Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Winner or Loser ... Who Decides?

By Andrea Merrell

Winners and losers. That’s a concept we deal with from childhood. Once you’re labeled as a “loser,” that label is hard to shake.

But what defines a loser? And who determines when someone is a success? I believe it’s all in the eye of the beholder. In other words, it’s what you think about yourself.

People only lose when they quit trying and allow their failures to define them. They complain, blame everyone else for their problems, and throw a perpetual pity party.

The truth is we all win and lose throughout our life. No one stays on top all the time, and we only stay down when we chose to do so. Winners don’t always win, but they see failure as a temporary setback, not a permanent condition. 

When someone has the mindset of a winner, they get back up every time they get knocked down. They win through the godly principle of patience and perseverance. Proverbs 24:16 says, The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked (NLT).

So, how do you see yourself? In God’s eyes, you are always a winner.

(Photo courtesy of Miles/Graphics Mouse.)


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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Pray About Everything

By Andrea Merrell

Casting all your cares [all your anxieties,
all your worries, and all your concerns,
once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you
[with deepest affection, and watches over you 
very carefully].
1 Peter 5:7 AMP

“That’s stupid. I would never bother God with something so trivial.”

As my friend said the words, she looked at me in a way that clearly told me she thought I had lost my mind.

The conversation took place a long time ago but has stayed with me all these years. Did it change my perspective on prayer or stop me from going to God with my needs? Absolutely not. If anything, it caused me to take a closer look at Scripture to get God’s perspective on the subject.

What I’ve learned is that God is concerned about everything that concerns me—big or small—and He invites me to cast all my care on Him. Philippians 4:6 instructs me not to worry about anything, but to pray about everything. God also promises in Psalm 138:8 to perfect everything that concerns me. To me, that means He wants to be involved in the fine print of my life as well as the headlines.

Because I know He loves me and wants to lead, guide, and direct my steps, I will continue to pray about all the major events in my life, but I will also pray about parking spaces, bad hair days, and the weather. I will seek His guidance on things like moving furniture, buying gifts, and what color to paint the walls.

God is sovereign. He is eternal. He is the mighty One, Creator of heaven and earth. He is the great I AM. But he is also intimately acquainted with us as His children and wants to be our best and closest friend. When we invite Him in, He promises to be with us always, so why shouldn’t we talk to Him about all things, great and small?

And when you pray ... don't forget to be thankful.

Wishing you and your family a blessed and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

(Photos courtesy of and Stuart Miles.)


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Monday, November 14, 2016

Am I Right for the Job?

By Andrea Merrell

 Jesus looked at them intently and said, 
“Humanly speaking, it is impossible.
But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”
Mark 10:27 NLT

I felt totally inadequate and unqualified for the job. How could God possibly ask me to do something so far outside my comfort zone?

Have you ever felt that way?

God is always with us and up to the task. He works through us, giving us His strength, power, ability, and wisdom. When the job seems too big for us, that’s when God works best. He'll show Himself strong on our behalf by allowing His very own strength to be made perfect in our human weakness.

God will equip us for whatever He calls us to do. He never leaves us hanging. Sometimes He prepares us way ahead of time. At other times, it’s a matter of on-the-job training. Those are the times we learn to step out in faith, take His hand, and go for it.

New territory can be a scary place—speaking, teaching, writing, new job, new ministry, new relationship—but God promises to not only go before us but to be with us every step of the way. I’ve heard Joyce Meyer say many times, “Do it afraid.”

I’ve learned that being outside my comfort zone is where I grow as my faith is put to the test. God has never failed me, and He will never fail you. The Bible clearly says that what is impossible with man is possible with God.

If God has called you to do something—and you’re wondering if you’re right for the job—trust that He will give you everything you need to succeed, for your good and His glory.

(Photo courtesy of Miles/Master isolated images.)


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Monday, November 7, 2016

Don't Push the Hot Button

By Andrea Merrell

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18 NLT

I shouldn’t have said it, but it came out anyway. It was one of those statements that pushes every hot button and sets an argument into motion. Once the words were uttered, there was no way to take them back.

When would I ever learn?

Why do we do that … especially when we know how destructive hateful words can be to a relationship?

Marriage, friendships, and family interactions take work. We have to choose to overlook the faults and shortcomings of others, just like we want them to do for us. How? By putting their needs and feelings above our own and avoiding conversations that breed conflict, anger, and resentment.

The Bible instructs us to walk in love, forgive when wronged, and to live in peace with others as much as possible. That’s a tall order, but God will give us the grace we need to follow His Word if we’ll just ask.

And another thing … stay away from those hot buttons.

(Photo courtesy of Miles.)


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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Truth Hurts

By Andrea Merrell

Wounds from a sincere friend
are better than many kisses from an enemy.
Proverbs 27:6 NLT

The words were not easy to hear. My flesh was prepared to rebel, but my heart was ready to receive. It was one of those aha moments when we know God is sanding off the rough edges and polishing us for His glory and purpose.

Sometimes the truth hurts, but it might be exactly what we need to hear.

We can get so caught up in our own little fantasy world that we fail to see the areas in our life that need work. That’s when we need to look into the mirror of God’s Word and listen to the counsel and advice of trusted friends.

Who do you allow to speak into your life? Proverbs 27:6 (NLT) says that wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. Shallow praise and empty flattery will get us nowhere. But words spoken from a heart of love—by those who truly care about us—will help us break out of our self-imposed boundaries so we can move forward to where we need to be.

Yes, the truth can be painful, but we need to look past the words and find the truth in the message.

(Photo courtesy of Miles.)


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