Soul H2O Devotions

  • {New Series} New Beginnings

    This New Beginnings devotion is #2 of the 4 Part  “NEW Series”. The series is a group of devotions I felt the Lord putting on my heart for the NEW YEAR.  Here’s last week’s INTRO/NEW STRENGTH, I sensed Holy Spirit inspiring me to share hope and refreshing words with you. 

    The devos will follow along the same format as my normal #SoulH2O devotions except the last one will have a bonus post later in the week for the first week in February.           

    I hope these posts build up your expectation for the great things God desires to do in and through you in 2017!  Praying you take hold of all He has for you this year!

    Be Blessed & Refreshed,
            <3 Sherry Stahl

     NEW BEGINNINGS 

    “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.”
    Zechariah 4:10  NLT
    “Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.”
    Job 8:7   NLT

    New Beginnings can be a scary thing.  Have you ever lost a job and been forced into a new career, possibly with less pay?  Ever had a relationship breakdown that left you starting over?

    The culture of the business world and society we live in makes these scenarios a common occurrence.  In 2012 I was remarried and wrote my first book.  Talk about new beginnings with huge life changes both personally and professionally.

    It seemed like my life was finally turning around.  Marriage to Todd was an easy adjustment, I never knew love could be like this.  I had high hopes of WATER IN THE DESERT hitting the stores and flying off the bookshelves.  It didn’t happen.

    The mindset of our times teach that, “If you build it, they will come” and are filled with “Get Rich Quick” schemes.  So when you stick your neck out, follow God’s call and you’re not an “Overnight Success”, it makes you question if you did the right thing.

    Did God really call you to start that business, marry that guy or say yes to that ministry opportunity?

      Zechariah and the Israelites experienced a lot of new beginnings.  They understood these questions.  They felt your fear.  The Israelites had started rebuilding the temple after a previous group gave up about 16 years earlier.  The generation before gave up when they were harassed by the Samaritans.

    God spoke to His people through Zechariah and encouraged them to keep going.  They were afraid they didn’t have what it took to finish the task God called them to.  God let them know that it wouldn’t get done in their strength, but it would in His.1

    Today you may be facing a new beginning or have started into a new adventure and fear is screaming that you won’t make it.  Learn to silence the lying enemy and those negative thoughts by quoting these two scriptures to your fear.

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You for being with me in every stage of my life.  Help me not to fear when I’m given the opportunity for a new beginning.  May I focus my attention on Your words that make clear you’re happy when we start something new.  Help us to be diligent in what you’ve called us to and not give up until You prosper us in the dram you’ve given.  In Jesus Name…Amen

    [tweetthis]Small Beginnings lead to BIG Things when God’s involved![/tweetthis]

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

    1        Zechariah 4:6

    YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:
    MONDAY Monday Meditations – Laura J. Davis,
    TUESDAY Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
    WEDNESDAY Coffee For Your Heart – Holley Gerth, Word Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz
    THURSDAY Heart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms,
    FRIDAY Dance With Jesus Linkup – Susan B. Mead, Grace and Truth Linkup – Arabah Joy, Counting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market Friday – Crystal Twaddell

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  • {New Series} New Strength

    This devotion is #1 of the 4 Part The NEW Series. The series is a group of devotions I felt the Lord putting on my heart for the NEW YEAR.  I sensed Holy Spirit inspiring me to share hope and refreshing words with you.  The devos will follow along the same format as my normal #SoulH2O devotions except the last one will have a bonus post later in the week for the first week in February.    

    I hope these posts build up your expectation for the great things God desires to do in and through you in 2017!  Praying you take hold of all He has for you this year!

    Be Blessed & Refreshed,

    Sherry Stahl

    NEW STRENGTH

    “But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint.”                                                      Isaiah 40:31  NLT

    When my kids were little January seemed to be the month of dead batteries.  After Christmas toy gifts were opened they needed a constant supply of power.  It was a cost savings when rechargeable batteries came on the scene, but the kids had a hard time waiting for the batteries to recharge.  Brandon hated waiting for the batteries to play Xbox.  Often he’d take them off before a full charge cycle ended.  The result was that the batteries wouldn’t last long and then he’d have to put them on the charger again.

