Soul H2O Devotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Prayer

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

    1 Luke 8:3
    Ephesians 5:21

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  • 8. CO-Workers – In The Beginning Series

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

    Laura Secord is one of my Canadian heroines. Laura was born in the United States to a family that never lost their British roots. Eventually her family moved to Canada. When the war of 1812 broke out between the United States and Britain, Canada was caught in the middle. When the love of her life James didn’t come home after the battle at Queenston was over, Laura traveled dangerous territory to find out what happened to him. She searched through living and dead bodies, eventually finding him shot in the shoulder and wounded at the knee. This 5’4” little woman carried her husband home from the battlefield on her back. Laura then nursed James to health but he remained crippled from his injuries. A year later she was forced to host American soldiers as they lived in occupied land. When Laura overheard battle plans to ambush the British armies she devised a plan and traveled 20 miles on foot to warn the Canadian Lieutenant of the impending attack. Arriving with bloodied feet, Laura shared what she heard. This information led to a triumph over the enemy. In everything, Laura was the perfect co-worker to her husband James and Lieutenant FitzGibbon.1

    Genesis 2:18 is a verse that often is read with a connotation that the woman as a “helper” holds an inferior, subordinate position to the man. The definition of this Hebrew word “Ezer” has been translated in our English Bibles as “suitable helper”, “helpmeet” or “helpmate, his like”2. In a paper I wrote for a Bible College course, just a couple years ago (wink-wink, nudge-nudge), I discussed how the Hebrew word for helper is defined as “equal to” or “corresponding to”3. Throughout scripture it’s explained how the marriage relationship is to be a mirror of the relationship in the trinity; where all are equal and one, but fulfill different roles. It’s clear that, In The Beginning God designed men and women to be co-workers; tending His garden, ruling in dominion over all things. Ezer used in this verse is also used in other scriptures to depict the helper as a military aid. Most times this word Ezer is used when God the Father calls himself the “helper” of Israel that helps Israel win military battles. In Psalm 89:19 Ezer is used to describe God’s help to David in battle. It says God gave help to one who is “mighty” or a “warrior”4. God is calling us to be “Warrior Women” and I think Laura Secord is an incredible example of this!

    Understanding the truth of this scripture dispels the notion that women are the weak, feeble, inferior, subordinate “helper” as often explained. So get out there girls and be the ‘Warrior Women’ God designed you to be; not above, not below, but a suitable co-worker for the men in your world!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You for placing such value on my life. Help me to work together with the men(women) in my life as you have designed for me to do. Let me work in unity and love so I can reflect Your purposes to this world. Help me not to diminish who I am or who others are, but to be the warrior woman(man) you’ve called me to be. In Jesus Name…Amen 

    1 https://www.uppercanadahistory.ca/1812/18127.html
    https://www.uppercanadahistory.ca/1812/18127.html
    https://www.historicacanada.ca/content/heritage-minutes/laura-secord
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812
    2 NIV/KJV/Darby Tanslation
    3 Erickson,Millard J. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987, p.546.
    4 KJV/NIV-NLT

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  • 7. Filled With Purpose – In The Beginning Series

    “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
    Genesis 2:15

    Years ago we went on a family vacation and rented a home in the Caribbean Islands. The week’s rent included not only the beautiful residence but also a crew of laborers to care for all our needs.   The first day there, in a rush I changed for a day of swimming in the ocean and left my clothes on the floor. When I came back my clothes were washed, folded and sitting on the dresser.   I thought I died and went to heaven! What is your dream life? For some it’s going on a perpetual vacation like this where they cook all your meals, clean your clothes and maintain your household. As enticing as that may sound, I know I wouldn’t be satisfied or feel that my life is filled with purpose.

    In Genesis 2:7 we read how God “formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.” NLT God didn’t just give us the breath of life to exist. He gave us breath so we can live. Great vacations can bless you with the rest I talked about last week, but you don’t need to rest if you never work. Genesis 2 explains how God put Adam in the garden and instructed him to tend things. Adam was responsible to steward over the plants, trees, and animals. He was also the one entrusted with the one garden rule to “not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”.   God gave Adam dominion over everything. It was out of this calling on Adam’s life that he found his purpose for living.

