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  • Your Family of Believers All Over The World

    Stand firm against him {the devil},
    and be strong in your faith.
    Remember that
    your family of believers all over the world
    is going through the same kind of suffering you are. 
    ~1 Peter 5:9 NLT {info added}

    News this Easter was heartbreaking for Christians.  An unimaginable horror took place on Easter Sunday morning at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.  Forever the memories of Easter morning will be marred for those families and friends affected by the bombings.

    BOMBINGS IN SRI LANKA

    I was away celebrating Resurrection Sunday and Easter Monday with family and only heard of these atrocities a day late when I opened my inbox to read an email from my friend Peggy Kennedy who has been ministering in Sri Lanka for over twenty years.  From there I went online to learn more of these insidious attacks on the innocent; many of whom were children.

    FOLLOWING JESUS’ EXAMPLE

    At first, when you hear news like this, you want to get mad at the group responsible for this attack but that wouldn’t be in line with the heart of our Christ, nor the message of Easter. Jesus’ example is found in His words on the cross after being abused by the soldiers,

    Jesus said,
    “Father, forgive them,
    for they do not know what they are doing.”
    ~Luke 23:24

    Today’s verse is encouraging you to stand firm against the enemy—the devil, not get mad at your offenders.  Peter’s advice is to stand firm and be strong in the understanding that if other Christians can get through hardship, so can you. We minorly experience the same kind of suffering here in Canada with the political climate turning against Christians but our struggles pale in comparison to the devastation experienced in Sri Lanka.  When I read Peggy’s email, my heart ached,

    “So sadly, many of the casualties were children as (per my understanding) they were on the move from the main service to children’s church.  Some of the youth from this church also attended Pastor Woody and Melanie’s recent History Makers’ youth conference.  Other reports coming in yesterday from leaders on the ground remind us that these are real people, facing real tragedy and loss…”

    Do you recognize that
    these real people are members of
    YOUR family of believers all over the world
    YOUR family of believers in Sri Lanka?1 peter 5:9

    MY SRI LANKAN CONNECTIONS

    I feel connected to the people of Sri Lanka because as a teen, my church brought over the Kulathungam family from Sri Lanka. Niran and his brother went to youth group with my sister Lori and I.  Niran and I went to the same Bible College where his dad taught us Apologetics.

    If you’ve been reading Soul H2O Devotions for a long time, you might remember that my grandmother ran the We Share/We Care ministry at our home church?  Through it, she was intimately involved with helping meet the needs of this refugee family. In appreciation, the Kulathungam’s gave my grandmother a stone from Sri Lanka and my grandfather had it placed in a ring setting.  When my Gram passed away, she left me that ring.

    Then, 22 years ago; when Jack and Peggy announced at my church in Orangeville that they were feeling called to go to Sri Lanka for the first time, I was more than happy to help support their trip.

    So, I do have ties to Sri Lanka, but even if I didn’t, even if you don’t… if we are truly adopted into God’s family as I talked about a few weeks ago HERE, then we are still family with this body of believers in Sri Lanka…  and family takes care of family.

    FAMILY TAKES CARE OF FAMILY

    I was brought up that as Christians we’re called to Go, Pray or Give.  Not many of us can get on a plane and go to Sri Lanka, but maybe you can? Maybe God will call you to go.  Not everyone can give, but maybe God is calling you to give?  You can pray… I can pray… we all can pray. If you do know someone who is Sri Lankan, you could even send them a word of encouragement.  Call and pray with or write and let them know you’re praying for them.

    Today, I encourage you to take time out and pray for Your Family of Believers All Over The World, especially those in Sri Lanka. Why not join me below?

    Prayer

    Father… Today I lift up my brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka.  They are hurting and broken.  Many have lost family members or loved ones, many more have suffered great harm and loss.  As a result, their lives will never be the same. Give them strength to stand firm in the difficult days ahead, placing their hope in you. I pray for supernatural peace in Sri Lanka. May the church in Sri Lanka not become bitter and seek to avenge but release forgiveness to those who have sought to destroy. Let those deceived by the enemy into being his henchmen find Your love, forgiveness, and salvation. As the enemy strikes to stop the people of God all over the world, may Your children unite and Your Kingdom advance! In Jesus Name…Amen

    [tweetthis]FAMILY TAKES CARE OF FAMILY Can you take time out & join me to pray for Your Family of Believers All Over The World, especially those in #SriLanka? [/tweetthis]


    Soul H2O BookIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

    Drawing From The Well

    1. 1 Peter 5:9
    2. Acts 14:22
    3. Luke 23:24
    4. Matthew 5:44

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  • {PASSION WEEK} Jesus Knows What It’s Like To Go From Cheers To Jeers

    When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival,
    they flocked to see him
    and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead.
    Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.

    The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city.
    A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him.
    They shouted, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
    Hail to the King of Israel!”
    ~John 12:9-13 NLT


    Growing up, we moved a lot. That innately has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. On the positive side, I have a lot of friends all over Southern Ontario. On the not so positive side, I remember one year where I had lots of friends and things were going well when a strange event turned my world upside-down.

    Riding In The Corvette

    My dad had started up another car lot but this time for luxury models.  He’d gotten a Corvette pace-car in stock and drove my sister and I to school in the new ride.

