Soul H2O Devotions

  • Faded Photographs

    Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 11.39.23 PM

    …you’ll forget your troubles; they’ll be like old faded photographs.
                                                                    Job 11:16 MSG

    This weekend Todd and I were grateful to speak in Victoria Harbour at The Shores Community Church. It was a momentous day for us as they are the first church to finish our TAKE THE 40 DAY CHALLENGE program! It was extra special for me because my roommate from Bible College Bonnie and her hubby Sean are associate pastors there. I put a few pictures of us at school in the Power Point Presentation as you can see, but sadly they were faded photographs.

    In our message, Todd and I quoted this verse in Job “…you’ll forget your troubles; they’ll be like old faded photographs.” We talked about how God had done so much to restore our lives after the despair of divorce.   God has brought so much healing to our lives that looking back on what happened truly is like looking at faded photographs. The pain associated with our pasts is gone. The hurts have been healed to a point that remembering what took place is a faded memory.

    God desires to do the same in you! He wants to heal your hurts and set you free so that the sting of your past is eliminated by the depths of His love.

    Prayer

    Father…help me to let you in to those wounded parts of my heart that I’ve kept hidden. Please apply the healing balm of Your love to my past hurts and let Your love heal me whole. Let the sting of my past be a bygone memory like faded photographs in the photo album of my life. In Jesus Name…Amen

    To learn more about our Campaigns, Check out the videos for Individuals and Churches on our website:

    www.TAKETHE40DAYCHALLENGE.com

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  • Perfect Love

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
                                                       1 John 4:18 NIV

    My cousin Bill was telling me about his idea on “Inverted Faith Principles”. His theory is that where a statement in the Bible is true, than the inverse of it is also true. Let me give you an example with the verse above. If perfect love drives out fear, then an absence of perfect love produces fear. I saw this very truth played out before my eyes yesterday.

    OK, I’m going to admit something. I’ve become addicted to something I never thought would get a hold of me. A compulsion I’m embarrassed to say has gripped me.   I’ve given into the Downton Abbey craze! Please don’t tell my drag racing friends, I’m sure they won’t look at me the same again! In one of the episodes I watched yesterday (yes I watched more than one; I’m an addict), one of the sisters was jilted at the altar! In the absence of perfect love, she fell into complete fear. Her words became negative as she pronounced doom over her future. After all I’ve gone through in life I understand what fear of being unloved is like, and the depths of despair when your fears are realized.

    This truth played out in your relationship with God is even more disastrous. When you don’t know that our heavenly father has perfect love towards you, there is fear for your future. You can’t trust a father like that, but 1 John 4:8 ensures you that “God is love”. There is no more perfect of a love than the love of your heavenly father who desires to drive out all your fears with His perfect love!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You for your perfect love. Living in this fallen world, with broken people it’s hard for me to understand and accept this love. I need your help Holy Spirit! Please teach my heart the truth of your love so I can trust you in all things and allow your perfect love to drive out every fear. In Jesus Name…Amen

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  • Keep Your Hands In The Ice

    In that day you will say: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
                                                                              Isaiah 12:4 NIV

    My friend Wendy told me about a study performed on 2 groups of people. The test involved putting their hands in buckets of ice-cold water.  The first group was not given a length of time. The second group was told “Keep Your Hands In The Ice” for 2 minutes and they were successful.  The first group all pulled their hands out BEFORE the 2 minute mark. Without an ‘end in sight’, they gave up.

    Sometimes you can give up in the present because the future seems unattainable, unrealistic or improbable. That’s what the Israelites struggled with when Isaiah declared the above prophesy. This verse says “In that day” the people of Israel are to give thanks to the LORD. When describing “In that day”, my NIV Study Bible Notes tell me that “The day of victory and joy, the positive aspect of “the day of the LORD”…Israel is restored and the people praise God.”1 In the day they were living in; victory, joy and restoration seemed unlikely at best. They had to exercise their faith to believe God’s promise of victory would come true. God didn’t give them a date when their struggles would be over, just a promise that they would end.

    So my friend, you’re not the first person to struggle with how to Keep Your Hands In The Ice when you don’t know how long they’ll be cold.

    [tweetthis]Take courage to believe in the promise God gave you! #SoulH2O [/tweetthis]

    He held true to this promise spoken through Isaiah and He’s capable to follow through for you too!

    Prayer

    Father…Thank You for the promises in Your Word that guarantee I’m going to come out on top in the end! Help me to know that if victory hasn’t happened yet, then it’s not the end! Please strengthen my faith in you; my confidence to trust you at Your Word so in “that day”, the day you’ve already planned for, I will give thanks! In Jesus Name…Amen

    1        NIV Study Bible note on Isaiah 10:20,27 pg. 1399

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  • Confident, Not Arrogant

    We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.
                                           2 Corinthians 3:4-6 NLT

    I grew up in a family that didn’t quite understand confidence. For some reason the Fletcher’s were a tough bunch and didn’t think it was right to speak positively about yourself. They would call that being “bragadocious”. I put that in quotes because it’s not even a word! It’s been a journey for me to learn to speak positively about myself; to be confident, but not arrogant; or bragadocious as the Fletcher’s say!

