Soul H2O Devotions

  • Cruising Like Royalty And Choosing The Right Fork

    God decided in advance
    to adopt us into his own family
    by bringing us to himself
    through Jesus Christ.
    This is what he wanted to do,
    and it gave him great pleasure.
    ~Ephesians 1:5 NLT

    Adjusting to life back home was rough after sailing on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

    I mean, where else can you just leave your dishes for someone else to clean up… unless you’re a toddler, teenager or spoiled spouse?  Traveling on the cruise made me feel like I was part of the royal family and no time more than when at suppertime. As a girl who grew up at the racetrack, a table set for fine-dining can be a little intimidating. All those forks and knives used to overwhelm me but now I love it!

    MICHELLE ON CRUISEHere’s a little word-to-the-wise from Michelle, one of the nicest cruise officials you could ever meet to help you look like a fine-dining pro:

    When eating from a table set for fine-dining: start from the outside and work your way in; one fork and knife set for salad or appetizers, the second set for your entrée, a small knife is for buttering your bread, a big spoon on top is there when you’re being served soup and don’t forget to leave the small cutlery on top for dessert.

     

    Cruising Like Royalty

    On our last full-day on the cruise, I woke up thankful for all the wonderful meals we’d had and how amazing the staff made us feel like family… family going from one banquet to another that is! As I laid in bed thinking about this privilege I was blessed to experience, I began to think about the day when I’ll really get to eat like royalty.

    Your Royal Inheritance

    The truth is; if you’ve received Christ as your savior, you ARE royalty!

    [tweetthis]If you’ve received Christ as your savior, you ARE royalty![/tweetthis]

    Our verse this week is seriously one of the best verses in the Bible. It’s almost hard to believe. God chose to adopt you. No one forced Him into it. He picked you out and invited you to be a part of His royal family! {STOP} Let that sink in a little… no, let it sink in a lot.

    On the second to last night of our cruise, we watched the movie, Instant Family, with a backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. The movie’s based on a true story of how a couple without any children (Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne) adopt three kids from Foster Care, sharing with them all the rights and privileges being a member of their family affords: a beautiful home, new clothes, delicious, nutritious food, and most importantly, unconditional love and acceptance.

    Being adopted into God’s family changes your status and grants you, all the rights and privileges of being a child of The King. The crazy part is how simply by receiving Christ into your life makes you a member. No tricks, no gimmicks, it’s a basic fact of joining the family of believers.

    [tweetthis]Being adopted into God’s family changes your status and grants you, all the rights and privileges of being a child of The King. [/tweetthis]

    The truth that I am a member of the real royal family still blows me away! No other monarchy has at the head, the King of Kings. I’m so undeserving and yet somehow completely worthy because of Christ in my life… and you can be too!

    The Invitation

    One night at dinner on the cruise, my mother-in-law Bevie told us about a story she read from Guideposts Magazine here a woman was planning her funeral with her pastor and asked to be buried with a fork in her right hand. She said,

    I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!”

    So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder “What’s with the fork?” Then I want you to tell them: “Keep your fork ..the best is yet to come.”1

    You’re all invited to join Christ’s family and one day attend the greatest banquet that will ever be served2.  The best is yet to come. So, take the right fork and use it to pick up the blessing God’s offering you!

    Prayer

    Father… Thank You for sending Your son Jesus to come and die for my sins to make me a part of Your family.  Your love, acceptance, and blessings overwhelm me.  I receive the inheritance You have for me and not miss out on all You’ve prepared for me because I don’t feel deserving.  Let my confidence come from my place in Your kingdom, as Your child.  I am a part… I am welcome… I am accepted… I am loved.  In Jesus Name…Amen

    More than anything, I want to see you at the great banquet table talked about in the Bible.
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    Soul H2O BookIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

     


    Drawing From The Well

    1. Ephesians 1:5
    2. Isaiah 25:6
    3. Revelations 19:9
    4. Revelations 3:20

    ENDNOTES

    1. https://www.guideposts.org/inspiration/life-after-death/why-do-people-say-keep-your-fork
    2. Luke 14:16-24Ref — Mt 22:2-14; Revelations 19:6-10, Revelations 3:20; Galatians 3:6-9; Isaiah 25:6

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  • Do you Take Time For Self-Care?

    After David had finished talking with Saul, 
    Jonathan became one in spirit with David,
    and he loved him as himself.
    ~1 Samuel 18:1 NIV

    This post was inspired by a Florida vacation with a 7-day Caribbean Cruise in the middle!!! {Insert PARTY sounds and cue the streamers}.

