can only surrender to God’s plan if we are still and listen to his plan. Does that mean once a day? Or does that surrender occur 24/7? Tina Radcliffe 

We forget to look outside. We forget to take walks or just sit, listening to the bird sounds, to crickets at night, to the call of a loon, the hoot of an owl. We forget to stand in a drizzle and let it wash down our hair and over our face. We forget to let the sunrise welcome the day or the sunset ease us into night. Normandie Fischer 

Job waited for God’s answer—easier said than done. As believers, we can say with Job, I will wait for my renewal to come (Job 14:14). Whether considering tomorrow or eternity, God has us covered. Diana Derringer

David wrote more on waiting, and Psalm 40:1-3 gives us a vivid image of God’s care for those who wait on Him:

“I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.” (NIV)

Reading this passage makes me wonder how long David waited on the Lord. Or if David had a special ability for this very difficult virtue. But then I remember that David often learned things the hard way. Waiting on God was a skill David continued to develop throughout his lifetime.

I long to be still in God’s presence, not plotting or scheming or worrying or … you name it. Unfortunately, I often find myself doing the exact opposite.

Being still takes intentionality and a heart that’s trusting. I need to stop trying to rush God and remember: God is faithful. God is good. God loves me. God never leaves me. God is worthy to be praised. Kim Johnson

Friends, it’s time to stop listening to the lies. Time to close your ears to ignorant and hurtful comments, whether they come from outside or in. It’s time to turn to the TRUTH, to embrace it and immerse yourself in it. It’s time to remember Who gave you this task, and what HE has to say about you and your work. Come to the One True source of Truth, and let His words dwell within you to put an end to writer’s obstacle. Lies. Karen Ball 

And I would add, no matter what our task, we should listen to what our Creator God has to say about our work, and let his words put an end to whatever lies the opposition dumps on us.

Do any of these quotes resonate with you more than another?

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.

To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. Matthew 13:12 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Wishful Thinking

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

In last Thursday’s post, Complain, Complain, Complain I wrote I would refrain from eating dairy for 3 weeks per my doctor’s orders. Actually, I have to be dairy-free for at least 3 MONTHS. Guess I was guilty of wishful thinking.

Webster’s online dictionary defines wishful thinking as an attitude or belief that something you want to happen will happen even though it is not likely or possible.

In 4th grade I prayed, hoped, dreamed I would not come in last place in my backstroke heat during our swim meet.

Wishful thinking.

When I finally hauled myself out of the pool, I was grateful I didn’t drown in the last lap.

In junior high I tried out for cheer leading.

Wishful thinking.

I did end up on the pom pom squad in high school, though.

When I completed my middle grade historical novel…I use the term completed loosely…I knew for a fact the first editor who set eyes on the masterpiece would snap it up in an instant.

Wishful thinking.

I would be embarrassed if it published at that time.

Some people feel it is wishful thinking to believe our sins can be forgiven and the chains of guilt and condemnation Satan throws on us removed.

They can’t or won’t accept the free gift of grace Jesus offers through his sacrifice, resurrection, and ascension into heaven where he sits at God’s right hand pleading our case daily. They falsely believe there has to be more to it than a confession of faith in Jesus as Redeemer, Savior, Lord and King.

Believing we can receive forgiveness and grace is not wishful thinking. It’s the truth. Jesus paid the price for the debt we owed but could never pay. It is by grace we have been saved through Christ, not by works.

I don’t think I’m the only one guilty of wishful thinking, so share the things you’ve thought wishfully about obtaining or achieving during your lifetime.

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.

But now God has shown us a different way to heaven—not by “being good enough” and trying to keep his laws, but by a new way (though not new, really, for the Scriptures told about it long ago). Now God says he will accept and acquit us—declare us “not guilty”—if we trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, by coming to Christ, no matter who we are or what we have been like. Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal;  yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins.  For God sent Christ Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to end all God’s anger against us. He used Christ’s blood and our faith as the means of saving us from his wrath. In this way he was being entirely fair, even though he did not punish those who sinned in former times. For he was looking forward to the time when Christ would come and take away those sins. Romans 3:22-25 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my posts will appear on Inspire a Fire today, July 7, 2015.

