Soul H2O Devotions

  • Do You Notice The Season Beginning To Change?

    Praying this devotion helps you see the season beginning to change in your life!

    Isaiah 43:19 season change

    Early this August, we followed our normal family tradition and celebrated Shelby’s birthday at the trailer. While my immediate family was there, my cousin was driving by, stopped and honked. So, we all went out by the fence to say hello.

    As we were talking, I noticed leaves under our feet, then I looked at the two trees on either side of us. I was shocked to see yellowing leaves and mentioned it to my niece. I told Todd and thought it strange for trees to be turning when it was a blistering hot summer day. I’d never seen trees begin to turn during the beginning half of August. 

    NEVER.

    It felt like a holy noticing. Everyone else was focussed on my cousin but God turned my eyes to the trees.

    Was God trying to speak to me through the colour of the leaves?

    Was the season beginning to change for me?

    Back At Home

    sunny august
    My Instagram Story that day

    I love to walk in the morning and spend some time with God as I’m getting some exercise. About ten days after Shelby’s birthday party, on another one of those blistery hot August walks, I stopped to take a picture of the deep blue sky contrasting the dark green trees, when I noticed leaves on the top of three trees slightly turning yellow.

    I thought maybe I was going crazy, but by the time I was done my walk, I had seen three trees with a little bit of yellowing leaves… on August 20th… in Leamington, Ontario; the southernmost point of Canada. We live in the “southernmost point of mainland Canada”, marketed under the motto, “Sun Parlour of Canada”. We’re actually on the same latitude line as northern California and Rome.1

    Needless to say, fall leaves in summer are NOT NORMAL here.

    Pictures from my walks Aug.20-26, 2020

    By the week following, on August 26th, I saw my first tree with red leaves (the last picture here). Season’s Changing.

    CRAZY.

    Normal Season Changes

    I’ve never seen leaves turn this early. The website ToDoOntario.com site and others confirm how, “Ontario fall colour reports begin mid-September and continue through October.”2

    Leaves don’t change in August… but they did, and I took notice. 

    Each walk I felt the Lord directing my attention to these pre-mature colour-changing trees amidst the green ones. I felt the Lord directing my eyes and whispering to my soul, the season is changing… and change it is. 

    Today is September 15th and more trees have changed colour and lost leaves. We could have raked leaves around our fence at our trailer on Labour Day Weekend even though most trees in the park were dark green.

    As I read Esther 4:14, it had new meaning, given all God’s been speaking to me lately. Mordecai’s words to Esther when she almost missed noticing the changing season, struck me this morning, “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

    While I read this verse, the Lord kept reminding me about Isaiah 43:19, “Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

    Nudging You…

    I feel the Lord pressing me to not stay silent but write and nudge your level of holy noticing. Pay attention to His “Godwinks” to you, like the turning trees to me, and ready your heart for the sudden opportunities this new season change will provide.

    Rub Your Eyes

    Plainly, keep your eyes peeled because God has something up His sleeve for you to do and I don’t want you missing the destiny He has for your life. Esther almost missed hers, don’t miss yours.

    And… don’t get distracted looking for something BIG. Most of God’s opportunities don’t start with something ground-breaking or earth-shatteringly obvious… but small, unimportant to us but life-changing, nonetheless.  So, rub the sleepy out of your eyes and see what God is about to do… through you!

    PRAYER

    Father… I ask you to open my eyes and help me see what you’re doing.  Remove the distractions that seek to steal my attention from what you’re about to do. May I live out every detail of the destiny your have for my life.
    In Jesus Name…Amen

    DRAWING FROM THE WELL
    1. Isaiah 43:19
    2. Esther 4:14
    3. Isaiah 42:9
    4. Isaiah 48:3,6

    #musicpic Song

    Seasons Change by United Pursuit
    (ft. Michael Ketterer)
    Youtube Video: https://youtu.be/F7k5pqBVinA
    Soul H2O 2020 Spotify Playlist:
    Online | On App

    ENDNOTES

    1. https://todoontario.com/ontario-fall-colours-progression-report/#:~:text=Ontario%20fall%20colour%20reports%20begin,next%20few%20weeks%20for%20sure. ToDoOntario Website Accessed:  2020-09-15
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leamington,_Ontario  Wikipedia Website Accessed:  2020-09-15

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  • From Adversity To Adventure

    This post, From Advesity To Adventure was originally posted on November 18, 2018 when Todd and I got back from Guatemala… for the third time. I just felt it needed to be released again.

    I woke up thinking about the Soul H2O Podcast Epidode #28, Seasons of Growth in Adversity (which also features and interview with Todd, my daughter and Peggy Kennedy). That reminded me of this devo and it encouraged me, so I pray it will do the same for you!

    Here’s the Soul H2O Devotion…

    From Adversity To Adventure

    This resurrection life you received from God
    is not a timid, grave-tending life.
    It’s adventurously expectant, 
    greeting God with a childlike 
    “What’s next, Papa?” 
    God’s Spirit touches our spirits 
    and confirms who we really are. 
    We know who he is, and we know who we are:
    Father and children.
    And we know we are going to get
    what’s coming to us
    —an unbelievable inheritance! 
    We go through exactly what Christ goes through. 
    If we go through the hard times with him, 
    then we’re certainly going to go 
    through the good times with him!
    
    ~Romans 8:15-17 The Message

    For the past two weeks, Todd and I were in Guatemala!!! This is our third trip because the people have gotten into our hearts.  We’ve only been home a few days and we’re planning to go back.

