Soul H2O Devotions

  • 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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  • 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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  • Divine Appointments

    divine appointments

    In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”
                                                                   Proverbs 16:9 NIV

    This weekend was wonderful! I went to visit with a mentor of mine and had no idea how this “seemingly” normal weekend was truly a set of DIVINE APPOINTMENTS! So often we go through life unaware of the master plan God is working behind the scenes to bring about His plans and purposes for our lives. We don’t see how these everyday events are all a part of His divine plan.

    Think of the life of Joseph. Joseph had two divine dreams that foretold of the wonderful future God had for his life, but…if Joseph’s brothers hadn’t been so jealous of him they wouldn’t have thrown him in the pit. If he hadn’t been thrown into the pit and sold into slavery he wouldn’t have been bought as a slave in Potiphar’s house. If he wouldn’t have been in Potiphar’s house and stood for righteousness he wouldn’t have ended up in jail. If he hadn’t been in jail, he wouldn’t have interpreted the baker and cupbearer’s dreams. If he hadn’t interpreted the dreams the cupbearer wouldn’t have suggested him to Pharaoh to interpret his dream. If he hadn’t spent so much time with God in jail maybe he wouldn’t have such an acute discernment to God’s messages and been able to interpret dreams? If he hadn’t interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and been given a divine plan to save the country from famine he wouldn’t have been divinely appointed to the position of Prime-Minister to Egypt. If he wouldn’t have been in the palace the day his family came to get food his dream would have never come true and millions of lives would not have been saved!

    Be confident today that God is setting up DIVINE APPOINTMENTS for you today! Trust that He is working on your behalf to bring about His plans and purposes for your life!

    Prayer:

    Father…Help me to be faithful as you work out the details of my life. May I walk confidently towards all that you have for me with trust in my heart that you will provide the DIVINE APPOINTMENTS necessary for me to fulfill the call you have for my life so that others will be saved! In Jesus Name…Amen.

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  • Run Your Race

    run your raceDon’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step” …“let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
                     1 Corinthians 9:24-26…Hebrews 12:1 NLT

    I love the movie Secretariat. In the movie Penny Tweety takes over managing the farm for her dad and remembers his words of advice to her as a child, “RUN YOUR RACE”. After her father’s death, Penny’s brother wanted to sell their horse Secretariat to pay off taxes. He was planning that things would go downhill for the horse and that would leave them…well, penniless in the financial sense! Penny was willing to take the risk in keeping Secretariat and believed the horse was more valuable to them if they allowed him to continue racing. My favorite part is when Penny says, “This is about life being ahead of you and you run at it because you never know how far you can go unless you run.”

    Living the Christian life is compared to running a race on a few occasions. Never are we told to saunter, or jog, but to run for the prize; run with purpose! Running can be a scary thing. Running is risky. Most everyone walks, but only the diligent run. Running for the prize takes confidence and determination. If you run hard in the wrong direction you get lost, but if you run hard in the right path you will win!

    God has a race for each of us to run. Penny had hers, Secretariat had his and I have mine. No one can run your race for you! Ask God what the race is He has set out for you and then RUN YOUR RACE! It won’t always be easy, but it will be rewarding!

    Prayer:

    Father…Help me to run the race you have set out for me. Help me to put on blinders so I don’t compare myself to the race others are running. May I keep my focus on You, because You are the prize! In Jesus Name…Amen.

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  • Something New!

    something newFor I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will created rivers in the dry wasteland.”                                                               Isaiah 43:19

    I can’t believe it’s 2015! This is the year my son dreamed about as a teen. He loved the “Back To The Future” movies and 2015 is the year Marty McFly visited. It isn’t quite like what he saw. There aren’t flying cars and no kids on hovering skateboards. Seldom is the future like what we envisioned it would be. Often our expectations are unrealistic at best and leave us disenchanted with hopes for things to come. This mindset can cloud out the vision God has for our lives and keep us from seeing that He is “about to do SOMETHING NEW”.