    In other translations of this verse it says, “they that WAIT on the Lord shall renew their strength”.   We’re all like rechargeable batteries.  We need to wait on God and trust in Him to find new strength.   He wants to give it to us, and boy do we ever need His power for bigger battles than Xbox has made!  James encourages us to “Let perseverance finish its work”1.    If we want to soar, to run, walk and not grow faint then we have to LET God work in us till He’s finished what He started.

    Today, learn to wait.  Show your trust by waiting for God’s timing.  Then, when your batteries are fully charged get out there and release that power!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank-You for the seasons in my life.  Seasons of busy, seasons of rest and seasons of great energy to fulfill all You’ve called me to do.  May I use the new strength you’re bringing me to make a difference in this world for You! In Jesus Name…Amen

    1        James 1:4

    #Dare2Share
    Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else! 

    YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:
    MONDAY Monday Meditations – Laura J. Davis,
    TUESDAY Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
    WEDNESDAY Coffee For Your Heart – Holley Gerth,
    THURSDAY Heart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms,
    FRIDAY Dance With Jesus Linkup – Susan B. Mead, Grace and Truth Linkup – Arabah Joy, Counting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market Friday – Crystal Twaddell

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  • Sound The Alarm

    Happy New Year’s! 

    Todd and I had a great time bringing in the new year with our friends Steve and Brenda Rice, along with two of their new friends Nat and Elain.  Steve and Brenda are two of the most amazing friends you could ask for.  We have great talks about God, we pray for each other, we pray for each other’s kids and then we have lots of laughs together too.  It’s a balanced friendship!  Last night we introduced Elain to Sequence, one of our favorite board games.   We had a blast, did I mention that the two girls’ teams won 2 games each and the guys not even one??? Oh ya, I said it! 🙂

    While we were playing Sequence we heard fireworks going off outside as people celebrated New Year’s.  That one little incident caused me to change my blog schedule.  I had this devotion SOUND THE ALARM in my ideas folder for later this year, but felt that nudge from Holy Spirit that it needed to be sent out today.  I pray that this devotion gets you ready for all that God has for you in 2017.

    I believe it’s greatly by your choices; how you act and react in this new year that will decide the course for your life.  May you choose the life God has destined for you and walk in His blessings this year!

    Much love,
    ~Sherry Stahl
    xoxo

    Now, here’s the first #SoulH2O Devotion of 2017…

    Sound The Alarm

    “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill.”
    Joel 2:1  NIV

    The week before Christmas I had a really important meeting.  While preparing documents, my computer ran out of paper an hour and a half before I had to leave.  I jumped in the car and drove to Staples.

    Next, I bolted out of the car and was rushing into the store when I was stopped dead in my tracks.  As soon as I opened the double doors I could hear the security alarm going off.  Sirens were blaring.  My heart sank as I thought I would have to go to another store and didn’t have time but I looked in and saw people in line at check out.  I walked forward and the automatic doors opened.  I saw the manager walking by and she didn’t say anything.  The clerk was running people’s purchases through the register so I just kept on walking to the paper aisle.

    The sound was almost deafening, yet no one was making any reaction to the alarm.  They were all carrying on like normal, like they didn’t even hear it.  As I walked towards the register to pay, the alarms turned off.  Still, no one in line with me reacted so I didn’t say anything.  It was so weird.

    I felt like I was in an episode of The Twilight Zone!

    As I was walking around the store this verse in Joel kept ‘sounding off’ in my head. Sadly, too often God is trying to get the world’s attention and they don’t even hear it.  They keep on living, oblivious to the signs of the times, the messengers, or the messages He sends.

    Joel wrote these words after God gave him a prophetic vision to share with the people.  I didn’t have a vision, but I know God had me walk in the store at just that time to sound the alarm through my writing.

    I believe at the beginning of 2017 God is blowing a trumpet and we need to be alert to His message.

    The end of Joel 2:1 says 
    “Let all who live in the land tremble for the day of the LORD is coming.  
          It is close at hand”.

     

    This isn’t a doomsday post heralding the end, but it is an alarm for us to listen up.  Joel warned the people of God’s coming judgement for their sin but, like God so often offers in His Word, there was a caveat to the judgment.

    “Rend your heart and not your garments.  Return to the LORD your God, 
    for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, 
    and he relents from sending calamity.”  (Joel 2:13).

