Soul H2O Devotions

  • The Inheritance

    “The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.”

    1 Kings 21:3 NIV

    One summer I rented a cottage for a week with my friend Wendy, each with two preschoolers in tow. We spent most of our time cooking, cleaning and watching the kids play together. We started to notice a pattern with our older two as they played together. Brandon would see Lauren with a toy. He would pick up another toy, go over to Lauren and play with it in front of her, maybe even talk to her about the toy. She would reach for it and he would take the toy from her hands—the toy he wanted! We were shocked at how easily Lauren would give up what she had. I knew Brandon was going to be a salesman from that day forward!

    This silly childhood scenario was played out in the Bible with a much more serious plotline than two kids playing with toys. King Ahab wanted his neighbour’s vineyard. He tried to sweet-talk Naboth out of his property, but Naboth refused to give up his land. He saw the value in his property. He called it his “inheritance” because he recognized that it came from God. He knew that it was God who gave his father’s the land. Naboth valued what God had given him.

    Too often Christians live, like Lauren played. We allow the enemy to steal away the great things God has given us, sometimes before we even receive the promise. It’s time we took on the attitude of Naboth and make a stand! We need to let it be known that we will not give up our inheritance!

    Prayer:

    Father…I thank-you that you have provided such an incredible inheritance for us! The enemy constantly seeks to take away all that you have entrusted into our care. Help us to manage well the blessing, giftings and talents—our inheritance from YOU!!! In Jesus Name…Amen.

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  • God is the First to love…and the Last to Reject

    “We love because he [God] first loved us”

    1 John 4:19 NIV

    “…because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you…”
     1 Samuel 15:23 NIV

    Have you ever been dumped? Being loved and then rejected is a painful thing! God totally understands what it feels like. 1 Samuel Chapter 15 talks about the end of God’s loving relationship with Saul. After about 20-25 years of Saul rejecting the voice of God, we’re told that God rejected Saul and if broke God’s heart because God is the FIRST to love…and the LAST to reject!

    You see, Saul had it all messed up. In verse 30 after God has told Saul he’s been rejected as King, Saul admittedly says, “I have sinned”. I believe that if his words after that statement would have been spoken from a repentant heart God would have gladly poured out His forgiveness on Saul, but his request was not for God to forgive him. Saul begged Samuel and said, “please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel…”. This makes it clear how Saul was more concerned about his reputation than about his relationship with God or Samuel. Verse 35 tells how God’s heart was grieved over Saul.

    God’s love and forgiveness is a powerful thing! It can wipe away a lifetime of sin. God is always willing to forgive. If you are the one who has rejected the voice of God or love someone who has, don’t give up hope! 2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is…patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Know that, “God is love” (1 John 4:8).

    Prayer:

    Father…I thank-you for your incredible love for me. I don’t deserve it. Please forgive me for those times I have rejected Your voice. Help me to open my ears, and my heart to hear Your voice loud and clear so that I may live in the power of Your love all the days of my life. In Jesus Name…Amen.

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  • Live By YOUR Faith!

    live by faith“…the righteous will live by his faith”   
    Habakkuk 2:4 NIV

    Habakkuk wrote this verse when his people were surrounded by unbelievers. They were prospering by unjust gain, and arrogantly rising to the top with greed so deep in their hearts yet never satisfied with what they had. In the midst of this selfishness, Habakkuk challenges the people to Live By YOUR Faith!

    If this isn’t a picture of our society today I don’t know what is! It often seems like the ungodly continue to prosper when God’s people live in lack. Are we letting this worldly mindset of our present circumstances rule how we live? Are we believing that God is going to set us free and bring restoration to our lives as He did for His people back then?

    In the natural, the people had no physical sign to believe God’s promises were going to be fulfilled, but they were! You may not have any ‘reason to believe’ that God will keep His promises to you, but He will! (Deuteronomy 7:9) Trust God and Live By YOUR Faith!

    Prayer:

    Father…I’m so thankful that you are true to your promises. Even when I can’t see You working them out, I know you are. Help me to live making right choices because my faith is in YOU, not my circumstances! In Jesus Name…Amen.

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  • All Over The World

    all over the world“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world”                                   Romans 1:8 NIV

    Facebook and email, through the power of the Internet have brought the world to my computer! I wonder what form of social media Paul and the apostles used to spread the word about amazing faith back then??? Today, I love reading the posts of my missionary friends and seeing all God is doing in and through them as they make a difference ALL OVER THE WORLD! 

    My friend Wendy has been working with a missions organization for years, travelling the world over to spread the love of Christ.   Then there’s Reynold and Kathy who have left the creature comforts of Canada to live in Uganda, being used by God to unite a nation for Christ. Right now my friend Peggy is in Sri Lanka preaching the powerful Word of God. My new friend Cheryl helps free women from human trafficking… I truly thank my God for these friends and the influence of their lives ALL OVER THE WORLD!

    Todd bought me a mug and it says, “Life is a Story…Make Yours A Best Seller“. So go on, do something in courageous faith! Give them something to report on, ALL OVER THE WORLD!

