God Is Good

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

During a recent conversation with Pie, he said he was glad something he wanted, prayed for, and was disappointed not to get, didn’t happen.

Hindsight, right?

I imagine we’ve all been there. There is that certain something, or somethings, we desperately desire. We take our request to God knowing he hears and answers prayer, only he doesn’t answer our prayer the way we hoped.

When we pray expecting God to answer our request as we want it answered, because we trust in his mercy and grace, we can also accept when he tells us no, because we trust in his mercy and grace.

When we go through that hurt and disappointment of a no, it’s rather difficult to count it all joy, or to believe God in his infinite wisdom did what was best for us. But that’s exactly what he did.

How many times have we asked God for something, and just like Pie, in hindsight, thanked him for not doing it?

For me, I’d have to say a lot of times.

It’s during those times we need to go back to what we know. God is good. Not just when things go smoothly for us. God is good all the time. That includes when things don’t go so smoothly for us.

Difficult.

My most vivid memory of beginning to accept this truth was decades ago, standing in a convention center surrounded by fellow Christians singing, “God is so good” while tears streamed down my face. I knew it to be true, but at that very moment events in my life were anything but good.

Even though the events in that situation were not good, God never changed.

He remained GOOD.

Isn’t that where we need to find ourselves?

Regardless of whether the things happening in our lives at this point in time are good, we declare God is good.

Like I said, difficult.

Have you had times when you prayed for something that didn’t come out the way you hoped, only to be grateful they didn’t?

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Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. Philippians 4:6 (VOICE)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Prayer Is A Privilege

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Prayer is a privilege God grants us.

He invites us to come to him at all times and in all situations. As we pray, we also need to listen. God longs to hear from us. To know and be known. Each prayer is an opportunity to know God, but in order to know him, we must also listen to him.

There are all kinds of prayers. There are prayers praising God for who he is and what he has done. There are prayers of deepest despair and petition.

There are prayers we memorize as children. There are prayers in which we vent our frustrations and yes, our complaints.

Prayer is a conversation. Not a one-way monolog. God wants to hear from us. He also wants us to hear from him. The only way we can do that is to stop talking and listen.

When we have conversations with those we cherish, don’t we listen to what they say in addition to them listening to what we say? Why then, do we often forget to listen to God when we pray?

Yes. Prayer is a privilege, but along with that privilege comes the responsibility to listen to God when he speaks to us.

How do you make sure you let your words be few, and listen when you pray?

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Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Click For Babies Cap Campaign

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, CLICK for Babies is a grassroots public education campaign organized by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome (NCSBS) in partnership with hospitals, public health and child abuse prevention groups to create awareness of the leading trigger for infant abuse, frustration with infant crying.

When I saw an article on this, I knew I had to participate.

PURPLE Acronym

After I pulled out my crochet hook, organized the purple yarn I had, and bought more purple yarn, I set about crocheting tiny little purple hats. As I created each hat, I prayed for the baby receiving the hat, and the parent or caregiver in charge of raising that child. Childrearing is a tough job.

While crocheting I paid attention to something that happens every time I knit or crochet … the center of the yarn, the core which is pulled out before the outer section, collapses on itself. When it collapses, the yarn often becomes tangled and unusable. At that point, all creating must stop until the tangled knots are removed.

In my early days of knitting decades ago, I’d get frustrated with the tangled yarn and just cut it. I didn’t take the time to untangled, just tied another section of yarn past the tangle and kept going. That really is not the best way to handle knots, by the way.

Nowadays, whenever I start a project, Pilot asks if I need him to roll the yarn into balls for me. Often the answer is yes, thank you, but not this time.

Life is a lot like a skein of yarn, don’t you think?

We pull and pull and tug and tug at our core working, moving, doing, until our center collapses. We deplete our core, and in the process become a tangled knotted mess. At that point we need to stop and take the time to untangle. To seek God. To pause in order for God to untangle our mess and refill us with himself so we can be useful for his purposes once more.

It’s not a good idea to sever the yarn that attaches us to God like I once did when my yarn knotted. We need to stay attached to the One who is capable of untangling the knots in our life. It’s also a good idea to have people in our lives who are willing to roll that skein of yarn into a manageable ball when the going gets tough before we become all knotted up.

If you knit or crochet, please consider creating some tiny purple hats for the Click for Babies campaign. But hurry. All hats need to arrive at the clearing house by September 30, 2017 to be distributed to families in November.

