Jesus

  • Peace… Lost in Translation

    I didn’t grow up in a church that celebrated Advent. I’ve searched out What’s The Right Way To Celebrate Advent? and then did a post each week following the themes of Advent: HOPE, LOVE, JOY, PEACE, and then a special CHRISTMAS message from me.

    Listen to the Soul H2O Radio & Podcast Advent Series or the watch my Instagram Live Advent Series videos.

    Soul H2O Radio & Podcast ShowHOPELOVE, JOY, PEACE

    Soul H2O Devotions/Posts: What’s The Right Way To Celebrate Advent?
    Advent Themes Posts: HOPE, LOVE, JOY, PEACE, and a special CHRISTMAS message from me.

    Instagram Lives: Wednesdays at 12-12:10pm EST in December

    Soul H2O Devotion

    Peace… Lost in Translation image

    Peace… Lost in Translation

    My friend Claudia Raymundo only moved to Canada when she was about eight. Claudia is a certified translator and has worked on government projects to put English documents into Spanish or vice-versa. Even with all her training, when we’re talking, it seems there will always come a time when she’ll say, “Oh, how do you say this in English?” and sometimes she says there’s really no way to translate this word or phrase in English, so she paints me a picture with her words as to what it means. 

    Sometimes it’s just difficult to translate words from one language to another. And the word for peace in Isaiah 9:6 is one of those words.

    peace

    Translating Peace

    The English word translated peace here is Shalom in the original Hebrew. It truly is one of those “lost in translation” words. All of our Bibles translate this word to say peace but there really isn’t just one word that aptly defines it. The original word includes all of these definitions: well, happy, friendly; welfare, health, prosperity, peace, (good) health, peace(peaceable, peaceably), prosper(prosperity, prosperous), quiet, tranquillity, contentment, rest, safe(safety), salute, welfare, well, wholly. ¹

    Do you see how translating shalom as “just” peace falls short of the original intent of what Isaiah was trying to convey? Jesus is the Prince of Peace but He came to bring much more than peace… much, much more. In our modern language I think holistically healthy and peaceful would be a better way to describe this little word Shalom

    Real Peace

    In Luke 2:8-14 the angels proclaim to the shepherds how the Messiah would bring Peace on earth for all men, when they said: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” it wasn’t just some airy-fairy beauty pageant wish for “World Peace”, but a boots-to-the-ground, reality-ready, peace. That doesn’t mean you won’t have difficult circumstances, but that God’s presence, Emmanuel, God with us would bring peace in the midst of chaos, loneliness, and hurt. 

    Jesus knew what it was like to go through times where he faced complete distress. In the garden of Eden, before His crucifixion, Jesus was under so much anguish that he sweated drops of blood, which we know now is medically possible when someone is that stressed out. The issue isn’t that Jesus stressed this much but that He didn’t stay there. 

    Through prayer, Jesus released this toxic stress and put His faith in the Father, amidst the most difficult of circumstances. As you read the account of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, you don’t see a man in worry, fear, or distress… He seems unrealistically calm and peaceful, not allowing the difficulties of life to steal the peace in His heart and mind.

    Jesus got to the place of peace through struggle, so he could fully become your Prince of Peace. Now, it’s time for you to apply that peace to your life.

    Prayer

    Father… Thank You for understanding my need for peace and sending your son .Jesus, I thank You for being willing to come down to this earth and suffer, to be my peace. I ask for your holistically healthy and peaceful presence to invade my mind, emotions, and physical body. Let your true shalom bring peace to every area of my life. In Jesus Name…Amen

    Join Me Weekly For Advent Talks

    Through The Themes of Advent
    Every Wednesday at 12-12:10pm EST
    on Instagram Live

    December 1(Hope), 8(Love), 15 (Joy), 22(Peace)

    Drawing from the well

    Verses to help fill up your well.

    1. 1. Isaiah 9:6
    2. 2. Luke 2:8-14
    3. 3. Ephesians 2:14
    4. 4. Colossians 1:20

    Soul H2O Resources

    *Are you a Christian woman struggling through a difficult situation, feeling alone, questioning God and yourself? Let me travel through the desert of your difficulty with you!

    This course will help you grow to trust God with your heart and future, increase your freedom as you break unhealthy patterns, letting go of past or present hurts to trust your decision-making and believe in your value.

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    #musicpic

    #musicpic SONG: Light of the World by Lauren Daigle
    Youtube Video: https://youtu.be/_cLhaZIBSpo

    Soul H2O Spotify Playlist: Online
    Soul H2O Spotify Playlist: Online | On App

    Peace For The Holidays is a part of the Advent Series on the Soul H2O Radio & Podcast Show Episode #91.

    You can find the  Show Notes at http://www.soulh2o.com/91

    Splash Online Event

    Childlike Faith Series – Christmas Crackers
    Expecting Good Gifts From God

    Watch the recorded Facebook LIVE!

    Join us in the Soul H2O Splash Facebook Group to watch the recorded live and be updated for the next live event.

