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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Sunday Scriptures — Rebuild The Wall

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Around the 5th Century B.C. the cup bearer of the Persian King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah, felt God leading him from Susa back to his forefather’s land of Jerusalem to rebuild the wall of the city that had been destroyed when the Jews were taken away into captivity by the Babylonians years earlier.

In the Book of Nehemiah, we see a man who prayed to God for guidance before he began a task, prayed as he worked on the task, and prayed giving God the praise and glory for answers to his prayers. He prayed as events in his life unfolded.

We should learn from his example and do the same.

When Nehemiah asked Artaxerxes to allow him to leave his position in the palace and go to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall around the city, he prayed “to the God of heaven” before he made his request. (2:4) When the king granted Nehemiah’s request he gave God the credit for the favorable answer saying, “And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.” (2:8)

As the people of Jerusalem worked together to rebuild the wall and secure the city, their efforts were met with opposition. Threats were made. Intimidating messages were sent to discourage them. Murderous plots were planned to lure Nehemiah away. Yet, in the midst of all this, Nehemiah stuck to the work God set before him…rebuild the wall. He told his detractors, “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” (6:3)

In 52 days the work to rebuild a 1 1/2 mile wall around the city of Jerusalem was completed. “The enemies were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.” (6:15-16)

You think God had something to do with the completion of that wall? You think Nehemiah’s prayers had something to do with the work being completed? You think?

We have tasks God has set before us, too, don’t we? Maybe we aren’t building a 1 1/2 mile long wall around a city,but nevertheless, if we are building for God, we will face opposition. Satan is not happy when we ignore the negative voices around us that try to discourage, threaten, and intimidate us. He especially is not happy when we seek out God in prayer.

Like Nehemiah, we have the best weapon ever…we have the privilege to go to our God, the Creator of the Universe, in prayer for his help and strength to complete the good works we were created in Christ to complete, through the power of the Holy Spirit living in us.

When we are frightened and feel like giving up, we need to remember Nehemiah and how he refused to listen to his enemies. Instead, he talked with God before he began a task, while he was working on the task, and once the task was completed.

Are there things you believe God’s calling you to do, but detractors are trying to pull you away from completing the tasks? What are you going to do?

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.

 For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands.” Nehemiah 6:9

I wish you well.


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