Thanks for considering helping this important campaign.

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The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — When We Refuse to Listen to God

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

How often do we go to God in prayer asking him to approve the plan we have, instead of seeking the plan God has for us? When his plan deviates from our plan, we refuse to listen.

In the forty-second chapter of the book of Jeremiah a group of army men, led by Johanan, came to Jeremiah asking the prophet to pray to God that he would tell them where they should go, and what they should do.

These men recently engaged in a fight with Ishmael son of Nethaniah, and rescued Ishmael’s captives. But Ishmael and eight of his men escaped, and ran away to the Ammonites.

Fearing reprisal from the Babylonians, Johanan and his men decided to run away to Egypt. Before they reached Egypt, they asked Jeremiah to seek God’s will for them. That’s what they said, at least. It seems what they really wanted was God to approve their plan.

Jeremiah went to God on the men’s behalf and promised to tell them everything God said. And that’s exactly what the prophet did.

Only …

Jeremiah told Johanan God said if Johanan stayed in Judah he need not fear the Babylonians. God would protect them. But if he disobeyed and went to Egypt, it would not go well. There would be war, famine, and disease from which Johanan would not escape.

Given that choice you would think Johanan listened to what God told him, but Johanan refused to listen. Instead he accused Jeremiah of lying to make them stay and be killed by the Babylonians.

Johanan said he wanted God’s clear direction, but in truth he wanted God’s approval of the plan Johanan knew he was going to go ahead with no matter what Jeremiah said.

This takes me back to my original question. How often do we go to God in prayer asking him to approve the plan we have instead of seeking, and accepting, the plan God has for us?

Just as things did not go well with Johanan and his men when they refused to listen to God, it does not go well with us when we go to God in prayer with our plans all laid out and refuse to alter them when God gives us an answer we don’t particularly care for.

Instead of refusing to listen to God’s direction, don’t you think we should stop stubbornly insisting on our own way, and trust God knows what he’s doing?

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Johanan son of Kareah and the army officers, and the people along with them, wouldn’t listen to God’s Message that they stay in the land of Judah and live there. Jeremiah 43:4 (MSG)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Prayer is a Privilege We Have Been Given

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Prayer is one of the privileges I believe Christians have been given. Because of Jesus, we have the opportunity to approach the throne of the Holy God who spoke the world into being. We can come before the Righteous Judge with our requests and petitions for both ourselves and for others.

And you know what else? Others can bring their requests and petitions to the Father who gives good gifts and rescues on our behalf as well.

I’ve written numerous posts about prayer. One spoke of standing in the gap between God and others on their behalf. In a different post I mentioned what Max Lucado said one time about taking our problem to Jesus and leaving it there.

courtesy pixabayOne thing I’ve mentioned is the fact we need to be prayed up ahead of time, and not wait until we are in need before we start to pray.

If we know a situation is coming up that will need prayer support, we should ask those around us to pray for the situation ahead of time.

I love the story of Daniel and how he refused to stop praying while in Babylonian captivity. He didn’t let man’s dictate keep him from doing what he knew God wanted him to do. He continued to pray three times a day.

We don’t have to have long eloquent prayers to be heard by God. Ann Lamot says there are three types of prayers. “Help.” “Thanks.” and “Wow!”

Whenever someone’s name or face floats through my brain I take that as a sign I need to courtesy pixabaystop whatever I’m doing and pray for that person. I don’t need to know the specifics of their situation. God knows what’s going on. He’ll handle the details.

Whenever my name or face floats through someone’s brain, I hope they stop whatever they are doing and say a prayer, or two, on my behalf.

Prayer is a privilege. Let’s not take it for granted.

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Listen, Lord, to my prayer; hear my cries for help. I call to you in times of trouble, because you answer my prayers. Psalm 86:6-7 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Daniel Prayed

courtesy bingby Sandy Kirby Quandt

During the exile of God’s people from Jerusalem to Babylon, Daniel found favor with King Darius and so distinguished himself among the administrators by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.

As you might imagine, the other administrators weren’t happy with that thought. So, they tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs. Problem with that was … they couldn’t find one thing wrong.

No corruption. No untrustworthiness. No neglect of his duties.

Nothing.

They reasoned the only way they would find anything against Daniel was if it had courtesy bingsomething to do with the law of his God. The True and Living God Jehovah.

