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  • God Isn’t Mad With Big Faith & Oversized Dreams

    Today’s #soulh2o devotion will move you from living small to dreaming big… and I mean real BIG, God-sized, faith-filled, Oversized Dreams!


    And without faith
    it is impossible to please God
    ~Hebrews 11:6 NIV

    Do you have BIG dreams?

    Well, I’m a girl who dreams BIG… no really, I’m talking B-I-G BIG and I’m finally starting to see some of the BIG dreams unfold, just a mere 32 years after God told me about them!!!

    My heart gets pumping when you put me in a room or on a call with other BIG dreamers.  Nothing charges me up more and helps me to move toward the BIG dreams I believe God’s placed in my heart than being around positive, faith-filled friends.

    fab friends wendy rachelle lise
    Fab Freinds for decades! Wendy, Rachelle & Lise
    Ruth's Table
    Ruth’s Table

    Sometimes I get concerned about my OVERsized dreams and wonder if I’m off my rocker. There are plenty of people who can quickly put a wet blanket over my faith, but I’ve chosen my tribe; friends to do life with that have this same passion for purpose and I live for the moments we get to share together.

     

    I’ve come to the conclusion that,

    God Isn’t Mad With Our Big Faith and Oversized Dreams

    In fact, it’s the opposite and I saw that clearly during my devotions this week.

    I have a certain fondness for stories about Elisha, but for some reason, I didn’t remember this one in 2 Kings 7. Historically, Israel was being oppressed by the Arameans, let by King Ben-hadad. Aram had shut off Israel’s food supplies which brought about a famine. Any food that was found sold for exorbitant prices; we’re talking inflation insanity worse than when interest rates were 21% in the early 1980s! People in Israel at this time couldn’t afford food and lived locked up in the city. No one was willing to stand up against the Aramean army so the siege just dragged on.

    ELISHA’S BIG FAITH AND OVERSIZED DREAM

    Then God gave Elisha a word that he shared with the King and all the King’s officials, telling them that by tomorrow, the cost of food would be drastically less, signaling the Aramean Oppression would be over… that they would be free the next day!

    Talk about a BIG OVERsized dream!

    Instead of faith-filled shouts of Halleluiah and high-fives, the leaders didn’t believe Elisha and the Kings highest officer replied with a wet-blanket comment and actually declared how he didn’t believe God could do what He said He was going to do.  Elisha assured everyone there that God was, in fact, going to do exactly what He said and foretold this officer’s demise when he finished his speech telling the officer how he would see it happen, but he wouldn’t get to eat any of it.

    THE DANGER OF SMALL FAITH

    As fate would have it, when God miraculously set the Israelites free through the boldness of four lepers, the doubting officer was trampled by the crowd of people running for all the food. I will never understand the balance of grace and justice or love and jealousy1 in God’s character.  I know He is full of grace, and really lets us get away with so much, but I have to say He kind of loses it when people don’t think He can do something. When someone goes in-His-face and declares that “even God himself couldn’t…”

    I cringe and He seems to Get really mad. God is all-powerful and it seems to me that He gets jealous when we believe someone or something else can stop His plans, is stronger than Him, or that God doesn’t have what it takes to back up His promises. Thankfully, we do live in a time of greater grace, but it’s not devoid of God’s justice. We can even see this pattern in Jesus when the disciples were fearful on the boat, when Peter began to sink or when the disciples couldn’t drive out a demon and Jesus responded,

    “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”2

    I’ve come to the conclusion that,

    God Loves Big Faith and Oversized Dreams,
    but He Gets Mad
    When We Believe He Can’t Do Something

    I’m blessed to have circles of influence in my life that help inspire me to greater faith… and I need them like oxygen.  You see, life can get really tough and the enemy will often create circumstances that appear to be the opposite of God’s promises.  When this happens, it’s imperative to downgrade time with faith-draining people and plan a party with some dreamers! You’ve got to choose your tribe and your words wisely to believe God for BIG, OVERsized dreams!

