Soul H2O Devotions

  • Go On The Offense!

    “I appeal to Caesar!…”You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”
                                                 Acts 25:11-12 NIV

    I was brought up watching the Hamilton Ti-Cats football. My grandparents were crazy fans who held season’s tickets. They would even go so far as to get all dressed up in Black and Yellow for the games! Have you ever watched a football game when the team gave up on winning and got stuck in the defensive? From the stands you hear people cheer: “Go on the offense!

    I’m encouraged by the example Paul gave us to go on the offense! Acts 21-28 is a crazy story in the life of Paul. It starts off with a guy named Agabus having a prophetic word warning that Paul was going to be bound in Jerusalem and handed over to the Gentiles. Paul rightly discerns that it is God’s will for him to face this trial in order to reach the Gentiles for Christ. When Paul is thrown in jail he doesn’t crumble and act the victim. Paul speaks up before they mistreat him and demands fair treatment as a Roman born citizen. When brought to yet another court, Paul again goes on the offense. He demands his rights and declares, “I appeal to Caesar!” Paul was protected and brought to Rome as he knew God had called him.

    Sometimes we feel as Christians that we need to ALWAYS “turn the other cheek”, but Paul’s example here, and others in scripture, show us that there is a season for everything. Discern what season you are in, and if God is speaking to you to go on the offense then, move forward as a born-again citizen of heaven and go on the offense!

    Prayer

    Father… Help me to walk confidently where you lead. I ask for a holy boldness to move forward in all that you have called me to do. May I stop living defensively and go on the offense as you direct. Let nothing hold me back from moving forward in You! In Jesus Name…Amen

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  • New Clothes

    “You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised…but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
                                             Luke 24:48-49 NLT…NIV

    I love getting new clothes and who doesn’t? I remember when my son was a teen and got a new shirt before camp. I literally had to wash it every other day so people could stand to be near him! Getting a new job often requires buying new clothes to prepare you for the new position; like that first suit, the company uniform, coveralls with your name on them or the tool belt for your trade.

    At the end of Jesus’ life and ministry on earth, he explains to his followers about their new position as witnesses for Christ to the world. Jesus warns them not to start the job without getting some new clothes on! We read in Acts 2 how the Holy Spirit fell on all those who followed Jesus direction by waiting and praying together in the upper room. Immediately, these men and women were turned into powerhouse witnesses for Christ! 3000 people were reached that day!

    Our mission hasn’t changed and Jesus direction applies now more than ever. If we are to reach this world for Christ we need to be clothed in the power of the Holy Spirit!

    Prayer

    Father…It’s my desire to let my friends…my family…those in my sphere of influence and people all around this world know about You! I can’t do it in my own strength. Holy Spirit, please clothe me in Your power, like you did for the disciples, so I can be an effective witness for Christ! I need some new clothes! In Jesus Name…Amen

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  • Great Golf Tip

    “But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.”
    Daniel 6:10   NLT

    The other day, Todd and I went out on the motorcycle, to a car show and then he taught me how to hit a golf ball at the driving range.  It was so much fun and I didn’t do so bad either!  Todd taught me the tricks of how to hit the ball far and then how to direct my drive.  Todd explained how aiming my feet towards the direction I want my golf ball to go in would help me reach my goal.  Todd’s Great Golf Tip made me think of Daniel’s position for prayer.

    The Bible records that when the Israelites were held in Captivity, Daniel prayed to God directing his view towards Jerusalem.  Not even a law forbidding anyone from praying to their god could stop Daniel’s focused prayers.  Daniel knew that the only way to get out of captivity would be to follow Solomon’s instructions in 2 Chronicles 6:38-39 that were recorded over 400 years before Israel even went into captivity!  Solomon instructed that if the Israelites were ever to find themselves in captivity, that they should pray towards the temple in Jerusalem and God would bring them back into their land.

    Apply Todd’s Great Golf Tip to your spiritual life and pray like Daniel.  Direct your view towards the promise God has for your life and keep giving God thanks until you see the promise become a reality!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank-you for your promises.  Help me to direct my view towards all that you have for me.  Grow in me the tenacity like Daniel to pray consistent, focused prayers and give you thanks for bringing your promises to fulfillment.  In Jesus Name…Amen

    TODAY is the last day to:

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  • Repeat Offenders–Jesus’ Teachings on Offence #4

    “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.”
                                                          Mathew 18:21-22   The Message

    Repeat offenders use your welcome mat way too many times to wipe off their dirty boots! We all have people in our lives that seem to use a revolving door to our welcome mat and leave us feeling trampled on. Peter asks Jesus for His wisdom on how to deal with these people and it’s not what our human hearts want to hear.

