Monday, February 19, 2018

Prince of Peace and a President
By Susanne Scheppmann

Key Verse:
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV)    
I tucked away the last of the Christmas decorations.  My house appeared tidy again after the Christmas disarray.  I began to dust the furniture and shelves when I came to the Nativity set.  I had purposely left it out as a reminder to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus all year along.  

I reflected on the recent holidays and sweet joy filled my heart. My thoughts leapt forward, “What is the next celebration coming up?”  I realized it is the inauguration of our 44th President.
I gazed at the Nativity scene. Several times during December I heard the familiar verse from Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Then I recalled the next verse that speaks of Jesus’ role in government—an eternal government. “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7 NIV)  What joy!  What peace to know that Jesus is king of kings and Lord of lords that is a cause to celebrate no matter what country we live in.
This month, the United States is inaugurating a new President.  It’s a time to observe and utilize our religious freedoms.  Let’s start by praying for our newly elected President and all government officials.  Let’s honor God’s command found in our key verse, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”  As followers of Christ who is the Prince of Peace, let’s honor, respect and pray for our President. 

Let’s remember the baby in the manger is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is also the Wonderful Counselor who guides Presidents and leaders as we lift them up in prayer.

Dear Lord, I pray for our national leaders. Allow their hearts to be open to Your wisdom and guidance. Remind me to pray for them fervently and frequently. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application steps: 
A make a note on your calendar, weekly or monthly, to pray for our leaders in government.  Pray for them specifically by name.  Pray for wise decisions as they work with a myriad of problems that include terrorism and the economy.

Do I complain about our government or pray for it?

In what issues should I pray for our government?

 Power verses:
Romans 13:1, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (NIV)
Daniel 2:19-21, “During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said: "Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.” (NIV)
Revelation 19:11,16, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True . . . On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (NIV)

©© 2009 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 16, 2018

No Power

By Susanne Scheppmann

Key Verse:
Ephesians 3:16, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” (NIV)

Today my plans were to “carpe-diem”—to seize the day. I snatched a yogurt and read my email. Next, I went for my daily three-mile walk, and then I hurried back to my office to write. That’s when the day went awry.

The lights flickered. My computer went dark. Oh great, I thought, the powers out! No power translates to no writing, no laundry, no vacuuming. OK, I’ll run to the grocery store and get my shopping out of the way. Of course, the garage door wouldn’t open until I climbed up on the bumper of my car and yanked the manual chain. Hurriedly, I climbed into the seat and turned the ignition key. Click, click, click. I noticed the instrument panel registered no juice from the battery, again no power. 

Disgusted at the day, I strode back into the house. I pondered anxiously what I could mark off on my to-do list with no electricity and no car. I spotted my Bible on the coffee table. All right, I will sit down and have my quiet time. Then I could check it off my list.

I sat down with my Bible study, my journal, and my Bible. As I began, I immediately felt a sense of peace flow into me. I read, Ephesians 3:16, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (NIV). I knew I needed the power that comes only through the Holy Spirit to get me through this day! 

Then my study prompted me to 2 Peter 1:3. It read, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness (NIV). His power would give me everything I need, every moment of every day, but I must allow myself to be filled with His Power. This can only occur when I settle down and spend time with God.

Suddenly, I realized the electrical power outage in my home was a blessing to me. I would have buzzed around doing my list of chores. It’s very likely I wouldn’t have sat down to read my Bible. I would have missed the most important Source of power for the day.

Tomorrow, I will start the day infusing myself with His power. I will pray, journal, and read my Bible. Then even if my day goes awry again, I will be prepared to handle it with the strength of Him who turns darkness into light. 

Dear Lord, help me to realize that nothing is more important than my time with you. My moments with You equip me with the power I need to handle anything life throws my way. On my own, I am weak. But with You I can do anything when You strengthen me! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application steps: 
Decide to have your devotional time in the morning for the rest of this week. Place your Bible, a good Bible study, and a journal in an easy to see place. Let it be your reminder that you need power from God each day before you tackle the rest of your to-do list. 

