Category Archives: Inspiration

Blessed Among Women

Courtesy Bing Images

Mary. The mother of Jesus. Blessed among women. Chosen by God.

Many a time I’ve tried. I really have. But I just cannot imagine what it was like to be a teenage virgin engaged to be married, and be told you would soon become pregnant. But your intended would not be the father of your child.

To be told by an angel, of all things. That right there would be scary enough.

Nonetheless, Mary had found favor. She was the one chosen to give birth to the long awaited, much prayed for Messiah. Savior. Deliver. She was blessed above all others.

Mary. A peasant girl from the village of Nazareth. A descendent of the House of David. She was honored above all women who ever were, and who ever would be. Her son’s kingdom would never end.

How can you be the mother of the child of God? It’s difficult enough being the mother of a regular, everyday, garden variety child. But to raise the son of the One True Creator God? Like I said, I just cannot imagine it.

Jesus on the cross

Courtesy Bing Images

I can’t truly understand the flood of emotions that must have coursed through Mary’s every waking, and probably sleeping, moment.

Me? The vessel chosen to deliver the Messiah to the world? I believe that in God’s omnipotent, omniscient love and grace, he shielded Mary from the shadow of the cross for as long as he could.

Don’t you?

Beyond the awesomeness of being chosen to carry Immanuel in her womb, must have been the pain of telling Joseph she was expecting. Would he believe her? Would he really believe her?

Fortunately, God took care of that when he sent an angel to inform Joseph of his part in God’s redemptive plan.

Then, of course, there were the neighbors. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Did the gossip sting Mary’s heart?

God took care of that problem, too. When Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, heard Mary’s voice, her unborn baby leaped inside her womb. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth told Mary God had blessed Mary more than any other woman because she believed what the Lord said to her would really happen. That declaration reaffirmed who Mary was despite what the local gossips thought.

There were the angels. The shepherds. The wise men. Anna and Simeon in the temple.

Courtesy Bing Images

Courtesy Bing Images

Each one a witness to the great thing the LORD God Almighty had done, and would do, through his Son.

God continues to use his people to accomplish his plans today.

We won’t give birth to the Messiah, but like Mary, we carry Christ inside us through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Once we claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior it becomes our responsibility to praise God for the great things he has done for us through his love, mercy, and grace. It becomes our responsibility to share that wonder with those we encounter each and every day.

So my question to each of us is this. How are we doing in that area?

Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him.” Luke 1:46-50 (TLB)

Sandy Quandt

“IT WASN’T HELL” – TRUE STORIES FROM 9/11, HEROES WHO ANSWERED THE CALL

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It Wasn’t Hell – PART 2

From an interview with my friend Charlie Edmond, NYPD

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

 

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

I was working the late tour—midnight to eight—the night of September 10th. Got off at 7:50 on the morning of 9/11…

My partner and I were on the Long Island Rail Road going home when the first plane hit. One of our friends called and told us, “A plane hit the World Trade Center. They’re calling it a terrorist attack.”

He didn’t have any inside information, it was just his suspicion, but he called it right. So Mark and I are on the train going home, and Mark says to me, “What are you going to do?”

“Are you kidding?” I said. “I’m going back in!”

I drove home and ran into my house just in time to see the first tower come down. I grabbed some clothes, shoved them into an overnight bag, and then kissed my wife and ran out. I drove back to Mark’s house to pick him up along with two other guys from our squad, and then together we drove to Home Depot and bought 25 pairs of leather gloves. Gloves! I can’t help but laugh now. I don’t know what we were thinking. We had about twenty guys in our squad and, I mean, we didn’t have the slightest concept of what we were driving down to. No concept at all. That’s where my mind was, you know…we’d have some gloves to help dig people out. We just had no idea.

