Soul H2O Devotions

  • Fight The Urge To Repeat

    don't repeat“When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.”

                                                                   Joshua 3:3-4 NIV
    Just because the problem looks the same, doesn’t mean that God’s solution is the same.
    The Israelites were again at the place where they had to cross over a raging body of water to break free.  To some it might have looked like a similar situation, but God was telling them that it wasn’t.  He said they had never been there before.  Moses got into trouble when he tried to just do it the same way as he did before when the people were crying out for water again.   Moses had even taken the time to ask God what to do, but he ignored the directions God gave to him.  God instructed Moses to speak to the rock and water would gush out.  Instead, Moses struck the rock, like he had done before.  The choice to repeat instead of follow cost Moses the right to enter The Promised Land.
    God’s desire is that we be in relationship with Him.  He wants us to consult Him, to spend enough time with Him that we know what His direction is.  He doesn’t want us assuming we know what to do, even if we’ve “been that way before”.  So, fight the urge to repeat and ask God what He wills for you today!
    Prayer
    Father…I want to thank-you for speaking.  I’m so glad you’re alive and able to direct me where I need to go.  Help me to always ask for Your direction and follow Your lead!  In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • It Ain't Always Easy!

    memorial stones

    “Choose 12 men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonightto serve as a sign among youThese stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”  Joshua 4:2-3,6,7
    A counselor I saw one time said “If God asks you to cross the road, you can bet there’ll be a parade on the street”.  God’s plan is often simple, but it ain’t always easy!
    not easy, AINT ALWAYS EASY           The Israelites didn’t know easy!
    This request from God was to me the most difficult in the desert exodus to the Promise Land.  At first all they had to do was dip their toes in the Jordan River and then God parted the waters for them to walk across on dry ground with a strong wind.  Scripture tells us that the river was at flood stage.   A rushing river and strong winds would make for a scary crossing over!  I would think the Priests first thought would be to get to the other side and away from the danger, but twelve men had to go back into the middle of the parted river and pick out twelve stones.  Research suggests that where they crossed the river would have been about 360 feet at that time.  To give you perspective, that’s the distance of an NFL Football field with raging water heaped up on either side of you!  Gulp.  Take a deep breath, and go back in there boys!  Imagine the faith they had to muster up to fulfill the task God called them to?  They probably were thinking, “This is stupid.  It doesn’t make sense.  What difference is it going to make if I get a stone and we pile them up?  Why is God making me do this?”
    They had no way of knowing how many sermons and books would be written about their heroic task.  No idea that their seemingly unimportant step of faith would motivate others for centuries!  Take a step of faith, no matter how difficult and follow God today!  You’ll never know how many people’s lives you will inspire!
    Prayer
    Father…I thank-you for all the examples you give in your Word that let me see real people, living out real faith.  Help me to go beyond the easy and press forward to what you’ve called me to do.  Let me not shrink back when things get difficult but accomplish what you’ve called me to do so that others will be inspired.  In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • VICTORY

    This devotion ‘VICTORY’ was originally published on my blog (March 14, 2014):  
     It was later published in Soul H2O: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions For Women:
                                 (c) 2016 Word Alive Press Winnipeg, MB
    The devotion was also featured on Danielle Macauley's Blog (January 9, 2016)  
    www.frommilktomeat.com
    Watch my spontaneous Facebook Live “ON THE WAY TO VICTORY” where I read through this devotion and share what the Lord spoke to me as I read it for my devotions when the book published.   Not my professional best work, but from the heart <3 and encouraged so many. Praying it encourages you!  (November 2, 2016)

    VICTORY

    “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 10:35-36 NIV

    The previous Soul H2O devotion; Obedient Faith…Brings Rest ended with today’s verse, some encouragement and a quote from Winston Churchill.

    “To keep your promise, you need to live out the words of Winston Churchill and
    “Never, never, never give up!”

