Soul H2O Devotions

  • Hey Google… I Need An Answer

    This week’s #soulh2o devotion, Hey Google… I Need An Answer lets you in on where I’m at with God and what I’ve been going through lately. After the devotion, I share the #paperbackpic I mention and some #musicpics you’re gonna love! There are affiliate links on the book but you won’t pay extra. This just helps the ministry keep going! For my full affiliate information, click here.

    I’m also inviting you to join me for a Zoom Call tomorrow night (Thursday, June 20th at 8:30pm EST) I’ve wanted to do this for a long time but the technology of it all has scared me but I’m just bursting to tell y’all something, so I hope you’ll join me! See the deets below.

    In His Grip, Sherry


    Hey Google… I Need An Answer

    Isaac prayed to the LORD
    on behalf of his wife,
    because she was childless. 
    The LORD answered his prayer,
    and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.
    The babies jostled each other within her,
    and she said, "Why is this happening to me?"
    So she went to inquire of the LORD.
    The LORD said to her…”
    ~Genesis 25:21-23 NIV

    Hey Google

    This Christmas was so great. We had all the kids home and even though they didn’t all grow up together, they sure do think alike! Brandon and Morgan both gave us Google Home Minis and after six months of using them, we’re pretty addicted. There’s no need to argue over anymore ‘cause when you disagree you can just say, “Hey Google: who is… what’s the… where is… when do… why do… how far is… Answers are just an ask away. But sometimes, questions are too important to ask Google, Siri, Alexa, Cortana or Jeeves.

    [tweetthis]Answers are just an ask away. [/tweetthis]

    I Need An Answer

     

    In the last few months, I’ve shared a little bit on social media about how I’ve been in the decision-making process for some BIG things and lots of posts like, God Isn’t Mad With Our Big Faith and Oversized Dreams and a Facebook Live have come out of my search for answers.  I just want to make sure I’m following God’s lead. During this time, my good friend with divine timing—Ellen gave me a book to review for her #ellenspicks reads called the Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman. God is using Emily’s wise words to help me discern and bring clarity to my next right thing, through her soul minimalist ways to create space for God to bring an answer.

    “What I’m finding to be most helpful more than any list, question, or sage advice is simply to get quiet in a room with Jesus on the regular, not for the sake of an answer but for the sake of love.”1

    Who Do You Ask For Answers?

    The other day when I was reading through the story of Isaac’s life while doing my devotions on the regular, I noticed how Isaac and Rebekah followed the same principle Emily was teaching.

    When you read the words of Genesis 25:21-23 it seems like going to God for answers to life’s questions was a reflex action, not just something they did sometimes. Isaac’s wife couldn’t have a baby… ask God to fix it. Rebekah’s babies were battling in utero and I’m sure really hurting her so what does she do? Does she call a friend, run to the doctor or complain to her hubby for praying to have kids? All of those may seem like logical reactions but the answer is no.

    The Bible tells us Rebekah inquired of God. On the regular, Isaac and Rebekah went to God for answers.

    So, this week when you first thought is to run to the phone… stop, run to the throne and ask Jesus!
    Prayer

    Father… I thank you for Your voice. I thank You that You still use Your voice to speak today. Help me put into practice the In Jesus Name…Amen

    Join Me TOMORROW for a LIVE Zoom Video Call…
    for my big reveal of The Next Right Thing in my life!

    I’ve been dying to tell you, but I just had to get things a little more set in place before I could. My close friends and family know but I want to share it with you, my tribe who on the regular track with me in life. You’ll be able to ask me questions at the end and I’m hoping, join with me in prayer for the exciting days ahead!


    Drawing From The Well

    1. Genesis 25:21-23
    2. Matthew 7:7-8
    3. Psalm 34:4
    4. James 1:5

    #musicpics

    Normally I list one song for the #musicpic but this week I asked a few friends and the hubbs for song suggestions because I was stumped and got sooooo many good ones so I’m going to share a bunch but my fave is definitely Dan Macaulay’s “Listening”. Whenever I get to be at a concert, camp or event where Dan is leading worship, I find it so easy to get my spirit in tune with God and hear from Him when I need an answer. After you listen to this song, you’ll get why! As you’re listening and allow the Holy Spirit to wash over you and speak to you. Next is Remedy Drive’s song “Speak To Me”. Todd introduced me to this song when we were dating and God used it powerfully, confirming I should marry Todd… so, it kind of has a special spot in my heart <3

    Your Words inspire my heart
    You illuminate my dark
    You spoke and shaped the heavens
    And You choose to speak to me

    Speak to me
    I’m listening

    Speak to me, please, speak to me
    I’m in-between and I can’t hear you
    Whisper, shout it, give me somethin’
    I need it now, need your voice, need the sound

    I know the answer, to every question
    The one solution, to every fear
    I know my helper, where it comes from
    Jesus, He is the answer


    #paperbackpic

    Title: the Next Right Thing
    Author: Emily P. Freeman
    Published By: Revell; a division of Baker Publishing Group: Grand Rapids, MI
    © 2019 by Emily P. Freeman

     

    ENDNOTES
    1 Freeman, Emily P. The Next Right Thing–A Simple, Soulful Practice For Making Life Decisions. Revell: Grand Rapids, MI. pg. 24

     


    Soul H2OIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst-Quenching Devotions for Women.


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  • God Made You to Fly Like an Arrow

    Do you ever feel like you don’t have a purpose? That your life is never going to hit the mark?

    Today’s #soulh2o devotion will increase your confidence to believe God Made you To Fly Like an Arrow… And Hit The Bullseye!