And so the four of us drove the Long Island Expressway in. They’d shut it down to all civilians. Cops, firefighters and paramedics…they were about the only ones other than military who could get into Manhattan at that point. And you could see it on the faces of the cops who were managing traffic. You know, we’re talking 40 miles away on Long Island, and their only job is to divert traffic, but you could see such intensity in their eyes. They’re like, “Come on, come on, come on! Go, go, go!” The level was so high at that point. I mean, that was their function, and they were giving all they had for it.

When we got into Manhattan all the rules just went out the window. Everyone received orders to go here or there, but no one obeyed. Everyone went to their home precinct. You had to be with your squad. And they immediately plopped us at churches, synagogues, mosques, whatever. They put us all over everywhere trying to set up security, because they knew that someone was after us and they wanted to start locking down. But later that night they rounded us all up and marched us down to Ground Zero. And there’s about an inch or two of dust everywhere. I don’t know what it was, it must have been sheetrock dust, or something, but it looked like the moon. It was just a disaster. And there’s debris hanging everywhere. And you’re looking up as much as you’re looking around wondering what’s going to fall. And nobody knows what they’re doing. It’s just a total cluster. I mean, there’s I-beams lying all around, bent like you’re bending a straw, and here I am with my leather gloves, handing them out to everybody. “Here, here you go.” I just had no idea.

So they get us all set up. And they have a laser on one of the buildings. I guess they figured it was gonna fall. And so we agreed that if it started to fall, we’d all just run down into this tunnel (subway) and come out in Brooklyn. So that was our game plan, to run into a hole to get away from a falling building. And that’s how it was. It was nuts.

But the most surreal thing of all, and I remember this as clear as day: There’s this cobblestone road close to where we were set up, and I start hearing this clickety-clickety-clickety sound. And then this silver push cart appears— clickety-clickety—a room service cart. And two guys dressed in white and wearing chef’s hats come walking up and go, “Are you hungry?” And they had smoked salmon. And steak. It wasn’t the Waldorf, but is one of those, like, high-end hotels, and they sent these people out to help. There was just so much coming in at that point. Tents full of stuff. Cell phone batteries, ponchos and socks. Food. It was strange. It was like you walked onto the wrong set, you know? “The Tonight Show’s over there…” It just didn’t make any sense. The outpouring of help was incredible.

And so everybody’s trying to get in at this point, so we were trying to set up a perimeter to make it as safe as we could. Keep the criminals out. But all around us it was total madness. Nobody knew what they were doing. And I realize now that I should have been scared. But I wasn’t. Not all all. I knew I had this little church out on Long Island praying for me, and I wasn’t feeling any fear. I mean, I get as nervous as anybody else, and we’re out there looking at all this stuff, but I just had this peace. It was the peace of God. And I was like, if this falls we’ll run this way, but if I don’t make it, it’s okay. I just wasn’t afraid. I think God did that so that I could be support for everybody else.

One of the best feelings I had was watching the planes—the F-14’s or F-16’s—flying over Manhattan. I was like, “Whew, we’re safe!” You knew at that point, nothing’s getting to us. If they’re going to do it, they’re going to do it a different way, they’re not coming through the air. It was a secure feeling. But it got me to thinking about America. About Christians. Sometimes we get to feeling too secure. We’re all going about our happy lives, and suddenly, out of the blue, the enemy attacks. And that’s what happened. They hit the first tower. Then they hit the second tower. Then the Pentagon. And then the Christians start going, “Oh, Lord, we need you.”

I feel in my heart that it was the concerted prayers that inspired those men on that last plane to stand up. God strengthened them. He thwarted the enemy, because the enemy—he’s taking us out. He’s hitting buildings all over the place, and now the Christians all over are going, “What’s going on?” And they begin to pray. And it’s like the prayers started and that last plane didn’t reach its destination, because God intervened. He had those brave men throw themselves on the grenade for everyone else. They were heroes. God used them. But could it have been different? Would any of this have happened if the Christians in America had been awake? We were sleeping. Christians all over America, we had fallen asleep.