    Reading the quote by Churchill led me to research his life. He was such an inspiring man in a potentially depressing time.
    In 1941, while World War II was raging and Europe was being held captive by a murderous madman, “Victor de Laveleye, former Belgian Minister of Justice and director of the Belgian French-speaking broadcasts on the BBC”7 encouraged Belgians to form their hands into the V shape to represent victory. Months later, Winston Churchill began using the V sign in a speech.
    For four more years, through great tribulation and much defeat, Churchill continued to use this hand sign to address the people of England.1 This was a visual sign of his confidence in their victory. To their enemy, it was also a visual defiance and a clear message of their perseverance as a nation.  The character trait that most impressed me about Churchill was his optimism.

    [tweetthis remove_url=”true”]Churchill impacted a nation to not throw away their confidence and persevere ON THEIR WAY to victory.[/tweetthis]

    Let this same mindset be yours. Signal to your enemy that you will endure until victory is achieved and you receive all that God has promised!

    PRAYER:

    Father,  May a spirit of confidence in Your promises sweep over my spirit so I can persevere through anything the enemy throws my way. Help me to signal confidence and victory that will inspire others around me to great faith! In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

    DRAWING FROM THE WELL
    • Hebrews 10:35–36
    • Genesis 17:5
    • Romans 4:17-18
    • Ephesians 3:12

    1  Wikipedia, “V Sign.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_sign Date of access: March 23, 2014

    Watch my spontaneous Facebook Live “ON THE WAY TO VICTORY” where I read through this devotion and share what the Lord spoke to me as I read it for my devotions when the book published.   Not my professional best work, but from the heart <3 and encouraged so many. Praying it encourages you!  (November 2, 2016)

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  • Keeping The Promise

    “By the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you.  Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places.  Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess.” (Numbers 33:50-53 NIV) 
    “I HAVE TO DO WHAT???”  I’m trying to imagine how the Israelites felt when they heard this direction from the Lord.  I can see them saying, “I have to do what?  Don’t you know we just got out of the dry, difficult desert?  Shouldn’t we be on easy street now?”  The Israelites once in the Promised Land had to continue battling nations that opposed them.  We have to stop being shocked that once we get our promise it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.  The battle we had to fight to get our promise is sometimes easier than the battle to keep our promise, but there will be blessings to balance out the hardship.
    Think of David’s life and the progression of enemies he had to face—Lion…Bear….Goliath…Saul….ABSOLOM.   At first you would think that the biggest battle he had to face was Goliath, but I think having to stand up against the leader he served and then having his son as an enemy would be far worse than a 9 foot giant he never knew.  His last battles were closest to his heart.
    The bigger the battle won, the bigger the reward.  “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 10:35-36)  Live out the words of Winston Churchill and “Never, Never, Never Give Up!”
    Prayer:
    Father…I thank-you that you are with me.  You give me what I need to face every enemy that comes against me.  Help me to push forward and take hold of and keep the promise you have for me.   In Jesus name, Amen

    winston churchill never give up KEEPING THE PROMISE

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  • Obedient Faith…Brings Rest

    “…since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful…”
                                            Hebrews 4:1  NIV
    Why is it so funny when others wipe-out?  I love the TV show where everyone is on a competition to finish the race without wiping out but, it’s inevitable!  You can see the fall coming before they do!

    The Israelites are always an example to us.  We can either learn by our mistakes or theirs!  Disobedience and lack of faith in God took their rest away.  Obedience and faith are the keys that will open the door to your rest.  No more striving to do enough, have enough or be good enough.  A simple obedience in faith is what it takes to enter into rest.
    When I hear the word obedience, I immediately think of a set of rules.  It seems to me in this passage from Hebrews 3 & 4 that God is not describing rules.  He’s talking about living in obedience to who He’s designed you to be, and following where he’s destined you to go.  To live that out—you need faith.  Faith to believe in who God says you are and faith to believe that He will accomplish it through you!
    When we are being obedient to God’s calling on our lives that’s when we’re most at rest.   No more striving to do enough, have enough or be good enough.  A simple obedient faith that believes in what He says over every circumstance we face…that my friend brings rest!
    Prayer: 
    Father…Help me to see the difference between striving and, being at rest to follow You in obedient faith.  Help me to believe in Your Word above all my thoughts, experiences and circumstances.  I declare my obedient faith to Your call.  May I live in the rest you promise!   In Jesus name, Amen

