Saturday, May 31, 2014

You are near O Lord

Today’s readings are 2 Samuel 17:1-29, John 19:23-42, Psalm 119:129-152 and Proverbs 16:12-13

You are near O Lord

Psalm 119:151 

Yet you are near, O Lord, and all your commands are true.

The psalmist experiences God’s nearness in times of trouble because he loves the Lord and is devoted to meditating on his word.  The Lord is near to all who love him and his Word.  If you have trouble in your life, take your Bible and in God’s presence use it to revitalize your relationship with him.

Start to experience God’s nearness in your life today by meditating on God’s word. 
Pray before you start to read.

Ask God to lead you in what he wants you to read.  

Look for answers to your life’s questions.

You will be amazed at the change that will occur when you give God a chance to teach you and guide you.

Kelly Schlotter

Friday, May 30, 2014

How To Increase Your Insight

Today’s Bible readings are 2 Samuel 15:23-16:23, John 18:25-19:22, Psalm 119:113-128, & Proverbs 16:10-11

Psalm 119:97-99
97 Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long. 98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide. 99 Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws.

What fills your mind during the day? What do you spend your day thinking about? Our thoughts mold our lives. Our thoughts produce actions. Our actions have consequences.

What would be the outcome of us filling our minds with the Word of God? What would be different in our lives if we spent more time meditating on the Word? Here are some things that would be much different:

1.      We would know the will of God.

2.      We would be strong in our faith.

3.      We would not fall for the same temptations.

4.      We would have a much more positive outlook.

5.      We would have different conversations.

6.      Our words would be different.

7.      Our activities would be different.

I love that the psalmist reminds us that when we fill our minds with the Word of God we are wiser than our enemies. The Holy Spirit will reveal things to us as we spend time thinking on the Word.

1.      He will show us things that the enemy does to trip us up.

2.      He will help us see things for what they really are so we don’t fall for the rock of offense.

3.      He will reveal the wiles of satan to us.

4.      We will notice snares on the path that have been laid to destroy us.

5.      We will be prepared in the Word so we will be able to say—“It is also written…”

I want to challenge each of the readers today to spend quality time thinking on the Word. Just rehearse it in your mind throughout the day. Work at memorizing portions of scripture. Let God’s Word be a centerpiece in your life so your insight will increase.


Pastor Richard Schlotter

Thursday, May 29, 2014

God Never Locks The Door, Instead, He Devises A Way To Restore

Today’s Bible readings are 2 Samuel 14:1-15:22, John 18:1-24, Psalm 119:97-112, & Proverbs 16:8-9

2 Samuel 14:14
14 All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.

I love this word from the bible. God does not sweep life away. He is always working to bring us back to Him even when we wander. This is such a truth for us to recognize. The nature of our Father is to bring us back to Him.

Many times when people in the church have a failure we send the message to them that it is over for them. We exclude them from serving. We eliminate them from ministry positions. We tell them they need to focus on themselves get their lives in order.

I don’t disagree with that approach. I do believe that leaders should be held to a higher standard. When there is a moral failure, or any failure of character for that matter, we should hold people accountable. That is the biblical thing to do, BUT at what point do we learn what David needed to learn—the grace to restore.

In our personal life, if it is our children that have broken our trust we may say that it will never be the same. If it is a spouse who has lied or cheated we say we will never trust them again. Is this restoration? Is this the way that the Lord deals with us? Is this the example that He left us?

I see that this is an issue in the body of Christ. I was filling out an application for membership at an outdoor facility in our community. One of the questions was:  “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” My reply was: “Yes, but that was 15 years ago. I am a pastor now. That is long in my past.” Yet, this still causes me to think: “Is it ever going to be behind me?”

I feel, at times, that we forget that Jesus is all about restoration. He wants to restore people & things.

1.      He wants to restore us to health.

2.      He wants to restore us to ministry.

3.      He wants to restore us to service.

4.      He wants to restore us leadership.

5.      He wants to restore us in our communities.

There is no doubt that this is the heart of our King. God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him. I believe that we have forgotten this in the church.

