Month: September 2014

  • Cause and Effect

    sing for joy“…you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD…The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”
                                                               Isaiah 51:1,3 NIV
    Have you ever gone through a time in your life when you couldn’t imagine ever having joy or feeling glad?   It’s horrible! I remember going to church and not even being able to sing because I feared that if I sang it would bring on a tidal wave of emotions that I couldn’t control. I read this verse and struggled to believe it was possible. How could joy, gladness and singing come back into my life? These verses gave me hope to know that there were things I could do to place myself in line with God’s promises. A kind of “CAUSE AND EFFECT” principle that was offered to the people in Isaiah’s time worked for me and is applicable for your life today!
    If you want to see a big turnaround in your life from deserts to gardens, Isaiah says you need to “pursue righteousness” and “seek the LORD”. You don’t have to fix yourself, anyone or anything else up. It’s simply out of pursuing and seeking after God, who is our righteousness that we gain joy, gladness and start to sing again. When you begin to set your focus on building your relationship with Him and start over looking your desert wastelands that you will start to feel the joy and gladness surging through your heart.
    My experience has been that when I have decidedly spent time enjoying my relationship with God that the negative hard stuff doesn’t affect me as much. The more I spend time pursuing a relationship with God, the more refreshed I am and able to experience the joy He has for me. It’s been a process that was set into motion by following this “CAUSE AND EFFECT” principle; I seek, HE restores! How good to know that our God doesn’t change. His promises were just as effective yesterday as they are today! Why not take advantage of them?
    Father, I thank-you that Your promises are true, even when I don’t feel like they are. I ask you to help me to pursue You alone. I set my focus on building relationship with you so that You can apply this promise to my life and fill me with Your gladness to the place where I will sing for joy!  In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • Promises, Promises

    “Know therefore that the LORD your God…is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”
                                                    Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV
    This is my fiftieth SOUL H2O devotional! I’m still considered a newbie to many bloggers, but I’m starting to feel like I have at least a few under my belt now. 50’s a pretty big number! We celebrate hitting the big 5-0, experiencing 50 years of marriage with the one you love and the milestone of 50 years in business. Leviticus 25:9-10 says,

    “…sound the trumpet…Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty through the land to all its inhabitants…”

    I felt like God was saying “sound the trumpet Sherry, this is the year of freedom for you, Todd, all your children and anyone who hears this!”
    As you are reading this devotional, Todd is undergoing heart valve repair surgery. The hospital called on Friday and asked if he could come in for Monday morning at 6am. As we have gone through all the testing involved for the past few months fear would try to settle in, but God kept speaking peace, hope and His covenant promise to us that Todd would have a NEW HEART!   All week God brought people into our paths that spoke about the future God has for us.
    Driving out of town; enroute to the hospital, we talked about how good God is to encourage us so much with His promises when all of a sudden a rainbow appeared with the most vibrant spectrum of colors we’ve ever seen!

    In Genesis 9 after the flood God made Noah and the whole world a covenant promise and confirmed it with a rainbow.   So, what promise is God confirming to you as you look at this rainbow?
    Father, I thank-you that you are faithful to keep your covenant promises. Help me to believe and not waver in doubt as I move toward your purposes for me. In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • Toby's SPEAKING LIFE in song

    Whenever I write about something, songs just seem to come into my life that back up the message. This week I’ve heard some great ones that hit home the message from my WORD POWER Devotional on Monday.

    SPEAK LIFE–TOBY MAC toby mac

    Toby Mac’s song “Speak Life” is one of my faves.  Generally, I like most things Toby has put on the market since about 1989 in the DC Talk days!  You can find one of his songs on my itunes playlist at any given time.  This song is no different.  It really shouts the message of Proverbs 18:21 that says,

    “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

    The music video is amazing how it shows the devastating or life-giving effect our words can have on others to bring life or death.  The most impactful line in this song for me is when Toby says:

    We can turn a heart with the words we say.”  1

    The music video brings this line to life.  I love how he ends the video with a quote from a book I now want to read!   

