Behind the Scenes

Back story: Before Elijah defeated the 450 false prophets of the
false god of Baal, he told wicked King Ahab that God would withhold
rain from the land. God made good on His Word, and the result was a
severe famine.

King Ahab summoned Obadiah (who was in charge of his
palace (and also a devout believer in Jehovah God).

Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the
springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the
horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals”
(1 Kings 18:5 NIV).

They split up, and King Ahab went one way while Obadiah
headed the other direction. Meanwhile, evil Queen Jezebel was busy
killing God’s prophets.

Elijah is thinking he’s the only Jehovah-follower left. The Queen
had already killed so many godly people. The country was in horrible
shape due to the famine, and Elijah knew he’d have to face King
Ahab and take on the 450 prophets of Baal.

But as Obadiah was searching for grass to feed the king’s
animals, Elijah crossed paths with him. Imagine Elijah’s surprise to
discover that while Jezebel was killing off God’s prophets, Obadiah
had taken 100 godly prophets and hidden them in two caves—50 in
each cave. Obadiah had kept them safe and provided them with food
and water in the middle of the famine!

When things looked like they couldn’t get any worse, God was
working quietly behind the scenes.

You may remember the godly priest Eli of Israel. He was the
one who mentored Samuel. Eli had two wicked sons: Hophni and
Phinehas. These two men were serving as temple priests but they
didn’t have a relationship with God. They took advantage of the
people who brought sacrifices, became sexually involved with women
around the temple, and were extremely dishonest.

People wondered why God didn’t do something to stop this
horrific situation. But what they didn’t know was that God was quietly
working behind the scenes. He was allowing the Philistine army to
gain strength. Pushing the fast-forward button, we see that a few
years later, the Philistines defeated the Israelites—and killed
Phinehas and Hophni.

What does this mean for us?
We can know that our God never stops working.
He never sleeps, goes on vacation or puts us on hold.

When our situation seems horrific and we wonder why He
hasn’t moved, it may be that He’s working quietly behind the scenes.
Sometimes we see Him explosively arrive in full detail. Other
times He simply works quietly behind the scenes.

So we can rest in God’s peace. And what kind of peace does
He give? “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And
the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t
be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 LB).

If you’re facing a wall and wondering why God isn’t moving on
your behalf . . . it could be that He IS, but He’s simply working quietly
behind the scenes right now.
In His perfect timing, He will reveal Himself.
He always does.

Thoughts?

Spiritual Renewal

If Jesus needed to spend time in renewal,
how much more do we!

Let’s face it:
deadlines,
family responsibilities,
job stress,
relationship woes,
and simply the everyday routine of life
can wear us down.

That’s why I’ve put together the perfect spiritual renewal
adventure. If Alaska is on your bucket list, you can cross it off by
joining me on the Susie Shellenberger Ministries “Friends & Family
Alaskan Adventure” June 1-8, 2019.

Even though it’s several months away, RIGHT NOW is the time
to decide to put down your deposit and make plans to participate.

We’ll have our own special services together where I’ll be
speaking—along with a friend of mine Kathy Slamp—who has spoken
on several Alaskan cruises as a naturalist. She has an exciting
ministry and is gifted at intertwining the Alaskan beauty with spiritual
insights.

We’ll be cruising on the Holland America line—a fantastic fleet
of ships that has your comfort at the top of the list.

If whale-watching, dog-sledding, touring quaint little cities in the
Alaskan ports we stop in, fishing, and a lot of other activities interest
you, this is what you’ve been waiting for.

Or . . . you can simply stay on board the ship the entire time
and enjoy free room service, the fun shows, and of course our own
special services together. This will truly be the spiritual renewal
you’ve been yearning for.

If you want more information, email our cruise liaison, Carla
Pryor: carlaray@aol.com

OR email me with your complete mailing address if you’d like to
receive a full-color brochure through regular mail.

Oh! Holland America is allowing me to give a $50 credit to
each room! You can use it for anything you want—an excursion, the
gift shop, tips, whatever!

I’d LOVE to spend a week with you enjoying spiritual growth
through our services and seeing God through His natural and
amazing beauty in Alaska!

Please pray for me this weekend.
I’m excited to be performing my nephew Scott Shellenberger’s
wedding.

Spiritual Drama

Once in a while I hear someone say, “Whoa!”
But I never hear anyone say “Woe!”
It’s a word we don’t use much anymore.

But Isaiah used it—and when we did—it had a powerful
meaning. Let’s take a look:

“Woe to me!” I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean
lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have
seen the King, the Lord Almighty’ ” (Isaiah 6:5 NIV).