    Our Christmas gift from Todd’s parents this year was, shall we say… a little over the top, thank you Jesus 🙂  Ma and Pa Stahl took Todd and I, along with his sister and brother-in-law for a dream vacation on an Oasis of The Seas cruise—God Bless ‘Em! Thankfully none of us were too sun-burnt at the point of sending this email.

    So, why would I write about my cruise in a devotion?

    I’m not trying to make you jealous if you didn’t get away from the snow. But trust me, I have a reason. You see, going on a cruise and only getting internet for a few hours one day to work while on the ship is a HUGE form of self-care… something I haven’t been the best at.

    I was brought up well to think of others but often, in the past, I would get mixed up thinking others needs were more important than mine.  This faulty mindset would leave me physically, emotionally and spiritually dry… like I’m talking dried up, dusty like the desert floor, all cracked and brown… and that’s no way to live!

    The Bible Tells You To Be Good To Yourself

    Our English language often falls short in translation from Hebrew and the word ‘love’ is one of those difficult to translate words since the Hebrew language has 3 words for love when the English language only has one1. The Hebrew word used for “love” between David and Jonathan here is much different than the Hebrew root word for love used in much of The Songs of Solomon to describe a more sensual love.

    The word love in this week’s verse is also used in GN 44:30 to describe love between a father and son2 and then used in verse 16 of this same chapter to define the nation of Israel’s love for David as a war hero.

    When I read today’s verse the ending hit me, “he loved him as himself”.  Jonathan loved David… but not more than he loved himself

    Therefore, Jonathan loved himself.

    Those thoughts reminded me of Jesus words in Mark 12:31,

    “Love your neighbor as yourself”.

    Next, I thought about when Elijah was suffering burn-out and God didn’t scold or tell him to pull-up his boot-straps and get going.  No. God led Elijah in 1 Kings 19 to a few days of self-care. I also thought about how Jesus took time away to recharge from the crowds. In the past two years, I’ve been growing in the understanding of the truth 3 John 1:2 teaches that we will only prosper, as our soul prospers and we’re in good health. You have to take care of your body, soul, (mind, will & emotions) and spirit.

    Soul H2O is a necessity!

    Reading this devotion is hopefully one way you do that.  When I’m writing well, it should help refresh your spirit and parts of your soul but it’s not enough to build you up completely.  God created you: body, soul and spirit so you need to ensure you’re taking care of yourself in all areas.

    Do You Take Time For Self-Care?

    This week why not take the time to review your schedule.
    Are you allowing enough time for self-care each week?

    If you are, then pat yourself on the back and keep doing what you’re doing.  If you’re not; then change your ways 🙂 You don’t want to end up in breakdown mode as Elijah did!  God Wants you to be good to yourself, He’s given you permission and been the example… now be like Nike and Just Do It!

    Prayer

    Father… I’m so thankful for your love. It’s comforting to know, You don’t love me so You can get something out of me.  You love me for me. Wow! On some days, I really don’t understand why but help me to grow in this understanding of Your love, so I can better care for myself. Help me to be good to myself.  In Jesus Name…Amen


    Soul H2O BookIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

     


    Drawing From The Well

    1. 1 Samuel 18:1
    2. Mark 12:31
    3. Matthew 11:26-30; Luke 5:16
      (Both verses very clear about what Jesus thinks about self-care in The Message Translation)
    4. 3 John 1:2

    ENDNOTES

    1. http://www.christinyou.net/Outlines/love.pdf Words for “love” in Original Biblical Languages
    2. HCSB Study Bible. Holman Bible Publishers: Nashville, TN © 2010 Note on 1 Samuel 18:1; pg.474

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  • I Am Doughty, Not Dowdy!

    God did not give us a Spirit of fear
    but of power and love and 
    self-control.
    ~2 Timothy 1:7 NET Bible

    Years ago, someone accused me of essentially being a sesquipedalian.

    It was meant as a negative, but I couldn’t help feeling it was a compliment in a way.  In reality, I’m not a sesquipedalian but a logophile.

    Ha!  Have I confused you yet?  If not, you’re probably a writer or serious book lover.

    Sesquipedalian is a word that has changed in meaning to not just mean someone who uses big words, but it’s now used as a negative term to describe someone who uses too many long, confusing words.

    Logophile is a term to describe people who love words… and that I’m completely guilty of. Growing up my mother made it her mission to ensure drag racing was not the only cultural influence in our family.  Spelling tests were a high priority and she often corrected our grammar. Mom was preparing me for my future career and didn’t even know it!