    “In Every encounter we either give life or we drain it; there is no neutral exchange.”
    ~Brennan Manning 2

    Watch the Video, Listen to the Song and Read through the words so Toby Mac can “Speak Life” into your heart today!
    Toby’s Online Music Video for “Speak Life” Link
    AZ Lyrics for “Speak Life”
    Toby Mac’s Website
    toby mac speak life
    1     Mac, Toby.  SPEAK LIFE.  Capitol Chrisitan Music Group ©  2014
    2     Manning, Brennan.  ABBA’S CHILD. The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging. © 2002

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    words have power“And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.”
                               2 Chronicles 32:8 NIV
    “Great Job! I’m so proud of you!”
    “You’re an idiot. Don’t you know anything!”
    Words are POWERFUL! No matter what you say, there is an effect attached to your words for good or bad. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” The truth of that verse is hard to believe. We can understand that God’s words are powerful since it only took Him speaking to create our universe and everything in it. To believe that human words are powerful you only need to speak to a counselor to understand the devastating or inspiring affect of words. Do you understand the effects of your WORD POWER?
    Hezekiah was king of Judah in a dangerous time. The nation was being taken captive by a super-power named Sennacherib, king of Assyria. Daily he spoke threats to the people; demeaning them, elevating his strength and leaving them in fear. Hezekiah knew that God was with them as a nation and wasn’t willing to let Sennacherib have the last say. King Hezekiah assembled the troops and gave them a most powerful rally speech. He “encouraged them with these words: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.” (2 Chronicles 32:6-8 NIV) This confidence brought VICTORY!
    Recognize your WORD POWER today! Choose to bring; life, not death; faith not fear; confidence not discouragement. You are that powerful!
    Father, I thank-you for the power of Your Word. May my speech be seasoned with Your words and Your encouragement, so that power of my words would bring people to confidence in You and who you’ve made them! In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • A NEW HEART and The Power of Three

    Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 11.58.52 PMMany of you have asked how Todd is doing. We’ve been going to the hospital a lot for appointments and more tests to check out Todd’s heart. They have bumped him up the list because of the severity of his situation even though by looking at him you wouldn’t know! Surgery is only a couple weeks away unless they get a cancellation and they’ll fit him in sooner.

    NUMBER 1

    This morning as we were leaving for work Todd went to the read one of the verses on the heart in the “Scripture Rolodex” I made up for him with Cue Cards bound together by a metal ring. He chose to speak Ezekiel 36:28 over his life today. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you” (NIV).   He said it with such confidence and we both made faith declarations about how God was going to give him a NEW HEART. God keeps using this phrase of a NEW HEART to speak life into Todd’s defective one. We both left with confidence as we kept this verse fresh in our minds throughout the day.

    NUMBER 2

    I receive via email a daily devotional from the Osteen’s and I often forward them to Todd; adding highlights or notes as it relates to us. Often God has used their devotionals to spur us on in our faith through overwhelming circumstances. Today’s devotional from Joel and Victoria was called “He Makes All Things New”! They quoted Revelations 21:5 that says “See! I make all things new” (AMP). The Osteens go on to say, “When God puts a dream in your heart, when He puts a promise on the inside, He deposits within you everything you need to accomplish that dream.” I printed it off and read to Todd after work as we began to drive to our trailer. We were so encouraged that God had again spoken to us that He was going to make all things NEW!

    NUMBER 3

    After driving for hours and stopping to eat we got back in the car. We were getting bored and Todd asked “Do you have any more of those CD’s?”. We’ve been listening to the Oasis Audio of the Real Life Real Miracles book. I popped in CD 4 and the first story was about a little girl that had heart problems. SEVERE heart problems. In the recounting of her miracle journey, her mother tells how the three year old had a dream where her heart broke and the angels cried because no one could fix it. She next told of how God stepped in and gave her a NEW HEART!!!! Yup she said it, a NEW HEART! Some people will call this all coincidences, but I choose to call them Godwinks! I remember watching Touched By An Angel and the angel Tess said “Coincidences are when God chooses to work anonymously”, or something like that! Todd and I turned off the CD and stopped to thank God for his promise to us! We know God is working out all things for Todd’s good! (Romans 8:28 paraphrased)
    A NEW HEART confirmed by the power of three and a painting! Remember the HEART ART blog 🙂  The surgeon’s diagram this week confirmed that the bandaid is exactly where Todd’s mitral valve that needs repair is located!!!