    He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
    in the shadow of his hand
    he hid me;
    he made me into a polished arrow 
    and concealed me in his quiver.
    He said to me, 
    "You are my servant… in whom 
    I will display my splendor."
    ~Isaiah 49:2-3 NIV
    #flylikeanarrow

    This verse.

    For the past year, it’s been swirling around my head, soaking deep into my soul. I know when this happens it’s God developing a sermon in me, that will one day flow through me. The intensity of this message has been building in my heart. I can feel it beating… louder and louder, reverberating in my chest.

    The Master Archer

    I sense the bow in God’s hand is drawing back. He’s pulling further and further back till His hand is behind his head, so this arrow can fly far. I can’t wait to share all God’s been showing me but today I feel impressed to release just a droplet from this ocean of learning.

    The arrow in God’s hand is me.

    The arrow in God’s hand is you.

    God Made You To Fly Like An Arrow

    In Isaiah 49, God is speaking to His people and using the imagery of archery to fire home a message, hitting the bullseye in my heart.

    Isaiah 49:2-3

    The message isn’t neat. I’d love for the points to all start with the same letter, but they don’t. There are 3 P’s, then an H, followed by another P. Picked, Perfected, Pulled Back, then Hidden… to be Propelled. It’s messier than I’d prefer… much like my life! While researching for this message, I came across a statement that helped me to better accept the windy path this arrow has been released to follow:

    “The saying “straight as an arrow” really isn’t true.
    When an arrow is released from a bow,
    it bends and twists its way to the target,
    rather than keep its perfectly-straight form.”1

    “Straight” As An Arrow

    The words this writer used to describe the path of the arrow explain how my life, and maybe yours has gone. He describes how the arrow bends, twists, and wobbles, with different parts moving at different speeds… yet it all works together to pierce the mark.

    Our lives seldom are on the ‘straight shot’ trajectory. There are twists and turns, bends in the road, times when you’re wobbly in the knees or periods when one part of your life is moving forward at breakneck speeds, and another is falling apart… but all are signs that God is propelling you towards the mark; the destiny for which He’s purposed you for.

    I pray the message in today’s Soul H2O devotion pierces into the deepest places of your heart, so you see that God Picked YouHe’s Perfecting You… there’s Purpose in being Pulled Back… and when God Hides You in His quiver… it’s so He can Propel You Forward!

    God Made You To Fly Like An Arrow

    Prayer

    Father… I’m going to rest in the truth that You’re at work. Whether I’m in the perfecting, hiding, pulling back or propelling phase, help me to relax and let you move me forward; in Your perfect timing. In Jesus Name…Amen

    [tweetthis]You were made, to fly like an arrow! 🏹 #flyfar #archery #arrow[/tweetthis]


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


    Drawing From The Well
    1. Isaiah 49:2-3
    2. 2 Thessalonians 1:10
    3. Isaiah 43:21
    4. 1 Peter 2:9


    ENDNOTES
    1 https://worldarchery.org/news/146270/why-do-arrows-bend World Archer Website Accessed: 2019-06-04


    natalie grant burn bright #musicpic SONG: Burn Bright
    Makes Me Feel: loved, cherished, special, I have a purpose, my life counts for something—something good!
    Sung By: Natalie Grant
    Website: https://www.nataliegrant.com/
    Album: Hurricane © 2013
    Written By: Stephanie Rachel Lewis, Bernie Herms, Natalie Diane Grant, David E Moffitt
    Spotify Link: https://open.spotify.com/track/2aUnkQOVJfRLUzJgGApqEX?si=zF3TKpMDQQWCPrz7-JsD6g
    Official Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n0jbzBQZKc
    AZ Lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nataliegrant/burnbright.html
    My favorite lines as recorded on AZ Lyrics (link above):

    You were made to shine
    You were made for life…
    You were made for more, so much more
    Child of everlasting light…
    So baby burn bright

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  • Make Sure You Don’t Stay Too Long

    Joseph made his brothers promise
    to bring his dead bones
    back to the promised land
    when they moved back there.
     Gn 50:24-25

    When you get this email, I’ll be on an airplane flying home from speaking at a women’s retreat where I met some really wonderful women. I also ran a WIMM Canada event where I was able to spend time with a few of my besties and see God create divine connections among these girls.

    WIMM Event - Calgary

    MAKING SURE I DIDN’T STAY TOO LONG

    While in Alberta, I stayed with my friend Loretta {She’s the one on the right holding flowers} and her hubby Tim. Getting to stay with friends when I travel to speak is a huge bonus for me. Tim and Loretta are ‘salt-of-the-earth’ kind of people. Their home has been a resting place for so many. The Arkell’s open the doors of their home and hearts, enveloping you into their family.  They make you feel so at home you don’t want to leave, but whenever you visit friends you need to make sure you don’t stay too long!

    Most of Genesis tells about Abraham and his descendants’ life journeys to get to the Promised Land of Canaan. If you mapped it out, you’d see how this dysfunctional family went back and forth from this sacred ground many times before the close of the first book in the Bible. Their group came to be called the Israelites after the name the angel of God gave Abraham’s grandson Jacob.

    The words from today’s verse come at the end of Genesis. It makes me sad to read them because I feel Joseph’s last wish for his brothers to take back his body and bury it in the Promised Land. In the next verse, he makes his brothers swear to leave Egypt. Joseph was telling his family, make sure you don’t stay too long in Egypt.  He was imploring them to, “Go home, Go back to Canaan; the Promised Land”.

    LIVING IN EGYPT

    You see, Egypt was never a place God wanted his children to live. I wonder if they would have ever lived there if the brothers hadn’t been so jealous of Joseph? It was a place God used to provide for his people during a time of famine but wasn’t supposed to be their place of residence forever.