     

    God isn’t some angry deity waiting to throw fireballs on the earth.  His desire is to show us grace, love and compassion.  Joel 2:26 tells how God will restore what the enemy has stolen away, if we turn our hearts to Him.

    Your choices; how you act and react in this new year, will decide the course for your life.  May you choose the life God has destined for you and walk in His blessings this year!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You for Your warnings, they show You care for me.  Let my ears be open to hear them.  This year, I choose to turn my heart and my life over to You so I will see Your restoration in areas where the enemy has stolen away!  May I walk in Your grace, love and compassion; showing it to the world.  In Jesus Name…Amen

    [tweetthis]I believe at the beginning of 2017 God is blowing a trumpet …be alert to His message. [/tweetthis]

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    YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:
    MONDAY Monday Meditations – Laura J. Davis,
    TUESDAY Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
    WEDNESDAY Coffee For Your Heart – Holley Gerth,
    THURSDAY Heart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms,
    FRIDAY Dance With Jesus Linkup – Susan B. Mead, Grace and Truth Linkup – Arabah Joy, Counting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market Friday – Crystal Twaddell

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  • Celebrating The Women of The Christmas Story – The Senior Citizen

    See the INTRODUCTION FOR THIS SERIES in the #SoulH2O post two weeks ago Celebrating the Women of The Christmas Story  The series is talking about how each of the #ChristmasWomen were:

    CARRIERS – OF THE PROMISE & PRESENCE OF GOD

    THE MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN – ELIZABETH was the first Christmas Woman celebrated.  I talked about how she protected the promise of God.  Last week celebrated THE TEENAGER – MARY discussing how she was willing to be inconvenienced to carry the promise and very presence of God, Emmanuel: God with us. 

    Read on to learn about our last Christmas Woman everyone’s been wondering about…

    THE SENIOR CITIZEN…

    CHRISTMAS WOMEN-ANNASince I’m totally breaking my format for #SoulH2O devotions with this series, I decided to share the whole of Anna’s story with you (a whopping 3 verses) because so many of you have commented or sent me messages saying you can’t wait to see who the Senior Citizen is.  This lets me know that many of you don’t know who she is, so you probably don’t know her story and she’s absolutely a woman worth celebrating!

    The Prophecy of Anna

    “Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years.  Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.  She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.”                                                   Luke 2:36-38  NLT

    Anna is the last of our Christmas women.  She was the only woman who didn’t carry a physical baby in her body, but there is no doubt in my mind that she carried the promise and presence of God to the people in her day.

    Anna knew what it was like to face hard times.  She was widowed at a very young age and never had any children. During Jesus’ time women who weren’t married didn’t hold much value in their society so this fact lets you in on how “unimportant” Anna could have seemed to many in her day, but Anna was a prophet.  She spent her days serving in the temple, worshipping God with fasting and prayer.  It was out of this lifestyle that she heard from God and shared His messages to His people.

    There’s so much that sticks out in my mind about Anna, but the words waiting expectantly from Anna’s life-story just jump out at me and Christmas really is a time when people are found waiting expectantly.

    WAITING EXPECTANTLY

    For centuries children on Christmas Eve have hung stockings by the fireplace and struggled to fall asleep with nervous anticipation of what Santa will bring in the morning. My kids were no different than the masses.  In order to help my kids be able to fall asleep on Christmas Eve I started a tradition where they were allowed to open one gift at bedtime.  That gift was always a pair of new pajamas and a book.  Not the most exciting gift, but it created the atmosphere I hoped for.  Brandon and Shelby would change into their PJ’s and were allowed to read their new books before lights out.  The PJ’s made for nice pictures on Christmas morning and the books helped them fall asleep.

    Waiting expectantly on Christmas Eve is pretty simple for kids since they know the next morning is Christmas day and they can see wrapped presents under the tree. The way Anna and others waited expectantly for the promise of God to be fulfilled wasn’t so easy.  Anna had been waiting for about 60 years.  She was doing all the right and good things while waiting but she had been waiting for oh so long!  She never gave up hope waiting for the promised Emmanuel, the Messiah…JESUS to come.

    Maybe you’ve been waiting a long time for your promise.  Maybe you feel like too much time has passed and you need to “move on” or “give up”.  I pray Anna’s story restores your hope and gives you faith to believe.  Know that at Christmas and always, God keeps His promises and fills you with His presence while you wait.