    Advent Inspiration for your Christmas Season

     

    Devotions, Podcast Episodes, Recipes, Christmas Messages and more!
    https://www.sherrystahl.com/advent-inspiration-for-your-christmas-season/

    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.


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  • Why The Gospel Is Good News That Brings Joy

    The third week of Advent is a special week and most everyone celebrates with a focus on JOY, along with a pinky-rose coloured candle. 

    An article in The Daily Press explained how, “The pink candle is lit on the third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday” which means “rejoice.” And what colour is as happy and joyful as the colour pink?

    It’s not just a different candle that is lit during the third week of Advent, but there are different carols sung too, songs of joy fill churches. 

    Soul H2O Devotion

    Why The Gospel Is   Good News  That Brings Joy

    Why The Gospel Is Good News That Brings Joy

    Pre-pandemic, you just never knew who would be at the Christmas dinner table. My family would often invite people in who didn’t have others to celebrate with and the Lord knows, we always have WAY MORE food than needed. It might be someone who was down and out on their luck or just people who didn’t have family nearby.

    I think there’s great joy in knowing that Jesus came to set a seat at the table for anyone, not just a select few. 

    Take a look at your nativity set and actually think about the people surrounding the manger, along with all the others in the Christmas narratives recorded in Scripture.

    But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord!

    Luke 2:10-11 NIV

    First of all, there’s a baby. God could have chosen to come down as an adult but he didn’t. He chose to come down as baby. The gospel is for the youngest of the young. Next, there is Mary and Joseph, she’s a teen mom and he was just a young step dad.

    The gospel is for the young. 

    The first people to hear about the good news of the savior coming to earth was actually Mary’s older cousin Elizabeth. When she found out, she was so excited. Elizabeth and her hubby Zechariah housed Mary for the first part of her pregnancy. They were probably in their 40s or 50s as Zechariah was still working… so the gospel is for middle-aged people too.

    The gospel is for middle-aged people. 

    Anna and Simeon in the synagogue were seniors in their later years, waiting for the promised Messiah and they were filled with joy as they recognized Jesus as the Christ.

    The gospel is for seniors. 

    The wealthy, wise, and educated magi came from the east. Men with different skin tones, backgrounds, and beliefs from the others in this story.

    The gospel is for the wealthy, wise, and educated.
    For people of every nationality or ethnicity. 

    And then, there were the shepherds; just regular, every day, working class people.

    The gospel is for the the average Joe or Joanne. 

    The gospel is good news because it’s for everyone!

    No matter your race, creed, colour or family background, the gospel is good news that brings joy for you!

    Prayer

    Father… I want to thank You for including me into your family. Your gospel is good news for me. Help me to live in a joy-filled way that entices everyone to long for the good news your love can bring into their lives. In Jesus Name…Amen

    Drawing from the well

    Verses to help fill up your well.

    1. 1. Luke 2:10-11
    2. 2. Acts 2:28
    3. 3. Psalm 16:11
    4. 4. Luke 24:46-48

    Soul H2O Resources

    Are you a Christian woman struggling through a difficult situation, feeling alone, questioning God and yourself? Let me travel through the desert of your difficulty with you!

    This course will help you grow to trust God with your heart and future, increase your freedom as you break unhealthy patterns, letting go of past or present hurts to trust your decision-making and believe in your value.

    Want a Refreshing Inbox?

    Get a FREE Soul H2O Book Sampler {and a coupon} when you Sign Up to Get the Soul H2O Devotions, Show Notifications, and updates from me!

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    #musicpic

    #musicpic SONG: Joy Unto the World – The Afters @ 3:56

    Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nu018_9wF7k

    Soul H2O Spotify Playlist: Online | On App

    advent Spotify Playlist

    Joy For The Holidays is a part of the Advent Series on the Soul H2O Radio & Podcast Show Episode #90.

    You can find the  Show Notes at http://www.soulh2o.com/90

    Splash Online Event

    Childlike Faith Series – Christmas Crackers
    Expecting Good Gifts From God

    Join us in the Soul H2O Splash Facebook Group December 16, 2021

    Advent Inspiration for your Christmas Season

    Devotions, Podcast Episodes, Recipes, Christmas Messages and more!
    https://www.sherrystahl.com/advent-inspiration-for-your-christmas-season/

    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.


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  • What’s Love Got To Do With It?

    In the month of December, I’m running Advent Series all over on, the Soul H2O Radio & Podcast Show, through the devotions, and on Instagram Lives. This week, the focus is on Christmas Love. 

    Soul H2O Radio & Podcast Show: Hope, Love, Joy, Peace, Jesus

    Soul H2O Devotions/Posts: What’s The Right Way To Celebrate Advent, Hope, Love, Joy, Peace, Advent Inspiration For Your Christmas Season

    Instagram Lives: Wednesdays at 12-12:10pm EST in December

    Soul H2O Devotion

    what's love got to do with it

    What’s Love Got To Do With It?