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  • Absolute Dependence

    “There remains, then a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”                                                                    Hebrews 4:10-11 NIV
    Why is striking a balance between work and rest hard to do?  It seems there are so few people who can master this balance well.   One person who nailed it, and has helped countless others do the same was Mary Kay Ash.

    mary kay success story title

    Our society calls people like her “self-made”, but I don’t think that’s how she would describe herself.  Mary Kay’s life motto was ‘God First, Family Second and Career Third’.  It remains the motto of her abundantly successful cosmetic company to this day.

    mary kay motto

    When discussing the verse above, The Voice Bible Translation notes that, “By letting go of daily work, they declared their absolute dependence on God to meet their needs.”1  May Kay Ash was a single mom by divorce and widowhood when she started her company.  Instead of trying to do it all on her own, she emphatically stated her absolute dependence on God.
    Last week we talked about living a life that’s worth following and Mary Kay fits the bill!   Let’s follow her lead and let the verses below strengthen our resolve for complete dependence on God to meet ALL of our needs.
    Philippians 4:19  “And this same God who takes care of me will supply ALL your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus”  NLT
    2 Corinthians 9:8  “And God is ABLE to bless you abundantly, so that in ALL things at all times, having ALL that you need, you will abound in EVERY good work.”  NIV 
    Prayer:
     Father…I thank-you that I can rest because You will take care of me!  Help me to live in absolute dependence on Your provision.  In Jesus name, Amen
    1 The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.
    http://www.marykay.com

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  • Follow Me

    follow me scripture
    “There remains, then a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”
    Hebrews 4:10-11 NIV
    Does the idiom, “Do as I say, not as I do” annoy anyone else?  It bothers me when I hear parents repeating it to their kids.  They say it as if it’s a joke, when really it’s backed up by their actions.  The Free Dictionary describes this phrase as: “Take my advice, even though I am acting contrary to it”.1   I’m so thankful that we serve a heavenly father who parents nothing like this!  God never requires something of us that He has not modeled for us.   He tells us to take a Sabbath rest, following His example.
    Good Leaders lead by example, not by rule.
    “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  In Matthew 4:19 NIV.  Jesus had every right to say, “follow me” because that is exactly what He was doing, fishing for people.  Paul encouraged believers many times to follow his example, even saying twice that people should “imitate” him.  In Philippians 3:17, Paul said “Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.” NIV   We need to be Christians who lead by example, so that we can say, “Do as I say, and as I do!”
     Prayer:
    Father…I thank-you for modeling good things before me.  Help me to follow your example to rest and to model what I say, in what I do.  May I live a life that others will be better to follow after.  In Jesus name, Amen
    1 https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/Do+as+I+say,+not+as+I+do

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  • Happy Holiday!

    Happy Presidents Day to all my American friends!

     Happy Family Day to all my Canadian friends!

    “There remains, then a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”
                                                                     Hebrews 4:10-11 NIV
    Today is a holiday for Canadians and Americans alike.  A day to kick back, relax and for most, take a day off of work!  Could there be a better time in the calendar to have a holiday than in the dead of winter?  I know you southerners can’t understand, but this year has been one of the harshest winter’s North America has ever experienced!  It leaves you tired and worn out.  Like bears in winter, we need a little extra time to rest.

    Genesis 2:2 says “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” (NIV)

    We live in such a fast-paced society that the work never seems to be done.  It’s hard to let ourselves take the time to rest.  The problem with not following God’s example and later His law to rest is that we go beyond the limitations God set in the human body.  Without adequate rest our bodies get run-down and burn out.

    Wikipedia gives a review of a report from the Journal of Health Psychology,8. It says that Burnout decreases your job performance, causes physical and mental health issues, along with cognitive impairments.  The study found that “burned out workers reported as many depressive symptoms as clinically depressed patients”2

    The writer of Hebrews encourages us that “anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work”.  Allow yourself the blessing to enter into His rest and Have a Happy Holiday!

