Month: July 2016

  • 13. Created With A Free Will

    “The woman said to the serpent, We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden….”
    Genesis 3:2 NIV

    Parenting when my kids were little seemed much easier; more tiring, but easier. I loved when I could set their bedtimes, meal plans, and friends through planned playdates along with my activity choices. They followed the schedule set for them. Then the teenage years hit and I began to lose control. As a youth leader in church I saw how most youth reacted rebelliously when their parents enforced a strong control over their teenager’s will. To ensure I didn’t make this fatal error I learned to keep cutting those apron strings till my blades were dull. Allowing my kids to choose and live by the consequences of their free will has been the most difficult part of parenting for me.

    God created Adam and Eve In The Beginning, with a free will. They were able to choose who to listen to, who to follow, what to do and what to think. This freedom comes with a great deal of responsibility. Sadly, Adam and Eve exercised their liberty to listen to the enemy, make choices contrary to what God told them and cater to their selfish desires.

    Many times I’ve felt like Paul when he said, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do… I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway..” In Romans 7:15,19.

    [tweetthis]I’ve often thought it would have been easier if God hadn’t given me a #freewill[/tweetthis]

    That way I wouldn’t mess up so much.

    And then I think about parenting my kids, or the other relationships in my life.

    I don’t want to make my kids do the right thing, I want them to choose for themselves to do the right thing. I don’t want them to obey me out of fear, but out of acceptance that I know what’s best, and want the best for them. I don’t want to force my husband to love me, I want him to love me in his own free will.

    So, what are you doing with your free will?   Do you let your freedom draw you closer to, or further away from God? Choose today to employ your free will to love God more. Allow the liberty you’ve been given to make right choices, following God’s Word; understanding your heavenly Father knows and wants what’s best for you. He always has, right from The Beginning!


    Father…I thank You for believing in me enough to give me the freedom to choose. Too often I make the wrong choices and have to suffer the consequences, but I’m so glad you don’t just leave me there. Help me to gain confidence in my ability to exercise my free will in ways that would honor You, bringing me into a deeper relationship with You. In Jesus Name…Amen

    #Dare2Share your struggles with free will?
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  • 12. Shameless – In The Beginning Series

    “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
    Genesis 2:25 NIV

    On Saturday, Todd and I were taking it easy. We went out to grab a coffee for Todd and a coke for me. The drive thru line up was too long so I walked in McD’s and ordered when it hit me that I didn’t have makeup on and hadn’t even brushed my hair. I felt my head and could tell I had some major bedhead going on in the back. I finger-combed my hair and got out as quickly as I could and jumped back in the car. Todd and I were laughing about while we drove home when all of a sudden the car started to smell like an electrical fire and began making a weird sound. We had to pull into Todd’s old workplace and his friend Chris came out to check the car with Todd. Jokingly, but not joking I warned Chris not to let anyone know he saw me like that.

    Why is it that we care so much about what we look like?

    How wonderful it would have been for Adam and Eve In The Beginning, when they lived completely shameless. To experience life free of insecurities that bring about shame seems unimaginable to us in 2016. For generations, people have taken crazy steps to enhance their beauty. Never before in the history of the world have people been more unsettled about how they appear to others. A whole new industry for Anti-Aging products and services has risen out of people’s desire to find the elusive ‘fountain of youth’. Living in Eden would have been so peaceful to never have a thought or care, never worrying if you weighed too much or too little, if you were too tall or too short, too dark or too fair, my muscles too big or too small…you get the picture.

    The next time you’re faced with a situation like me; and shame starts to take over, remember how the garden was In The Beginning. Our Father wants His children to live shameless and free, understanding that in His eyes YOU are perfect, because He is perfect and YOU are made in HIS image. Decide today to walk shameless as the incredible person God’s created you to be!


    Father…I look forward to Heaven when everything will be as you originally intended it to be, In The Beginning. Help me to keep a garden perspective about myself, remembering that I am Your image bearer. Help me to live shameless and free walking in confidence that You’ve created me so wonderful that I reflect Your glory.  In Jesus Name…Amen


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  • First Facebook Live

    I finally did it!  I recorded my first real Facebook Live Video.

    I tried one before, but didn’t announce it and it didn’t really work.  The video was all fuzzy and didn’t post properly.  Since I didn’t announce only a couple people saw it, and I was good with that.  I didn’t make a real effort to do it right, so it still was a lingering desire to fulfill and it seemed wherever I went people kept encouraging me to do videos (Ahem…Jeane Wynn of Wynn-Wynn Media)…but…since I messed up the first time I was nervous to try again.

