In Bondage

The Israelites—God’s chosen people—were in bondage a long time.

“Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430
years” (Exodus 12:40 NIV).

The Israelites were slaves of Pharaoh, and he treated them harshly.
He had them beaten and forced them to make bricks in the hot sun.
They were tired, thirsty, oppressed and living without hope.

Four hundred thirty years is a loooong time to be in bondage.
None of us have been in bondage 430 years.
But to be in bondage for even one day is too long.

Anything that keeps us from becoming all God wants us to be is
considered bondage.

Some of the things that keep us in bondage are . . .
Gossip.
Negativity.
Criticism.
Alcohol.
Low self-esteem.

Fear.
Drugs.
Procrastination.
Stubbornness.
Anger.

The list can go on and on.

Why not ask God to reveal anything in your life that could have you in
bondage?

He set the Israelites free . . . and He is willing to set you free as well!

Thoughts?

Please pray for me this weekend as I speak in Anderson, MO.

His Beautiful Creation

Throughout Scripture we’re often reminded of how God displays
Himself through nature. We’re told that the trees of the fields will
someday clap their hands in praise to Him. We read that every living
thing will rejoice in our heavenly Father.

One of the most exciting places I’ve seen God revealed in glorious
nature is in Alaska. It can be breathtaking!

I’ve been there four times and I’ll be speaking there again this fall.
But I want to go back in 2019.
And I want to take YOU with me.

Yes.
You read that correctly.
I want us to go to Alaska together.

So Susie Shellenberger Ministries has put together a “friends and
family” cruise to Alaska for June 1-8, 2019.

I know the benefit of getting away and letting God refresh me.
I need this.
You may need it as well.

So I’ll be speaking in our own private services on this exciting cruise.
And Kathy Slamp—another Christian speaker—will also be
ministering in our services.

Besides that, we’ll also have some amazing praise and worship, a lot
of fun, and an incredible time of ministry together.

But you’ll also get to enjoy the shows that the ship provides, because
we’ll have our own sessions at a different time than the ship’s
entertainment.

And the offshore excursions when we dock at a variety of ports are
amazing. You can choose from a variety of options.

If you’d like to email me for more information, I’ll send you the full
brochure with all the details. Will you please pray about joining me?
This will be an amazing time of ministry, an exhilarating adventure,
and the spiritual restoration we all need.

Shoot me an email at: susieshell@comcast.net

This weekend I’m speaking in West Columbia, SC, and would
appreciate your prayers.

More Words!

We speak anywhere from 120 to 150 words per minute.
I tend to speak fast.
I’m afraid if I slow down, I’ll get bored and check out. Ha!

I’m more engaged when listening to a speaker who pushes the pace.
It motivates me to pay closer attention.

The “Love Chapter” (1 Corinthians 13) from the English Standard
Version of the Bible is a little more than 280 words. I timed myself
and can read it out loud in 57 seconds. So what does this mean?
Absolutely nothing. Ha! I just find it interesting.

We’re consumed with words—verbally and written. Oftentimes, we
can almost “read words” from people’s eyes and mannerisms even
though they haven’t spoken audibly.

Because words can be so powerful, let’s determine to examine how
we choose to use them. Think about it: You can actually help
someone have a better day simply by the words you offer them.

On the other hand, you can ruin someone’s day by using demeaning
words. So it’s our choice, isn’t it? Will we choose to build up or tear
down?

“Gentle words cause life and health”
(Proberbs 15:4 The Living Bible).

From reading the Bible, we can tell that Jesus was extremely careful
with His words. He didn’t use them flippantly.

Before using your words, consider these three things:
1. Is what you’re about to say true?
2. Will what you say cast a shadow on someone or create
doubt in the listener’s mind?
3. Is what you’re saying necessary?

I really admire a friend of mine who just doesn’t say negative things
about people. It’s always a joy to be around her.

In a culture where we’re often around people who talk A LOT,
it’s refreshing to be with this friend who uses her words carefully and
uses them to affirm and encourage.

Let’s memorize this Scripture together:

“Evil words destroy; godly skill rebuilds”
(Proverbs 11:9 The Living Bible).

Thoughts?

I’m speaking in Aurora, CO this weekend.
Will you pray that God will use my words to glorify Him?

Words!

The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., contains 28 million
books. That’s a lot of words!

The largest bookstore in the world is the Barnes and Noble in New
York City. It has 12 miles of shelves. Again . . . lots of words!

The most prolific writer in the world is Brazilian author Ryoki Inoue.
He published 1,058 novels between 1986 and 1996. Guess
what—that’s a new novel every 84 hours. It’s safe to say he knew a
lot of words!

Words can be
important
wasted
boring
challenging
true
useless
demeaning
deceitful
affirming.

I’m easily frustrated when someone uses too many words.
Maybe you know someone like this.

He or she gives you all the details—when all you really want and
need is the bullet point.

Someone going on and on and on . . . like I’m doing now . . .
Ugh!

