Soul H2O Devotions

  • 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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  • We need to change our Christian Expectations

    “Dear friends, DO NOT BE SURPRISED at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something STRANGE were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be OVERJOYED when his glory is revealed.”   
                            1 Peter 4:12-13

    We NEED to change our Christian Expectations.

    People tend to fall on either one side of the fence or the other; some expect too much yet some expect too little.  There are strange folk (and I mean that in the nicest way) who spend their lives jumping from one side of the fence to the other.
    Those are the type of people that this verse is talking about.
    I have to watch it or I can be one of these strange fence jumpers.  I’m sailing along believing God for great things, and then a problem hits and I’m tempted to fall into discouragement and give up hope.  In my life I have greatly struggled with getting-ready-for-the-carpet-to-be-pulled-out-from-under-me syndrome.  It’s an underlying fear of mine.  Until recently, t was an unspoken mindset that I functioned in, or should I say malfunctioned in!

    I believe a part of my problem has been my Christian Expectations.  

    I have expected that problems won’t get me because I do my best to live for God. It’s illogical that I could read the Bible and arrive at this mindset. Illogical yes, but a common Christian expectation!
    This verse talks about the danger of becoming like the seed that falls on the rock, which falls away when trouble or persecution comes.  We need to live our lives expecting the best yet not be shocked when trouble comes. Trust that God will somehow turn it around for our best, using it for His glory!

    [tweetthis]Expect trials and suffering will come as much as you expect God will bring joy afterward.[/tweetthis]

    Living with this healthy Christian expectation will allow you to walk in confidence no matter what your circumstances are!

    Prayer

     Father, today I ask you to help me to increase my Christian expectations to a level that lines up with your Word!  Help me not jump the fence when trouble comes, but to stand in faith believing that when hardship hits I can trust You to bring joy back into my life.  In Jesus name, Amen

    [tweetthis]Changing expectations changes things.[/tweetthis]

    Drawing From The Well - Wide

    1. 1 Peter 4:12-13
    2. Matthew 13:1-43 (the Parable of the Seeds)
    3. Psalm 30:5
    4. 2 Corinthians 4:17
    Soul H2O - Look InsideThis post was first published on November 18, 2013 and then included in my first Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.
    Devotion #2 – Christian Expectations

     
    #Dare2Share
    Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!
    blogger prayerYOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:
    MONDAY 
    Monday Meditations – Laura J. Davis,
    TUESDAY 
    Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
    WEDNESDAY 
    Coffee For Your Heart – Holley GerthWord Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz
    THURSDAY 
    Heart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms, Chasing Community  Barbara Bradford Ottinger
    FRIDAY 
    Dance With Jesus Linkup – Susan B. MeadGrace and Truth Linkup – Arabah JoyCounting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market Friday – Crystal Twaddell ELLEN’S PICKS– Ellen Graf-Martin

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  • Lest We Forget

    LEST WE FORGET POPPY

    No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.
    John 15:13   HCSB

    November 11th is a special date for Canadians and Americans.  In Canada we are celebrating Remembrance Day and in the US it’s called Veteran’s Day.  Today is the day set apart to honor the men and women who have served their countries well.   November 11th was chosen to commemorate the ending of battle from World War 1 in 1918 at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.  I remember all of the school assemblies where we heard stories from veterans who had fought in battles around the globe enforcing the liberties of the unprotected.   Around the world people are taking time today to focus their thoughts on what was done to achieve their freedom.
    THEY DIED THAT WE MIGHT LIVE
    It’s a somber day because it’s overwhelming to think that someone had to die in order that we might live free.   Growing up in North America we are blessed to not experience unrest like so many others do in this world.  It’s almost inconceivable for the average Canadian or American to understand the fear of war and having to fight to protect your freedom.  I think this sometimes plays out in our Christian walk.  We get comfortable and start to take for granted our salvation that came at such a high price.   Our freedom came at the cost of Christ’s life.
    “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit” .1 Pt 3:18
    On this day, take the time to remember and be thankful for all those who have fought the good fight of freedom for your physical and spiritual life.  Remember that they fought so you could experience liberty!   Walk in the liberty that you have been given and LIVE FREE!
    Prayer:
     Father,  I thank-you for the sacrifices that so many have made for my freedom.  Help me to live in a state of gratitude for all that has been lost so that I may live in liberty.  May I honor the sacrifice of others and especially of Christ by the way I LIVE!  In Jesus name, Amen.
    LEST WE FORGET RED BOX