It’s not a game. The only reason we’ve not been hit again is the hand of God. We’re not great at stopping these guys. We’re not invincible. There was another attack planned in Brooklyn, but one of the attackers got a guilty conscience at the last minute. He ran up to a Transit cop and said, “I don’t want to do this,” and they stopped a whole subway attack. It wasn’t great research on our side that stopped it, it was the hand of God.

So I would encourage Christians to pray. To develop a closer relation with Christ. To read his Word, and to let it speak to you. To pray for our country’s protection, for our leaders, for those overseas on the front lines. I mean, you just never know when that security guard at the airport is going to check this bag or another. We need to ask God daily for a hedge of protection. We need to pray.

 To be continued…


Coming November 28th, Part 3 of “It Wasn’t Hell” (with Charlie Edmond NYPD)

Conclusion

…I’ve heard people say, “9/11 was hell.” But for me, it wasn’t. Hell is hopeless. Down there I saw lots of hope. The outpouring of help was just unbelievable. Like I said, they came with their little cart. There was so much help they had to turn people away. That was the Christian spirit. That selflessness…No, 9/11 wasn’t hell. Christians across America awoke, and in the end, Christ was glorified. There’s still hope.

 


Books by Pat Patterson:

Answering the Call, Inspirational Devotions from a Tested Paramedic

Tested by Fire, A Medic-7 Novel

Hydro Low

DSCN0996

Water and worry leak
to the lowest level,
a fool’s pool
spiraling the spirit
to depths
beneath the necessary steps.

It takes hydro-logic
to lift water
higher than clouded despair.
To rise as steam,
we admit wet
as requisite.

Our Engineer’s faith;
part bending knee,
part pouring cups
to the least of these,
cuts across current fashion,
chiding the waves to be still.

There is living water
and there is a stagnant well.
One can’t flow forward
by going back.
The well worn path is reasonable,
but making sense of resistance, is mist.

“It Wasn’t Hell” – True Stories from 9/11, Heroes Who Answered the Call

It Wasn’t Hell

From an interview with my friend Charlie Edmond, NYPD

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Part 1

There’s no way to even begin to comprehend the size of that disaster. It was gigantic. A pile of rubble. People. And it’s hallowed ground at the same time. A lot of people were never recovered. I’ve heard it said, 9/11 was hell, and in many ways it was, but in the end I believe God was glorified. My faith in Christ is what got me through…

I was raised an atheist. It’s not like my dad sat me down and explained it to me that way, I was just raised with nothing. No God at all. I got married at twenty-two. I had been a cop for about two years at the time. My wife was already a Christian, and I believe, if not for her prayers, we would have become a statistic. You know the divorce rate, 50% or more. And I was just living all wrong. My life was headed for trouble.

I came home one night drunk as a skunk. tore up the kitchen, made a big mess. I knew that it hurt my wife. So I was lying in bed later thinking, and there was this wooden cross on the wall, and I knew right then that my life just wasn’t right. I knew I needed to change. “Lord,” I cried. “I can’t live like this anymore!” I called my wife into the room and said, “You’ve got to pray for me.”

Mercifully, she did. I got on my knees and asked Christ into my life. And that’s the day I got saved, but I had long, long way to go. Like I was in this bar a few nights later, having a couple of beers. And the language coming out of my mouth is inexcusable. And God’s like, “How’s that working out for you?” And I would preach to these guys at the bar, and they’re like, “Are you serious? Look at you, man. You haven’t changed a bit!” And on the street nothing had changed either. I mean these guys that grow up in the ghetto, they only understand filthy language, so you gotta talk to them that way. You can’t be soft on these guys. And so I’m cursing them. I mean it’s coming out of my mouth all wrong, and again God’s like, “How’s that working?”

And so one day I listened to him and just stopped cursing, and he showed me a new way to do my job. I mean they should teach this to cops, because you show the people out there something they’ve never experienced…respect. I wasn’t any less firm, but instead of swearing at them I started to treat them like human beings. “All right,” I would say. “I’ll listen to you, man.” And suddenly I was able to talk these 6’4″ guys into handcuffs instead of trying to fight them into submission. That was God. It was totally God.