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You that you’re not like Santa doling out gifts I don’t need.  You make promises to me and fulfill them in Your perfect timing.  You know exactly what I need and what’s best for me.  Help me to trust You and Your timing.  May I live with a special expectancy this Christmas carrying my Promise from You and Your Presence within so I can share it with the world when my promise is ‘born’.  In Jesus Name…Amen

    ANNA CARRIED THE PROMISE AND THE PRESENCE OF GOD…I WANT TO BE LIKE HER.

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

    #Dare2Share
    Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!

    You can often find me linking up with:
    MONDAY Monday Meditations – Laura J. Davis,
    TUESDAY Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
    WEDNESDAY Coffee For Your Heart – Holley Gerth,
    THURSDAY Heart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms,
    FRIDAY Dance With Jesus Linkup – Susan B. Mead, Grace and Truth Linkup – Arabah Joy, Counting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market Friday – Crystal Twaddell

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  • Celebrating The Women Of The Christmas Story – The Teenager

    TWA Winner Seal StickerThis post:
    Celebrating The Women Of The Christmas Story – The Teenager
    Post was Shortlisted for The 2017 Word Guild Awards in the Category of Article — Inspirational/Devotional
                                     and WON !!!!!Word Award WIN 2017 _Mary Teenager

      This post was also featured on the #GraceandTruth #Linkup by Aimee Imbeau


    See the Introduction for this series in the #SoulH2O post Celebrating the Women of The Christmas Story and the devotion on the first Christmas Woman, THE MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN – ELIZABETH discusing how she protected the promise of God.  The series is talking about how each of the #ChristmasWomen were:

    CARRIERS – OF THE PROMISE & PRESENCE OF GOD

    Read on to learn about today’s Christmas Woman…


    THE TEENAGER – MARY

    And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her..”
                                             Luke 1:38  ESV

    For most of my life I’ve had a skinny, scrawny type of frame.  My ankles and wrists are not much bigger than a small child’s, but that all changed when I was pregnant.

    This picture was taken the night I went into labour with my son Brandon.  I’m not sure if my hair or pregnancy belly is larger???  I will say there was a shadow behind me from that cheap camera I owned.

    Being truthful, I don’t think there was anything left small on me at that point.  My feet were swelled, my lips felt blown up, my face was puffy…nothing was comfortable anymore.  Sleep seemed unattainable.  Trying to find a comfortable position with a yoga ball attached to my tummy was impossible.  How I gained over 50 pounds for a baby who was just 9 pounds 9 ounces doesn’t make sense (if it weren’t for all those bacon-cheese hotdog cravings I fulfilled).

    I can attest to the fact that carrying a baby was inconvenient, uncomfortable, stretching, tiring and yet…the most wonderful time of my life!

    MARY – The Pregnant Teenager

    I imagine it was similar, but a whole lot more inconvenient for Mary. Teen pregnancies aren’t often easy.  There’s a certain stigma High School aged girls face when they announce they’re pregnant.  I doubt Mary had it in her school planner to get pregnant, especially by someone other than her fiancé.

    How do you explain it to your family and friends that ‘you’re not pregnant because you’ve done something you shouldn’t’, it was because you allowed the God who created the universe to use your womb?

    Nothing about Mary’s pregnancy was convenient, comfortable or easy; yet this teenager accepted God’s plan for her life with the words,

    “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

    No, but God don’t you know how hard that is…don’t you know what that will cost me…don’t you know what people will say…don’t you know what Joseph will say…he may leave???

    Mary The TeenagerMary was carrying the promise and the very presence of God – Emmanuel, God with us inside her womb and it cost her. 

    Carrying the promise and presence of God isn’t convenient, easy or comfortable, but it will be the most incredible adventure of your life; if you yield to God’s will, done God’s way.

    It’s impossible to carry a baby without getting stretch marks but oh, it’s so worth the scars.  Be like Mary; willing to be inconvenienced so you can carry within your heart the promise and the presence of God, so that through you the world will see Emmanuel, God is with us!