    Prayer

    Father… I thank-you that you have provided rest for my.  Please help me to enter into your rest and allow you to renew my spirit today!  In Jesus name, Amen

    If you think you may be struggling with clinical depression or anxiety, check out my MENTAL HEALTH page for some guidance and links to great resources.

    1Bianchi, R., Boffy, C., Hingray, C., Truchot, D., & Laurent, E. (2013). Comparative symptomatology of burnout and depression. Journal of Health Psychology, 18 (6), 782–787.
    2https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burnout_(psychology)

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  • Backing Up Others

    darlene Zschech with back up singers

    “Abram named him Ishmael” (Genesis 16:15)
    Has God ever spoken to you?  Hagar must have told Abram the story of God meeting her in the desert and all that He told her about the child she was going to have.  You know what women can be like.  Women go into great depth of detail recounting meetings like that!  You can hear Hagar telling Abe how broken she was…how afraid for her life she was…how confused she was…how thirsty she was in the desert…How lost she was…how miraculously God spoke to her and told her that she was going to have a son…to name him Ishmael!  Abraham must have believed Hagar as the Bible says, “Abram named him Ishmael”.
    I’m sure Hagar would have known about the promise of God over Abram’s life to have a child and be the father of many nations.  I would assume that Abraham and Hagar thought this was how God was going to fulfill His promise and that is what infuriated Sara towards Hagar, causing her desert run away.   Abraham backed up what God told Hagar by naming their child Ishmael.  He validated the call of God on Hagar and on Ishmael by doing it.  Just as Darlene Zschech needs backup singers, we need people in our lives that by their words and actions, support and validate what God has spoken to us. 
    Joseph and Elizabeth did this for Mary…Paul did this for Timothy…Todd has done this for me!  I have been blessed in my life to have so many people speak and put action behind their words to “back up” what God has spoken to me.  The next time someone shares with you what God has spoken to them, take the time to listen.  Affirm them and “back up” what God has set in motion!  In so, you’ll become part of the miracle! 
    Prayer: 
    Father…I thank-you for the people you put in my life to “Back Me Up”!  Help me to listen to them and not those who try to tear down and distract from what you are doing in me.  Help me to In Jesus name, Amen

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  • God Of The Turnaround

    turnaround
     “I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back…you can count on it”
                                                    Jeremiah 29:14 MSG
    In a week Olympic Fever will hit our TV’s!  I think my favorite part is hearing people’s life journey to the Olympics.  There’s something about a great turnaround story that gives you hope, especially when you seem to have lost your own!
    So many times in life I could not see how my life could turnaround: how God could take my mess and turn it into a message.  All I saw was brokenness and heartache, yet there was an underlying trust in my heavenly father.  When Jeremiah spoke these words recorded in scripture, the people of Israel felt like I did.  They couldn’t see how God’s promises to bless their nation could ever happen when they were in bondage—again.  They had been caught in the cycle of sin, slavery, sorrow and salvation for centuries.  How could things ever change for them?  They seemed to keep getting themselves back in the same trouble over and over.  The key to breaking free is found in verse 13.  Through Jeremiah God tells His people “when you come looking for me, you’ll find me…when you get serious about finding me…you won’t be disappointed.”  (The MSG) When the Israelites turn to God and away from their sin, God breaks them out of this cycle and brings them back into the Promised Land!
    No matter what your situation…whether you brought this bondage on or if it’s a result of others choices, believe God’s Word and His promises over your feelings.  He is the God of the Turnaround…you can count on it!
    Prayer:
     Father…I thank-you that you are all powerful.  Nothing is too hard for you!  No problem to difficult for you to break me free from.  Help me to stand on Your Word today and trust You for the turnaround in my life!  In Jesus name, Amen

    On Thursday, my blog
    http://www.soul-h2o.com

    will feature a story about an Olympic athlete’s incredible life story.
    A “must read” kind of post!

     

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