Thursday, September 11, 2014


Today’s Bible readings are Isaiah 8:1-9:21, 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, Psalm 55:1-23, & Proverbs 23:4-5

2 Corinthians 12:8-10
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul was a man who experienced God’s mighty power in insane ways. He was used by God to heal the sick, cast out demons, preach to multitudes, receive heavenly revelations, & plant churches all over the known world of the day. Yet, we also see that he endured great hardship & persecution.

1.      Beatings

2.      Stoning’s

3.      Arrests

4.      Shipwrecks

5.      Riots

6.      Spiritual attacks

7.      Physical attacks

8.      Loneliness

9.      Nakedness

10.   Famine

Yet, in all these things we see Paul walking in victory & great power.

In our text today, we see that there were times when Paul prayed & asked God to remove these obstacles from his ministry. Yet God’s reply was, “My grace is enough.” This is not the answer that we want to hear when we are being pressed by circumstances & opposition, but it is the answer that Paul received.

God told Paul that His power works best in weakness. Why is that? Do we have to be under attack in order to be used of God? Must we experience great struggle in order to see the miraclulous power of God? I don’t know that I can accept that thinking. Does God want us to suffer so that He can show His power in us? Many people would read our text & leave with this type of understanding. I believe there is a more complete answer than that one.

We must understand that what God desires & looks for in us is HUMILITY.

1.      Pride causes us to puff up.

2.      Pride causes us to lose compassion for people.

3.      Pride causes us to think it is all about us.

4.      Pride causes us to take credit for it.

5.      Pride causes us to forget about God.

6.      Pride causes us to move toward self-reliance.

7.      Pride causes us to glory in our accomplishments.

8.      Pride causes us to operate in our own strength.

9.      Pride causes us to exalt ourselves.

10.   Pride causes us to be resisted by God.


Struggle usually brings us the opposite.

1.      We cry out to God in our struggle.

2.      We rely completely on Him.

3.      We know it can’t be done by us.

4.      We are more compassionate toward other’s struggles because of our own.

5.      We can show more patience toward others because we see how patient God has been toward us.

All of these things lead to God multiplying His grace in us. With that being said, it is not struggle & suffering that leads to God’s greater grace; IT IS HUMILITY!!!

James 4:6-7 (KJV)

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Listen to why Paul testified he endured the thorn in his flesh…


2 Corinthians 12:7

even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

He said it was due to the tendency of being PRIDEFUL that he experienced these things.

I have come to learn a few things about God from my own experience with Him. I can humble myself or He has a way of humbling me. It is never easy to be humbled. This process usually involves struggle & even humiliation at times. In fact, humiliation & humility come from the same rootword.

If I aim to walk in humility, I find less struggles, “humbly experiences”, along the way. Learn to notice the signs of pride in your life so that you can experience God’s grace in a new way. You don’t necessarily have to suffer in order to have greater grace. You only need greater humility. Lord, help us & teach us to be humble!

Pastor Richard Schlotter

Wednesday, September 10, 2014



Today’s Bible readings are Isaiah 3:1-5:30, 2 Corinthians 11:1-15, Psalm 53:1-6, & Proverbs 22:28-29

2 Corinthians 11:13-15
13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Have you ever heard the phrase: “Not every good thing is a God thing”? I have recently been thinking about this. I believe that we often get ourselves into unnecessary jams by going after good things. They aren’t necessarily bad things, but they definitely aren’t the things that God wants us to pursue.

How many people have veered from the plan of God for their lives in the pursuit of money? How many people do you know who stopped chasing after God so they could go to the lake on the weekends? Have you ever known somebody who was so wrapped up in sports activities that they had no time left to serve in the kingdom? Or how about the person who is so bent on a job promotion that they forfeit their heavenly promotion?

These kinds of things happen all the time. People get chasing after the wrong things. It is not that any of these things are bad or sinful in & of themselves; it is just that they often appear to be good, but if they take our focus away from Christ then they ALWAYS cost us in the end.

I had a friend who really wanted a better paying job. He had a job. It just didn’t pay as much as he thought he was worth. He talked to me about taking this new job. At the time, it didn’t seem right. This new job was going to take his weekends away from him. That meant he would miss church. His new job was going to be a second shift job, so this meant now church or small groups during the week. All of the things that had kept him strong & stable were going to be forfeited for a few more dollars each week.