They came up with a decree and took it to King Darius. It said anyone who prayed to any god or man other than the king in the next 30 days should be thrown into the lion’s den.

If you know the story, you know Daniel didn’t obey the decree.

He went home and with opened windows, prayed three times a day to his God. Just as he had done before the decree.

To read the rest of the story, as they say, turn to Daniel 6.

courtesy bingSo I’m wondering …

Are there people in our lives who try to discredit us before our superiors because of our faith in God?

If so, how do we respond?

Do we give in a little to satisfy them, maybe compromise on a few things, to get them off our backs?

Or do we go home, open our windows unafraid they can hear us, and pray to the True and Living God?

I know some of you who read this blog have stood your ground when asked to be unethical in your business, and I applaud you. To those who are in that tough spot right now, I say hang in there. Like with Daniel, God will deliver.

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Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Daniel 6:10 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my posts is scheduled to appear on Christian Devotions November 21, 2015. Please stop by and check it out.

For those of you not accustomed to speaking country, if after listening to the following song you had difficulty understanding the words, here are the lyrics written by Ralph Stanley.

Well I read about a man one day, he wasted not his time away
He prayed to God every morning, noon and night
He cared not for the things of Baal, trusted one who never fails
Oh Daniel prayed every morning, noon and night

Oh Daniel served the living God while upon this earth he trod
He prayed to God every morning, noon and night
He cared not for the king’s decrees, but trusted God to set him free
Oh Daniel prayed every morning, noon and night

They locked him in the lions den because he would not honor men
But he prayed to God every morning, noon and night
The jaws were locked, it made him shout, God soon brought him safely out
Oh Daniel prayed every morning, noon and night

Oh Daniel served the living God while upon this earth he trod
He prayed to God every morning, noon and night
He cared not for the king’s decrees, but trusted God to set him free
Oh Daniel prayed every morning, noon and night

Now brother let us watch and pray like Daniel did from day to day
He prayed to God every morning, noon and night
We too can gladly dare and do and pray to God He’ll see us through
Oh Daniel prayed every morning, noon and night

Oh Daniel served the living God while upon this earth he trod
He prayed to God every morning, noon and night
He cared not for the king’s decrees, but trusted God to set him free
Oh Daniel prayed every morning, noon and night

 

Stand in the Gap

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

In the 6th Century B.C. Ezekiel, the priest taken into Babylonian captivity, spoke to the generation born in exile about the sins of the Israelites that brought them so low and also to sustain the faith of the exiles by predicting national restoration, the execution of justice upon their oppressors, and of national glory under David’s monarchy.

In the middle of the Old Testament book of Ezekiel God tells the priest God has been patient with the Israelites, but they continued to rebel and disobey his laws. He tells Ezekiel Jerusalem’s doom is inevitable.

Near the end of Chapter 22 the Lord said he looked for someone to stand in the gap before him on behalf of the land, but found no one.

In considering what it means to stand in the gap, I thought of several things.courtesy bing

  • the story of the little Dutch boy who saved the village by placing his finger in the hole of the dike
  • the workers who kept their weapons with them as they rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem after they returned from exile
  • the prayer warriors who intercede before God on behalf of others

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 “I looked in vain for anyone who would build again the wall of righteousness that guards the land, who could stand in the gap and defend you from my just attacks, but I found not one.” Ezekiel 22:30 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Circle Maker Book Review

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson was published in 2011, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. Perhaps some of you are familiar with the book, but for those who aren’t, I’d like to give you a short review of my thoughts on the book.

The cover of the book reads, Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears. With a statement like that, I figured the least I could do was read what the author had to say. I’m glad I did.

As I usually do with most non-fiction books I read, I took notes. The first note I wrote and starred said, “Even when we can’t hear God, he can hear us.”

To prove this wasn’t another far-out-there mystically hoo-doo, voo-doo book, Batterson began by saying drawing prayer circles starts with discerning what God wants, what God wills. He says until God’s sovereign will becomes our sanctified wish, our prayer life will be unplugged from its power source. The goal is glorifying God by drawing circles around the promises, miracles, and dreams God wants for us.

One example he gave was Joshua and his army marching seven times around the city of Jericho in the Old Testament. God promised Joshua he would deliver the city into his hands if Joshua kept circling, because that was God’s will. In that example, Batterson said we need to identify our personal Jericho, define the promises God wants us to claim.

