Love Covers Over All Wrongs

My experience when dealing with the pain and hurts others inflict on us has been to hold onto the pain. Turn it over and over in my mind where it has the opportunity to pull the scab off the wound and re-inflict pain all over again.

Definitely not the best way to deal with such things.

The Bible tells us love covers all wrongs. And, of course, that’s true. The problem I see is we often refuse to allow love to cover all wrongs. We might let it cover some wrongs, but hold onto those we feel don’t deserve to be covered with love’s forgiveness.

Am I the only one who does this? I think not.

With that said, I’d like to share a devotion I recently read in Streams in the Desert.

At midnight I found myself completely unable to sleep. Waves of cruel injustice were sweeping over me, and the covering of love seemed to have been unknowingly removed from my heart. In great agony I cried to God for the power to obey his admonition, ‘Love covers over all wrongs.’

From here the writer explains God’s Spirit began to work the power into her that ultimately brought about forgetfulness.

She mentally dug a grave until the hole was very deep. She lowered the offense that wounded her into the grave. Quickly she shoveled the soil over it. Then she covered the hole with green sod, planted beautiful white roses and forget-me-nots on top, and Briskly walked away.

The wound that seemed so deadly was healed without a scar. God’s love covered the hurt. The pain. The wound. Completely.

So here’s what I receive from this devotion. Perhaps you receive the same. Perhaps you receive something different.

When we cry out to God for help, his Spirit will work in us if we let him. He will bring us peace. When we insist on carrying wounds and refuse his help, peace will elude us.

It’s easier to truly forgive when we rely on God’s help. We might think we’ve forgiven, but quickly realize otherwise when the great deceiver, Satan, dredges up our past hurts.

I love the writer’s description of digging a grave – a very deep grave – to throw our wound into.

The offended did not stand over the open grave rehearsing the hurt. She QUICKLY shoveled dirt over the offense.

Then she planted something beautiful over the grave. She thought on what is lovely, noble, honorable, and of good report. She thought on the things of God.

With that done, she BRISKLY walked away. She didn’t loiter or spend time wondering if forgiving was the right thing to do. She didn’t jab her shovel back into the ground and exhume the hurt. Nope. She walked away.

As she left the wound in the grave, God’s love covered the hurt, and she was completely healed.

There was a scar on yonder mountainside,

Gashed out where once the cruel storm had trod;

A barren, desolate chasm, reaching wide

Across the soft green sod.

But years crept by beneath the purple pines,

And veiled the scar with grass and moss once more,

And left it fairer now with flowers and vines

Than it had been before.

There was a wound once in a gentle heart,

From which life’s sweetness seemed to ebb and die;

And love’s confiding changed to bitter smart,

While slow, sad years went by.

Yet as they passed, unseen an angel stole

And laid a balm of healing on the pain,

Till love grew purer in the heart made whole,

And peace came back again.

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Hate stirs up trouble, but love forgives all offenses. Proverbs 10:12 (GNT)

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Listening To The Voice That Matters

Noise. Confusion. Doubt. Chaos. So much bombards our life making it difficult to know which way to go sometimes. A devotion from Streams in the Desert says we are to be still and listen for God’s clear direction when our path seems uncertain.

“When we are in doubt or difficulty, when many voices urge this course or the other, when prudence utters one advice and faith another, then let us be still, hushing each intruder, calming ourselves in the sacred hush of God’s presence; let us study His Word in the attitude of devout attention; let us lift up our nature into the pure light of His face, eager only to know what God the Lord shall determine—and ere long a very distinct impression will be made, the unmistakable forth-telling of His secret counsel.”

This devotion tells us to take our questions to God. It says if we will get alone with God where the lights and shadows of earth cannot interfere, where human opinions fail to reach, and wait there silent and expectant, even though all around us insists we make an immediate decision or action, the will of God will be made clear.

The world clamors for our attention in light and shadow. Everyone has an opinion and advice they aren’t afraid to share, whether the sharing is done in a healthy way or not.

