Soul H2O Devotions

  • My Resurrection Story

    And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
    Romans 8:11 (NIV)

    My Resurrection Story - Blog ImageI love Easter.  It’s a season to spend time thinking about what Christ did for us on the cross.  Throughout Lent, St. James United in Waterdown, ON has been going through my book.  From the youngest to the oldest person attending they have taken the past 6 weeks to direct their focus to all that Christ went through to bring us I grew up in a denomination where they didn’t observe Lent.  I never knew much about it until this year.  It has me thinking so much about all that Christ has done for me… for my salvation… for my Resurrection Story!

    My “Resurrection” Story

    The reality is that…

    Something has to die for there to be a resurrection.

    When I went through separation and divorce it was such a difficult time of my life.  I had been in an unhealthy 20 year marriage that involved decades of counselling and many times of separation.  I lived for a long time separated and didn’t let my friends know. 

    I was embarrassed, full of shame.  I had a broken heart and a broken spirit.  I absolutely thought my life was over. 

    Every dream I had died with the death of my first marriage.

    When we’re going through hard times we’re often thinking, no one else has been through it this bad… it’s not fair…I don’t deserve this… God can’t understand me… but He can.

    ISAIAH 53:5 tells me that: 

    “he was pierced for MY transgressions,
    he was crushed for MY iniquities;
    the punishment that brought ME peace was on him,
    and by his wounds I am healed.

    ISAIAH 53:5

    Jesus was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities.  He suffered and it wasn’t fair.  He didn’t do anything wrong.

    IT’S MY FAULT HE SUFFERED

    IT WAS FOR HIS GREAT LOVE OF YOU AND ME THAT HE SUFFERED

    When I went through separation and divorce it was such a difficult time of my life.  I lived for a long time separated and didn’t let my friends know.  I was embarrassed. I had a broken heart and a broken spirit.  I absolutely thought my life was over.  

    If it wasn’t for my kids I don’t know what I would have done.  They were my reason for living.  They were struggling so much and needed a mom—more than ever before.  

    Before all of this heartache, I had been a “Cup Half Full” kind of person, always being described as “bubbly”.   There was nothing left in me to “bubble over”.  I was depleted of every resource I had.  With my marriage ending I thought any good plans I had for my life were over.  I thought I would never be able to fulfill the call of God on my life.  I thought I would die never having been truly loved.  I felt dead inside. Through so many avenues God brought healing into my life: good friends, books, music, counseling, Divorce Care, Church, but mostly through His Word!  His Word was always the place I ran to for refuge.  I’m SO thankful that I made that my practice when I was younger.  Reading the Word was my knee-jerk reaction to pain normally but with all the heartache I at first shied away from reading and praying.  I actually had to force myself to read the Bible for a while.  The book that had been so alive for me was just words on a page. 

    The more I read, the more faith began to rise up!  I began to understand that no matter if I never experience the true love of a man, my Father in heaven loved me and His love is more than enough! 

    I was attending and amazing church and each week it felt like the pastor spoke right to my heart and need.  A song that was sung often by the worship team was “Healer”.  As I sang, the words washed over me and Daddy healed my heart. 

    “Healer”

    You hold my very moment
    You calm my raging seas
    You walk with me through fire
    And heal all my disease
    I trust in You, I trust in You

    I believe You’re my healer
    I believe You are all I need
    I believe 

    It goes on to say:
    Nothing is impossible for You… You’re my healer

    When my heart was strong again, God saw fit to bring a wonderful man into my life.  His life and love have brought a deeper level of healing to my heart that is such a blessing to me!  Todd’s encouragement has helped me to move forward and walk into the calling God has always had on my life.  You reading these words are proof of that! 
    Since Todd came into my life I have published one book that he illustrated and have more in the works.  God has opened the doors for me to travel and speak.  My husband is publishing his first book.  We’re helping each other to follow our dreams.  Dreams God placed in my heart as a 19 year old girl!  Writing, speaking, one in marriage and ministry, my children doing well…these were all dreams that had died for me!   

    God resurrected them all! 

    The Bible is true when it says that, 

    if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:11 (NIV)   

    This Easter, if you’ve never opened up your spirit to Christ I beg you to invite Him in.  Once you allow Him in, the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead will be at work inside of YOU, bringing those places that you thought were dead to new LIFE in Christ! 

    If you are a believer, allow My “Resurrection” Story to increase your faith to believe for YOUR “Resurrection” Story!

    May you have the Most Blessed Easter!