    The crazy part is we started journeying to Guatemala before we ever became romantically connected! We discovered at the beginning of our dating relationship that we both wanted to go back to Guatemala.  With the encouragement (or maybe a little hounding) from Sam Welten of Possibilities International, we went last March to help with a teen missions trip. While there, I was asked to run a women’s event. It went so well they asked us back this year with a team of women who would coordinate four women’s events across Guatemala and build houses for families in need.

    I was blessed to have this opportunity because a horrible thing went on in my life. For two decades I was in an unhealthy marriage that ended with a very difficult divorce. Todd and I would never be married if we both hadn’t had to go through the disappointment of divorce. My life has been a series of hard times followed by incredibly awesome experiences.  I can honestly say; every struggle has made the good times all the sweeter. With God, you can go from adversity to adventure!

    ADVENTURE THROUGH ADVERSITY… TO THE EXCITING STUFF!

    I chose to use Eugene Petersen’s Message paraphrase of the Bible for this week’s Scripture reference because I love how he words this passage. {Side-note; did you know he’s Canadian too? A Canuck just like me… OK, back to the devo}  What Petersen’s meaning when he compares the Christian life by saying:

     This resurrection life you received from God
    is not a timid, grave-tending life.

    Is that the Christian life isn’t for lifeless, dead, boring people. It’s a life resurrected. Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly!  Yes, you’re going to have problems, but yes, you’re going to experience the good stuff.  Begin to live adventurously expectant of what God destined for you. A life lived for God is an exciting adventure!  You won’t be bored. You may be hanging on for dear life at times, but it will never be a lackluster existence. I’ve found, that with each step I take towards God’s purposes for my life, the more attention-grabbing my journey gets.  Seeing how God connects me with the right people at the right time, watching where He directs me to go and recognizing who He’s leading me to go with are all born out of exhilarating escapades!

    So, if you’re finding life a tad bit drab… ask God to show you what HIS plans for you are and take the first step on your exciting new adventure!

    Prayer

    Father… Help me not to live small.  Your plans for my life are big, exciting, adventurous plans.  Let my heart line-up with your will so I can experience all that you have purposed for me to do. I will live expectantly asking “What’s next, Papa?”. In Jesus Name…Amen


    Right before we went to Guatemala I did a Facebook Live to update and encourage people.  It’s what inspired this devotion.

    WATCH MY FACEBOOK LIVE ON ADVENTURE

    Some of you have followed our adventures through facebook live’s from my Sherry Stahl-Author, Speaker, Blogger page and the Possibilities International Page.  If you didn’t, the videos are still on our Facebook page Video sections.


    DRAWING FROM THE WELL

    1. Romans 8:15-17 The Message
    2. Exodus 12:11
    3. Psalm 84:5
    4. Matthew 4:19

    THANK YOU!

    We want to thank all the individuals who gave to help fund this missions trip and make it a reality. Below are links to a few of them.  We’d love for you to support them with donations or your business J

    Possibilities International
    Founder Sam Welten has been friends with Todd for decades and taking teams on humanitarian trips almost as long.  He’s a heavy-hitter for the Kingdom bringing his ‘lemony goodness’ around the globe. Affectionately telling people to ‘Get off the Sauce’ and do something with your life!
    https://iam1ru.com/ShoppingCartTrip.aspx Fall Medical/Build/Ladies Event

    Sew On Fire Ministries
    Wendy Hagar is one lady full of adventure! Following God’s call, she started this ministry in her home, now a 9000 square foot warehouse filled to the rafters!  Wendy vicariously travels around the globe as she sends out humanitarian aid with a loving touch. The women on her team sewed bags and gave us an abundance of stuff to put in them for the women of Guatemala, along with dressed for little girls, a wedding dress, and shoes)
    http://www.sewonfire.com/

    Tim & Stephany Mercer’s Century 21 Local Home Team in Leamington, Ontario
    These amazing friends of ours have the biggest of hearts! Adventurously stepping out into the business God purposed for them to start.  They offer their time, talents, and treasures to build God’s Kingdom. (Donated funding to build a home for a family in dire need and their 7 kids)
    https://www.localhometeam.ca/

    Goodness Project (Donated Clothes and Nailpolish)
    My cousin Bill & his wife {my BFF} Rachelle Fletcher are reaching out to those in need and providing emergency disaster relief across Canada and the US. They are two of the most giving people on the planet who have man an earthquake effect for God’s Kingdom opening wide God’s love into broken, needy places!
    https://www.teamgoodness.com/

    Keep It Real Ministries (Donated Encouraging Hats)
    Laura Bronson is a Youth Minister and Graffiti Artist who impacted our kids as teens and continues to influence youth for Christ as she has expanded Keep It Real ministry to include a team of Graffiti artists!
    http://ikeepitreal.ca/

    Soul H2O

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


    YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:
    MONDAY
    Monday Meditations – Laura J. Davis, Soul Survival – Donna Reidland,

    TUESDAY 
    Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
    WEDNESDAYCoffee For Your Heart – Holley GerthWord Nerd Wednesdays — Liz GiertzTHURSDAYHeart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms, Chasing Community Barbara Bradford OttingerFRIDAYDance With Jesus Linkup – Susan B. MeadGrace and Truth Linkup – Arabah JoyCounting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market Friday – Crystal Twaddell ELLEN’S PICKS– Ellen Graf-Martin

    Read More

  • CALLED TO SPEAK UP

    Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice. Psalm 31:8-9 NLT

    I’m grieved.