    [tweetthis]Egypt should have only been a stop on the journey, it was never supposed to be their destination. A short chapter in the book of their nation’s history but not the end of the story… and it almost was. [/tweetthis]

    Staying too long costs you and your future family members too will pay the price. The nation of Israel went from experiencing favour in Egypt on account of Joseph’s leadership, to being despised, mistreated and forced into slavery. The horrors of their nation’s history didn’t have to take place if they would have followed God’s plans.

    FOLLOW PAUL’S ADVICE

    As you live your life, I encourage you to follow the advice of Paul and “let the Holy Spirit guide your lives, and follow the Spirit’s leading”.1 Strangely the words of that 1970’s song The Gambler by Kenny Rogers are rolling through my head as I write and it’s words really are fitting. You have to know when to hold, when to fold, when to walk away or when to run; just make sure you don’t stay too long when God’s leading you to Go!

    Prayer

    Father…  I ask you to forgive me for the times I haven’t moved when you’ve spoken or left when you’ve said to stay. Holy Spirit, help me to quieten my spirit, so I can hear Your leading, guiding, and directing in my life. I ask for boldness to keep in step with You, not lagging behind or jumping ahead!  In Jesus Name…Amen


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

     

    Drawing From The Well

    1. Genesis 50:24-26
    2. Exodus 13:19
    3. Joshua 24:32
    4. Galatians 5:16, 21

    ENDNOTES

    1. Galatians 5:16,21

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  • God Isn’t Mad With Big Faith & Oversized Dreams

    Today’s #soulh2o devotion will move you from living small to dreaming big… and I mean real BIG, God-sized, faith-filled, Oversized Dreams!


    And without faith
    it is impossible to please God
    ~Hebrews 11:6 NIV

    Do you have BIG dreams?

    Well, I’m a girl who dreams BIG… no really, I’m talking B-I-G BIG and I’m finally starting to see some of the BIG dreams unfold, just a mere 32 years after God told me about them!!!

    My heart gets pumping when you put me in a room or on a call with other BIG dreamers.  Nothing charges me up more and helps me to move toward the BIG dreams I believe God’s placed in my heart than being around positive, faith-filled friends.

    fab friends wendy rachelle lise
    Fab Freinds for decades! Wendy, Rachelle & Lise
    Ruth's Table
    Ruth’s Table

    Sometimes I get concerned about my OVERsized dreams and wonder if I’m off my rocker. There are plenty of people who can quickly put a wet blanket over my faith, but I’ve chosen my tribe; friends to do life with that have this same passion for purpose and I live for the moments we get to share together.

     

    I’ve come to the conclusion that,

    God Isn’t Mad With Our Big Faith and Oversized Dreams

    In fact, it’s the opposite and I saw that clearly during my devotions this week.

    I have a certain fondness for stories about Elisha, but for some reason, I didn’t remember this one in 2 Kings 7. Historically, Israel was being oppressed by the Arameans, let by King Ben-hadad. Aram had shut off Israel’s food supplies which brought about a famine. Any food that was found sold for exorbitant prices; we’re talking inflation insanity worse than when interest rates were 21% in the early 1980s! People in Israel at this time couldn’t afford food and lived locked up in the city. No one was willing to stand up against the Aramean army so the siege just dragged on.

    ELISHA’S BIG FAITH AND OVERSIZED DREAM

    Then God gave Elisha a word that he shared with the King and all the King’s officials, telling them that by tomorrow, the cost of food would be drastically less, signaling the Aramean Oppression would be over… that they would be free the next day!

    Talk about a BIG OVERsized dream!

    Instead of faith-filled shouts of Halleluiah and high-fives, the leaders didn’t believe Elisha and the Kings highest officer replied with a wet-blanket comment and actually declared how he didn’t believe God could do what He said He was going to do.  Elisha assured everyone there that God was, in fact, going to do exactly what He said and foretold this officer’s demise when he finished his speech telling the officer how he would see it happen, but he wouldn’t get to eat any of it.

    THE DANGER OF SMALL FAITH

    As fate would have it, when God miraculously set the Israelites free through the boldness of four lepers, the doubting officer was trampled by the crowd of people running for all the food. I will never understand the balance of grace and justice or love and jealousy1 in God’s character.  I know He is full of grace, and really lets us get away with so much, but I have to say He kind of loses it when people don’t think He can do something. When someone goes in-His-face and declares that “even God himself couldn’t…”

    I cringe and He seems to Get really mad. God is all-powerful and it seems to me that He gets jealous when we believe someone or something else can stop His plans, is stronger than Him, or that God doesn’t have what it takes to back up His promises. Thankfully, we do live in a time of greater grace, but it’s not devoid of God’s justice. We can even see this pattern in Jesus when the disciples were fearful on the boat, when Peter began to sink or when the disciples couldn’t drive out a demon and Jesus responded,

    “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”2

    I’ve come to the conclusion that,

    God Loves Big Faith and Oversized Dreams,
    but He Gets Mad
    When We Believe He Can’t Do Something

    I’m blessed to have circles of influence in my life that help inspire me to greater faith… and I need them like oxygen.  You see, life can get really tough and the enemy will often create circumstances that appear to be the opposite of God’s promises.  When this happens, it’s imperative to downgrade time with faith-draining people and plan a party with some dreamers! You’ve got to choose your tribe and your words wisely to believe God for BIG, OVERsized dreams!

    Prayer

    Today I haven’t written out a prayer for you.  You’re a part of my tribe, but since I can’t sit down for coffee with you today, I’ve written out some practical Faith-Lift Phrases for you to pray when your circumstances are contrary to the promises of God.  I hope you’ll use them regularly to defeat doubt and increase your faith.  I want you to believe God for BIG, OVERsized dreams, ‘cause He likes that kind of faith!

