Monday, July 24, 2017

“G.F.I. “

 By Susanne Scheppmann
Key Verse:
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”
(Deuteronomy 31:6 NASB)
I pulled in the driveway grateful to be home after a five-day conference. I pressed the remote and the garage door rolled open. Blood trickled toward me as I stepped from my car. I knew immediately what had happened—the freezer had gone out. All the meat had thawed and the bloody, watery juices had drained out of the freezer into a maroon stream that slowly ran toward the driveway. 

Mark, my husband, was out of town. I stood in my garage disgusted and slightly freaked out. What did I do? Of course, I called my husband for help. I didn’t care if it was late and there was a three-hour time difference.

He patiently said, “Check the G.F.I.”

“The what?”

“The ground fault interrupter. It’s in the electrical outlet where the freezer is plugged in.”

Sure enough, the G.F.I. had tripped and shut down the freezer. Nothing was wrong with the freezer, except now it had hundreds of dollars of rotting meat sitting inside it. Because of a G.F.I., my evening turned from one of anticipated relaxation to hours of vexing cleanup.

Isn’t our faith like that, too? We are believing and trusting the Lord, when all of sudden something happens—G.F.I—God Faith Interrupter. Our faith trips and we melt down like a gallon of vanilla ice cream in a hot garage.

It’s certainly difficult to understand the twists and turns in our journey of faith. When a God Faith Interrupter occurs, we need to grope in the darkness for verses to assure us that regardless of our circumstance, the Lord is loving, He is merciful, and He will guide us. God Faith Interrupters might shake our faith. They will be scary. They certainly will be unexpected and uncomfortable, but the Lord holds the charge of power to uphold our faith even when it shuts down temporarily.

Express to the Lord your fear of a God Faith Interrupter. Then thank Him that He will be with you, showing you mercy and loving-kindness, no matter what happens in this life.

Dear Lord, I prefer those times when my life goes smoothly. However, I ask for an extra measure of faith when my life takes a twist and moves off the planned path. Teach me to trust Your sovereignty in my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application steps: 
Read Genesis 39.  Note the G.F.I. in Joseph’s life.  Consider how our Key Verse correlates with Genesis 39:20-23?

 What God Faith Interrupters have occurred in my life?

Did you believe that God was with you throughout the ordeal? Why or why not?

Power verses:
 Jeremiah 31:3, “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” 

Genesis 39:20-21, “But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.” 

Psalm 57:1, “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.”

© 2008 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 21, 2017

 “ Scarred”

Key Verse:   
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
  the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 NIV) 

The bullet grazed across my friend’s cheek upward toward his forehead. The physician in the emergency room told him that he was lucky to be alive. My friend just shrugged his shoulders and exited the sliding door. I could see revenge in the depth of his eyes framed by the purplish-red slice that would soon become a scar for life. 

I wish that was the only scar my friend brandished. However, pockmarks from the methamphetamines mix with the freckles on his face. Tracks the size on pinpricks run up and down his inner arm from heroin needles. Hepatitis wastes his liver. And those are only the physical marrings, the scars of drug abuse penetrates his heart and mind. 

The fire of hatred and revenge sears my friend’s soul. The years of drug abuse twists his thoughts. His personality is lost in torment of heroin highs and downer lows. Peace of mind eludes him as the potent drugs delude his senses.

Thankfully, no one, not even my addict friend is beyond redemption and healing. Jesus loved the scarred people of society. He hung on the cross for every heroin addict. He died for those filled with hate. He rose from the grave, so that every addict and drug dealer could experience the full extent of God’s love through His nail-scarred hands.  

Lord Jesus, help my friend to that You were pierced for his transgressions. Grant him the understanding that You were crushed his iniquities. I ask that my friend be accept You as Savior and be healed by Your wounds. Touch my friend with Your nail-scarred hands. In Your Name, Amen.

Application steps: 
Search your local library or the Internet for information on helping family or friends with drug addictions.

Set an appointed time each day to pray exclusively for your relative or friend to find freedom from the drug addiction through Jesus Christ.

What words of encouragement can I give?

How can I offer assistance, without enabling, my friend, or relative?

Power verses:
Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” (NIV) 

Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (NIV) 

© 2007 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 17, 2017


By Susanne Scheppmann

Key Verse:
Proverbs 8:33-34, “Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. (NIV)

Woof! I thought I heard one small bark. Not sure, I turned the shower off for a moment. No, I couldn’t hear my little dog yapping. Jasmine is a twelve-pound black and white Shih Tzu and a yapper. If anyone knocks on the door, she goes crazy barking like a hundred pound Rottweiler.  I turned the water back on, stuck my head under the spray, and reached for the shampoo bottle. 

However, a voice inside my wet head nudged me.  You heard her bark. Something is up. A realtor could be showing the house! Our home had been on the market for almost a year. About once or twice a week, various realtors would bring a potential buyer to walk through the house. However, it was stipulated that they must call first. The “woof” replayed through my thoughts.  Maybe Jasmine doesn’t bark at people coming in anymore. Quickly, I turned the water off again.

I jumped out on to the cold tile floor. To my horror, I heard voices. My bedroom door was wide open. I raced toward the door dripping water along the way. However, it was too late. The realtor along with a husband and wife previewed me along with my bedroom. They saw crisp floral drapes and soft beige carpet, and then they spied cellulite and flab jiggling toward them, reaching out for the blue tattered robe hanging behind the door. I almost slid into their arms as I crossed the wet tile. With wide-eyed shock, they scurried from the house without a word.

I collapsed on a rug with laughter and tears. Jasmine came by to lick me dry. She looked at me as if to say, “Hey, I warned you, but you didn’t listen!” 

Eventually my heart stopped pounding and my red face returned to its normal color. After the initial mortification, I began to wonder how often I do not listen when the Holy Spirit speaks to me. How many times have I shrugged it off as just my imagination? Jesus said, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26 NIV) I need to learn to listen to His instruction and be wise, not to ignore Him as I did with Jasmine’s first “woof.” 

The next time I feel a nudge from God, I will remember my “woof” incident. I plan on listening and moving a lot quicker than I did. I do not want to repeat the lesson I learned today.

Oh, I never heard back from the potential buyers. I guess they didn’t care for the preview.

Dear Lord, how often have I not listened to Your voice when You warned me of something in my life? Today, I ask that You help me to listen to your instruction and to be wise. Thank you for giving me the Holy Spirit to teach me. Let me become a quick learner. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application steps: 
Read Proverbs 8. Write down the advantages given for learning to listen and applying God’s wisdom in your life.

Do I sometimes intentionally ignore God’s voice?

How could listening to the Holy Spirit help guide me each day?

What does the term wisdom mean to me?

Power verses:
John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (NIV)  

Proverbs 23:23, “Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.” (NIV) 

Ephesians 1:17, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” (NIV) 

© 2007 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.