    Literally sick to my stomach with all that has taken place and what is taking place in our world.

    Covid-19 deaths and lockdown, racism, killing by those who are called on to protect, false, part-truth news reporting to cause division for profit or popularity, corrupt political and business leaders abusing their power, depression, anxiety, suicide, financial struggles, hunger, starvation, broken, hurting people acting out of their woundedness and division being spread in countries, cities and homes around the globe with much worse affects than the current plague.

    If we don’t see a change soon, I’m fearful of where this will take us given the current trajectory of events.

    Please read this post with the filter of love, a desire for unity and longing deep in my heart to break down dividing walls; not build them up.

    Answering The Call

    called to speak up

    This is just me, answering the call of Proverbs 31:8-9 to speak up for the crushed, poor, and helpless with hope they will receive justice. I pray you’ll answer the same call to speak righteousness, justice, and truth in love.

    Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
    steadfast love and faithfulness go before you. Psalm 89:14 ESV

    GEORGE FLOYD—The Crushed

    On May 25, 2020 the world changed forever. George Floyd, an innocent man, lost his life because of a corrupt, racist group of police officers who abused their power and murdered him in front of a horrified audience. This one incident has brought to the surface a longstanding stronghold of racism towards black people that has been allowed to fester for centuries.

    I don’t believe there’s any going back and I hope we make a change for the better, quick before too many lives are lost. 

    THE COVID FLUSH

    I believe the isolation of Covid-19 Lockdown is bringing to the surface many old wounds that need to be healed, issues that were overdue to be dealt with and problems that have been ignored for much too long: globally, nationally, in our hearts and homes.

    God is allowing long-standing strongholds to surface, so they can be severed

    I pray we recognize this and begin to make the changes necessary because it seems all hell is breaking loose. Anarchy has ensued because there is a loss of confidence in the government to care, protect or have people’s best interest at heart but rather to dominate. I hope you do not see my words as condoning the looting or vandalism, I do not condone illegal behaviour, but I also don’t condone government officials or other evil-acting persons who abuse others, even taking a life. All life is precious.

    UNITY

    During Lockdown I’ve been trying to stay positive and see God at work in people’s lives, which I believe He is, I could see it while online attending another global prayer meeting with Unite714.  Praying for unity in this world. 

    UNITY: This is the heart of God.

    UNITY: This is the nature of God.

    God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; the triune God, three in one… complete unity, and that’s what He wants for His kids; the people of this world.  There’s not a one He doesn’t love.  Not a one He didn’t die to save. 

    SIGNS OF UNITY GROWING

    Favourite Photo & Video From The Protests

    Why? This picture gets me very emotional because the white police officer is holding this black woman like a son protecting his momma. She’s looking at him and has her arm around him, trusting him to protect. It’s the way it should be. It’s beautiful. I also love that this picture of a protest to show that American people believe black lives matter has only a few distinctively black protesters, most are white. #unityindiversity

    My Favourite Video. This police officer is one of many who are breaking down barriers of racism and bringing healing to his community. He and many other law enforcement officers are leading the way to reconciliation.

    I want to see the positive but I feel a shift in the atmosphere, the battle is raging and we need to pray. I can’t ignore how I see the enemy rearing his ugly head, having a heyday. 

    John 10:10 records Jesus saying:

    The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
     I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

    John 10:10

    THE THIEF

    The thief Jesus is talking about here is the devil and his tactics haven’t changed over time.  The devil visits every age to steal, kill and destroy. On the contrary, Jesus comes to give live to the full. I see God at work in hearts and I also recognized the work of the enemy as I watch the news in the murder of George Floyd, the abusive, overhanded government response to protests, how evil-acting people have brought damage to bring on police brutality, the wrongful vandalism, looting and violence taking place. 

    Don’t you see the thief at work in all of this? If we keep trying to fight an enemy with skin on; instead of the real enemy, society is headed for complete disaster.

    You can be sure the enemy, the devil is behind the hatred, racism, abuse, injustice, corruption and all manner of godless behaviour you’re watching play out on your screens. Embracing hatred and placing your rights above another’s brings division, just what the enemy wants. Divide and conquer are his plans for all relationships.  We have to stop letting him win. Stop falling into his traps. Stop partnering with his plans.

    Don’t displace your anger, place it where it needs land… with the chief-thief.

    If you want peace, if you want love to rule, you have to recognize… this is a spiritual battle we’re all engaged in and you have to fight a spiritual war with spiritual weapons of prayer, fasting and declaring God’s purposes over the future. You cannot overcome hatred with hatred.

    Do not be conquered by evil,
    but conquer evil with good.
    Romans 12:1

    A PROPHETIC POST?

    In 2016, I wrote a post and shared about an article by Lecrae; the three-time Grammy Award winning Christian rapper, who shared how he just like George Floyd had a police officer put their knee to his neck… yes to the Christian rapper who was falsely being accused of having a gun… which he didn’t. There was one statement he made that rocked me to the core.1

    You can’t wipe away a 500-year trauma in 50 years.

    If you’ve ever had to deal with hurt in your past, I think you can understand this. The crazy part is that when I went searching through my blogs, I found this post was the one I wrote the night of the election where Donald Trump took the vote and became President. Penning it after being woken up by the Lord with a Phrase running through my head, “Looking for a David, not a Saul.”

