5 days of fun!

Houseboat on Raystown Lake, 23 May 2022. Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.

After making the 2.5 hour drive with my mom, Nathan, PQ and I all sitting in the front of Nathan’s Ram 2500 [Nathan wanted me to clarify], we have made it to Raystown Lake! I am eager and excited to commune with the Lord through reading His Word and fishing. God has been merciful to me in helping me finish both of my classes well.

I am beyond thankful for you, dear reader. I appreciate your prayers, your encouragement and your support. I am humbled by the love and care you show me! I look forward to sharing this time away with you!!!

Lord God, thank You for this reader! Thank You Lord for the opportunity to come out again to Raystown Lake and to bring my mom! Lord God, I look forward to this adventure! Lord, I look forward to what You will teach me and convict me of on this trip. Lord God, thank You again for this reader. Bless this reader’s week and draw them closer to You. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Happy photo of the 4 of us. We will see what we look like come Friday!!! My mom already said, “there will be no other photos of me!”
This is Nathan summed up in a t-shirt!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

I am SO thankful for the opportunity to celebrate my mom’s birthday with her in person this year! When I was younger, I always combined Mother’s Day and my mom’s birthday together. It is a well known fact that a few times in my younger years, I waited until May 15th to buy my mom her present. I look back on that and laugh! I am so thankful for my mom’s patience with me!

Other than going to church today, I have no clue what she will want to do today. I am excited to celebrate her! I am praying that the gifts Nathan and I found for my mom this year are better than last year’s! (This is what I got her last year, if you’re a curious soul like myself: My mom loves flowers and she always says how she doesn’t know anything about Florida’s flora and fauna; so, I got her some books—bad move, Mandy! She also said she missed some of her old music she had on cds so I got her a small CD player and some cds—I am still learning just because a person says something, doesn’t mean they actually want it!)

What humbles me about my mom is how much she matters to so many people. My mom is a wise woman and it is a joy to hear how much people love my mom and how she has helped them. I don’t know why God picked my mom for me, but I am glad He did! Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!

Lord God, thank You and praise You that You are a life affirming God. In a day in age where people are seeking to destroy and end life, help us to celebrate life! Lord, may we never cease celebrating You, the Author and Giver of Life! Thank You Lord for my mom! Thank You for this life You have given her. Lord, may this new year be one of blessing and growth in You. Lord, thank You for this reader! Thank You for the opportunity to share You and mom to the whomsoever that reads this. Fill this reader with Your joy and peace today. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

May 2022 Prayer

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.

Lord God, prepare us for this new month. Lord, whether we live in a place where it’s spring, fall, rainy season or dry, help us to love and serve You right where we are.

Lord God, when we aren’t surrounded by Big “I” we are inundated with digital “i” (and android). Help us Lord to not live for Big “I.” Lord God, convict us if we have made ourselves slaves to our digital devices. Lord God, help us to unplug more this month. Help us to take inventory of how we are using the web and social media this month.

Lord God, there is so much restlessness, anxiety and agitation in our world today. Help Your people Lord to trust and depend on You. Lord God, help us to be more concerned about sharing Your Word and defending Your Truth. There is so much negativity and falsity Lord. Help Your people to be discerning!

Lord God, thank You that nothing in this world surprises You. Lord God, I pray for my brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for their faith. Strengthen them, encourage them, fill them with the peace of Your Presence.

Lord God, help us to prepare now for living in even more difficult times. I don’t know what it will be like in the last days, but I do know that evil and wickedness are increasing. How us to be a light in this dark world as we separate ourselves from this dying world system.

Thank You Lord for this reader. Lord, may this reader find comfort and strength in You this month. Guide this reader Lord on the path they should go. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Fragrant!

Photo taken by Nathan Quinn.

I absolutely love the smell of my cherry tree!!! Every time I encounter a fragrant tree, shrub, bush or flower I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 2:14–16:

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life (ESV).

Lord God, may everyone we encounter smell Jesus on us. Lord God, may we be a fragrant aroma to those in the faith and not shy away and shrink back from being an odious and offensive stench to the unbelieving world. Lord God, thank You for the life that we have in Christ. Lord God, fill this reader with Your presence. Thank You Lord for Your creation. Lord God, may our worship be a pleasing aroma to You. Thank You and praise You Father for Your love for us. Jesus thank You that we are Your Ambassadors and Holy Spirit thank You for indwelling and sealing us. May we be a pleasing aroma to You. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

The King of Glory (Psalm 24)

Looking down on east side of the Temple Mount. 23 May 2017. Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.

