Soul H2O Devotions

  • 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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  • Payback or Reward?

    Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 8.29.29 AM“The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways, and the good man rewarded for his.”  Proverbs 14:14
    What’s in your wallet?  Ever since stores started coming out with Rewards Programs my wallet started getting thicker!   I had to get a separate wallet of sorts to hold them all!  I love all these programs.  It’s so nice to get to the checkout and have the cashier ask you if you want to use your reward.  Who wouldn’t choose that?  Stores reward us for shopping with them.  God rewards us for the way we live.
    Rewards are blessings for doing something good.  Merriam Webster describes the word Payback as “punishment for something that was done in the past”1.   http://www.ThePayBack.com is a strange website dedicated to recording “payback” stories of revenge.  The funniest one I read was about a girl who played a “payback” prank on a cheating boyfriend by giving him a pair of boxers rubbed in poison ivy, before she told him she knew!  Now that’s one sassy lassy!
    Without the grace of God in our lives we would all reap the payback for our sins.  Through Christ’s work on the cross we receive His righteousness, His goodness and are rewarded with His eternal blessings.
    Payback or Reward?  It’s your choice, but like I said, who wouldn’t choose a reward?
    Prayer
    Father… I thank you for your grace that frees me from the law of the payback.  May I continue to place my faith in you so that I may receive every reward you have for me here on earth and in heaven.  In Jesus name, Amen

    1.  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/payback

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  • Destined To Worship

    “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed…and they bowed down and worshipped him.”             Matthew 2:10-11

    Have you ever been listening to the radio and a song just grabs you?  This Christmas I was asked to make a short video introducing a trio in our church singing Kari Jobe’s song “Adore Him”.  In the song, she writes about the story of the Magi who followed the star to find Jesus.  Using the words and tune for the Christmas Carol  “O Come All Ye Faithful” for the chorus, she compels us to join her in worship as she repeats the phrase “Come Let Us Adore Him” with such passion.

    Music profoundly impacts my life.  I am brought to tears more by songs than anything else.  If only I could sing!  Listening to Kari’s song led me to spend a great deal of time thinking and reading about these men who travelled so far searching for a King.  Men who would have given up so much to make this journey, putting their lives at risk by not going back to King Herod after he sent them to find this King of the Jews.  Herod falsely claimed that his motives were to worship the King, but the Magi, they were pursuing their destiny to worship the King.

    Today my iTunes started playing Avalon’s song “Destined” and I was again moved by music.   This song helped me to realize that Romans 14:11 is true and that we all have the same destiny as the Magi.  We’re all Destined To Worship!  So, be like the Magi and seek after Jesus the bright Morning Star!  When you find Him, humble yourself and lavish Him with your praise!

    Prayer:

    Father…I praise you for who you are because, You are good!  Almighty…Always There, and You Know Everything!  I want my life to be an act of worship to you in the words I say and the meditations of my heart.  Help me fulfill my destiny to worship you!  In Jesus name, Amen

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  • Immanuel–Astounding Christmas

    “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel—which means, ‘God with us’.”                                                Isaiah 9:6-7

    This verse comes after the record of the angel visiting Joseph.  If I ever wondered before, reading through the Christmas story this year shows me how much God loves to astound people with His presence!

    The Group 4 HIM captured Joseph’s encounter with the angel best in their song “Strange Way To Save The World”.  The chorus is supposed to be Joseph questioning God while holding baby Jesus.  The words say so much:

    “Why me, I’m just a simple man of trade
    Why Him, with all the rulers in the world
    Why here, inside this stable filled with hay
    Why her, she’s just an ordinary girl
    Now I’m not one to second guess what angels have to say,
    But this is such a strange way, to save the World”

    The biblical stories of Christmas are more shocking than putting up your Christmas lights in an electrical storm!  A pregnant virgin rides a donkey to a town far away where she has to give birth to the King of kings in a stable, angels appearing to lowly shepherds, Magi travelling for years looking for a king and worshipping a child, giving him costly gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Nothing in the story makes natural sense…but they are the events that supernaturally changed the world!

    This Christmas, open up your heart, giving God room to show up in your life as “Immanuel”.  He wants to be God “with us”.  May His presence overwhelm and astound you with His peace!

    Merry Christmas!

    Prayer: 

    Father…I’m so thankful that you desire to be “God with us”, not “God far away from us”.  May I, along with the world, sense Your presence anew this Christmas in astounding ways!  In Jesus name, Amen

     

     

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  • Needing Directions?

    Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
                                                    Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)

    I think I’ve gotten lost as much in the past two years of my life as I have been in my entire life before!  I moved about 3 hours away from where I grew up to an area I had only been to a few times.  I used to know my way around and hardly ever had to ask for directions.  All that changed when I moved to an area I wasn’t familiar with!