    [tweetthis]MARY CARRIED THE PROMISE AND THE PRESENCE OF GOD…I WANT TO DO THE SAME. #ChristmasWomen[/tweetthis]

    Prayer

    Father…I’m overwhelmed at the thought that YOU want ME to carry Your promises and Your presence to the world.  I don’t feel worthy and I’m afraid of the cost.  I’m sorry for trying to take the easy-way-out. I open my heart and my life to You.  I’m willing like Mary to carry Your promises and Your presence, so the world may know YOU, no matter the cost.  In Jesus Name…Amen

    [tweetthis]I’m willing to be inconvenienced to carry the promise and the presence of God to this world! [/tweetthis]

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


    You can find the full story of Mary’s involvement in Jesus’ birth Within these portions of scripture:

    Luke 1:26-38               An Angel Meets Mary, Jesus Birth Foretold
    Luke 1:39-56               Mary Visits Elizabeth
    Matthew 1:18-25         Angel visits Joseph
    Matthew 1:27              Emmanuel:  God With Us  (Prophesied in Isaiah 7:14)
    Luke 2:2-6                   Mary gives birth to JESUS:  The Promise & Presence of God

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    GET READY FOR NEXT WEEK’S #SoulH2O Devotion in the Series THE SENIOR CITIZEN

    You can find me linking up with:  
    Monday Meditations, Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup, Coffee For Your Heart, Heart Encouragement Thursday, Dance With Jesus Linkup, Grace and Truth Linkup, Counting My Blessings, Fresh Market Friday

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  • Celebrating the Women of The Christmas Story-A Middle Aged Woman

    For the next 3 weeks before Christmas I am going to release 3 posts Celebrating the Women of The Christmas Story.  I really wanted to title this series: The Teenager, A Middle-Aged Woman and The Senior Citizen I Want to Be Like, but I thought it was a little long 🙂

    I prepared parts of these posts in a message I shared at a few events.  There’s just so much to the lives of these women that I can’t get away from their stories and how it relates to the birth of Christ.  I want to share these snippets of their stories with you so you can see the hope of Christmas, our hope in Christ as we learn from these women and begin to model the character they lived.

    Each of these women were:

    CARRIERS – OF THE PROMISE & PRESENCE OF GOD

    All three of these women carried inside of them the promise of their savior, the Messiah.  The Christmas women all spent time in the presence of God so, when God’s promises were present in their lives they immediately recognized them.  The lives of each woman in the Christmas story affected people around them as they pointed the world to Christ.  All three believed in the promises of God and trusted in God’s timing.  I want to be like the Christmas Women.  I want to carry inside of me the promise and the presence of God.  I want my life to affect others so they look to Christ.  I want faith to believe in His promises and a confident trust in His timing to fulfill them.   I pray that by the end of this series you want to be like these women too.

    So let’s begin our Christmas Festivities,

    [tweetthis]Celebrating the Women of The Christmas Story! #Christimas[/tweetthis]

    The first woman in the Christmas story…Jesus’ Story…is actually: 

    THE MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN – ELIZABETH

    Christmas Women-Middle Aged Woman

    When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home.  Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months.  “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”
                                                                             Luke 1:23-25  NLT

    Luke starts his gospel account starting with the record of a couple named Zechariah and Elizabeth.  Luke tells us that this couple was old, that was his way of saying Elizabeth was passed the age of child-bearing. One day while working in the temple, an angel tells Z that Elizabeth his wife is going to have a child, and not just any child.

    Their child would be the one prophesied about in Malachi 4:6.  He wast to be the forerunner for the Messiah.

    “And he will go on before the Lord…to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (NIV)

    I think it’s pretty clear from Z’s reaction that he had long since given up on the dream to have a child before the angel came to meet him at work.  Z didn’t believe and as a sign from God that God could do what He said, Z was unable to speak for 9 months, until the birth of his son.

    On the other hand, Elizabeth immediately believed and because of her faith, Elizabeth carried John the Baptist; the one who would prepare the way for the Christ, in her womb.  Elizabeth protected the promise of God inside of her by staying secluded for 5 months.  She took extra precautions to make sure the promise of God inside of her was able to grow and mature.  Elizabeth didn’t let anyone talk her out of her promise from God.  She didn’t allow anything to stop it from being birthed.

    [tweetthis]Be like Elizabeth, Protect the promise of God in your life. Luke 1:24 [/tweetthis]

    This Christmas, think about the promises God has given you as a believer in His Word and one’s He’s given to you personally.  Protect those promises.  Give them room to grow in your heart, your mind and in your life so you can see them birthed like the baby, John The Baptist.

