Soul H2O Devotions

  • Change

    https://soul-h2o.com/change/ ‎I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sara your wife will have a son.
                                  Genesis 18:10 NIV

    Todd and I went to Florida for a relaxing vacation.   We stayed in the same resort we had stayed in with two of our kids about a year ago. The amount of new construction was shocking! The property next to our resort that had for a long time been “greenspace”, was now a small city of about 15 half-way completed high rise time-share villas. The Disney Boardwalk was in the midst of a major overhaul with crews working on new buildings, bridges, an overhead tram-system and a massive parking garage! Only Disney can make that kind of structural CHANGE in about a year. It’s amazing to see how quickly your life can CHANGE in about a year!
    Sometimes, you feel that life is never going to CHANGE. Your situation is permanent and without possibility of transformation. That just isn’t so! God is in the CHANGE business. He loves to take a difficult situation and turn it around.   As my pastor says, “God often takes a long time to act suddenly!” Sara laughed when God sent angels to her and Abraham proclaiming they would have a child in about a year. She couldn’t accept that at 89 God could fulfill His promise made so long ago that she would have a child. Post-menopausal women just don’t get pregnant or have babies! True to His Promises, Scripture confirms in Genesis 21:2 that Sara did have a baby “at the very time God had promised him” They even named the boy Isaac which means, “he laughs” because sometimes God finds humor in showing us what He can do!
    So what situation or person have you given up on? Don’t be like Sara and laugh at God’s promises. Trust God with your life and believe that He can bring about CHANGE!
    Prayer
    Father, I’m thankful that you never CHANGE, but that you never stop changing me!   You never CHANGE your mind on the promises you’ve given and fulfill them in your perfect timing. Help me to not doubt and work with you to see real CHANGE in my life this coming year. In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • Don't Take The Bait

    “…We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.
                                 2 Corinthians 10:5 The Voice

    The strangest thing happened to me at work last week. I was listening to a Christian radio station online when all of a sudden I heard a voice on the radio that I hadn’t heard for about 3 years. Immediately I was angry. I could feel the resentment starting to churn inside of me, so I quickly changed stations hoping to free myself of the negative thoughts. For the rest of the day, memories kept popping into my head about how this person had hurt me. Events I hadn’t given thought to for so many years. Emotions were rising up that had been laid to rest years before. This time I was wise to the enemy’s tactic and fought the urge to pick up the offense again and trying to make me feel like I hadn’t forgiven. God’s spirit inside of me was setting off warning alarms saying…Don’t Take The Bait!bait
    The battle continued raging inside of my head for a few days. Thoughts would come out of nowhere. There was a conflict in my spirit to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor 10:5 NIV) My flesh wanted to give in to the emotions and thoughts of self-pity. I was wronged and had every right to be hurt—didn’t I?
    Recognizing it was a struggle to overcome, I shared what had happened to Todd and confessed my difficulties in letting it go. By exposing my weakness it helped me to live out 2 Corinthians 10:5, which says, “We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.” (The Voice)
    Keep your spiritual antenna up and be wise to the enemy’s tactics. Take those thoughts prisoner. Whatever you do…Don’t Take The Bait!
    Prayer
    Father, I thank-you for your wisdom to know when the enemy is on the prowl. Help me to come out victorious as you strengthen me to gain control over my thought life. May I bring you joy! In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • Parenting With Help

    Parenting With Help“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants… All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peaceI will never stop doing good to them…
                       Isaiah 44:3…Isaiah 54:13…Jeremiah 32:40 NIV

    When you have kids your life changes. It’s an unexplainable bond that affects everything you do, or at least it should! For me having kids was the biggest blessing of my life that brought about the biggest concerns. I remember the early days and being acutely aware that my decisions would impact their lives. I sensed a great responsibility to do the right thing and be a good example. As they grew older I wanted to see them grow in relationship with God for themselves. It just wasn’t good enough to know that God would bring me water in the desert, but that He would do the same for them.
    These verses and so many others in the Bible bring me great hope! They are promises to hold onto and pray over them. When your kids hit the teen years they sometimes don’t want to listen to you. Asking our heavenly Father to teach them is praying in agreement with His Word and His will so you can be sure that those prayers will be answered! To know that God desires to do good to our children and never stop makes a parents heart burst with joy!   Life is hard and our children will face struggles in so many areas. To thank God for bringing them peace as He promised in His Word will make their desert experiences opportunities for growth and victory!
    Knowing that you’re not alone in parenting your kids is comforting. Understanding that our kids have a heavenly Father that loves them more than we ever could fills your heart with joy and bring you peace. Be confident that your kids are in good hands!
    Prayer
    Father, I thank-you for your goodness to me and my children. I praise you because you are good! I pray your refreshing, blessing, goodness, love and peace would be felt by my children today. May they learn the lessons you are teaching them today.   In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • Restoration

    Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once more.
                                                                               Psalm 71:20-21 NIV

    RESTORING CARS

    Growing up in a Drag Racing family you tend to love cars. Mustangs are my favorite, that’s why I drive one! I grew up seeing so many cars being restored at my dad’s shop. They would come in looking like rusty, old, beat up junkers. The full auto RESTORATION process of a vintage car takes months and sometimes years. From framework to engine work, finishing up with the ever-important paint job; each stage is critical to the finished product.
    1967 MustangAs a young teen I was so jealous of my cousin Billy. He drove this Metal Flake Blue ’65 Mustang Fastback 2+2. Originally my aunt drove the car, but after they restored the mustang into a gorgeous racecar Billy always had it at the track.
    When the time came for him to go to College they just changed the tires and sent him off to school!  (That’s the kind of family I come from.)
    Billy’s mustang beside one of my dad’s hot rods. 
     
    Quite the RESTORATION job for sure, but the most incredible RESTORATION job to me is the one God has brought about in my life.

    RESTORING LIVES

    Today I reread the last devotional in my book WATER IN THE DESERT. I was overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness as I read the last scripture used above…Psalm 71:20-21. I have this scripture highlighted in my Bible with a date beside…October 2010.
    To my readers, this date would most likely not mean anything but to me, it was a powerful reminder that God is true to his promises. In October 2010 I felt my life was over, completely destroyed. I was struggling to find the desire to live on. You see I had secretly been facing “troubles many and bitter” for so long and the next 10 months would be filled with some of the hardest events I’ve had to endure.
    I was at my lowest point, ready to give up on God and His promises when I felt the impact of the words in Psalm 71:20-21. I felt God speaking directly to me that he was going to restore me! In faith I wrote the date beside the scriptures expecting that one day God would fulfill His promise to me, even though it just didn’t seem possible.
    I had no idea how quickly God would begin His RESTORATION process in me. From my very framework to the finishing paint job, God didn’t miss a step. He completed a major overhaul! Four years later, I feel altogether restored. Blessed beyond measure! How wonderful that on a day when many are celebrating Thanksgiving here in Canada how my heavenly father would give me such a concrete reminder that He kept His promise, so I could encourage you to trust Him with yours!
    Prayer
    Father, I thank-you for your faithfulness to restore broken hearts and broken lives. In a world of broken promises, yours stand true. Help me to continue to stand in faith believing that every promise you have made will come true. May my life be marked by the same consistency. In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • Cause and Effect

    sing for joy“…you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD…The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”
                                                               Isaiah 51:1,3 NIV
    Have you ever gone through a time in your life when you couldn’t imagine ever having joy or feeling glad?   It’s horrible! I remember going to church and not even being able to sing because I feared that if I sang it would bring on a tidal wave of emotions that I couldn’t control. I read this verse and struggled to believe it was possible. How could joy, gladness and singing come back into my life? These verses gave me hope to know that there were things I could do to place myself in line with God’s promises. A kind of “CAUSE AND EFFECT” principle that was offered to the people in Isaiah’s time worked for me and is applicable for your life today!
    If you want to see a big turnaround in your life from deserts to gardens, Isaiah says you need to “pursue righteousness” and “seek the LORD”. You don’t have to fix yourself, anyone or anything else up. It’s simply out of pursuing and seeking after God, who is our righteousness that we gain joy, gladness and start to sing again. When you begin to set your focus on building your relationship with Him and start over looking your desert wastelands that you will start to feel the joy and gladness surging through your heart.
    My experience has been that when I have decidedly spent time enjoying my relationship with God that the negative hard stuff doesn’t affect me as much. The more I spend time pursuing a relationship with God, the more refreshed I am and able to experience the joy He has for me. It’s been a process that was set into motion by following this “CAUSE AND EFFECT” principle; I seek, HE restores! How good to know that our God doesn’t change. His promises were just as effective yesterday as they are today! Why not take advantage of them?
    Prayer
    Father, I thank-you that Your promises are true, even when I don’t feel like they are. I ask you to help me to pursue You alone. I set my focus on building relationship with you so that You can apply this promise to my life and fill me with Your gladness to the place where I will sing for joy!  In Jesus name…Amen.
     