    In the post, I wrote, “As this phrase kept waking me up, I thought of the difference between David and Saul as leaders of their nation. Both men were appointed by God in their position, both men started off well, but only one man finished well.” I believe how Donald Trump deals or doesn’t deal with this atrocity will decide if he has the heart of David or Saul.2

    I know we need to pray for him to govern as God wants. I’m praying Donald Trump will govern like a good father, firm but loving and accepting.

    THE DEVIL’S DESTRUCTIVE WAYS

    I’m heartsick when I hear about racism.

    I was appalled watching the murder of George Floyd and many other black people.  I’m horror-struck watching the news where I see police officers tasering teenagers until they’re incapacitated when they were just driving home in their car and didn’t know about the new curfew. Broken as I watch law enforcement beat people, throw tear gas, pepper-spray children and drive overtop of people. 

    If you don’t believe me check out Shaun King’s Podcast Episode Shown here and his Instagram account that is chronicling some of the police brutality. @shaunking Research for yourself in the links below, I’ve seriously been researching this for years.

    I was angered when I read an email from a girl who teaches online business as she shared her experience when driving home and facing a protest ahead had to hear her five-year-old daughter who had witnessed police brutality ask,

    Mommy, I am a little black. Will the police kill me when I grow up?

    No mother should ever have to be asked a question like that.  I’ve had countless black friends share over the years how they’ve experienced racism and the fear associated with police harassment, wrongful arrest and abuse.  “A 2015 study found that unarmed blacks were 3.49 times more likely to be shot by police than were unarmed whites.”3  This shouldn’t be.

    FURIOUS

    I’m furious and praying the other three police officers are charged for their part in the murder of George Floyd. We serve a God of justice and this injustice is not His ways.   

    My heart was broken as I read an article from the Harvard Public Health Review and other sites, detailing the disproportionate homicides to black people when police are involved.  I don’t want to post them but I will share links with you to do your own research and face the harsh reality that racism is rampant and it’s not just in the US. On Canadian soil there have been great injustices to minorities over the centuries so we can’t throw the proverbial first stone.  We need to clean up our backyard before we could ever look down with a condescending eye.

    SHAREABLE—BUT NO COMMENTS

    I have chosen to make this post shareable but not allow comments.

    In the past when I’ve shared anything remotely political or controversial, there have been comments written that twist my words to imply I’m saying something I did not mean. 

    REFRESHING & REAL

    I want to hear your thoughts, I just don’t want arguing, fighting, and hurtful words shared on a blog purposed to bring a refreshing word, backed with Scripture to help a hurting world walk through the difficult times. I know that’s what God’s Soul H2O Devotions to provide but I also know that sometimes there are bitter things in our water supply that must be cleared out in order for the fresh water to flow.

    That’s why I feel this post had to be written and shared.

    SEMANTICS

    I pray you hear my heart and if I have written anything with words that mean something different than I have intended them to mean and they offend you, please let me know.  I understand that I’m not a millennial. Sometimes words have changed meaning over the years and between different people groups.  Trigger words that conjure up hurtful feelings. If I have unknowingly used any of these, please share with me.  

    HOW TO RESPOND

    If you have questions or comments, PLEASE write, DM, or message me personally. I will respond to as many as I’m able but sometimes I just do not have the time to reply to all.  Know that I will do my best to read them all, pray and hopefully be able to respond. Depending on the response, I may have my team help me read through.  I care about your viewpoint and your heart.

    This is a call, for all Christians to pray.  Pray for unity, pray for healing of the black community for past atrocities, pray for racism of any kind to be removed from all our hearts, pray for corruption and abuse to end. Pray for the love of Christ to fill the earth!

    Much love,

    Sherry Stahl
    xoxo

    ENDNOTES
    1. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/i-declare-black-lives-matter_b_5808be36e4b0dd54ce385412?fb_action_ids=10154658276416085&fb_action_types=og.comments
    2. https://www.sherrystahl.com/looking-for-a-david-not-a-saul/
    3. Ross, Cody T.; Hills, Peter James (5 November 2015). “A Multi-Level Bayesian Analysis of Racial Bias in Police Shootings at the County-Level in the United States, 2011–2014”. PLOS ONE. 10 (11): e0141854. Bibcode:2015PLoSO..1041854Rdoi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141854PMC 4634878PMID 26540108.

    FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF–More Links

     Ross, Cody T.; Hills, Peter James (5 November 2015). “A Multi-Level Bayesian Analysis of Racial Bias in Police Shootings at the County-Level in the United States, 2011–2014”. PLOS ONE. 10 (11): e0141854. Bibcode:2015PLoSO..1041854Rdoi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141854PMC 4634878PMID 26540108.

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  • Nehemiah–Wash Behind Your Hears

    todd stahl nehemiahGood Morning!  In the past few months my computer has been in the shop a few times and it decided to crash again.  I know from many of your emails that these Monday morning devotions are a boost to your week so even though I can’t access my devotions I’m still posting one.  It’s the first devotion from my hubby’s book (Details below) and it’s really good!  Be encouraged today as you read and no matter what happens…DON’T GIVE UP!!!

    Nehemiah--Wash Behind Your Hears...