    With love,
    Sherry Stahl

    #musicpic
    CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE HILLSONG CHURCH SINGING “HEALER”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7M6nTV1tFs

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  • Contentment That Leads To Victory!

    contentment that leads to victory

    “Contentment makes poor men rich, and discontent makes rich men poor.“
    Benjamin Franklin

    “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”
    Philippians 4:11-12 (NIV) 13 (NLT)

    Contentment That Leads To Robinson’s Victory

    One of my favorite childhood memories from Disney World was climbing up the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse!  The attraction was the best adventure at Disney for me!  I was mesmerized by all of the inventions that helped them survive.  The SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON book and TV series was an adaptation of the book, ROBINSON CRUSOE.  The story inspired so many plays, movies and clearly Walt Disney!

    swiss family robinson tree disneyIn the original book, Robinson ends up shipwrecked on a deserted island. He finds a Bible inside one of the pirate chests.  Reading the Word changes his life!  As he reads, he begins to accept his situation and learn to live in his circumstances.  Amazingly, after coming to peace while living in hard times, God blesses Robinson and provides a way out.  He eventually breaks free of his captivity and returns to his homeland of England.

    Paul Learned To Be Contented

    Paul describes it well when he talks about how he “learned” to be content.  It is NOT something that comes naturally!  Well, at least not to me!  Hebrews 13:5 says “be content with what you have because God has said ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you!”  True contentment comes when we learn, like Paul and Robinson Crusoe that God is with us no matter what desert, or deserted island we face.  When we are at peace in the middle of the storm, that’s when Victory has come and Freedom is following close behind!

    Prayer

    Father…Thank-you for always being with me.  Thank-you for walking with me in every circumstance I face: When thing are going well, or when trouble strikes.  Help me to always live in the confidence that You are with me so I can truly be content and see your Victory! In Jesus name…Amen.


    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.

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

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  • 40 Days In The Man Cave

    Can’t seem to find a ‘Mans Man’ Devotional?
    Well search no more!
    My husband Todd—the firefighter, author, artist and illustrator of WATER IN THE DESERT recently completed a NEW Men’s Daily Devotional.

    40 DAYS IN THE MAN CAVE is scattered with humorous, interesting stories about the importance of men carving out a few minutes within their crazy schedules to spend time with God and ‘Crave The Cave’.

    40 DAYS IN THE MANCAVE COVER

    After years of searching the book shelves Todd feels God has placed in his heart the need for a “Man’s Man” devotional.

    This is for the guy who wants to uncover more out of the bible without having to hand in his Man Card!
    If this describes you, or someone you know, consider reading a pre-published copy.
    We NEED your input before 40 days in the Man Cave hits the shelves!
    7 guys will be chosen.. all we ask is..

    • Email:  toddstahlart@gmail.com     Subject Line: Book Review
    • Tell us why you want to be included for this selected group
    • We will be happy to send you a manuscript and a small questionnaire to complete so we can receive your honest input.
    • Simply fill out the questionnaire and email/mail it back to us so we can make the book even better!

    For your time and assistance you will receive a signed copy upon publication!

    http://WWW.TODDSTAHL.COM

    SAMPLER     

    CLICK HERE TO READ A DEVOTIONAL SAMPLER

    YOU WON’T BE DISAPPOINTED!

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  • Fight The Urge To Repeat

    don't repeat“When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.”

                                                                   Joshua 3:3-4 NIV
    Just because the problem looks the same, doesn’t mean that God’s solution is the same.
    The Israelites were again at the place where they had to cross over a raging body of water to break free.  To some it might have looked like a similar situation, but God was telling them that it wasn’t.  He said they had never been there before.  Moses got into trouble when he tried to just do it the same way as he did before when the people were crying out for water again.   Moses had even taken the time to ask God what to do, but he ignored the directions God gave to him.  God instructed Moses to speak to the rock and water would gush out.  Instead, Moses struck the rock, like he had done before.  The choice to repeat instead of follow cost Moses the right to enter The Promised Land.
    God’s desire is that we be in relationship with Him.  He wants us to consult Him, to spend enough time with Him that we know what His direction is.  He doesn’t want us assuming we know what to do, even if we’ve “been that way before”.  So, fight the urge to repeat and ask God what He wills for you today!
    Prayer
    Father…I want to thank-you for speaking.  I’m so glad you’re alive and able to direct me where I need to go.  Help me to always ask for Your direction and follow Your lead!  In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • It Ain't Always Easy!