24 A Psalm of David. 

1  The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, 

the world and those who dwell therein, 

for he has founded it upon the seas 

and established it upon the rivers. 

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? 

And who shall stand in his holy place? 

He who has clean hands and a pure heart, 

who does not lift up his soul to what is false 

and does not swear deceitfully. 

He will receive blessing from the Lord 

and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 

Such is the generation of those who seek him, 

who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah 

Lift up your heads, O gates! 

And be lifted up, O ancient doors, 

that the King of glory may come in. 

Who is this King of glory? 

The Lord, strong and mighty, 

the Lord, mighty in battle! 

Lift up your heads, O gates! 

And lift them up, O ancient doors, 

that the King of glory may come in. 

10  Who is this King of glory? 

The Lord of hosts, 

he is the King of glory! Selah 

In light of Holy Week 2022, I cannot help but meditate on David’s hymn.

David makes it clear that the earth belongs to Yahweh and that He is the Creator and Sovereign overall (vv 1-2). David’s understanding of creation theology is the antithesis of how Israel’s neighbors understood creation. For most of the Ancient Near East (ANE), they viewed the earth as flat and floating on a cosmic ocean. Water in the ANE was signified with chaos and disorder. (Each ANE civilization had a defeated sea god. For example: the Ugaritic (Canaanite) Baal was the storm/fertility god who defeated the sea god Yamm). To David, “these words signify that the Lord has manifested his wisdom in creating an orderly world, and therefore he rules over all. The biblical perspective is opposed to the deification of nature, for, while everything is glorious, its glory is derived from the glorious Creator” (W. VanGemeren, Psalms REBC, 2008, p. 258).

“Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?” (v 3). The hill that David is speaking of is Mount Zion. “The temple of Yahweh was built on a hilltop above the rest of the city. Thus, going to worship at the temple involved a modest ascent. The Temple Mount was the place of God’s throne, which is relevant in this psalm’s call to praise God’s kingship” (J. Hilber, “Psalms” ZIBBC, 2009, p. 342). While the temple was not constructed in David’s lifetime, I love what VanGemeren says, “The hymn instructs God’s people wherever they may be to live in the presence of the Creator-King in order to receive his blessing” (p. 260).

Holiness is required to enter the Lord’s presence! Only those with clean hands and a pure heart, who neither lift up their soul (life source) to what is false nor swear deceitfully (v 4), will “receive blessing from the Lord” (v 5). The Lord requires us to be solely and only devoted to Him. We cannot serve God and something or someone else. It was impossible in the Old Testament and it is impossible today!

“Purity of ‘hands’ and ‘heart’ is the condition of living before God in accordance with his precepts and out of the desire of his heart…The one who has ‘clean hands’ is innocent of wrongdoing and readily asks for forgiveness when he or she has sinned against God. In contrast is the sinner, whose ‘hands are full of blood’ and who needs cleansing, forgiveness, and reconciliation” (VanGemeren, p. 260).

Only a fool would enter the Creator-King’s Holy presence in a manner that is contrary to His Character and Workings. The people of God need to be sensitive and mindful of the condition of their hands and hearts when they enter into His presence. Failure to do so will lead to discipline rather than blessing.

For the “generation of those who seek him” they are the legitimate children of Jacob (v 6). Seek here is a Hebrew participle denoting continuous action. “To ‘seek him’ is an expression of a sincere desire to live in accordance with God’s standards so as to live in the presence of his ‘face'” (p. 260).

Scholars are not in agreement as to what David is referring to in verses 7 and 9. It could be that David is literally commanding the gates and doors of the temple to open or it could be referring to the ancient city of Jerusalem itself. Since the temple was not built in David’s time, I am more inclined to go with the latter; however, I am not dogmatic on this! As VanGemeren states, “Regardless of the referent, the point remains that Jerusalem had been a Jebusite city with a long history…over which Melchizedek ruled in Abraham’s days. It became the city of God because God chose to dwell in it. Consequently, both the city and the people were called on to receive with joy and anticipation the Great King. The repetition in v. 9…bears out the importance of proper preparation for ‘the King of glory'” (p. 262).