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  • Promises, Promises

    “Know therefore that the LORD your God…is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”
                                                    Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV
    This is my fiftieth SOUL H2O devotional! I’m still considered a newbie to many bloggers, but I’m starting to feel like I have at least a few under my belt now. 50’s a pretty big number! We celebrate hitting the big 5-0, experiencing 50 years of marriage with the one you love and the milestone of 50 years in business. Leviticus 25:9-10 says,

    “…sound the trumpet…Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty through the land to all its inhabitants…”

    I felt like God was saying “sound the trumpet Sherry, this is the year of freedom for you, Todd, all your children and anyone who hears this!”
    As you are reading this devotional, Todd is undergoing heart valve repair surgery. The hospital called on Friday and asked if he could come in for Monday morning at 6am. As we have gone through all the testing involved for the past few months fear would try to settle in, but God kept speaking peace, hope and His covenant promise to us that Todd would have a NEW HEART!   All week God brought people into our paths that spoke about the future God has for us.
    Driving out of town; enroute to the hospital, we talked about how good God is to encourage us so much with His promises when all of a sudden a rainbow appeared with the most vibrant spectrum of colors we’ve ever seen!

    In Genesis 9 after the flood God made Noah and the whole world a covenant promise and confirmed it with a rainbow.   So, what promise is God confirming to you as you look at this rainbow?
    Prayer
    Father, I thank-you that you are faithful to keep your covenant promises. Help me to believe and not waver in doubt as I move toward your purposes for me. In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • WORD POWER

    words have power“And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.”
                               2 Chronicles 32:8 NIV
    “Great Job! I’m so proud of you!”
    “You’re an idiot. Don’t you know anything!”
    Words are POWERFUL! No matter what you say, there is an effect attached to your words for good or bad. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” The truth of that verse is hard to believe. We can understand that God’s words are powerful since it only took Him speaking to create our universe and everything in it. To believe that human words are powerful you only need to speak to a counselor to understand the devastating or inspiring affect of words. Do you understand the effects of your WORD POWER?
    Hezekiah was king of Judah in a dangerous time. The nation was being taken captive by a super-power named Sennacherib, king of Assyria. Daily he spoke threats to the people; demeaning them, elevating his strength and leaving them in fear. Hezekiah knew that God was with them as a nation and wasn’t willing to let Sennacherib have the last say. King Hezekiah assembled the troops and gave them a most powerful rally speech. He “encouraged them with these words: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.” (2 Chronicles 32:6-8 NIV) This confidence brought VICTORY!
    Recognize your WORD POWER today! Choose to bring; life, not death; faith not fear; confidence not discouragement. You are that powerful!
    Prayer
    Father, I thank-you for the power of Your Word. May my speech be seasoned with Your words and Your encouragement, so that power of my words would bring people to confidence in You and who you’ve made them! In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • Unwavering Faith

    Unwavering Faith“But even if he does not”
                                         Daniel 3:18
    I’ve always loved the story of how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survived being thrown into a fiery furnace. If you went to Sunday School in the 70’s the song “Three Hebrew Boys”, sung to the tune of “Three Blind Mice” is probably running through your head and will be for the rest of today! In the song are the words “but God delivered them out you know…Three Hebrew Boys”.   More incredible to me than their miraculous deliverance was their unwavering faith, despite the outcome.
    When Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon raged and told the three Hebrew boys how he was going to throw them into a blazing furnace their response to his threat is what real faith is made of! They confidently stated how God was able to deliver them and how they thought he would. They made the boldest of faith declarations by ending with “But even if he does not…we will not serve your God.” Their faith did not hinge on whether or not God delivered them. They walked in, and out of the furnace with unwavering faith.
    A couple weeks ago I found out that a friend has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The news has hit their relatives and our church family pretty hard. I was challenged at their declaration of unwavering faith on Facebook. They posted just days after the diagnosis, “we trust in God’s plans, even if the healing never comes and we are committed to using this season we have unexpectedly been thrown into to grow in our Faith further despite the outcome.” Unwavering faith in a faithful God.
    Prayer
    Father, I state my faith in your ability to deliver me out of each and every circumstance. You are all mighty, all knowing and always present. I’m not alone. Please help me to exercise unwavering faith, no matter the outcome, all the days of my life. In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • Labor Day Drives