    God holds me head and shoulders above all who try to pull me down…Already I’m singing God-songs; I’m making music to God.
    —PSALM 27:6

    Many times in my life, I have given too much thought to background noise. Those voices attempt to make you think aspects of your life are falling apart. You anticipate that the future will be a scary place, or the walls feel as if they’re pressing in on you like a vice. Do not allow those sounds to be played. God has provided courage and faith to confront your fear and anxiety.

    Nehemiah, a mighty man in the Bible, encountered an excellent example of this dilemma. At a time when he could have been comfortable with his highly honored position of cupbearer for the king, God spoke to him, confirming that he would be the lead man to reconstruct the walls around the city of Jerusalem.

    During the physical work, Nehemiah heard sounds of criticism, verbal attacks, and false accusations day in and day out. Nehemiah refused to listen. He kept his focus. Not only did he refuse to crumble to the background noise, he and his construction crew completed the job in record time!

    Don’t be surprised if the devil starts heating up the adversity when you pursue a goal that God has confirmed in your heart. In your own life, scrub away those  words or thoughts that have held you back from spiritual growth. Listen for the  voice of encouragement.  Open your spiritual ears to hear what God is saying to you today.

    The enemy desires nothing better than to play the sounds of negativity, doubt, and confusion in our minds, hoping we’ll lose focus. These words are attempts to smother the dreams God placed in us to fulfill. Turn off the old playlist of doubt and fear. Download the new sounds God has given to you—lyrics of hope, anticipation, and excitement towards a future that is music to your hears!

    Prayer

    Father…Help me today to focus on You and Your plan for my life.  Please help me to “tune in” to your station so I hear Your voice of encouragement and not the negative voice of the enemy as I move forward towards Your great purposes for my life!  In Jesus Name…Amen.

    Man CaveTodd’s book, 40 Days In The Man Cave  is available everywhere books are sold! 

    Check Out Todd’s Website  http://www.toddstahl.ca

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  • Does Forgiveness Equal Restored Relationship?

    forgiveness restored relationship“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example…”
                                                                                 Ephesians 4:32-5:1 NIV

    Life is so generous to give us lots of opportunities to extend forgiveness to people who hurt us. What’s the proper response to offence? Do we always have to forgive?

    Does forgiveness =equal= restored relationship?

    If we are to follow God’s example, as this verse instructs us, then forgiveness is a must and restored relationships need to be our intent.

    Sadly, I don’t think forgiveness can always lead to restored relationships, and we see that in Jesus’ relationship with the Pharisees.

    Isaiah 59:2 explains that our sin is an offence to God, separating us in our relationship with Him. The more we sin and the longer we continue offending Him, the more distant our relationship with Him becomes. Forgiveness can take place in an instant when a prayer is whispered, but it takes time to rebuild a relationship with God.

    Restoration happens when we take ownership of our offense and change our ways. We have to go through a process to rebuild our closeness with the Father.

    The same principle needs to be applied to our earthly relationships.
    We must forgive others for their offenses towards us. If we don’t, it keeps us bound in bitterness. It’s healthy to learn that a restored relationship is separate from forgiveness and requires a healing process.
    When approaching relationship restoration, we need to consider the whole counsel of scripture.
    Proverbs 4:23 warns,

    “Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life” (NLT).

    Proverbs 22:24 cautions,

    “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,
    do not associate with one easily angered...”
    Forgiveness + Ownership + Repentence = Restored Relationship

    Sometimes you’ll need to forgive and protect yourself from unhealthy or even toxic relationships. In the best of times, forgiveness leads to a better, stronger restored relationship.

    Prayer:

    Father, I thank You for Your forgiveness. I ask for the grace to forgive others in my life who have hurt and offended me. I take myself out of the judge’s seat and release them to Your judgement and justice. Please help me to guard my heart, without closing it in the area of relationship restoration. May I walk in Your wholeness. In Jesus’ name, amen.
    Drawing from the well
    1. Ephesians 4:32
    2. Isaiah 59:2
    3. Proverbs 22:24–25
    4. Proverbs 4:23

    Soul H2OThis post was first published on January 19, 2014 and then included in my first Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.
    Devotion #17 – Forgiveness and Restored Relationship.  The original devotion also inspired a #musicpic post called, The Forgiveness Song

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  • Where You Are Is Preparing You For Where You’re Going

    Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
    ~Exodus 3:1 NKJV

    Where You Are

    Have you ever felt overlooked? Like you were living on the back side of the desert where no one noticed you? Wasting your life, squandering your potential? Do you question your life wondering, what am I doing here?

    There are times in life when you don’t understand your circumstances. The difficulty doesn’t seem to have a purpose. I imagine this is what Moses might have thought when he was tending his father-in-law’s flocks “on the back side of the desert”.

    Moses was born with a purpose and raised to rule. Miraculously drawn out of the water by Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses was the one boy under two years old spared from the genocide of Israeli baby boys sanctioned by her father. Then, Moses grew up in the Egyptian palace as Pharaoh’s grandson and we know he looked the part because when he ran away to the desert, the girls he protected said, “An Egyptian rescued us.”1

    “As shepherd of his father-in-law’s flocks, Moses gained first-hand geographical knowledge of the territory surrounding the Gulf of Aqabah. Little did he realize that through this area he would one day lead the great nation of Israel.”2

    The Desert Is a Place of Preparation That Produces Purpose

    Moses ended up back on Mount Horeb when leading the Israelite’s towards The Promised Land. In this very spot God used him miraculously to strike the rock and water gushed out.3 Moses also encountered God on this very mountain in powerful ways and was used by God to bring the 10 Commandments to His people.4

    Where Moses Went

    Moses had no clue that this time at the back side of the desert was preparation for his purpose… you have no clue how God is preparing you for your purpose. Like Moses, the place you serve could one day be the area where you lead.

