Soul H2O Devotions

  • 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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  • Running To Win

    You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally”

    1 Corinthians 9:24 MSG

    “He shoots, he scores” that’s a familiar sound you’ll hear when watching hockey on TV!  Tonight I went to my stepson Brandon’s hockey game.  I was nervous when the other team scored first, but his team was playing to win tonight!  Win they did, with a final score of 6 to 3 and 3 of those goals were assisted by Brandon!  (Bragging…yes!)  It was such an exciting game to watch because the boys were so focused on winning to the very end.
    Not so exciting are the games when the team gets behind and they give up.  I know it frustrates Brandon.  He’s a kid who strives to win in everything he does.  Captain of two hockey teams, he plays to win!
    Life can be like a game of hockey.  When we’re gaining on things it’s easy to stay excited and focused on winning.  We can be friendlier, happier and take more chances, when things are going well.  It’s harder to stay focused and keep that victor mentality when we start falling behind.  Our speed decreases along with our ambition.  Soon we’ve gone from “full-speed-ahead” to sitting on the bench.  Too many times we just take ourselves out of the game.  We give up when we need to rally ourselves and exercise our hope because we serve the God of the great comebacks!  Just think of Calvary and what looked like sure defeat.  Remember that Good Friday is followed by Easter Sunday and Christ’s resurrection!  God desires for you to win and His Word assures it.  So keep the faith and Run to Win!
    Prayer:
    Father…I thank-you for guiding me by example.  Thank-you that when I put my faith in you I will be an overcomer!  Help me to not look at my circumstances, whether good or bad, but to trust in You and keep running to Win so that I can one day receive the eternal prize You have for me!  In Jesus name, Amen

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  • Does Forgiveness Equal Restored Relationship?

    “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example…”
                                                                                 Ephesians 4:32-5:1 NIV

    Life is so generous to give us lots of opportunities to extend forgiveness to people who hurt us. What’s the proper response to offence? Do we always have to forgive?

    Does forgiveness =equal= restored relationship?

    If we are to follow God’s example, as this verse instructs us, then forgiveness is a must and restored relationships need to be our intent. Sadly, I don’t think forgiveness can always lead to restored relationships, and we see that in Jesus’ relationship with the Pharisees.
    Isaiah 59:2 explains that our sin is an offence to God, separating us in our relationship with Him. The more we sin and the longer we continue offending Him, the more distant our relationship with Him becomes. Forgiveness can take place in an instant when a prayer is whispered, but it takes time to rebuild a relationship with God.
    Restoration happens when we take ownership of our offence and change our ways. We have to go through a process to rebuild our closeness with the Father.

    The same principle needs to be applied to our earthly relationships. We must forgive others for their offences towards us. If we don’t, it keeps us bound in bitterness. It’s healthy to learn that a restored relationship is separate from forgiveness and requires a healing process.
    When approaching relationship restoration, we need to consider the whole counsel of scripture. Proverbs 4:23 warns,

    “Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life” (NLT).

    Proverbs 22:24 cautions,

    “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,
    do not associate with one easily angered...”

    Sometimes you’ll need to forgive and protect yourself from unhealthy or even toxic relationships. In the best of times, forgiveness leads to a better, stronger restored relationship.

    Prayer:

    Father, I thank You for Your forgiveness. I ask for grace to forgive others in my life who have hurt and offended me. I take myself out of the judge’s seat and release them to Your judgement and justice. Please help me to guard my heart, without closing it in the area of relationship restoration. May I walk in Your wholeness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

    [tweetthis]Does forgiveness =equal= restored relationship?[/tweetthis]

    Drawing From The Well

    1. Ephesians 4:32
    2. Isaiah 59:2
    3. Proverbs 22:24–25
    4. Proverbs 4:23

    Soul H2OThis post was first published on January 19, 2014 and then included in my first Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.
    Devotion #17 – Forgiveness and Restored Relationship.  The original devotion also inspired a #musicpic post called, The Forgiveness Song

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  • Finding Christ

    cross-and-water1

    “Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood.  He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.”
                                                               Exodus 15:25 NIV

    Have you ever been going through a trying time and wondered where God was?  Well, I have and so have the Israelites. This scripture comes in the middle of the story when the Israelites had just gone through the Red Sea.  They had just broken free of bondage in Victory…only to wander for 3 days without water!   They finally find water and run to drink it, but the water is bitter and undrinkable.  That was enough suffering to make the people forget the miracle of the water parting and want to go back to their old life.  They grumble and complain to Moses.  Moses does the right thing and cries out to the Lord.  Oh, if we always took the time to cry out to the Lord like Moses did—and—wait for Him to speak!  Oh, how different our lives would be!
    God showed Moses a piece of wood.  Moses throws it into the water and it creates a chemical reaction to change the whole body of water.  Seriously?  A piece of wood?  This doesn’t make sense, if you don’t see the cross symbolism.  A piece of wood couldn’t change water in the natural.  God supernaturally used a piece of wood to be a type or foreshadowing of the cross.  Only Jesus can take the bitter sufferings that we face and bring something sweet out of them.  We need God to open our spiritual eyes so we can see how Christ is there, just like the wood was, mighty to save.
    Moses took the time to cry out to God and ask Him to be involved in his problem.  He expected God to show up, and show up He did, providing water in the desert.  Take time today to bring your needs before God.  Open up your spiritual eyes to see Christ in your bitter circumstances and allow Him to give you water!

    open your eyes

    Prayer:
    Father…You see the bitterness of life on this earth and you stand along the sidelines waiting for me to tag you in.  Please open my eyes today to see you working on my behalf!  May I never doubt that you are there, because you are!  You are Mighty to Save!  Thank-you!  In Jesus name, Amen

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