    Prayer

    Today I haven’t written out a prayer for you.  You’re a part of my tribe, but since I can’t sit down for coffee with you today, I’ve written out some practical Faith-Lift Phrases for you to pray when your circumstances are contrary to the promises of God.  I hope you’ll use them regularly to defeat doubt and increase your faith.  I want you to believe God for BIG, OVERsized dreams, ‘cause He likes that kind of faith!

    CHANGING YOUR WORDING—SOME PRACTICAL PRAYERS YOU CAN USE:

    Lord, I don’t understand how you can fix this mess… can bring the finances in… getting better is in my future…  my kid will turn around… I”ll get off of _____… I can hear from you… you’re going to ___________, but I know you will.

    I look forward to seeing how you bring it about…get me through… bring the increase… break this bondage… bring home this lost one… heal them… heal me… set me free!

    [tweetthis]God Loves Big Faith and Oversized Dreams, but He Gets Mad When We Believe He Can’t Do Something #BIGOVERsizedDreams[/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.

     

     

    Drawing From The Well

    1. Hebrews 11:6
    2. Matthew 17:19-20
    3. 2 Kings 7:1-2, 16-17
    4. Matthew 14:31

    ENDNOTES

    1. Deuteronomy 4:23-24 NIV
    2. Matthew 17:19-20 NIV

    danny gokey havent seen it yet

    #musicpic Song: Haven’t Seen It Yet
    Makes Me Feel: inspired, faith-filled, hopeful
    Sung By: Danny Gokey
    Website: https://www.dannygokey.com/
    Album: Haven’t Seen It Yet
    Written By: Colby Wedgeworth, Danny Gokey, Ethan Hulse © 2019
    Spotify Link: https://open.spotify.com/track/0mWTQgwZL888MKCnwLz0hR?si=lFcXnMbqSu-YN9j4ChwFPw
    Official Youtube Video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1eMZiOJ0a0
    AZ Lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/dannygokey/haventseenityet.html
    My favorite lines as recorded on AZ Lyrics (link above):

    You’re closer than you think you are
    Only moments from the break of dawn
    All His promises are just up ahead
    Maybe you just haven’t seen it, just haven’t seen it yet

    AN OLDIE BUT A GOODIE

    dream for you_casting crowns

    #musicpic SONG: Dream For You
    Makes Me Feel: God’s dreams are better than mine, trust my intuition, Like God has a plan, He can take my little and do something with it
    Sung By: Casting Crowns
    Website: https://castingcrowns.com
    Album:  Thrive
    Written By: Matthew West, John Hall  © 2014
    Spotify Link: https://open.spotify.com/track/29QonORHg3jk91TBY48PdL?si=q_whb4V_TlG2INgQoV6uPw
    Official Youtube Video With Lyrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8nsJZx8eWw
    AZ Lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/castingcrowns/dreamforyou.html
    My favorite lines as recorded on AZ Lyrics (link above):

    So let go of your plan,
    be caught by My hand
    I’ll show you what I can do
    When I dream for you
    I have a dream for you



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

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

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  • Wonderful Christmas Times with Kevin Pauls