    Jesus is encouraging unlimited forgiveness.

    Jesus’ teaching was counter-culture to people in His day and nothing has changed in our modern culture thinking. People don’t like to forgive. People want others to forgive them for what they do, but it’s rare to find someone who wants to extend forgiveness when they’re offended.

    Natural instinct is to protect ourselves and put up a fence, blocking the person from ever causing us pain again.

    Right after Jesus teaches the principle of forgiveness, he explains further with a story called The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. Jesus condemns the man in the story that doesn’t release forgiveness to his debtor when the debtor pleaded for it.

    Jesus reminds us through the parable that we are all debtors to God. Some of us may have larger debts than others, but we all owe a debt we cannot pay.

    If Jesus so willingly releases forgiveness to us each time we truly repent, we need to extend that same forgiveness to others when they ask for our forgiveness.

    Open your heart today and release anyone that you may be holding unforgiveness towards. You’ll be setting both of you free!

    Prayer

    Father… Thank-you for forgiving me when I offend You. I should really be out of chances, but Your grace keeps taking me back. Soften my heart. Melt it so that I can forgive others like you forgive me. In Jesus Name…Amen

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  • Dream

    “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you”
                                                                 Ephesians 1:18 NIV

    This week I dropped my daughter off at Southeastern University in Florida. Getting there was nothing short of a miracle! So many things came against Shelby attending school this year, but she was determined God had called her to go and she was going to believe for a miracle. Through prayer and fasting—Miracles she received! Shelby had a dream and she pressed on to believe until that dream became a reality!

    The older you get, the more difficulty you have to allow the “eyes of your heart” to be enlightened…to dream! Dreaming comes easier for the young. I think it’s part because they’re closer to childhood and still in the practice of imagining. Youth are often better able to “see” their dream and go after it. Adulthood really frowns upon imagining. You get out of practice and tend to close down the “eyes of your heart” and that hinders you from knowing “the hope to which he has called you”.

    Today, I’m praying Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian believers over you, no matter how old you are! I’m asking our Father to open your spiritual eyes so that you will dream His BIG dreams for your life and have the courage to pursue them!

    Prayer

    Father…Help me to have the faith of a child so that I can look at my life through your eyes. Please open the eyes of my heart to clearly see what you have called me to so I can chase after the dreams you desire me to fulfill. In Jesus Name…Amen

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  • Work It Out—Jesus’ Teachings on Offence #2

    “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend.”
                                             Mathew 18:15

    I find this verse hard to live out. I would rather just ignore when someone hurts me and pretend it didn’t bother me. I cringe when I know that I need to discuss an issue with someone. Recently our pastor had the Core Leadership Team go through a teaching on the need for crucial conversations. The training was invaluable in learning how to work it out in relationships when you’ve been offended.

    Jesus’ teachings were given to help us learn how to restore relationship whenever possible. Jesus doesn’t teach us to lash back, get back or stuff it. Jesus tells us to confront the person who hurt us. Confront; not in a hurtful way, but in a way that conveys the offense and still gives the message that you are trying to work it out. I read a great book years ago, called The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. The basis of this book is in line with this verse in Matthew. The book was written for dealing with conflict in the workplace but applies to all relationships. It teaches that when you have conflict with someone, you should not ignore it but immediately confront the person for one minute explaining the issue. The premise is that if you don’t quickly confront, the tendency is to let offences pile up and then it is often too much work to work it out.

    Follow Jesus teaching and learn to gently, but honestly, in private work it out with those around you.

    Prayer

    Father…help me to live out your teachings, even when I find them difficult. Help me to be able to tell people when they hurt me in a way that treats them as your child, while not skirting the issues. Help me to be able to speak in ways that will work it out with those who have hurt me. May your blessing be over my relationships. In Jesus Name…Amen

     

    http://www.kenblanchard.com
    http://www.spencerjohnson.com

     

     

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  • Shake The Dust Off Your Feet–Jesus Teachings on Offence #1

    “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”
                                                                        Mathew 10:14 NIV

    I love walking along a beach. Sand under my feet feels wonderful while on a beach. When it’s time to put your shoes back on it’s so hard to shake the dust off your feet and those same relaxing grains become an irritation. Jesus was so descriptive when he talked. I’m thankful for his analogies that help me understand clearly how I am to live, and in this case, how I am to deal with some people who are less than kind to me.

    Throughout his ministry, Jesus taught his followers different methods on how to deal with people who hurt them. In this case, Jesus taught the disciples to remove themselves from the place and people who offend them. He didn’t tell them to make a big scene about it, but to peacefully “shake the dust off your feet and in the very next verse God promises that He will deal with the offender and make them give account for what they did to you. It’s still our responsibility to forgive, but not to make them pay.

