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.

Monday, July 10, 2017

“Hanging On”

By Susanne Scheppmann

Key Verse:
Deuteronomy 32:46-47, “He said to them, "Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you--they are your life.’” (NIV)

Do you ever feel like you are just barely hanging on in life? I do. Life circumstances seem to keep me off balance on a regular basis. However, yesterday I learned a lesson through bird watching.

I sat mesmerized by a flock of small yellow finches that hung upside down from a white mesh feeding sock. They clung to the feeder filled with minute seeds with their tiny toes. With gravity defying agility, the birds continued to peck at the seeds regardless of their topsy-turvy position.

Occasionally, a strong gust of wind would shake the feeder. The birds ignored the swaying earthquake of their restaurant and calmly continued to peck undisturbed. Then, a new crisis developed. Large ungainly brown grackle birds began to dive-bomb the finches. They attempted to knock the finches off the feeder. Nevertheless, the finches just clung to the mesh by their tiny toes. They did not allow themselves to be dislodged from their life sustaining nourishment—the birdseed. 

I glanced down at my Bible and thought, “That’s my life giving food. Do I cling to it when I find myself being thrown off balance with the challenges of life?” Unfortunately, I have to admit I don’t always hold on to it when times become difficult. It seems easier to just worry and fret over the day’s events instead of trusting God and His Word. But today’s Key Verse clearly instructs us to “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared . . . They are not just idle words for you—they are your life.”

I pondered these thoughts as I continued to watch the finches. Then the birds illustrated another truth of hanging on to God’s Word. While the baby birds struggled to hang on, the parents would take a few bites and then feed the younger finches the seeds they held in their beaks. This enabled the fledglings to concentrate on keeping their balance on the bird sock.

I recalled how often Christians more mature than myself had offered me the truth of God’s Word when a dilemma ruffled my walk of faith. Their patient support and encouragement enabled me to learn to trust the hand of God.

So, my feathered friends taught me two lessons. One is to hang on to the truth of God’s Word no matter how much my life is rattled by difficulties. Moreover, not only do I need to accept help from other’s whose walk of faith is further along, but I should offer help to others who are swinging frantically on the rope of difficulties.

My friend, let’s agree together to hang on and to share God’s Word—for it is our life.

Dear Lord, I desire to hang on to Your Word. Make me hungry to read it each day so that my strength is in You. Help me to share Your Word with others who are just hanging on in difficult situations. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application steps: 
Read Psalm 119. Highlight all the verses that refer to the benefits of God’s Word in our life.

Refection points:      
Do I read my Bible on a regular basis for spiritual nutrition?

Do I encourage others to hold onto God’s Word?

How can I devote more time to study the Bible?

Power verses:
Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (NIV) 

1 Thessalonians 2:13, “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.” (NIV) 

2 Thessalonians 2:15, “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” (NIV) 

© 2006 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.