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.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


By Susanne Scheppmann
Key Verse:
Mark 7:14-15, “Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.  Nothing outside a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him 'unclean.'” (NIV) 

Dust bunnies run under the bed.  Spidery cobwebs dangle from the ceiling.  Handprints point the way to the bedrooms.  Filmy windows play hide and seek with the bright sunshine.

Yes, it’s time for spring-cleaning.  When the air warms and the sun shines brightly, it puts me in the mood to clean my home.  I heave furniture so I can vacuum underneath.  I teeter on a ladder as I stretch to remove telltale signs of fall and winter from my home.  Most of the time I abide by the slogan, “A tidy but comfortably cluttered home is good enough for me.”  However, I do like spring-cleaning.

Do you know that spring-cleaning began thousands of years ago in the Middle East?  It all started when God issued the decree to the Hebrews to eat the Passover meal and celebrate it for the generations to come.  One of the requirements in commemorating Passover was to remove any type of yeast or leaven from their homes.  The Jewish Book of Why explains, “Why must the Jewish home be scoured clean before the Passover holiday?  To find leaven in a home after the holiday has begun is considered a serious breach of Jewish law.  From biblical times onward, the law had required that every bit of leavened bread and all materials and products associated with it (that is, leaven) be removed from the house before Passover so that it will not even be seen during the holiday.”  

So what’s the big deal with yeast?  In the New Testament, we are told that yeast represents various types of sin.  Many times Jesus warned His disciples, “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees.”  He didn’t want the disciples to be influenced by the cold legalism of the religious teachers.  The Apostle Paul elaborated on yeast a bit more.  He wrote, “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are.  For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:7-8 NIV).  Paul points out just what the key verse for today indicates.  It’s the junk inside of us that makes us unclean, not what’s on the outside.

Even as I scrub my house, I need to consider spring-cleaning my soul.  Should I remove a few sullied attitudes?   Do I need to spit shine my life with sincerity and truth? 

Do you recall that even Peter needed to be wiped down a bit?  Before they celebrated the Passover feast, Jesus began to wash the disciples feet.  Peter hesitated, not wanting Jesus to do it.  However, Jesus insisted that Peter needed a little sprucing up. Here is how the Apostle John tells the story:

    He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" 

    Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." 

    "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."

    Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." 

    "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"

    Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean (John 13:6-10 NIV).

So, yes!  If Peter needed to be cleaned-up, I know I do too.  Just as my home gathers dust, dirt and smudges over time, so does my soul.  I need to get the tarnish of yeasty sinful attitudes out and allow God to polish me up to shine for His Kingdom.  Ephesians 5:26 even tells me what type of polish to use, “Cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.”  (NIV)
On that note, I think I will quit vacuuming the drapes.  Spring-cleaning my soul sounds much more compelling.  I am going to enjoy the warmth of this beautiful spring day.  I’m off to the backyard with my Bible in hand!  
Lord Jesus, I thank you for the power of Your Word.  As I study its truth, reveal to me the attitudes, thoughts and behaviors that You desire to cleanse in me.  Polish me to shine for Your Kingdom.  In Your Precious Name, Amen.

Application steps:
Stroll through your house and decide what needs spring-cleaning.  Closets?  Drawers?  Make a list of what you would like to accomplish in your home.  Decide to tackle one project a week in your home. 
Now take a spiritual inventory.  What needs to be cleansed within you?  Bitterness?  Unforgiveness?  Lack of love?  Using your Bible’s concordance look up verses to memorize that will aid in your spiritual spring-cleaning.

Refection points:
Do I pick-up my home daily?

Do I read my Bible everyday?

How much priority do I place on spiritual housekeeping?

What can I do to incorporate more time in God’s Word throughout the week?

Power verses:
1 Corinthians 5:7-8, “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.” (NIV)

Luke 11:39, “Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.” (NIV)

Leviticus 10:10, “You must distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean.” (NIV)
Galatians 5:22-26, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (NIV)
© 2006 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.