Soul H2O Devotions

  • Promises, Promises

    “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?
    Prayer
    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.

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  • WORD POWER

    words have power“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!
    Prayer
    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.

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  • Unwavering Faith

    Unwavering Faith“But even if he does not”
                                         Daniel 3:18
    I’ve always loved the story of how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survived being thrown into a fiery furnace. If you went to Sunday School in the 70’s the song “Three Hebrew Boys”, sung to the tune of “Three Blind Mice” is probably running through your head and will be for the rest of today! In the song are the words “but God delivered them out you know…Three Hebrew Boys”.   More incredible to me than their miraculous deliverance was their unwavering faith, despite the outcome.
    When Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon raged and told the three Hebrew boys how he was going to throw them into a blazing furnace their response to his threat is what real faith is made of! They confidently stated how God was able to deliver them and how they thought he would. They made the boldest of faith declarations by ending with “But even if he does not…we will not serve your God.” Their faith did not hinge on whether or not God delivered them. They walked in, and out of the furnace with unwavering faith.
    A couple weeks ago I found out that a friend has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The news has hit their relatives and our church family pretty hard. I was challenged at their declaration of unwavering faith on Facebook. They posted just days after the diagnosis, “we trust in God’s plans, even if the healing never comes and we are committed to using this season we have unexpectedly been thrown into to grow in our Faith further despite the outcome.” Unwavering faith in a faithful God.
    Prayer
    Father, I state my faith in your ability to deliver me out of each and every circumstance. You are all mighty, all knowing and always present. I’m not alone. Please help me to exercise unwavering faith, no matter the outcome, all the days of my life. In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • Labor Day Drives

    LABOR DAY DRIVE“blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him”
                                                 Jeremiah 17:5 NIV
    How crazy are roads on a long weekend? Bottlenecks, congestion, slowpokes, speeders… Monday is Labor Day so we went up to our trailer at camp for the long weekend. As Todd weaved in and out of traffic, we talked about how different life is for us compared to what the Israelites experienced travelling through the desert. Today we drive on beautifully paved highways with signs everywhere telling us where to go, what’s coming up ahead and which roads are better to take during traffic times. If that’s not enough we have GPS systems or news stations that can alert us to immediate traffic issues. Somehow we can live in this false illusion that we have it all planned out—under control to the last detail. We rely on ourselves, others, technology…anything or anyone but God to direct our lives.
    The Israelites didn’t live like that. Numbers 9:17-18 confirms their obedience in following God’s direction. They had a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. None came with warnings of what was up ahead. No warning signal, beeping or flashing lights. The cloud or pillar of fire would begin to move and the people had to follow, not knowing what was coming next. Would the ground be soft or hard? Would they have to walk 1, 2 or 20 miles? Would there be a gas station along the way for pitstops? Joking aside, the Israelites walked in blind faith to their destination. Trusting God with their very next step.
    Are you struggling with your future? Wondering where you will be in the next year? Some may be wondering where you will be in the next day or hour. Trust Him with your future. Place Him in the drivers seat and enjoy the ride!
    PRAYER
    Father… Forgive me for trying to figure it all out on my own or rely on others for answers. Help me to look to you and trust you with today and my future. May I trust your guidance and have the faith to follow you wherever you may lead. In Jesus Name…Amen!
     

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  • Perfume and The Ice Bucket Challenge

    “While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.”
                                                                              Matthew 26:6-7NIV
    ice bucket challenge You can’t go on your computer or TV these days without seeing something about the Ice Bucket Challenge! It’s a far-reaching phenomenon that is beginning to go around the globe. According to the ALS Association website, it says that: “The ALS Association has received $70.2 million in donations compared to $2.5 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 24). These donations have come from existing donors and 1.3 million new donors to The Association.” 1
    Most people are speaking so positively about the campaign, but sadly there are always those negative voices. Shockingly, Maclean’s Magazine had an article condemning the Ice Bucket Challenge as merely a “marketing gimmick”, “slaktivism” and went so far as to say it is “bad for you” to donate to a cause in this manner! The writer seems to propose that ALS has enough funds and doesn’t deserve this much investment compared to other diseases. 2 I can’t imagine that he ever has watched someone live and die with ALS. My roommate from College’s dad passed away with this horrible disease years ago. He went from being a strong carpenter and through all the debilitating stages inflicted on those suffering with Lou Gherig’s disease, until it took his life.
    When I hear a story it often makes me think of a similar Bible Story or verse. Reading this article brought to my mind about the time when a woman poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ head.  The disciples scoffed and tried to sound all spiritual saying she was wasting her money and should have given the value of the perfume to the poor. Too quickly we can negatively judge a person’s actions. Jesus reprimands the disciples and says how she has done a “beautiful thing”. Whenever we give of ourselves in time or money to help others we can rest assured that our heavenly father is pleased. From oil to ice buckets of water poured on the head, He sees it all as a “beautiful thing”!
    PRAYER
    Father…Help me to look for ways that I can give to ease someone else’s burden and bring You glory! May I take up the challenge to bless the life of others. In Jesus Name…Amen!
    1 https://www.alsa.org/news/media/press-releases/ice-bucket-donations-082414.html
    2 https://www.macleans.ca/society/health/why-the-ice-bucket-challenge-is-bad-for-you/
    What is ALS” from the ALS Association Website.