God thinks words are important.
In fact, He says that someday we’ll have to give an account for every
careless word we speak. (Check out Matthew 12:35-37).

This makes me think seriously about the words I use.
I often speak without thinking it through first.
But there’s hope . . . because the apostle Peter was like that,
and God built called him the rock.

It took a while for Peter’s lifestyle of sand to become solid rock,
but God never gave up on him . . . or his words.

In fact, God even inspired Peter with enough words to give us two
books in the New Testament (First and Second Peter).

Let’s seriously consider our words this week.
Instead of using them sarcastically . . .
or even unnecessarily using too many words . . .
lets make it our goal to
1. use our words to encourage
2. refrain from using useless words

Word!

Thoughts?

I’m speaking in Pueblo, Colo., this weekend and would love it if you’d
pray that God will give me HIS words.

The Danger of Self-Defense

We love to defend ourselves—verbally, physically, emotionally—and
sometimes that’s OK. But many of us have become so accustomed to
defending ourselves, we have begun to defend our sins. This
damages our heart.

Christ yearns for His children to have tender hearts.
Teachable and trainable hearts.
Moldable hearts.
He even wants to transform our hearts.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within
me” (Psalm 51:10 ESV)

If we’re constantly defending ourselves, it’s impossible to be open to
God’s transformation.

But you don’t know my situation! God may be leading me to stand up
for myself. I’ve been wronged.

True. I don’t know your situation. But God does.

And He will direct you when to be silent and when to defend yourself.

There were times Christ remained silent before His death.

And there other times He spoke out boldly. When we’re in tune with
the Holy Spirit, He will let us know when to speak out (and will even

give us the words to say!) and when to be silent . . . or when to say,
“I was wrong. This is my fault. Will your forgive me?”

As long as we remain teachable—and in tune with God’s Holy
Spirit—we’ll know when to defend ourselves and when to be silent.

Sin, however, is never to be defended. If you’ve become comfortable
with continuing to sin—and defending your actions to God and to
others, you’re damaging your heart.

So . . . bottom line? Make this your daily prayer:

“Examine me, O God, and know my mind;
test me, and discover my thoughts.
Find out if there is any evil in me
and guide me in the everlasting way”
Psalm 139 (23-24 Good News Translation).

Thoughts?

I’ll be speaking in Oregon this weekend.
Please pray for God’s fresh anointing.

Separation from God

Sometimes God’s children walk through the desert.
The Israelites wandered through the desert for 40 years.
Sometimes it’s simply difficult to feel His presence.

Jesus Himself said that we’d experience tribulation.
(See John 16:33)

But there’s a difference is simply walking through a cloudy day
and in experiencing genuine separation from God Himself.

There’s only one thing that can separate us from God:

SIN.

It’s a given.
It’s automatic.
It’s a fact.

Sin will always separate us from God.

Check this out:

“Listen now! The Lord isn’t too weak to save you.
And he isn’t getting deaf! He can hear you when you call!
But the trouble is that your sins have cut you off from God.
“. . . You lie and grumble and oppose the good.
You cheat and shortchange everyone. . . .
“   It is because of all this evil that you aren’t finding God’s
blessings. No wonder you are in darkness when you expected
light. No wonder you are walking in the gloom”
(Isaiah 59:1-9 The Living Bible).

(I didn’t list the entire passage here.)

When you feel distanced from God, pray Psalm 139:23-24:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes
you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (TLB).

After praying the above passage, listen and watch for God to reveal
something to you. When He does, confess that and commit it to Him.

If He doesn’t reveal anything specific to you, ask Him to fill you with
His peace and to deepen your faith to continue trusting Him in the
midst of walking though a temporary desert.

Thoughts?

For those of you who are memorizing Scripture with me this year,
let’s tackle 2 Timothy 1:12 this week. Here it is from the NIV:

“Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have
believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have
entrusted to him for that day.”

Obvious

I was watching a Hallmark movie last week.
A lady was driving alone.
She screamed, “I can’t see!”
She was driving at night.
In a snowstorm.
Wearing sunglasses.

Uh . . .

It would be an understatement to point out the obvious, wouldn’t it?
Yet how often do we tend to think . . .
God seems so far.
Why aren’t I growing spiritually?
I need more victory in my life.

May I state the obvious?
If we’re not spending consistent time reading God’s Word . . .
if we’re not talking with Him—
and making time to listen . . .
if we’re not seeking Him with determination . . .
we’re just like the woman behind the wheel of a car
in a snowstorm
at night
wearing sunglasses
and complaining that we can’t see.

If you desire to grow closer to Christ this year,
make the important decision to read His Word.
If you’ll read three chapters of the Bible every day—
and read five chapters every Sunday—
you’ll finish the Bible in one year.

I like to do this each year.
Will you join me?
Yes, it will be tough at times
(when reading through the temple measurements
and a few other statistics) . . .
but determine to keep reading.