    Have you ever been there?

    With my personality I’m sometimes better to just spontaneously do something or I’ll end up overthinking it, and not doing it.  This was the case for my video.  At 11am I impetuously started writing a Facebook post informing people that I would be airing a Live Video at 12:15pm to announce the latest #PaperbackPic #EllensPicks . When I hit ‘PUBLISH’ I panicked a bit.  I knew that was just a waste of time, so I sat down to plan out what I was going to say.  I asked some friends to pray, then I drove to McDonald’s, grabbed a Coke along with a frozen lemonade because I planned to use the lemonade as a prop, and I really like fountain coke from McD’s 🙂  After I had things briefly outlined I taped the bullet points to my selfie-stick, got all my props around me and hit record.

    Once I started and people began popping on to watch I got so excited.  I’m glad I’ve watched The Communication StylistNikki Elledge Brown presenting webinars before so I knew it was ok to say hello to people on a live video.  It’s kind of exhilarating to see the names and comments showing up as you speak. It’s also hard to stay on topic…thankfully I had my bullet notes.

    The purpose of my video was to reveal the latest book I had received for the #EllensPicks group (See pics below), to let more people know about my upcoming #SoulH2O Devotional book release and to ask for prayer to finish the last edit of the manuscript.  I share on the video how I have to have the final edit back to the publisher on Monday or it won’t be published this year.  There have been so many delays and set-backs.  Many as a result of my computer issues.  My computer was in the shop for the past 3 weeks and I just received it back at 5pm Monday.  Tuesday it crashed four times.  It seems someone doesn’t want this book to hit the shelves…I wonder who?  I went to bed and while praying felt to come downstairs one last time and perform a backup.  This didn’t make sense since it had just crashed and wouldn’t start only an hour previous to this, but it worked, so I decided to finish writing this blog post.

    Many times I share on my blog all the good things God is doing in my life.  I don’t ever want to focus on the negative, but I want you to know that I’m real.  I have problems just like the rest of you, lots of them.  Problems come to everyone, all the time on this earth.  The good is always mingled with the difficult.  The divine with a dilemma.  The issue is, are we going to let it get us?  Are we going to let the enemy of our souls cause us to give up?

    Galatians 6:9 says:

    “Let us not become weary in doing good,
    for at the proper time we will reap a harvest
    IF we
    do not give up.”

    In John 14:1 Jesus encourages us to have faith and says:

    “Do not let your hearts be troubled”

    Don’t let the enemy of your life, the one who comes to ‘steal, kill and destroy’ get you to give up before you reap that harvest Paul is talking about in Galatians.  If I would have given up I wouldn’t have seen the results on my first Facebook Live video.  It’s only been up for less than 24 hours and has over 1000 views! If I were to give up on finishing this book how many people would miss out on being refreshed through scripture?

    You’ve got to put on your spiritual amor and Stand Strong.  ‘Don’t let your hearts be troubled’ sounds a little harsh to say when someone is going through a hard time.  Jesus didn’t make it easy on His followers.  Some people say being a Christian is weak because you’re relying on God for everything.  Well, I think it’s just the opposite.  If we follow these scriptures we aren’t weak, but strong because of our faith in Him.  When the world faces hard times they drink too much, work too much, do drugs, mess around…Christians Stand…and today, I’m choosing to stand in the face of manuscript deadlines with computer crashes and the financial issues that ensue.  Nothing will stop me from running towards the finish line in the race God’s called me to run.  I hope this inspires you to keep on running!

    If you need some more encouragement to BE BRAVE…Here’s some great scriptures to bolster your faith:

    Isaiah 41:10…Joshua 1:9…Deuteronomy 31:6,8,12-13,23…Philippians 4:13

    To view the Facebook Live Video,
    Click on My Facebook Account Sherry Stahl Author/Speaker/Blogger
    Don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ my page 🙂

    roots and sky
    Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons

    By Christie Purifoy
    Published by Revell on February 2, 2016.

    Quote from the back of Roots & Sky by: Jennifer Dukes Lee

    Keep your eye out for my #PaperbackPic Post at the end of the month on this book.
    Find it at your local Christian Retailer.