    Where You’re Going

    So, today, choose to see your circumstances as training grounds, not punishment or places of neglect. God hasn’t abandoned you in the desert. Know that where you are, is preparing you for where you’re going.

    Prayer

    Father… I thank You that the desert is a place of preparation that produces purpose. You don’t waste the struggles in our lives but instead, if we submit ourselves to You in the midst of them, You will bring about beautiful things in the desert. Produce Your purpose in me! In Jesus Name…Amen

    1. Exodus 3:1
    2. Philippians 1:6
    3. Jeremiah 29:11
    4. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
    Soul H2O

    If you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women from our Legacy Works Online Store.


    ENDNOTES

    1. Exodus 2:16-19
    2. NIV Archaeological Study Bible, New International Version.  © 2005 Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI. Note on Exodus 3:1 pg. 88.
    3. Exodus 17
    4. Exodus 19-20, 34

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  • Easter and The Number Seven

    Today’s post was written as I reflect on Jesus sacrifice and a piece of my hubby Todd’s art this Good Friday afternoon. It’s all about Easter and the number seven.

    Seven Artwork Todd Stahl

    The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
    ~John 1:29 NIV

    Every year, we celebrate Good Friday, that doesn’t seem like a good day for Jesus. We’re taking time to remember the day Jesus willingly gave Himself up, allowing them to beat, mock, disfigure, and eventually crucify His body on a cross as a sacrifice for our sins… for my sins… for yours.. Every Good Friday I’m overwhelmed by all that Jesus endured to provide complete salvation for my sin. I really don’t understand it. I struggle to comprehend how my life was worth the cost… but it was.

    To Jesus, your life was worth the sacrifice.

    And what a sacrifice it was. By the time Jesus offered His body on the cross He had already given us so much.

    Jesus’ first sacrifice was leaving heaven to come down to earth. He left the most perfect place of complete unity to experience ultimate rejection; a position of power to acquiesce his rights; ruling as King to serve as the saviour. Jesus gave extravagantly even before He went to the cross.

    JESUS WAS THE PERFECT, SPOTLESS, SACRIFICE

    But you know that he [Jesus] appeared
    so that he might take away our sins.
    And in him is no sin.

    1 John 3:5

    A couple of years ago, Todd created a piece of art that hit me powerfully and I hope it does the same for you. It was one of those pieces he felt God inspiring him to create. This artwork conveys the power, perfection, completeness, and victory in Jesus sacrifice on the cross as the image of Christ is represented in the number seven.

    For some meaning behind the art, I’d love to share a few insights from Todd that might make this artwork even more impactful for you.

    The Art of Seven

    “During the sketch stage, I believe God gave me a few key elements to combine that would create a strong visual of who Christ is.”
    ~Todd Stahl

    The Story Behind The Art

    • The crown expresses Jesus identity as the King of Kings.
    • Jesus is the Lion of The Tribe of Judah
    • Rings symbolize covenant, favor, authority, and affirmation
    • The framework of the cross is comprised of the word seven in various sizes.
    • The fact we all have individual various stories and backgrounds is the reason why I drew the body of Seven in mosaic pieces. No two are the same.
    • The number Seven is found 735 times within the Bible.
    • Seven is the number of completeness, rest, blessing, victory, and perfection; which is a representation of Christ on the cross.
    • The actual number seven on the cross is such a strong statement.

    All these components come together to fuse a visual impact.

    Praying you have a blessed Easter focussed on Jesus the perfect, sinless, spotless, sacrifice who gave it all for you

    Much love,
    Sherry
    xoxo

    Drawing from the well

    Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus,
    who, existing in the form of God,
    did not consider equality with God
    as something to be exploited.
    Instead he emptied himself
    by assuming the form of a servant,
    taking on the likeness of humanity.
    And when he had come as a man,
    he humbled himself by becoming obedient
    to the point of death—
    even to death on a cross.

    Philippians 2:5-8 (CSB)

    See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.
    Revelations 5:5 NIV

    God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
    2 Corinthians 5:21

    You know that Christ appeared in order to take away sins, and that there is no sin in him.
    1 John 3:5 GNT

    You can check out more of Todd’s art on his website: http://www.toddstahl.ca
    To Learn More About Christ’s Sacrifice, Watch Joe Amaral’s Good Friday Online Teaching.

    Related Soul H2O Devotions

    My Resurrection Story https://www.sherrystahl.com/resurrection-story/
    Celebrating Passover And Communion https://www.sherrystahl.com/celebrating-passover/
    My Resurrection Story 
    How To Let Go and Live Free  https://www.sherrystahl.com/how-to-let-go-and-live-free/

    {PASSION WEEK} Jesus Knows What I’ts Like To Go From Cheers To Jeers  https://www.sherrystahl.com/passion-week-cheers-to-jeers/

    Why You Can Trust God https://www.sherrystahl.com/why-you-can-trust-god/

    Why I’m Always Overwhelmed on Good Friday https://www.sherrystahl.com/why-im-always-overwhelmed-on-good-friday/

    Want A Great Idea On How To Observe Lent? https://www.sherrystahl.com/want-a-great-idea-on-how-to-observe-lent/

    Jesus Was Full of Passion https://www.sherrystahl.com/passion/

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  • Celebrating Passover & Communion

    Today’s Devotion is talking about the power of celebrating Passover & Communion Together.