    I’ve heard it falsely said in churches that the “highest calling” is to full-time pastoral ministry. I know that’s not at all what the Bible teaches. In The Beginnning God called Adam to be a farmer. Whatever God calls you to do whether it be a farmer, receptionist, plumber, salesperson, pastor, preacher or pianist…whatever He’s calling you to do is the highest calling for you. It’s the place where you’ll find the most joy and you’ll be able to rest your head on the pillow, filled with purpose!

    Prayer

    Father…Thank You for breathing Your breath of life into my being. Help me not to waste they oxygen you’ve given me, but to breathe it in deeply and use it for Your glory.   Help me to rightly discern what Your purpose is for my life and give me the courage to live it out. Let my life be filled with purpose, completing the task you’ve called me to. In Jesus Name…Amen

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  • 6. Restful – In The Beginning Series

    “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”
    Genesis 2:2

    This weekend I had the awesome privilege to speak at a retreat for Single Moms. It was a phenomenal time getting to know some of these inspiring women and to hear their stories. I don’t know if there’s a harder-working or more loving group on the planet?   Sadly, many are the only parent involved in their children’s lives. With this reality brings a great deal of responsibility and work. The moms were so thankful for this restful retreat where they were treated with delicious catered meals, programs for their kids and a tranquil spa experience.

    In The Beginning, God set the weekly schedule for the world to include a day where everyone rested from his or her work. It’s difficult in this fast-paced culture of the 21st century to imagine a time when you feel your work is “finished”.   This mindset that your work is completed at the end of a week is very foreign to the reality a single mom experiences. Many express how it feels like there is so much to do that they can never keep up. I get how they feel. My “to-do” list seems unending and I bet yours seems impossible to finish too. So, I have to ask, is God’s pattern for a restful life unrealistic in our day and age? Did God’s agenda end when shopping was allowed on Sundays? It sure seems like it in the natural, but the truth is God’s plans don’t change according to our choices or habits. In The Beginning God scheduled in rest and that is still His plan for creation.

    Choose to make your life more restful, allowing time each week for a break to give your mind and body a rest.

    Prayer

    Father….I thank You that Your plan includes rest. Help me to fight against my cultural mindsets that cause me to feel my work is never finished. Help me to be a better representation of your image in how I take time for restful breaks. I ask for you to rewire my brain to align with your original intent and let it bring about great fruitfulness in my life. In Jesus Name…Amen

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  • 5. Very Good – In The Beginning Series

    God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”
    Genesis 1:31 NIV

    This Sunday I was at my home church and loved catching up with friends. It was shocking how many babies there were! Our church is in the middle of a baby boom and it’s wonderful to see all those lovable faces. Baby girls in their pretty dresses and infant boys in their buttoned shirts with sweater vests. It just doesn’t get any more adorable. No matter what the style of baby clothes, every parent believes their baby is the cutest. I think it’s something God placed in the heart of parents In The Beginning, when He looked at His kids and said, they’re “very good”!

    The Genesis 1 account of creation gives us an overview of how God formed the world. Day one, God created light and separated it from the darkness. Day two, God separated the waters by creating sky. At this point the world was simply water, sky, then more water. Day three, God created dry ground and separated the waters into seas between the land. God made the land productive as he formed all of the plants and trees with seed-bearing abilities. The earth began to create on it’s own. Day four, God created the sun, moon and stars. Day five, God created creatures in the sea and birds in the sky. He created them with the ability to procreate. At the end of each day it says that God took a look at what He created and “saw that it was good.” 1 During the first part of Day six, God stopped after making animals that live on the land and said they were “good”. During the last half of day six, God made the Adam and Eve. Now when He looked on all of His creation, God said it was “very good”!

    If you struggle with your value in God’s eyes I pray that the truth of creation sinks deep into your spirit. God looks at you; the child He created, His representative, His image bearer, and He says you’re very good, better than the most beautiful sunset in the sky, the starriest night, better than a full moon, tropical fish in an aquarium, cute puppies or exotic birds! Your Father sees nothing as good as you!

    Prayer

    Father….This world can be a difficult place. Sometimes the thoughts in my head, situations or people around me give off the message that I am ‘less than’; not quite enough. Your Word tells me that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”, that when you look at me you see me as very good. Lord, help me, to see me, as you see me. In Jesus Name…Amen 

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  • 4. WE Rule – In The Beginning Series

    “…and let them rule…”
    Genesis 1:26 NIV

    We come to the Bible with filters on our eyes, minds, hearts and spirits. It’s impossible not to. We read the Bible through the lens of our past experiences, teachings, understandings and misunderstandings. Somewhere my filter was cloudy on the authority God gave in the garden and that left me to have a bit of an inferiority complex. Recently I read Genesis 1 over without that faulty lens of the past and found out that WE Rule! Now, let me explain…

    I think my confusion came because people have focused their teaching about ruling creation from the verses in Genesis 2 over the verses in Genesis 1 that talk about the same thing.