Refection points:      
Do I fret when my day goes awry from my plans?

Is my quiet time with God a top priority?

How can I receive more spiritual power in my life?

Power verses:
Mark 6:31, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (NIV) 

2 Peter 1:3, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (NIV) 

Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV) 

Acts 3:12, “When Peter saw this, he said to them: "Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” (NIV) 

  © 2007 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Pass It On

By Susanne Scheppmann

Key Verse:
Mark 16:15, “He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (NIV) 

“Welcome!  What can I get for you today?”

“A large CafĂ© Americano. Extra shot, please.”

Room for cream?

Nope, just add the extra jolt of caffeine.

“OK, that will be $4.85 at the window”

The car ahead of me pulled out and turned the corner. I let my foot off the brake and crept forward toward the drive-thru window. I fumbled for the exact change and then I waited expectantly for the steaming brew.  Coffee makes me happy!

As the sliding glass window opened, a grinning young brunette handed me my order. As I reached to hand her my money, she said, “You don’t have to pay.  The car ahead you bought your drink.”

I jerked my head to see who might have been in the car ahead of me, but it was long gone.  I asked, “Who was it?”

“Oh, you probably don’t know them.  The last eleven cars have all paid for the order behind them.  It’s been so fun to watch.”

Amazed, I thought I should pass on the blessing to the next vehicle.  Then this consideration spun through my mind, “What if the order is for a whole office staff?  What if it is $38.50 and not just $3.85?” 

However, the blessing had to be passed on.  I said, “Well OK!  I’ll buy the order behind me.”  It turned out to be $4.95 and was worth the smile on the young woman’s face behind the counter. 

She giggled and turned to her co-workers, ‘Hey it’s number twelve now! Isn’t this incredible?”

As I drove off I wished I could have seen the face of the next coffee aficionado who was about to be pleasantly surprised. 

As I pondered this quirky incident the rest of day, I felt God teaching me a valuable lesson.  Do I pass on the blessing of Jesus to others?  Do I fear what it could cost me?  I might face rejection and ridicule.  I could embarrass myself, by not having all the right answers. 

I recalled sitting around a smoky campfire with my old church youth group.  We sang with gusto, “That’s how it is with God’s love . . . You want to pass it on.”  It seemed so easy in a group singing with passion for lost souls when there wasn’t one in sight.

So now, how often do I pass on the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  Unfortunately, not as often as I should or could.  Jesus stated, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest (Luke 10:2 NASB). 

We are his laborers sent to spread the good news of eternal salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Our key verse states for us to “go into all the world and preach the good news.”  Today my world may be my family, neighbors, co-workers or a chance meeting in a store.  I want to pass on the Good News, no matter the cost.

Who in your world needs more than a cup of free coffee? Let’s agree together to pass on the love of God to a harvest of hurting people.

Lord, teach me how to pass on your Good News.  Give me the courage when I feel timid to share my faith.  Allow me to see beyond today’s discomfort and the possibility of being misunderstood to the eternal blessing for others of the knowledge of Your love.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application steps: 
Try to pass on a small blessing to someone else today.  Buy someone’s coffee.  Treat a child to an ice cream cone. Offer to baby-sit someone’s else’s two-year-old.  Then pay special attention to how you feel about giving the blessing. 

Next decide you need to pass on the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Ask God to reveal to you a creative way to share the message of salvation with someone who needs eternal life.
Refection points:      
When have I been blessed unexpectedly?

Would I have purchased the drinks in the car behind me at the drive-thru?

Am I afraid to share my faith with others?

How can I share my faith with creativity?

Power verses:
1 Corinthians 9:23, “I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” (NIV) 

Matthew 28:18-20, “Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (NIV) 

1 John 5:11, “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (NIV) 

Luke 10:1-2, “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (NIV) 

© 2006 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.