Saturday, June 24, 2017

“Boondock”


Key Verse:
 “So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NLT) 
         
Devotion:
I dislike boondocking. If you vacation in a recreational vehicle, you probably know the definition of boondock. If not, it means spending the night in your “rig” without hooking-up to power or water. Most recreational vehicles hold a several gallons of water in a tank. I like taking long hot showers. Boondocking prohibits this luxury. A battery or small generator provides limited power. A trickle of power keeps things running, but not for an extended period of time. When you boondock there is a limited supply of vital resources that make life more comfortable.

Boondocking can apply to our spiritual life, too. Unfortunately, it’s easy to become unplugged with Bible study and prayer time during summer months. Our daily routines tend to change, so it’s easier to miss our quiet time. Our kids may be out school wanting “to do something” and we put lay aside our Bible study. We vacation to rejuvenate ourselves. We traipse to sightseeing spots, but we neglect to seek Jesus as the day slips by.

If we allow ourselves to boondock spiritually, we will run dry. The Holy Spirit’s power will seem to fade and our souls will thirst for the living water of Jesus. Come the last day in August, we’ll be high and dry.

So what can we do to stay plugged in spiritually throughout the summer months? First, we should determine not to allow ourselves to become boondocked. Choose a time and place to refill yourself with God’s Word. Let’s try to follow the advice of Psalm 143:8, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. (NIV) If we refuel ourselves early in the morning with God’s Word, then it can sustain us the rest of the day. 

Let’s choose to stay connected to the power of God during the upcoming summer months. Let’s follow the Apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy, “Work hard so God can say to you, "Well done." Be a good workman, one who does not need to be ashamed when God examines your work. Know what his Word says and means.” (2 Timothy 2:15Living)

OK! Let’s stay connected to the power of the Holy Spirit. We want God to say, “Well done!” Let’s choose to enjoy the glorious summer with the Jesus.


Prayer:
Lord Jesus, as this summer begins help me not to neglect the study of Your Word. I know without its instruction I will lose my direction. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.

Application steps: 
Choose a Bible study to work through during the summer months. Ask a friend to join you and then meet weekly to discuss the study.

Reflections: 
Do I tend to neglect my quiet time and Bible study during the summer?

If yes, have I seen a personality change as a result?

What topic or book of the Bible would be a good summer study?

Power verses:
Psalm 119:5-6, “Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.” (NIV) 

Psalm 119:10-11, “I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (NIV) 

Matthew 22:29, “Jesus replied, ‘You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.’” (NIV) 


© 2007 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 19, 2017

“Faith Book”

By Susanne Scheppmann

Key Verse:
“They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.”  Nehemiah 9:3 (NIV)
Devotion:
A new addiction slipped into my life recently—Facebook.  Internet social networking slid in quietly and unobtrusively. Each day I found myself reading and posting a bit more.  I learned how to create my visual bookshelf, so my “friends” could check out what I was reading.  I linked my blog.  My time seeped into Facebook like grains of sand slide through the hourglass.
My addiction soon took a turn for the worst.  I began to put off my personal quiet time with God until after I had Facebooked.  Sadly, Scripture seemed boring next to my friends’ posting.   Strangely the mundane posts intrigued me.  I had fallen under the spell of social networking.
Then one day, I dragged myself away from my laptop.  I had Bible study that night and needed to finish my lesson.  The lesson pointed us to the book of Nehemiah. I read, “They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.” (Nehemiah 9:3 NIV).
Yikes! They read God’s word for a quarter of the day, then spent another quarter of the day in confession and worshiping? These words haunted me the rest of the afternoon.  When was the last time I spent that much time with God?  How much time did I spend on the Internet?  I felt a deep conviction about my Facebook addiction. 
I determined that day to read my Bible, my FaithBook, before I turned on my computer each day.  I would network with God, before networking with my friends.  When I made this decision, I saw Scripture jump back to life.  God’s Word spoke to me with a freshness that seemed as if He had just posted it Himself.  
The addiction stopped. Oh, I still enjoy Facebook and other social networks, but I have learned to keep them in proper perspective. Psalm 119:59-60 sums up my new intent. “I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws. I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands (NLT).
Will you join me in the commitment to spending time in God’s Word before time spent on Facebook?
 Prayer:                                                                                                                                                            
Dear Lord, I recognize that I spend too much time on the computer. Forgive my inattention to Your Word. Help me each day to place You first in my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application steps: 
Today take notice of how much time you spend on the computer for personal enjoyment.  Decide to make your quiet time with God a priority. Read Psalm 119 and then ponder the benefits of time spent in God’s Word. 

Reflections: 
Do I put off my quiet time with God in lieu of social networking?

Am I willing to commit more time reading the Bible?

How can I begin to keep my life in a healthy balance?

Power verses:
Exodus 24:7, “Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.” (NIV)
Romans 10:17, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”  (NIV)
 Joshua 1:8, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”  (NIV)

© 2009 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

“The Sunny-Side-Up Car”

By Susanne Scheppmann
Key verse;
 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3 NIV) 

Devotion:
Twice in one day, I received an obscene hand gesture as I was driving. “What in the world?” I thought. I am a careful and considerate driver. I could not remember the last time I had angered another driver to that extent. Today, it was not only once, but twice. Strange! 

Then just a few blocks from home, a woman in a sporty yellow convertible raced by me, honking obnoxiously and glaring at me. Finally, it began to dawn on me why this was happening. I usually drive an SUV—shiny and big. Today, I was tooling around in our old car with very faded paint and eggs splattered across it. A few weeks ago someone had egged the car, and by the time we discovered it, the egg had adhered permanently. We scrubbed and scraped. In the heat of Nevada desert, the eggs had baked into the paint.

An “ah-ha” moment popped into my thoughts. People judged my driving skills and me, by my sunny-side-up egged car. Their attitudes became aggressive. They felt they needed to put me in “my place.” Their angry actions told me, “Get that thing off the road. Don’t you know how to drive, woman?”--all because my car looked like a disaster.

Sadly, I know I have misjudged, misinterpreted, and misunderstood other people because they look and act differently than I do. Unfortunately, sometimes I inspect the outside and never delve beyond the exterior of the person.

However, today’s Key Verse[mt1]  instructs us differently— to consider others better than ourselves. In addition, Romans 12:16 states, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” (NIV) 

I guess I am thankful for my sunny-side-up egged car. Every time I turn the key in the ignition, I will be reminded that appearances do not matter.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, forgive me for the times I have judged someone by his or her outward appearance. Remind me that we are all your children. Grant me the grace to love unconditionally as You do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application steps: 
Read Philippians 2:1-11. Make notes on how “your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus,” (5).

Reflections: 
In what circumstances do I tend to judge people by their outward appearance?

Do I truly believe that God loves everyone?

Power verses:
Romans 12:3, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (NIV) 

Zechariah 7:10, “Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.” (NIV) 


© 2008 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.