I spent almost two years on the force as a non-believer, so I got to see it from the critical side. Back then we had a name for the bad guys…the homeless, the crackheads, the dirtbags. We called them “Skells.” It meant they were losers. And that’s the negative attitude you get working on the streets without Christ. And in time, unchecked, you go through this downward spiral. First, the skells are the bad guys. Then the midnight cops are the good guys and all other cops are skells. And then soon, your squad. They’re the only good guys. And then your partner’s the good guy and all the rest are skells. And then one day your partner’s a skell, and you hate the world.

And that’s the way it went for so many cops. Many guys ended up eating a gun, because they forget why they had become cops to begin with, to help other people. I mean we always see the negative. People never call a cop when they’re happy, like, “How you doing, guys? Come on in. Have a cup of coffee.” No, it always, “I’ve been robbed!” or “I’ve been in a car wreck.” or “Someone beat me up.” Always something negative. And some guys just have enough of it. And cops have the means, too. So they end up putting the gun in their mouth and pulling the trigger. I’ve seen it too many times. The suicide rate among cops is too high.

So I’ve got to say that my faith in Christ is the only way I got through it. Like I said, I was a drunk. I was going to lose my job. I definitely was going to lose my marriage. But God in his mercy just took all that away. Took it completely away. I don’t know how you make twenty years in the force without God. It’s a tough, tough road.

To be continued…


Coming October 31st, Part 2 of “It Wasn’t Hell” (with Charlie Edmond NYPD)

September 11, 2001

“…there’s about an inch or two of dust everywhere. I don’t know what is was, it must have been sheetrock dust, or whatever, but it looked like the moon. And there’s debris hanging everywhere, and you’re looking up as much as you’re looking around wondering what’s going to fall. And nobody knows what they’re doing. I mean, there’s I’beams lying all around, bent like you’d bend a straw. And I’m just standing these with these gloves in my hands. I just had no idea what to do. We had no idea…”


Books by Pat Patterson:

Answering the Call, Inspirational Devotions from a Tested Paramedic

Tested by Fire, A Medic-7 Novel

Thumbs Up

photo

Angels hitchhike
on the truck side of lonely.
Lovely weeds bend in the flying dust
of wheels stopping to start again.

The driver might chatter football,
the radio Gospel, or tripe.
This part of the Damascus road
is between homes, jobs, baths.

The Son of Man
has no where the lay His head.
Transients, the easy victims
of innocence and dumpster diseases.

The next Samaritan binds
the next wounds.
Our daily bread buttered,
one side at a time.

Unclean! Unclean!

Photo courtesy morguefile.com & grietgriet
Photo courtesy morguefile.com &EmmiP

Photo courtesy morguefile.com &EmmiP

I don’t know the statistics on the number of Christians who are, or have been, divorced but what I do know is Christians who haven’t experienced the pain, sorrow and suffering of divorce may not comprehend how destructive and hurtful their condemnation of divorcees is. Whether the condemnation is overt or covert doesn’t matter. It is destructive nonetheless.

Somewhere I read that Christians are the only army that shoots its own. You know what? I believe it. Especially where divorce is concerned.

While I contemplated what I would write on this topic, my brain took a left turn and thought about the lepers Jesus healed when he walked on this earth.

Lepers were outcast. They were considered less-than. They were removed from fellowship with their loved ones and friends. People avoided them. Lepers were looked down upon. Those who considered themselves clean crossed streets to avoid contact with these unclean people.

Because there was no known cure for leprosy, it was a feared disease. Lepers were untouchables because of the fear they would infect others. The priests were the ones responsible for banishing lepers who were in a contagious stage to prevent the spread of infection. They were also responsible for readmitting lepers whose disease was in remission. Lepers were considered ritually unclean. Because leprosy destroys the nerve endings, lepers often unknowingly damaged their fingers, toes, and noses.