    “This day is to be a memorial for you,
    and you must celebrate it
    as a festival to the LORD.
    You are to celebrate it
    throughout your generations
    as a permanent statute.
    ~Exodus 12:14 NIV

    TODAY IS THE BEGINNING OF PASSOVER

    Celebrating Passover & Communion

    When you sit down to have lunch today at 12noon Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, April 8, 2020; people in Israel will start their Passover celebrations and continue until Thursday, April 16th. Hebrew people living outside of Jerusalem will start their celebrations the next day.  Every year the Jewish people set aside 12 days to remember how God delivered their nation out of Egyptian bondage and how the angel of death passed-over their homes after the 10 plagues when they applied the blood to the doorframes of their homes.

    This Year Is Monumental

    This year’s Passover celebrations have much more in common with the first Passover experience than most as Jewish people and others join in to pray and ask God to stop the spread of this corona virus and let it pass-over our homes.

    TODAY IS THE BEGINNING OF PASSOVER! Learn about joining Passover & Communion.

    When I was growing up in church there wasn’t a whole lot of talk about Jewish traditions.  It wasn’t until I was a late teen that I heard the term Seder meal when our pastor brought in a special speaker in to show and explain this Jewish Passover meal; revealing Christ as the sacrifice of Passover.

    I remember being awed at the parallels of Jesus’ life and the Passover traditions. Jewish people were instructed to take a 1-year old sheep or goat (sorry to my vegan/vegetarian friends) without any blemish.  They had to shelter it for 5 days and then they would roast it in bitter herbs, serving it with bread that has no yeast.

    How Passover Is Celebrated Today

    Today, the Seder meal is most often lamb served with bitter herbs and vegetables dipped in salt-water to remind them of the bitter sufferings they experienced in Egypt or that life brings.

    They eat matzah bread, breaking the middle piece in half to remind them of how God parted the Red Sea for them to crossover. Half of the broken matzah bread is wrapped in a cloth and hidden for children to find later.

    At one point in the meal, the children ask four questions that lead into a retelling of Israel’s history, the difficulties they’ve faced and how God miraculously set them free! They tell the stories in a way that connects them to their ancestors experience.  The Jewish website Chabad.org gives direction that…

    “At the Seder, every person should feel as if he or she were going out of Egypt… We are with them as G‑d sends the ten plagues to punish Pharaoh and his nation, and follow along as they leave Egypt and cross the Sea of Reeds. We witness the miraculous hand of G‑d as the waters part, allowing the Israelites to pass, then return to inundate the Egyptian legions… As we eat bitter foods of affliction and poverty, the Exodus becomes a reality—as real as the festive meal and celebratory toasts that follow.”1

    With thankfulness they drink four glasses of wine to pronounce blessings with (something we might call a toast), that end in pronouncing their faith in a coming Messiah. They end the Seder with songs of worship.

    Passover & Communion Connected

    It’s with the broken bread and glasses of wine where the connection with Jesus work on the cross powerfully connects the celebration of Passover and the observance of Communion. Jesus makes this clear during the last supper with His disciples in Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26 & Luke 22:14-23.Jesus explains how He is the promised Messiah and how Christians are to take communion to remember the freedom He brought us through His shed blood on the cross.

    It’s only in the past few years where I’m coming to understand the importance of commemorating Passover and Communion combined. I feel strongly that this year is more important than ever for us to take part in Passover celebrations and take communion, asking God to have Covid-19 pass-over our homes, our countries, our globe.

    Prayer

    Father… I thank You for your heart that hears your children in their distress. You hear our cries for health and healing in the midst of Covid-19. I join my voice together with believers around the globe in thankfulness for Your saving grace. Jesus I’m so thankful for your willingness to come down to earth and die on a cross for my sin.  I plead the blood of Jesus over my life… my household and the nations… may You cause Covid-19 to pass-over our homes, our countries, our globe. In Jesus Name…Amen

    Joe amaral on 100 huntley street
    Joe Amaral on 100 Huntley Street with Ron & Ann Mainse explaining the Seder Meal
    Joe Amaral Good Friday

    Joe is sharing a special Good Friday message on Facebook Live that you’re all invited to watch. Click HERE

    Drawing from the well

    1. Exodus 12:14
    2. Exodus 12:17
    3. Matthew 26:26-30/Mk 14:22-26/Lk 22:14-23
    4. 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

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  • Dealing With The Disappointment of Delays

    Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves
    rests between his shoulders.

    ~Deuteronomy 33:12 (NIV)

    Today I was supposed to be flying to Kenya. 

    This is something I’ve dreamed of for decades.  I’ve felt this holy call to help the people of Africa since my thirties and God has opened up opportunities through giving in Kenya and Uganda.

    A portion of the profits from my book Water In The Desert went to a project in Turkana, Kenya with Crossroads Relief and Development. You can watch a short video that Cheryl Weber and I created to share about this project that blessed hundreds of families living in the desert with a Quarter Acre plot of irrigated land that is growing gardens in the desert! View on my website here.

    So, when I was invited to go on a Missionary Ventures Canada trip to Kenya with some friends I was excited to say yes, but that was long before the Corona Virus.

