freedom

  • 500 Years of Freedom {Through Grace}

    For it is by grace
    you have been saved, 
    through faith—and this is not from yourselves,
    it is the gift of God—not by works, 
    so that no one can boast.~Romans 1:17 NIV

    500 yearsI love candy and I loved dressing up as a kid so, Halloween was one of my favorite days on the calendar. Some of my fondest memories were the costumes mom made for my sister Lori and me.  I’ll never forget my Raggedy Ann outfit. The wig had single stands of red yarn glued on to different lengths that must’ve taken mom hours to make.

    Raggedy AnnIt’s hard to imagine this time of year was celebrated so differently in the past. Traditionally, Christians have celebrated martyrs and Saints on November 1st. Through the ages it’s been called All Hallows, or All Saints Day.  Some believers still take this time to honor the lives of Christians who have gone on to glory or in some denominations, they celebrate those deemed as Saints…with a capital ‘S’.1

    500 Years of Freedom {Through Grace}

    Martin Luther500 years ago, on October 31, 1517 what the people at the time called All Hallow’s Eve; a thirty-three year old German monk named Martin Luther made the boldest move of his life, inspired by the most fearful time of his life.

    While studying Law in University, Martin walked home during a thunderstorm.  It was one of those scare-the-life-right-out-of-you, make-a-deal-with-God times where Luther promised God if He got him out alive, he would become a monk. After this event Luther became obsessed with making sure he would go to heaven when he died.

    Sadly, the traditions of the church during Luther’s time taught a works based salvation. They talked about the need to put your faith in Christ but then there came along with that faith a whole catalogue of rules to follow.  The list was so long that it seemed impossible to ever be good enough for God. They were adding to the Bible, making more hoops for people to jump through for salvation.

    If that wasn’t bad enough, the church had become corrupt and was preying on the fears of Christians to make money. Believers who wanted to be assured that their family members made it out of purgatory and into heaven could pay money to the Priests for something they called ‘Indulgences’…essentially, you could pay for salvation.  Oh, how I wish history didn’t repeat itself but unfortunately I see these same patterns at work today.2

    Martin Luther wanted so desperately to be assured of his salvation that he was known to spend a great deal of time in the confessional booth…sadly, never feeling forgiven.  Luther even slept in the snow as a form of penance.3 One night while struggling with the fear of not being good enough for God Martin read Romans 1:17 and it changed his life…it changed mine…I hope it’s changed yours too!

    Romans 117

    Every light bulb over Luther’s head came on and he understood for the first time that,

    God offered salvation by grace…not by works!

    He began to see the Scriptures in a new light and realized his salvation was sure; not because he was good enough but because of the work of Jesus on the cross and the grace being given to him through faith in Christ…simple faith.

    95 ThesesMartin Luther couldn’t keep this discovery to himself.  He had to let others know the freedom in Christ he’d found so, on that fateful All Hallow’s Eve, Martin walked up to the University Chapel in Wittenberg, Germany and nailed what’s famously called The 95 Theses to the front door.4,5 500 years ago, Martin Luther’s 95 Theses started what’s known as the Protestant Reformation. A document he’d written outlining the wrongful teachings of the church and how salvation is a work of grace.  A bold move that almost cost him his life!

    History reveals that human nature always reverts back to following a list of rules if people don’t continue to be led by the spirit of God.  I believe that the millennial generation is going through a reformation of their own.  They aren’t satisfied to stay in churches that enforce a ‘Christian Rulebook’.  They want authentic faith…and so do I.  Some may see them as living loose, but I’m starting to see how many are just ‘living free, loving Jesus’…like Luther did.

    My Faith Quote

    My faith in 2017 is a direct result of Luther’s courageous move 500 years ago.  I’m amazed when I think about that and I ask myself:

    What bold move can I make that will leave a legacy of faith for generations to follow?

    I hope you ask yourself that too!

