Soul H2O Devotions

  • 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

    Shake The Dust Off Your FeetI 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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  • Rock-Solid

    “Those who trust in God are like Zion Mountain: Nothing can move it, a rock-solid mountain you can always depend on.”
    Psalm 125:1 MSG

    Do I have a rock-solid trust in God? Do you have an unshakeable confidence in our Savior? Can people depend on us? Headlines on the evening news, the issues in our schools and new laws being passed in our countries give us more than enough reasons to let fear creep in and overtake our thoughts. How can we learn to live in shaky times and still show character that is dependable, unshakable, even…rock-solid?

    Psalm 125 was written about a shaky time in Israel’s history. The Israelites were living in captivity, displaced from their families, homes and jobs. They weren’t walking on easy street, but many displayed this rock-solid trust in God. Last week’s devotion called Encircled, talked about the next verse, Psalm 125:2 that says, “Mountains encircle Jerusalem, and God encircles his people—always has and always will.” (MSG) The people could stand strong because they were confident that God was in front of them, behind them and on each side. They were completely Encircled in His care.

    If you can stand on Psalm 125:2 and know that God has YOU Encircled in His embrace it will give you the confidence you need to be dependable, unshakeable, even… rock-solid!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank-You that You are unshakeable…unchangeable…immovable. Help me to grow closer to you and as I do, let your character become my character so that when people go through hard times I am one of those they can depend on to be a rock-solid friend trusting in You! In Jesus Name…Amen

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  • Encircle

    “Mountains encircle Jerusalem, and God encircles his people—always has and always will.”
                                                    Psalm 125:2 MSG

    One of the best perks of being a mom is getting and giving hugs! When my kids were little and would get hurt they would always come running to me for a squeeze. A cuddle seemed to help everything from cuts to bullies on the playground. Like a big hug, God desires to ENCIRCLE us in His care.

    So often the enemy wants us to feel like we’re outnumbered…on the losing side…all alone, but feelings aren’t always in line with reality. This verse brings us back to the truth of where we are and where God is. The writer of this Psalm is speaking to a people who have known what it was like to be encircled by their enemies, and attacked from all sides. God wanted his people to be confident that He was encircling them. Just as God opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant to see the host of angels protecting him from his enemies, God desires for your spiritual eyes to be opened so you know that He has you surrounded!

    Let God ENCIRCLE you today. Close your eyes and feel His warm embrace. Know He’s watching over, protecting and loving you—always has and always will!

    Prayer

    Father…I’m overwhelmed to think that the God of the Universe wants to hold little ‘ole me! May I allow you to encircle me, and shield me from all the enemy would try and do to take me down. Let me walk in the confidence of your protection and love as I feel your embrace. In Jesus Name…Amen!

    Book Signing–Tuesday!

    ICRS (International Christian Retail Show)
    take the 40 day challenge  Tuesday, June 30th   4-5pm
    Anchor Distributing Booth #211

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  • Daddy

    The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba! Father!” as we would address a loving daddy.
                                         Romans 8:15 (The Voice Translation)

    Years ago I read the book The Shack. It told a fictitious story of one man’s journey to be able see God as He truly is: a loving, good father. This man’s view of God the father was marred by the experience he had with his earthly father.   I loved how the main character’s wife called God “Poppa”. Whenever I write out my prayers I call God “Daddy”. It was after reading the verse above one time that I began addressing him this way. There really is no better way to describe the relationship I have with our Heavenly Father. To me He truly is “Daddy”!

    At church our pastor talked about the issue of fatherlessness and how, statistically speaking, not having a father in your life is detrimental to your well-being. It’s a longing deep within each of us to have a good relationship with our fathers. We want them to love us, care about us and be proud of us. We desire to have our dads around. When this need is not met we are at a disadvantage and the enemy knows it. He uses this God-given need for fatherly love to his benefit. If the devil can get a man to not be the father God desires for him to be, it’s like he rolls a strike, taking down all the pins. The husband, wife and children all are left with a deficit.