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  • Rewarding

    “…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

                                                                Hebrews 11:6

    When things go wrong, or when things go right, Todd and I often quote the end part of this verse.  You’ll hear us saying, “God rewards those who diligently seek him.”  I really had never taken the time to understand how the whole verse came together until now. 
    Hebrews 11:6 tells us that we can’t please God without faith.  So that means the converse is true.  We CAN please God with faith.  Which makes me ask, faith in what?  The verse even answers that question!  If we want to please God there are two things that we need to believe in that require faith.  This first is that we must believe God exists.  For some this is hard because God is spirit and you can’t see him with your natural eyes.  Like the wind, God is not visible, but we can see how He effects things.
    Secondly, this verse teaches us that if we want to please God we must believe that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.  Even when you don’t see it yet!  When the bills are still mounting and the problems are still around, you have to believe that God is going to reward you for seeking him.  Hebrews 11:1 teaches that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Be sure that our loving God will reward you! His word promises it!  “This is what the LORD says:  “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD! (Jeremiah 31:16)
    Prayer:
    Father, today I pray like the desperate dad in Mark 9:24, Lord, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief”.  By a work of your spirit, please give me the gift of faith to believe that you will reward me as I seek you.   I thank-you in advance for all of the blessings You’re bringing into my life!  In Jesus name, Amen

     (WATER IN THE DESERT; Section 3-WATER IN THE WANDERING: TESTING…FOLLOWED BY BLESSING, pgs.112-114). 

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  • Testing

    “The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first…”
    Job 42:12

    I was going through the Devotional in my book called “TESTING…FOLLOWED BY BLESSING”.  God has set a precedence in his Word that when you have gone through a time of testing successfully it will be followed by a time of blessing.  It’s not just a catchy line I came up with—it’s a principle in scripture!  Whether it takes place here or in heaven—Testing is followed by Blessing!

    There are so many biblical examples of this: Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Esther…the list could go on.  The biggest example of this is in the life of Job.  In Chapter 1 of Job we read the record of God and the devil’s discussion over how good Job is.  God saw Job as faithful.  The devil, literally translated as “the accuser”, thought that Job was only faithful to God because God blessed him so much financially and in his family.  The devil asked if he could test Job in these areas and God agreed.  First the devil killed all of Job’s servants, next all his children and then all his livestock; which was equivalent to financial ruin in that day. After all these losses Job still kept his faith in God.
    The devil went to God again and asked if he could further test Job and God agreed.  The devil gave Job boils all over his body.  Still he remained faithful to God in all of his testing.  It wasn’t like he enjoyed it or was happy throughout it all.  Job is very human in his response, but he never turns his back on God.  Job cursed the day he was born, but still did not curse God. Even when he lost everything and couldn’t see any blessing, he still believed God was good.  What an incredible testimony! 
    At the end of Job we read how God blessed him with MORE than he had in the first part of his life.  He ended up with twice of all that he owned before, a VERY wealthy man.  God blessed Job again with 7 more sons and 3 more daughters, giving him a long life to see even his great-great-grandchildren live!  Testing is followed by…

    word bles sing!

    Prayer:
    Father, I thank-you that you see me as good even when the accuser says differently.  I thank-you that your plans for me are good and that you won’t let me be tempted beyond what I can bear. Help me to stand strong so that I can pass the tests of my life and walk in Your blessing!  In Jesus name,  Amen.