Needless to say, it didn’t work out well for him. He ended up backsliding. What he thought was going to make his life better ended up costing dearly. When he finally made it back he was in worse shape financially than he was before. And now he was unemployed.

This is the craftiness of the enemy. He is a master of offering something that looks good to distract us & pull us away from what is God. We have to be determined to not let this happen in our lives.

I can remember a time in my own ministry where I got distract in a similar way. I use to think that the only way I was going to prove to be a successful pastor was to have 1000 people attend our church. There is nothing wrong with this. It is not a sinful thing to desire such a goal. Yet, the longing for this became greater than my longing for Christ. I wanted growth more than I wanted Jesus. I had to have focus shift. Thank God for the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Here is what I have learned to do to help keep me in God’s will & not just my own. I am learning to pray more like Jesus taught us to pray. In His teaching on prayer for the disciples He taught them:

Matthew 6:9-13

“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”

So often, when we pray, we come to God with our list of things that we want Him to do for us. Many of these things are legitimate. They are not sinful, but they may not be His best for us. His best is not what looks the shiniest. His best is not always the thing that looks the most glamorous. In fact, God’s best usually looks the simplest.

Think about Jesus. There was nothing fancy about Him. There was nothing about His appearance that drew men to Him. He was pretty ordinary on the outside. He was not the most glamorous leader of the day, but He was God’s best. Listen to what the scripture says concerning Him:

Isaiah 53:1-3

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

This only reminds me that the things & desires of God are not nearly as grandiose as the church has made them out to be. When it came to the Savior of the world, HE was a pretty simple man on the level of appearance. That is why many missed His first coming. They were looking for something much more jazzy & flashy. My prayer is that you don’t miss His second coming while looking for & chasing after the same things.

Pastor Richard Schlotter


Today’s Bible readings are Isaiah 6:1-7:25, 2 Corinthians 11:16-33, Psalm 54:1-7, & Proverbs 23:1-3

Isaiah 6:1-8
It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!
    The whole earth is filled with his glory!”
Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke.
Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.”
Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”
I said, “Here I am. Send me.”

Here is an amazing example of what happens in the presence of a holy God. Isaiah saw the majesty & holiness of God & it changed his life. He also immediately realized his own sinfulness. This is very interesting to me.

We are all such imperfect people. We tend to forget about these things most of the time. I know how easy it is to focus on the imperfections of others, while we neglect to ever notice the imperfections of our own.

It is easy to condemn those around us for the things that we dislike in them. Many times those things may be legitimate. They may sin in ways that we despise. Yet, the more our eyes are drawn to the imperfections they wrestle with, the further our eyes get from Jesus.

When I read this text I always notice the fact that Isaiah came into the presence of a holy God. In His presence He saw his own imperfections. I have often thought that is the reason that God wants us to come into His presence; so he can reveal to us our imperfections. There have been times when this made sense. Yet, maybe the reason that God wanted Isaiah to experience Him was so that Isaiah no longer had to live feeling condemned for his imperfections. Maybe what God really wanted to reveal to Isaiah was His ability to make us righteous.

The first thing that we see God doing once Isaiah started to focus on his imperfection was to cleanse him of the guilt that was associated to it. He forgave & cleansed. God doesn’t want anybody walking through life feeling inadequate & condemned. He doesn’t want you feeling this way & He doesn’t want us making others feel this way. The reason He wants us to experience Him is so we can be freed from those 2 crippling things. This frees us to live for His glory.

It is the law of sin & death that produces condemnation in us. Christ offers another way. It is the law of life in the Spirit. The more time we spend in God’s presence, the more we realize that He doesn’t condemn us.

This all leads to us being transformed. We immediately see Isaiah accepting God’s call AFTER he had this revelation. Knowing he was righteous empowered him to say yes to God. People will never say yes to God if they feel condemned inside. Nobody will ever embrace God’s plan for their life; in its fullness, until they see that they are right with Him.

The next time that you are tempted to focus on your imperfections, or the imperfections of another, take a break & spend some time in the presence of the Lord. Let Him affirm you. Let Him encourage you. Let Him speak the word that will cleanse & reveal His true heart for you. If God doesn’t condemn you then why condemn yourself?

Pastor Richard Schlotter

Monday, September 8, 2014

Today’s Bible readings are Isaiah 1:-2:22, 2 Corinthians 10:1-18, Psalm 52:1-9, & Proverbs 22:26-27

Isaiah 1:18New International Version (NIV)
18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
    says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
    they shall be like wool.