    {Geek Alert}

    grammerlyAs a teen I had my own subscription to Reader’s Digest because I loved the Word Power Column.

    As a writer I’ve been shocked at my usage of words.  I had no clue until I joined Grammarly.  It gives you a weekly writing report and I’m most often in the 95-99% of Grammarly users… or so they say 🙂

    Ok, now that you get my obsession with words, I can tell you what happened to me last month and I think you’ll understand why it so profoundly affected my life.

    My Word Obsession Affects My Life!

    Dr Caroline Leaf 21 Brain DetoxI’m in the middle of Dr. Caroline Leaf’s Brain Detox program and it’s completely changing my life {Links Below}. Basically, she helps you become aware of your negative self-talk, see the results of how that thought affects what you feel, say and do. Next, she guides you to replace that toxic thought with a healthy thought and experience the results in your life.

    Oh The Difference A Word Can Make

    During the Detox, I recognized what a grip fear had on my life in a certain area and how it was blocking me from moving forward in my life. I felt the urge to Google search “Antonym of Fear”.  As I looked at the lists of words contrary to fear, one stood out; as if it jumped off of my computer screen.

    The word was doughty.

    First of all, I didn’t even know how to say it properly. “Dought” is pronounced “ot” like sought, bought or fought, so it sounds like the name of my Texan friend Dottie. I had mistaken it with the word dowdy; which describes a messy, old-fashioned, frumpy, out-of-style.1  Since one Google search usually ends up with at least ten more, I began researching this new word and was blown away with what I felt the Father speaking to my soul.

    I Am Doughty, Not Dowdy!

    DOUGHTY… marked by fearless resolution…valiant… Brave… willing to take risks… brave… bold… heroic… Determined and ambitious… persistent… undaunted… unwilling ever to stop trying to achieve something… strong-willed… adamant… resolute… willful… will not take no for an answer… lionhearted, stalwart, stout-hearted… courageous… not easily frightened… an iron fist in a velvet glove…2  To use it in a sentence you could say, She was a doughty defender of the hurting.

    All these definitions helped encourage me but the AHA moment came when I read about the origins of the word. The root of Doughty is in the Old English word, dohte, meaning “had worth”.2 When I read this, light bulbs illuminated over my head and bells were ringing as I wrote in my notes:

    I am doughty; fearless because I know my worth!

    I pray that sent chills up your spine like it did mine. You are doughty!  Be fearless because you are worth so much.  So much that God the Father gave up His son to die on a cross so you could have a better life—free of fear… and then He sent Holy Spirit to live inside of you.  You’re worth a lot!  You are doughty; fearless because of your worth!

    Prayer

    Father… I thank You for making clear the truth that you did NOT give me a spirit of fear. Holy Spirit, you’re living inside of me and there is no fear inside of You. Increase the space you fill inside of me, increase to push out all fear. Let this truth be evidenced in my words so that I begin to feel brave and live courageously because I know who I am and I am Doughty!  In Jesus Name…Amen

    Here’s your #musicpic for the week

    Dr Caroline Leaf 21 Brain DetoxIf I’ve piqued your interest in going through your own brain detox, I HIGHLY encourage it.  If you do the work for 63 days , you will be changed. 21 times 3-the first 21 take more time, but the last twho phases of 21 don’t take as much time but totally necessary

    It will be the best $38 US you’ve spent! If you take the course, email me (devotions@sherrystahl.com) and let me know by putting BRAIN DETOX SHEETS.  I created some sheets to go along with her stuff that I can send you and I think they’ll help you get even more out of the course.
    Here is a link to the course: https://21daybraindetox.com/
    Here’s a link to Dr. Leaf’s site and info on her Switch On Your Brain 5-Step Learning Process https://drleaf.com/


    Soul H2OIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.


    Drawing From The Well

    1. 2 Timothy 1:7
    2. John 14:27
    3. Romans 8:15
    4. Isaiah 11:2

    If you want to see what a logophile you are, here’s a link to the Reader’s Digest site and a wordy survey:
    https://www.rd.com/culture/word-power-art/25/


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    ENDNOTES

    1. Numerous Websites Accessed: 2019-01-17
      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dowdy
      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dowdy
      https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/dowdy
    2. Numerous Websites Accessed: 2019-01-17
      https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/fear
      https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/fear
      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/doughty
      https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/doughty
      https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/doughty
    3. Website Accessed: 2019-01-17 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/doughty

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  • Impacting The Next Generation

    Let this be written for a future generation,
        that a people not yet created may praise the Lord:
    ~Psalm 102:18 NIV

    Yesterday we celebrated Family Day in Canada.  I’ve got to say, it was a weird one for this girl.