How the leper’s heart must have ached. How desolate and hopeless he must havePhoto courtesy morguefile.com & grietgriet felt. No support system. No human touch. No love. No affection. No compassion. Only condemnation for something that really was not his fault.

Much like the bells lepers were required to wear around their necks to announce their arrival…Unclean! Unclean!…many divorced Christians feel as if they too, have been made to wear heavy bells hung around their necks, and banished, due to others’ fear of infection. Just as leprosy destroys nerve endings, those struggling with the stigma of divorce, may also become numb and maimed.

We don’t have to say it aloud for divorcees to get the idea. Our forced smiles, lack of contact, and avoidance conveys the same message.

Because we are called to be like Jesus Christ, I looked at how he interacted with lepers. There’s an incident recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke that tells the story of a leper who went to Jesus and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

I find it interesting that not only did Jesus heal the man of his leprosy, Jesus healed the man by reaching out his hand, and touching the one proclaimed by the religious folk as unclean. Jesus touched the untouchable. You know what? He still does.

Contrary to what some might believe, being divorced does not put a person on a sliding scale further away from the love of God, than say…a gossiper or a liar.

A sin is a sin is a sin. Each of us is a sinner saved by grace, whether we’ve been divorced or not. The Gospel message is one of forgiveness, restoration, and hope. Perhaps it’s time we put away those arrows we direct at our fellow Believers, or anyone else for that matter, and embrace each other as Pilgrims traveling through life together.

An unclean leper? No. Touched, and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

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Sandy Kirby Quandt is a follower of Jesus with a passion for history, travel, and photography. Sandy has written numerous articles and stories for adult and children publications. Looking for words of encouragement or gluten-free recipes? Then check out Woven and Spun. www.sandykirbyquandt.com. Sandy lives with her husband in Texas.

He Calms the Raging Seas – Pat Patterson

The Raging Sea

“You rule the raging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.” (Psalm 89:9)

Lately my life has been a raging sea, one difficulty after another. So when I lost my wallet yesterday I wasn’t surprised. Good news is it was practically empty—no cash, one credit card, a keepsake $2 bill, and a N.C. driver’s license I had planned to carry till 2016. Still, I was pretty bummed. I mean what a hassle to lose your wallet, right? Replacing all that stuff? But the greatest loss for me was the wallet itself—a gift from my youngest son, Phillip. I knew I had to find it.

“Lord,” I prayed. “Please help me.”

After checking the car, my pants pockets, and searching the entire house, I sat down and retraced my steps. “Okay,” I muttered. “You left the office, went by the station for gas, drove home…hey, wait a minute,” I exclaimed. “That’s it! I was talking on the phone while pumping gas. I must have set it down on the back of the car.”

I drove back to the BP station and searched the lot…nothing. I went inside and asked the clerk, checked the road out front, even the on-ramp back onto the freeway…still nothing. By the time I got home my head was spinning. I couldn’t think straight. I searched the house and car one more time just in case, and then finally accepted the fact that my wallet was gone. Another wave had crashed down on my head. “God,” I whispered. “What are you trying to teach me?”

Well this morning I found my answer in the Book of Psalms. “You rule the surging sea,” the Psalmist proclaimed. “When its waves mount up, you still them.” I meditated on that passage. It made perfect sense, but could God calm the seas in my life?

I walked into work hanging my head. How quickly I had forgotten His promise. But as if an angel had tapped me on my shoulder, those words popped back into my head: He rules the raging seas…when the waves mount up he stills them…

Suddenly I felt encouraged. If God can rule the waves, He can certainly manage my life. I lifted my chin, entered my office, and checked the one message on my phone. “Well,” the caller announced. “Your prayers have been answered, Pat.” I thought it was a prank call until he continued. “This is Randy from church. I have your wallet.”

What?