    I think that Christ’s family is a little too much like the Fletcher’s. Brothers and sisters in Christ often feel that speaking positively about themselves is wrong. People read verses like Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek” and mix meekness up with weakness. That’s not what Jesus was meaning, and not the example He lived. To me, Jesus was confident, but not arrogant. He knew who He was and wasn’t afraid to say it. Jesus often started sentences off with “The Son of Man…” This was a big title to speak over Himself.

    There’s a common saying in the family of God that rings true and it would be good if you believed it;

    [tweetthis]God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. #Liveit #SoulH2O [/tweetthis]

    You are called, you are equipped, you are competent, you are qualified!

    You need to start speaking this out loud to break the fear of the enemy over your life and release yourself to live confident, but not arrogant!

    Prayer

    Father…Thank you for your equipping me. Help me to believe that you see me as qualified and to walk in that truth. May I learn to speak in confidence so my words defeat the enemy when he tells me his lies! Help me to live confident, but not arrogant so I can make a difference in this world for YOU! In Jesus Name…Amen

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  • Build, Not Bite

    Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
                                                  1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

    There’s nothing more pleasing to a parent than to watch your kids enjoying each other’s company. It doesn’t matter if they’re 2, 22 or 52. A parent wants to see their children being good to each other and helping each other out. This year my daughter stepped “out of the boat” in so many ways and with every step her brother has been cheering her on!   Shelby has always admired her big brother, so his encouragement is powerful to build her up.

    Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 1.10.32 AM

    God loves it when His kids are enjoying each other’s company, encouraging each other and using their words to build one another up, not tear each other down. Words can build or words can bite. Nothing is more powerful than words. Paul warns the Galatian believers that using their words to tear down will destroy each other.

    “…“Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.” (Galatians 5:14-15)

    How our heavenly Father is grieved when His kids don’t get along, and the enemy loves nothing more than when God’s children bite at each other, we make his job easy. [tweetthis]The devil doesn’t need to attack when we’re devouring each other. #buildNOTbite #SoulH2O [/tweetthis]

     

    So, let’s be kind on the playground of life and continue to build, not bite!

    Prayer

    Father…Help me to choose my words wisely today. Let everything I say encourage and build others up. May I see the purposes you’ve created people for and seek to embolden them to be all You’ve destined them to be! Help me to get along with all my “siblings” and let my words build, not bite! In Jesus Name…Amen  

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  • Desperate Faith

    “A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly…”Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”
                                  Matthew 15:22,28 NIV

    I know what it’s like to have a sick child who is suffering. There is something that riles up in your ‘momma-bear’ heart when you’re kid is struggling. It can make the meekest of women a roaring, clawing bear-like animal unwilling to give up in order to protect her cub. The desperate faith of a mother can set the unhealthiest of children free!

    The Canaanite woman was in good company. The Bible is peppered with examples of mothers bringing their children’s needs to God in desperate fashion with miraculous results. Often when we’re desperate we pray bold prayers of great faith. Our Father loves when we pray these BIG prayers. It’s just sad that we often wait, like the Israelites did, until our situation is desperate before we pray like that. Eugene Peterson paraphrases Psalm 107:4-7 in a way that makes this so clear, “Some of you wandered for years in the desert, looking but not finding a good place to live, Half-starved and parched with thirst, staggering and stumbling, on the brink of exhaustion. Then, in your desperate condition, you called out to God. He got you out in the nick of time; He put your feet on a wonderful road that took you straight to a good place to live.”

    Let’s learn to pray prayers with desperate faith to our God, before our situations get to desperation!

    Prayer

    Father…You’re so good to me. Thank you for listening to me, even when I wait till I’m desperate and have expended all my efforts. Help me to learn to call out to You for help before my situation is desperate. May I pray with desperate faith at all times because I know You are able to answer! In Jesus Name…Amen

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  • Metathesiophobia

    “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
                                         Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV

    This week Todd and I are speaking together at an event. We were asked to talk about ‘New Beginnings’. I assume they asked us because we’re pretty much experts on that now! Change is the new normal for the Stahl’s and I think we’re starting to get ok with it, but at first it caused us a great deal of Metathesiophobia!

    Metathesiophobia is “The fear of change or changing things”1 When God began to change things up for us it was completely scary. New relationship, new dreams, new careers…all equal a lot of change; and change is scary! The fear of the unknown can immobilize you, but if you know that God is leading you to the change, you can trust Him, He’ll make a way! Jeremiah 29:11 assures you that God has a good plan for your future. Isaiah 43:18-19 reminds us to keep our eyes and ears open to what God is doing. Look for the areas He’s trying to bring change into and get excited! God’s new beginnings for your life will bring about great things. Understanding this should help relieve you of all that metathesiophobia!