    How easily we can slip into life like that.  We can get so used to things around us.  We begin to feel like we know the direction that our lives should go so, we stop asking God for directions and just keep going our own way.   God is so gracious and kind that He doesn’t leave us forever going the wrong way.   I take comfort knowing that no matter if (or should I say “when”) I make a wrong turn, He’ll be right behind me saying, “This is the way you should go”.  Some of you reading this have ventured down a path that God didn’t want you to walk on and need some redirecting.  Others are like me are blazing new trails as God directs and yet sometimes feeling lost.  Be comforted by another word from God in Isaiah 42:16 . “I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.” (NLT)

    Needing directions?  Trust God to guide you in the way you should go!

    Prayer:

     Father, today I thank-you that you are good and that you don’t leave us stranded.  I appreciate your grace and how you forgive me when I go my own way.  Help me to listen for your voice of direction and walk in your ways.  In Jesus name, Amen

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  • Do you trust God with your Due Date?

     Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
    —1 Peter 5:6

    When I was pregnant with my son Brandon, the doctor made me stop working a month and a half before the due date because I was in danger of preterm labor. The doctor knew Brandon’s best chance at a healthy life lay in prolonging his birth.
    I had to go in for weekly checkups, and every week they warned me about the situation. Days went by. Weeks went by. A month passed. Almost two months passed. By the time Brandon’s due date came and went, I felt like I had been pregnant for two years! All this talk of an early delivery for months on end kept me ready for the birth, but it didn’t happen. After the due date came and went, I wondered if he was ever coming out!
    Finally, it happened. Labor pains began, and a baby was born!

    Waiting for God’s due date often involves a lot of waiting. You hear God’s promise. Others confirm the promise and build your expectation of it. You see signs of it being fulfilled, and even a few false starts get your heart pumping!
    Then it seems like it’s never going to happen. It’s taking too long. Will it ever happen?

    The beginning of Proverbs 13:12 says,
    “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”

    When we’ve been hoping for something to be birthed for a long time and we don’t see it happening, we get heartsick. We can lose hope and give in to discouragement.

    The ending of Proverbs 13:12 explains that
    “a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

    Just as surely as my son had a due date, so does your promise from God! Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
    Your time will come. Your promise will come. God knows what’s best for you and those around you. He knows what needs to take place so you’ll be ready to take care of your promise.
    Trust God with your due date!
    PRAYER:
    Father, today I humble myself before You. I put my life in Your mighty hand. Help me to trust You and believe that Your timing is best! May I know that You will bring to pass all that You have promised—on the perfect due date! In Jesus’ name, amen.
    DRAWING FROM THE WELL

    • 1 Peter 5:6
    • Proverbs 13:12
    • Ecclesiastes 3:11
    • Galatians 6:9

     
    This devotion is being shared on the SEE HOPE LOVE show website:  March 8, 2017

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  • Every Time I Think of You…

    “Come face-to-face with God, and give thanks; with loud and joyful voices, praise Him in songs.”
    Psalm 95:2 (The Voice)

    During this week of thanksgiving our attention is rightly given to God and all the blessings He brings into our lives.  God does so much for us!  With the pace of life we live, we often don’t slow down enough to appreciate all that He has done, so the holiday of Thanksgiving is a great time to slow us down and turn our focus to our great God!
    When Nehemiah was rebuilding the city of Jerusalem he reminded the people of how “long ago, in the days of David and Asaph, there had been directors for the musicians and for the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God.” (Nehemiah12:46-47,NIV)  He reinstituted the positions of Worship Leaders because he recognized the power of putting our focus on God and thanking Him for all He has done.  Nehemiah and all the people knew that only God could have rebuilt Jerusalem.  We need to open our eyes and see where God is at work rebuilding our lives!
    Many of our churches today are blessed with Worship Directors and teams of gifted leaders who by using their words, worship and talents help us to direct our focus on God and how amazing He is.  Everyone knows someone who by their very life encourages others to see how good God is.  Take the time this week to live out I Corinthians 1:4-6 and let your Worship Leaders or others know how their lives direct you to focus on God and thank Him for His goodness and their influence in your life.
    Every time I think of you…I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened in you—it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.”                                                                        I Corinthians 1:4-6 (The Message)
    Prayer:
    Father…it is with a grateful heart that I come to you today.  You are such a good and wonderful God.  I thank-you for placing people in my life who, by their very lifestyle, direct me to put my focus on you and all your benefits!  Help me to live my life in a way that inspires others to thank-you!          In Jesus name, Amen

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