    IMG_0477As far back as I want to remember I’ve been having WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS TIMES WITH KEVIN PAULS! Kevin and I grew up together.  We belonged to Bethel Gospel Tabernacle in Hamilton, ON.  A large church that has always been very involved in reaching out to the community so, every Christmas we had some event to be a part of. When we were kids there were Sunday School Christmas Concerts.  As teens we were always a part of the Live Nativity plays and youth choir engagements.  How they let me be a part of the choirs is still a mystery to me 🙂  Our youth choir would sing in Nursing homes, other churches or anywhere our Music Minister could get us booked!  Even as teens we became involved in our church’s Christmas Cantata’s.  They were literally the talk of the town.  Every year there would be 3-4 days worth of shows for two weeks before Christmas; each one jam-packed, often with overflow seating in the lobby.  We were blessed to belong to such a wonderful church that applauded people’s gifts no matter their ages.  We didn’t think it strange back then, but now it wouldn’t be so common in big churches for 15-18 year olds to get lead singing parts like Kevin did.  At some point, people in my church recognized that I really should not be singing and they began giving me speaking roles and then at 17 asked me to narrate the Christmas Cantata with a local radio host.
    Ok, enough about me, back to Wonderful Christmas Times with Kevin Pauls!  Throughout most of my life we’ve gotten together for Christmas.  There really has only been a few Christmases that we didn’t see each other.  Our kids have grown up together and we all consider each other family.  Kevin and his wife Wendy are the closest friends I have.  They were there like “Jesus with skin on” as Jeanne Mayo says, when I was at my lowest point in life. We have become family by been there for each other through the good and the bad.   The triumphs and the tragedies.
    Years ago Kevin and Wendy took a risky move and decided to give up on the “American Dream” way of living and begin to follow after God’s dream, no matter the cost.  There was a great cost to pay in giving up jobs and the fickle respect of some people who can’t understand the noble act of following God’s call.  I remember at one of Kevin’s birthday parties and one of his cousin’s roasting him telling him it was time to give up the dream and get a “real job”!  I was so ticked.  Kevin was never visibly bothered by anything anyone said.  He just kept on singing. Fast-forward 5 years and Kevin released his Christmas CD with his now Trade-Mark song “The Spirit of Christmas”, which you should all have in your selection of Christmas music! Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 12.06.55 AMFast Forward another couple years. Last year Kevin held his first ever “Spirit of Christmas” event at the Centre in the Square, Kitchener.  It was a magical night of Christmas Carols sung by incredible artists with a large 100 voice choir, all brought together by Kevin.  It’s like a Bing Crosby Christmas special, only updated and cooler!  The event went so well that this year it was the Spirit of Christmas Tour with Kevin Pauls and Friends.  Growing from one event to a tour of over 13 events across Canada!  Throughout the tour Kevin had many big name entertainers on the stage with him.  Here’s some to list a few: The Martins Trio, NewWorldson band, Steve Archer of The Archers, comedienne/international speaker Joanne Goodwin, guitarist  Kevin Ramesssar, singer Jacob Moon, and many others.  The show is going to be televised December 22 & 25 on yesTV, so everyone can watch.  Next year there will be even more event dates added to the Christmas tour.  Kevin will host his first ever Easter Celebration April 6, 2015 with another stellar cast of singers, and musicians all performing with the KW Symphony.  It will be an incredible night I’m sure!Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 7.19.58 PM As I sat with my son on one side and one of Kevin’s daughters on the other, I was overcome with emotion.  I felt such pride for my “brother’s” accomplishments.  He could have given up so long ago when the phone wasn’t ringing so frequently, and the bookings were further apart.  For the past few years Kevin has been singing with most of the industries key people.  He says “it all feels surreal, and then I hear the voice that I heard nearly 15 years ago, “I did not give you this dream to torment you.  I gave it to you so you could fulfill it”!  Kevin feels truly blessed that God gave him “staying power”.  He takes no credit and sees it all as a gift from God.  Kevin has exhibited the faith described in Hebrews 10:35 which says “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.”
    Talking about the increased opportunity for ministry Kevin told me “the best thing I can say is…it’s timing.  God has been at work on me and the people He would bring into my life.  God birthed this in me a long time ago.  I feel very blessed to have had the belief that if HE truly birthed it…HE would see it come to life!”
    I hope this blog on my bro leaves you encouraged to believe not in Santa this Christmas, but in the promises that God has for your life!
     
    Check out these remaining dates to see if you can catch the Spirit of Christmas Tour near you.  You’ll be glad you did! Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 11.13.01 PM http://www.kevinpauls.com Music From His CD The Spirit of Christmas can be heard on his website using this link.