    CHANGING YOUR WORDING—SOME PRACTICAL PRAYERS YOU CAN USE:

    Lord, I don’t understand how you can fix this mess… can bring the finances in… getting better is in my future…  my kid will turn around… I”ll get off of _____… I can hear from you… you’re going to ___________, but I know you will.

    I look forward to seeing how you bring it about…get me through… bring the increase… break this bondage… bring home this lost one… heal them… heal me… set me free!

    [tweetthis]God Loves Big Faith and Oversized Dreams, but He Gets Mad When We Believe He Can’t Do Something #BIGOVERsizedDreams[/tweetthis]


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

     

     

    Drawing From The Well

    1. Hebrews 11:6
    2. Matthew 17:19-20
    3. 2 Kings 7:1-2, 16-17
    4. Matthew 14:31

    ENDNOTES

    1. Deuteronomy 4:23-24 NIV
    2. Matthew 17:19-20 NIV

    danny gokey havent seen it yet

    #musicpic Song: Haven’t Seen It Yet
    Makes Me Feel: inspired, faith-filled, hopeful
    Sung By: Danny Gokey
    Website: https://www.dannygokey.com/
    Album: Haven’t Seen It Yet
    Written By: Colby Wedgeworth, Danny Gokey, Ethan Hulse © 2019
    Spotify Link: https://open.spotify.com/track/0mWTQgwZL888MKCnwLz0hR?si=lFcXnMbqSu-YN9j4ChwFPw
    Official Youtube Video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1eMZiOJ0a0
    AZ Lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/dannygokey/haventseenityet.html
    My favorite lines as recorded on AZ Lyrics (link above):

    You’re closer than you think you are
    Only moments from the break of dawn
    All His promises are just up ahead
    Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet

    AN OLDIE BUT A GOODIE

    dream for you_casting crowns

    #musicpic SONG: Dream For You
    Makes Me Feel: God’s dreams are better than mine, trust my intuition, Like God has a plan, He can take my little and do something with it
    Sung By: Casting Crowns
    Website: https://castingcrowns.com
    Album:  Thrive
    Written By: Matthew West, John Hall  © 2014
    Spotify Link: https://open.spotify.com/track/29QonORHg3jk91TBY48PdL?si=q_whb4V_TlG2INgQoV6uPw
    Official Youtube Video With Lyrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8nsJZx8eWw
    AZ Lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/castingcrowns/dreamforyou.html
    My favorite lines as recorded on AZ Lyrics (link above):

    So let go of your plan,
    be caught by My hand
    I’ll show you what I can do
    When I dream for you
    I have a dream for you



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  • You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide

    The angel said to her,
    “Hagar, Sarai’s servant,
    where have you come from,
    and where are you going?”
    “I’m running away
    from my mistress, Sarai,”
    she replied. 
    ~Genesis 16:8 NIV

    DAY DATE IN DETROIT

    Last week Todd and I had a day-date before I had to go away for a week of speaking and other meetings. We went to downtown Detroit and enjoyed dinner at the well-known Pegasus restaurant in Greektown. Then, we walked around and saw The Apparatus Room.  It’s the coolest restaurant and boutique hotel that includes a podcasting room with viewing from the sidewalk I’m going to use in the fall {you’ll have to stay tuned for that news}. The building was a former Firehall renovated with incredible architecture, so my firefighter hubby was in heaven!

    RUNNING AROUND DETROIT

    Then we walked by the Joe Louis Fist monument.  With my family boxing background {You can read about that HERE}1, I’ve always been intrigued by this uncommonly shaped memorial.  I found out that Joe Louis’ family fled Alabama after a fearful incident with the Klu Klux Klan. As did many African Americans, they settled into the Detroit area where a young Joe learned to box.2  In 1986, the Sports Illustrated sculpture was unveiled with the imagery purposed to remind people of Joe’s powerful punch in and out of the ring to help knock-out racism towards the black community he belonged to.3

    RELATABLE RUNNING

    On Friday I spoke to the Kingsville Divas group about the life of Hagar. Even though it wasn’t the focus of my message, as I was preparing, I felt so strongly to do a Facebook live to compel someone who was running from God to consider his love and a few wrote to let me know they needed that reminder.

    I think Joe and his family would’ve been able to relate to Hagar. She too was mistreated and forced to run away from her home for fear of her life. It’s sad that too many people today can relate to an unsafe living or work environment and the desire to run. It was in researching the origins of today’s devotion title that I found the connection with Joe Louis and Hagar.  It was Joe who made this “run-away’ phrase popular.

    When the Brown Bomber was interviewed before a fight with an opponent who was suspected to hide from his powerful punch, Louis was quoted as saying, “He can run, but he can’t hide”.  Billy Conn experienced this knock-out power as he hit the matt in the 13th round of their match.4  I don’t know if Joe Louis ever understood that you can run from God but you can’t hide from Him?  I know Hagar did.  When life was hard for Hagar she ran away, right into the arms of God.  It was in this desert time when she encountered God in a powerful way and He gave her the strength to face that heartbreaking home life.

    YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE

    This week’s #musicpic song Reckless Love packs a powerful punch to your heart. Helping you understand how God in his love chases after you. He’ll find you wherever you are.  Know that Whatever you’re facing today that you can run away from God, but you can’t hide from Him.  He is omnipresent and that means always-present and you cannot get away from His love for you.  Romans 8:39 reminds us that, “nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God”, and nothing means… nothing!