    For all you reading this who were born before 1980 the story is already starting to sound strange, I mean, who drives two children to school in a car that doesn’t even have a back seat?  Well, people did that in the 1970s! I rode in the back window since there wasn’t a back seat, not even a seat belt, feeling ‘super-cool’ as I got out to the growing crowd of kids who began to swarm hearing the corvette motor.  As I crawled out, I started hearing things like, “nice car”, “wow, you’re so lucky!”.

    I thought for sure this would solidify my position in the cool-crowd but it brought about the exact opposite.

    From Cheers To Jeers

    Jealousy erupted in some of the kids. They began calling me “rich-girl” and other names you don’t often write in a Christian blog. 🙂

    By the afternoon recess, a girl began shoving me as onlookers gathered with taunts of “Fight her, fight her!” Within no time, this angry ‘friend’ was on top of me shoving snow in my face {Yes, two kids to school, in a Corvette, in the winter… again, 1970s}.  In her rage, she kept stuffing until the snow was in my mouth and nose to the point I couldn’t breathe.

    I wish I could tell you that I simply pushed her off and ran to get a teacher for help, but I didn’t.  The fight or flight instinct riled up in me, resulting in my one-and-only physical fight {Not a proud moment}. Needless to say, this did not help me to gain friends and influence others.

    All joking aside, this experience really affected me, and the same feelings get stirred up again when people seem to find pleasure in putting me down. It can be a struggle to understand how somebody can one moment be your friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor and the next to be causing you to struggle for breath; in a different way than my experience on the playground.

    I’m glad Jesus gets the tough stuff you and I face.  Hebrews says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses.”1 Isaiah told of how the coming Messiah would be a “man of sorrows”2

    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.
    Isaiah 53:3 NIV

    Jesus gets it.  He understands hurt, He’s felt the sting of betrayal.  He’s had it much worse. One translation words this verse as, “He was like someone people turned away from.” Oh, how it hurts to be that someone.

    Palm Sunday is this fun, celebratory time when we remember the day Jesus was riding into Jerusalem on a high note because the people loved Him.  Recently raising Lazarus from the dead after four days in the grave signified to the people of Israel that Jesus was not just any Rabbi or Prophet, but THE Messiah!

    From Cheers To Jeers

    If it were today, I’m sure Jesus’ Instagram account would break Portuguese Footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for the most Instagram followers.3 Everyone wanted to be around Jesus and His discipleship following was the Mediterranean in-crowd.  As Jesus entered the Passover-filled streets of Jerusalem on Sunday, people waved palm branches and cheered!  Raising their voices in worship, they declared Him their King and laid down their coats to honor Him as Lord.

    “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”
    John 12:13

    But by the Tuesday of Passion Week; just two days later, the crucifixion plan was being set in place.  Quickly those cheers began turning into jeers as the Pharisees spread their toxic hatred for Jesus; the savior of the world, with mocking words

    “Hail, King of the Jews!” culminating into cries of “Crucify him!”4

    Jeer

    The Real Jesus

    Sometimes church art has painted Jesus in a way that would make him unrecognizable to Himself.

    Beyond the issues of depicting Jesus; this Jewish man, as Euro-Jesus with blonde hair and fair skin, as Chinese-Jesus wearing the Fu Manchu mustache or as Black-Jesus with a really deep tan.

    The problem is really with all the halos around Jesus’ head {no matter the skin-tone depicted} that poses the problem for me.  It makes Jesus seem surreal, not human, like a super-hero able to fly high, unscathed above the horrible circumstances He was experiencing… but that’s not how Scripture depicts Jesus. John quotes Jesus as saying,

    “Now my soul is deeply troubled.
    Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’?
    But this is the very reason I came!”5

    It hurt Jesus when people rejected him and wanted to attack him. He felt the same anguish we feel when others hurt us and that is why Jesus “is able to deal gently”6 with us when we’re broken… when friendship turns cold or the love once freely given, they now withhold.

    So, if you ever find yourself in a place where cheers have turned into jeers… turn to Jesus, He understands, and He cares… He gets it!

    Prayer

    Father…
    I’m overwhelmed with the thought that Your son Jesus knows what it’s like to suffer as I do.  Jesus, your willingness to come to earth, live and be mistreated for my sake, my salvation is too much to take in.  Help me to rejoice instead of complaining when I’m getting to share in Your sufferings7, so I understand the sacrifice you went through for me.

    Please let the truth of your love sink in deep this Easter.  Don’t let this time slip by. I choose to put suffering in perspective of the victory you achieved when you rose from the dead. I can manage through any suffering I face, understanding You are gentle, loving, and kind. You are good and You are Victorious!
    In Jesus Name…Amen

    [tweetthis]“Hail, King of the Jews!” culminating into cries of “Crucify him!” Jesus Knows What Its Like To Go From Cheers To Jeers John 12:9-13; 19:1-6[/tweetthis]

    Soul H2O BookIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

    Drawing From The Well

    1. John 12:9-13
    2. John 19:1-6
    3. 1 Peter 4:13
    4. Luke 6:28

    ENDNOTES

    Definition of Jeer Image Information From https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/jeer  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jeer https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/jeer


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  • Leadership Leads… Good or Bad

    “...from the prophets of Jerusalem 
    ungodliness has spread throughout the land.” 
    Jeremiah 23:15  NIV

    John MaxwellAll my John Maxwell training is going to be put to the test in three and a half weeks when I’ll be moderating a panel on Leadership at the Women’s Connection District Retreat in Grimsby, Ontario. {If you’re going, make sure to stop by my table and say hello!}

    wod retreat 2019I have some amazing ladies on the panel who hold various organizational leadership roles in business, government positions, church leadership, and home management. The goal is to elevate the confidence of women in leadership positions and practically help improve their skills, enabling them to walk further and faster into the destiny God has for their lives.