    memorial stones

    “Choose 12 men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonightto serve as a sign among youThese stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”  Joshua 4:2-3,6,7
    A counselor I saw one time said “If God asks you to cross the road, you can bet there’ll be a parade on the street”.  God’s plan is often simple, but it ain’t always easy!
    not easy, AINT ALWAYS EASY           The Israelites didn’t know easy!
    This request from God was to me the most difficult in the desert exodus to the Promise Land.  At first all they had to do was dip their toes in the Jordan River and then God parted the waters for them to walk across on dry ground with a strong wind.  Scripture tells us that the river was at flood stage.   A rushing river and strong winds would make for a scary crossing over!  I would think the Priests first thought would be to get to the other side and away from the danger, but twelve men had to go back into the middle of the parted river and pick out twelve stones.  Research suggests that where they crossed the river would have been about 360 feet at that time.  To give you perspective, that’s the distance of an NFL Football field with raging water heaped up on either side of you!  Gulp.  Take a deep breath, and go back in there boys!  Imagine the faith they had to muster up to fulfill the task God called them to?  They probably were thinking, “This is stupid.  It doesn’t make sense.  What difference is it going to make if I get a stone and we pile them up?  Why is God making me do this?”
    They had no way of knowing how many sermons and books would be written about their heroic task.  No idea that their seemingly unimportant step of faith would motivate others for centuries!  Take a step of faith, no matter how difficult and follow God today!  You’ll never know how many people’s lives you will inspire!
    Prayer
    Father…I thank-you for all the examples you give in your Word that let me see real people, living out real faith.  Help me to go beyond the easy and press forward to what you’ve called me to do.  Let me not shrink back when things get difficult but accomplish what you’ve called me to do so that others will be inspired.  In Jesus name…Amen.

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  • VICTORY

    This devotion ‘VICTORY’ was originally published on my blog (March 14, 2014):  
     It was later published in Soul H2O: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions For Women:
                                 (c) 2016 Word Alive Press Winnipeg, MB
    The devotion was also featured on Danielle Macauley's Blog (January 9, 2016)  
    www.frommilktomeat.com
    Watch my spontaneous Facebook Live “ON THE WAY TO VICTORY” where I read through this devotion and share what the Lord spoke to me as I read it for my devotions when the book published.   Not my professional best work, but from the heart <3 and encouraged so many. Praying it encourages you!  (November 2, 2016)

    VICTORY

    “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”                                               Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV

    The previous Soul H2O devotion; Obedient Faith…Brings Rest ended with today’s verse, some encouragement and a quote from Winston Churchill.

    “To keep your promise, you need to live out the words of Winston Churchill and
    “Never, never, never give up!”

    Reading the quote by Churchill led me to research his life. He was such an inspiring man in a potentially depressing time.
    In 1941, while World War II was raging and Europe was being held captive by a murderous madman, “Victor de Laveleye, former Belgian Minister of Justice and director of the Belgian French-speaking broadcasts on the BBC”7 encouraged Belgians to form their hands into the V shape to represent victory. Months later, Winston Churchill began using the V sign in a speech.
    For four more years, through great tribulation and much defeat, Churchill continued to use this hand sign to address the people of England.1 This was a visual sign of his confidence in their victory. To their enemy, it was also a visual defiance and a clear message of their perseverance as a nation.  The character trait that most impressed me about Churchill was his optimism.

    [tweetthis remove_url=”true”]Churchill impacted a nation to not throw away their confidence and persevere ON THEIR WAY to victory.[/tweetthis]

    Let this same mindset be yours. Signal to your enemy that you will endure until victory is achieved and you receive all that God has promised!

    PRAYER:

    Father,  May a spirit of confidence in Your promises sweep over my spirit so I can persevere through anything the enemy throws my way. Help me to signal confidence and victory that will inspire others around me to great faith! In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

    DRAWING FROM THE WELL
    • Hebrews 10:35–36
    • Genesis 17:5
    • Romans 4:17-18
    • Ephesians 3:12

    1  Wikipedia, “V Sign.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_sign Date of access: March 23, 2014

    Watch my spontaneous Facebook Live “ON THE WAY TO VICTORY” where I read through this devotion and share what the Lord spoke to me as I read it for my devotions when the book published.   Not my professional best work, but from the heart <3 and encouraged so many. Praying it encourages you!  (November 2, 2016)

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  • Keeping The Promise

    “By the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you.  Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places.  Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess.” (Numbers 33:50-53 NIV) 
    “I HAVE TO DO WHAT???”  I’m trying to imagine how the Israelites felt when they heard this direction from the Lord.  I can see them saying, “I have to do what?  Don’t you know we just got out of the dry, difficult desert?  Shouldn’t we be on easy street now?”  The Israelites once in the Promised Land had to continue battling nations that opposed them.  We have to stop being shocked that once we get our promise it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.  The battle we had to fight to get our promise is sometimes easier than the battle to keep our promise, but there will be blessings to balance out the hardship.
    Think of David’s life and the progression of enemies he had to face—Lion…Bear….Goliath…Saul….ABSOLOM.   At first you would think that the biggest battle he had to face was Goliath, but I think having to stand up against the leader he served and then having his son as an enemy would be far worse than a 9 foot giant he never knew.  His last battles were closest to his heart.
    The bigger the battle won, the bigger the reward.  “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36)  Live out the words of Winston Churchill and “Never, Never, Never Give Up!”
    Prayer:
    Father…I thank-you that you are with me.  You give me what I need to face every enemy that comes against me.  Help me to push forward and take hold of and keep the promise you have for me.   In Jesus name, Amen

    winston churchill never give up KEEPING THE PROMISE

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  • Obedient Faith…Brings Rest

