Soul H2O Devotions

  • How Will This Be?

    “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?
                                              Luke 1:34 NIV

    How will this be? is a question I’ve asked God many times. Maybe you have too? Often when God lets us in on His plans for our lives they just don’t make sense. The facts don’t add up to produce the promise. If anything, the evidence would confirm the promise couldn’t possibly happen.

    Like Mary, we think we can help God see how His plan doesn’t make sense. After we ask How will this be? , we too explain how we’re not educated enough, tall enough, small enough…we don’t have the money, the time or the skills…we’re from the wrong town, family or nationality…we’re too broken, old or young. Mary’s situation was not unlike ours. Sure the details are different, but the question is the same and the promise becoming a reality improbable…barring a major miracle!

    Christmas is a time for miracles! Knowing a baby was born from a virgin should give us hope that the issues blocking our promise being fulfilled aren’t too great. In the words of Elizabeth to Mary, “nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)

    Prayer

    Father…help me to believe in miracles this Christmas. My situation may look bleak, but your promises are true. I choose to put my faith in your plans and not look at my circumstances. May I have faith like Mary and Elizabeth to believe for the unbelievable and see it come to pass! In Jesus Name…Amen  

    Dare To Share a Christmas miracle you’ve experienced?

    If you’re in need of one and this post have given you hope to believe again, please come back and post when the miracle happens! 

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

     

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  • God of The Living

    But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
                                                                                      Luke 20:37-38 NIV

    Today our church had the annual Comfort Service. Christmas seems to bring about strong emotions for those who have lost loved ones and our church wants to provide a place to help those grieving. As I read the words in this passage they gave me a great deal of comfort and hope to remember that our love ones are truly not “lost” as we say, but alive because we serve the God of The Living!

    I’m so grateful that I Thessalonians 4:13 is also true when it says, “we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” This verse doesn’t say that we shouldn’t grieve. That would be heartless. This verse does say that we grieve differently. We grieve with a hope to see our loved ones again because we serve the God of The Living! Luke makes it clear that when people who have put their faith in God pass on from this world they are not dead as we think, but alive in Christ! They’re the active “cloud of witnesses” that Hebrews 12:1 talks about. They’re living with Christ, praying for us and cheering us on to run the race of life for God’s glory!

    My prayer is that this Christmas season is filled with joy for you! That you allow the God of The Living to fill you “with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

    Prayer

    Father…I’m so thankful that you are the God of The Living! It breaks my heart to think of those I love that have left this earth as dead. Help me to be freed of this wrong thinking and released to the hope of Your Word. My loved ones, and I are ALIVE in YOU! Help me to live in Your hope and bring You glory! May I run this race of life, fully ALIVE! In Jesus Name…Amen  

    http://www.fgtchurch.com Click on the link to my home church if you would like to see the Comfort Service.

    Dare To Share how someone in your ‘great cloud of witnesses’ has encouraged you to live ALIVE for the God of The Living?

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

     

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  • Hungry


    Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
                                                                             Isaiah 58:10-11 NLT/NIV

    The other night I woke up and couldn’t sleep. My stomach was grumbling and no matter how many sheep I counted, I couldn’t get back to sleep. I was so hungry my stomach was waking me up! Eventually I went into the kitchen and made myself a PB&J sandwich, so I could quiet my talking tummy and get some shuteye.

    While I was eating, I became keenly aware of the blessing I had in being able to just go to the kitchen and make myself something to eat. I thought of how many people have to go to bed hungry with nothing to feed themselves? “In sub-Saharan Africa, one in every four people…are hungry.”1   Globally, one out of every 9 people goes to bed hungry2 and “every 10 seconds, a child dies from hunger.” 3  These statistics turn my stomach in a very powerful way.

    Scripture is full of verses that confirm our responsibility to feed the poor. As Christians, we can’t turn a blind eye and do nothing. We are called to help feed the hungry. If we follow the directions given in Isaiah 58 there will be great benefits for us if we do, so let your light shine and feed a hungry person this week!