Sunday Scriptures — Be God’s Hands and Feet

Isaiah 40by Sandy Kirby Quandt

When I entered the vet’s office with Bear earlier this month, I saw a former co-worker sitting on one of the benches with tears in her eyes. Not a good sign in a place where you can walk in with a beloved pet, and leave by yourself. Been there too many times.

I walked over to Nicole, gave her a hug and asked what was wrong, pretty much knowing the answer. Her 19-year-old cat.

This is not a post about losing a pet. Nope. This is a post showing one more time how God is Sovereign. He is in control. He puts people in our path whom he wants us to interact with. It’s our choice whether we take him up on it or not.

I made the appointment for Bear’s annual exam the day before. The receptionist picked the time, not me. That day when I saw Nicole was the first time she’d been at my vet’s. She usually went to a different clinic. When I walked in she wasn’t in the exam room yet.

Coincidence? Hardly.

Nicole was called into the exam room as I paid for Bear’s check-up. I didn’t want to leave without knowing what happened to her cat, but also know sometimes it’s better not to have to face others when you are grieving the loss. So I decided to leave, praying for her as I went.

Just as I opened the car door and got Bear inside, Nicole came running out of the clinic. She threw her arms around me and sobbed into my shoulder.

Her cat would be euthanized.

We talked a little bit until she felt more at peace with the very painful decision she had made moments earlier.

As I backed out of the parking lot, Mercy Me blared from my CD player…Greater is the one living inside of me, than he who is living in the world. He’s greater.

God showed up in that veterinarian clinic in a big way. He allowed me to be a part of his plan to comfort a child of his in her great time of distress at the loss of her cat. I’ve been in the same place where Nicole stood that day. Grieving the loss of a dear pet. No. A beloved family member.

Keep your eyes open. You never know how or when God may use you to be his hands and feet. When the opportunity arrives, step up.

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.

What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Flawless in God’s Eyes

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The cross of Jesus Christ cleaned us up, buffed us to a shine, removed all the dents and made us flawless. Do you believe that? You need to. It’s the truth, after all. His love is unconditional.

In this man-made world of beautiful people, (who are they, anyway?) seems there is always a new definition of how we are supposed to look, act, think, behave …There is always some elusive mark we are supposed to hit. And when it seems we may be zeroing in on it, the mark shifts.

God’s perfect law and truth doesn’t shift. It isn’t a moving target. It’s not some elusive thing we’ll never grasp.

In God’s eyes, and recorded in his word, all have sinned and fallen short of his standard. There is no one who is good by his own works, no not one.

So where’s the comfort in that?

The comfort comes from reading further to see we are saved by grace, not by works as men think. We are subject to God’s rules and laws yes, but thanks be to God he made a way for us to be saved through the sacrificial blood of his son.

Thank you, Jesus.

Because of Christ’s sacrifice, resurrection and eventual return, if we belong to him through the power of his blood, then what man thinks really doesn’t matter. It’s what God thinks that counts. And God thinks we’re pretty special. Even with all our warts, bumps, bruises, mess-ups and failures. Special enough to die for.

Our scratches, dents, mess-ups, missing the mark don’t define us. Those things don’t keep us from Jesus’ love and grace.

Those are things the evil one would like for us to hang around our necks like Jacob Marley’s chains when he visited his friend, “a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!” Ebenezer Scrooge.

Satan wants to keep us from believing we can be forgiven and washed clean.

This reminds me of a post I wrote awhile back relating how we are not punished as we deserve. Even though we might wallow around in mud holes, God can take out his powerful water hose and wash us clean when we come to him in repentance.

Feeling like a failure? Take heart. Christ has made us flawless.

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.

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 (MSG)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Another New Creation

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

This past Sunday the son of a friend of ours gave his life to Jesus and was baptized. He became a new creation in Christ. Praise, God!

Little Man, Pilot and I are praising with the Angels in Heaven over your decision. We’ll be praying for you and your parents as you grow in the grace and knowledge of the LORD.