    Prayer:

    Father…Lord I thank-you for the technology that allows us to hear about the great things you are doing in our world to reach the lost. You do it through ordinary people who are willing vessels. Please help me to live out my faith in a way to cause Your name to be reported ALL OVER THE WORLD! In Jesus Name…Amen.

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  • No Turning Back

    no turning back-blog post
    “So Elisha left: he took his yoke of oxen and butchered them. He made a fire with the plow and tackle and then boiled the meat—a true farewell meal for the family. Then he left and followed Elijah, becoming his right-hand man.”

                      1 Kings 19:21 The Message

    I love babies. This morning at church I garnered the attention of two adorable baby boys! I wanted to take them into my arms but they were holding on so tightly to their parents and there was no breaking that bond! When God used Elijah to call Elisha to ministry as a prophet his first reaction was to ask Elijah if he could go back and say goodbye to his parents. Elijah freed him to return home, but warned him not to forget what just happened. Elisha kept his calling in mind and by his actions said to God, “I’m following you, NO TURNING BACK!

    Elisha was in the fields working on the family farm when Elijah comes walking up, directed by God. Elijah takes his coat off and threw it around Elisha, symbolizing to the people in those days that ministry was being transferred to another. Elijah burns up his oxen and plow—his career and livelihood. Now that’s commitment!

    We don’t always have such dramatic calls to what God has for us, but we all know when He’s calling. Let’s be committed to have the heart of Elisha and by our actions confirm to God that we will follow Him with NO TURNING BACK!

    Prayer:

    Father…Thank-you for your call. I’m grateful that you have a plan for my life and a purpose for me to fulfill. Help me to make a decision to follow you and live out that decision with NO TURNING BACK! In Jesus Name…Amen.

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  • Relax

    Relax Painting
    (c) Todd Stahl Used with Permission

    “And you? Go about your business without fretting or worrying. Relax. When it’s all over, you will be on your feet to receive your reward.”
                                         Daniel 12:13 The Message

    Sometimes when I read through Daniel and study about the end times I end up confused and a little afraid. OK, sometimes I get a lot afraid. I remember having to write a paper for my Eschatology (study of end times) course at Bible College. I got so worried over details of the end times that I went to my professor’s office completely stressed out. My profs message was very much like the words Eugene Peterson used in the message paraphrase of Daniel to convey God’s words to the church about the future…RELAX!

    There are so many opportunities in life to let fear of the future envelop us in dread. It hinders our ability to move forward. Whenever we get into worrying or fretting God’s word has a steadying effect, if we read it and take it to heart.

    So, RELAX! God’s Word promises you’re going to land on your feet and then He’s going to reward you for your faithfulness!

    Prayer:

    Father…Forgive me for worrying. It comes so naturally. Please apply Your supernatural peace into my life so I can RELAX, no matter what happens in my world. Steady me so I live life confidently knowing You will keep me standing and bless me! In Jesus Name…Amen.

    Painting (c) Todd Stahl http://www.toddstahl.com

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  • Nehemiah–Wash Behind Your Hears

    Good Morning!  In the past few months my computer has been in the shop a few times and it decided to crash again.  I know from many of your emails that these Monday morning devotions are a boost to your week so even though I can’t access my devotions I’m still posting one.  It’s the first devotion from my hubby’s book (Details below) and it’s really good!  Be encouraged today as you read and no matter what happens…DON’T GIVE UP!!!

    Nehemiah–Wash Behind Your Hears

    God holds me head and shoulders above all who try to pull me down…Already I’m singing God-songs; I’m making music to God.
    —PSALM 27:6

    Many times in my life, I have given too much thought to background noise. Those voices attempt to make you think aspects of your life are falling apart. You anticipate that the future will be a scary place, or the walls feel as if they’re pressing in on you like a vice. Do not allow those sounds to be played. God has provided courage and faith to confront your fear and anxiety.

    Nehemiah, a mighty man in the Bible, encountered an excellent example of this dilemma. At a time when he could have been comfortable with his highly honored position of cupbearer for the king, God spoke to him, confirming that he would be the lead man to reconstruct the walls around the city of Jerusalem.

    During the physical work, Nehemiah heard sounds of criticism, verbal attacks, and false accusations day in and day out. Nehemiah refused to listen. He kept his focus. Not only did he refuse to crumble to the background noise, he and his construction crew completed the job in record time!

    Don’t be surprised if the devil starts heating up the adversity when you pursue a goal that God has confirmed in your heart. In your own life, scrub away those  words or thoughts that have held you back from spiritual growth. Listen for the  voice of encouragement.  Open your spiritual ears to hear what God is saying to you today.

    The enemy desires nothing better than to play the sounds of negativity, doubt, and confusion in our minds, hoping we’ll lose focus. These words are attempts to smother the dreams God placed in us to fulfill. Turn off the old playlist of doubt and fear. Download the new sounds God has given to you—lyrics of hope, anticipation, and excitement towards a future that is music to your hears!