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  • God's Incubator

    chicken brooding over eggs“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
                                                     Genesis 1:1-2
    Last week I was blessed to spend my recovery time at camp.  While there I was able to catch up with a friend I used to live near.  She told me that she was going through a confusing time and didn’t understand what God was up to in her life.  She explained this weird unsettling feeling, sensing that God was doing something, wanting to know what was ahead.  She was in God’s incubator!
    As Edna spoke the verse from Genesis came to mind.  The word used for God’s activity before creating the earth is translated “hovering” in most Bible versions, but the original Hebrew meaning comes from the root of the word “brood”.  I learned on my Uncle’s farm that birds brood by hovering over the eggs keeping them hot like a baby in an incubator.   The farmer has to wait until the brooding time is over and the chicks are hatched.
    So often before God is going to bring something new into the world, or into our lives, the Holy Spirit “hovers and broods” over our spirits.   It’s a time when we are unsettled.  Frequently, God moves us into “hot spots” and makes us wait for an undetermined amount of time.  The old ways are no longer comfortable, but lack fulfillment.  There is this sensing that things are about to change, but you don’t know how…or when!  Much like the feeling of a pregnant mother when the baby is getting close to the delivery date.
    If you are sensing this in your life, be encouraged.  God IS up to something good.  Relax and wait for His perfect timing.  Incredible things are birthed in God’s Incubator!
    PRAYER
    Father…I thank-you for what you are doing in my life.  I may not understand it, but I trust that what you are doing will bring life!  Help me to patiently wait while you brood over me.   In Jesus Name…Amen!

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  • Friends & Family

    IMG_3706
    Girlfriends

    This past week was incredible for me!  It’s been crazy busy, but crazy fun!  I’ve seen more friends and family than I have in a very long time…visited with old friends and made some wonderful new ones!  It started off with Monika (friend since youth camp) and I driving to Toronto and only missing one exit off of the highway!  We met up with Annemarie (friend since College) and her lovely daughter Molina (new friend) for one of the LONGEST lunches I’ve ever had the privilege of eating!  Not that I knew what I was eating, but I liked all of it–save the curried chicken 🙂  Annemarie is living such an exotic life now that we at a Vietnamese restaurant!  Soooo good!
    Next, Monika and I were off to the Grad ceremonies with Annemarie for our former Bible College.  It was awesome seeing so many friends that I hadn’t seen in years, Profs, Deans and our former School President.  I think the highlight was that the Dean of Women Sue Rodney James remembered me and was so happy to see me!  She yelled out “Sherry Fletcher” and opened her arms wide 🙂  How awesome is that!  I made so many incredible friends in College.  Bonnie I wish you could have been there!  Two of our classmates were honoured!  Craig Burton received a lifetime award for his years of service as the Chairman of the Board and Dale Sanger was the valedectorian for Seminary students as he completed his Masters Degree.  Many friends I’ve stayed in touch with and we’ve been through so much together…love found, love lost, ministry achievements, ministry heartaches, children born, children lost, children married…  Our friendships have sometimes been the hope that kept us going when everything within us wanted to give up!

    Monika and I headed to the hotel in Ajax where I was the retreat speaker for two friends churches from Peterborough.  Such an awesome time seeing old friends and making new ones.  I even saw more College friends that attend their churches!  I met the cutest little Worship Leader on the planet and I LOVE her music!  I can’t stop listening to her CD.  You need to check out her website http://www.melina-d.ca and get a copy!  Melina Dulluku I love you 🙂  There were too Amazing worship leaders for the weekend, fun games and a really great time connecting with God!  I couldn’t have managed this weekend without my incredible friend Monika!  Mon, thanks for ALL you did 🙂

    The last event was filled with family and friends!  I drove down to speak at the Simcoe, ON Spring Fling Event with my mother-in-law and got to visit with my mom!  At the event I saw Braeside friends, unexpected college friends, some of my old youth group and met some new friends too!  Busy Week yes!  Amazing Week YES!!!  It just makes me realize how important it is to build friendships and keep them growing.  You never know where you’ll be when you might just need one!  Love you all!  ~Sherry

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