    You see, Genesis 1:1-2:3 is kind of a ‘highlight reel’ of the first seven days of creation. Day seven is summed up by God when he said:

    “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27 NIV

    The Genesis 2 account gives us a “behind the scenes” look at the seventh day and how it all started before Eve was created.

    “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden…” Genesis 2:15

    Adam began ruling over the land, birds, sea and animals. God even allowed Adam to name everything. What a cool job that would have been! It started with just Adam ruling, but it didn’t end there. Genesis 1:26-28 confirms that by the end of day seven, God’s original plan was to let them rule; both male and female.

    The more I study how God designed things In The Beginning, the more I realize He wanted men and women to partner together in dominion over the earth. It’s not a feminist ideal. It’s just a realignment to how God designed things to work.

    Girls don’t need to have an inferiority complex and guys don’t control the market on management. No one needs to clamor for or grasp at something that is already theirs. Men and women are called to rule together. Our attitude should be the same as Jesus’ towards any position of authority. In Philippians 2:5-9 we read that Jesus modeled servant leadership. So understand correctly everyone, WE Rule to serve!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You for an increased revelation in truth about your original intentions for men and women In The Beginning. Help me to see how good your plans were from the start. I pray that men and women would begin to rule together in the church, in business, in families and wherever leadership is needed. Let each one use their distinct giftings that display Your image and benefit Your kingdom. Let this truth inspire me to live out Your purposes for my life. In Jesus Name…Amen

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  • 3. Blessed – In The Beginning Series

    “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase…”
    Genesis 1:28 NIV

    I’m one of those people who have a fair amount of things go wrong for them. Just in the past month I’ve gotten sick and had to go on antibiotics which triggered an allergic reaction that caused all-over-the-body hives, which sent me to the emergency once and almost twice, getting intravenous medicine to stop an anaphylactic reaction, my computer crashed two times and I had flight delays which affected my business travel…How’s that for a run on sentence? Sometimes, when life gets really difficult you can start to believe that there’s a curse over your life. I know that’s wrong theology because Genesis 1:28 assures me that In The Beginning, God Blessed people.

    I understand there are ways that by our choices of words spoken, commitments made and actions taken we can bring curses on our lives. I also recognize the enemy of our souls wants us to feel we are cursed to the core, that something is so fundamentally wrong with us we can’t ever experience God’s blessings; they’re only for “special” people. Genesis 1:28 affirms how God blessed mankind to be fruitful. You are blessed to increase, not decrease. This ‘blessed to increase’ anointing on mankind isn’t just Old Testament stuff either. In John 14:12 Jesus said one of the most unimaginable things, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these…” Greater? How? There is such a blessing on your life that God desires to increase His reach in this world through you.

    You are not cursed because In The Beginning, you were fundamentally blessed! Live today in the confidence that God has blessed you to increase!

    [tweetthis]God has blessed you to increase! GN 1:28 #Blessed[/tweetthis]

    Prayer

    Father….I’m thankful Your Word assures me in the truth that You God are able to bless me abundantly and You will help me to abound in every good work.1 You have destined me to increase.   Where there has been a decrease or lack I pray that Your blessings would replenish and supply, because I am blessed!   In Jesus Name…Amen

    1 2 Corinthians 9:8

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  • 2. Image Bearers – In The Beginning Series

    “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
                                                      Genesis 1:27 NIV

    I attended a luncheon put on by the leadership team of the Zoe Network. I was seated between two very important people in my life: Sharon Thomas and Peggy Kennedy. The food was delicious and the event was life changing for some girls there! When the leader, Leanne McAllister spoke, she made a point that many women don’t see themselves as made in the image of God. Looking at the women on either side of me emphasized the truth of how women too are God’s Image Bearers.

    There are a lot of misconceptions regarding the role of women in God’s plan for the world. I believe they often start with a wrong understanding of who is made in God’s Image. When women are blinded to this foundational truth, their whole worth is negatively affected, and when men are blinded to this foundational truth, their whole value system towards women is negatively affected. Genesis 1:27 explains how In The Beginning we were both: male and female, made in God’s image. Digging into the original Hebrew of the text magnifies this point.