Verses 8 and 10 are verbless clauses where the people cry out, “Who is this King of Glory?” The answer is the Lord, Yahweh. “He brings blessing, victory, and vindication to his people because he is their God and Savior” (p. 262). Yahweh is the Divine Warrior (a significant theme in the Old Testament) who fights for Israel rather than against her. David describes the Lord’s divine power as “strong and mighty” and “mighty in battle!”

The Lord of Hosts (ebāʾôt) is also translated Almighty. “The Great King has at his command innumerable heavenly ‘hosts,’ reflecting the glory and splendor of undisputed lordship. He is the Divine Warrior, the Commander of all powers in heaven and earth. His battles always win him victory…The presence of the divine Warrior among his people is the ground for tranquillity that drives out fear” (p.263).

In Psalm 24, David celebrates the entrance of the great Divine Warrior, the King of Glory, the Lord Almighty Himself coming into Zion. Yesterday, April 10, 2022 Protestants remembered the Triumphal entry of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a colt, where the crowds met Jesus with palm branches, spreading their cloaks on the road, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” (John 12:12; c.f. Ps 118:25-26).

Only a few days later these same people along with their chief priests and religious leaders cried out for Pilate to “crucify” Him (Luke 23:21; John 19:6). In prophetic irony, Pilate put an inscription on Jesus’s cross which read, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” (John 19:19). Onlookers who were coming to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover would have seen this sign. For three hours Jesus suffered before succumbing to death. His body was then taken down and buried in a new, yet borrowed tomb (v 41); however, this was not the end, because on the third day, Jesus rose from the grave! This Overcoming King of Glory defeated death, the grave and Satan forever!

For those who believe in Christ, we know that Jesus is the Soon Returning Conquering King who will enter the holy city of Jerusalem bringing His reward with Him (Rev 22:12). For those who believe in Christ we know that our reward is being with our Triune God forever. For those who do not know Christ, their reward is separation from God and eternal torment (see Matthew 25). In a world full of uncertainty and zero guarantees, Jesus’s return is certain. None of us are promised tomorrow, please seek Jesus while there is still time!

Jesus is the ultimate Davidic King. Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the King of Glory, the One who fights on behalf of His people. May we allow Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection take root more in our lives this year. For the reader who is a part from Christ, do not spend another day without Jesus being Your Redeemer, Savior and King. All glory to Jesus both now and forevermore.

Father God, prepare our hearts to worship You both now and in eternity. Thank You Jesus for coming to earth, being born of a virgin, living among sinful man, being crucified, dead and buried, rising on the third day so as to reconcile Your repentant sinful people to Yourself for the glory of God the Father. Holy Spirit, thank You for indwelling and sealing Your people. Thank You Holy Spirit for helping us to become more like Jesus each and every day. Help us to want more of You and less of ourselves. Lord God, help Your people to have clean hands and a pure heart. May we never forget that we come to You and stand in Your presence because of Your grace and mercy and not because of anything good in us. Lord God, may we never forget that salvation has always been by grace through faith, never because of our works! Lord God, help Your people to be a generation who seeks Your face. Lord God, help believers to not lift their soul to what is false nor swear deceitfully. Lord God, thank You for this reader! Lord God, You are strong and mighty in battle and NOTHING is too great for You. Thank You Lord that nothing will stop Your will from being accomplished. Thank You for this reader. Lead and guide this reader to love You more each and every day. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

 

Eagle sitting on nest

Eagle sitting on nest. 8 April 2022. Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.

While the sun is shining and some of the trees are starting to bud, the air is chill. Spring has yet to appear. This does not deter Nathan from fishing!

In the next month or so the eaglets will leave their nest. I am fascinated by the bald eagle (and raptors in general). Watching the eagle fly is remarkable. (I missed an awesome opportunity to photograph the eagle diving into the lake, capturing its fish and taking off). Any time I see an eagle, I cannot help but ponder:

28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint (Isa 40:28-31 ESV).

Lord God, thank You and praise You that You do not slumber or sleep! Thank You and Praise You Jesus that You give rest, strength and an easy load to those who belong to You! Lord God, for the reader who does not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, may today be their day of salvation.

Lord God, strengthen Your people. Help us to not grow weary in doing Your will and work even when it is unpopular. Help us to stand for Truth, help us to be a light to this dark world. Help us to rise above the struggles and challenges of this world and to live and rest in You.