    I love how the New Living Translation words this verse. I find it brings such clarity to what God is saying. God is speaking to the Israelites who understand living in the desert. Sandstorms that block all visibility keep them from seeing a hand in front of their face, let alone the new thing God is about to do. Even when we can’t see it, God is at work. He tells us in this verse that He’s “already begun” to do it. He is making ways where there is no way. He’s blazing a trail for you!

    Can you see it? If the past has clouded your vision with a mindset that will keep you wandering in the desert, ask the Lord to renew your mind. Let the water of His Word wash away the old so you can see and believe He has SOMETHING NEW for YOU!

    Prayer:

    Father…The enemy has continually tried to kick up sandstorms to block my view from your good plans for my life. Please wipe clean my vision so I can see them. Help me to see, hope for and believe in what you show me. Let me pursue you and your plan with all my heart. In Jesus Name…Amen.

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  • Checkups

    checkupsTest yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups.”
                                                                              2 Corinthians 13:5 The Message
    Years ago my friend was going out for dinner and the theatre with her hubby. She was so excited to be able to get all dressed up and go into the city for a special night out. Getting ready took a long time to create that perfect look. They went out for dinner and then to the theatre. During intermission she was in the washroom when a lady she didn’t know said, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but you have a roller in your hair!” My friend was mortified! How could she have missed it? Had her husband not even looked at her all evening? It would have been a great night for one of those regular CHECKUPS!
    New Years is a great time to test yourself. My pastor pointed out how this is one of the slowest times of the year when many of us have a little time off of work and are able to rest. It’s a great time to reflect on the past year and give yourselves one of those regular CHECKUPS. If we don’t examine the way we live, human-nature will cause us to let things slide. Left unchecked we tend to go back to our old ways and stop pursuing God’s best for our lives.
    This New Year’s, take the time to give yourselves a good set of CHECKUPS. Look honestly at where you are, where you want to be, and how you can take steps forward this year to bring you closer to your goals.
    Prayer:
    Father…My greatest desire is to live by faith, moving towards the promises You have for my life! Help me to discern areas where I’ve let things slide and also those areas You desire for me to actively pursue. This year, guide me into your perfect plan for my life so I can bring you glory! In Jesus Name…Amen.

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  • Joy to The World

    joy to the world“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” –Luke 2:8-12 NLT

    Jesus- the Joy to The World

    Do you have a favorite Christmas carol? One of my ultimate favorite’s is Joy To The World, especially when Mariah Carey is singing it!
    It’s just my opinion, but I think there are too many sad, slow, and unrealistic Christmas Carols about Jesus. Carols about Santa are filled with Joy. There’s Santa Baby, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, and Here Comes Santa Claus. Those songs just make you happy singing their jingles.

    Silent Night doesn’t even make any sense to me. I struggle to think that a baby’s birth in a stable with animals around was a “silent” night.

    Away In A Manger isn’t logical either. The song ends off well and is angelic when sung by a choir of children, but to think that cows mooing wouldn’t cause a newborn to cry can only be written by someone who’s never had a baby!

    O Come All Ye Faithful has us singing “Born this happy morning” in an almost sorrowful way. Hardly joyful, birthday celebrating songs appropriate for my Jesus’ birthday!

    Nothing brings more joy into the world than the birth of a child. Reading Luke’s account of that wonderful night when Jesus was born helps me to understand that He came to bring Joy To The World. His desire is to take our sorrow and replace it with the good news that our savior has come. This year share the joy of Jesus’ good news with someone. This will bring a great joy to their celebration of Christmas and yours!


    Prayer

    Father…Thank-you for bringing joy into our world because we need it! So often life is hard and doesn’t make sense. May the joy of knowing you Jesus and the freedom Your salvation brings bubble out of my life this Christmas and forevermore! In Jesus Name…Amen.


    Soul H2OIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

     

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