    [tweetthis]ELIZABETH CARRIED THE PROMISE & THE PRESENCE OF GOD…I WANT TO DO THE SAME #ChristmasWomen[/tweetthis]

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You for all the promises in Your Word and for speaking directly to me.  Help me to put a shield around your promises so they will have room grow so I’m able to carry them to full-term; watching Your promises be fulfilled in Your timing.    In Jesus Name…Amen

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

    You can find the full story of Zechariah and Elizabeth in these portions of scripture:

    Luke 1:5-25             John The Baptist Birth Foretold
    Luke 1:39-56           Mary Visits Elizabeth
    Luke 1:57-66           Elizabeth gives birth to the Promise of God

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  • Gratitude For Grace

    “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
                                                                        Luke 10:20    NIV

    When I was a teenager our youth group did a lot of missional outings.  Sometimes our youth pastor would put us in groups of two and send us out in the city park to share our faith, other times we would travel to nearby towns and help smaller churches.  Right before I started College we went way up north to a secluded town to help a new church.  One night on that trip the teens in the town all met at a park and my team ended up in a share-a-thon of sorts, witnessing about Christ for hours.  I remember the exhilaration I felt after that event.

    Luke 10 records how Jesus sent out 72 disciples to spread the gospel message.   When the people got home they were so excited about how God used them to reach the people and even cast out demons; much like my friends and I felt after the youth trip.  Jesus followers began telling Him how amazing it was that “even the demons submit to us in your name.”1  Jesus quickly responded to their reports as He recognized the door to pride was creeping open by their comments and warned them to not get caught up in their spiritual authority but to always remember to stay thankful for their salvation.

    I went to an event and one person at the table kept hi-jacking the conversation.   Whenever anyone shared about a situation or struggle this person automatically told the other person how they should take authority over that situation and most often followed up with an example of how they had done this in their life. When Christians get out of balance and focus on their authority over their salvation, it’s a dangerous place. We need to keep ourselves in a gratitude for grace mindset so we won’t easily get to puffed up and out of balance.

    [tweetthis]We need to keep ourselves in a gratitude for grace mindset #grace[/tweetthis]

    Choose today to brag about your salvation with others.  Remember your spiritual authority in Christ and use it, but never let it become your focus.

    Prayer

    Father…I want to thank-You for saving my life and writing my name in heaven. Help me to confidently use the spiritual authority You’ve given me while keeping a proper focus that I was once in need of a savior, so I don’t fall into pride.  Let me live in a gratitude for grace.  In Jesus Name…Amen

    1           Luke 10:19

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  • FREE Coloring Page-THANKFUL For Trees


    Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends and family!  At the bottom of this post I have a FREE downloadable coloring page for your lazy afternoon.  I’ve added a little competition to it, for those who want to participate 🙂

    Over the past month since we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada I have written a few posts with a grateful theme.

    First there was OVERSPRAY where I was thankful to God for an amazing wet-pet we had and who has reminded many of us to watch the OVERSPRAY of our lives.

    AMAZING PEOPLE, introduced you to my three closest friends and how thankful I am for friends who walk with you through the desert.  I encouraged you to join me in writing something to the AMAZING PEOPLE in your life and express your gratitude.

    THANKFUL FOR TREES taught us how trees reveal so much about God and His provision in our lives.  This devotion brought out a contest for the best fall tree colour picture.  The winner of that Contest was….drumroll please…Evelyn Wilson from Trenton, ON!!!  Evelyn posted these two fall tree photos taken at Ottawa Valley Camp (OVPC).  I was blessed to speak at this camp in June for the Single Mom’s Retreat.  The lake there is so beautiful!  i just want to sit in one of those Adirondack chairs by the colorful trees in the picture!  Ev knows that she was actually the runner-up but gets to wear the crown because the first-place winner didn’t reply to me after posting her amazing photo.  Anyhoo…CONGRATULATIONS Ev! I’ll be sending you a signed copy of my newly published SOUL H2O devotional book. Here are Evelyn’s

    EVERYONE’S WELCOME was sent out this Monday.  It talks about how we need to:

    We honor God when we adopt the ‘Everyone’s Welcome’ mission statement.