    Prayer

    Father…Your love for the lost, the hungry, the hurting is so great. It’s Your desire that the Christians in the world do something about their needs. Help me to follow through this week and fulfill your call to feed the hungry and let them know it’s because of Your love they are fed. May my obedience bring You glory. In Jesus Name…Amen

    Dare To Share how you are involved in fulfilling Isaiah 58:10-11 and feeding the hungry? Dare to Share how God takes care of you when you take care of His kids? 

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

    1Source: https://www.stophungernow.org/learn/hunger-facts/ FAO, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014
    2 https://www.mercycorps.org/articles/growing-hungry-quick-facts-about-malnutrition
    3 https://www.mercycorps.org/articles/quick-facts-what-you-need-know-about-global-hunger

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  • Internship

    Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
                                                      Mark 10:21-22 NLT

    My stepdaughter became involved in the political field during her last few years at University and realized a passion she didn’t know she had. Morgan recognized that to enter into a political career she needed to complete a government Internship. She landed an amazing position as the summer Intern for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. She learned so much and was blessed to be a part in the success of the 2015 Toronto Pan Am games. Morgan was willing to move four hours away from home and work two jobs in order to position herself one-step closer to her dream.

    The rich young ruler in the scripture above “said” he wanted to do whatever it took to gain eternal life. Jesus even offered him a personal Internship, but he refused when he felt the cost to follow was much too great. His decision was a drastic contrast to the choice of Jesus’ disciples. When Jesus found a group of fishermen out fishing, he called them and offered the same type of Internship as He had to the rich young guy. The Bible tells it like this, “Follow Me,” Jesus told them, “and I will make you fish for people!” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” (Mark 1:17-18). The disciples’ lives were forever changed as they followed Jesus.

    The Bible is full of Internship examples like: Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, Paul & Timothy, Jesus and the disciples. So, are you a ‘Moses’ or a ‘Joshua’ right now? There will always be mentors and people who need mentoring. You’re wise to learn from godly direction, and a blessing when you lead with heart.

    Prayer

    Father…I thank-you for placing godly mentors in my life that help me grow into the person you’ve divinely designed me to be. Help me to discern what season I’m in, whether it’s time for me to lead or a time for me to teach. May I always stay registered in Your Internship program! In Jesus Name…Amen

    Dare To Share who you would love to intern under or about a great internship you had?

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

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  • Wait In Hope!

    wait in hope for my powerful arm.”
                             Isaiah 51:5(b) NLT

    One thing I am not very good at doing is waiting. Growing up in my family was a fast moving environment. Drag Racing set the pace. I grew up hearing my dad say, “You snooze, you lose”; and he lives by that statement. My family was fast on the track and fast at home. Waiting wasn’t seen as a good thing. Line-ups at food booths or the front gate caused alarm and required extra hustle. Waiting is something I have had to learn. It doesn’t come naturally, and learning to wait in hope is for me is a memory exercise.

    In this passage, Isaiah reminds the people about Sarah and Abraham’s story to encourage their faith so that they could wait in hope. Reminding them that if God could keep His promise for a baby to two senior citizens, he could surely keep His promise to you! Isaiah talked about how God took care of the Israelites in the desert and turned things around for them, making their desert “bloom like Eden”. God has issues when we don’t wait in hope for His powerful arm to work on our behalf. He wants us to stop the whining and complaining, and start to wait in hope, even if our answer takes a long time.

    “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1) Hope is expecting God to do something He said He would do and trusting Him in the process, even when you can’t see it! So my friend, chose today to wait in HOPE!

    Prayer

    Father…Help me to reject all fear and negative thinking about my circumstances. Let me not get weary in well-doing and lack faith to believe in Your promises. Help me to expectantly wait in hope for all the great things you have in store for my future! In Jesus Name…Amen  

    Dare to share a time when you waited in hope and God did something amazing?