Isaiah got close enough to God, he was able to see Him as He
truly is—exalted and in fathomless glory. Isaiah’s response?
“Woe to me!”
And he cried this exclamation.

The apostle John, when banished on the criminally infested,
rocky, volcanic island of Patmos, also saw God in the exalted Christ.

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. . . .”
(John 1:17 LB).

John’s response? He fainted.
He was out cold. Down for the count.

When God passed by Moses, He told Moses to cover his face.
Moses obeyed, but after God had passed by and Moses joined his
people, they noticed his face was shining in brilliance because he had
been so close to the Lord. (See Exodus 33:19-23)

Ezekiel saw a vision of God:
“And when I saw it, I fell face downward on the ground. . . .”
(Ezekiel 1:28 LB).

He fainted.

Why all the drama? Fainting, crying “Woe,” and out cold?
It’s because when we get close enough to God and see Him
exalted—as He truly is—we are suddenly and keenly aware of our
own sinfulness.

As long as we don’t get that close to God, we can live
comfortably with our own personal holiness. But when He truly
reveals Himself to us in His perfect glory, we become radically
changed.

Instead of being satisfied with where we are spiritually right now
. . . lets become consistently agitated until we are close enough to
God that we become radically changed.

Thoughts?

Please pray for me as I speak in Nacogdoches, Texas this
weekend.

Right Concept, Wrong Idea #7

We’re taking a look at some well-known thoughts that we tend to
misinterpret biblically.

“God heals everyone who has enough faith.”

God’s healing isn’t dependent on your faith.
God can do whatever, whenever and wherever He wants regardless
of you.

Yes, He loves it when you express your faith in Him.
And He loves to increase your faith.
But He also accepts your shallow faith:
(Remember the father whose son was demon-possessed and mute?)
“I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 ESV)

Paul didn’t tell Timothy to have more faith so his stomach would be
healed. Instead, Paul advised him not only to drink water—
but to take a little wine for his stomach problems.

This isn’t telling all of us who have stomach problems to drink wine,
but it does show us that God doesn’t heal all Christians while they’re
on earth. Eventually, all will be healed—in heaven.

Paul spoke about the “thorn in his flesh.”
Many Bible scholars think this had something to do with his eyesight.
Notice in 2 Thessalonians 3:17, he tells us he’s ending the letter with
his own handwriting. This lets us know that he dictated the letter to
someone else, but Paul signed it himself.

Many scholars believe it was because of his poor eyesight that he
needed to use a scribe to write his letters.

And in Galatians 6:11, Paul tells us he’s writing in large letters. Again,
many believe that’s because of his declining eyesight at that time.

Paul prayed many times that God would heal him of the “thorn in his
flesh.” He certainly had faith that God could do this. But whatever the
thorn was, Paul wasn’t healed of it.

He accepted God’s answer: “My grace is sufficient for you, my
power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

I can’t help but think of Joni Eareckson Tada whose diving accident
during her teen years caused her to become a quadriplegic.
She—long with many others—have prayed for her healing. It’s
certainly not because she doesn’t have faith that God hasn’t healed
her.

For reasons we won’t understand until we’re in heaven, God simply
chooses to heal some people on earth and others not until they’re
with Him.

It’s His will that we continue to pray healing for those who need it, but
we shouldn’t lose faith when we don’t see our prayers answered
during our timetable.

Thoughts?

Please pray for me as I speak in Swartz Creek, MI this weekend.

Right Concept, Wrong Idea #6

We’re taking a look at some well-known thoughts that we tend to
misinterpret biblically.

“God will only give me what I can handle.”

We often assume God won’t load our lives with more than we can
bear. Many Christians make this faulty assumption based on the fact
that God won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle.

Here’s the proof:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to
mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted
beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will
also provide a way out so that you can endure it”
(1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV).

Make no mistake.
God will always provide a way out of temptation.

But temptation is a completely different subject than life’s difficulties.
We often have more than we can bear.
And many times God calls us to do something beyond our
strength.

Check out what the apostle Paul experienced in Asia:

“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to
endure . . . we felt we had received the sentence of death.
“But this happened that we might not rely on
ourselves but on God, who raises the dead”
(2 Corinthians 1:8-9 NIV).

Did you catch that?
Paul thought he was dying!

The pressure was so unbearable, the difficulty so horrific,
he thought he’d never see another sunset.
It was definitely MORE than he could handle!

But what happened?
He relied on God!