    FAMILY DAY

    Todd and Sherry photo boothThis Family Day was the first time we weren’t able to coordinate getting together with any of our kids since none of them live within two and a half hours from us and one is in another country. I was super thankful we got to end out the day with a Facetime visit and see my son Brandon and his beautiful girlfriend Niall but during the day I was really glad we helped at our church’s Family Day event, so I was distracted from missing my family.

    Todd and I ran the photo booth and took pictures of kids and their parents all day long. Most were families with young children but there was this adorable married husband and wife in their eighties who wanted to get couples’ photos. Throughout that day I took photos of their son, who brought his neighbor to the event. I know the family because at our church there’s more of their kids, a few of their grandchildren and even some great-grandchildren. As I thought about it, this couple was still impacting the next generation!

    While we celebrated Family Day in Canada, American friends honored Presidents Day. I know it may seem a stretch but hear me out; I feel these two holidays have more in common than you might at first recognize and I believe they have a deep connection to this week’s Soul H2O verse.

    Clearly, God cares about family and He cares about impacting the next generation. Multiple verses echo the sentiment that God wants to show his love, mercy, grace, compassion, and salvation to every generation.  I encourage you to read through some of these verses listed in today’s Drawing From The Well section below.

    [tweetthis]God cares about family and He cares about impacting the next generation![/tweetthis]

    To help create this impact, Family Day was started in Ontario the year my son went to University.  Its purpose is to give Canadians more time away from work, so they can invest in their family relationships; something that will have lasting effects on future generations.

    Presidents Day is observed near the time of George Washington’s birthday; United States’ first president. He from 1789-1797, a mere eight years of the nation’s 243-year history. Washington’s leadership accounts for only 3% of the country’s governance yet the narrative of his final address, which is still read in the United States Senate, influences the country today.

    Impacting The Next Generation

    My desire is that what I write causes future generations, a people not yet born to praise the Lord! God’s desire is that the impact of His life in ours would be found impacting the next generation, the generation after that, and the generation after that…

    Just like George Washington can’t be here to speak with his fellow Americans, we won’t always be able to talk to our family members.  Distance may hinder and death will eventually halt our Facetime with family, but I’m encouraged as I learn how Washington’s Farewell Address was read aloud in the Senate yesterday.  Washington’s life is still impacting the next generation.  It’s God’s desire that you would live a life, impacting the next generation; regardless of whether or not you get to spend Family Day with your kids!

    Prayer

    Father…I’m so thankful for Your impact in my life.  I wouldn’t be who I am without your love, mercy, grace, compassion, and salvation. The blessing of your faithfulness to what You’ve promised keeps my heart secure and builds a longing in my heart to share that with others.  I want them to know the difference You make in my life and could in theirs.  Please help me to be found always impacting the next generation. In Jesus Name…Amen.

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    Soul H2OIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

     


    Drawing From The Well

    1. Psalm 102:18
    2. Exodus 20:6/Deuteronomy 5:10
    3. Luke 1:50
    4. Psalm 105:8

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  • Who Doesn’t Love A Good Chick Flick?

    She became his wife,
    and he loved her
    ~Genesis 24:67 NIV

    ever after movieGod’s timing for our lives is very interesting to me.

    You see, this weekend; the weekend before Valentine’s Day, I had to prepare a promo video for a retreat I’m speaking at where I’ve been asked to share my talk on The BEST Cinderella Story.

    To get into the Cinderella mindset I decided to watch Drew Barrymore’s movie, Ever After. I love how strong and stubborn Drew shows this fairy tale girl to be, she’s not some pushover princess. In this version, Cinder girl Danielle frees herself from an evil captor and still lands the prince! It’s a really great story that I’m sure you’d love because girls,

    who doesn’t love a good chick flick?

    When I watched the movie, a line struck me when Prince Henry was talking to Leonardo about the age-old question:

    Do you really think there is only one perfect mate?”

    In the course of their discussion, Prince Henry asks,

    “Is everything just chance or are some things meant to be?”

    MY FAVORITE ROMANCE STORY IN THE BIBLE

    I couldn’t help but think about my most favorite romantic love story in the Bible. Genesis 24 tells how intimately involved God was in the connecting of Isaac and Rebekah.  This story is what great chick flicks are made of!