    As we’ve been preparing for the panel, I can’t help but look back and rate my skillfulness as a leader. Lots of passes, and plenty of fails.  My thoughts went back to my first leadership position as a big sister. 🙂

    Sisters LoriSometimes, my little sister, Lori would follow me around playing ‘Copycat’.  Remember that annoying childhood game where people followed you around; often one-step behind you, repeating every word you said, copying move you made? Lori used to drive me crazy doing this!  Thankfully, we’ve grown up and now have a great relationship! {Don’t we look cute together now 🙂 }  As a “big sister” I hope I’ve given Lori more good examples to follow than bad ones!  No matter how small your leadership role may seem, it will have a huge impact because

    Leadership Leads…Good or Bad!

    RECOGNIZING YOUR REACH

    Sometimes we minimize the effect our leadership has in the home, school, court, field, rink, church or place of employment.  Whenever God has elevated you to a place of leadership, people are going to follow in your footsteps—It’s a scary thing!

    A friend once said to me,

    “I was forced to go to church and I won’t put my kids through that.
    I don’t want them to be forced to live what I believe but to be able to choose for themselves.

    Since she never took her kids to church, they simply followed her lead and have seldom gone to church because they were never given another option to choose from.  Failure to give guidance is, in fact, leading, since it causes people to blindly follow your example and not know why.

    [tweetthis]You’re leading, even when you try not to lead. #leadership [/tweetthis]

    leadership leads pinterest

    Our leadership in life is followed,
    much more than we recognize.

    Today’s verse comes from the book of Jeremiah.  In his time, many of the prophets weren’t leading well. They weren’t proclaiming God’s word to the people, but instead speaking what they knew the people wanted to hear, so they would keep following them… following them down the wrong path.

    These false prophets were sharing a watered-down message with false hopes that led the people to be disappointed in God; causing them to turn away from Him. Jeremiah had to swim against the tide of his time as their poisonous message,

    “spread throughout the land”.

    Leadership was difficult for Jeremiah, but he knew his responsibility was to clear the path for others, so they could follow the right way; because

    [tweetthis]Leadership Leads… Good or Bad #leadership[/tweetthis]

    So, what’s going to spread in the future as people follow you?

    Prayer

    Father… I’m overwhelmed when I recognize that you have given me such influence in my world.  Help me to be wise with my words and actions so that my life impacts others to know and love you more! May others follow your plans for their lives as they see me chasing after the destiny you’ve set before me. In Jesus name…Amen


    wod retreat 2019I WILL RISE
    Women’s Connection Conference

    https://womensconnection.ca/events/conference

    If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll join us
    Don’t forget to sign up for the Leadership Panel}.


    Drawing From The Well

    1. Ephesians 1:5
    2. Hebrews 13:7
    3. James 3:1
    4. 1 Timothy 4:12

    Soul H2O BookIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

     

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    Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!


    Other posts about my journey with John C. Maxwell, the JMTeam, or John’s Books:
    John C. Maxwell And God Want You To Be A Talent-Plus Person
    Mentored to Lead by John C. Maxwell

     


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  • Cruising Like Royalty And Choosing The Right Fork

    God decided in advance
    to adopt us into his own family
    by bringing us to himself
    through Jesus Christ.
    This is what he wanted to do,
    and it gave him great pleasure.
    ~Ephesians 1:5 NLT

    Adjusting to life back home was rough after sailing on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

    I mean, where else can you just leave your dishes for someone else to clean up… unless you’re a toddler, teenager or spoiled spouse?  Traveling on the cruise made me feel like I was part of the royal family and no time more than when at suppertime. As a girl who grew up at the racetrack, a table set for fine-dining can be a little intimidating. All those forks and knives used to overwhelm me but now I love it!

    MICHELLE ON CRUISEHere’s a little word-to-the-wise from Michelle, one of the nicest cruise officials you could ever meet to help you look like a fine-dining pro:

    When eating from a table set for fine-dining: start from the outside and work your way in; one fork and knife set for salad or appetizers, the second set for your entrée, a small knife is for buttering your bread, a big spoon on top is there when you’re being served soup and don’t forget to leave the small cutlery on top for dessert.

     

    Cruising Like Royalty

    On our last full-day on the cruise, I woke up thankful for all the wonderful meals we’d had and how amazing the staff made us feel like family… family going from one banquet to another that is! As I laid in bed thinking about this privilege I was blessed to experience, I began to think about the day when I’ll really get to eat like royalty.

    Your Royal Inheritance

    The truth is; if you’ve received Christ as your savior, you ARE royalty!

    [tweetthis]If you’ve received Christ as your savior, you ARE royalty![/tweetthis]

    Our verse this week is seriously one of the best verses in the Bible. It’s almost hard to believe. God chose to adopt you. No one forced Him into it. He picked you out and invited you to be a part of His royal family! {STOP} Let that sink in a little… no, let it sink in a lot.

