Sunday, May 13, 2018

“Spiritual Motherhood”

By Susanne Scheppmann

Key Verse:
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, “But we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.  We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” (NIV)

My long sullen face refused to smile, even though Kay was making me laugh on the inside.  She continued to scrape out the pumpkins and throw the stringy pungent seeds at the five kids seated around the table.  Kay chortled as one hit my nose and hung down.

I was fourteen and motherless.  My mother died the previous August and anger raged in me.  I remember thinking, “I shouldn’t have a good time with this woman.”  The notion of betrayal seemed to lurk deep inside of me anytime I began to experience affection for Kay.

Kay continued to love me through all my ugly teen angst.  She proved the love of Jesus Christ to me through her unfailing love.  Kay is now my stepmother.  She eventually led me to accept Jesus as my own personal Savior.  Although Kay is not my biological mother, she is my spiritual mother.

It reminds me of the story of Naomi and Ruth.  Naomi was Ruth’s mother-in-law.  Naomi soon found herself a widow and both of her sons died.  After all this tragedy, she decided to go back to her hometown.  Naomi advised both of her widowed daughter-in-laws to go back to their own towns and find new husbands. 

But Ruth loved Naomi as her mother-in-law and spiritual mentor.  She did not want to be separated from Naomi or her God.  So Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16 NIV).

Naomi and Ruth travel not only the road back to Bethlehem, but they journeyed on the path of life together.  Their story continues with Naomi advising Ruth on matters of love and marriage.  Their tale ends happily ever after with these words:
The women said to Naomi: "Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer.  May he become famous throughout Israel!  He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.  For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth” (Ruth 4:14-15 NIV).

Spiritual motherhood holds many benefits.  I profited eternally from Kay’s spiritual teaching.  Also, God has allowed me the same opportunities as Ruth and Naomi. 
I am the biological mother of two sons and I now have two wonderful daughter-in-laws.  I pray I can exhibit the example of a godly woman to them.  God allowed me the honor of leading my own stepdaughter to accept Him as her Savior.  And if that wasn’t enough blessings, He grants me the privilege to help serve women through my home church and Proverbs 31 Ministries.

So many times, I feel the motherly emotions of our Key Verse, “But we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 NIV).”

Indeed, spiritual motherhood is one of the greatest blessings of my life.  I would like to encourage you to search for women who need a spiritual mom.  I promise it will be a blessed experience for you.  You just might say, “It’s the best Mother’s Day ever!” 

Dear Lord, Open my eyes to opportunities to become a spiritual mom to someone.  Help me to lead them into a deeper knowledge of you.  Lord, let me make an eternal difference.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application steps:
Read the Book of Ruth through slowly.  Write down how Naomi guided and advised Ruth.  Make notes how God blessed Naomi throughout the book of Ruth.  Then take a few moments and reflect on “spiritual motherhood”. 

Refection points:
Has someone in my life been a spiritual mom to me?

Have I ever thanked her?

Who looks to me to guide them in their walk of faith?

What can I do to encourage her?

Power verses:
Titus 2:3-5, “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” (NIV) 

Proverbs 16:20-21, “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.” (NIV) 

© 2006 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

He is Risen! Indeed!”

By Susanne Scheppmann

Key Verse:
. . . It is true! The Lord has risen . . .” Luke 24:34 (NIV)
Over the past few days, I have heard the phrase, "He is risen!" Somewhere from the recesses of my memory the return phrase, “His is risen, indeed!"  has sprung from my mouth.
The phrase, “He is risen! Indeed!” is termed as the Paschal or Easter greeting. The term “Paschal” comes from the original Hebrew word pesach referring to the Jewish Passover.  Experts on Christian customs believe the greeting originated shortly after Christ’s resurrection.  It is popular among both Catholics and Protestants.  As the commemoration of Jesus’ resurrection nears, it is used as a triumphant greeting. One person rejoices with, “He is risen!”   The other answers with the joyous response, “He is risen, Indeed!”
A risen Savior changes lives not only for eternity, but right now—today—here on earth.  That is a fact to celebrate!  Recently my home church illustrated this truth on a Sunday morning by having fifty people stand on stage holding a hand-painted sign.  In the beginning, the audience saw only a white piece of poster board. Then, as music played softly, one by one each person flipped his or her own sign over to display the power of a risen Savior in each life.  The signs read,