    To help your Thanksgiving day be more enjoyable, or just to add a little relaxing into your day.  Download this Coloring Page drawn by amazing hubby Todd onto your computer and print it off.

    Click on Picture to Download the Coloring Page.

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    CONTEST

    I just love contests and I hope you do too!  I will send this Thankful bracelet and a signed copy of my newly published SOUL H2O devotional book to one of the girls who color their Thankful For The Trees page and post the finished page on social media.  Make sure to tag me and use the hashtag #SoulH2O so I see your post and enter you into the contest.
    FACEBOOK:  Sherry Stahl – Author/Speaker/Blogger      TWITTER & INSTAGRAM:  @sherry_stahl

    thankful-bracelet

     

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  • Everyone’s Welcome

    Then Peter began to speak: “I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism, but welcomes those from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.                                                          Acts 10:34-35

    My family tends to live by the ‘Everyone’s Welcome’ mission statement.  You just never know who may be there for dinner.  My parents never want anyone to eat alone.   You might get there for Thanksgiving and find extra chairs at the table with an explanation of how the people are facing hard times or why they wouldn’t have a family to eat with.  Mom and dad have been known to take people in when they’re down on their luck or just in town for a few days.  My sister Lori and I used to joke about our ‘brother Chris’ who stayed with our parents and shared many a family meal.

    The words ‘Welcome’ and ‘everyone’ struck me as I was reading these verses in Acts. I think everyone knows what it feels like to be the outsider at some point in their life, to be the one not picked for the team, to eat alone.  God never planned for us to have experiences like this.  It’s not the way God loves and it’s not the way He wants His children to love; especially not the children in His church.  God’s eyes are not just on the “chosen few”.  Psalms 33:13-15 talks about how God watches over all mankind.  Believers can’t have the ‘just my four and no more’ attitude.

    [tweetthis]We honor God when we adopt the ‘Everyone’s Welcome’ mission statement. [/tweetthis]

    It’s funny how God’s timing works, but the weekend this devotion is going out, I’m staying at a friend’s home in Winnipeg where I was speaking at some amazing Women’s events. So, why not follow their lead?  Be like my family or Betty and Bruce; set an extra chair or two at your table this week and let the world know, Everyone’s Welcome!

    Prayer

    Father…I ask you to expand my heart and let it be like yours.  Help me not live trying to stay safe, and closed off to others.  Don’t let me show favoritism to one, over another.  May the door of my heart swing wide open, welcoming everyone in.   In Jesus Name…Amen

    #Dare2Share
    Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!

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  • Against All Hope

    Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
                                                     Romans 4:18    NIV

    Have you ever gotten frustrated watching a love story?  The movie starts out with a couple falling hopelessly in love.  They’re perfect for each other…and then everything starts to fall apart.  It looks like they’re never going to end up together and you start to get upset, maybe even worried…but then you remember, it’s a movie and you know it will all work out.  I know the normal plot process for any story, yet I can be caught up in the drama.  It always starts with Character Introduction, then moves into a Crisis Situation where the suspense builds and builds until the Climax where you think it’s never going to work out.  There’s just too many issues and it seems there’s not hope, but alas it’s a movie and against all hope the Conclusion ends with everything working out.

    I think we get this familiar plot process from the Bible.  The life of Abraham and Sarah sure follow the format.  We’re told that the fatherless Abe was to become the father of many nations, but his wife couldn’t have kids.  They kept trying to make God’s promise happen and every choice seemed to make the dream more impossible.  God waited till Sarah was passed menopause; when it was no longer possible in the physical realm to fulfill the promise He made to Abraham to have a child.  Scripture records that against all hope Abraham believed in the promise. And that’s when the promise was fulfilled.

    So, if everything is going wrong, your resources are almost depleted and hope doesn’t make sense at all; know your miracle is just around the corner.

    [tweetthis]God is faithful to His promises. Choose to believe in Him, against all hope! #hope[/tweetthis]

    Prayer

    Father…Thank-You for Your promises.  Help me to not lose hope when the drama of my life is screaming that You won’t pull through.  Please give me the gift of faith to believe in what you say, to believe in You and Your Word, against all hope!  In Jesus Name…Amen  

     

    #Dare2Share
    Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!

    Have you ever had “against all hope” faith?

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