    On the second to last night of our cruise, we watched the movie, Instant Family, with a backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. The movie’s based on a true story of how a couple without any children (Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne) adopt three kids from Foster Care, sharing with them all the rights and privileges being a member of their family affords: a beautiful home, new clothes, delicious, nutritious food, and most importantly, unconditional love and acceptance.

    Being adopted into God’s family changes your status and grants you, all the rights and privileges of being a child of The King. The crazy part is how simply by receiving Christ into your life makes you a member. No tricks, no gimmicks, it’s a basic fact of joining the family of believers.

    [tweetthis]Being adopted into God’s family changes your status and grants you, all the rights and privileges of being a child of The King. [/tweetthis]

    The truth that I am a member of the real royal family still blows me away! No other monarchy has at the head, the King of Kings. I’m so undeserving and yet somehow completely worthy because of Christ in my life… and you can be too!

    The Invitation

    One night at dinner on the cruise, my mother-in-law Bevie told us about a story she read from Guideposts Magazine here a woman was planning her funeral with her pastor and asked to be buried with a fork in her right hand. She said,

    I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!”

    So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder “What’s with the fork?” Then I want you to tell them: “Keep your fork ..the best is yet to come.”1

    You’re all invited to join Christ’s family and one day attend the greatest banquet that will ever be served2.  The best is yet to come. So, take the right fork and use it to pick up the blessing God’s offering you!

    Prayer

    Father… Thank You for sending Your son Jesus to come and die for my sins to make me a part of Your family.  Your love, acceptance, and blessings overwhelm me.  I receive the inheritance You have for me and not miss out on all You’ve prepared for me because I don’t feel deserving.  Let my confidence come from my place in Your kingdom, as Your child.  I am a part… I am welcome… I am accepted… I am loved.  In Jesus Name…Amen

    More than anything, I want to see you at the great banquet table talked about in the Bible.
    If you’ve never become a follower of Christ and would like to today,
    click the button below.
    I’d love to lead you in a prayer to receive Christ and
    point you to a FREE resource that will bless you.


    [imic_button colour=”btn-warning” type=”enabled” link=”https://sherrystahl.com/finding-your-way-to-christ/” target=”_blank” extraclass=”” size=””]I WANT TO RECEIVE CHRIST[/imic_button]


    Soul H2O BookIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

     


    Drawing From The Well

    1. Ephesians 1:5
    2. Isaiah 25:6
    3. Revelations 19:9
    4. Revelations 3:20

    ENDNOTES

    1. https://www.guideposts.org/inspiration/life-after-death/why-do-people-say-keep-your-fork
    2. Luke 14:16-24Ref — Mt 22:2-14; Revelations 19:6-10, Revelations 3:20; Galatians 3:6-9; Isaiah 25:6

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  • Do you Take Time For Self-Care?

    After David had finished talking with Saul, 
    Jonathan became one in spirit with David,
    and he loved him as himself.
    ~1 Samuel 18:1 NIV

    This post was inspired by a Florida vacation with a 7-day Caribbean Cruise in the middle!!! {Insert PARTY sounds and cue the streamers}.

    Our Christmas gift from Todd’s parents this year was, shall we say… a little over the top, thank you Jesus 🙂  Ma and Pa Stahl took Todd and I, along with his sister and brother-in-law for a dream vacation on an Oasis of The Seas cruise—God Bless ‘Em! Thankfully none of us were too sun-burnt at the point of sending this email.

    So, why would I write about my cruise in a devotion?

    I’m not trying to make you jealous if you didn’t get away from the snow. But trust me, I have a reason. You see, going on a cruise and only getting internet for a few hours one day to work while on the ship is a HUGE form of self-care… something I haven’t been the best at.

    I was brought up well to think of others but often, in the past, I would get mixed up thinking others needs were more important than mine.  This faulty mindset would leave me physically, emotionally and spiritually dry… like I’m talking dried up, dusty like the desert floor, all cracked and brown… and that’s no way to live!

    The Bible Tells You To Be Good To Yourself

    Our English language often falls short in translation from Hebrew and the word ‘love’ is one of those difficult to translate words since the Hebrew language has 3 words for love when the English language only has one1. The Hebrew word used for “love” between David and Jonathan here is much different than the Hebrew root word for love used in much of The Songs of Solomon to describe a more sensual love.

    The word love in this week’s verse is also used in GN 44:30 to describe love between a father and son2 and then used in verse 16 of this same chapter to define the nation of Israel’s love for David as a war hero.

    When I read today’s verse the ending hit me, “he loved him as himself”.  Jonathan loved David… but not more than he loved himself

    Therefore, Jonathan loved himself.

    Those thoughts reminded me of Jesus words in Mark 12:31,

    “Love your neighbor as yourself”.

    Next, I thought about when Elijah was suffering burn-out and God didn’t scold or tell him to pull-up his boot-straps and get going.  No. God led Elijah in 1 Kings 19 to a few days of self-care. I also thought about how Jesus took time away to recharge from the crowds. In the past two years, I’ve been growing in the understanding of the truth 3 John 1:2 teaches that we will only prosper, as our soul prospers and we’re in good health. You have to take care of your body, soul, (mind, will & emotions) and spirit.