    Prayer

    Father…I’m so thankful for my salvation through your grace. It’s something I don’t deserve, but a gift I gladly receive.  I’m also thankful for people of faith like Martin Luther who lived a bold life for You.  Help me to break free from the bondage of following rules instead of following You. Let the truth of your grace inspire me to live courageously, leading others to You.  In Jesus Name…Amen

    [tweetthis]Father…help me break free from the bondage of rules.[/tweetthis]

    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. 1. Romans 1:17
    2. 2. Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
    3. 3. Habakkuk 2:4
    4. 4. Galatians 3:11
    5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints%27_Day Website Accessed:  2017-10-29
    6. https://www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-9389283 Website Accessed: 2017-10-22
    7. https://www.pbs.org/empires/martinluther/monk_penance.html Website Accessed: 2017-10-29
    8. https://www.luther.de/en/95thesen.html Website Accessed: 2017-10-22
    9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninety-five_Theses Website Accessed:  2017-10-22 

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  • Got Baggage? Learning To Travel Light

    “One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes.
    Luke 9:1-3  NLT

    LEARNING TO TRAVEL LIGHT

    Overstuffed suitcaseA couple of months ago we took a well-needed vacation.  I’m travelling all the time for speaking engagements but it’s just not the same as taking a vacation.

    No matter how hard I try, I never have enough room in my luggage for everything I want to bring.  As usual, my suitcase was overfull so I had to put stuff in Todd’s suitcase and in Brandon’s.  On our mission’s trip to Guatemala it was no different.  I had stuff in Todd’s suitcase.  If there’s a course on Learning to Travel Light I need to sign up!

    The gospels record how Jesus told the disciples to pack for their mission trip.  Jesus sends the disciples out without luggage, “not even a change of clothes” Luke says!  I’m not sure I would cut it on one of Jesus’ mission’s trips???  All joking aside, I don’t think Jesus really cares about how stuffed our suitcases are.

    In this Scripture, He’s trying to teach the disciples and us that we don’t need anything more than his authority and power when we go out to reach people for Him.

    stuffed suitcase

    I think the best way to travel light is to unpack the baggage in our lives and let God heal our hearts. When we do that our ‘bags’ are lighter and we are freer.  Light enough to run after God’s plan for our destiny.

    [tweetthis]The best way 2 travel light is 2 unpack the baggage in our lives & let God heal our hearts[/tweetthis]

    As you plan out this week, ask the Father if there’s anything in your overstuffed suitcase that He wants to free you from along the journey of Learning to Travel Light.

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You for being so patient with me and not getting frustrated with the junk in my suitcase.  Help me to open it up to You and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal what needs to go.  Let me be diligent in getting rid of whatever You know is hindering me from following hard after You.  In Jesus Name…Amen

    YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:
    MONDAY
    Monday MeditationsLaura J. Davis,
    TUESDAY
    Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
    WEDNESDAY
    Coffee For Your HeartHolley Gerth, Word Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz
    THURSDAY
    Heart Encouragement ThursdayCrystal Storms, Chasing Community  Barbara Bradford Ottinger
    FRIDAY
    Dance With Jesus LinkupSusan B. Mead, Grace and Truth LinkupArabah Joy, Counting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market FridayCrystal Twaddell

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  • {New Series} New Heart

    This New Heart devotion is #3 of the 4 Part “NEW Series”. The series is a group of devotions I felt the Lord putting on my heart for the NEW YEAR.  Here’s what I have so far: INTRO/NEW STRENGTHNEW BEGINNINGS, I sensed Holy Spirit inspiring me to share hope and refreshing words with you.  The devos will follow along the same format as my normal #SoulH2O devotions except the last one will have a bonus post later in the week for the first week in February.         

    I hope these posts build up your expectation for the great things God desires to do in and through you in 2017!  Praying you take hold of all He has for you this year!

    Be Blessed & Refreshed,
    <3 Sherry Stahl

    NEW HEART 

    “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heat of flesh.”