    Well, I think Christmas and love are pretty much synonymous. Christmas is celebrating the moment in history when Christ, because of His love, left heaven and came down to earth. Jesus fully God, took on humanity; what theologians call, the incarnation. That Jesus forfeited the comforts of heaven to reach the hearts of people in this world still baffles me. That God the Father allowed His son to come overwhelms me. John 3:16 expresses the motive of love best when John says:

    God’s love compelled Him to send Jesus, and in case you’re worried that God was a cruel Father to send His son, I hope you’ll see that love was also Jesus’ motivation for coming as you listen to what he said in John 10:17-18.

    The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.
    John 10:17-18 NIV

    Jesus also says,

    I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
    John 10:11

    And then in John 15:12-14 He says:

    My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
    John 15:12-13 NIV

     

    The nativity is a beautiful picture of how Jesus’ love compelled Him to come.

    nativity image

    Jesus wasn’t forced to leave heaven and give up His life for you as a baby in the manger, or as a man on the cross. He had the authority to do whatever He wanted and, because of His love for you, He came as a baby, grew up and lived as a man, died, rose from the dead, so you could have eternal life and is coming back to live with you for all eternity!

    This hope of Christ’s second return is the root focus of Advent. It’s great for you to celebrate His birth and the love that compelled Him to come, but never lose focus that because of His love, He’s not going to leave you in this mess we call the world. Jesus will come back and right now, He’s preparing a place, just for you!

    So, what’s love ❤️ got to do with Christmas? Everything.

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You for being willing to let Jesus come. Jesus, I thank You for your love and being willing to leave heaven, so You could become my Emmanuel. Knowing that You are willingly with me and are coming again, gives me the strength to face each new day, each new challenge with hope. In Jesus Name…Amen

    Join Me Weekly For Advent Talks

    Through The Themes of Advent
    Every Wednesday at 12-12:10pm EST
    on Instagram Live

    December 1(Hope), 8(Love), 15 (Joy), 22(Peace)

    Drawing from the well

    Verses to help fill up your well.

    1. 1. John 3:16
    2. 2. John 10:17-18
    3. 3. John 10:11
    4. 4. John 15:12-13

    Soul H2O Resources

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    #musicpic

    #musicpic SONG:

    Bring on the Holidays by Toby Mac  

    Youtube Video: https://youtu.be/HIhZ5O3eRJI
    Christmas Spotify Playlist: Online 

    Advent Series: Hope For The Holidays | EP #88

    Hope For The Holidays is a part of the Advent Series on the Soul H2O Radio & Podcast Show Episode #88.

    You can find the  Show Notes at http://www.soulh2o.com/88

    Advent Series: Love For The Holidays | EP #89

     Love For The Holidays is a part of the Advent Series on the Soul H2O Radio & Podcast Show Episode #89.

    You can find the  Show Notes at http://www.soulh2o.com/89

    Splash Online Event​

    Childlike Faith Series – Christmas Crackers
    Expecting Good Gifts From God

    Join us in the Soul H2O Splash Facebook Group December 16, 2021

    Advent Inspiration for your Christmas Season

     

    Devotions, Podcast Episodes, Recipes, Christmas Messages and more!
    https://www.sherrystahl.com/advent-inspiration-for-your-christmas-season/

    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.


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  • Costumes For Candy And To Conceal

    When I was little, I wore costumes for candy, but as I got older, I’ve been known to wear costumes to conceal. How about you?

    Soul H2O Devotion

    children in costumes

    Costumes For Candy 

    Children will be dressing up in costumes on Sunday to walk their neighborhoods in search of candy. I used to love this time as a kid and so did my children. Beyond all the candy, dressing up was so much fun! 

    Cute Costumes

    sherry in costumeThis is a picture of my favorite costume, Raggedy Ann. I’m sitting with my cousin Angie and my sister Pebbles, I mean Lori. Weren’t we cute? My mom used to sew and made a lot of our costumes but this will go down as my fave! As the years go on, I appreciate the painstaking effort mom put into making that wig, gluing each strand of yarn onto what I can’t remember. {Thanks Mom!}

    The First Costumes

    As I was thinking about wearing costumes, my thoughts went straight to Adam and Eve in the garden. This is the first time in history where people put something on to disguise themselves. 

    “They sewed fig trees together and made coverings for themselves.”
    Genesis 3:7

    Right after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, guilt overwhelmed them and created a desire to hide. Shrouded in shame, they crafted the first costumes known to mankind out of some fig leaves.

    Costumes To Conceal

    Everyone has the tendency to be like Adam and Eve when it comes to dressing up, concealing so people can’t see your frailty, your failings, your brokenness, your sin. We’re afraid that if people see who we really are they won’t accept us, worse yet, that God will reject us. That’s what Adam and Eve thought was going to happen in their relationship with God, and I’m guessing you’ve feared that a time or too yourself?