The world works hard to pull us away from following closely after Jesus. Voices all around us tell us what we should do and how we should do it, often against what God’s Holy Word tells us we should do. At those times, as the Streams in the Desert devotion writer suggests, we are to shut out the intruders, and calm ourselves in God’s truths.

God doesn’t shout to be heard. He doesn’t rush us toward a decision. He doesn’t keep us so active or agitated we can’t hear from him. He doesn’t frighten or push us. Those are the deceiver’s tactics, not God’s.

Just as the sheep know the shepherd’s voice by being still and listening to it, we can know Jesus’ voice in the same way. But first, we must shut out the imposter’s voice.

“STAND STILL,” my soul, for so thy Lord commands: 
E’en when thy way seems blocked, leave it in His wise hands; 
His arm is mighty to divide the wave. 
“Stand still,” my soul, “stand still” and thou shalt see 
How God can work the “impossible” for thee, 
For with a great deliverance He doth save.

Be not impatient, but in stillness stand, 
Even when compassed ’round on every hand, 
In ways thy spirit does not comprehend. 
God cannot clear thy way till thou art still, 
That He may work in thee His blessed will, 
And all thy heart and will to Him do bend.

“BE STILL,” my soul, for just as thou art still, 
Can God reveal Himself to thee; until 
Through thee His love and light and life can freely flow; 
In stillness God can work through thee and reach 
The souls around thee. He then through thee can teach 
His lessons, and His power in weakness show.

“BE STILL”—a deeper step in faith and rest. 
“Be still and know” thy Father knoweth best 
The way to lead His child to that fair land, 
A “summer” land, where quiet waters flow; 
Where longing souls are satisfied, and “know 
Their God,” and praise for all that He has planned.
—Selected

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And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here.” Isaiah 30:21 (TLB)

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry – I Laid it Down in Silence

I Laid it Down in Silence

Frances Ridley Havergal

Selected from Streams in the Desert

I laid it down in silence,

This work of mine,

And took what had been sent me–

A resting time.

The Master’s voice had called me

To rest apart;

“Apart with Jesus only,”

Echoed my heart.

I took the rest and stillness

From His own hand,

And felt this present illness

Was what He planned.

How often we choose labor,

When He says “Rest”–

Our ways are blind and crooked;

His way is best.

Work He Himself has given,

He will complete.

There may be other errands

For tired feet;

There may be other duties

For tired hands,

The present, is obedience

To His commands.

There is a blessed resting

In lying still,

In letting His hand mold us,

Just as He will.

His work must be completed.

His lesson set;

He is the Master Workman:

Do not forget!

It is not only “working.”

We must be trained;

And Jesus “learned” obedience,

Through suffering gained.

For us, His yoke is easy,

His burden light.

His discipline most needful,

And all is right.

We are to be His servants;

We never choose

If this tool or if that one

Our hands will use.

In working or in waiting

May we fulfill

Not ours at all, but only

The Master’s will!

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You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Power of Stillness

Jesus has been arrested and falsely accused. The high council’s next step is to send him to Pilate. As Pilate interrogates Jesus, Christ refuses to strike back. He refuses to plead his innocence before his accusers. Instead, Jesus displays the power of stillness.

Very early in the morning the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law—the entire high council—met to discuss their next step. They bound Jesus, led him away, and took him to Pilate the Roman governor.

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus replied, “You have said it.”

When the leading priests kept accusing Jesus of many crimes, Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?”

But Jesus said nothing. Much to Pilate’s surprise.

Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner—anyone the people requested. One of the prisoners at that time was Barabbas, a revolutionary who committed murder in an uprising.

The crowd went to Pilate and asked him to release a prisoner as usual.

“Would you like me to release to you this ‘King of the Jews’?” Pilate asked. (For he realized by now that the leading priests had arrested Jesus out of envy.)

But at this point the leading priests stirred up the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus.

Pilate asked them, “Then what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?”

They shouted back, “Crucify him!”

“Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?”

But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”

So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.

(Mark 15:1-15 NLT)

The day when Jesus stood alone

And felt the hearts of men like stone,

And knew He came but to atone–

That day “He held His peace.”

