Confession: I’m Not a Fan of Devotions

Soul H2O Launch Team

My love-hate relationship with devotions started in college. It was my first time immersed in a Christianese culture. I didn’t know much about Jesus, and I didn’t care about the Gospel. I just wanted to be a good person and prove myself worthy to the God I didn’t understand.

In waltzed a dorm-mate one day, announcing she was about to do her “devos.” The word weirded me out.

Since those early days and eventually getting to know Jesus as my Savior, devotions still aren’t my thing.

For me, many devotionals are frustrating because they: 

  • Preach Christian psychology or self-help instead of the Scripture I need
  • Tackle huge topics that get me thinking, but offer no resolution or practical application
  • Are super wordy, in which case just give me a whole book
  • Build day by day, and I’m not that regimented
  • Are bulky, funky, hard covers that I’m too lazy to haul around with me for daily time
  • Tempt me to worship the devotional habit instead of worshipping God

My list says a lot about me and my shortcomings.

But it also speaks volumes about one of the rare devotionals I enjoy!

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I love this devotional book- it’s the exception to most of my “anti-devotional” issues.

Soul H2O, by Sherry Stahl, is a Biblical, digestible, concise companion for straight-up Bible studying and for ordinary life.

Each devotion is 1-2 short pages. The book is soft cover, and it fits in purses, backpacks, and my car’s glovebox. You don’t have to read it every day to keep up.

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Best of all, each devotion is simple. Instead of overwhelming me, Sherry’s words just refresh. They function like the title suggests: to quench thirst for good news from the Lord.

For example, devotional #4 refers to taking “every thought captive” to Christ.

Sherry then goes on to exhort: “Choose today which thoughts you’ll play on the record player of your mind.” The devotion centers on how our thoughts repeat. The thought is simple, Biblical, and gave me practical encouragement to walk with the Lord that day.

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Each of the devotions begins with a Bible verse. Short paragraphs with brief relatable anecdotes and simple life-applicable points about the verse follow. Sherry concludes with a brief prayer and references for additional verses if you’d like to study the Word yourself.

What I appreciate most about Soul H2O is its focus:

Instead of being about big life changes and heavy topics, Soul H2O offers basic life sustenance.

Such a simple blessing, but so important. That’s why this devotion has so blessed me. It’s a cool drink to refresh my Spirit and remind me of the simple vitality the Lord offers us day by day.

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All that to say, I’m grateful to have been part of Sherry’s launch team. It is a joy to recommend Soul H2O to you. Whether you love devotionals or can’t stand them, this one is for you. Soul H2O will refresh your spirit, make you smile, and bring you to praise.

To find a copy of Soul H2O, visit Sherry’s website here.

** I received this book free from the publisher, Word Alive Press, when I joined Sherry’s launch team. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Word of the Week: Still

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’” –Psalm 46:10

Busy, busy. Becky just wrote about our false trust in “doing” through busyness. It’s a tough one to accept because our busyness is a habitual coping mechanism.

No more.

Be still.

This word the Lord uses can also be translated “sink” or “relax.”

Other connotations here include: loosen, let go, cease, abandon, fall limp, become helpless.

This word is for children clinging to things, fraught in their activity, wound up over whatever. It holds the power that a parents’ embrace does when a child is scooped up and put at ease.

Thank the Lord we are children of God.

His tone is steady, calming, and reassuring as He commands as a loving parent would: “settle down. I’m here. I’ve got it.”

God is the perfect parent. There is no unsupported claim in His Word.

When He says sink back on me, relax with me, I’ve got this…He can back it up.

Sink into that. Relax. Whew. Be still.

This post may also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

New Amongst the Old

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment,

for the patch will pull away from the garment,

making the tear worse.”

–Matthew 9:16

With the New Year, new resolutions are made. New outlooks are had, and, if nothing else, a sense of hope and possibility is renewed. Within weeks, it all tends to fall apart though.