Great God Almighty, He’s changed you, and me, and everyone else who turns away from their sins, surrenders their will to Jesus, claims Him as LORD, and lives to serve Him alone.

Can I get an 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.

 

Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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A Plethora of New Year’s Advice

bing imagesBy Sandy Kirby Quandt

With all the New Year’s advice of what we need to do to ensure we enjoy a wonderful, life-fulfilling 2015…read this or that book…listen to this or that speaker…select one, and only one, Scripture verse as your verse for the year…select one, and only one, word as your word for the year…I can’t do it.

While I have nothing against the plethora of advice designed to enhance my life, (hey, I’m giving advice in this post, aren’t I?) the stubborn side of me comes out. I’m not one to go along with the crowd simply because it is trendy. I’ve only recently switched from a flip phone to a smartphone, for goodness sake. Trend-setter? Hardly.

There are a lot of books I’d like to read this year. Not all or them are for my personal or spiritual growth. Some are pure entertainment, like Wendelin Van Draanen’s Sammy Keyes mysteries for kids.

There are many worthy speakers out there, but not all of them speak to what’s going on in my life right now. If ever.

As far as choosing ONE verse of Scripture as mine for the year, sorry. Can’t/Won’t do that. I leave the door open each day for God to show me the verses he wants me to meditate on. I’m not going to limit my verse to one.

Now, about having one word…it’s pretty much the same thing as having one verse. Each day God shows me new things. New aspects of his character. New directions he wants me to go. One word? How could I possibly choose?

Today my word for the year is Grace. No, wait. Today it’s Redeemed. No, no, no. Today my word is Faith. No…

See? How can I possibly choose one word, or one verse, when there are so many wonderful words and verses to choose from in my relationship with the Creator God? The Father who cared enough for me…insignificant, weak, sinful me…allowed his perfect, sinless son to die a horrendous death on the cross at the hands of his creation, to pay the debt for my sin, which there is no way I could ever possibly pay on my own.

He did the same for you, too, you know.

So pick those books to read, speakers to listen to, or one word as your guide for 2015 if that’s what you feel led to do.

Bing imagesMe? I’m gonna’ read whatever strikes my fancy at any given time and try for a balance between fiction and non-fiction. I’ll pay attention to speakers, and pick and choose what I believe is meant for me, and leave the rest. I’ll continue to search God’s written word for the verses and words he put in the Bible for me to live by, and do my best to honor him.

If God’s mercies are new every morning, and they are, how can I limit myself to the same word for 365 days?

What’s your advice for this new year?

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.

Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord‘s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope. Lamentations 3:21-24 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Noblest of All Men

The Bible does not tell us much about Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, but what it does say, speaks volumes.

Though he had every right, through the law, to break off his engagement to Mary when he discovered she was pregnant, Joseph wanted to do it quietly. He loved her, and didn’t want to publicly humiliate her.

When he learned Mary was pregnant with the Savior of the world, he understood he would raise a child who was not his biologically. Yet, Joseph vowed to love God’s son as his own flesh, and raise him as his own. What a challenge in any time, but especially during the time Jesus was born. Joseph was willing to stand with Mary, support her, love her and her child, and endure the cruel gossips of the day.

Nobel Joseph. Honorable Joseph. Hardworking Joseph. Devoted. Committed. God-fearing. Obedient. Loving husband. Loving father.

Like Joseph, maybe we’ve been called by God to stand with someone others are unjustly condemning. Maybe we’ve been put in an uncomfortable situation, and asked to do things that take us out of our comfort zone for Jesus’ sake. Maybe we’ve had to lead from the shadows, without recognition.

Joseph did all that, yet, he was the noblest of all men. His name will be remembered for all eternity as the man chosen by the Creator of the Universe to raise the Messiah. What an amazing honor and privilege.

 

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was engaged to marry Joseph, but before they married, she learned she was pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because Mary’s husband, Joseph, was a good man, he did not want to disgrace her in public, so he planned to divorce her secretly. While Joseph thought about these things, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the baby in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:18-21

I wish you well.

Sandy

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