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  • To The Least Of These

    DSC_1186
    “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
                                                                                               Matthew 25:40 NIV
    My daughter Shelby is going away to College. Since the school she chose doesn’t have dorms we had to rent a condo for her and a friend. There are just so many things to get that we’ve had to find a few pieces used so we don’t break the budget! Shelby was given a shelf from Todd’s cousin. She wanted to get it, paint and distress it, but didn’t know how to. Todd surprised her for her birthday this week by refinishing and distressing the old shelf into a beautiful, new looking shelf that matched her bed. When I saw it I knew she would be so happy and, as you can see in the picture, she was! I told Todd that when he did things nice for my daughter he was doing something nice for me! As soon as it came out of my mouth I thought of Matthew 25:40 “whatever you do for the least of these…you do for me”

    WE SHARE–WE CARE

    I heard this scripture often growing up as my grandparents ran a ministry at my home church, Bethel Gospel Tabernacle in Hamilton called “WE SHARE, WE CARE”.   It started out with just a box at the back of our church to donate food for Christmas hampers and grew into a large FREE store-like portable at the back of our church property. It was open year round to provide for refugees, new immigrants, single parents, families or anyone in need. The building was filled with groceries; clothes and furniture to meet whatever need arose. She did for so many of “the least of these”. At 86 Gram passed away and the funeral home said they had never seen such an immense attendance for someone of her age. There were about 800 people at her actual funeral. People from many nations came and told how Gram blessed their lives and led them to Christ. Gram reminded us often how we needed to help others with her words, but more loudly, by her actions. I remember as a teenager meeting a stranger at church. She had come to meet with my grandma and thank her for the impact Gram had made as her foster mother and let her know that she had given her life to Christ. She didn’t know where my grandma lived these 40 odd years later, but assumed correctly that she could find gram at church! I will never forget the stories Gram told of bringing groceries to people’s houses and watching them break down crying, thanking God as they checked off a list they could not afford, but God had provided for. This verse was the mandate of my grandmother’s life and she lived it out well!
    So, may I ask, what have you done for The King lately?
    PRAYER
    Father…I thank-you for all that you have blessed me with. Help me to look beyond myself and search out those that I could bless for you. May I be your hands extended. In Jesus Name…Amen!
    Bethel Gospel Tabernacle-Caring Ministry Webpage

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  • God Doesn't Make Junk

    God Doesn't Make Junk-www.Soul-H2O.com“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
                           Ephesians 2:10 NIV
    Tonight Shelby was watching a show on Plastic Surgeries gone wrong. So many people who struggle with their self-esteem choosing to go “under the knife” to make them feel better about themselves. I know that there is nothing wrong with people choosing to have plastic surgery, but too often it starts and ends with an unhealthy mindset that you aren’t made well, leaving the person with an even more diminished self-worth. I guess no one has ever read them this verse and explained to them that God doesn’t make junk!
    You are God’s handiwork. You are created by God and fashioned by His hand. Think about that. God, who is perfect, made YOU! God doesn’t make junk. We know from the creation story that everything God creates He thinks is good but, when He creates people, He says they are VERY good! You are made VERY good, no matter what anyone says, or how you feel.
    When we have an unhealthy view of ourselves it affects every area of our lives. If the enemy can get us believing that we weren’t made that well, then he can get us sidetracked from our purpose in life. We’ll be focused on fixing ourselves instead of fulfilling the good works that God has prepared for us to do. Believe who God says you are and you will fulfill the destiny He has prepared for you!
    PRAYER
    Father…Help me to see myself the way that you see me. I thank-you for creating me the way you did. Help me to see the greatness you have placed inside of me so that I may live to do all you have prepared in advance for me to accomplish. In Jesus Name…Amen!