    We won’t be a bit surprised if Todd goes in for surgery and the doctor says he doesn’t need it! We will continue to pray and let God bring about the NEW HEART for Todd! We trust He knows which way will make the greatest impact for Him!
    Hope you are encouraged to believe and hold on to UNWAVERING FAITH in our faithful God! Remember, He makes ALL things NEW!
    In His Grip,
    Today’s Word Devotional Email, Joel & Victoria Osteen, September 11, 2014.
    Garlow, James L and Wall, Keith. Real Life Real Miracles, Oasis Audio, CD 4. © 2012 Book Published by Bethany House Publishers.

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  • Unwavering Faith

    Unwavering Faith“But even if he does not”
                                         Daniel 3:18
    I’ve always loved the story of how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survived being thrown into a fiery furnace. If you went to Sunday School in the 70’s the song “Three Hebrew Boys”, sung to the tune of “Three Blind Mice” is probably running through your head and will be for the rest of today! In the song are the words “but God delivered them out you know…Three Hebrew Boys”.   More incredible to me than their miraculous deliverance was their unwavering faith, despite the outcome.
    When Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon raged and told the three Hebrew boys how he was going to throw them into a blazing furnace their response to his threat is what real faith is made of! They confidently stated how God was able to deliver them and how they thought he would. They made the boldest of faith declarations by ending with “But even if he does not…we will not serve your God.” Their faith did not hinge on whether or not God delivered them. They walked in, and out of the furnace with unwavering faith.
    A couple weeks ago I found out that a friend has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The news has hit their relatives and our church family pretty hard. I was challenged at their declaration of unwavering faith on Facebook. They posted just days after the diagnosis, “we trust in God’s plans, even if the healing never comes and we are committed to using this season we have unexpectedly been thrown into to grow in our Faith further despite the outcome.” Unwavering faith in a faithful God.
    Father, I state my faith in your ability to deliver me out of each and every circumstance. You are all mighty, all knowing and always present. I’m not alone. Please help me to exercise unwavering faith, no matter the outcome, all the days of my life. In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • Labor Day Drives

    LABOR DAY DRIVE“blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him”
                                                 Jeremiah 17:5 NIV
    How crazy are roads on a long weekend? Bottlenecks, congestion, slowpokes, speeders… Monday is Labor Day so we went up to our trailer at camp for the long weekend. As Todd weaved in and out of traffic, we talked about how different life is for us compared to what the Israelites experienced travelling through the desert. Today we drive on beautifully paved highways with signs everywhere telling us where to go, what’s coming up ahead and which roads are better to take during traffic times. If that’s not enough we have GPS systems or news stations that can alert us to immediate traffic issues. Somehow we can live in this false illusion that we have it all planned out—under control to the last detail. We rely on ourselves, others, technology…anything or anyone but God to direct our lives.
    The Israelites didn’t live like that. Numbers 9:17-18 confirms their obedience in following God’s direction. They had a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. None came with warnings of what was up ahead. No warning signal, beeping or flashing lights. The cloud or pillar of fire would begin to move and the people had to follow, not knowing what was coming next. Would the ground be soft or hard? Would they have to walk 1, 2 or 20 miles? Would there be a gas station along the way for pitstops? Joking aside, the Israelites walked in blind faith to their destination. Trusting God with their very next step.
    Are you struggling with your future? Wondering where you will be in the next year? Some may be wondering where you will be in the next day or hour. Trust Him with your future. Place Him in the drivers seat and enjoy the ride!
    Father… Forgive me for trying to figure it all out on my own or rely on others for answers. Help me to look to you and trust you with today and my future. May I trust your guidance and have the faith to follow you wherever you may lead. In Jesus Name…Amen!

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