    Prayer

    Father… I thank-You for the way you love me.  It’s not in a passive, pat on the head, weakly expressed love.  Your love is reckless for me.  I can often run, but I’m so thankful that I can’t hide from You. Your love seeks me out and draws me in.  Help me to rest in Your love today. In Jesus Name…Amen

    Facebook Live Sherry Stahl You can't runThe Facebook Live that inspired this post. That day I kept saying you can’t run from God, but I really should have said, You can run from God, you just a can’t hide from Him! As I say in the video; He sees you and He loves you! https://www.facebook.com/sherry.lynn.stahl/videos/10157301254536085/

     

     


    reckless love#musicpic

    Song:  Reckless Love
    Written by Cory Asbury, Caleb Culver, and Ran Jackson
    Youtube Video of Song and Story behind the song: https://youtu.be/6xx0d3R2LoU
    Bethel Music Lyrics & Chord Charts: https://bethelmusic.com/chords-and-lyrics/reckless-love/
    My Favorite Lines:

    Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
    Oh, it chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found


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

     


    Drawing From The Well

    This week I’m hoping you’ll read beyond just one verse in each of these sections of The Bible.  They’re power-packed portions!

    1. Genesis 16:8
      Hagar’s story is found in Genesis 16.  If you have time, re-read this story and imagine how difficult this would have been for her. Understand why she ran away and what strength it took to go home.
    1. Romans 8:31-39
      If you can, read it in a few translations.  Let the words soak deep into your spirit.
    1. Parable of The Lost Sheep Matthew 18;12-14
    2. Parable of The Lost Sheep Luke 15:1-7

    ENDNOTES

    1. https://sherrystahl.com/fight-like-a-boxer/ Sherry Stahl Website Accessed: 2019-05-13
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Louis Wikipedia Website Accessed: 2019-05-13
    3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monument_to_Joe_Louis Wikipedia Website Accessed: 2019-05-13
    4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_can_run,_but_you_can%27t_hide http://en.espn.co.uk/espn/sport/story/195910.html Wiepedia & ESPN Websites Accessed: 2019-05-13

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  • Prayers – That Stick – For Your Children

    One day some parents brought their children to Jesus
    so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them.
    ~Matthew 19:13 NLT

    When my kids were little, we went through a lot of Band-Aids…I mean A LOT!

    BAND-AIDS THAT STICK

    Brandon loved to climb things, skateboard and do tricks on his BMX bike that often ended up in cuts, scrapes, gashes, and quite a few stitches.  Poor Shelby’s a little clumsy like her momma, so it’s safe to say, we kept the Band-Aid brand in business! I only tried no-name band-aids a couple of times and found they didn’t hold but the Band-Aid brand could be counted on to stick.

    PRAYERS THAT STICK

    Moms, you want band-aids that stick and prayers that stick for your children. Weak, ineffective prayers that don’t stick won’t the effect on your kid’s life that you want.  I’m challenged by this quote I saw from Abraham Lincoln.

    I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.
    ~Abraham Lincoln

    abraham lincoln-quote-prayer-children

    Clearly, momma-bear prayers are powerful {that would include Grandma, Auntie or any motherly prayers}.  Don’t underestimate the impact of your prayers in a child’s life!  In any case, I think the best way to pray effectively is to pray as Jesus did.

    JESUS’ STICKY PRAYERS

    Jesus is praying for Peter in Luke 22:32, knowing Peter’s upcoming temptation. He prayed for strength that Peter’s faith wouldn’t fail and for Peter to come back to faith after he turned away.

    John 17 records a bunch of Jesus’ prayers where He starts off praying for himself and then from verse 6 on He’s covering his disciples and all future believers in prayer: that’s you, me, your children, your children’s children… Jesus says,

    “I am not asking that you take them out of the world,
    but that You protect them from the evil one.”

    Jesus’ prayers that stick are not prayers to give us an easy life, remove us from this troubled world and take all our problems away.  Jesus’ sticky prayers are for us to be strong when facing trials, tribulation, and tragedy.

    I imagine these are the kind of prayers Abraham Lincoln’s mother prayed over him because he’s someone who is remembered well for his tenacity to not give up when some of his businesses failed, he had a nervous breakdown or when he lost a lot of elections. Those prayers empowered Abe to reach the destiny God had for his life.

    YOUR MOMMA-BEAR STICKY PRAYERS

    Just like the prayers of Abraham Lincoln’s mother, your prayers can be the glue that helps your children stick-to God’s plan and not give up.  Your prayers have the capability to produce cushioned kids who can’t handle problems or confident, overcoming, world-changing children that do something for His Kingdom! So, this Mother’s Day, it’s time to get busy and start praying tough prayers that stick!

    Prayer

    Father… I come to you in the tenacity of a momma-bear.  There is nothing I want more than for my children to have all the strength, boldness, and confidence it takes to fulfill the destiny You’ve placed within them. Please do the deep work in my children, in ______________ that you need to do, in order for them to have what it takes to live out their calling to the fullest.  May my children be known as Your faithful followers, living boldly for You!  In Jesus Name…Amen  

    [tweetthis]Your prayers can be the glue that helps your children stick-to God’s plan and not give up! #prayforyourchildren #prayersthatstick[/tweetthis]


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

     

    Drawing From The Well

    1. Matthew 19:13
    2. Luke 22:32
    3. John 17:15
    4. John 17:18

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  • How To Let Go and Live Free

    Then Simon Peter drew a sword and
    slashed off the right ear of Malchus,
    the high priest’s slave.
    ~John 18:10 NIV

    LIVING A LITTLE TOO FREE

    During Easter, it’s always great to read through the story of Jesus’ week of trial and crucifixion.  It’s a great way to keep the focus on Christ and not the Easter bunny!  This year, as I read, the one part that caused me to really pause and take stock of my life was the little detail given about Peter cutting off the ear of the high priest’s slave.