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  • Rainbows and Lightning

    rainbows and lightning
     
    Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.”
                                                                               Matthew 8:24 NIV
    Yesterday Shelby showed me this picture of double rainbows beside a lightning bolt. The imagery spoke to me about life with God. We can be in the middle of a storm, but God has a rainbow for us! In Genesis 9:13 God said, “I will put my rainbow in the clouds to be a sign of my promise to the earth.” (GOD’S WORD ® Translation). In life we can have at the same time; Promises and Storms, Rainbows and Lightning.
    I’ve always loved the story of Jesus in the boat with his disciples. These guys were following God’s direction for the lives when “SUDDENLY” a storm came out of nowhere.   It was such a crazy storm that the waves were crashing over the boat. The Bible says “BUT Jesus was sleeping”. What? Sleeping in a storm like that? Jesus was experiencing rainbows and lightning. In a panic, the disciples wake up Jesus and beg him to save them. Did they really think Jesus was going to let them drown? When Jesus got up, He rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith. He rebuked the wind and the waves to bring everyone onboard the peace He had. The Bible records how the disciples were amazed and seemed shocked that Jesus had the power to calm the storm. Too often we’re like them and forget to stand on the promises He’s given.
    Today, ask God to show you His rainbow in the midst of your lightning.  Speak the truth of His promises to your storm and watch the clouds part.
    PRAYER
    Father…I thank-you for peace. Help me to understand your promises and speak them out when storms arise. May I walk in faith, no matter the weather! In Jesus Name…Amen!

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  • Fearful Timidity vs. Godly Confidence

    god has not give us a spirit of fear “For God did not give us a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of power, love and of self-discipline.” NLT
    “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” KJV
    “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” HCSV
                             2 Timothy 1:7
    When my children were young they struggled with fears as all children do. When these episodes would occur I often quoted this verse to them and had them memorize it. Many a nightmare were stopped and ended in a good night’s sleep with the comfort of this scripture. As they grew older I saw the dangers of allowing them to stay fearful and timid. Timidity stopped them from enjoying all that God had for them. Living with the confidence that God has given them power, love, a sound mind and the ability to be self-disciplined is the message I wanted them to lay hold of.
    As I looked up the dictionary meaning of timidity I was fixated on studying the list of Synonyms and Antonyms of the word. The Synonyms (words that mean the same as timidity) are: fainthearted, fearful, fearsome, mousy, scary, skittish, shy, timorous, and tremulous. Who wants to be all that??? No wonder God said He did NOT give us the spirit of all those pathetic characteristics. No one grows up saying “I want to be the mousy, skittish kind of person that is afraid of everything.” No one wants that and God doesn’t want that for us either. So how do we break free of this timidity and gain Godly confidence? If I lived a life of Godly Confidence in His spirit, what would it look like?
    The Antonyms (words that mean the opposite of timidity) will help us better understand the spirit that God is offering to us. Here they are: adventuresome, adventurous, audacious, bold, daring, dashing, gutsy, hardy, venturesome, and venturous. Now these are words that I want to be used to describe me, my children, and my children’s children, should the Lord tarry! As believers you have the spirit of God living inside of you! Today, access the spirit of God and walk in the Godly Confidence you’ve been given!
    PRAYER
    Father…I thank-you for the truth of your word! I thank-you that it is true no matter if I feel it or not. Help me to live free of fear and timidity. Help me to access your spirit for power and love so that I may use self-discipline to walk in sound-mind, using sound-judgment! May I walk in Godly Confidence! In Jesus Name…Amen!
    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/timid

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  • Catch Me

    “Like an eagle that stirs up it’s nest and hovers over it’s young, that spreads it’s wings to catch them and carries them on it’s pinions”
    Deuteronomy 32:11
    As you can tell, I’m on a bit of an “eagle” theme these past few weeks. Life has thrown us some pretty big challenges these days and I find so much comfort in the promise this verse holds. Last week I talked about the beginning of this verse and how our heavenly father is a “hovering” parent who knows when to push us forward. Today I want to talk to you about the last part of this verse. It reminds me that no matter how far or how fast I’m falling that God will catch me!catch me
    The visual of an eagle spreading its wings to fly under and catch a young eaglet is an incredible picture. All to often we’re like the little eagle. Minding our own business when suddenly, the floor drops out from under us and we’re in a free fall. Just when we think we’re going to hit the ground and be obliterated, God swoops down and catches us bringing us to safety! Psalm 37:24-25 confirms, “When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.” “I have never seen the godly abandoned.” (NASB & NLT)
    Despite strong winds, free falls, and times where you question why you are getting pushed out of your nest, understand that God is in fact hovering over you and He will swoop down when He knows you need a lift!

    PRAYER

    Father…I thank-you for how you catch me when I’m falling! Help me to trust you when the carpet gets pulled out and I’ve lost my way. May I rest on your wings as you fly me to safely back to the nest. In Jesus Name…Amen!

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