It’s difficult to live anew amongst the old. We go back to the same jobs and the same co-workers. Day after day, the routine is much the same. Our needs have hardly changed. So as we try to maintain a better perspective and uphold our resolve to do or be better people, it soon seems our everyday lives are even harder than before.

What we experience in the New Year is much like this passage describes: the new making the old seem worse. The old does not adjust to the new easily, making the new feel ill-fitted.

Do you have that sense in your days? As if it isn’t really feasible to improve because nothing around you is?

We aren’t the whole issue. It isn’t just you and I that need improving. Our circumstances, relationships, and lives (though outside of our control!) all need to be renewed.

Fortunately for us, the bridegroom has come.

The “old has passed away; behold, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17.)

His renewal in our lives affects everything and make all things new for us. His mercies are new every day. He causes the sun to rise new every day. There are new opportunities each day. And moment by moment, He renews in our hearts a right Spirit.

What an encouragement to us!

Though we sometimes feel like new patches stuck on an old, worn-out dress, the Lord assures us that He has clothed us anew. When we wait on His timing and trust in His continuing-creation, the old becomes new, and we do too.

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, and #TellHiStory

The Lord Erases Our Regrets

This post is also shared on Purposeful Faith along with many other bloggers sharing about the Lord’s work in their life. Click the link to read others : )  

I’m a know-needer. It’s not that I think I know it all, but that I want to know it all. The “what-ifs” of life are maddening to me. When they come up, I identify every possibility…and I follow it to its end. At least that way I feel that I’ll know what to do with whichever option comes true. And at least then I won’t have to live with regrets…right?

No matter how much we try to know, we don’t know it all. There are always opportunities we can’t see. The Lord is always at work on something we don’t even know needs work. It seems that knowledge, no matter how fervently we chase it, eludes us in some ways.

Relying too heavily on our limited knowledge leaves us with regrets…or at least in the position of having to decide between making choices based on what we know versus what we believe.

Have you had to make a choice that you knew was right but that you thought you would regret? I have. Over and over again.

Recently, I turned down a job offer. For a position I’ve prayed for for years. With enough hours to bolster our bank account. Every bit of knowledge I have dictated that I ought to find a way to make t work, that this was the opportunity I’d been waiting for. The Lord told me no. When I said yes to Him and no to the offer, I thought I would regret it soon.

The next day, another call came. Another offer. The position –but somewhere else with better hours and better pay. And it came with the peace of the Lord.

All I had to do was wait one day. I couldn’t have known what was coming. I couldn’t have known that it could get better than that first offer seemed. I couldn’t have known that regret for a day would be erased by the Lord to make the slate clean.

Thank the Lord –He knew. Thank the Lord –He even washes our regrets anew!

That’s what happens when we regret and the Lord erases it. We take a slate that we’ve muddied and dirtied with doubt and with whole reliance on reason, and we toss it out. Regret makes it seem like there is no turning back and that slate is now useless forever. He erases it, He makes it clean.

Romans 8:27-28 tells us that “He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (MSG)

Who would have thought that even our regrets could be used for the good of those who love Him?

For all the ways my knowledge fails me, I’ve found the Lord does not. Even when I fail. Even when my choices seem backwards, but right. He erases regret because regret it about my way –and when that slate is clean, He makes beautiful works of art that are better than anything I could ever dream.

Today I’m glad I turned down that job. I’m so glad we didn’t get the cat then with all the housing turmoil we later unexpectedly experienced (and the dog we were able to get eventually instead!)

I’m glad that money has kept us at times from making decisions to do things more “typically” because we’ve had some amazing relationships out of it. I’m glad for some of my worst moments because without some of the mistakes and brokenness I’ve regretted, I would never have let people into my heart as far as I have. These are my anti-regrets. These are what keep me saying “Yes, Lord” when I want to say “no.”

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, and 
#Intentionally Pursuing