    Soul H2O is a necessity!

    Reading this devotion is hopefully one way you do that.  When I’m writing well, it should help refresh your spirit and parts of your soul but it’s not enough to build you up completely.  God created you: body, soul and spirit so you need to ensure you’re taking care of yourself in all areas.

    Do You Take Time For Self-Care?

    This week why not take the time to review your schedule.
    Are you allowing enough time for self-care each week?

    If you are, then pat yourself on the back and keep doing what you’re doing.  If you’re not; then change your ways 🙂 You don’t want to end up in breakdown mode as Elijah did!  God Wants you to be good to yourself, He’s given you permission and been the example… now be like Nike and Just Do It!

    Prayer

    Father… I’m so thankful for your love. It’s comforting to know, You don’t love me so You can get something out of me.  You love me for me. Wow! On some days, I really don’t understand why but help me to grow in this understanding of Your love, so I can better care for myself. Help me to be good to myself.  In Jesus Name…Amen


    Soul H2O BookIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

     


    Drawing From The Well

    1. 1 Samuel 18:1
    2. Mark 12:31
    3. Matthew 11:26-30; Luke 5:16
      (Both verses very clear about what Jesus thinks about self-care in The Message Translation)
    4. 3 John 1:2

    ENDNOTES

    1. http://www.christinyou.net/Outlines/love.pdf Words for “love” in Original Biblical Languages
    2. HCSB Study Bible. Holman Bible Publishers: Nashville, TN © 2010 Note on 1 Samuel 18:1; pg.474

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  • I Am Doughty, Not Dowdy!

    God did not give us a Spirit of fear
    but of power and love and 
    self-control.
    ~2 Timothy 1:7 NET Bible

    Years ago, someone accused me of essentially being a sesquipedalian.

    It was meant as a negative, but I couldn’t help feeling it was a compliment in a way.  In reality, I’m not a sesquipedalian but a logophile.

    Ha!  Have I confused you yet?  If not, you’re probably a writer or serious book lover.

    Sesquipedalian is a word that has changed in meaning to not just mean someone who uses big words, but it’s now used as a negative term to describe someone who uses too many long, confusing words.

    Logophile is a term to describe people who love words… and that I’m completely guilty of. Growing up my mother made it her mission to ensure drag racing was not the only cultural influence in our family.  Spelling tests were a high priority and she often corrected our grammar. Mom was preparing me for my future career and didn’t even know it!

    {Geek Alert}

    grammerlyAs a teen I had my own subscription to Reader’s Digest because I loved the Word Power Column.

    As a writer I’ve been shocked at my usage of words.  I had no clue until I joined Grammarly.  It gives you a weekly writing report and I’m most often in the 95-99% of Grammarly users… or so they say 🙂

    Ok, now that you get my obsession with words, I can tell you what happened to me last month and I think you’ll understand why it so profoundly affected my life.

    My Word Obsession Affects My Life!

    Dr Caroline Leaf 21 Brain DetoxI’m in the middle of Dr. Caroline Leaf’s Brain Detox program and it’s completely changing my life {Links Below}. Basically, she helps you become aware of your negative self-talk, see the results of how that thought affects what you feel, say and do. Next, she guides you to replace that toxic thought with a healthy thought and experience the results in your life.

    Oh The Difference A Word Can Make

    During the Detox, I recognized what a grip fear had on my life in a certain area and how it was blocking me from moving forward in my life. I felt the urge to Google search “Antonym of Fear”.  As I looked at the lists of words contrary to fear, one stood out; as if it jumped off of my computer screen.

    The word was doughty.

    First of all, I didn’t even know how to say it properly. “Dought” is pronounced “ot” like sought, bought or fought, so it sounds like the name of my Texan friend Dottie. I had mistaken it with the word dowdy; which describes a messy, old-fashioned, frumpy, out-of-style.1  Since one Google search usually ends up with at least ten more, I began researching this new word and was blown away with what I felt the Father speaking to my soul.

    I Am Doughty, Not Dowdy!

    DOUGHTY… marked by fearless resolution…valiant… Brave… willing to take risks… brave… bold… heroic… Determined and ambitious… persistent… undaunted… unwilling ever to stop trying to achieve something… strong-willed… adamant… resolute… willful… will not take no for an answer… lionhearted, stalwart, stout-hearted… courageous… not easily frightened… an iron fist in a velvet glove…2  To use it in a sentence you could say, She was a doughty defender of the hurting.

    All these definitions helped encourage me but the AHA moment came when I read about the origins of the word. The root of Doughty is in the Old English word, dohte, meaning “had worth”.2 When I read this, light bulbs illuminated over my head and bells were ringing as I wrote in my notes:

    I am doughty; fearless because I know my worth!

    I pray that sent chills up your spine like it did mine. You are doughty!  Be fearless because you are worth so much.  So much that God the Father gave up His son to die on a cross so you could have a better life—free of fear… and then He sent Holy Spirit to live inside of you.  You’re worth a lot!  You are doughty; fearless because of your worth!