    It’s such a crazy story and I’m always amazed at how God isn’t afraid to include the most outlandish stories in His book. The Bible often reads like a TMZ show script. {Now back to the story} Peter was so impetuous, so bold, so brave… so stupid!  He allowed his passion to override his purpose and the purpose for which Jesus’ came.

    I think Peter got too confident in his position and seriously, who can blame him?

    He was just coming off a ministry high where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after four days… which confirmed Jesus as The Messiah! Then they rode into town and history calls it The Triumphal Entry where the people followed Jesus with shouts of

    “Hosanna in the highest!”

    Jesus’ then throws over the money-changer tables in the temple, It appeared that Jesus was this unstoppable leader, defeating every obstacle. So, when the church leaders come to try and arrest Jesus, Peter jacked up on the events of the previous weeks, goes all Rambo and cuts off the servant’s ear. Peter’s action says to Jesus,

    Let Me Take Care of That For You.

    Peter stepped in where he should have stood back.

    LET GO LIVE FREE

    LEARN TO LET GO

    Sometimes we have to exercise self-control to not take over a situation for others.  We can’t always jump to their rescue because it might not help them.  Sometimes, easing someone’s pain or fighting their battles can impede the plan of God for their life. If they don’t go through the struggle they’re facing, they won’t learn the tools needed for future issues… tougher battles. Jesus had to go through the suffering of being mistreated, betrayed, falsely accused and ultimately crucified so you and I could have eternal life. Sometimes, there has to be suffering for salvation to come.

    Without Christ, Peter’s action would have caused irreparable damage to the man’s ear and quite possibly, God’s plan of salvation for the world. Our incessant trying to fix things can really break things, often making situations worse.

    [tweetthis]Our incessant trying to fix things can really break things, often making situations worse. [/tweetthis]

    As believers, we need to learn How To Let Go and Live Free because even when it doesn’t look like it, God knows what He’s doing, and He has a plan!

    [tweetthis]I can Let Go and Live Free because I trust, God has a plan… and His plans for me are good! Jr. 29:11[/tweetthis]

    Prayer

    Father… I thank You for putting up with impetuous me.  Please fill my heart with trust in You, so I don’t try to take over the steering wheel and crash… or stop; messing up your plans for my life.  Help me to follow Your lead, watch for Your ways and be sensitive to Your cues leading me to wisely walk in Your ways.  In Jesus Name…Amen

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

     

    Drawing From The Well

    1. John 18:10
    2. Galatians 5:22-23
    3. James 1:4
    4. Jeremiah 29:11

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  • Your Family of Believers All Over The World

    Stand firm against him {the devil},
    and be strong in your faith.
    Remember that
    your family of believers all over the world
    is going through the same kind of suffering you are. 
    ~1 Peter 5:9 NLT {info added}

    News this Easter was heartbreaking for Christians.  An unimaginable horror took place on Easter Sunday morning at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.  Forever the memories of Easter morning will be marred for those families and friends affected by the bombings.

    BOMBINGS IN SRI LANKA

    I was away celebrating Resurrection Sunday and Easter Monday with family and only heard of these atrocities a day late when I opened my inbox to read an email from my friend Peggy Kennedy who has been ministering in Sri Lanka for over twenty years.  From there I went online to learn more of these insidious attacks on the innocent; many of whom were children.

    FOLLOWING JESUS’ EXAMPLE

    At first, when you hear news like this, you want to get mad at the group responsible for this attack but that wouldn’t be in line with the heart of our Christ, nor the message of Easter. Jesus’ example is found in His words on the cross after being abused by the soldiers,

    Jesus said,
    “Father, forgive them,
    for they do not know what they are doing.”
    ~Luke 23:24

    Today’s verse is encouraging you to stand firm against the enemy—the devil, not get mad at your offenders.  Peter’s advice is to stand firm and be strong in the understanding that if other Christians can get through hardship, so can you. We minorly experience the same kind of suffering here in Canada with the political climate turning against Christians but our struggles pale in comparison to the devastation experienced in Sri Lanka.  When I read Peggy’s email, my heart ached,

    “So sadly, many of the casualties were children as (per my understanding) they were on the move from the main service to children’s church.  Some of the youth from this church also attended Pastor Woody and Melanie’s recent History Makers’ youth conference.  Other reports coming in yesterday from leaders on the ground remind us that these are real people, facing real tragedy and loss…”

    Do you recognize that
    these real people are members of
    YOUR family of believers all over the world
    YOUR family of believers in Sri Lanka?1 peter 5:9

    MY SRI LANKAN CONNECTIONS

    I feel connected to the people of Sri Lanka because as a teen, my church brought over the Kulathungam family from Sri Lanka. Niran and his brother went to youth group with my sister Lori and I.  Niran and I went to the same Bible College where his dad taught us Apologetics.

    If you’ve been reading Soul H2O Devotions for a long time, you might remember that my grandmother ran the We Share/We Care ministry at our home church?  Through it, she was intimately involved with helping meet the needs of this refugee family. In appreciation, the Kulathungam’s gave my grandmother a stone from Sri Lanka and my grandfather had it placed in a ring setting.  When my Gram passed away, she left me that ring.

    Then, 22 years ago; when Jack and Peggy announced at my church in Orangeville that they were feeling called to go to Sri Lanka for the first time, I was more than happy to help support their trip.