    Hiding In The Fear Of Being Rejected

    I’m so thankful that Adam and Eve’s fears of God rejecting them didn’t materialize. Sure… they reaped the consequences of their bad choices, but God never rejected them. God never pulled His love away. Instead, He sought after Adam and Eve and then, set into motion a plan for salvation that wouldn’t just “cover-over” their sin but wipe it completely away through Christ’s work on the cross.

    There’s no need for you to hide from God. Take off whatever costume you’ve been wearing to conceal yourself and let His love in!

    Prayer

    Father…I’m so thankful that You don’t reject me. Your Word promises this over and over. Help me to shut the lies of the enemy down that tell me I should cover-up who I am and hide. Help me to lay my heart bare before You so I can experience Your unconditional grace, mercy, love, and acceptance. In Jesus Name…Amen

    Drawing from the well

    Verses to help fill up your well.

    1. 1.Genesis 2:25
    2. 2. Genesis 3:7
    3. 3. Genesis 3:8
    4. 4. Romans 8:38-39

    Soul H2O Resources

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    dress up

    Splash Online Event​

    It’s the season for wearing costumes. Have you ever felt like the character or person you dressed up as?
    Dress UPTo Find Out Who You Are our October Online Splash event is hosted by Sherry Stahl and the #SoulH2O Team.
    October 28, 2021 @ 8pm EST

    Join us in the Soul H2O  Splash Facebook Group or sign up for Splash emails in the group and see us on Zoom.

    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.


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  • Prayers – That Stick – For Your Children

     

    prayers that stick for children

    One day some parents brought their children to Jesus
    so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them.
    ~Matthew 19:13 NLT

    When my kids were little, we went through a lot of Band-Aids…I mean A LOT!

    BAND-AIDS THAT STICK

    Brandon loved to climb things, skateboard and do tricks on his BMX bike that often ended up in cuts, scrapes, gashes, and quite a few stitches.  Poor Shelby’s a little clumsy like her momma, so it’s safe to say, we kept the Band-Aid brand in business! I only tried no-name band-aids a couple of times and found they didn’t hold but the Band-Aid brand could be counted on to stick.

    PRAYERS THAT STICK

    Moms, you want band-aids that stick and prayers that stick for your children. Weak, ineffective prayers that don’t stick won’t the effect on your kid’s life that you want.  I’m challenged by this quote I saw from Abraham Lincoln.

    abraham lincoln prayerI remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.
    ~Abraham Lincoln

    Clearly, momma-bear prayers are powerful {that would include Grandma, Auntie or any motherly prayers}.  Don’t underestimate the impact of your prayers in a child’s life!  In any case, I think the best way to pray effectively is to pray as Jesus did.

    JESUS’ STICKY PRAYERS

    Jesus is praying for Peter in Luke 22:32, knowing Peter’s upcoming temptation. He prayed for strength that Peter’s faith wouldn’t fail and for Peter to come back to faith after he turned away.

    John 17 records a bunch of Jesus’ prayers where He starts off praying for himself and then from verse 6 on He’s covering his disciples and all future believers in prayer: that’s you, me, your children, your children’s children… Jesus says,

    “I am not asking that you take them out of the world,
    but that You protect them from the evil one.”

    Jesus’ prayers that stick are not prayers to give us an easy life, remove us from this troubled world and take all our problems away.  Jesus’ sticky prayers are for us to be strong when facing trials, tribulation, and tragedy.

    I imagine these are the kind of prayers Abraham Lincoln’s mother prayed over him because he’s someone who is remembered well for his tenacity to not give up when some of his businesses failed, he had a nervous breakdown or when he lost a lot of elections. Those prayers empowered Abe to reach the destiny God had for his life.

    YOUR MOMMA-BEAR STICKY PRAYERS

    Just like the prayers of Abraham Lincoln’s mother, your prayers can be the glue that helps your children stick-to God’s plan and not give up.  Your prayers have the capability to produce cushioned kids who can’t handle problems or confident, overcoming, world-changing children that do something for His Kingdom! So, this Mother’s Day, it’s time to get busy and start praying tough prayers that stick!

    Prayer

    Father… I come to you in the tenacity of a momma-bear.  There is nothing I want more than for my children to have all the strength, boldness, and confidence it takes to fulfill the destiny You’ve placed within them. Please do the deep work in my children, in ______________ that you need to do, in order for them to have what it takes to live out their calling to the fullest.  May my children be known as Your faithful followers, living boldly for You!  In Jesus Name…Amen  

    [tweetthis]Your prayers can be the glue that helps your children stick-to God’s plan and not give up! #prayforyourchildren #prayersthatstick[/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. Matthew 19:13
    2. Luke 22:32
    3. John 17:15
    4. John 17:18

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

    Originally posted: 2019-05-08

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  • Does Your Presence Bring Peace

    Does Your Presence Bring Peace

    Have you ever had friends or family over and their very presence causes your muscles to tense, heart to beat faster and teeth to clench? Maybe it’s not someone in your personal inner circle but a co-worker, boss, customer or client?  Everyone knows people who by their very presence shift the atmosphere from peace to panic.

