Monday, June 26, 2017

“Peculiar Pete”

By Susanne Scheppmann

Key Verse:
1 Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (KJV) 

My husband and I encountered Peculiar Pete at a park in a small town in Idaho. We were driving to Yellowstone National Park and had pulled over to stretch our legs and walk our dogs in the beautiful city park.

The elderly gentleman approached us on a razor scooter. He grinned as he approached and I was almost blinded by his gold teeth that glittered in the afternoon sun. His 1970’s shorts clashed with his tied-dyed t-shirt. His baseball cap cocked to one side revealed long thin stringy hair dyed to auburn brown. 

I hoped he wouldn’t speak to me, so I averted my eyes from this odd spectacle scooting toward me. Sure enough, I heard, “Good afternoon, my name is Pete. Nice dogs you have there.”

“Thanks, “replied my husband as I suddenly became mute.

With just that one word of encouragement to continue the conversation, Pete jumped into a long discourse of his past. He peppered the monologue with, “Do you hear what I am saying?”

We discovered that not only did he ride a scooter, but a motorcycle, too. He owned a welding company, had almost married a millionaire, and he downhill skied. He paused to take a breath, my husband asked him about directions to Yellowstone. Once again, he launched into a one-sided conversation.  

However, this time we gained valuable information to aid us in our vacation. It turned out the Pete held a treasure trove of knowledge on almost any subject. His friendliness, soon overpowered my hesitation to interact with him. Although, odd, I liked him and was thankful we had met.

After he pushed away on his tiny scooter, he waved to us with the dirty hat. I watched him head toward the park swings. I thought, “Pete was peculiar, but a joy!”

Then 1 Peter 2:9 flashed through my thoughts. As Christians, we are called to be peculiar, too. Oh not like my friend, Pete. Peculiar in the sense, if we are God's children we should act like it. Other people should notice that we are different from everyone else. Our behaviors should represent we serve a holy God. Our attitudes should be the same as Jesus. We should exhibit light in a dark world. When we wave good-bye to someone they should think, “She is peculiar, but a joy to be with.”

I think of Pete, often. Although wary at first, I eventually envied his self-confidence. Now I pray I can be as bold in my Christianity as he was audacious in his looks and conversation. I wouldn’t mind being a bit peculiar for Jesus. How about you?

Dear Lord, help me to be brave in my walk of faith with you. Make me peculiar enough so that people recognize that there is something different in my life. Give me boldness to proclaim that You make the difference. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application steps: 
Determine to do one thing outside your comfort zone of Christianity today. Ponder the reactions you get from people who know you and those who don’t. Journal your thoughts and feelings about the occurrence.

Refection points:      
Do you know someone who exhibits extreme confidence in his or her Christian walk?

Do other people think he/she is peculiar?

Would you want your friends to think you were different because of Jesus in your life?

Power verses:
1 Samuel 16:7, “But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (NIV) 

Titus 2:14, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (KJV) 

Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (NIV) 

Philippians 2:5, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (NIV) 

© 2006 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved

Saturday, June 24, 2017


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) 
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.

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.

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)
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?
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. 

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.