    Isaac is a wealthy, strong, rugged man who worked the land and lived in the desert. Saddened by the death of his mother, Father Abraham sends his servant on a mission to find Isaac a wife. Not really common in our culture, but this servant loved his boss, so he had Isaac’s best interest at heart.  When I reread the story, I could see how God was able to direct Abraham’s servant to the girl of Isaac’s dreams. The Bible says of their relationship that

    “she became his wife, and he loved her.”

    Girls, if you’re wanting that match-made-in-heaven marriage you’d be wise to follow the same process of the servant to help find Isaac a wife, to help you find your Mr. Right.  (You can find my breakdown of his steps in the download below.)

    If you’re in a marriage that is leaving you feeling anything but loved, I encourage you to take the first step the servant followed. Invite God into your decision-making process.

    [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@sherry_stahl”]Ask God to help you discern if there are any steps you could take to help build a stronger, healthier, more loving, #chick-flick of a #marriage![/tweetthis]

    But above all else girls, KNOW… our Daddy loves you and not just on Valentine’s Day!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank-you because You always have my best interest at heart. Trusting You and Your timing, I choose to place my heart in Your hands because I know it’s safe with You. You know my longing to be loved in marriage.  Please fill the empty places of my soul with your love and help me surrender every desire of my heart to You, so You can fill me to OVERflowing. In Jesus Name…Amen

    How To Find Mr Right 4U-FREE Download

    [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@sherry_stahl”]Want to learn How To Find Mr. Right For You? #love #valentinesday #FREE Download [/tweetthis]

     

    Soul H2OIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

     


    Drawing From The Well

    1. Genesis 24:67
    2. A Quick Study of Genesis 24 with tips on How To Find Mr. Right For You can be downloaded from above.

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  • Great Friends Make All The Difference!

    Walk
    with the wise
    and become wise;
    associate with fools
    and get in trouble.
    ~Proverbs 13:20 NLT 

    For the past five days, I’ve been in Edmonton, Alberta. I went to help run a Women In Music & Media (WIMM Canada) event with my partner in crime; Hollie Taylor, at the Breakforth One Conference; Canada’s largest… and most amazing, Christian Conference. To say this time was life-changing would be an understatement.

     

    I loved that my cousin’s wife Rachelle (one of my BFF’s) flew in all the way from Texas, so we got to spend time together catching up for almost a week! On Thursday morning I was interviewed for the Why Me? Podcast by Hollie and her co-host, Johnny Rocket. Later that night we all attended the GMA Covenant Awards where I got to cheer on some friends as they accepted awards.

     

    On Friday, Rachelle and I joined hundreds of women at my friend Cathie’s Gather Women’s Event. We were motivated by so many of my inspiring friends who spoke and then got to hear Lisa Bevere too!

     

    Along with the thousands attending Breakforth; I learned in the seminars, grew deeper in my understanding of God’s Word during the main sessions and felt God’s presence like I hadn’t in quite some time during the worship. Our WIMM Canada event was completely encouraging and connected me with more inspirational women.

     

    The Conference and events were incredible but honestly, the best part of this trip was the people I spent time with, especially during an impromptu prayer meeting with friends in a hotel room.

     

    Great friends make all the difference!

     

    The wisdom found in this week’s Scripture is timeless. The people you spend time with will make or break your life.  Lots of versions translate the end of this verse to say a “companion of fools will suffer harm”.  Bad relationships can actually bring on destruction in your life.  Yikes!

    I’ve often heard the saying You’re the average of the five people you surround yourself with1 quoted, but an article I read references studies that prove this isn’t exactly true.  Although the people closest to you do affect you the most, your whole social network determines who you will become. I was shocked to read how research shows if one of your friends becomes obese you have a 45% greater chance to gain weight and even if your friend’s friend becomes obese there is around a 20% greater chance of you adding inches to your waistline. The study also shows the likelihood of you smoking is increased by 61% if your friend smokes or 29% if a friend of your friend smokes. How crazy is that!  Not surprisingly, the study also showed that “happy friends make you happier!”2

     The reality is that who you surround yourself with is paramount to your success in life and I’m not just talking about how much money you make.  If those you spend time with people who are wise, you’ll gain wisdom… if your friends are fools, you’ll end up in dangerous situations that could lead to your harm; just like Rehoboam brought onto the people when he rejected the advice of elders and chose to follow the suggestions of his childhood buddies.3

    Maybe it’s time to take stock of the people in your world? You might realize how blessed you are or recognize your need to make positive changes; keeping in mind that great friends make all the difference!