    The Scripture Connection

    During my morning devotions, I read Matthew 10 where Jesus is sending out his 12 main disciples on a ministry tour, giving them direction as to where they should go for this trip, and instruction on how to manage the financial expense of doing ministry. Remember, these guys left their jobs to follow Christ, some had family to feed and bills to pay. Jesus directed them to look for someone honourable to stay with when they got to where they were going; so much for planning! 🙂  It’s in verse 13 where God got my full attention as I read.

    “let your peace come upon the house”
     ~Matthew 10:13 TPT

    I had to reread the verse. Wasn’t it Jesus’ peace they should have been bringing to the people? I even checked few other translations, and this verse is saying that it wasn’t Jesus’ peace the disciples were supposed to bless the people with, it was THEIR presence that was to bring THEIR peace into the host’s home. Immediately, I sensed the Holy Spirit asking me…

    Does Your Presence Bring Peace?

    In the assessment of this question, I come up lacking.  I really don’t want my presence to change the atmosphere in a negative way like the people I mention at the beginning of this devotion.  In the past few years, I’ve been doing the hard work of soul healing and now, this year, getting healthy in my body.  I believe these efforts are resulting in a more peace-producing Sherry. 

    I challenge you to ask yourself the same question… Does Your Presence Bring Peace? Allow the Holy Spirit to do a great work in you by letting the peace of Christ becomes so much a part of who you are, that your presence brings peace to the world.

    Prayer

    Father…I’m thankful that you don’t condemn me, even when I come up short and miss the mark.  Jesus, I need your peace to permeate my life and heal my hurts, so I can respond in right ways to people and pass on a presence of peace to the world. In Jesus Name…Amen

    Drawing from the well

    Verses to help fill up your well.

    1. Matthew 10:13 (similar in Luke 10:6)
    2. John 14:27
    3. John 20:21
    4. 1 Samuel 25:6

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    Soul H2O Resources

    #musicpic song
    Peace Be Still
    By: Lauren Daigle at The Belonging Church

    Youtube Link
    https://youtu.be/dUpKZz0Nm7c

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    If 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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  • Celebrating The Christmas Women | A Middle-Aged Woman

    Christmas WomenFor the next 3 weeks before Christmas, I’m going to release 3 posts Celebrating The Christmas Women.  I really wanted to title this series: The Teenager, A Middle-Aged Woman, and The Senior Citizen I Want to Be Like, but I thought it was a little long 🙂

    Parts of these posts I shared in a message at Christmas events.  There’s just so much to the lives of these women that I can’t get away from their stories and how it relates to the birth of Christ.  I want to share these snippets of their stories with you so you can see the hope of Christmas, our hope in Christ as we learn from these women and begin to model the character they lived.

    Each of these women were:

    CARRIERS – OF THE PROMISE & PRESENCE OF GOD

    All three of these women carried inside of them the promise of their savior, the Messiah.  The Christmas women all spent time in the presence of God so, when God’s promises were present in their lives they immediately recognized them.  Each woman’s life in the Christmas story affected people around them as they pointed the world to Christ.

    These three believed in the promises of God and trusted in God’s timing.  It’s my greatest desire to be like the Christmas Women, to carry inside of me the promise and the presence of God. I want my life to affect others so they look to Christ, to live out a strong faith, believing in His promises with a confident trust in His timing to fulfill them.

    It’s my prayer, that by the end of this series you want to be like these women too.

    So let’s begin our Christmas Festivities,

    Celebrating the Women of The Christmas Story! 

    The first woman in the Christmas story…Jesus’ Story…is actually: 

    THE MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN 

    Christmas Women - Middle-Aged 

     

    When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home.  Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months.  “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”
                                                                             Luke 1:23-25  NLT

    Luke starts his gospel account starting with the record of a couple named Zechariah and Elizabeth and he tells us this couple was old, that was his way of saying Elizabeth was passed the age of child-bearing. One day while working in the temple, an angel tells Z that Elizabeth his wife is going to have a child, and not just any child.

    Their child would be the one prophesied about in Malachi 4:6.  He wast to be the forerunner for the Messiah.

    “And he will go on before the Lord…to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (NIV)

    It’s pretty clear from Z’s reaction that he had long since given up on the dream to have a child before the angel came to meet him at work.  Z didn’t believe and as a sign from God that God could do what He said, Z was unable to speak for 9 months, until the birth of his son.

    ELIZABETH

    On the other hand, Elizabeth immediately believed and because of her faith, Elizabeth carried John the Baptist; the one who would prepare the way for the Christ, in her womb.  Elizabeth protected the promise of God inside of her by staying secluded for 5 months, she took extra precautions to make sure the promise of God inside of her was able to grow and mature.  Elizabeth didn’t let anyone talk her out of her promise from God.  She didn’t allow anything to stop it from being birthed.

    Be like Elizabeth…
    Protect the promise of God in your life. Luke 1:24

    This Christmas, think about the promises God has given you as a believer in His Word and the one’s He’s given to you personally.  Protect those promises.  Give them room to grow in your heart, your mind, and in your life so you can see them birthed like the baby, John The Baptist.