     (WATER IN THE DESERT; Section 3-WATER IN THE WANDERING: TESTING…FOLLOWED BY BLESSING, pgs.112-114). 

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  • Never

    “the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you, never nor forsake you”
    Deuteronomy 31:6

    Last Monday I was teaching a Bible Study about when the Israelites left Egypt and started heading towards The Promised Land armed for battle, thinking they could take on the world.  God knew that they weren’t that strong…how worn out they were from the 400 years of bondage.  As they headed out, they were sure they could handle everything, but the first sign of trouble set them into full on panic, ready to run back to Egypt. 
    Breaking free is always a difficult thing to do, whether it’s sin, a bad habit, an unhealthy relationship or a negative workplace.  Everything in our nature screams to keep things the way they are, to stay where we know what to expect.  The Israelites were no different than us.  They left Egypt with their feet, but not with their hearts.  For a time they waffled back and forth between wanting to move forward into The Promised Land and wanting to go back to Egypt.  Instead they got stuck in the desert.  Todd’s illustration of the 3 Signposts in my book is a great visual of this cycle.
    In order to help the people go the right way, God placed a pillar of cloud in the day and a pillar of fire at night.  It never left its place in front of the people.  It was a visual reminder that God was with them. The verse above tells us how God is with us, that he never leaves us and never forsakes, rejects or abandons us. How incredible is that! God wanted us to understand this so much that He “repeats” himself, with this same message, many times so we could be sure that it is true.  At least 10 times God sends this message to us in His Word!  Be encouraged today…God is with YOU! He won’t leave, reject or abandon YOU!  So don’t waffle back and forth.  Move forward today in all God has for you!
    Prayer:
    Father, help me to let Your Word sink deep in my spirit so I trust you when you say that you are with me.  Help me to be confident that You won’t leave me, You won’t reject me, You won’t abandon me.  Let me takes steps toward Your good plan for my life today!  Amen.

    Never will I leave you “Repeat” verses: Deuteronomy 31:6, Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:5, 1 Chronicles 28:20, Psalm 37:28, Psalm 94:14, Isaiah 41:17, Isaiah 42:16, Hebrews 13:5
    (WATER IN THE DESERT; Section 2-WATER PARTING-STARTING TO SWIM, pg.68)

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  • Repeats

    “do not worry…do not worry…do not worry…”
                            Matthew 6:25,31,34

    Lately, I keep going back to the Devotional in my book called “DON’T BE AFRAID”.  The verses you look up are so repetitive…and I mean that in a good way!  I am overwhelmed at how many times God encourages us in His Word to “not worry”, “don’t be afraid”, “do not fear”, “do not fret”.  In one short passage alone Jesus bluntly tells us “Do not worry” three times!
    To paraphrase Joshua 23:3, God is saying, “You’ve seen what I’ve done for you and how I’ve been the one on your side!”  Then, He starts to remind the people how He was there for them and what He did for them.  God is our father and all too often we act like little children who need to be reminded of what our dad does for us.  We need that spiritual “cold shower” to wake us up and remind us that God is with us, so…we don’t need to worry! 
    When I want to get my kids to understand something or not forget something, I repeat myself.  The more important, or the more bothered I am with them for not listening will determine how many times I repeat myself!  Do you get the spiritual similarities?  Our heavenly father does the same!  As you study The Word, listen to our father’s REPEATS.  Be encouraged to trust and not worry…He’s on the job!
    Prayer:
    Father, Help me to be aware of who you are and all you’ve done for me.  May I not take it for granted or minimize all you do.  Please help me to focus on your greatness and your goodness so that I don’t worry, but live in confidence! Amen
    (WATER IN THE DESERT; Section 2-WATER PARTING; Don’t Be Afraid, pgs.78-81).  
     

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