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  • 11. One – In The Beginning Series

    The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh.”
                                                                          Genesis 2:23-24 NIV

    When I was a kid we often drove to Florida for March break. I remember one trip sitting in the back of the Country Squire Station Wagon with my cousin coloring with crayons, ’cause back then there weren’t portable DVD players to keep kids entertained. We stopped for lunch and without thinking, Angie and I left our crayons in the dipped spot along the window. While we ate, the hot Georgia sun melted our one source of entertainment. We got back to the car and found a lake of liquified crayons, all melted into each other. No longer distinct colors, just one color with streaks of the original colors showing.

    Just like the crayons that were melted by the Georgia sun, God designed for men and women to become one. In Genesis 2:23 Adam speaks right after God made Eve from his own rib. Adam lets it be known that he and Eve are one, created from the same bones and flesh. Adam goes on to prophesy about God’s plans for all future relationships. Adam makes clear that In The Beginning God designed men and women to become one; distinct in design, one in purpose. I love how real scripture is. It doesn’t say that when a husband and wife get together they are one, but that they become one. In God’s perfect plan men and women leave their family homes, next they’re united together (sounds like marriage to me), and then the process of them becoming one begins. It’s not just a physical union, but a complete unity in relationship.

    [tweetthis]In The Beginning there is no hint of one above or below the other. The two are one.[/tweetthis]

    Paul reemphasizes this principle as he talks about the marriage relationship in Ephesians 5:21-33 and he explains how this is also displayed through the church. Matthew Henry, who wrote the most commonly used Commentary on the Bible said this:

    Women were created from the rib of man to be beside him, not from his head to top him, nor from his feet to be trampled by him, but from under his arm to be protected by him, near to his heart to be loved by him.”1

    The imagery that God created through forming Eve out of Adam’s rib again reveals His desire for men and women, and the church to function as co-workers; moving as one flesh, so intertwined that it’s hard to tell where one starts and the other ends. All fulfilling their roles to be image-bearers of the ONE who created them!


    Father…I echo the words of the psalmist “your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”2 Your plans for relationships between men and women is perfect, yet so hard to live up to. Help me to do my part to become one and not live as a separate entity on my own. Help me to live in the unity you desire. In Jesus Name…Amen 

    1 An Exposition of the Old and New Testament by Matthew Henry, George Burder, Joseph Hughes (c) 2010
    2 Psalm 139:14

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  • 10. CO-Workers (Part Three) – In The Beginning Series

    The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
                                                                                                   Genesis 2:18 NIV

    Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus.”
                                                                                  Romans 16:3 NIV

    Last week’s devotion discussed how the Bible is full of examples where men and women fulfilled their calling as co-workers. Romans 16 talks about Priscilla and Acquilla, a power couple who were doing amazing things to spread the gospel of Christ together. I’m glad to know there are more dynamic duos making Jesus famous in our world today!

    Brian and Bobbie Houston co-founded the Hillsong Family of churches1. My daughter Shelby was an intern this year at Grace City Church2; a Hillsong Family Church where Drew and Christina Gard are the pastors. The church only started in September and already has 3 Sunday services! I believe the work has increased so quickly because this couple works in tandem.

    The Bible says, “If one can put a 1000 to flight, two can put 10,000”.3

    [tweetthis]Working together multiplies our effectiveness.[/tweetthis]

    Rich Jr. and DawnChere Wilkerson co-pastor Vous church in Miami. They’re fulfilling their mission “To bring people that are far from God close to Him”4 in profound ways. Friends of mine, Reynold and Kathy Mainse are missionaries in Uganda shaking that part of the world up. As co-founders of World Embrace; “a non-profit organization on a mission to see the world transformed by unity”5, they sign off their prayer group emails, “Pursuing John 17 together so that the world will know Jesus!”6

    So, let’s stop competing and start completing…cause there’s a lost world that needs to know about Him! Let’s partner together as co-workers and do something great, just like God planned, In The Beginning.


    Father…I’m thankful that you have designed men and women to work together. Couples in the Bible and couples today. Open our eyes to see how we can fulfill your calling as Image-Bearers and co-workers to reach this world for You. Let our lives make You famous. In Jesus Name…Amen 

    3 Deuteronomy 32:30
    6 Email from World Embrace Prayer

    Know a dynamic duo doing great exploits for the Lord?  Tell us about them.

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  • Worth Living–Mary DeMuth

    A year ago I went to the Word Guild‘s Write Canada Conference to represent Women In Music & Media ( Whenever I get to the end of a Write Canada Conference I feel like my brain is full and can’t take any more. There’s always so many great seminars and last year my favorite was a teleconferenced session with Mary DeMuth. As she sat in her home and shared with us I just felt connected to her and began following her on social media.