    So, I do have ties to Sri Lanka, but even if I didn’t, even if you don’t… if we are truly adopted into God’s family as I talked about a few weeks ago HERE, then we are still family with this body of believers in Sri Lanka…  and family takes care of family.

    FAMILY TAKES CARE OF FAMILY

    I was brought up that as Christians we’re called to Go, Pray or Give.  Not many of us can get on a plane and go to Sri Lanka, but maybe you can? Maybe God will call you to go.  Not everyone can give, but maybe God is calling you to give?  You can pray… I can pray… we all can pray. If you do know someone who is Sri Lankan, you could even send them a word of encouragement.  Call and pray with or write and let them know you’re praying for them.

    Today, I encourage you to take time out and pray for Your Family of Believers All Over The World, especially those in Sri Lanka. Why not join me below?

    Prayer

    Father… Today I lift up my brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka.  They are hurting and broken.  Many have lost family members or loved ones, many more have suffered great harm and loss.  As a result, their lives will never be the same. Give them strength to stand firm in the difficult days ahead, placing their hope in you. I pray for supernatural peace in Sri Lanka. May the church in Sri Lanka not become bitter and seek to avenge but release forgiveness to those who have sought to destroy. Let those deceived by the enemy into being his henchmen find Your love, forgiveness, and salvation. As the enemy strikes to stop the people of God all over the world, may Your children unite and Your Kingdom advance! In Jesus Name…Amen

    [tweetthis]FAMILY TAKES CARE OF FAMILY Can you take time out & join me to pray for Your Family of Believers All Over The World, especially those in #SriLanka? [/tweetthis]


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

    Drawing From The Well

    1. 1 Peter 5:9
    2. Acts 14:22
    3. Luke 23:24
    4. Matthew 5:44

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  • {PASSION WEEK} Jesus Knows What It’s Like To Go From Cheers To Jeers

    When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival,
    they flocked to see him
    and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead.
    Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.

    The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city.
    A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him.
    They shouted, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
    Hail to the King of Israel!”
    ~John 12:9-13 NLT


    Growing up, we moved a lot. That innately has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. On the positive side, I have a lot of friends all over Southern Ontario. On the not so positive side, I remember one year where I had lots of friends and things were going well when a strange event turned my world upside-down.

    Riding In The Corvette

    My dad had started up another car lot but this time for luxury models.  He’d gotten a Corvette pace-car in stock and drove my sister and I to school in the new ride.

    For all you reading this who were born before 1980 the story is already starting to sound strange, I mean, who drives two children to school in a car that doesn’t even have a back seat?  Well, people did that in the 1970s! I rode in the back window since there wasn’t a back seat, not even a seat belt, feeling ‘super-cool’ as I got out to the growing crowd of kids who began to swarm hearing the corvette motor.  As I crawled out, I started hearing things like, “nice car”, “wow, you’re so lucky!”.

    I thought for sure this would solidify my position in the cool-crowd but it brought about the exact opposite.

    From Cheers To Jeers

    Jealousy erupted in some of the kids. They began calling me “rich-girl” and other names you don’t often write in a Christian blog. 🙂

    By the afternoon recess, a girl began shoving me as onlookers gathered with taunts of “Fight her, fight her!” Within no time, this angry ‘friend’ was on top of me shoving snow in my face {Yes, two kids to school, in a Corvette, in the winter… again, 1970s}.  In her rage, she kept stuffing until the snow was in my mouth and nose to the point I couldn’t breathe.

    I wish I could tell you that I simply pushed her off and ran to get a teacher for help, but I didn’t.  The fight or flight instinct riled up in me, resulting in my one-and-only physical fight {Not a proud moment}. Needless to say, this did not help me to gain friends and influence others.

    All joking aside, this experience really affected me, and the same feelings get stirred up again when people seem to find pleasure in putting me down. It can be a struggle to understand how somebody can one moment be your friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor and the next to be causing you to struggle for breath; in a different way than my experience on the playground.

    I’m glad Jesus gets the tough stuff you and I face.  Hebrews says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses.”1 Isaiah told of how the coming Messiah would be a “man of sorrows”2

    He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering,
    and familiar with pain.
    Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised,
    and we held him in low esteem.
    Isaiah 53:3 NIV

    Jesus gets it.  He understands hurt, He’s felt the sting of betrayal.  He’s had it much worse. One translation words this verse as, “He was like someone people turned away from.” Oh, how it hurts to be that someone.

    Palm Sunday is this fun, celebratory time when we remember the day Jesus was riding into Jerusalem on a high note because the people loved Him.  Recently raising Lazarus from the dead after four days in the grave signified to the people of Israel that Jesus was not just any Rabbi or Prophet, but THE Messiah!

    From Cheers To Jeers

    If it were today, I’m sure Jesus’ Instagram account would break Portuguese Footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for the most Instagram followers.3 Everyone wanted to be around Jesus and His discipleship following was the Mediterranean in-crowd.  As Jesus entered the Passover-filled streets of Jerusalem on Sunday, people waved palm branches and cheered!  Raising their voices in worship, they declared Him their King and laid down their coats to honor Him as Lord.

    “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”
    John 12:13

    But by the Tuesday of Passion Week; just two days later, the crucifixion plan was being set in place.  Quickly those cheers began turning into jeers as the Pharisees spread their toxic hatred for Jesus; the savior of the world, with mocking words

    “Hail, King of the Jews!” culminating into cries of “Crucify him!”4

    Jeer

    The Real Jesus

    Sometimes church art has painted Jesus in a way that would make him unrecognizable to Himself.

    Beyond the issues of depicting Jesus; this Jewish man, as Euro-Jesus with blonde hair and fair skin, as Chinese-Jesus wearing the Fu Manchu mustache or as Black-Jesus with a really deep tan.