    ELIZABETH CARRIED THE PROMISE & THE PRESENCE OF GOD…I WANT TO DO THE SAME #ChristmasWomen

    Prayer

    Father…I thank You for all the promises in Your Word and for speaking directly to me.  Help me to put a shield around your promises so they will have room grow so I’m able to carry them to full-term; watching Your promises be fulfilled in Your timing.    In Jesus Name…Amen

    Soul H2O Radio & Podcast Christmas Series

    Cheryl Nembhard

    During the Christmas season, were running The Brave Christmas & Christian Women Series.  Episode 48 is Part1 of The Brave Middle-Aged Christmas Woman & Brave Cheryl. In This Series, were Celebrating The Women of The Christmas Story and a few of their contemporary counterparts.  

    Now, I know we’re supposed to focus on Jesus and we will be but I think it’s good to take some time and recognize the impact some of these brave women had in the Christmas narrative and in our world today. I know you’re going to be inspired by my friend, Cheryl Nembhard. She’s a TV & Podcast Host, Speaker, Author, & Social Justice Advocate. 

    Drawing from the well

    You can find the full story of Zechariah and Elizabeth in these portions of scripture:

    Luke 1:5-25             John The Baptist Birth Foretold
    Luke 1:39-56           Mary Visits Elizabeth
    Luke 1:57-66           Elizabeth gives birth to the Promise of God

    Soul H2O bookDid you like the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion? Then you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women and I hope you’ll Subscribe to receive weekly Soul H2O devotions.

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    This devotion was originally posted on December 5, 2016.

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  • Easter and The Number Seven

    Today’s post was written as I reflect on Jesus sacrifice and a piece of my hubby Todd’s art this Good Friday afternoon. It’s all about Easter and the number seven.

    Seven Artwork Todd Stahl

    The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
    ~John 1:29 NIV

    Every year, we celebrate Good Friday, that doesn’t seem like a good day for Jesus. We’re taking time to remember the day Jesus willingly gave Himself up, allowing them to beat, mock, disfigure, and eventually crucify His body on a cross as a sacrifice for our sins… for my sins… for yours.. Every Good Friday I’m overwhelmed by all that Jesus endured to provide complete salvation for my sin. I really don’t understand it. I struggle to comprehend how my life was worth the cost… but it was.

    To Jesus, your life was worth the sacrifice.

    And what a sacrifice it was. By the time Jesus offered His body on the cross He had already given us so much.

    Jesus’ first sacrifice was leaving heaven to come down to earth. He left the most perfect place of complete unity to experience ultimate rejection; a position of power to acquiesce his rights; ruling as King to serve as the saviour. Jesus gave extravagantly even before He went to the cross.

    JESUS WAS THE PERFECT, SPOTLESS, SACRIFICE

    But you know that he [Jesus] appeared
    so that he might take away our sins.
    And in him is no sin.

    1 John 3:5

    A couple of years ago, Todd created a piece of art that hit me powerfully and I hope it does the same for you. It was one of those pieces he felt God inspiring him to create. This artwork conveys the power, perfection, completeness, and victory in Jesus sacrifice on the cross as the image of Christ is represented in the number seven.

    For some meaning behind the art, I’d love to share a few insights from Todd that might make this artwork even more impactful for you.

    The Art of Seven

    “During the sketch stage, I believe God gave me a few key elements to combine that would create a strong visual of who Christ is.”
    ~Todd Stahl

    The Story Behind The Art

    • The crown expresses Jesus identity as the King of Kings.
    • Jesus is the Lion of The Tribe of Judah
    • Rings symbolize covenant, favor, authority, and affirmation
    • The framework of the cross is comprised of the word seven in various sizes.
    • The fact we all have individual various stories and backgrounds is the reason why I drew the body of Seven in mosaic pieces. No two are the same.
    • The number Seven is found 735 times within the Bible.
    • Seven is the number of completeness, rest, blessing, victory, and perfection; which is a representation of Christ on the cross.
    • The actual number seven on the cross is such a strong statement.

    All these components come together to fuse a visual impact.

    Praying you have a blessed Easter focussed on Jesus the perfect, sinless, spotless, sacrifice who gave it all for you

    Much love,
    Sherry
    xoxo

    Drawing from the well

    Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus,
    who, existing in the form of God,
    did not consider equality with God
    as something to be exploited.
    Instead he emptied himself
    by assuming the form of a servant,
    taking on the likeness of humanity.
    And when he had come as a man,
    he humbled himself by becoming obedient
    to the point of death—
    even to death on a cross.

    Philippians 2:5-8 (CSB)

    See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.
    Revelations 5:5 NIV

    God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
    2 Corinthians 5:21

    You know that Christ appeared in order to take away sins, and that there is no sin in him.
    1 John 3:5 GNT

    You can check out more of Todd’s art on his website: http://www.toddstahl.ca
    To Learn More About Christ’s Sacrifice, Watch Joe Amaral’s Good Friday Online Teaching.

