devotional

  • Is it Too Late?

     “Caleb said, ‘I was 40 years old when Moses sent me to explore the land…I followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.  On that day, Moses swore to me, “The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and the of your children forever because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.”  He has kept me alive for forty-five years.  I am today, eighty-five years old! Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day…the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said…Then Joshua blessed Caleb and gave him Hebron as his inheritance since he followed the LORD wholeheartedly…Then the land had rest from war’.”
                                         Joshua 14:6-15 NIV
    not too late
    What an incredible story!  Because Caleb followed God wholeheartedly, God gave him the strength to “take the hill country” that was promised to him through Moses 45 years earlier!  Simply amazing that a man at 85 could fight and win an uphill battle!
    We may feel too old or that the promise is too old, but God’s promises don’t have expiry dates!  We can’t let the lies from the enemy or our feelings keep us from the promises that God has for us!  Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength”.  If Caleb wasn’t too old to go fight an uphill battle at 85 and win, then neither are we to do what God has called us to do!
    “Fight the good fight” by living wholeheartedly for God and you will have the strength to take your hill country!  May the Lord bless you as you wholeheartedly live for Him and see His promises fulfilled!
    Prayer
    Father…thank-you for your faithfulness!  Help me to not give up hope on seeing your promises fulfilled in my life.  May I be willing to stand up and fight for what you have for me!  In Jesus Name…Amen.
    too oldnever too late

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  • The Closeness Of God

    closenessThey will be my people, and I will be their God.”  

    Jeremiah32:38 (NIV)
    Isn’t it amazing how the more you love someone the closer you want to get to them?  From the beginning of the Bible in Genesis 3 we can read how God would come down and hang out with Adam and Eve in the garden.  God originally created us to have fellowship with Him and even went so far as to create the perfect place to fellowship with us.  Sin messed that all up.
    In the Old Testament, it tells us that God dwelt “among” His people.  There are so many scriptures that talk about it.  All of them say the same thing.  God came to dwell “among” us.  Exodus 25:8 affirms this and then the following section of scripture gives instructions on how to build the Ark of The Covenant.  The Ark was a symbol of God’s presence amongst the people.  The priests were to put the Testimony—the record of God’s laws and promises inside the Ark.
    As time passed God desired to come closer in relationship with us.  Jesus came down to earth to live “among” us full-time.  Even that no longer satisfied God’s desire for relationship with us.  He wanted more.  He wanted closer.  In John 16:7 Jesus tells the people that it is better that He goes so that the Counselor, the Holy Spirit could come.  The Holy Spirit came so that God could dwell “in” us!  1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us that we are God’s ‘temple’, His place of fellowship with others and that God’s spirit dwells “in” us.
    God desires to grow closer in relationship with you!  Open your heart today.  Spend time with Him reading His Word and listening to His Voice.  Allow the spirit within you to fellowship with Him, and He with YOU!
    Father…May you enable us “Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us” to “carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to” us (2 Tm 1:14 NLT).  May we move closer to You as you draw closer to us.  In Jesus Name…Amen.
    OT—God dwelt “among” His people
    (Genesis 3:8; Exodus 25:8,29:45-46; Leviticus 26:11-12; 1Kings 6:13)
    NT—God dwells “in” His people
    (2 Timothy 1:14; Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:22,3:17)

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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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  • Faith & Lace With Shelby

    On Sunday Night my daughter, Shelby created a blog for young women called “Faith & Lace“.  

    Faith & Lace

    Shelby releasing faith and laceIt’s all about faith, fashion, music or whatever she’s feeling at the time!   Shelby’s one of those strange kids that watched Fashion Television from when she was about 4 years old, and has great fashion sense now.  

    I think she loved music since the day she was born!  Shelby would kind of sing herself to sleep in her little basssonette.  Somehow she’s been blessed with a beautiful singing voice and the ability to play multiple instruments.  She didn’t get that from her momma!  

    Shelby’s faith was strong from a young age, but was almost destroyed in her early teen years.  Thankfully, things have changed so much!  

    Writing Devotions

    cross Shelbys faith and lace siteShelby started her blog with a devotional called “What Is Your Cross“. I wonder where she ever got the idea to write a devotional 😉  (Twinkle in her momma’s eye!)

    In the post, Shelby talks about her inspiration for writing the blog when she quotes Luke 9:23, “Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must… take up your cross daily, and follow me.”  Shelby goes on to say:

    I choose today to carry my cross of depression and anxiety high and follow God, no matter how painful and hard it may seem.

    So I ask you this, what is YOUR cross?

    Will you choose to let that cross bring you down and keep you in pain and discomfort, or are you going carry it with pride? Soon the cross will be dragged so long that it will slowly grind down to nothing, and you will truly feel free.

    Shelby has gone through so much in her short 18 years and has had to fight to get free.  It has come from accepting the cross she has to bear!  

    I couldn’t be more proud of her!  Interestingly, as she has accepted her cross and allowed God to use it, He has seen fit to lift the depression from her.  Steadily over the past year there has been a growing vibrancy and hope for the future in Shelby.   Her desire for God to use her and all she’s gone through make this momma’s heart sing!  

    Looks like we have another author in the house!  

    Since this post released, years have past… Her overcoming nature inspired a devotion and then Shelby shared her story in more detail on my Soul H2O Radio &Podcast Show. 

    Check out Shelby’s Blog:

    http://www.faithandlace.weebly.com
        

    Instagram:     @shelbysparkman

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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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  • 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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  • Lent

    StJamesSlider
    St. James in Waterdown, Ontario is using my book, WATER IN THE DESERT  to go through for Lent.   What an amazing endeavor this has turned out to be!  People young and well, “not-so-young” are journeying  through the desert to find water!  Adults are working through the books in Bible Study groups throughout the week.
    Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 9.33.05 PMChildren and Jr. Youth in the Blast Kids Program are following along with Sunday School Curriculum pages that Todd and I are making up.  Even our kids are getting involved and giving us ideas to make up these fun pages, but Todd’s artistic abilities are the key!  I attached pictures of some curriculum pages below, but they’re not very good quality scans.
    For months I have been connecting with Lillian Young of St. James to organize the event.  She has been amazing to work with.  She is passionate about Bible Study and helping others focus on what Christ did for us.  I think I’ve found a friend for life!  Minister Cathy Dilts is another passionate follower of Christ!  She leads this amazing body of believers with tenderness and care.  Her daily inspiration on the church blog  during the Lent season is reinforcing the messages from the book.  Minister Bob Johnson was such a pleasure to meet!  So many wonderful people and I was so grateful to have my Aunt Marg join me.   There’s something for everyone at this church and their worship team is amazing!  The church website says it all, “A Caring Community Sharing Faith”.  It’s exciting to hear the updates of how God is using WATER IN THE DESERT hydrate one thirsty church!


    Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 11.14.43 PM Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 11.14.33 PM Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 11.14.05 PM Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 11.13.50 PM

     www.stjameswaterdown.com

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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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