    LABOR DAY DRIVE“blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him”
                                                 Jeremiah 17:5 NIV
    How crazy are roads on a long weekend? Bottlenecks, congestion, slowpokes, speeders… Monday is Labor Day so we went up to our trailer at camp for the long weekend. As Todd weaved in and out of traffic, we talked about how different life is for us compared to what the Israelites experienced travelling through the desert. Today we drive on beautifully paved highways with signs everywhere telling us where to go, what’s coming up ahead and which roads are better to take during traffic times. If that’s not enough we have GPS systems or news stations that can alert us to immediate traffic issues. Somehow we can live in this false illusion that we have it all planned out—under control to the last detail. We rely on ourselves, others, technology…anything or anyone but God to direct our lives.
    The Israelites didn’t live like that. Numbers 9:17-18 confirms their obedience in following God’s direction. They had a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. None came with warnings of what was up ahead. No warning signal, beeping or flashing lights. The cloud or pillar of fire would begin to move and the people had to follow, not knowing what was coming next. Would the ground be soft or hard? Would they have to walk 1, 2 or 20 miles? Would there be a gas station along the way for pitstops? Joking aside, the Israelites walked in blind faith to their destination. Trusting God with their very next step.
    Are you struggling with your future? Wondering where you will be in the next year? Some may be wondering where you will be in the next day or hour. Trust Him with your future. Place Him in the drivers seat and enjoy the ride!
    PRAYER
    Father… Forgive me for trying to figure it all out on my own or rely on others for answers. Help me to look to you and trust you with today and my future. May I trust your guidance and have the faith to follow you wherever you may lead. In Jesus Name…Amen!
     

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  • Perfume and The Ice Bucket Challenge

    “While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.”
                                                                              Matthew 26:6-7NIV
    ice bucket challenge You can’t go on your computer or TV these days without seeing something about the Ice Bucket Challenge! It’s a far-reaching phenomenon that is beginning to go around the globe. According to the ALS Association website, it says that: “The ALS Association has received $70.2 million in donations compared to $2.5 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 24). These donations have come from existing donors and 1.3 million new donors to The Association.” 1
    Most people are speaking so positively about the campaign, but sadly there are always those negative voices. Shockingly, Maclean’s Magazine had an article condemning the Ice Bucket Challenge as merely a “marketing gimmick”, “slaktivism” and went so far as to say it is “bad for you” to donate to a cause in this manner! The writer seems to propose that ALS has enough funds and doesn’t deserve this much investment compared to other diseases. 2 I can’t imagine that he ever has watched someone live and die with ALS. My roommate from College’s dad passed away with this horrible disease years ago. He went from being a strong carpenter and through all the debilitating stages inflicted on those suffering with Lou Gherig’s disease, until it took his life.
    When I hear a story it often makes me think of a similar Bible Story or verse. Reading this article brought to my mind about the time when a woman poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ head.  The disciples scoffed and tried to sound all spiritual saying she was wasting her money and should have given the value of the perfume to the poor. Too quickly we can negatively judge a person’s actions. Jesus reprimands the disciples and says how she has done a “beautiful thing”. Whenever we give of ourselves in time or money to help others we can rest assured that our heavenly father is pleased. From oil to ice buckets of water poured on the head, He sees it all as a “beautiful thing”!
    PRAYER
    Father…Help me to look for ways that I can give to ease someone else’s burden and bring You glory! May I take up the challenge to bless the life of others. In Jesus Name…Amen!
    1 https://www.alsa.org/news/media/press-releases/ice-bucket-donations-082414.html
    2 https://www.macleans.ca/society/health/why-the-ice-bucket-challenge-is-bad-for-you/
    What is ALS” from the ALS Association Website.

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