    Ezekiel 36:21  NIV

    I don’t want the same-old, same-old from life anymore.  This year needs to be exciting!   I’m determined to live all-out and find adventure because Jesus said that He came to give us ‘life more abundantly’1, not life more predictable.

    So this year doesn’t end up in routine I’ve planned for some adventure. To start, I’m flying to Edmonton for a conference and challenging the great white north, then we’re taking a vacation and ticking a few things off our bucket list.  In March, Todd and I are headed to Guatemala for a mission’s trip…and that’s just the first three months of this year.

    NEW HEART

    God had Ezekiel speak hope into the lives of His people.  Zeke encouraged them that God desired to remove their hearts that were hard like stones and give each of them a new heart.  So, what does having a new heart have to do with living a life of adventure?  Lots.  You see, when I had a heart of stone I lived bound.  Bound to worry, fear, resentment, hopelessness and negativity.

    bound heartWhen I let God into my hurt and allowed Him to heal my heart He actually took out that heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh.

    A heart of flesh is beating, not bound.

    God didn’t set us free to have us sit in the pew. The Bible is full of people living out exciting adventures, not boring people who played it safe. When God truly sets your heart free it’s not afraid to live.

    If you’re reading this devotion and you realize that you have a bound, heart of stone, let this be the year that your heart is healed.  Then, let that new heart beat inside of you to fulfill the exciting adventure God has planned for your life!

    Prayer

    Father…Thank You for caring about me.  I want to receive your great offer for an exchange; my hard heart for a soft beating one.  Please place a totally new heart in me.  Help me to get rid of the things that keep my heart bound so I can live the life you have for me.  In Jesus Name…Amen

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

    1           John 10:10

    [tweetthis]A heart of flesh is beating, not bound.[/tweetthis]

    YOU 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 Gerth, Word Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz
    THURSDAY Heart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms,
    FRIDAY Dance With Jesus Linkup – Susan B. Mead, Grace and Truth Linkup – Arabah Joy, Counting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market Friday – Crystal Twaddell

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  • Unleashed

     “…Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
    Matthew 21:1,2
    NIV

    This week I am preaching three times in three days. I couldn’t be more excited! Friends can’t understand me and think I’m crazy, but for the first time in my life, I feel I’m truly beginning to walk in the destiny that God has called me to, since I was 19 years old. I hate to compare myself to a donkey; it’s not a very flattering thought, but as I read this verse, I too feel like someone has unleashed me to reach my potential.

    Just before Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem, he instructed two of his disciples to untie two donkeys; a mom and her colt because ‘the Lord needed them’. Being used by God is exhilarating, but it doesn’t mean you’re anything special. God often used donkeys; a lowly animal, for His glory! Balaam’s donkey talked and Jesus first important donkey ride was inside his momma on the way to Bethlehem. Mark and Luke record that this colt would be one “no one has ever ridden.” He was so young he hadn’t ever left his mother’s side. This donkey had never reached his potential. He was bound and Jesus set him free to be used for the Father’s glory! As the colt was unleashed, so was his mother.

    Today, God needs you like he needed the donkey. God desires to untie the leash that is keeping you bound so you can fulfill your God-given destiny. As you move forward, your freedom will affect the people closest to you so you can all live…unleashed!

    Prayer

    Father…I thank-You for sending Your Son to set me free! I’m bound in so many more ways than I realize. Help me to not fear, but let you ‘cut me loose’ so I can fulfill the destiny you have for my life. May I live unleashed as the vehicle You use to bring Jesus to this lost world. In Jesus Name…Amen.