    Prayer:

    Father…Help me today to focus on You and Your plan for my life.  Please help me to “tune in” to your station so I hear Your voice of encouragement and not the negative voice of the enemy as I move forward towards Your great purposes for my life!  In Jesus Name…Amen.

    40 Days in the Man Cave-Cover Screenshot

    Todd’s book, 40 Days In The Man Cave  is being published by Word Alive Press and will be available for purchase by April 5, 2015

    Check Out Todd’s Website for Details in March  http://www.toddstahl.com

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  • Laughter

    101_0465

    A cheerful heart is good medicine”                                                                Proverbs 17:22

    For Valentine’s Todd and I went to a “Couples Night Out” event to see comedian Steve Geyer. I felt bad for this couple across from us. They didn’t laugh at anything and left during intermission. I think their funny bone was broken! For us, it was such a fun night out! We laughed ‘till we cried. It was great to hang out with some people from our church and relax after a very long week. LAUGHTER really is the best medicine!

    I tend to be driven, working hard towards a goal to the point of exhaustion. Lately I’ve felt worn out. Taking time to be with my hubby, some friends and to laugh with abandon is better than any pill I could take! God knows we need to kickback and relax. Stress brings on heart health problems, but LAUGHTER is proven to help heal the heart, physically and emotionally, which can only have a positive spiritual effect.

    Today as people in Ontario, Canada celebrate “Family Day” may we all join in and take time to fill our homes with LAUGHTER. It may just save us a few trips to the doctors!

    Prayer:

    Father…I thank-you for funny cards, books, movies, family and friends. May you fill our lives with LAUGHTER today so we can show a lost world your joy no matter what our circumstances. Let our hearts reveal the freedom you’ve brought into our lives! In Jesus Name…Amen.

     

    “Fun and Faith” is the host for “Couples Night Out” https://funandfaith.ca/live-events/events/information/couples-night-out/

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  • Discerning the Best from the Good

    worn outThe next morning, Jesus sneaks away. He finds a place away from the crowds, but soon they find Him. The crowd tries their best to keep Him from leaving. Jesus: No, I cannot stay. I need to preach the kingdom of God to other cities too. This is the purpose I was sent to fulfill..”
    Luke 4:42-43 The Voice

    In this day and age you could be going 24 hours a day, 7 days a week following the demands of people around you. I admire Jesus discernment of the best from the good. I desire to be this discerning but often lack the discipline He had and end up tired and burned out from doing too much.

    There are so many good things we can do. Helping a friend or family member…volunteering at church, in the schools, our community..working, cleaning, exercising…The trouble is we simply can’t do them all. When we do, we stop following Jesus’ example, ending up exhausted. When Mark records his account of this event we see what Jesus was doing when he hid away from the crowds. He was praying (Mk 1:37). Jesus made the discipline in His life to take time away from people and pray. It was out of this pulling back and allowing for rest that He was re-energized to fulfill the purpose that the Father had for His life. It was during these times of rest and prayer that brought about discernment for what the Father wanted Him to do next. Jesus refused to be controlled by guilt and sought after purpose.

    Check yourself. Are you feeling tired and weary? If so, you’ve been doing too much. Find some time away, lock the bathroom door if you have to! Rest from all those that would try and keep pulling you to help them. Pray and ask God so you can discern the best from the good that your life can make the greatest impact for Him!

    Prayer:

    Father…Forgive me for not taking the time I should to rest and spend time with you. Help me to prioritize my time with you over anything here on earth. I ask you to provide me with the discernment to know the best from the good and give me boldness to follow through. In Jesus Name…Amen.

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  • It Takes 2

    It Takes 2
    (c) Todd Stahl

     

     Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength ”            Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

    When you were a kid did you ever get in a competition with another kid over who could stand on one foot longer than the other? Such a silly game, that I always lost. I really don’t have the best balance. To put it bluntly, I’m a clutz! I have learned in so many ways that for me, It Takes 2…two feet that is!

    My husband Todd painted the artwork you see a few years ago. The idea came as a result of God working on Todd’s heart to trust Him with his future and jump in with both feet to what God wanted for his life. In order to do that he had to close a family business that was part of his identity. In Deuteronomy 6:5 God makes it clear that He’s not interested in us giving to him half-heartedly. He wants us to give him our all. ALL our heart…ALL our soul…ALL our strength. This goes against the grain of our self-centered society that wants to protect #1, and #1 being ourselves. Truly following God will cause you to deny yourself, drop everything and run hard after Him!

    This week Todd and I are taking an even bigger leap of faith into God’s calling. I see us like two kids standing at the edge of a pool, holding hands, jumping in. Why don’t you do the same? Sitting on the fence with one foot in and one foot out only gives you splinters! Remember, It Takes 2!

    Prayer:

    Father…We ask for boldness today. Boldness to jump in with both feet to the great adventure you have for our lives. Fear desires to keep us holding firmly to our current position. May we throw off everything thing that would hold us back and run hard after you! In Jesus Name…Amen.

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