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

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  • Fix These Words

    “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.”
    Deuteronomy 11:18 NIV

    When I was a kid in school my mom hated when my sister and I wrote on our hands. It was a messy thing, but nothing helped me to remember my homework more than a note on my hand! I remember kids trying to write mathematical formulas or historical dates on their hands to “help out” during a test. Putting information on your hands seems to have been a memory method for centuries!

    Deuteronomy records a time when Moses was teaching the people God’s laws, His ways, His Words of blessing and warning to them. Moses encourages the people that if they love God and don’t forget His ways; if they live by God’s words, there will be blessings for them. Moses was so concerned that the people would forget what he taught them about God that he told the people to fix these words in their “hearts and minds”. Moses wanted the people’s thoughts to be forever focused on God’s Words. To help them remember, Moses suggested two things: One, “tie them as symbols on your hands”. This sounds like wearing bracelets to me! At a glance, the people could look down and be reminded of God’s promises. Second; “bind them on your foreheads.” Having scripture on headbands wouldn’t help you remember God’s Words, but they would help your friends, and even your enemies come face to face with God’s Word!

    Don’t let scriptural amnesia leave you defeated. Do what it takes to remind yourself of God’s Words. Make sure to fix these words in strategically positioned places where you’ll see them regularly and be encouraged to live them out!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank you for the power in Your Word! It brings me all the hope, encouragement, direction, peace, discipline, love, teaching…everything that I need! Everything I need is written in Your Word. Help me fix these words in my heart and mind so I can bring you glory! In Jesus Name…Amen  

    Dare to share some creative ways you keep scripture in view?

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

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  • Crazy Provision FREE Download!

    On Monday I posted a devotion called #Provision.  I talked about the crazy story in Mathew 17:24-27 where Jesus provides tax money for Peter and Himself from a fish’s mouth! If you didn’t get to read it, you may want to now. [imic_button colour=”btn-primary” type=”enabled” link=”https://sherrystahl.com/provision/” target=”_blank” extraclass=”” size=”btn-sm”]Provision Devotion[/imic_button]

    The devotion got me thinking about some of the amazing stories in the Bible where God provided for His people. I started writing them down and could feel the faith in my heart building as I researched, read and wrote. It’s been a really encouraging exercise for me to look up the verses and record the crazy ways God provided for others.

    I’ve created a FREE download for you!

    It’s a Quick Bible Study on God our Provider called:

    12 Crazy Provisions From God

     

    Click the Title Above to open the FREE download

    I want to share these scriptures with you so you can be encouraged as much as I was! I hope you take the time to do what I did and

    Record The Crazy, Amazing Provisions God Gave!

    I believe that if you do, it will build up your faith! It’s not a fancy download; I’m not that techy yet, but it is easy to open and won’t use up your ink! It will bolster your faith!

    After you’ve done the Bible Study

    Come back and do what I’ve done. If this exercise reminded you of a past provision when God provided in a CRAZY way, I have a challenge for you!

    Dare to share a time when God provided for your needs in an unexpected way?…… Record it in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!

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  • Provision

    Jesus said to him…go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open it’s mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”
                                            Mathew 17:27 NIV

    I’m fully convinced that God has a sense of humor! This verse is proof that God can bring provision from anywhere!

    If you’ve never noticed this verse in the Bible before, you’ll be spurred on to check it out, making sure I haven’t gone loopy and started making up my own Bible verses! It’s a crazy story in the Bible where the church leaders are reminding Peter that Jesus and his disciples needed to pay the annual Temple Tax required of men 20 years and older. Jesus instructs Peter to do the most logical thing (read with an abundant amount of sarcasm); Jesus tells Peter to go fishing, open the mouth of the first fish he catches, take the money out of the fish’s mouth and bring it back to the Temple to pay their taxes.