    Prayer

    Father… I thank You for making clear the truth that you did NOT give me a spirit of fear. Holy Spirit, you’re living inside of me and there is no fear inside of You. Increase the space you fill inside of me, increase to push out all fear. Let this truth be evidenced in my words so that I begin to feel brave and live courageously because I know who I am and I am Doughty!  In Jesus Name…Amen

    Here’s your #musicpic for the week

    Dr Caroline Leaf 21 Brain DetoxIf I’ve piqued your interest in going through your own brain detox, I HIGHLY encourage it.  If you do the work for 63 days , you will be changed. 21 times 3-the first 21 take more time, but the last twho phases of 21 don’t take as much time but totally necessary

    It will be the best $38 US you’ve spent! If you take the course, email me (devotions@sherrystahl.com) and let me know by putting BRAIN DETOX SHEETS.  I created some sheets to go along with her stuff that I can send you and I think they’ll help you get even more out of the course.
    Here is a link to the course: https://21daybraindetox.com/
    Here’s a link to Dr. Leaf’s site and info on her Switch On Your Brain 5-Step Learning Process https://drleaf.com/


    Soul H2OIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.


    Drawing From The Well

    1. 2 Timothy 1:7
    2. John 14:27
    3. Romans 8:15
    4. Isaiah 11:2

    If you want to see what a logophile you are, here’s a link to the Reader’s Digest site and a wordy survey:
    https://www.rd.com/culture/word-power-art/25/


    WHERE YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP MY BLOG WITH OR PLACES WHERE MY WRITING HAS BEEN FEATURED


    ENDNOTES

    1. Numerous Websites Accessed: 2019-01-17
      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dowdy
      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dowdy
      https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/dowdy
    2. Numerous Websites Accessed: 2019-01-17
      https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/fear
      https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/fear
      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/doughty
      https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/doughty
      https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/doughty
    3. Website Accessed: 2019-01-17 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/doughty

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  • My Advice For A Happy Family Day

    Here’s my advice for a Happy Family Day!

    family day advice

    LOOK INTO THE EYES OF SOMEONE YOU LOVE!

    Praying you have an awesome day with the ones you love!

    See you tomorrow for the weekly #soulh2o Devotion.

    In His Grip, Sherry

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  • Who Doesn’t Love A Good Chick Flick?

    She became his wife,
    and he loved her
    ~Genesis 24:67 NIV

    ever after movieGod’s timing for our lives is very interesting to me.

    You see, this weekend; the weekend before Valentine’s Day, I had to prepare a promo video for a retreat I’m speaking at where I’ve been asked to share my talk on The BEST Cinderella Story.

    To get into the Cinderella mindset I decided to watch Drew Barrymore’s movie, Ever After. I love how strong and stubborn Drew shows this fairy tale girl to be, she’s not some pushover princess. In this version, Cinder girl Danielle frees herself from an evil captor and still lands the prince! It’s a really great story that I’m sure you’d love because girls,

    who doesn’t love a good chick flick?

    When I watched the movie, a line struck me when Prince Henry was talking to Leonardo about the age-old question:

    Do you really think there is only one perfect mate?”

    In the course of their discussion, Prince Henry asks,

    “Is everything just chance or are some things meant to be?”

    MY FAVORITE ROMANCE STORY IN THE BIBLE

    I couldn’t help but think about my most favorite romantic love story in the Bible. Genesis 24 tells how intimately involved God was in the connecting of Isaac and Rebekah.  This story is what great chick flicks are made of!

    Isaac is a wealthy, strong, rugged man who worked the land and lived in the desert. Saddened by the death of his mother, Father Abraham sends his servant on a mission to find Isaac a wife. Not really common in our culture, but this servant loved his boss, so he had Isaac’s best interest at heart.  When I reread the story, I could see how God was able to direct Abraham’s servant to the girl of Isaac’s dreams. The Bible says of their relationship that

    “she became his wife, and he loved her.”

    Girls, if you’re wanting that match-made-in-heaven marriage you’d be wise to follow the same process of the servant to help find Isaac a wife, to help you find your Mr. Right.  (You can find my breakdown of his steps in the download below.)

    If you’re in a marriage that is leaving you feeling anything but loved, I encourage you to take the first step the servant followed. Invite God into your decision-making process.

    [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@sherry_stahl”]Ask God to help you discern if there are any steps you could take to help build a stronger, healthier, more loving, #chick-flick of a #marriage![/tweetthis]

    But above all else girls, KNOW… our Daddy loves you and not just on Valentine’s Day!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank-you because You always have my best interest at heart. Trusting You and Your timing, I choose to place my heart in Your hands because I know it’s safe with You. You know my longing to be loved in marriage.  Please fill the empty places of my soul with your love and help me surrender every desire of my heart to You, so You can fill me to OVERflowing. In Jesus Name…Amen

    How To Find Mr Right 4U-FREE Download

    [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@sherry_stahl”]Want to learn How To Find Mr. Right For You? #love #valentinesday #FREE Download [/tweetthis]

    Soul H2OIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

     


    Drawing From The Well

    1. Genesis 24:67
    2. A Quick Study of Genesis 24 with tips on How To Find Mr. Right For You can be downloaded from above.

    WHERE YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP MY BLOG WITH OR PLACES WHERE MY WRITING HAS BEEN FEATURED

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  • Can I Believe in God And Be Depressed?

    #BellLetsTalkToday’s post is for #BellLetsTalk day.  If you’re a reader from outside of Canada let me explain.  Bell Let’s Talk Day is an initiative that Bell Media took on to help de-stigmatize mental health issues.