They witnessed falsely to His word,

They bound Him with a cruel cord,

And mockingly proclaimed Him Lord;

“But Jesus held His peace.”

They spat upon Him in the face,

They dragged Him on from place to place,

They heaped upon Him all disgrace;

“But Jesus held His peace.”

My friend, have you from far much less,

With rage, which you called righteousness,

Resented slights with great distress?

Your Savior “held His peace.”

Taken from Streams in the Desert

The power of stillness.

Oh, that I practiced it to a greater measure than I do and let God answer on my behalf.

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But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed. Mark 15:3 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

Sing Our Praise

In the morning, while it is still dark outdoors, a wren happily sings a song for all to hear.

I eagerly look forward to the bird’s song each day as I sit at the breakfast table. The song reminds me even when it’s dark, even when there may not be anyone around to hear us, even if no one knows we exist, it is good to sing our praise to the Lord who created us.

It is good to sing our praise first thing each day in thanks for all God is and all God has done and all God will do.

It is good to remember…God sees. God hears. God knows.

God sees when others act like we’re invisible. God sees when we make him proud.

God hears when our pain is too deep for words. God hears when our praises rise up to him in song and pray.

God knows when our heart breaks. God knows when our heart overflows with the good things he provides.

The following untitled poem comes from Streams in the Desert. I hope it brings a song to your lips just as surely as a song rises from the wren’s throat.

Don’t let the song go out of your life
Though it chance sometimes to flow
In a minor strain; it will blend again
With the major tone you know.
What though shadows rise to obscure life’s skies,
And hide for a time the sun,
The sooner they’ll lift and reveal the rift,
If you let the melody run.
Don’t let the song go out of your life;
Though the voice may have lost its trill,
Though the tremulous note may die in your throat,
Let it sing in your spirit still.
Don’t let the song go out of your life;
Let it ring in the soul while here;
And when you go hence, ’twill follow you thence,
And live on in another sphere.

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Sing to the Lord, all the world!
Worship the Lord with joy;
    come before him with happy songs!

 Acknowledge that the Lord is God.
    He made us, and we belong to him;
    we are his people, we are his flock.

Enter the Temple gates with thanksgiving;
    go into its courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him and praise him.

The Lord is good;
    his love is eternal
    and his faithfulness lasts forever. Psalm 100

I wish you well.

Sandy

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You can find my March Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

Pause for Poetry-Bells Across the Snow

Bells Across the Snow

O Christmas, merry Christmas,

Has it really come again,

With its memories and greetings,

With its joy and with its pain!

Minor chords are in the carol

And a shadow in the light,

and a spray of cypress twining

With the holly wreath tonight.

And the hush is never broken

By laughter light and low,

As we listen in the starlight

To the “bells across the snow.”

 

O Christmas, merry Christmas,

It’s not so very long

Since other voices blended

With the carol and the song!

If we could but hear them singing,

As they are singing now,

If we could but see the radiance

Of the crown on each dear brow,

There would be no cry to cover,

No hidden tear to flow,

As we listen in the starlight

To the “bells across the snow.”

 

O Christmas, merry Christmas,

This nevermore can be;

We cannot bring again the days

Of our unshadowed glee,

But Christmas, happy Christmas,

Sweet herald of goodwill,

With holy songs of glory

Brings holy gladness still.

For peace and hope may brighten,

And patient love may glow,

As we listen in the starlight

To the “bells across the snow.”

Frances Ridley Havergal from Streams in the Desert.

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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Stay Where God Puts Us

It’s been my experience that sometimes we are reluctant to stay where God puts us.

We believe we could be of more use some place else. Our talents and skills could serve a better purpose in other arenas. That kind of thinking removes God’s sovereignty from the equation. It says we know better than the One who spoke the world into being. The One who created us for such a time as this.

God knows where, when, and how we can best serve him throughout each stage of our lives. When we look back, we usually see that. Until the next time God tells us to stay where he puts us, and it is a place or time we aren’t so sure we agree with, that is.

