Soul H2O Devotions

  • 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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  • Go Tell It…In Your Living Room

    “So they ran into town, and eventually they found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in the feeding trough. After they saw the baby, they spread the story of what they had experienced and what had been said to them about this child. Everyone who heard their story couldn’t stop thinking about its meaning..”
    Luke 2:16-18

    go tell itI loved Christmas morning when my kids were little. Getting on the couch and sharing the story of Baby Jesus was my favorite part. It was important to me to share the real meaning of why we were celebrating and still is. I believe telling the story of Jesus, not shopping, baking, wrapping, hanging lights, writing cards…is the most important thing we should be doing at Christmas!

    The carol “Go Tell it on The Mountain” has been a Christmas staple for over a century. When I hear these words the song goes off in my head and I see Shepherds in a Christmas play running out to tell other’s about Jesus! This Christmas I want to challenge you to: Go Tell It In Your Living room!

    Danger Of Not Sharing Jesus’ Story

    There’s a danger in not sharing the story of Jesus and how he came to save the world, how He saved us. The danger is that one-day the next generation may not even know Jesus and think Christmas is only about Santa and gifts. My fear is we’re almost there.

    If one generation neglects to tell the story to the next, human nature will cause them to drift away from God. Judges 2 tells us how the people who went through the desert and saw God miraculously save them, faithfully followed Him. Sadly, the story doesn’t end there. Scripture confirms that the next generation abandoned faith in God because they didn’t know the Lord or what He had done for them. When I read that my heart was sick. It made me question…Why didn’t they know the Lord? Why didn’t they know what He had done for their parents and grandparents? No one must have told them.

    People need to know the story of how Jesus came to save. They need to know your story of salvation! So this Christmas, Go Tell It In Your Living room!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank-you for giving the first Christmas gift when You sent Your son Jesus down to earth. Jesus, I thank-you for willingly coming and bringing salvation to the world! I thank-you for saving me! Help me to tell your story so the next generation knows you and what you’ve done so, they in turn pass it along. In Jesus Name…Amen.


    Soul H2O bookIf 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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  • Christmas-Wonderful and Woeful

    “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance”
    Ecclesiastes 3:4 NIV

    Christmas-Wonderful and WoefulThis week was jam packed with Christmas events.  I decorated the house with my step-daughter and went to my friend Kevin Pauls’ “Spirit of Christmas” Musical event with my son and his girlfriend.  It was so much fun!  The night was filled with great laughter.

    WONDERFUL AND WOEFUL Christmas

    In stark contrast I attended our church’s Comfort Service.  It was started to help those who have experienced great loss in their grieving. Today I heard my friends share the heart-wrenching story of how their 15 year old daughter is spending Christmas in heaven this year with her older sister.  They spoke in brokenness but with such confidence in a God who is there, especially when it hurts and life doesn’t make sense. This week was a reminder of how WONDERFUL AND WOEFUL Christmas can be.

    The writer of Ecclesiastes was so wise to understand that people are all going to be in different stages of life at different times.  When one is weeping another is laughing, when one is dancing another is mourning.  “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecc 3:1 NIV).  We must allow people to embrace the season they are in and live out Romans 12:15 that says we are to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

    As Christians we are to walk alongside our brothers and sisters.  This Christmas, be with friends in the WONDERFUL AND WOEFUL.   Rejoicing or mourning, whatever THEIR season, so you can help them “walk through” in the confidence that God loves them, He’s with them and He’s proud of them, because they’re getting that from you!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank-you for being with me every season of life that I face.  Help me to recognize what season I’m in and the seasons of others.  Let us all be a comfort to each other and spur one another on to live life in the confidence of Your love.  In Jesus Name…Amen!


    Soul H2O bookIf 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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  • Surrender

    “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
                                                                                Luke 22:42 NIV

    surrender
    Gram and I skating together in 2012.

    Three weeks ago my “just a couple years shy of 90” grandmother had to give up roller-skating!  She had a nasty fall that resulted in an Emergency room visit so she’s decided it’s time to hang up her skates.  This may seem trivial to some, but my gram has been skating for almost two decades with the same group of friends, 1-2 a week.  Harder yet was her decision to SURRENDER her drivers’ license about a year ago.  My heart aches for gram as she gracefully accepts her new limitations in order to keep herself safe.
    For the past five years there has been a real work of God in my life to keep my life in a “state of SURRENDER to all that God has for me.  A yielding of my will to His.  I’m doing my best to face each situation with grace, just like my gram.  Aiming to willingly SURRENDER whatever God requires of me without Him having to take it away.  It’s often a painful process that I wouldn’t go through if I didn’t know there was a benefit to the SURRENDER.  I know that my choice to relinquish my stuff, my dreams, my life, my heart to Him will bring a greater reward in the end.
    I’m so comforted when I read the verse above.  To know that SURRENDER was even hard for Jesus makes me feel better.  Hebrews 12:2 says, “who for the joy set before him endured the cross”.  Jesus’ SURRENDER was so much greater than mine could ever be, but knowing that he understands my struggle in the SURRENDER somehow makes it easier.  Like Gram, Jesus relinquished his rights without anyone having to take them from Him.  May we follow their lead!
    Prayer
    Father…Please give me the courage to release to You whatever may be holding me back from becoming who you want me to be and accomplishing all you desire for me to do.  May I have Your eyes to see the “joy set before me” and willingly surrender my all to You!  In Jesus Name…Amen!

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  • Identity Theft

    Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
    Genesis 32:28  NIV


    Identity TheftHave you ever watched the movie Identity Thief with Melissa McCarthy? She hilariously and yes irreverently, portrayed a girl who takes on the financial identity of Jason Bateman’s character. This conwoman uses his credit to buy stuff and destroy his financial rating. In the end your heart turns toward this crazy thief as you learn of her troubled childhood. She was attracted to this type of crime to get away from her birth identity. She could relate to Jacob in the Bible who needed an Identity Theft.

    Jacob the Deceiver

    Jacob was the son of Abraham. His very nature was described in the meaning of his name; ‘deceiver’. You know him, He was the one who conned his brother out of his birthright and then tricked his father into pronouncing the blessing for the firstborn on him. This put Jacob ‘on the run’ to get away from his brother Essau. The saying ‘you reap what you sow’ played out in Jacob’s life as he was then tricked by his father-in-law Laban into marrying Leah when he thought he was marrying Rachel.

    Years later, Jacob in turn tricks Laban and then flees that situation. On the run again, Jacob meets up with his brother Essau who surprisingly doesn’t kill him! I think at this point Jacob was finally ready to face his issues with deceit.

    Jacob to Israel

    After a long night of meeting with God and not giving up till he received God’s blessing, Jacob’s name was changed by God to ‘Israel’. He went from deceiver to overcomer when God pulled an ancient day Identity Theft!

    Have you been ‘on the run’ from God for a long time or know someone who is? Trust that God is chasing you down to read this message. He wants you to know that He’s in the business of changing flawed identities and producing overcomers!

    Prayer

    Father…You know the flaws at the very core of my identity. I open my life to You and ask that You would change my heart. Write a new name over me and produce an overcoming spirit deep within so I don’t give up and can see your blessing touch my life!  In Jesus name…Amen


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

    WHERE YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP MY BLOG WITH OR PLACES WHERE MY WRITING HAS BEEN FEATURED

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