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

    [tweetthis remove_url=”true”]Being used by God is exhilarating, but it doesn’t mean you’re anything special. God often used donkeys![/tweetthis]

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  • God Speaking through

    A CHILD’S HEART ART

    Keaton Heart Art
    My friend Danielle sent me this wonderful piece of heart art. To me, it’s a masterpiece! During a prayer time at Braeside Camp this summer, I told Danielle’s mom about my husband Todd’s heart problems. Well, Grandma told her grandson Keaton and Keaton’s art delivered the message to his momma, Danielle.
    You see, Keaton is a big prayer warrior and has his own prayer journal. One night, Danielle went to pray with him before bed and saw this ‘heart art’ in the front of his prayer journal. She asked Keaton who Todd was and what the picture meant.
    I hadn’t talked to Danielle about Todd’s heart problems yet, but she put two and two together and began to join in prayer with Keaton for Todd. When my Danielle told me about the heart art in Keaton’s prayer journal, she said to “expect miracles, because he’s a serious prayer warrior and God moves when he prays”!
    I am expecting nothing less than the miraculous!

    [tweetthis]I am expecting nothing less than the miraculous for my life![/tweetthis]

    Last Saturday morning I was up doing my devotions and praying for Todd. We met with the surgeon and it was all a little overwhelming. Hearing of the possible issues that can follow a heart valve surgery was disarming. Up to this point when we talked to people we have only heard positive reports about how better people felt after valve repair or replacement. We didn’t understand the possible complications, but the doctor made us fully aware of them!   Maybe a little too aware of them!

    THE ORIGINAL HEART ART

    Art Ache

    ART ACHE (c) Todd Stahl

    The night before last Saturday morning’s epiphany,  I had made a quick comment to Todd, my artist hubby, about how much more his Heart Art entitled, “Art Ache” means in light of his current health issues and the fact that he painted this masterpiece back in 2009 or 2010…five to six years before his heart problems!  Back then, God was speaking to Todd about the inner healing He was doing on his heart after divorce.  Now, this painting is holding a whole new meaning!
    As I prayed I couldn’t stop thinking about Todd’s Heart Art, so I went and got it off the wall.  As I looked at the painting, I felt a sense of peace coming over my soul.  Fear was washed away with faith.  I could have broken out in the song “It Is Well With My Soul”, but everyone was sleeping and they would have woken up thinking a cow was dying in our house…singing is not my gift 🙂
    God began to speak to me about all the messages He had intended to come out of the art; some Todd understood as he created, while others are still being revealed.

    HERE ARE SOME OF THE MESSAGES FROM TODD’S HEART ART

    The Band-Aid is on the left side of the heart…the same side of the heart where Todd needs the valve repaired or replaced!
    How cool is that! In Todd’s painting where the healing is taking place under the Band-Aid, is beginning to glow yellow. God is at work where no one can see what He is doing. It’s hidden from others. Healing happens in the secret places of our hearts. Sometimes when we don’t see things happening we assume God isn’t doing anything about our problem. God is always at work!
    [tweetthis]Healing happens in the secret places of our hearts <3 [/tweetthis]
    The bottom of the heart is black. All those things that have happened in life to bring hurt to the heart and create unwholeness weigh us down.  The heart has strings around it. On the unhealed side the strings are woven tight and close together like they are holding the heart bound. The strings on the healing side are coming loose, setting the heart FREE!
    [tweetthis]God wants you to live FREE![/tweetthis]
    The side that is being healed turns red as God created his heart to be. A red heart symbolizes LOVE in our culture. The healed heart is full of God’s love! Healing doesn’t just affect one area of your life. Healing spreads!
    [tweetthis]The healed heart is full of God’s love![/tweetthis]
    As the healed heart begins to pump healthy blood properly, love is beginning to flow to the other side. The colors are beginning to lighten up as it turns to purple. Even under the black, you can see yellow: a visual showing how God is at work in the darkest places of our heart. The darker the heart, the deeper the wound, the longer the healing process. Allow God time to heal your heart.
    [tweetthis]Allow God time to heal your heart.[/tweetthis]
    Soon the whole heart will be filled with God’s love.
    You can see red starting to peek through around the edges showing that the heart is not destroyed. The heart is going to be healthy again as God originally created it to be!
    The verse that comes to my mind is:     Joel 2:25