Right now I’m going through an in-depth study of Gideon from the Book of Judges. One thing I read today, which I’d like to share with you, is that God uses our weaknesses to exhibit his strength. Especially when we stay where God puts us.

The following poem taken from Streams in the Desert speaks to this.

I’ll stay where You’ve put me; I will, dear Lord,

Though I wanted so badly to go;
I was eager to march with the “rank and file,”
Yes, I wanted to lead them, You know.
I planned to keep step to the music loud,
To cheer when the banner unfurled,
To stand in the midst of the fight straight and proud,
But I’ll stay where You’ve put me.
 
I’ll stay where You’ve put me; I’ll work, dear Lord,
Though the field be narrow and small,
And the ground be neglected, and stones lie thick,
And there seems to be no life at all.
The field is Your own, only give me the seed,
I’ll sow it with never a fear;
I’ll till the dry soil while I wait for the rain,
And rejoice when the green blades appear;
I’ll work where You’ve put me.
 
I’ll stay where You’ve put me; I will, dear Lord;
I’ll bear the day’s burden and heat,
Always trusting You fully; when sunset has come
I’ll lay stalks of grain at Your feet.
And then, when my earth work is ended and done,
In the light of eternity’s glow,
Life’s record all closed, I surely will find
It was better to stay than go;
I’ll stay where You’ve put me.
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After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” Matthew 2:13 (NLT)
I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry – One Day When Walking Down the Street

One Day When Walking Down the Street

One day when walking down the street,

On business bent, while thinking hard

About the “hundred cares’ which seemed

Like thunderclouds about to break

In torrents, Self-pity said to me:

“You poor, poor thing, you have too much

To do. Your life is far too hard.

This heavy load will crush you soon.”

 

A swift response of sympathy

Welled up within. The burning sun

Seemed more intense. The dust and noise

With rasping blast of blowing horn

Incensed still more the whining nerves,

The fabled last back-breaking straw

To weary, troubled, fretting mind.

 

“Ah yes, it will break and crush my life;

I cannot bear this constant strain

Of endless, aggravating cares;

They are too great for such as I.”

So thus my heart consoled itself,

“Enjoying misery,” when lo!

A “still small voice” distinctly said,

“‘Twas sent to lift you–not to crush.”

I saw at once my great mistake.

 

My place was  not beneath the load

But on top! God meant it not

That I should carry it. He sent

It here to carry me. Full well

He knew my incapacity

Before the plan was made. He saw

A child of His in need of grace

And power to serve; a puny twig

Requiring sun and rain to grow;

An undeveloped chrysalis:

A weak soul lacking faith in God.

 

He could not help but see all this

And more. And then, with tender thought

He placed it where it had to grow–

Or die. To lie and cringe beneath

One’s load means death, but life and power

Await all those who dare to rise above.

 

Our burdens are our wings; on them

We soar to higher realms of grace;

Without them we must ever roam

On plains of undeveloped faith,

(For faith grows but by exercise

In circumstance impossible.)

 

O paradox of Heaven. The load

We think will crush was sent to lift us

Up to God! Then, soul of mine,

Climb up! Nothing can e’er be crushed

Save what is underneath the weight.

 

How may we climb! By what ascent

Will we crest the critical cares

Of life! Within His word is found

The key which opens His secret stairs;

Alone with Christ, secluded there,

We mount our loads, and rest in Him.

Mary Butterfield

Streams in the Desert

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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This Is My Doing

In the span of a week I read the words this is my doing, and this is from me in two separate devotions written decades apart.

If we look at 1 Kings 12:24, we read God told the Israelites, “…what has happened is my doing.”

When I read these devotions and scripture in my perpetual time of wait, I felt as if God reminded me everything is under his control. Good. Bad. Ugly. Disappointments. Successes. Wins. Loses. Pains. Joys. Everything. It is all his doing and his will.

A devotion written by Laura A. Barter Snow in Streams in the Desert discusses this theme. In her devotion, Ms. Snow says whatever rough place we may find ourselves in, God reminds us, “This is my doing.”