    My prayer is that this truth would sink deep into your spirit. When we understand that every person on the face of this earth was created in the image of God, we will assign to him or her, the value God placed within them. May this truth cause you to live with purpose, desiring to make a difference in this world when you understand your role as God’s sales reps, His divine Image Bearers.

    Prayer

    Father…Please bring full truth to light in my hearts and mind. Help me to understand how In The Beginning You created us all in Your image.  Help me to accept that You created me in Your Image, despite all my faults. As I live my life as one of Your Image Bearers, may your imprint be clear for all to see! In Jesus Name…Amen

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  • 1. Productive- In The Beginning Series

    “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply…”
                                                                Genesis 1:28 MEV

    To many people this may be a shock, but years ago I had a small vegetable garden. I’m normally not very good with taking care of plants, ok; I generally kill them, but for a while I grew a healthy garden. It’s probably because I had a real purpose in growing these tomatoes and sweet peppers; I wanted to make good spaghetti sauce. Someone suggested I should also grow lettuce and was I ever thankful that I listened. Once the lettuce started to grow it didn’t stop till the fall. The more I cut for sandwiches and salads, the more it grew. This was the most productive plant I’d ever seen!

    When you read through the first two chapters of the Bible, you realize how productive God was. Genesis 1-2 tells how God: “called…made…created…planted…made to grow…completed”.1 What I find so astounding is how God imparts this same anointing to be creatively productive.

    Here’s some of the anointing’s God gave in relation to productivity:

    God anoints the land to be productive
      “Let the land produce living creatures” GN 1:24
    “Let the earth produce vegetation…the earth produced vegetation” GN 1:11-12

    God anoints the plants and trees to be productive
      “… plants yielding seed…fruit trees…yielding fruit…” GN 1:11
    “…the Lord God made to grow every tree that is planted…” GN 2:9

    God sustains the fertile bed for growth
      “A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden…” GN 2:10

    God anoints the water creatures to be productive
      “God blesse them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas…” GN 1:22

    God anoints the birds in the air to be productive
      “…let the birds multiply.” GN 1:22, 8:17

    God anoints the land creatures to be productive
      “that they may breed abundantly on the earth and be fruitful and multiply” GN 8:17

    God anoints US to be productive
      “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply/increase…” GN 1:28 MEV/NIV

    So God anoints: the land, plants and trees; all water, air and land animals along with us, to be productive.  God’s plan for our lives is to produce good fruit and lots of it! 2 Jesus encouraged believers that God has extremely productive plans for his followers when He says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these…” in John 14:12.

    So, what are you going to do today?

    Prayer

    Father…Thank You for Your anointing to be productive like the “plants yielding seed”. Help me to recognize this anointing within me and see the areas where you want to bring fruitfulness out of my life. Let me be creatively productive for Your kingdom, bearing much fruit and bringing You glory! In Jesus Name…Amen

    1  Genesis 1:5,7,10,16,21,25,27,28, 2:8,9
    2 John 15:5-8

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  • What Are You Searching For?

    If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!”

    Proverbs 11:27 NLT

    I needed a new purse. The one I had was old and missing a few rhinestones. Quite an issue for me! The white was quickly becoming dingy and passing beyond “winter white” status. So what did I do? I went to Home Depot and headed down the power drills aisle…of course not! I went straight to TJ Maxx and found a replacement. This one’s so cool it will match with gold and silver accessories! In life and shopping you need to know the answer to the question: What are you searching for?

    This verse in Proverbs seems so simple, but yet it packs a powerful wisdom punch. So often people live their life saying that they are seeking after one thing, but their actions reveal a different pursuit. A person might say they’re seeking a debt-free life, but their spending reveals a whole in their plans. Someone might say they are searching for the mate God has for their lives, but end up scoping out the bars to find a date. Often what we’re finding is truly what we’re searching for, but not necessarily what we really want. We often give up too quickly on our quest for the best.

    If you’re not finding what you want in life, I encourage you to honestly ask yourself the question: What are you searching for? Search after God’s good plans for your life like I hunted after a new purse. Keep going to the right place, at the right time, with the right attitude and you’ll be amazed how you will find God’s good favor.

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You for the simplicity of your advice. Help me not to bring things into my life that I don’t really want by what I seek after. I want to pursue You and Your favor in my life. I want to walk in the goodness Your favor brings. In Jesus Name…Amen 

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