Of course I called Randy back. It turns out he found it on the side of the road on the same on-ramp I had gone back to check. I mean I’ve seen miracles, but this one blew my mind. What are the odds that a friend from my church would just happen across my wallet on an on-ramp during rush hour, in a city of close to a million? Astronomical. The truth to this story is God’s power IS astronomical, and He can calm the raging seas of life. But He cares about the little things, too, in my case, a special leather wallet.

What a mighty God we serve. “Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea—the Lord on high is mighty.”

*

 

 

No Joke

single_candle

You know that time of morning
when the fog begins to lift,
you see your breath trail streaming
and you know that it’s a gift.

Once constant pains and worries
are loose paddles in the drift,
early birds and nightingales
toss Charlie Parker riffs.

When we hear of someone’s passing,
into the great beyond,
and wish we could tell them
that their life will carry on,

our heartbeat keeps repeating
not believing they are gone,
a signal uncompleted
unsure notes to start a song.

What Are You Passionate About?

Photo courtesy www.freedigital.com & Simon Howden

By Sandy Quandt

Photo courtesy www.freedigital.com & Simon HowdenWhat are you passionate about? What have you spent time studying, perfecting or enjoying?

My husband can tell from the sound of an engine what kind of plane is overhead. Once the plane is in view, he can tell you pretty much everything there is to know about it. Guess you could say he’s passionate about airplanes and flying. Me. . . I hear the same engine whine, look up and I ask myself two things. Does it have two wings? Is it larger than a bird?

I know what it is. . .it’s a plane. Now let an Apache helicopter fly over, a daily occurrence around here, and I can definitely identify that bad boy by its sound before I see it.

My husband can pick up an instrument and teach himself to play it quickly. No problem. Me, though. I took piano lessons in elementary and junior high school. The day my instructor handed me one of Mozart’s masterpieces – you know,the ones where the left hand and the right are playing two completely different songs, I begged my parents not to force me to go back. Much to my piano teacher’s great relief, they consented.

Both of my siblings played instruments in their school bands. My dad played a clarinet as the Navy Band marched across the Oakland Bay Bridge when it opened November 12, 1936. Musical talent abounds in my family. It just got used up before I was born.

I have a heart for missions, and I seriously contemplated becoming a foreign missionary. That is until I took two years of Spanish in high school, and two more semesters in college. That led me to realize I am not a linguist. Yo no hablo Espanol.

So what am I passionate about? I had to ponder what gets my heart engaged at the very thought. There are several things, but if I had to choose one, besides my passion for Jesus, I would have to say it is writing. Creating stories. Helping people come to life on the page in front of me. Writing stories that make history come alive. That’s what I enjoy, love, and get excited about. Writing is something I believe God has placed inside me. I believe I am a tool in his hand, a pencil if you will. A tool God intends to use for his purposes and glory.

Sometimes I think we humans falsely believe we are the ones who choose what we will be passionate about. We believe we are the ones who choose what we’ll be good at or enjoy doing. But to my way of thinking, we have it all backwards.

Since God is the one who knit us together in our mother’s womb. (Psalm 139) I believe he is the one who placed the passion, the desire, the ability inside us to accomplish what he wants to accomplish through us. We didn’t create the passion, but it is our choice to pursue it, or not.

I can’t identify planes like my husband, or play an instrument like my dad. I can’t converse in any language except English. There’s a bunch more things I can’t do. But God didn’t put those things in me. I’m not going to moan about what I cannot do. Instead,

I’m going to celebrate what I can and work at it with all my heart as a worker who needs not be ashamed.

So I ask you again. What’s your passion? What would you feel lost without pursuing? Figure that out, and go after it. That’s what God designed you to be passionate about. That’s what he created you to do.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NIV

 

Photo courtesy www.freedigital.com & Simon Howden

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Sandy Kirby Quandt is a follower of Jesus with a passion for history, travel, and photography. Sandy has written numerous articles and stories for adult and children publications. Looking for words of encouragement or gluten-free recipes? Then check out Woven and Spun. www.sandykirbyquandt.com. Sandy lives with her husband in Texas.

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