Soul H2O Devotions

  • Second Place

    So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
    Colossians 3:12-14 MSG (italics for emphasis)

    This weekend I got to see a bunch of family as we celebrated Mother’s Day and went to a Horse Show at my parent’s farm. I was so impressed with my nieces. Sarah, the oldest, took first place in two events, but what I found even more impressive was the attitude of her younger sister Amanda, who received two SECOND PLACE medals and was just as happy with her accomplishments.

    Often our priorities can get all mixed up. Life can become a race to finish first…at all costs. In the office people scheme to move up another rung of the ladder and no matter the sport, there are always people willing to bend the rules, just to get ahead.

    This verse teaches us to live differently. As Christians, we’re called to do everything with all our might as for the Lord, yet be content with second place when it happens. I want to live like Paul and be able to say as he did, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12 NIV-13 NLT)

    Prayer

    Father…Let my life honor you in the way I react to circumstances when they don’t turn out the way I had hoped. In Your strength, help me to be gracious when others place before me. May I always wear my coat of love. In Jesus Name…Amen

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  • Life Verse

    “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”
        Hebrews 11:35-36 NIV

    Our church has been going through Bill Hybels “Simplify”1 church campaign. This week our pastor talked about having a ‘life verse’. I have so many verses that have impacted my life, but Hebrews 11:35-36 has become a guiding principle for me. This encouragement to stand confidently, no matter the circumstances has served me well in life and I know it can do the same for you!

    At times it’s been like a “kick in the pants” to bring me back in line while other times it has been that gentle, comforting reminder that my confidence in God’s plans will result in seeing His promises revealed. His Word is true, so I can trust this.

    I love the clarity that Eugene Peterson brings to this verse in The Message when he paraphrases it to read, “but you need to stick it out, staying with god’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion.”2, but I must say; the best paraphrase of this verse came from Winston Churchill when he told a class, “Never, never, never give up”!

    Prayer:

    Father…Help me to walk in confidence today. Not in pride that I can work out my life, but an assurance in YOU to bring about your promises. Please give me strength to persevere and “never, never, never give up” on you! In Jesus Name…Amen.

     

    1 Simplify https://www.simplifybook.com

    2 HB 11:36 MSG

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  • Sign From God

    “Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, “Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
                                             Isaiah 7:10-11 NIV

    Do you ever find “walking by faith and not by sight” a little difficult? I do. There are times in your life when you just need a sign from God that He is at work; that He sees what’s going on in your life and that He is going to work it out! God draws close to people who need a little confirmation of His ways and sometimes encourages us, like He did with Ahaz to ask for a sign.

    I think people like Gideon and Thomas have gotten a bad rep for asking God to confirm things to them. So many people waste time debating over whether or not it was right for Gideon to send out a fleece in Judges 6. People say “Don’t be a doubting Thomas” if you’re questioning something. It gives a negative perspective on how Thomas wanted to see Jesus’ nail scars after His resurrection. Jesus didn’t reject Thomas for doubting. In fact, Thomas was the first person Jesus personally addressed in John 20:27 at a gathering encouraging him to touch His nail marks.

    Jesus understands our struggles and our weak faith. He’s not mad at us for asking. He lives to show Himself faithful to us. He’s not bothered at all that it sometimes takes a sign from God!

    Prayer:

    Father…Thank-you for understanding my weaknesses. Today I need a little extra help to walk in faith and a sign from you would be really helpful, so I can trust you more! In Jesus Name…Amen.

     

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  • Restore our Fortunes

    “Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev.”
     Psalm 126:4 NIV

    Have you ever had your home broken into…or had something taken from you? My home was broken into once. The robber took some really personal items that would have been hard to find. It leaves you feeling violated and in fear of them coming back, afraid they’ll be able to take from you again.

    Israel is a nation that knows what it’s like to have things taken from them. They had their country taken away. It’s unfathomable to me how they remained a people group without their land, but on May 14, 1948 God restored them as a nation, again. Some calculate it to be 1878 years from the time they lost ownership of their land until the day it was returned to them1.  This doesn’t make sense; and wouldn’t be possible; if it weren’t for the promises of God to restore their fortunes, in the same way He restores streams in the Negev, the Israeli desert.

    So if you’ve had something taken from you, don’t lose hope. Reject fear. Call out to God and trust Him to restore your fortunes…because He has proved Himself faithful before…you can!

    Prayer:

    Father…I thank-you for the refreshing and restoring water of your Word! You don’t provide just a trickle. You bless by opening the floodgates to flow with streams in my desert that give abundant water! I trust You to restore my fortunes! In Jesus Name…Amen.

    1 https://www.examiner.com/article/after-1-878-years-israel-becomes-a-nation-again-may-14-1948

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  • 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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