    Related Soul H2O Devotions

    My Resurrection Story https://www.sherrystahl.com/resurrection-story/
    Celebrating Passover And Communion https://www.sherrystahl.com/celebrating-passover/
    My Resurrection Story 
    How To Let Go and Live Free  https://www.sherrystahl.com/how-to-let-go-and-live-free/

    {PASSION WEEK} Jesus Knows What I’ts Like To Go From Cheers To Jeers  https://www.sherrystahl.com/passion-week-cheers-to-jeers/

    Why You Can Trust God https://www.sherrystahl.com/why-you-can-trust-god/

    Why I’m Always Overwhelmed on Good Friday https://www.sherrystahl.com/why-im-always-overwhelmed-on-good-friday/

    Want A Great Idea On How To Observe Lent? https://www.sherrystahl.com/want-a-great-idea-on-how-to-observe-lent/

    Jesus Was Full of Passion https://www.sherrystahl.com/passion/

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  • Celebrating Passover & Communion

    Today’s Devotion is talking about the power of celebrating Passover & Communion Together.

    “This day is to be a memorial for you,
    and you must celebrate it
    as a festival to the LORD.
    You are to celebrate it
    throughout your generations
    as a permanent statute.
    ~Exodus 12:14 NIV

    TODAY IS THE BEGINNING OF PASSOVER

    Celebrating Passover & Communion

    When you sit down to have lunch today at 12noon Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, April 8, 2020; people in Israel will start their Passover celebrations and continue until Thursday, April 16th. Hebrew people living outside of Jerusalem will start their celebrations the next day.  Every year the Jewish people set aside 12 days to remember how God delivered their nation out of Egyptian bondage and how the angel of death passed-over their homes after the 10 plagues when they applied the blood to the doorframes of their homes.

    This Year Is Monumental

    This year’s Passover celebrations have much more in common with the first Passover experience than most as Jewish people and others join in to pray and ask God to stop the spread of this corona virus and let it pass-over our homes.

    TODAY IS THE BEGINNING OF PASSOVER! Learn about joining Passover & Communion.

    When I was growing up in church there wasn’t a whole lot of talk about Jewish traditions.  It wasn’t until I was a late teen that I heard the term Seder meal when our pastor brought in a special speaker in to show and explain this Jewish Passover meal; revealing Christ as the sacrifice of Passover.

    I remember being awed at the parallels of Jesus’ life and the Passover traditions. Jewish people were instructed to take a 1-year old sheep or goat (sorry to my vegan/vegetarian friends) without any blemish.  They had to shelter it for 5 days and then they would roast it in bitter herbs, serving it with bread that has no yeast.

    How Passover Is Celebrated Today

    Today, the Seder meal is most often lamb served with bitter herbs and vegetables dipped in salt-water to remind them of the bitter sufferings they experienced in Egypt or that life brings.

    They eat matzah bread, breaking the middle piece in half to remind them of how God parted the Red Sea for them to crossover. Half of the broken matzah bread is wrapped in a cloth and hidden for children to find later.

    At one point in the meal, the children ask four questions that lead into a retelling of Israel’s history, the difficulties they’ve faced and how God miraculously set them free! They tell the stories in a way that connects them to their ancestors experience.  The Jewish website Chabad.org gives direction that…

    “At the Seder, every person should feel as if he or she were going out of Egypt… We are with them as G‑d sends the ten plagues to punish Pharaoh and his nation, and follow along as they leave Egypt and cross the Sea of Reeds. We witness the miraculous hand of G‑d as the waters part, allowing the Israelites to pass, then return to inundate the Egyptian legions… As we eat bitter foods of affliction and poverty, the Exodus becomes a reality—as real as the festive meal and celebratory toasts that follow.”1

    With thankfulness they drink four glasses of wine to pronounce blessings with (something we might call a toast), that end in pronouncing their faith in a coming Messiah. They end the Seder with songs of worship.

    Passover & Communion Connected

    It’s with the broken bread and glasses of wine where the connection with Jesus work on the cross powerfully connects the celebration of Passover and the observance of Communion. Jesus makes this clear during the last supper with His disciples in Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26 & Luke 22:14-23.Jesus explains how He is the promised Messiah and how Christians are to take communion to remember the freedom He brought us through His shed blood on the cross.

    It’s only in the past few years where I’m coming to understand the importance of commemorating Passover and Communion combined. I feel strongly that this year is more important than ever for us to take part in Passover celebrations and take communion, asking God to have Covid-19 pass-over our homes, our countries, our globe.