    It is radically changing the climate within our country to help see people with mental health issues like people with any other physical sickness. Not to be pitied, insulted or looked-down on, but to be loved, cared-for and helped.  I pray this post helps to initiate conversation, provide resources but most of all set some people free in the body of believers!


    Why am I so depressed?
    Why this turmoil within me?
    Put your hope in God,
    for I will still praise Him,
    my Savior and my God.
    ~Psalm 42:5, 11 & 43:5 HCSB



    When I was a teenager, I was such a happy-go-lucky kind of girl, always seeing the glass half-full. I remember reading through the book of Psalms and thinking

    What’s wrong with David?  This guy really needs to get himself together. One minute he’s singing God’s praises and the next he wants to die. Doesn’t he believe in God?  I mean, his whining is recorded in the Bible? How did this part get in there?

    It wasn’t until I experienced a deeply wounding marriage, ending in a bitter divorce with many legal issues that I understood the depths of despair, depression, and anxiety that David faced. I’ve been decimated emotionally, relationally, financially and spiritually countless times.

    It sometimes feels like when I finally climb out of one pit there’s a crater waiting around the corner, trying to pull me back down.  Add menopause to the mix and you’re walking on thin-ice emotionally! If it weren’t for God’s presence and His Word I really don’t know what I’d do… and I don’t want to find out.  I know it wouldn’t be a pretty picture.

    Psalm 42 and 43 are taken from the pages of David’s journal but after the last decade or so of my life you could’ve sworn they were stolen from my diary. I feel comforted to know that David is someone God himself describes not once, but twice in His Word as “a man after his own heart”; even with all the whining! This portion of Scripture starts off with a song we often sing in church:

    As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul longs after You, O God.
    My soul thirsts for God, the living God.
    Psalm 42:1-2 NIV

    My heart has been crying out this song since it released in the late 1980’s1 but it wasn’t until the latter part of my life (not that I’m near the end yet J ) when I understood David’s back and forth struggle with staying positive. The balance of trusting God as my refuge, redeemer and rescuer when the rough times keep cycling through.

    Why are you downcast, O my soul?
    Why the unease within me?
    Put your hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
    for the salvation of His presence.
    ~Psalm 42:5 Berean Study Bible

    So, if you’re asking the question…

     Can I Believe in God And Be Depressed?

    Let me answer a resounding, YES!

    The phrase ‘depressed believer’ isn’t just a paradox but often a reality

    [tweetthis]The phrase ‘depressed believer’ isn’t just a paradox but often a reality. #depression #bellletstalk[/tweetthis]

    In case you think maybe just you, me and David were the only people who have ever believed in God and experienced times of being down, discouraged or depressed, let me help you see reality.  With just a quick study I found over a dozen people in the Bible alone who struggled with the same feelings we have. Who makes the list a baker’s dozen should really make you feel like you’re in good company.

    A Baker’s Dozen of Down, Discouraged or Depressed People In The Bible

    1. Leah Genesis 29:31-35
    2. Rachel Genesis 30:1-3, 22-24
    3. Jonah Jonah 4
    4. Job Job 1-3; 10:1, 30:15-17
    5. Naomi Ruth 1-4
    6. David Psalm 42-43
    7. Writer of Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes 1-3, 12
    8. Hannah 1 Samuel 1
    9. Jeremiah Jeremiah 20:14-18
    10. Elijah 1 Kings 19
    11. Moses Ex 18; Ex 32:32
    12. Paul 2 Corinthians 4:8-16
    13. Jesus Isaiah 53:3; Mark 14:34-36; Luke 22:44

    All of these people believed in God yet struggled with emotions of being down, discouraged or depressed.  Think, even Mother Teresa’s diary revealed times of deep despair.2 I’m NOT saying that God wants you to be depressed or that it’s a good thing.  My point is… the enemy wants you to feel like you’re the only one who struggles like this, like you’re weird, have no faith or that maybe you don’t really believe in God.  You have to let truth remind you that he’s a liar!

    YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

    [tweetthis]YOU’RE NOT ALONE! #BellLetsTalk #mentalhealth #depression [/tweetthis]

    Let me also tell you that the same God who allowed those people to experience hardship and heartbreak, is the same God who carried them into victory.  God has done the same for me and He wants to do the same for you! God doesn’t want to leave you where you are.  He has so much more for you! David wrote of his emotional struggles yes, but he also wrote about the joy of the Lord.

    weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning.
    ~Psalm 30:5  NIV

    God desires to bring us all THROUGH our difficult times and replace them with seasons of happiness.  Until then, we have His Word, His presence, and His joy to be our strength!

    RESOURCES TO HELP YOU RISE ABOVE

    Verses of Encouragement ImageTo help you not get stuck in the desert but travel through the feelings of being down, discouraged or depressed I’ve created some resources for you.

    Subscribe to receive a printout of Scriptures to soak in your spirit and refresh your soul.  These are all verses that God has used to lift me above my circumstances and trust Him for greater days ahead…I mean we are promised heaven, aren’t we folks? 🙂

     

    mental health resourcesSince I am often asked for resources to help with depression or other mental health issues, I created a whole page on my site to help you and your loved ones.

    https://sherrystahl.com/mental-health-resources/

    Praying 2019 is a Golden Year of new joy and many blessings for you!