Let’s read what he wrote later:

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses,
         in insult,
                in hardships,
                         in persecutions,
                                  in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong”
(2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV).

Instead of saying that God won’t give us more than we can handle,
let’s try saying this:

God will often give us more than we can handle, but never more
than we can handle when we depend on His strength instead of
our own.

Thoughts?

Right Concept, Wrong Idea #4

We’re taking a look at some well-known thoughts that we tend to
misinterpret biblically.

“God is the only One who can judge.” (Part 1)

Many Christians have become so afraid of being labeled judgmental,
they have misunderstood what Christ said about judging!

Only God can judge for condemnation.
He’s the only One who has the authority to condemn someone.
It’s not our place to condemn.
But He has authorized us to judge in a discerning manner for
identification purposes.

Matthew chapter 7 begins with Christ telling us not to judge for
condemnation. But in verses 15-23, He tells us we are to judge or
discern for identification—and then He instructs us how to do that.

Christians have Christ’s authority to discern between what’s true and
what’s false and to make that known. Of course, this takes the
guiding of the Holy Spirit within us. If we do this on our own, we run
the risk of condemning.

But because we have misunderstood how to judge with Christ’s
discernment, we’ve become paranoid about offending others.

Christ tells us to do everything in love!

“Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us
really love them, and show it by our actions” (1 John 3:18 LB).

But genuine love doesn’t ignore what’s false.
As we depend on the Holy Spirit, let’s stand in boldness for truth and
all that’s right, while we no longer remain silent about sin.

(Catch part 2 of this devotional regarding judging on June 19, 2018.)

Thoughts?

Please pray for me as I speak in Indianapolis this week.

Right Concept, Wrong Idea #3

“It’s not God who sends people to hell; they send
themselves.”

That’s like saying, “Teachers don’t punish students who misbehave;
they punish themselves.”

Allow me to revert back to my third-grade self for a moment. As a
student who was disciplined for talking in class, I can guarantee that I
never punished myself.

My teacher could have said, “Susie, by talking out of turn, you’ve
chosen detention.” But that wouldn’t have been accurate.

If I reject the class rules, I must accept the consequences.
But I didn’t choose the consequences.

My teacher sent me to detention because I rejected the rules.
I like my teacher. She’s a good instructor. By saying, “I sent myself to
detention,” I’m trying to make my teacher look better. Would a good
and loving teacher actually choose to send her student to detention?
You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you?

We don’t need to defend God.
He’s big enough to stand on His own.
And a perfect,
just,
loving,
fair God

says He will send those who reject Him to hell.
Yes, man chooses to accept or reject God.
Yes, man has no choice but to face the consequences of his
decision.
But God is the One who actually sends sinners to hell.

“And if anyone’s name was not found recorded in the Book of
Life, he was thrown into the Lake of Fire” (Revelation 20:15 LB).

“But I’ll tell you whom to fear—fear God who has the power
to kill and then cast into hell” (Luke 12:5 LB).

“Fear only God who can destroy both soul and body
in hell” (Matthew 10:28 LB).

The good news is that He doesn’t want anyone to go to hell!
His desire is that all would choose Him.
But He allows us to make the decision.

I have been saved from hell, not simply because I have confessed,
repented and accepted God’s forgiveness for my sins . . .
but
also
because
I believe HIM.
I believe He is perfect.
I believe what He says is true.
And I believe everything He says.
Because God says He will send people to hell—and isn’t ashamed of
it—then I shouldn’t try to make Him sound better by attempting to
explain away His actions.

He explains Himself through Scripture.

Thoughts?

Please pray for me this week as I speak at the East TN District camp
meeting.

Right Concept, Wrong Idea #2

We’re taking a look at some well-known thoughts that we tend to
misinterpret biblically.

“God is good, and God is love, therefore He
wouldn’t send anyone to hell.”

God doesn’t desire to send anyone to hell. That’s why He sent
Himself—in the human form of His Son, Christ, to die for our sins so
we wouldn’t have to spend eternity in hell.

Someone has to pay for your sins—either you or Christ.
God loves you so much, He offered to pay the death penalty for you
through Christ. But He won’t force you to accept His gift.

True love has boundaries.
A married couple can expect each to be faithful to sacred vows and
not commit adultery. True love is angry enough about evil actions and
reacts. Loving moms and dads protect their children from sexual
exploitation.

God’s love is true love. Therefore, His love also has boundaries.
He’s angry about evil that hurts His disciples.
And He does something about it.

He gives everyone a choice.
He has promised that all who seek Him will find Him:

“You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in
earnest”
(Jeremiah 29:13 LB).

