Spiritual History

You may know that Stephen was the first Christian martyr.
What led to his murder?
Let’s take a look at how it started:

“Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power,
performed amazing miracles and signs among the people”
(Acts 6:8 NLT).

So far, so good.

But one day a group of men started arguing with him.

“None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit
with which Stephen spoke” (Acts. 6:10 NLT).

No one likes to lose—especially these guys.
They became angry,
jealous
and frustrated.

So they convinced some men to lie about Stephen and accused him
of blaspheming God. Here’s the lie:

“This man is always speaking against the holy Temple and
against the law of Moses. We have heard him saying that this
Jesus of Nazareth will destroy the Temple and change the
customs Moses handed down to us” (Acts 6:13-14 NLT).

Of course, Stephen would NEVER blaspheme Christ!
But the high priest asked him if the accusations were true.

Check this out: “This was Stephen’s reply . . .” (Acts 7:2 NLT).
Then Stephen gave a sermon!
He responded to the question with a sermon!
And it was a really loooong sermon.
It begins in Acts 7:2 and doesn’t end until Acts 7:56!

In that sermon . . . Stephen’s response to the question . . .
he goes back in history and beginning with Abraham in Genesis
(the very first book of the Bible)—and on with the Israelites being
slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, Joseph, Moses, the 40-year hike through
the wilderness with the Israelites, Joshua, David, Solomon and on
through the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, to Jesus now
being at God’s right hand—Stephen recounts this rich spiritual
heritage to his accusers.

WOW.

• He knew his spiritual history.
• He was able to articulate his spiritual history.

I’m amazed at how many of us in the church don’t really know our
spiritual history.

I remember a time we had something called Sunday school in which
boys and girls were taught the incredible, exciting and true stories of
the Bible.

My heroes were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
I fell in love with the courage of David,
the prayer life of Daniel
and the integrity of Joseph.
I admired Mary and Esther and Ruth.
I applauded Noah and Paul and Peter.
But along the way . . .
through the years . . .
something happened.

Bible stories gave way to hot topics.
And Sunday school died to something more hip.
As a result many in the church no longer know the Bible stories.

Conversations:
Me: Do you know which person in the Bible was swallowed by a big
fish?
Student: Uh . . . was it Pinocchio?
Me: How did David kill Goliath?
Student: With a gun.
Me: Who was Joseph in the Old Testament?
Student: The dad of Jesus?
Me: Can you name any of the 12 disciples?
Student: Jesus
Student: David
Student: Goliath?
Me: What are the New Testament epistles?
Student: Wives of the apostles.

How well do you know your spiritual history?
You can’t pass it on if you don’t know it.

Please read the Bible.
Learn your spiritual history.
Then pass it on!
Articulate it to those around you.
Otherwise, we’ll simply be adding to spiritual illiteracy.

Thoughts?

If you’d like to participate in the 2020 Susie Shellenberger Ministries missions trip to Costa Rica June 29-July 12, please email me at: susieshell@comcast.net for more information.

A Changing God?

As culture changes, we sometimes try to make God change
along with it. But the truth is:

“I am the LORD, and I do not change” (Malachi 3:6 NLT).

In fact, the apostle James reminds us that God is:

“without change or shadow” (James 1:17 LB)

So why do often try to make Him change along with our shifting
society?

Possibly because WE feel less guilty about changing OUR morality
and standards if we can believe God has changed His.

But whenever our world adapts to new norms that go against His

Word, God calls us to go counter-culture.

Check this out:
“Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
leave evil in the dust”
(Proverbs 4:26-27 The Message)

God calls His followers to walk straight ahead—
and that often means walking in the opposite direction
of the world around us.

He will equip us—through His Holy Spirit within us—
to remain strong and resist melding into an evil culture.

Grab hold of this:

“ . . . mark out a straight, smooth path for your feet
so that those who follow you, though weak and lame,
will not fall and hurt themselves but become strong”
(Hebrews 12:13 LB).

I encourage you this week to thank God for being
unchanging. It’s comforting to know our Father
remains constant,
immoveable
perpetual,
firm,
rock-solid,
steady,
and holy.
THAT’S a God we can depend on!
When it seems everything around us is changing,
We have a God who remains consistent.

“Since we have a Kingdom nothing can destroy, let us please
God by serving him with thankful hearts and with holy fear and
awe.  29  For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29 LB).

Thoughts?

I’m in Quito, Ecuador right now and God is truly blessing
this missions trip. It’s exciting to see Ecuadorians coming into
relationship with Him. Thank you for your prayers!

God’s Gift

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I had to say goodbye to my
little gray Schnauzer, Obie, on April 30 of this year. God definitely
helped Amos (my other Schnauzer) and I through the grieving
process.

Aren’t you grateful that God cares deeply about every area in
our lives? When we hurt, He hurts with us.

He is so faithful!

Amos and I now have a new member of our family.
Meet Bentley Shellenberger.
He’s sweet,
curious,
mellow,
and a bundle of softness!

We’re growing together through the newness of a puppy.
New commands for Bentley to learn.

New boundaries.
New sights and sounds and discoveries.
Oh, the joy of new life.
I can’t help but wonder how deeply God rejoices
when new life is found in Him!
Scripture tells us that all of heaven rejoices (see Luke 15:7).

Sure, a new puppy is exciting, and Bentley has definitely brought
newness to our home. But nothing can ever compare to the new life
we find in Christ when we submit to Him. Let us never take for
granted the new life we have in Jesus our LORD.

Thoughts?

Good Choice or Best Choice?

When the time came for Lot and his uncle Abraham to part ways
(their families, animals, servants, etc. had become so numerous the
land could no longer support them), Abraham gave Lot first choice.