We are so quick to administer correction, & this is needed, but it seems like we have no concept of restoration. At what point do we receive back into FULL restoration our brother & sisters in the Lord? It is interesting to me that we preach this message of restoration in our churches but FAIL to demonstrate it when opportunities arise. We tell people that God will restore but then we fail to restore people. It is as though our doctrine & our practice are in conflict.

At some point if we are to be people of integrity ourselves, we must practice restoration. By failing to acknowledge & restore, we become hypocrites of the very message that we preach. We fail to give the very mercy & restoration that we ourselves SO desperately need.

So the question needs to be answered—at what point do we restore our brothers & sisters??? I think that the answer is found in the bible.

John 21:15-25

15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”

The really interesting thing about this is that Jesus never put Peter on a probation period. He was restored. In just a few short days Peter would be back in fulltime ministry changing the world for Christ.

I do want to say that Jesus knew Peter’s heart. He knew that Peter had truly repented. This is the best way to gauge things. Has there been a true repentance? Is it evident in the life of the person? Is the fruit of their life showing that there has been a change of heart, mind, & direction?

Another thing that is very important is prayer. We must be people who believe in the leadership of the Holy Spirit. If we seek the answer to these things in prayer God will reveal the truth to us. But let’s not just say that God has showed us, LET’S REALLY PRAY UNTIL HE SPEAKS CLEARLY TO US. God knows when there has been a true change in a person’s heart.

This may be different for each person. It may be a 6 month turnaround. It could be a 6 hour turnaround in other cases. Other times there may never be a true change. The point is that we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in each case.  

Lastly, once there has been true repentance, restoration should immediately follow. Wisdom would be to put up boundaries to prevent a future relapse in the old area. We don’t want to set people up to fail again. Yet, we want to practice restoration.

I hope that this has touched your heart. I pray that we will be people of grace. I trust that we will follow that leading of Jesus & work harder to devise ways to get people back into ministry & fellowship that sin has stolen from them instead of devising ways to keep them out.


Pastor Richard Schlotter

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Eternal & Firm

Today’s Bible readings are 2 Samuel 13:1-39, John 17:1-26, Psalm 119:81-96, & Proverbs 16:6-7

Psalm 119:89-90
89 Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven. 90 Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created.

God’s Word is eternal. It stands firm in heaven. This is a powerful truth. It can change our lives when we realize what this is really saying.

God’s Word is secure. He has spoken it & it will come to pass. There are so many things that try to keep us from having what the Word says we can have.

1.      Demons trying to take it.

2.      People telling you that you can’t have it.

3.      Weaknesses telling us we aren’t good enough.

4.      Our past telling us that we don’t deserve it.

5.      People telling us that it isn’t possible.

6.      Our surroundings telling us that it can’t be true.

7.      Our experience reminding us what happened last time.

These are all trying to do the same thing—steal the seed of His Word from the soil of our hearts. If we listen to long to these things we will be deceived. It will start to look like the promise isn’t going to come to pass.

This is when we have to shout from the core of our being—“His Word is eternal & it stands firm in the heavens.”  This means that is the realm of heaven it is already done. It is spoke & on it’s way.

I learned some time ago to that this is why Jesus taught us to pray—His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We know that it is fir & settled in heaven. Now we pray that it be done in the earth realm like it is in the heaven realm. This is our part.

Here are some things that are eternal & firm in heaven that you need to know:

1.      You are redeemed.

2.      You are healed.

3.      You are an overcomer.

4.      You have the victory.

5.      You are righteous.

6.      You are justified.

7.      You are seated with Christ.

8.      You have the greater One living in you.

9.      You are free.

10.   You are royalty.

There may be a lot of things that try to keep us form living our lives as people who are all of the above, BUT WE ARE!!! It is written in the book of heaven & stands firm forever. Nothing can shake it or break it. It is firm & sure. This is who you are! This is what you have become in Christ.

Rest easy knowing that what God has said will come to pass in your life. Be patient & stand your ground. You are created to outlast the attack & endure through the storm. There is no doubt that God will bring it to past. Take heart & have confidence. His Word is eternal & firm!!!

Pastor Richard Schlotter