He DESIRES that we all choose Him! In fact, He begs us to choose
Him. Check this out:

“Oh, that you would choose life; that you and your children
might live! Choose to love the Lord your God and to obey him
and to cling to him. . . .” (Deuteronomy 30:20 LB).

He wants every person in the entire world to choose Him.
And, yes, He does make Himself known to everyone.
Need proof of this? Check out Romans 1:20 and Romans 2:12-16.

To NOT choose Christ is to choose hell.
And God will send those who reject Him to hell.

Is this fair?
We can be sure that God is absolutely fair and just. See Isaiah
30:18.

Thoughts?

Please pray for our services this weekend as I speak in Georgetown, TX.

Right Concept, Wrong Idea #1

Let’s take a look at some well-known thoughts that we tend to
misinterpret biblically.

“God loves me like I am.”

God accepts us as we are, and He saves us as we are.
But He loves us far too much to leave us where we are.

We’re born with sin. And while many Christians have a soft view on
sin, God definitely HATES it. Therefore, it’s spiritually dangerous
when we become tolerant of what God hates.

It seems we have forgotten 1 John 2:3-6:

“And how can we be sure that we belong to him? By
looking within ourselves: are we really trying to do what he
wants us to?

“Someone may say, ‘I am a Christian; I am on my way to
heaven; I belong to Christ.’ But if he doesn’t do what Christ tells
him to, he is a liar.

“But those who do what Christ tells them to will learn to
love God more and more. That is the way to know whether or not
you are a Christian.

“Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ
did” (The Living Bible).

We often hear, “God loves me just like I am.”

God loves to SAVE us. But because we’re born with sin, He doesn’t
love us exactly as we are. And neither should we!
His desire is to change us, completely transform us and to bring us
into righteous alignment with Himself—a holy God.

Try memorizing this:
“. . . throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life,
which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit
renew your thoughts and attitudes.   Put on your new nature,
created to be like God—truly righteous and holy” (Ephesians
4:22-24 NLT).

Thoughts?

Please pray for God’s fresh anointing this weekend as I speak in
Sumter, SC.

I Can’t Wait!

It’s easy for me to get excited about spending eternity with Christ in
heaven. But I’m also excited about something that comes before that:
The Millennium. It’s the 1,000 years that we’ll get to live on earth with
Christ in charge.

Scripture tells us it will be a peaceful time.
Christ will set His foot (and establish His headquarters) on the Mount
of Olives in Jerusalem.

When we return with Christ to the earth at this time, we’ll have our
heavenly bodies. Remember after His resurrection when He
appeared to hundreds of people before He ascended? He had a
heavenly body. He wasn’t limited by physical obstacles such as
doors, walls or distances.

He simply appeared to the disciples.
He was suddenly in the room with them.
Then suddenly He wasn’t.
Then He appeared to groups of people.
Then the disciples again.

When we have our heavenly bodies and live with Christ on earth for
1,000 years, we won’t be bound by physical obstacles, either. And we
won’t get sick or tired.

Isaiah 11:6 tells us the animals will be peaceful toward each other.

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the
goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child
will lead them” (NIV).

Scripture goes on to say that cows and bears will graze the same
pasture and the lion will eat straw like an ox.

Animals won’t be fighting each other, because they’ll be vegetarians
during that time. They’ll simply eat off the land. Planet Earth will have
gone through cataclysmic and catastrophic changes during the
Tribulation. God will be creating a NEW earth.

Can you imagine such a new and peaceful earth?

“Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill on my holy mountain”
(Isaiah 6:8 The Message).

Isaiah 65:20 tells us that people will still be considered young at 100
years of age. Can you imagine this scenario? Johnny is still living at
home. His parents say, “Don’t you think it’s time you get your own
place”

His response: “Gimme a break. I’m only 100.”

We’re also told in Scripture that infants will play in the snake’s hole
and not be harmed.

What a day!

“The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive,
a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide”
(Isaiah 6:9 The Message)

And check this out:
“The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be
one LORD, and his name the only name” (Zechariah 14:9 NIV).

It will be glorious.

But even as amazing as that will be, heaven will be even better!
Beyond our imagination.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what
God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT).

I can’t wait!

While many Christians disagree on the details of the end times, here
are two things we can ALL agree on:

1. Christ IS coming back.
2. We need to be sure our hearts are ready.

Go ahead and ask Him if there’s anything in your life that’s standing
in the way of your eternity with Him.

Thoughts?

Please pray for me as I speak in El Reno, Okla., this weekend.