And let me know the DIFFERENCE
it has made in your life at the end of this year.
Guaranteed: It will make a difference.
A big one.

And for those of you who have committed
to memorizing Scripture with me this year,
let’s begin with 2 Corinthians 4:7-9.
I’m going to memorize it from The Living Bible.
Let me know if you’re joining me,
and tell me which translation or paraphrase you’re using.

Thoughts?

I’m speaking at Westside Nazarene Church in Olathe, KS
this weekend. This is my first speaking event in 2018.
Please pray for God’s fresh anointing.

The Holy Spirit Helps Us!

Last week we chatted about the spotted water hemlock—the
deadliest plant in North America. One bite of this plant can kill
someone within two hours.

Of course, there are lots of things that seem good at first glance but
end up being toxic. Toadstools sure look like mushrooms.
But once eaten, you know what you consumed is NOT edible!

Everyone would agree that swans are beautiful.
But they, too, can also be deadly.
Many birds will eventually give up if an attacker is too strong to fight
against.
But swans will NOT give in!

They’ll attack by flying full speed at a predator and will begin biting it.
They’re also known to drown the predator by fiercely holding it
underwater until it dies.

Again, there are plenty of things that appear good or beautiful at first
glance but have fatal consequences once we experience them.

The question of the hour is:
How can we know what’s toxic and what isn’t?

Oftentimes we can’t.

This is where dependence on the Holy Spirit comes into play.

One of the job descriptions of the Holy Spirit is to help us know the
truth.

Check this out:

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will
not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell
you about the future” (John 16:13) New Living Translation).

It’s essential that we learn to depend on the Holy Spirit!
How do learn to do that?

By totally surrendering to Him.

So I guess the real question of the hour is:
Have you totally surrendered?
Have you yielded to the authority of Jesus Christ?
Are you living in radical obedience to Him?

He has given us His very Spirit to empower us,
guide us, and to bring us into truth as we depend more and more on Him.

“But the Advocate, 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).

Thoughts?

But It’s So Pretty!

The spotted water hemlock is labeled the most toxic plant in North
America. People who eat it can die within just two hours. And it’s not
an easy death.

Here’s how Steve Brill (a NY-based foraging expert and tour guide of
plants of the Northeast) describes what happens when someone eats
spotted water hemlock:

“Every single muscle starts firing and contracting, so you have
convulsions, you chew your tongue into ribbons, you vomit but then
you can’t open your mouth because the jaw muscles are contracting
10 or 20 times as hard as they normally do, and you die a horrible
death.”

Pretty gruesome, huh!
It also twists the arms and ankles and turns the head back. They say
it even turns the eyes back.

Again, this is the deadliest plant in North America.
One bite can kill you.
It’s ironic that something so pretty can be deadly.

Be on Guard!
Satan often works the same way, doesn’t he?
He masks the true ugliness of sin and causes it to appear
good,
pretty and even necessary.

As the master of lies, Scripture tells us:
“Satan can change himself to an angel of light”
(2 Corinthians 11:14 The Living Bible).

That’s why Peter encourages us to keep our guard up.
He says, “Be careful.”

Guess what—those are ACTION WORDS.
We can’t “be careful” if our guard is down.

“Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy.
He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim
to tear apart” (1 Peter 5:8 TLB).

Though temptation often appears as pretty—
Satan’s attacks can be spiritually toxic.
What should we do when he attacks?

Peter gives us the answer in the next verse:

“Stand firm when he attacks.
Trust the Lord;
And remember that other Christians all around the world are going
through these sufferings too”
(1 Peter 5:9 TLB).

Good to know we’re not alone.
We have each other.
And we also have the Holy Spirit who will empower us.

This next year . . . let’s commit together to keep our guard up.
To watch out.
To be careful.
And not to be taken in by something that simply looks good.
Let’s pray for discernment.

Thoughts?

 

Burgers and Scripture

Like me, you may have memorized key Bible verses during your
childhood. Perhaps it was in a Sunday school class or a summer time
Vacation Bible School. I still have some of those Scriptures etched in
my heart.

But I admit, during my adult years, I’ve slacked off in memorizing
Scripture. I’ve memorized other things: E-mails, phone numbers,
addresses, names and useless trivia. But when it comes to the most
important Words ever, I haven’t memorized as much as I should.

Do you remember the McDonald’s Big Mac song and commercial that
aired in 1974? Because of the frequency of the commercial, I quickly
memorized it and still have it memorized:

“Two all beef patties,
special sauce,
lettuce,
cheese,
pickles,
onions on a sesame seed bun.”

And I can’t even read those words without the jingle exploding in my
mind.

Here’s the deal:
I don’t want to know my burgers better than I know my Scripture.
Hamburgers can’t give me guidance, wisdom or promises.
But God’s Word can . . . and does!

Here’s the challenge:
How about joining me in 2018 to memorize more Scripture?
If you’re in for the challenge, respond to this message and let me
know. I’d love to band together and have us support one another in
this important endeavor.

You in?