Lord God, thank You and praise You that as You care for the eagle, the bunny, the flowers in the field, how much more You care for Your people. Prepare our hearts to celebrate Your Resurrection. Lord teach us to live as a people with Hope more and more each day. Thank You Lord for this reader. Lord, renew this reader and give them courage today. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

April 2022 Prayer

Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C., photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.

Lord God, as both spiritual and physical wars rage on, help us to fight these wars and to not lose heart. Lord God, prepare us for our unknown battles and trials that You will have us face in this new month.

Lord God, thank You that Satan is a defeated foe. Thank You that for those who are in Christ while we can be harassed and attacked, we belong to You and You live in us. Lord God, as the days get darker, may we be reminded that Your light shines bright. May we never forget that Your Word is a light and a lamp. Lord God, may Your people put aside petty differences and seek Your Kingdom first.

Lord God, may we defend Your Word more than our earthly political beliefs. Lord, help us to discern truth from error. Lord God, I beg You to help us to be charitable to our brothers and sisters in Christ who have different conclusions and opinions. May we help people process what is happening in culture with the Truth of Your Word. Lord God, help us to love and trust You more this month.

Lord God, thank You for this reader. Lord, draw this reader closer to Yourself in this new month. Lord God, help this reader to steward all that You have entrusted to them for Your glory. Lord for the reader who does not know Christ and is longing to make sense of this world, may today be their day of salvation.

May we never forget that freedom isn’t free. Christ died to set us free from sin; may we live and praise Him for His finished work on the Cross. Help us to live as a people with hope in this new month. Thank You Lord that nothing and no one can stop You from being the Sovereign Triune God. Thank You Lord that each day, month and year is a fresh opportunity to love and serve You. Lord, may Your people love You more this month. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

PQ’s 3!

Happy Birthday, PQ! Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.

It is hard to believe that the PQ puppy is 3 today (March 31, 2022). I absolutely love this doggie; it will be a sad day(s) for me when he meets his demise! Like the previous two, I have learned more about myself through PQ this year. I have learned that I am still impatient. I still get frustrated when he doesn’t listen or when he barks at nothing! PQ still has NOT met a leaf he doesn’t like. Leaves totally distract him, I confess it’s amusing to watch! I have also learned that PQ’s well-being matters to me. I still called him an “awful wretched beast” at times; however, with traveling more this past year, I have learned that I miss him if I don’t see him for a few days! PQ truly is my fur baby!

I am thankful that while I am impatient, God is patient! I am thankful that when I get distracted chasing leaves and other frivolous things that God redirects my path. I am thankful that our Good Shepherd doesn’t yell at me out of frustration! I am becoming more aware and grateful each day that when I meet my earthly demise, I will see and be with Jesus forever!

I am thankful for each person, animal and plant that God has given me the opportunity and responsibility to care for and love. I am thankful for ALL the love and kindness that people show my puppy PQ. It amazes and humbles me how happy and excited people are to see PQ, even those who only meet him for a moment at the park, on the street, in Lowes etc.

Dear reader, I pray that you will take a moment to celebrate those who matter the most to you today. I am so thankful for all the love and support that you give to me and my family; please know that it is reciprocated. PQ will be spoiled today. From meeting Nathan for lunch to having dinner with friends, I am so thankful for the opportunity to celebrate in the midst of all the chaos and turmoil that the world is facing. With all my heart, thank you for journeying with PQ, Nathan and I these last three years!

Lord God, thank You for PQ. Thank You that You have called us to care for Your Creation from the environment, to animals, to plants, and those created in Your image, humans. Lord God, may we rise and honor the call that You have placed upon us. Lord God, help Your people to love well all those whom You have entrusted to us. Help us to serve others in a manner that is pleasing to You and that glorifies You. Lord God, thank You for this reader! Lord God, reward this reader for their love and kindness for me and my family! Lord God, thank You and praise You for all of those who pray for me and my family. Thank You God for opportunities to celebrate. May we look for ways to do good, cheer others on and celebrate Your goodness even in a world gone mad. Thank You Lord that for the believer in Christ, this world is not our home. Thank You that our demise will not end in torment but in victory. Lord God, for the reader who does not know You, may today be their day of salvation. Thank You again Lord for this reader! Lead us and guide us today! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

PQ waiting to play in my workout room! Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn
PQ giving Nathan kisses before work. Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.
PQ giving me the no more pictures stare! Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.
PQ watching me eat lunch. Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.
PQ NEVER gets tired of having Pops (my dad) rub his belly! Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.
Big brown eyes! Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.