    So, Keep on the lookout. If God is leading you; risk change for the sake of following your dreams, a new career, the chance at love or a warm friendship, it will be ‘oh so worth it’!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank you for all the good plans you have for my life. You don’t bring about change to destroy me, but to bless me. Help me to perceive what You’re doing and not be afraid so I can follow Your lead. In Jesus Name…Amen

    1  fearof.net/fear-of-change-phobia-metathesiophobia/ Fear Of Website: Accessed December 31, 2015

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  • Resolve, Not Resolutions

    “Strengthen your resolve and do what must be done.”
                                                                                 2 Samuel 2:7 MSG

    I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions because I generally don’t keep them! Most often my resolution has been to change my pattern of behavior and become an ‘on-time’ or ‘early-to-things’ kinda girl. I’m not one of those ridiculously late kind of people, but one who could definitely work on punctuality! This year, Todd and I decided not to make any resolutions, but to resolve to make some changes in another area.

    I think we stand a better chance at following through with this change because we’ve taken some steps to “strengthen our resolve”. On the first day of this year we took the time to sit down and make a list of “to do’s” related to our New Year’s resolve. We followed the encouragement in Habakkuk 2:2 that says, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” We’ve made a game plan, written it down and told some friends that can hold us accountable. Taking these practical steps increase our chance at success by 33% according to a University Study.1

    Make this year different; don’t just make unrealistic resolutions. “Strengthen your resolve and do what must be done” to follow through on the changes you need, to make 2016 your best year yet!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank you for this New Year! I ask you to help me to go beyond wishful plans and live this year to the fullest with a strengthened resolve to make the changes you are prompting me to make. Help me to listen to Your lead and “do what must be done”! May Your favor be over me and all my family this year. In Jesus Name…Amen

    1 https://www.dominican.edu/dominicannews/dominican-research-cited-in-forbes-article

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    [tweetthis]Strengthen your #Resolve forget the #resolutions #SoulH2O[/tweetthis]

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  • Undeterred

    “The moment they saw him, they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally. Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge…”
                                              Matthew 28:17-18 MSG

    My friend Melanie would often come over and play Barbies with my daughter, so Shelby began to expect that whenever Mel came over she was her playmate. One day Mel didn’t feel like playing Barbies and declined Shelby’s invite. Shelby kept asking so I told her to go to her room. While I was preparing food she begged Mel to come down to her room for just a minute. As soon as Mel walked in the room, Shelby, undeterred by Melanie’s responses, shut the door and said, “Now we play Barbies!”

    I love how Jesus was undeterred by the response of His disciples. Jesus was a strong leader and He wasn’t governed by His emotions or the responses of people to His words. Their lack of unity or commitment to the plan didn’t faze Him. Jesus was committed to following His father’s lead and fulfilling the call on His life no matter how people reacted or what was the popular opinion about Him. In Luke 9:51 it says that Jesus “resolutely set out for Jerusalem” when it was His time to return home to Heaven.

    In this coming new year, may you walk towards the call of God on your life; undeterred by emotions, circumstances, the responses or opinions of others!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank-you for sending Your Son Jesus to be the perfect example of how I should live! Help me to not be swayed by the response or opinions of others. Let my heart be so set on Your purposes that nothing; not even my emotions, could deter me from following Your lead. In Jesus Name…Amen

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  • Looking For The Wrong Messiah

    “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us…And he will be called…
    Prince of Peace
    …His government and its peace will never end.”
                                                  Isaiah 9:6-7 NLT

    Years ago I heard Joyce Meyers tell about a time she went shopping and had trouble finding her car. After wandering the parking lot a kind gentleman asked if he could help her. They walked and walked the parking lot. When exasperated, she remembered that she driven their other car to the mall! Now that’s looking for the wrong thing!

    Countless Israelites recognized Jesus as the Prince of Peace when he came as that “child born to us”, but sadly too many were blind to the truth that Jesus was their promised redeemer because they were looking for the wrong messiah. Many Jewish people are still looking for a military and political leader1, but I believe the messiah was prophesied as one who would come to bring peace in a different way than they are hoping for. Like the Israelites, we often look for Christ’s “government” and “peace” to change our circumstances, but He wants to change our hearts. We want God to deal with the sin in our world, but He wants to deal with the sin in our lives. The redemption God cares about happens within our hearts. The peace He desires to bring will come as a result of our restored relationship with the Father through all Christ accomplished on the cross.

    We can sit and judge Israeli people as looking for the wrong messiah, but could we be doing the same thing? Do we ever spend all our prayer time asking God to change our circumstances? This Christmas let Jesus be the Prince of Peace over your heart through relationship with Him and it will affect how you view your circumstances.

    Prayer

    Father…I pray that you would help me to see the truth of who You are and why You sent Your Son. I’m overwhelmed to think that the God of the Universe desires to be in relationship with me. Jesus, I thank You for coming as a child to be MY Prince of Peace! In Jesus Name…Amen 

    1 Judaism 101 website. https://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm


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