    At times we can wonder how we are going to be able to make it financially. Economic struggles can keep us burdened down if we don’t remind ourselves that we serve a God of the miraculous who can bring provision from anywhere, even from the mouth of a fish! Surely He can provide for you!

    Prayer

    Father…I love your humorous side! You are so able to take care of my every need before I even know I have one! I ask you to bring provision for all my needs, in whatever way you decide. I trust Your creativity and thank You in advance for Your timely provision. In Jesus Name…Amen  

    Dare to share a time when God provided for your needs in an unexpected way?…… Record it in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!

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  • Suddenly

    Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel…Suddenly…”
                                              Joshua 11:6-7 NIV

    Last weekend while driving home from speaking at a conference, a horrible rain/snow storm hit. It was so shocking to have flurries that early in the year, so I had to take a picture! Right after I took the picture it got so bad that I could barely see out the windshield when Suddenly the storm stopped.   Beautiful blue skies with fluffy white clouds appeared and the road ahead was clear. In awe I took another picture and as I did I felt the Lord whisper to me that drastic change was ahead!

    Joshua 11 records one of the Bible’s many stories of change that happened suddenly. Israel was being attacked by nations to the north. Scripture tells us that there was a “huge army, as numerous as the sand in the seashore” and that “all these kings joined forces” against them (Joshua 11:4-5).  It seemed the Israelites were doomed to defeat, but like so many times before and after this battle; God quieted their fears, gave them battle plans and brought victory, where it didn’t seem possible!

    I can’t help but think about the current crisis in Israel. All the nations surrounding them are poised to pounce. Out-numbered and out-powered in the natural, it looks like the enemy is winning. Right now there are situations in my life where it seems the enemy has the upper hand; maybe you can relate? Thankfully, we serve the God of the suddenly and He’s still on the throne quieting our fears, giving us battle plans and bringing victory, where it doesn’t seem possible!

    Prayer

    Father…we echo the words of David in Psalm 70:1-3 “God! Please hurry to my rescue! God, come quickly to my side!” (MSG) Help me to stand confident in the face of life’s storms so that I will see the work of your hand to suddenly defeat the enemy and see Your victory shine through the clouds of my situation! May Your peace be in Jerusalem and in my heart! In Jesus Name…Amen  

    Take a close look and you can see raindrops still on the hood of my car in the bottom frame. That’s how quickly the weather changed! 

    So, dare to share a time when God worked SUDDENLY to bring about victory in your life?…… Record it in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of some weary soul!

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  • Speak Out Scripture

    Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.
                                                              John 7:38 NIV

    When I was young, scripture memorization was a big deal. There were prizes to be won in Sunday School and Badges to attain at Crusaders.   Having a competitive edge to my personality (you know this is an understatement if you’ve ever played a board game with me), I took up that challenge each time. I won stuffed animals, pens, pencils, stickers, plaques and so much more! The real prize was filling up my well with living water and being taught how to let it flow from within. Learning to speak out scripture was priceless.

    Jesus lived to be an example for us. John records often how Jesus modeled the habit of speaking scripture out loud. When he was tempted in the desert by the devil, Jesus overcame by speaking scripture to the enemy. When Jesus taught his disciples, he quoted scripture. When he was attacked by the Pharisees, Jesus reminded them of scripture. When he was wrongfully accused, Jesus quoted scripture. On the cross, Jesus spoke scripture. So often Jesus response to difficult situations was to speak out scripture.

    So, fill up that well, drink in the living water till you’re brimming over and speak it out until there’s a steady flow, refreshing you…refreshing others!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You for sending your son. Jesus I thank You for willingly coming and being the perfect example for me to model my life after. Help me to speak out scripture and overcome every struggle by the power of Your Word! In Jesus Name…Amen  

    So, what’s a verse that you speak out to overcome?

    Speak Out
    Share it in the Comment Section below
    and 
    let those rivers flow! 

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