    A month ago I opened my #EllensPicks mail and was ecstatic to see a package of sparklers and Mary DeMuth’s latest book


    how God’s wild love for you makes you worthy

    Without having to give you a spoiler alert, Mary says in her conclusion,

    “That’s my deepest desire for you as you close the pages of this book. May you look at yourself in the mirror and genuinely smile at who you see—a woman dearly loved by Jesus, one worth sacrificing for, being gentle with.”1

    Mary leaves a desire fulfilled because her book WORTH LIVING absolutely helps you to recognize that God loves you and, out of His love flows your worth.

    When Mary says,

    “No matter how hard it is for you to grasp his love or how many difficult and painful things have happened to you, you are still loved…You may not understand it this side of heaven’s shores, but it’s true nonetheless. God’s love is bedrock. Build your life on it.”2

    She’s so right! Even when we don’t ‘get it’, God’s love is still true. Even when we don’t understand it and have troubles accepting it—God loves us. Our ability to know God’s love doesn’t make us more or less loved. We’re just loved. I’m so thankful for Mary’s openness in WORTH LIVING, I can so relate to her brokenness, how God has restored my life and brought me worth. It amazes me how He’s brought the greatest worth out of those very places that brought me shame and hurt. I can see the same in Mary as I read her story throughout the book. She’s a girl whose known great pain, but now knows a greater love. She conveys deep truths in simple ways. Mary’s an authentic voice for the hurting and the healed.

    In the book Mary helps you to see the lives you’ve believed about yourself and shows how their false. She leads you to an understanding of the truth of your worth and then includes a truth statement you can hold onto. Mary has added an extra bonus on her website where you can download cards that show the contrasting lie and the truth—and they’re FREE!!!

    At the end of each chapter Mary included a section for Reflection or Group Discussion with thought-povoking questions that help deepen the truth of God’s love and your worth.

    If you’re hurting and struggle to feel the love of our Father, or if you just want to grow deeper in understanding His love then I would greatly recommend reading this book. As you understand:

    God’s wild love for you makes you worthy,

    it will free you to see, like that package of sparklers Ellen sent,

    You were created to shine.

    YOU have a life, WORTH LIVING!

    worth living quote

    worth living

    DeMuth, Mary. WORTH LIVING, how God’s wild love for you makes you worthy. (c) 2016 Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, Baker Publishing Group.

    To Buy the book:

    1 Page 198
    2 Page 39

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  • 9. CO-Workers (Part Two) – In The Beginning Series

    The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
                                                                                                                                    Genesis 2:18 NIV

    Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house.”
                                                                                                                     Romans 16:3-4 NIV

    When I was growing up TV wasn’t like what it is now. There weren’t so many options, so there were more people watching the same shows. My family would often be all together sitting on the couch, watching shows together, like every other family. When I look back I realize there were lots of shows with couples working together like: Captain & TennileSonny & CherFred & Wilma! It seems that even TV producers know the benefit of men and women as co-workers!

    The Bible is full of examples where men and women worked together as one to bring about a better result than they could on their own. Deborah and Barak led the army of Israel to victory. Esther and Mordecai strategized together to see their people; God’s people, saved. In the New Testament we read of some amazing couples like Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph. Often we think of “the disciples” as only including 12 men, but scripture makes it clear that there were both male and female disciples following Jesus and it was the women who provided funding for Christ’s ministry1. Paul continued the pattern of the Genesis teachings about the role of men and women when he instructed couples on mutual submission.2 In Romans 16 Paul is sending greeting to his closest friends and co-workers in the gospel. It’s a list of the ‘who’s who‘ in ministry circles of the time. The list contains so many women who worked alongside Paul to further the gospel. Women like Phoebe, Mary, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis and the apostle Junias or Julia, depending on your translation. Paul also commends the great church planting power couple of Priscilla and Aquilla.

    It’s clear to me that God’s plan In The Beginning to have men and women working together as one is the truest representation of the unity displayed in the Godhead; the tri-unity. When men and women work together in tri-unity with God amazing things can happen!


    Father…Only Your ways are perfect. Only Your teachings bring life. Open our eyes to see the value You’ve placed in the men and women around us. Help us to partner together to see Your kingdom established in our world today. In Jesus Name…Amen 

    1 Luke 8:3
    Ephesians 5:21


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