    Prayer

    Father… I thank You for your heart that hears your children in their distress. You hear our cries for health and healing in the midst of Covid-19. I join my voice together with believers around the globe in thankfulness for Your saving grace. Jesus I’m so thankful for your willingness to come down to earth and die on a cross for my sin.  I plead the blood of Jesus over my life… my household and the nations… may You cause Covid-19 to pass-over our homes, our countries, our globe. In Jesus Name…Amen

    Joe amaral on 100 huntley street
    Joe Amaral on 100 Huntley Street with Ron & Ann Mainse explaining the Seder Meal
    Joe Amaral Good Friday

    Joe is sharing a special Good Friday message on Facebook Live that you’re all invited to watch. Click HERE

    Drawing from the well

    1. Exodus 12:14
    2. Exodus 12:17
    3. Matthew 26:26-30/Mk 14:22-26/Lk 22:14-23
    4. 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

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  • Your Family of Believers All Over The World

    Stand firm against him {the devil},
    and be strong in your faith.
    Remember that
    your family of believers all over the world
    is going through the same kind of suffering you are. 
    ~1 Peter 5:9 NLT {info added}

    News this Easter was heartbreaking for Christians.  An unimaginable horror took place on Easter Sunday morning at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.  Forever the memories of Easter morning will be marred for those families and friends affected by the bombings.

    BOMBINGS IN SRI LANKA

    I was away celebrating Resurrection Sunday and Easter Monday with family and only heard of these atrocities a day late when I opened my inbox to read an email from my friend Peggy Kennedy who has been ministering in Sri Lanka for over twenty years.  From there I went online to learn more of these insidious attacks on the innocent; many of whom were children.

    FOLLOWING JESUS’ EXAMPLE

    At first, when you hear news like this, you want to get mad at the group responsible for this attack but that wouldn’t be in line with the heart of our Christ, nor the message of Easter. Jesus’ example is found in His words on the cross after being abused by the soldiers,

    Jesus said,
    “Father, forgive them,
    for they do not know what they are doing.”
    ~Luke 23:24

    Today’s verse is encouraging you to stand firm against the enemy—the devil, not get mad at your offenders.  Peter’s advice is to stand firm and be strong in the understanding that if other Christians can get through hardship, so can you. We minorly experience the same kind of suffering here in Canada with the political climate turning against Christians but our struggles pale in comparison to the devastation experienced in Sri Lanka.  When I read Peggy’s email, my heart ached,

    “So sadly, many of the casualties were children as (per my understanding) they were on the move from the main service to children’s church.  Some of the youth from this church also attended Pastor Woody and Melanie’s recent History Makers’ youth conference.  Other reports coming in yesterday from leaders on the ground remind us that these are real people, facing real tragedy and loss…”

    Do you recognize that
    these real people are members of
    YOUR family of believers all over the world
    YOUR family of believers in Sri Lanka?1 peter 5:9

    MY SRI LANKAN CONNECTIONS

    I feel connected to the people of Sri Lanka because as a teen, my church brought over the Kulathungam family from Sri Lanka. Niran and his brother went to youth group with my sister Lori and I.  Niran and I went to the same Bible College where his dad taught us Apologetics.

    If you’ve been reading Soul H2O Devotions for a long time, you might remember that my grandmother ran the We Share/We Care ministry at our home church?  Through it, she was intimately involved with helping meet the needs of this refugee family. In appreciation, the Kulathungam’s gave my grandmother a stone from Sri Lanka and my grandfather had it placed in a ring setting.  When my Gram passed away, she left me that ring.

    Then, 22 years ago; when Jack and Peggy announced at my church in Orangeville that they were feeling called to go to Sri Lanka for the first time, I was more than happy to help support their trip.

    So, I do have ties to Sri Lanka, but even if I didn’t, even if you don’t… if we are truly adopted into God’s family as I talked about a few weeks ago HERE, then we are still family with this body of believers in Sri Lanka…  and family takes care of family.

    FAMILY TAKES CARE OF FAMILY

    I was brought up that as Christians we’re called to Go, Pray or Give.  Not many of us can get on a plane and go to Sri Lanka, but maybe you can? Maybe God will call you to go.  Not everyone can give, but maybe God is calling you to give?  You can pray… I can pray… we all can pray. If you do know someone who is Sri Lankan, you could even send them a word of encouragement.  Call and pray with or write and let them know you’re praying for them.

    Today, I encourage you to take time out and pray for Your Family of Believers All Over The World, especially those in Sri Lanka. Why not join me below?

    Prayer

    Father… Today I lift up my brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka.  They are hurting and broken.  Many have lost family members or loved ones, many more have suffered great harm and loss.  As a result, their lives will never be the same. Give them strength to stand firm in the difficult days ahead, placing their hope in you. I pray for supernatural peace in Sri Lanka. May the church in Sri Lanka not become bitter and seek to avenge but release forgiveness to those who have sought to destroy. Let those deceived by the enemy into being his henchmen find Your love, forgiveness, and salvation. As the enemy strikes to stop the people of God all over the world, may Your children unite and Your Kingdom advance! In Jesus Name…Amen

    [tweetthis]FAMILY TAKES CARE OF FAMILY Can you take time out & join me to pray for Your Family of Believers All Over The World, especially those in #SriLanka? [/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. 1 Peter 5:9
    2. Acts 14:22
    3. Luke 23:24
    4. Matthew 5:44

    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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