    In His Grip, Sherry

    WHERE YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP MY BLOG WITH OR PLACES WHERE MY WRITING HAS BEEN FEATURED


    #BellLetsTalk    https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/  


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    #musicpics
    Here Again (Extended Version) | Live

    Makes Me Feel: PEACE, Comforted knowing God is with me
    Sung By: Elevation Worship
    Website: http://martynystrom.com/

    CD:  Live Recording at a Gathering
    Written By: Marty Nystrom
    © 2018
    Youtube Video – Live Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfLcdBuB7NY

    #musicpics #retrosong
    As The Deer

    Makes Me Feel: Worshipful, Wanting to get closer to God
    Sung By: Marty Nystrom
    Website: http://martynystrom.com/

    CD:  We Draw Near
    Written By: Marty Nystrom
    © 1984
    Youtube Video With Lyrics: https://youtu.be/a5pZkLWZv-E

    Youtube Video by Marty Nystrom:  https://youtu.be/tdY4Nx0EprI
    Songfacts: https://www.songfacts.com/lyrics/martin-nystrom/as-the-deer



    ENDNOTES

    1. https://youtu.be/a5pZkLWZv-E Youtube Website Accessed: 2019-01-27
    2. http://www.mentalhealthjustice.net/blog/2016/3/14/53sdjv7bzb4g3cdwqw2b97mwi2ppls website accessed: 2019-01-30

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  • Great Friends Make All The Difference!

    Walk
    with the wise
    and become wise;
    associate with fools
    and get in trouble.
    ~Proverbs 13:20 NLT 

    For the past five days, I’ve been in Edmonton, Alberta. I went to help run a Women In Music & Media (WIMM Canada) event with my partner in crime; Hollie Taylor, at the Breakforth One Conference; Canada’s largest… and most amazing, Christian Conference. To say this time was life-changing would be an understatement.

     

    I loved that my cousin’s wife Rachelle (one of my BFF’s) flew in all the way from Texas, so we got to spend time together catching up for almost a week! On Thursday morning I was interviewed for the Why Me? Podcast by Hollie and her co-host, Johnny Rocket. Later that night we all attended the GMA Covenant Awards where I got to cheer on some friends as they accepted awards.

     

    On Friday, Rachelle and I joined hundreds of women at my friend Cathie’s Gather Women’s Event. We were motivated by so many of my inspiring friends who spoke and then got to hear Lisa Bevere too!

     

    Along with the thousands attending Breakforth; I learned in the seminars, grew deeper in my understanding of God’s Word during the main sessions and felt God’s presence like I hadn’t in quite some time during the worship. Our WIMM Canada event was completely encouraging and connected me with more inspirational women.

     

    The Conference and events were incredible but honestly, the best part of this trip was the people I spent time with, especially during an impromptu prayer meeting with friends in a hotel room.

     

    Great friends make all the difference!

     

    The wisdom found in this week’s Scripture is timeless. The people you spend time with will make or break your life.  Lots of versions translate the end of this verse to say a “companion of fools will suffer harm”.  Bad relationships can actually bring on destruction in your life.  Yikes!

    I’ve often heard the saying You’re the average of the five people you surround yourself with1 quoted, but an article I read references studies that prove this isn’t exactly true.  Although the people closest to you do affect you the most, your whole social network determines who you will become. I was shocked to read how research shows if one of your friends becomes obese you have a 45% greater chance to gain weight and even if your friend’s friend becomes obese there is around a 20% greater chance of you adding inches to your waistline. The study also shows the likelihood of you smoking is increased by 61% if your friend smokes or 29% if a friend of your friend smokes. How crazy is that!  Not surprisingly, the study also showed that “happy friends make you happier!”2

     The reality is that who you surround yourself with is paramount to your success in life and I’m not just talking about how much money you make.  If those you spend time with people who are wise, you’ll gain wisdom… if your friends are fools, you’ll end up in dangerous situations that could lead to your harm; just like Rehoboam brought onto the people when he rejected the advice of elders and chose to follow the suggestions of his childhood buddies.3

    Maybe it’s time to take stock of the people in your world? You might realize how blessed you are or recognize your need to make positive changes; keeping in mind that great friends make all the difference!

     

    Prayer

    Father… I thank You for the wisdom in Your Word. People may come up with cleaver new sayings, but they’re just rephrasing truths found in Your book. Help me build a network of people who inspire, encourage, uplift and challenge me to be the best version of myself, so I can keep myself from unnecessary hurt while making a difference in this world for You! In Jesus Name…Amen

     

     

    WHERE YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP MY BLOG WITH OR PLACES WHERE MY WRITING HAS BEEN FEATURED

     


    Soul H2O BookIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

     

     


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    Drawing From The Well

    1. Proverbs 13:20
    2. 2 Chronicles 10:6-8
    3. 2 Chronicles 18-19
    4. Proverbs 22:24-25

    ENDNOTES

    1               https://www.businessinsider.com/jim-rohn-youre-the-average-of-the-five-people-you-spend-the-most-time-with-2012-7 Quote by Jim Rohn; Business Insider Website Accessed:  2019-01-27

    2               https://medium.com/the-mission/youre-not-the-average-of-the-five-people-you-surround-yourself-with-f21b817f6e69 Mission Website Accessed:  2019-01-27

    3               2 Chronicles 10

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