God’s strength is with us to carry us through whatever we face. He wants us to depend on him, not on our own abilities. He wants us to glory in him, not in ourselves.

Ms. Snow points out God is the God of circumstances. Wherever we are, we did not come to this place by accident. We are exactly where God wants us to be. Whether to bless or humble.

We need to obediently walk in the way God sets before us. When we do, we can be confident wherever we end up, however long it takes to get there, and however many detours, bumps, delays, and impasses, this is God’s doing.

“This is from Me, the Saviour said, As bending low He kissed my brow,
For One who loves you thus has led. Just rest in Me, be patient now,
Your Father knows you have need of this, Tho’, why perchance you cannot see.
Grieve not for things you’ve seemed to miss. The thing I send is best for thee.

Then looking through my tears, I plead, Dear Lord, forgive, I did not know,
Twill not be hard since Thou dost tread, Each path before me here below.
And for my good this thing must be, His grace sufficient for each test.
So still I’ll sing, Whatever be, God’s way for me is always best.”

Laura A. Barter Snow from Streams in the Desert

Wherever we find ourselves right now, it is exactly where God wants us, whether it’s where we want to be or not. Do you find comfort in that thought?

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‘This is what the Lord says: Do not fight against your relatives, the Israelites. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!’” So they obeyed the message of the Lord and went home, as the Lord had commanded. 1 Kings 12:24 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God’s Hedge of Protection

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

A devotion I recently read in Streams in the Desert looked at God’s hedge of protection in a way I’d not considered before. Perhaps the thought will be a different way for you to think of God’s protection, as well.

In Mrs. Charles E. Cowman’s poem about the hawthorn hedge she points out although we may not always see the hedge’s thorns, they are always present. They become visible in winter and are covered in spring.

As I reflected on the devotion, but most especially on Mrs. Cowman’s poem, I realized we live our lives in seasons, do we not? There are seasons where the soft leaves of God’s hedge of protection shield us. There are also seasons where those same leaves fall, and the thorns of life protrude.

Regardless of the season we may be in at any point in time, leaves or no leaves, God’s hedge remains.

Nothing surprises the All-knowing God. He knows where the thorns in our lives are and he knows when they prick us. Whether the thorns are illness, unkind words, job uncertainty, betrayal, financial struggles, relationship problems, God knows.

And when we are pricked, he stands right there beside us comforting us until the soft leaves cover the thorns once again.

If you are in a season of thorns, I pray the soft leaves of God’s hedge will burst forth soon.

The hawthorn hedge that keeps us from intruding,
Looks very fierce and bare
When stripped by winter, every branch protruding
Its thorns that would wound and tear.

But spring-time comes; and like the rod that budded,
Each twig breaks out in green;
And cushions soft of tender leaves are studded,
Where spines alone were seen,

The sorrows, that to us seem so perplexing,
Are mercies kindly sent
To guard our wayward souls from sadder vexing,
And greater ills prevent.

To save us from the pit, no screen of roses
Would serve for our defense,
The hindrance that completely interposes
Stings back like thorny fence.

At first when smarting from the shock, complaining
Of wounds that freely bleed,
God’s hedges of severity us paining,
May seem severe indeed.

But afterwards, God’s blessed spring-time cometh,
And bitter murmurs cease;
The sharp severity that pierced us bloometh,
And yields the fruits of peace.

Then let us sing, our guarded way thus wending
Life’s hidden snares among,
Of mercy and of judgment sweetly blending;
Earth’s sad, but lovely song.”

Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

I don’t know about you, but I believe the sentiment in this poem well worth remembering.

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The Weymouth Bible translates James 1:2 as “whenever you find yourself hedged in by various trials.”

The Hawai’i Pidgin Bible translates James 1:2-3 this way.

You Like Know Wat Fo Do? Trus God!

My bruddas an sistas! Feel real good inside everytime you feel like you get hard time fo do wat God like you guys do. Cuz you know, afta you guys go thru all dat real hard time, an you guys still yet trus God, den dat goin make you guys hang in dea mo betta. James 1:2-3 (Hawai’I Pidgin)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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