I have to say that even after reading and taking notes, defining the promises God wants me to claim is something I don’t quite understand fully.

Batterson admits not every prayer will be answered as we script it, but the prayers that do happen would not have happened if we hadn’t drawn a circle around it to begin with.

Things I already apply to my life like being specific in my prayer requests, praising God ahead of time, understanding it isn’t a matter of whether God can, it’s a matter of whether he will, and realizing sometimes a no means not yet, are mentioned in this book.

There were many points the author gave which I highlighted in this book, but I’ll leave you with only a few more.

  • God has the habit of waiting until the very last moment to answer our prayer to see if we will chicken out or pray through.
  • God provides just enough just in time.
  • Some of God’s answers to prayer won’t be revealed on this side of glory because they are invisible answers. When God makes something happen we can thank him because we can see it. When he keeps something from happening, we don’t know how to thank him because we don’t know what he did.
  • Do you trust God is for you even when he doesn’t give you what you asked for?

And lastly … if you can trust God when the answer is no, you’re likely to give him praise when the answer is yes.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

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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Words

Words.

We use them everyday to convey meaning.

As someone who works at stringing written words together in a coherent, intelligent, pleasing way, words and their proper use are important to me. Ask any of my former students if you doubt that to be true.

It drives me batty when I read a misspelled or out of context word in the newspaper. Spell checker does not always get it correct. With that said…I appreciate when you respond to my misspellings or out of context words with grace. 🙂

The other morning, I was thinking about the words I use when I speak with Jesus and how inadequate they are to convey what I feel.

The depth of love and appreciation I want to express for what Christ has done for me, is doing, and will do is something I have trouble finding the correct words for. I don’t want my words to be misspelled or out of context.

Do you ever feel the same way?

As I pondered my inadequacy to tell Jesus how I truly feel I was reminded of the Holy Spirit’s work on our behalf. He helps us know what we should pray for and helps us pray as we should.

I was also reminded of a cartoon I keep on the door to my office. (Click on the cartoon to read it full-size.)

In May 1980, my son, Pie showed me the Peanuts cartoon of Linus discussing Romans 8 with his sister, Lucy, that was in Pie’s latest issue of Jack and Jill.

During those times when our hearts are distressed to the point of breaking and all we can do is groan, the Spirit takes our feelings that cannot be expressed in words to the Father’s throne.

When our hearts are bursting with gladness he hears us and translates our joy to the Father as well.

When our hearts hold so much more praise and thankfulness than we could ever articulate the Holy Spirit understands and lays our praise at the feet of Jesus Christ our Savior, Lord, and King.

It’s okay if we can’t find the correct words. The Holy Spirit understands. He knows our heart and intercedes with sighs too deep for words to express.

Praise, God!

Where are you right now? Is your heart breaking? Giddy with gladness? Or humbled beyond words?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you believe others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

 And in the same way—by our faith—the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don’t even know what we should pray for nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words. Romans 8:26 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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One of my devotions will post on Inspire a Fire today, December 16, 2014. Please stop by and take a look.

Sunday Scriptures –Take the Problem To Jesus and Leave It There

Isaiah 40By Sandy Kirby Quandt

In Max Lucado’s book, Before Amen The Power of a Simple Prayer, he discusses Jesus’ first miracle recorded in John 2. Jesus’ mother, Mary, told her son the wedding feast was out of wine.

Max writes that Mary wasn’t bossy. She didn’t tell Jesus what to do. She wasn’t critical of the host. She didn’t blame Jesus for allowing the problem to arise in the first place. And she didn’t blame herself for the problem.

Jesus replied his time had not come, nevertheless, his mother told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do.

Max suggests we are to be like Mary when we encounter problems:

  • Identify the problem
  • Bring the problem to Jesus
  • Leave the problem with him and trust him
  • Resist the urge to take back the problem

So I’m thinking … often we go to Jesus with our problems as a last resort, don’t we? We try to solve the situation on our own instead of going to Jesus first. Then once we do go to him, we try to tell Jesus how we want the situation resolved.

In his book, Max says Mary didn’t complain or accuse. She didn’t question why Jesus allowed the problem in the first place. Nor did she keep snatching it back and fret over it.

Mary identified the problem, took it to Jesus, and left it in his hands.

Perhaps it is time we do the same. 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.

 The wine supply ran out during the festivities, and Jesus’ mother came to him with the problem. John 2:3 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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