    “…since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful…”
                                            Hebrews 4:1  NIV
    Why is it so funny when others wipe-out?  I love the TV show where everyone is on a competition to finish the race without wiping out but, it’s inevitable!  You can see the fall coming before they do!

    The Israelites are always an example to us.  We can either learn by our mistakes or theirs!  Disobedience and lack of faith in God took their rest away.  Obedience and faith are the keys that will open the door to your rest.  No more striving to do enough, have enough or be good enough.  A simple obedience in faith is what it takes to enter into rest.
    When I hear the word obedience, I immediately think of a set of rules.  It seems to me in this passage from Hebrews 3 & 4 that God is not describing rules.  He’s talking about living in obedience to who He’s designed you to be, and following where he’s destined you to go.  To live that out—you need faith.  Faith to believe in who God says you are and faith to believe that He will accomplish it through you!
    When we are being obedient to God’s calling on our lives that’s when we’re most at rest.   No more striving to do enough, have enough or be good enough.  A simple obedient faith that believes in what He says over every circumstance we face…that my friend brings rest!
    Prayer: 
    Father…Help me to see the difference between striving and, being at rest to follow You in obedient faith.  Help me to believe in Your Word above all my thoughts, experiences and circumstances.  I declare my obedient faith to Your call.  May I live in the rest you promise!   In Jesus name, Amen

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  • Absolute Dependence

    “There remains, then a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”                                                                    Hebrews 4:10-11 NIV
    Why is striking a balance between work and rest hard to do?  It seems there are so few people who can master this balance well.   One person who nailed it, and has helped countless others do the same was Mary Kay Ash.

    mary kay success story title

    Our society calls people like her “self-made”, but I don’t think that’s how she would describe herself.  Mary Kay’s life motto was ‘God First, Family Second and Career Third’.  It remains the motto of her abundantly successful cosmetic company to this day.

    mary kay motto

    When discussing the verse above, The Voice Bible Translation notes that, “By letting go of daily work, they declared their absolute dependence on God to meet their needs.”1  May Kay Ash was a single mom by divorce and widowhood when she started her company.  Instead of trying to do it all on her own, she emphatically stated her absolute dependence on God.
    Last week we talked about living a life that’s worth following and Mary Kay fits the bill!   Let’s follow her lead and let the verses below strengthen our resolve for complete dependence on God to meet ALL of our needs.
    Philippians 4:19  “And this same God who takes care of me will supply ALL your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus”  NLT
    2 Corinthians 9:8  “And God is ABLE to bless you abundantly, so that in ALL things at all times, having ALL that you need, you will abound in EVERY good work.”  NIV 
    Prayer:
     Father…I thank-you that I can rest because You will take care of me!  Help me to live in absolute dependence on Your provision.  In Jesus name, Amen
    1 The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.
    http://www.marykay.com

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  • Follow Me

    follow me scripture
    “There remains, then a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”
    Hebrews 4:10-11 NIV
    Does the idiom, “Do as I say, not as I do” annoy anyone else?  It bothers me when I hear parents repeating it to their kids.  They say it as if it’s a joke, when really it’s backed up by their actions.  The Free Dictionary describes this phrase as: “Take my advice, even though I am acting contrary to it”.1   I’m so thankful that we serve a heavenly father who parents nothing like this!  God never requires something of us that He has not modeled for us.   He tells us to take a Sabbath rest, following His example.
    Good Leaders lead by example, not by rule.
    “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  In Matthew 4:19 NIV.  Jesus had every right to say, “follow me” because that is exactly what He was doing, fishing for people.  Paul encouraged believers many times to follow his example, even saying twice that people should “imitate” him.  In Philippians 3:17, Paul said “Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.” NIV   We need to be Christians who lead by example, so that we can say, “Do as I say, and as I do!”
     Prayer:
    Father…I thank-you for modeling good things before me.  Help me to follow your example to rest and to model what I say, in what I do.  May I live a life that others will be better to follow after.  In Jesus name, Amen
    1 https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/Do+as+I+say,+not+as+I+do

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