Soul H2O Devotions

  • 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

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

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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.


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

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  • I Need a Sign!


    DOWNLOAD THESE REFRESHING RESOURCES TO HELP QUENCH YOUR SPIRITUAL THIRST!

    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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  • Who Are You Wearing?

    Last week’s #soulh2o devotion was called My Flawless Razor and today’s message builds on that thought.

    The King’s daughter is all glorious within;
    Her clothing is interwoven with gold.
    ~Psalm 45:13 NASB

    From January to March, our tv sets are filled with film, tv, video, and music awards programs. There are so many like the: Oscars, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, Critics’ Choice, BAFTA, iHeartRadio Music Awards, Grammys, American Country Music (AMC) and tomorrow, Friday, March 15th, the Canadian Juno Music Awards will be all over our screens.

    I like watching these awards programs to see how people respond to winning, but let’s be honest girls… I really watch to see the red-carpet parade of beautiful people dressed in fairy tale-esque or sometimes science-fiction inspired clothing when you’ll inevitably hear the tv reporters ask, “So, Who Are You Wearing?”

    In Psalm 45:131, the king’s daughter is wearing her royal robes; interwoven with gold… not too shabby! In my study of the original wording, the impression I was left with was that this dress is almost a delicate lace made out of gold or embroidered with braided gold threads. If someone wore this to an awards ceremony they would hands-down, make the Most Iconic Dresses Of All Times list.

    What’s In A Word?

    I chose to use the New American Standard Bible translation for today’s verse because I felt it best matched the intent of the original writer. I love how this version captures the message that the daughter of The King was beautiful from the inside out. The word used for ‘within’ or ‘in’, as some versions translate comes from the root word ‘kalel’2 meaning ‘perfect or complete’. This is absolutely how God sees you… beautiful, perfect, glowing, adorned in gold.

    Some of you read this and a warm feeling of confidence is beginning to rise, while others might be thinking “Cut the crap Sherry, I’m no princess. I’m sitting here wearing yoga pants and I haven’t even fit into my jeans for years.”

    The reality is, not many of us will ever wear such beautiful clothing but we all are seen by God as if we’re Cinderella at the Ball—I’m serious! This reality has little to do with you and everything to do with what Christ has done. You just need to get dressed the right way. Let the Apostle Paul be your personal stylist and follow his advice in Romans 13:14 when he says, “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”, or “clothe yourself with”, Him as the NIV translation says. Scripture confirms that God provides this clothing for us. It’s gleaming white and pure, all we have to do is put it on.

    So, Who Are You Wearing?

    When you get dressed, remind yourself that you’re ‘putting on Christ’ so when people look at you they see His beauty shining through and are compelled to ask; “So, who are you wearing?”

    Prayer
    Father… I thank you for loving me unconditionally and seeing me as perfect… even when my thoughts tend to focus on my failings. I’m thankful for the clothing you provide. Help me to ‘put You on’ every morning, so when people look at me, they first see You. In Jesus Name…Amen

    DRAWING FROM THE WELL
    1. Psalm 45:13
    2. Romans 13:14
    3. Galatians 3:27
    4. Revelations 19:7-8

    #musicpic Songs

    Line I love in James Blunt’s song: “You’re beautiful, it’s true”.

    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.

    ENDNOTES
    1 https://biblehub.com/psalms/45-13.htm Biblehub Accessed: March 12, 2020
    2 https://biblehub.com/hebrew/3634.htm Biblehub for Kalel Accessed: March 12, 2020

    JUST FOR FUN!

    My Pick Favorite Academy Awards Dresses:

    1. Lupita Nyongo’o in Versace; 2018 Academy Awards
    2. Kate Hudson in Atelier Versace; 2014 Academy Awards
    3. Farrah Fawcett in Stephen Burrows; 1978 Academy Awards
    4. Jennifer Lopez in Atelier Versace;
      ~I just couldn’t pick only three!

    My Pick of Strange Awards Dresses:

    1. Björk in Marjan Pejoski Swan Dress; 2001 Academy Awards
    2. Jennifer Lopez in Atelier Versace Fish Gill Dress; 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party
      Dress was weird, but her hair and make-up was the best ever!
    3. Lady Gaga in Armani Prive Jetson’s Inspired Dress; 2010 Academy Awards
    4. Z LaLa in Heather-Anne MacCarahan Octapus Dress; 2015 American Music Awards

    GREAT AWARDS DRESS PAGES

    https://www.heart.co.uk/lifestyle/iconic-oscar-dresses/charlize-theron-dior-oscars-2014/
    https://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/red-carpet-dresses/g8397/best-oscar-dresses-all-time/
    https://www.elle.com/fashion/celebrity-style/news/g25786/the-most-iconic-oscar-gowns-of-all-time/

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

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  • My Flawless Razor

    My Flawless Razor

    You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
    there is no flaw in you.
    ~Song of Songs 4:7 NIV

    Flawless Razor

    A couple of years ago I was shopping at the “As seen on TV” store and saw this facial razor called “Flawless”.  I hadn’t seen the commercials, but the display and packaging enticed me enough to purchase. As I age, I’ve been collecting quite the 

    extensive collection of products and tools to help stay looking my best.  The razor does work really well and makes my face feel amazingly smooth, but it doesn’t make my face flawless as the name implies.  It’s still me, just without the peach fuzz. 🙂 

    You Are Flawless

    Flawless just seems like something that can only be achieved by a magazine graphic designer skilled with an airbrush and a picture of a model, so when I read today’s verse while doing my personal devotions, I was kind of shocked. 

    I’ve read through Songs of Songs before but never noticed what this verse said, and what that implies for you and me.  Since the book is partly an allegory of the relationship with Christ and the church this holds a lot of weight in your relationship with Him.  To think that God sees us as flawless is almost incomprehensible… but true.  Girl, you are fearfully and wonderfully made! When God looks at you, He sees ‘no flaw in you’! 

    Today, look in the mirror with new eyes.  Ask God to help you see what He sees… like the face, not the fuzz!

    Prayer

    Father…Your Word blows me away. There’s so much in it that I just can’t wrap my brain around. How You love me seems undeserved, but when I try to understand that you see me as your daughter, your ‘son’ I’m overwhelmed by the way You include me in Your family and how You see me as flawless. In Jesus Name…Amen

    IF YOU’RE STILL STRUGGLING TO BELIEVE THAT GOD SEES YOU AS FLAWLESS…

    Make sure to listen to the #musicpic below and check back on the blog next Monday to read the Devotion, Who Are You Wearing? I think it will help you believe it a little more. This is what God’s using to help me believe this truth. I am flawless in His eyes. YOU are flawless in His eyes!

    Much Love

    DRAWING FROM THE WELL

    1. Song of Songs 4:7 (Loses meaning in the NLT Translation, just sayin’) If you only have an NLT Bible, check here for the verse in many translations: Bible Hub
    2. Song of Songs 1:15
    3. Psalm 139:14
    4. Genesis 1:26-27
    (This one I love in the NLT Translation!) If you don’t have an NLT Bible, check here: Bible Hub – just click the arrow forward for verse 27.

    #musicpic SONG: Flawless by MercyMe

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