“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Luke 22:42 NIV
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!
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!
Soul H2O Devotions
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
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
Have 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!
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
If you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.
This weekend I flew to NYC for a retreat in Connecticut. I left the house excited for a new adventure, until I got pulled in and held up at the border for no reason. Finally free, I rushed to the airport, running to the gate where my first flight was cancelled and my second flight delayed. What seemed like a curse was about to turn into a blessing!
While waiting in line to see if I could get another flight I met a really nice girl. We hit it off and talked through the whole “delay”. It was sad when they called us to board the plane and we had to end our time together!
Before the retreat my hubby and daughter sent me messages with scripture and encouragement, expressing their confidence in my ability to accomplish what God had called me there to do. Oh how my life has changed! Where I once encountered resistance and cursing for stepping out into God’s calling, I now receive blessings! I see this verse being fulfilled as the enemy still tries to speak out curses, but God just doesn’t listen to the noise! The key is in learning to do the same, training our ears to ‘tune out’ the negativity! Then we can trust God to turn things from a curse to blessing because as the verse says, “God loves YOU”!
Father…I thank-you for your power! Only you can take a curse spoken and turn it into a blessing! Please break every curse spoken over me and let my life bring you praise for the blessing! In Jesus name…Amen.
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!
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.
“…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!
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!
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.
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.
“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 peace …I will never stop doing good to them…”
Isaiah 44:3…Isaiah 54:13…Jeremiah 32:40 NIV
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!
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.
Want A Refreshing Inbox?
- Titus 2:7
- 1 Timothy 4:12
- 1 Peter 5:3
- 2 Thessalonians 3:9
“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
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.
As 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.
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!
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.
“…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?
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.
“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?
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.
“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!
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.