Methamphetamine addiction--Drug free
Suicidal--Abundant life
Filled with bitterness—Learned to forgive
Insecure and unloved--Loved and secure in Jesus

The stage was filled with humanity at its worst, but Jesus at His best. This humble display of the power of Christ moved many members of our congregation to tears.  Then, slowly, applause erupted from the auditorium in praise of God.  The Apostle John finished his gospel with these compelling words, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25 NIV). These words apply today as well as in the first century.
I often take for granted what the risen Christ has done for me for eternity and for today.  I lose my gratitude for the ever present power of Jesus’ death and resurrection. But today I have regained my wonder of living in the power of the resurrection. Christ is risen--Indeed!

 Dear Lord, You have risen, indeed!  Help me to remember each day of the year that You are triumphant in every area of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application steps: 
 If you do not know the risen Savior, Jesus Christ, please go to the above link, “Do You Know Him?”   If you are a Christ follower, tell the world, “He is risen!  Indeed!”

How does Christ’s resurrection affect me on a day-to-day basis?

Do other people recognize that I am a Christ follower?

Power verses:
Luke 24:6-7, “He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" (NIV)
Mark 16:6, “Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” (NIV)
John 3:16-17, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  (NIV)

© 2009 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Chickadee Peeps

By Susanne Scheppmann

Key Verse: 
  “Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged.” (Proverbs 17:6a NLT)  
Hmmmm  . . .it’s time for those yellow, sugary-marshmallow candies formed into squiggly chicks, better known as PEEPS®. They rank as one of my favorite springtime treats. Their sweet softness brings to mind my two granddaughters. I call these sweet little girls my “chickadee peeps.” I adore the silliness and delight they have as they play and show-off for Grandma. 

Yes, it’s true. I have turned sappy. Me--the type A personality. Me--the goal-oriented woman. Me--the no fuss, no frills, no time for silliness gal. Somehow, my chickadee peeps have turned my world upside down. Everything in my life comes to a halt when I have a chance to spend time with my blue-eyed, black-haired granddaughters. Nothing else matters. The depth of feeling for these two little girls startles me. Its intensity perplexes me. I can’t figure it out. All I know is I am one sappy grandmother.

However, I also realize that there is great responsibility involved in this precious relationship of being a grandmother to granddaughters. I am humbled by the opportunity to teach these little girls how to be godly women. The apostle Paul wrote,
Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord. They must not go around speaking evil of others and must not be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, (Titus 2:3-4 NLT)

This verse speaks to my heart. I know my chickadee peeps are already watching me. They imitate how I hold my purse. They try on my shoes. They mimic the women in their lives—their mommy and grandmas.

Oh, I pray that they see our love for Jesus. I want them to raise their hands in praise and bow their heads in prayers. I pray that we all are role models who inspire them to serve Christ Jesus, so one day they will influence their own snuggle-sweet grandchildren.

Now I am off to buy sweet treat Peeps® for my darling, adorable, precious, cute chickadee peeps. Yup, I am sappy.

Dear Lord, I thank you for the joy of being a grandparent. Grant me the knowledge and wisdom to influence my grandchildren for all eternity. Help me become a godly role model for all the children whose lives touch mine. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application steps: 
Read Colossians 3:16. Consider how you can influence the lives of your grandchildren (or children) by using the admonition in this verse. What stories and songs can you share with your own “chickadee peeps”?  

Am I intentional in how I want to influence my grandchildren?

How can I make my faith real to the children in my life?

Power verses:
Psalm 128:6a, “May you live to enjoy your grandchildren.” (NLT) 

Proverbs 13:22, “Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner's wealth passes to the godly.” (NLT) 

© 2008 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.