     

    Prayer

    Father… I thank You for the wisdom in Your Word. People may come up with cleaver new sayings, but they’re just rephrasing truths found in Your book. Help me build a network of people who inspire, encourage, uplift and challenge me to be the best version of myself, so I can keep myself from unnecessary hurt while making a difference in this world for You! In Jesus Name…Amen

     

     

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    Soul H2O BookIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

     

     


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    Drawing From The Well

    1. Proverbs 13:20
    2. 2 Chronicles 10:6-8
    3. 2 Chronicles 18-19
    4. Proverbs 22:24-25

    ENDNOTES

    1               https://www.businessinsider.com/jim-rohn-youre-the-average-of-the-five-people-you-spend-the-most-time-with-2012-7 Quote by Jim Rohn; Business Insider Website Accessed:  2019-01-27

    2               https://medium.com/the-mission/youre-not-the-average-of-the-five-people-you-surround-yourself-with-f21b817f6e69 Mission Website Accessed:  2019-01-27

    3               2 Chronicles 10

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  • Recognizing Your Ability To Name Things

    Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground 
    all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. 
    He brought them to the man
    to see what he would name them;
    and whatever the man called each living creature,
    that was its name.
    ~Genesis 2:19 NIV

    As with anything I speak on or write about, I want you to know that I never feel I’ve “arrived”, or that I have this area perfected in my life.  I most often speak or write on topics or Scripture that God is highlighting in my life to help me grow and mature as a believer.  I especially feel this way about today’s devotion.  Its come out of some very challenging circumstances in my life and I’m thankful that until we draw our last breath… God isn’t finished with us yet! 

    Sherry much love blue and gold


    Brandon and Shelby My kidsYears before I became a mom, I picked out names for my kids.

    For a boy, I wanted Brandon because I’d only known one other Brandon, a sweet adorable boy in my Sunday School class. By the time I had a son and given him the name Brandon, the Beverly Hills 90210 series had been released and was flooding our TV sets with the story of Brandon and Brenda Walsh. The name became associated with one of the coolest kids in North America, but it was no longer unique.

    I wanted the name Shelby for a daughter because of a spunky girl that sometimes came out to the youth group I pastored.  Seeing my kids now as grown, young adults I think I named them well.

    Cool would definitely describe my Brandon and spunky is an understatement for my Shelby!

    Today’s verse shows how God gave Adam the ability and authority to name all the animals and birds. Scripture says, “whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.”

    The reality is that God has given each of us the ability and authority to place names on things.

    Seriously, you are that powerful 🙂  Parents give their children a sense of identity by what they recorded on the birth certificate. Your first or given name helps you identify with who you are personally, and your last name brings a connection with your family identity.

    I wish this was the only way names were placed on people, just a one-time event at birth but sadly that’s never the case. Throughout your life; parents, teachers, bosses or even people in the checkout line are making statements about you; some kind, some loving… some harassing, negative or cruel.  Every word spoken has the potential to place a name on you. Sometimes people aren’t even trying to bring hurt but misguided words, insecurities or past hurt can leave your heart open to receiving names that were never intended for you.

    I want to encourage you that you’re not stuck with a name.

    One day God is going to give each of us a new name1 but before that happens, names can be changed. There are lots of examples in the Bible of people’s names being changed that changed the trajectory of their lives. Today, it takes a lot of work, but you can even have your name legally changed by the government. With work you can change the name label that’s been placed over you by others… or even if you’ve self-labeled.

    I also want to warn you.

    Be careful with your words. Sensitive ears are all around us, often attached to our own heads. As much as possible, talk in a way that uplifts, builds up and honors not using insults, criticism and heckling.  Remember how proverbs teaches that gracious, kind words are like honey; they’re “sweet to the soul”2 and “healing for the body”.3


    Prayer

    Father…I’m thankful you have a special name for me because you know me more than anyone on this earth.  Help me to make You the source of my worth, confidence and identity.  I ask You to bring revelation to where I’ve accepted names you never meant to characterize my life so I can reject and eradicate them from my thoughts. I chose to come in agreement with and commit to speaking the names you place over me. In Jesus Name…Amen

    WHERE YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP MY BLOG WITH OR PLACES WHERE MY WRITING HAS BEEN FEATURED

    Soul H2OIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

     

     


    #Dare2Share Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!

     Drawing From The Well

    1. Genesis 2:19
    2. Isaiah 62:2
    3. Psalm 19:14
    4. Ephesians 4:29

    ENDNOTES

    1. Revelations 2:17
    2. Proverbs 16:24 NLT
    3. Proverbs 16:24 ISV

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  • Linkups & Features

    Here’s where you can find where I linkup my blog posts and places that featured my writing.


    YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:

    MONDAY Monday Meditations – Laura J. Davis, Soul Survival – Donna Reidland,

    TUESDAY Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,

    WEDNESDAYWord Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz, Worth Beyond Rubies

    THURSDAY Heart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms

    “Reflections

     

    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 


    WHERE MY BLOG & WRITING IS FEATURED

    ELLEN’S PICKS– Ellen Graf-Martin 

    LIFE LETTER CAFE

    See, Hear, Love TV Show & Blogsite

     

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  • That Voice Behind You

    “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

    Last week, Ethan a student from my former Bible College moved into with Todd and I, so he could complete his final internship before Graduation. Talk about making you feel old… he’s younger than my youngest kid, but in the age-range to be my child. Some of his friends are my former classmates’ kids.  It’s such a small world!

    The other night at dinner, we asked Ethan how he ended up at Bible College and his answer gave us goose-bumps.

    Ethan said he felt God calling him to attend Bible College at the end of High School but wasn’t sure why. So, with questions left in his mind he decided to work for a year, then see how he felt.  When the academic year started, he had this sinking feeling like he missed it; he should’ve taken the plunge and started College that September.

    He Heard That Voice

    Meanwhile in Peterborough, during the second week in the semester, a student felt God speaking to him that someone should have been there and wasn’t.  When he shared this with some other students they began to intercede for whoever this person was.

    A few days later, one of those praying students was on social media and saw a post from Ethan saying how he regretted not registering for Master’s College & Seminary this year and was going next year for sure.  The student stirred up all the courage inside, pushed down the fear of looking like a weirdo and contacted Ethan to tell him what they had sensed during prayer that week.  This was all the encouragement Ethan needed. He took that leap of faith and enrolled, starting classes the next week—keep in mind, this student on social media didn’t know Ethan… had never even met him before {Insert Goosebumps}

    How cool is God?

    Ethan’s story is such a great example of what Isaiah was talking about in today’s verse. The Holman Christian Standard Bible, titled this portion of Scripture, The LORD’S Mercy to Israel and it really does show God’s mercy. It seems the Israelites were again wandering from God’s will, unclear of His plan.

    That Voice Behind You

    You can only hear a voice behind you when you’ve gone the wrong way or went too far. It was in this time of course confusion that these directionally challenged people received a comforting promise.  God spoke through the prophet Isaiah assuring them that even when they turned the wrong way, He would still direct their path.  They may have to course correct, but He would surely let them know.

    For all of you who may be like Ethan, wondering if you’ve gone the wrong way… open your ears to hear from God… when you sense his voice, take that leap of faith and follow that little voice behind you saying, “this is the way, walk in it”!

    Prayer

    Father… I’m so thankful for Your leading. I’d be lost without your guiding me. Help me to not be stubborn and go my own way but listen to You, so when I get off-course, as I inevitably will, I’ll hear Your voice behind me… calling me back.  I want to follow wherever You lead.  In Jesus Name…Amen


    Soul H2O BookIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.



    #Dare2Share
    Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else! 


    Drawing From The Well

    1. Isaiah 30:21
    2. Proverbs 3:5-6
    3. Proverbs 25:9
    4. Isaiah 42:16

    YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:
    MONDAY
     Monday Meditations – Laura J. Davis, Soul Survival – Donna Reidland,

    TUESDAY 
    Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
    WEDNESDAY Coffee For Your Heart – Holley GerthWord Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz
    THURSDAY
     Heart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms
    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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  • How They Missed The Christ in CHRISTmas!

    We despised him and rejected him;
    he endured suffering and pain.
    No one would even look at him--
    we ignored him
    as if he were nothing.
    ~Isaiah 53:3 GNT

    Did you see the Hipster Nativity Set this Christmas?

    hipster nativityEarlier this week, the news reported how it’s the talk of Christmas 2018.

    The camera zoomed in showing the 3 wise men as Amazon Prime Deliverymen on Segways with presents in hand, the shepherd as a young guy missing what’s going on as he’s busy posting on social media with his 100% organic, gluten-free feed-eating cow and sheep in a Christmas sweater sitting by his side.  Next, they showed a man-bun boasting Joseph taking a selfie of himself with Mary posed in a little risqué outfit with her t-shirt off the shoulder, bra-strap and a little more showing.

    Oh ya, baby Jesus was in the solar-paneled manger too, but the newscasters weren’t really talking about Him.