“I’ll tell you what we’ll do. Take your choice of any section
of the land you want, and we will separate If you want that part
over there to the east, then I’ll stay here in the western section.
Or, if you want the west, then I’ll go over there to the east”
(Genesis 13:9 LB).

Lot looked around and chose the land of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The land was fertile and well-watered. “The whole section
was like the Garden of Eden” (Genesis 13:10 LB).

Through human eyes, this may have seemed like a good choice.
He could be successful at growing anything, because of the fertile
land. But a good choice doesn’t always equal the best choice!
Though the ground itself was fantastic, the people living there were extremely wicked:
“The men of this area were unusually wicked, and sinned greatly against
Jehovah” (Genesis 13:13 LB).

Many of us miss God’s best simply because we’re focused on
the good. Check out what Oswald Chambers says about good
choices: “The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin
but good choices which are not quite good enough, The good is
always the enemy of the best.”

We don’t want the good.
We want God’s best, right?

So when tempted to quickly make a good choice,
let’s stop—
and pray—
and be willing to WAIT—
until God reveals His BEST for us!

Reading further in Genesis, we see the sad results of Lot’s choice.
God eventually destroyed that entire area of Sodom and Gomorrah
with fire from heaven.
The wicked may prosper for a season, but God’s righteousness

will eventually prevail.

This week as you’re making choices—
don’t be so quick to make what looks like a good choice.
Surrender your right to choose, and submit to God’s best choices
for your life.

Thoughts?

Please pray for me as I speak at the Missouri District Family Camp next week in Fredricktown, MO.

My Right . . . or God’s Will?

Abraham and his nephew Lot had numerous animals,
servants,
family members
and crops.
In fact, the area became so crowded the land
could no longer support them.
It was time to split.
Abraham gave Lot first choice.

“I’ll tell you what we’ll do. Take your choice of any section of the
land you want, and we will separate. If you want that part over
there to the east, then I’ll stay here in the western section. Or, if
you want the west, then I’ll go over there to the east” (Genesis
13:9 LB).

Abraham had the “right” to choose first.
To give that right seemed foolish to those around him.
But Abraham was more focused on surrender to God
than demanding his rights.

We can cling to our rights . . . but we’ll forfeit God’s blessings.
I love what Oswald Chambers says about rights:

“Whenever our right becomes the guiding factor of our
lives, it dulls our spiritual insight.”

You see, by choosing to focus on our rights . . . what’s mine, what
should happen, me first, my title, my position, my status . . . we miss
the joy of total surrender to God’s holy will.
And isn’t this what sanctification is all about?
Yielding to HIS will.
Being fitted with HIS yoke.
Living in HIS choices for my life.

THIS is true freedom.

Thoughts?

Can you help?

Hey, friends!

Once in a while, I use this site to share something personal.
And I want to do that today.

Many of you know that each summer for the past 20 years, I’ve taken
students and adults on two-week mission trips to Central and South
America.

(If you’re interested in joining me NEXT summer, let me know!)
But this summer we’re headed to Ecuador and are $2,000 short in
funds.

Would you pray about making a donation?
Because Susie Shellenberger Ministries is a 501-C 3 non-profit
organization, I can send you a receipt for tax purposes (just like when
you tithe to your church). But don’t send me your tithe! Give that to
your church.

If God leads you to do this, we need it as soon as possible.
You can make your check to Susie Shellenberger Ministries and mail
it to: 7012 N. Lake Front Drive, Warr Acres, OK 73132.

Any amount will be greatly appreciated!
And I’ll mail you a receipt for taxes.

Love,
Susie Shellenberger

Sorrow Into Joy

On April 30 of this year, I had to say goodbye
to my little four-footed furry friend Obie.
This little gray Schnauzer had seen me through a lot—
a major career change,
two moves,
the death of my 95-year-old aunt,
the death of my 93-year-old dad,
and many more life events.
Amos (my other little Schnauzer) and I were forced
to find our “new normal.”
And God was so very, very faithful.
He walked us through the grief and helped us smile again.

I LOVE Psalm 34:18 from the Living Bible:
“The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking.”

I attended two funerals this week.
Moms of two of my dear friends passed away recently.
And I was reminded once again that:
“The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking.”

Whether it’s a mom, a spouse, a friend . . . or even a pet . . .
God understands our hurt.
I’m so grateful for a Savior who truly cares about
every
single
detail
in
our
lives!
Only GOD has the ability to turn our sorrow into joy.
“ . . . weeping may stay for the night,
     but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5 NIV).

Take Possession!

Joshua asked the Israelites an all-important question
In Joshua 18:3. Let’s take a quick peek:

“How long will you wait before you begin to take
possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your
ancestors, has given you?” (NIV)

Seven tribes still hadn’t taken possession of the amazing land
God had given them! This amazing gift of land filled with “milk
and honey”—fertile land that produced HUGE crops . . .
was sitting right in front of them, but they still hadn’t possessed it!

Does that make you scratch your head?
Why would anyone procrastinate possessing such a terrific gift?

Let’s dig a bit deeper.
The Israelites had been nomads for years.
And they had become extremely comfortable with their
nomadic lifestyle. To move inside the Promised Land
would mean several changes:
• They’d no longer live in tents; they’d have to build houses.
• Roads would need to be created.
• Inhabitants would have to be driven out.
• Eventually it would be amazing . . .
but first there would be a lot of work involved.

Do you sometimes think the Christian life is a lot of work?
Don’t be discouraged!
The gifts God gives us are
superb,
perfect,
excellent
and pure.
And any work He asks us to,
we do in His strength
and
with His equipping.

So why not possess EVERYTHING God wants you to have?

Thoughts?