Monday, October 17, 2016

Dealing With Shades of Gray

By Andrea Merrell

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

I’m basically a black and white person, a proponent of the truth. I hate lies and pretense. My natural tendency is to avoid the gray areas as much as possible.

But is it really possible?

The absolute truth—as I have learned—is that not everything is either black or white. Life is full of gray areas that cannot be understood or explained. That’s precisely why we have to place our faith and complete trust in the Lord.

As Christians, the Bible is our ultimate source of truth, our guidebook for living. But even Scripture does not lay out all the answers to our questions in a neat little row. For me, this can be a bit disconcerting.

I’m the type of person who needs answers. I like to be prepared for any given situation, to know what’s going to happen. But God doesn’t work that way. He shows us what we need to know when we need to know it. He purposely keeps some answers out of our reach so we’ll seek Him and follow His lead.

Learning to be flexible and content to not know all the answers is hard, but doable. It's best to take one day at a time and accept the gray areas. When life throws us a curve, we can move on to Plan B. 

Unanswered questions are okay. Life is full of them, and we breathe easier and sleep better at night when we embrace that fact. The key is in trusting God with all our heart and making the most of each and every day … no matter what comes our way.

(Photo courtesy of Miles.)


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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Have You Received Your Inheritance?

By Andrea Merrell

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.
So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:27 NLT

High blood pressure, stress test, pain, increased meds, bills, various health issues … all coming at one time like a wave crashing on the sand. Surely this is what the Bible means when it says the cares of this world will sneak in and choke out the Word within us.

But life happens. So what’s a body to do?

We need to receive our inheritance.

Funny word, inheritance. It conjures up thoughts of money, land, and every sort of material possession possible. But it also means something valuable that is passed down.

Truth is, we may not have relatives with any items of worth that might be passed along to us, but when we belong to God’s family, we have already received an inheritance. Jesus said He was leaving us with a gift—the gift of peace. This gift is greater than any earthly possession we could ever own. Philippians tells us this peace passes all understanding. In other words, it far exceeds our human comprehension.

Without peace, we worry and fret. Doubt creeps in and we question God’s promises to His children. But when we receive God’s covenant of peace and allow it to rule in our heart, that same peace will drive away fear, anxiety, frustration, and—most of all—stress. It’s a heavenly benefit that gives us stability and helps us to trust God completely.

Jesus has graciously given us His peace to help us walk through this life. I'm ready to wholeheartedly receive and walk in that gift. How about you?

Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen. Romans 15:33

(Photo courtesy of GC.)


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Monday, October 3, 2016

Own It

By Andrea Merrell

Have you royally messed up? Then own it. There’s nothing worse than someone who passes the proverbial buck and refuses to take responsibility for his or her own actions.

Been there … done that … not a good scenario.

When David was confronted with his sins of adultery and murder, he repented, accepted God’s forgiveness, put those things behind him, and moved on.

Adam, on the other hand, hid in the bushes when God came looking for him. And even when God found him—knowing where he was all along—Adam didn’t own up to his sin. He blamed his wife.

We all blow it, but we can’t dwell on our mistakes and stop moving forward. God is always ready to takes our messes and turn them into something good. Listen to what God says in Isaiah 43:17 (TM):

Forget about what’s happened; 
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. 
I’m about to do something brand-new.

If you’ve made mistakes, don’t make excuses. It’s no fun to live a life full of regrets. Own it. Ask forgiveness. Then move on. God has great things in store.

(Photo courtesy of Miles.)


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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Have We Lost Our Integrity?

By Andrea Merrell

We see it everywhere we turn—the workplace, the government, and even in the church—a loss of integrity, of doing the right thing even when no one is watching or giving us credit for our actions.

I think we would all agree our society is spiraling downward at an alarming rate. There are no moral absolutes, and it’s hard to know who we can trust or depend on. People are encouraged to be free thinkers and do whatever feels right—to them. Ungodly people make the rules, and we’re supposed to blindly follow … no questions asked.

But we should ask. And here’s the big question: What does God say?

This is what Psalm 119:1-8 tells us in the Message:

You’re blessed when you stay on course,
    walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You’re blessed when you follow his directions,
    doing your best to find him.
That’s right—you don’t go off on your own;
    you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
    now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
    keeping to the course you set;
Then I’d never have any regrets
    in comparing my life with your counsel.
I thank you for speaking straight from your heart;
    I learn the pattern of your righteous ways.
I’m going to do what you tell me to do;
    don’t ever walk off and leave me.

The only way to walk in integrity is to have a standard, and that standard is God’s holy, unchangeable, living Word.  It's infallible, forever settled in heaven, and the only source of truth. 

Why not make it your daily go-to guidebook.

Photos courtesy of


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Monday, September 19, 2016

Has God Stopped Talking?

By Andrea Merrell

The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom,
    so that I know how to comfort the weary.
Morning by morning he wakens me
    and opens my understanding to his will. 

Isaiah 50:4 NLT

As soon as I said “God told me,” she checked out and stopped listening.

“What? God doesn’t talk to us!” She shot me a look that clearly said I was crazy, then walked away.

I wanted to ask her exactly when God stopped talking. He spoke the world into being and had daily fellowship with Adam and Eve. He spoke to Moses from a burning bush, a cloud, a pillar of fire, and the cleft of a rock. He chastised Balaam from the lips of a donkey. He instructed Paul through a vision and Joseph in a dream. He spoke to Mary through an angel and continually warned His people through the prophets.

That’s a lot of talking. So when exactly did He stop?

Thankfully, He hasn’t … and never will.

God loves us with an all-consuming love and desires a personal, intimate relationship with each of His children. So why would He leave all the communication up to us? Relationship is two-sided. That’s why He sent the Holy Spirit to live inside us to lead, guide, comfort, instruct, and correct.

God speaks through His Word and in that still, small voice in our quiet times with Him. His words can be heard through the lips of a trusted friend and in the “I love you” of a child. He can give us a life-changing word even through a stranger.

What I would have told my friend—if she had been willing to listen—is that God has spoken to me many times in many different ways. My responsibility is to listen and respond.

If you think God is too far away or too busy to care about you, think again. He cares about everything that concerns you, and He is patiently waiting for you to call on Him.

God is always ready to talk to His children. Are you listening?

(Photos courtesy of


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