    The discussion surrounded whether or not it was appropriate to have a nativity set with updated “characters”.  One man on the street was interviewed commenting how he felt each generation depicts the nativity with their own cultural relevance or some other hogwash like that. It’s questionable what nativity set that guy’s been putting out each Christmas but ours have always portrayed people in clothing suiting the era when Christ was born with baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling cloths.

    This modern-day version of the nativity wasn’t an issue for me, although I wish they had made Mary a little more modestly dressed, I actually thought it was clever and could be a good conversation starter but what bothered me was how a whole segment of the news could actually be discussing the scene of Jesus’ birth and yet He wasn’t the focus.  In fact, Jesus was barely mentioned.

    They completely missed the Christ in CHRISTmas!

    Other’s Who Can’t See The Forest For The Trees

    For centuries people have been missing the Christ in CHRISTmas.

    Scripture is full of verses talking about the hope of Israel; a coming Messiah, the savior who would bring peace to those who followed Him.  Jewish Rabbis and faithful Hebrew people have studied the Tanakh (Old Testament) and made lists of what they thought the Messiah; the Christ would be like and how they would recognize Him from any other good person. As Christians, we have accepted Jesus (that’s the English version of His name), to be the fulfillment of all the ancient prophecies.

    I’ve also come to understand through reading Joe Amaral’s book, The Story In The Stars how Jesus also fulfilled God’s prophetic power point in the sky: displayed through the constellations God designed at creation; from the virgin woman Virgo to the Aries ram.

    How My Brain Works

    But if your brain works at all like mine, you’ve probably wondered, Why, if Jesus was the Messiah God gave, then why are there Jewish people today still searching for the Christ?  So, were we wrong or did they miss their Messiah when He came… and why did they?  As you can see, I was probably one of those toddlers who drove their parents’ crazy asking, “But Why?” The Bible does teach that when Jesus was born; as those original style nativity sets depict, lived on the earth as a carpenter and then became a miracle-working minister many Jewish people and Priests did follow Him1, but not all.

    I could never understand how Hebrew people today weren’t able to connect-the-dots left in the Old Testament to ascertain the truth of Jesus’ identity, that was until my friend shared this YouTube video called The Forbidden Chapter in the Tanakh where a young Jewish guy in Israel explains how after Jesus lived, the Rabbi’s took Isaiah 53 out of the Scripture listing, read by Jewish people.  This portion of Scripture is the prophet Isaiah’s most detailed record about the coming Saviour.

    For the first time in my life,

    I understood how Jewish people could miss Jesus being the Christ of CHRISTmas.

    As I watched the video (shown below), my faith of Jesus as Lord and savior of my life was strengthened.

    At the same time, this news brought on such a deep sense of sadness to recognize how millions of Jewish people for over two centuries have missed out on knowing Jesus as I do because their eyes have been blinded from the truth.

    It brings my mind back to the news report on The Hipster Nativity and how people are still blinded from the truth of who Jesus is today.  We can be so distracted by all our stuff the wise men/delivery guys bring, missing Jesus right in front of our eyes like the shepherd or focused on ourselves in this selfie generation. Don’t let that be your reality this year.

    Make 2019 different!

    Don’t let the “trappings of this world” trip you up.  Open your eyes and heart to make room for Jesus, so you don’t miss Him this year!

    Prayer

    Father… My heart aches for a world that seems to be blinded to Your Son even when there are signs of Him all around us. Holy Spirit I ask you to remove the blinders from my eyes and help me see Jesus, Emmanuel… God is with me. Jesus You are here, You’re wanting to be involved in my daily life. I open wide my heart to let you in.  You are my Christ, my savior, my Lord: at Christmas, in this new year and always.  In Jesus Name…Amen


    Isaiah 53 Missing

     

    VIDEO OF JEWISH GUY SHOWING JEWISH PEOPLE ISAIAH 53

    “THE FORBIDDEN CHAPTER”

    In the Tanakh (Old Testament for us).


    If you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

    #Dare2Share
    Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!

    DRAWING FROM THE WELL

    1. Isaiah 53:3
    2. Acts 6:7
    3. 2 Corinthians 4:4
    4. Jude 1:3

    ENDNOTES

    1.   Acts 2:41, 47; 4:4; 5:14; 6:7 (Key verse is Acts 6:7)

    YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:
    MONDAY
     Monday Meditations – Laura J. Davis, Soul Survival – Donna Reidland,

    TUESDAY Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
    WEDNESDAY Coffee For Your Heart – Holley GerthWord Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz
    THURSDAY Heart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms
    FRIDAY Dance With Jesus Linkup – Susan B. MeadGrace and Truth Linkup – Arabah Joy

    Read More