    Before Corona

    delays

    Even before the Corona Virus hit Kenya, there were locust swarms.  We had been gauging the locust situation for a while and decided we’d go regardless because locusts wouldn’t kill us, but by the time the virus hit Kenya it had been renamed COVID-19 and our missions trip had to be indefinitely postponed.  Darlene, Doreen, Judy, Carla and I were heart-broken by this delay. 

    I thought I had grieved the trip when we had to cancel two weeks ago but I found myself mourning it again yesterday and very much today; so much so, that I bumped the devotion I wrote for this week and will send out next week.  I thought maybe there are lots of you who are feeling what I’m feeling right now? Maybe you’ve had big life goals or dreams delayed. 

    Delays

    My daughter has friends who had to delay their weddings… an author friend of ours, Mark Buchanan had to come home after just arriving in Europe for his two-year-in-the-making writing trip to complete research for his next book… I had to delay the launch of my two-year-in-the-making REFRESH group… many of us are dealing with the delay of work and getting paid. 

    There are delays all around us and they can really get you down. 

    Sometimes you just have to lean into the pain and let it out.  The safest place I know where to do that is mentioned in this week’s verse… square in between the shoulders of our God; finding refuge from disappointment, laying in the hollow of His chest.

    Deuteronomy 33:12

    If you’re struggling with the disappointment of delays like me, don’t keep trying to act like it doesn’t bother you. Let it out with God and stay there long enough, so the peace of His presence washes over you and dissolves the discouragement.

    Prayer

    Father… I thank You for the invitation to place head on your chest, to nestle in and bring You my hopes, fears, triumphs, tragedies and disappointments. I’m so glad you’re not a fair-weather God who’s only wanting relationship with me for what I do for You.  Your Word makes it clear that You just want to be my friend.  So, I’m asking You to be my refuge, to be my hope today.  Help me take all that’s disappointing and discouraging me and leave it with You because I trust You’re working all things out for my good! In Jesus Name…Amen


    1. Deuteronomy 33:12, 28
    2. Psalm 60:5
    3. James 2:23
    4. John 15:15

    #musicpic SONG: Cody Carnes – Run To The Father (Live at Motion Conference)
    Youtube Video: https://youtu.be/HTHS4W1bPj8

    Soul H2O

    If you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women from our Legacy Works Online Store.


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  • I Need a Sign!


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    Soul H2O Devotion

    I Need A Sign

    “What sign, then, are you going to do
    so we may see and believe you?”
    they asked.
    “What are you going to perform?”

    John 6:30 CSB

    Long before Covid-19 entered this earth, God put in my heart to share some miraculous stories on Soul H2O Radio to build up your faith in a series of what I called “Miraculous March”.  Three powerful teachings coupled with three miraculous interviews featuring Kimberlee Moran, Lena Cebula, and on Saturday the most mind-blowing of supernatural miracles shared by Alley Dunn.

    I had no clue how timely these interviews would be… no way to know that the world would be experiencing a crisis of epic proportions in health, finances and faith.  It’s no mistake the episode releasing on Saturday is about God’s supernatural intervention to bring about His divine purposes, healing and goodness into your life… no coincidence at all. 

    The Book of John

    As I researched for these shows my church started a timely series on the book of John which is sometimes called, The Book of Signs1 because it includes so many of Jesus miraculous works. John made it abundantly clear in his gospel that Jesus performed all these supernatural acts as signs “so that you would believe” (John 20:31). 

    I hope the miraculous sharing in these radio/podcast episodes and this devotion help you to believe in Christ.  I pray you have the gift of faith to believe God for miracles.  I also pray you don’t become like some of the people in John’s day who witnessed these signs and miracles. John and the other gospels record how Jesus pulled back from the crowds when he recognized they didn’t just want Him… they wanted what they could get from Him (John 6:14-15). Seeing signs became more about experiencing the ‘goose-bump effect” and getting their needs met more than signs to draw people to God. 

    You don’t want to be like the people in Jesus day who needed a sign to believe.

    The Bible records how Pharaoh, the Pharisees, Thomas and others all needed a sign, and sadly only a few stayed believing after God performed the sign.

    Let’s be like the people Jesus talked about in John 20:29 when he said, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Look for, ask for and seek out God’s miracle working power but don’t let it be a requirement for your faith.

    Prayer

    Father…

    In this time of uncertainty, I ask for a spirit of faith to rise up in me.  May I have the child-like faith needed to ask for and believe for… global healing… global believing.  Father I need Your gift of faith to trust that in the midst of global crisis… that if we, humble ourselves, seek your face, turn from evil ways, and call on you… you will hear from heaven, forgive our sins and restore our land. 

    God, I ask that you stop the spread of the Corona Virus and heal those suffering from its effects.  May nations turn to faith in Jesus and see your hand turn the tide of sickness, disease, financial ruin and emotional trauma.  May this miraculous turn-around be seen in our world like the drying up of the Jordan for Your people to cross-through into the Promised Land. May the world see your miraculous hand at work, and may we all believe.

    In Jesus Name, Amen!

    Drawing From The Well

    1. John 6:30
    2. John 20:31
    3. John 20:29
    4. Matthew 17:20

    #musicpic SONG:
    Official Youtube Video With Lyrics:
    Miracles In This House by Michael Delgado of Grace City Florida

    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.

    Episode # 24 Releasing Saturday is the last in the “Miraculous March” Series talking about God’s miraculous at work in our world today and features an interview with Alley Dunn. You can find the  Show Notes at http://www.soulh2o.com/24

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