    The only person who can completely fill this gaping need is God himself! He will often use others to help, but wants more than anything for us to let Him be the one we call Daddy!

    Prayer

    Father… I thank-you for adopting me into your family! It’s a concept I find so hard to fully grasp. Help me to know the depths of Your love so that I can put my complete trust in You. Help me to open up my heart and let you be the Daddy that I desire and need so my heart can be full! In Jesus Name…Amen.

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  • Overcomer

    for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
                                           1 John 5:4-5 NIV (Italics added)

    A year ago, we had to cancel our family vacation plans because Todd was waiting to get a call from the hospital to have open-heart surgery. He couldn’t even walk around our neighborhood and had to reserve his strength to continue working.   Last week, just one year later, we were able to take our family holiday. The trip made it clear to me that I married an OVERCOMER!

    On our trip we all went surfing, swam, played Ping-Pong, hiked a mountain and walked miles of California streets! Yes, I wrote all! Todd did everything we all did and even showed the youngins how to have the right surf posture! Kudos to the old guy! The whole vacation was filled with constant reminders that Todd had overcome so many obstacles in life. Instead of allowing his heart problems taking him down, Todd has used this hardship to propel him forward. It’s created in him a drive to make his life count…to not miss out on all that God has for him! Since surgery Todd has begun writing for LifeWay’s Stand Firm Men’s devotional magazine, his book is published, we’ve started a new business, he’s illustrated two children’s books, painted a masterpiece, drawn countless caricatures, gone back to firefighting, done magazine, radio and now TV interviews.

    How does this shy guy from a small town that most people have never heard of overcome so much? The answer is found in the verse above. Todd has seen victory in his life not because he has confidence in himself, but because he has a confident faith in The One who has already overcome the world! As Todd puts his belief in the truth that Jesus has paved the way, he is able to be an OVERCOMER and so are you!

    Prayer

    Father…I am so thankful that Your son Jesus was so willing to come to earth and show us the way to live as an OVERCOMER! Help us not to live in our brokenness, but to place our belief in YOU to overcome! May we walk in the confidence that You have made us victorious and live like we are! In Jesus Name…Amen

    #mancave40  GREAT FATHER’S DAY GIFT!

    *Order Your Copy by Tuesday to receive for Father’s Day!
    Click on the book image above to check out the book.

    *To most destinations within Canada

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  • Doing What’s Right…and It All Goes Wrong!

    “Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.”
                                                                            Luke 1:6-7 NIV

    We were on a family vacation having a great time when things started going, well, let’s just say they were veering off course from what we had planned! A trip to the ER and a flat tire sure do put a crink in your plans! It’s so frustrating when you feel like you’re Doing What’s Right…and It All Goes Wrong!

    Zechariah and Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s parents know what that’s like in a big way! Luke tells us that Zechariah and Lizzy were both living right for God yet they didn’t have children. Zechariah was even a priest. He worked for God! It’s clear that they wanted children, but had given up hoping for kids because they were too old. People in their day would have thought there was sin in their lives causing this barrenness. Sometimes life just isn’t fair! It’s so hard to understand why God doesn’t answer your prayers? Why do things keep going wrong for you, when you’re living right for Him?

    A lack of perceived blessings or an abundance of problems does not indicate that you’re doing something wrong!

    No matter your circumstances, keep living faithfully for God like Zechariah and Lizzy did. Even when you’re Doing What’s Right…and It All Goes Wrong! Know that God loves you and He has an incredible way of taking the worst of situations and making the best come out of them…like he did for Zechariah and Lizzy!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank-you for putting stories in the Bible of real people, who faced real problems, just like I do. Help me to find strength in their examples so that I stay faithful in doing what’s right and in due season I will see You turn things around for me! Thanks for the grace to endure until you do! In Jesus Name…Amen

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