    The problem is really with all the halos around Jesus’ head {no matter the skin-tone depicted} that poses the problem for me.  It makes Jesus seem surreal, not human, like a super-hero able to fly high, unscathed above the horrible circumstances He was experiencing… but that’s not how Scripture depicts Jesus. John quotes Jesus as saying,

    “Now my soul is deeply troubled.
    Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’?
    But this is the very reason I came!”5

    It hurt Jesus when people rejected him and wanted to attack him. He felt the same anguish we feel when others hurt us and that is why Jesus “is able to deal gently”6 with us when we’re broken… when friendship turns cold or the love once freely given, they now withhold.

    So, if you ever find yourself in a place where cheers have turned into jeers… turn to Jesus, He understands, and He cares… He gets it!

    Prayer

    Father…
    I’m overwhelmed with the thought that Your son Jesus knows what it’s like to suffer as I do.  Jesus, your willingness to come to earth, live and be mistreated for my sake, my salvation is too much to take in.  Help me to rejoice instead of complaining when I’m getting to share in Your sufferings7, so I understand the sacrifice you went through for me.

    Please let the truth of your love sink in deep this Easter.  Don’t let this time slip by. I choose to put suffering in perspective of the victory you achieved when you rose from the dead. I can manage through any suffering I face, understanding You are gentle, loving, and kind. You are good and You are Victorious!
    In Jesus Name…Amen

    [tweetthis]“Hail, King of the Jews!” culminating into cries of “Crucify him!” Jesus Knows What Its Like To Go From Cheers To Jeers John 12:9-13; 19:1-6[/tweetthis]

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

    Drawing From The Well

    1. John 12:9-13
    2. John 19:1-6
    3. 1 Peter 4:13
    4. Luke 6:28

    ENDNOTES

    Definition of Jeer Image Information From https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/jeer  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jeer https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/jeer


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  • Leadership Leads… Good or Bad

    “...from the prophets of Jerusalem 
    ungodliness has spread throughout the land.” 
    Jeremiah 23:15  NIV

    John MaxwellAll my John Maxwell training is going to be put to the test in three and a half weeks when I’ll be moderating a panel on Leadership at the Women’s Connection District Retreat in Grimsby, Ontario. {If you’re going, make sure to stop by my table and say hello!}

    wod retreat 2019I have some amazing ladies on the panel who hold various organizational leadership roles in business, government positions, church leadership, and home management. The goal is to elevate the confidence of women in leadership positions and practically help improve their skills, enabling them to walk further and faster into the destiny God has for their lives.

    As we’ve been preparing for the panel, I can’t help but look back and rate my skillfulness as a leader. Lots of passes, and plenty of fails.  My thoughts went back to my first leadership position as a big sister. 🙂

    Sisters LoriSometimes, my little sister, Lori would follow me around playing ‘Copycat’.  Remember that annoying childhood game where people followed you around; often one-step behind you, repeating every word you said, copying move you made? Lori used to drive me crazy doing this!  Thankfully, we’ve grown up and now have a great relationship! {Don’t we look cute together now 🙂 }  As a “big sister” I hope I’ve given Lori more good examples to follow than bad ones!  No matter how small your leadership role may seem, it will have a huge impact because

    Leadership Leads…Good or Bad!

    RECOGNIZING YOUR REACH

    Sometimes we minimize the effect our leadership has in the home, school, court, field, rink, church or place of employment.  Whenever God has elevated you to a place of leadership, people are going to follow in your footsteps—It’s a scary thing!

    A friend once said to me,

    “I was forced to go to church and I won’t put my kids through that.
    I don’t want them to be forced to live what I believe but to be able to choose for themselves.

    Since she never took her kids to church, they simply followed her lead and have seldom gone to church because they were never given another option to choose from.  Failure to give guidance is, in fact, leading, since it causes people to blindly follow your example and not know why.

    [tweetthis]You’re leading, even when you try not to lead. #leadership [/tweetthis]

    leadership leads pinterest

    Our leadership in life is followed,
    much more than we recognize.

    Today’s verse comes from the book of Jeremiah.  In his time, many of the prophets weren’t leading well. They weren’t proclaiming God’s word to the people, but instead speaking what they knew the people wanted to hear, so they would keep following them… following them down the wrong path.

    These false prophets were sharing a watered-down message with false hopes that led the people to be disappointed in God; causing them to turn away from Him. Jeremiah had to swim against the tide of his time as their poisonous message,

    “spread throughout the land”.

    Leadership was difficult for Jeremiah, but he knew his responsibility was to clear the path for others, so they could follow the right way; because

    [tweetthis]Leadership Leads… Good or Bad #leadership[/tweetthis]

    So, what’s going to spread in the future as people follow you?

    Prayer

    Father… I’m overwhelmed when I recognize that you have given me such influence in my world.  Help me to be wise with my words and actions so that my life impacts others to know and love you more! May others follow your plans for their lives as they see me chasing after the destiny you’ve set before me. In Jesus name…Amen


    wod retreat 2019I WILL RISE
    Women’s Connection Conference

    https://womensconnection.ca/events/conference

    If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll join us
    Don’t forget to sign up for the Leadership Panel}.


    Drawing From The Well

    1. Ephesians 1:5
    2. Hebrews 13:7
    3. James 3:1
    4. 1 Timothy 4:12

    Soul H2O BookIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll 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!


    Other posts about my journey with John C. Maxwell, the JMTeam, or John’s Books:
    John C. Maxwell And God Want You To Be A Talent-Plus Person
    Mentored to Lead by John C. Maxwell

     


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