    Just as shaking the dust off your feet after spending some time at the beach is difficult, so is learning to figuratively shake the dust off your feet and let go of unhealthy relationships. Discerning when it’s right to follow this advice from Jesus to remove yourself from people and places that bring you hurt and going through with it, will set you free to move forward in wholeness.

    Prayer

    Father…You know the motives of men and I don’t. Help me rightly discern those people or places I need to remove myself from and learn to shake the dust off my feet, letting the hurt go. Help me to have a heart that forgives and lives in peace. In Jesus Name…Amen

     

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  • Divine Multiplication

    “one man chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight.”
                         Deuteronomy 32:30 NIV

    “Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall…”
                                  Leviticus 26:8 NIV

    Do you remember the Faberge Organics Commercial with Heather Locklear?   She loved their shampoo so much that she told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on…until the screen was covered with faces? (For those too young to remember there’s a link to see the commercial at the bottom!) This infamous commercial teaches that profound mathematic phenomenon called multiplication.   It’s an amazing thing, but not as incredible as divine multiplication that’s somewhat like compound interest!

    These scriptures hint at the power of divine multiplication producing unity. In life you can only do so much on your own, but when you join forces with others you can do so much more! The Bible is full of examples where people worked together and saw greater results then when they worked on their own. I have seen in my own life how God has multiplied the effectiveness of what I could do by partnering me with others. Working alongside Todd seems to have engaged that phenomenon of divine multiplication that we know is producing a greater influence than we could see on our own.

    So ask yourself, “Who does God desire to unite you with to create a greater kingdom impact for Him?” Don’t be a Lone Ranger. You might be able to accomplish some good things, but your efforts will kick into the divine multiplication realm “when we all work together” as the song is sung!

    Prayer

    Father…You don’t desire for me to live this journey of life by myself, but in partnership with others. Help me to open my eyes and see clearly those you have placed in my life to partner with and those you do not. May the unity of my partnerships multiply Your glory! In Jesus Name…Amen

    Heather Locklear in the original Faberge Organics Commercials on Youtube

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  • Reactions

    But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”
    Exodus 17:3 NIV

    I read a great quote by a Greek philosopher Epictetus. He said,

    “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

    Understanding that Epictetus was born a slave, made a cripple by his master breaking his leg, obtained freedom, became a respected philosopher, was a gifted orator and raised a child left to die, makes this quote more powerful. He truly was a man that reacted well to his circumstances. Sadly, the Israelites reacted in the worst way to the problem they faced and spoke death into their situation.

    This week my daughter experienced the greatest disappointment of her life…and she’s had quite a few to choose from! She could have chosen to grumble and complain, get mad and hold resentment. Instead, she chose to forgive and release the offender. She has chosen to keep her faith in what God has called her to and believe for a miracle! She feels peace and hope for the future!

    How much better the life of the Israelites would have been if they reacted differently to what happened to them. This week, choose to react in faith not fear. Speak words of life, not death over your circumstances. “The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” (Exodus 14:14 NLT)

    Prayer

    Father…I thank-You that no matter what life throws my way, I have a choice. Help me to react in faith with words of life. May my reactions bring You glory and release Your purposes and Your plans for my life! In Jesus Name…Amen

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  • Even Greater

    “The person who trusts me will not do only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it.”
                                                                                   John 14:12 The Message

    Tonight at camp the pastor Mike Middlebrook spoke from this text. To me, it’s one of the hardest scriptures to understand in the Bible. I know that it was Jesus who said this because the letters are red in my Bible, so it must be true, but seriously, how can I do even greater things than Jesus?

    Near the end of the service, the pastor Mike asked, “How much does Jesus desire to do through you?” I’m still trying to process this question in light of Jesus words that I should do even greater things than Him! It’s becoming clear to me that God doesn’t want me to live a boring life. The stories recorded of Jesus life were incredulous! He healed the sick, fed the hungry, comforted the weary, knew private things about others, was chased down by those who opposed Him, travelled, spoke, raised people from the dead…there was nothing boring about Jesus’ life. Understanding this, there should be nothing boring about my life!

    Choose today to do something for God! Something as simple as sharing an encouraging verse on your Facebook could reach people in many different countries with the click of a mouse. That’s one thing even greater than Jesus could’ve done! Shake things up and live a life Jesus would find exciting. Continue on in His work and let your life be the adventure that God desires it to be!

    Prayer

    Father…Use me today. Let me do something great for You that will bring You glory! Help me not to settle for mediocrity but desire to do even greater things for you! In Jesus Name…Amen

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