    “I will repay you for the years the loctusts have eaten…
     you will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
    and you will praise the name of the LORD
    your God who has worked wonders for you.”
    Joel 2:25(NIV)

    We don’t understand all that Todd has had to go through or what he possibly is going to have to face, but we will walk forward each day in the confidence that God is at work in places we don’t see.
    We trust God is giving Todd a new heart to accomplish all of the great things He has for him to do—That book needs to hit the shelves and more artwork needs to be painted! We know that God is with us. Whatever way God chooses to bring about this miracle of a new heart, we know He’s going to do it! We in boldness proclaim the promise of God that when this is all over, God will have repaid Todd for all that has been taken away to the point that he is walking in abundance of life and health, prospering and praising God for His goodness!
    Waiting for a miracle,
    Sherry
    xoxo


    heart art surgery
    Todd going into surgery

    This post was originally written on July 24, 2014, before Todd had his surgery and made a miraculous recovery from complications after the surgery!  Then, I wrote a post called Heart Art Music from some of the songs you all sent me to encourage me.
    Man CaveSince then, Todd is back playing hockey, firefighting and creating art in many forms.  Within a year of surgery, his first book, 40 Days In The Mancave was published by Word Alive Press!  To hear Todd’s retelling of this miracle check out his site.
    To see more of Todd Stahl’s art, Check Out:
    Todd’s website: http://www.toddstahl.com
    His facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ToddStahlArtist
    The page dedicated to Todd’s testimony:  https://www.toddstahl.com/the-significance-of-art-ache/
    To read a sample from Todd’s Devotional, 40 Days In The Mancave: Click Here: https://toddstahl.com/devo_06_sample.pdf 
    To Buy his book on  AMAZON, Click the word Amazon

    [tweetthis]I am expecting nothing less than the miraculous for my life![/tweetthis]

    [tweetthis]God is at work in places we don’t see![/tweetthis]

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  • Free Like An Eagle

    IMG_1612
    One of my favorite things to do is to go for a long ride on the back of Todd’s Harley.  In our first year of marriage Todd took off every Friday and most often we went on the bike.  Best times ever!  There’s something freeing about getting out on the open road. It’s exhilarating riding along with the sun shining and wind in your face.   The sights and smells are amazing. When you’re driving in your car (which I also love to do), you don’t realize how different places smell. Some good and some well, not so good! I love it when we pass someone cutting grass. The best smell ever was just a little while ago when lilacs were in bloom! I love the feeling when I put my arms out and the wind rushes over my skin. It’s such a freeing feeling. No wonder Harley Davidson uses the Eagle with wings spread wide-open in their logo. The Eagle symbolizes freedom.  Riding the motorcycle makes you feel free like an eagle! If either Todd or I am feeling stressed-out, worn-out or burnt-out we need to get-out on a Harley ride. It’s amazing how true the saying “Live To Ride, Ride To Live” is, and how much this iconic saying made into the buckle below reminds me of scripture!live to ride ride to live

    He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. 
They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint.
    Isaiah 40:29-31 New Living Translation (NLT)

    water_bookThe second chapter in my book, WATER IN THE DESERT focuses on breaking free from bondages.  It’s proving to be a real help to anyone who is trying to break free in their life.

    BACK UP

    God desires for us to be free. He has said it in His Word and He means it. If He didn’t He wouldn’t have said it so much! Here’s just a few of the many times God encourages us to “live free like an eagle“!

    So if the Son has set you, free you are free indeed.
    John 8:36 (NIV)

     It is for Freedom that Christ has set us free.
    Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

    Live as free people.
    1 Peter 2:16 (NIV)

    So, what helps YOU  to live free?

    Comment below and tell me what it is for you, or what you feel you need to do to, live free like an eagle?
    ~Sherry Lynn

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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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