Monday, January 22, 2018

When in Doubt ... Don't

By Andrea Merrell

But don’t begin until you count the cost.
Luke 14:28 NLT

It’s been my motto for years: when in doubt … don’t.

But we did.

My husband and I made a hasty, spur-of-the-moment decision—something we typically never do—and it has, as they say, come back to haunt us.

Snap decisions are rarely a good idea unless you’re in a life or death situation. In our home, we talk, think, and pray about things, especially large purchases.

The Bible instructs us to “count the cost.” In other words, it’s foolish to begin a construction project without knowing if you have enough money to complete it. Or for that matter, to begin anything else without knowing all the details.

In our case, we judged the proverbial book—a used car—by its cover. This vehicle had a beautiful exterior, a low price, and included all the bells and whistles. What we found between the pages—under the hood and front bumper—was a nightmare.

We’re instructed throughout Scripture to pray about everything. God wants us to consult Him about whatever we do so He can give us input (godly wisdom, knowledge, and understanding). He cares about what we care about and wants to be involved in our decision-making. Even though every answer we receive may not be clear-cut, we can make it a habit to “pursue the things which make for peace” (Romans 14:19 NKJV).

Fortunately, God redeemed our mistake, helped us make necessary repairs, and has given us direction about how to move forward. Hopefully, we’ll listen a little more carefully the next time around.

If you have a big decision facing you, ask God to show you the way. Then pursue peace.

And remember. When in doubt … don’t.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles. )

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Monday, January 15, 2018

The Harmful Effects of Anger and Resentment

By Andrea Merrell

Anger. It’s something we’re all familiar with to some degree. For me, it was a problem I dealt with on a daily basis for years—not understanding why, and not realizing how it was affecting me and those around me.

Everything seemed to make me angry. I was a volcano looking for place to erupt. There were skeletons in my emotional closet that continually rattled, reminding me of past hurts, betrayals, and failures. Those dry bones caused resentment and sent me into a tirade. This went on so long that anger and resentment became my default, causing me to respond in a negative way, no matter how hard I tried not to.

Even when trying to overcome this hateful, harmful behavior by stuffing it deep inside, it was doing more harm than I could imagine.

This is what pastor and author Bob Gass says about the subject:

Doctors say resentment eats at your stomach lining, attacks your immune system, and predisposes you to heart problems, cancers, and other physical, social, and emotional disorders. And that’s not all. It preoccupies your mind, drains your energy, and cripples your creativity. It strains your fellowship with God, your family and friends, as well as denying your offender an opportunity to clear their conscience and make things right with God and with you. Until you deal with the issue, you’ll drag it around like a ball and chain.

No matter how you slice and dice it, anger and resentment are born from selfishness. Just like a child, this is how we respond when we don’t get  our way. These emotions are also, as God showed me, a choice. We can make a conscious decision to react in anger or respond in love. Love acts; it does not react. When I finally took responsibility for my actions and made the choice to put away anger and walk in love, God set me free.

If you’re battling with anger issues, take them to the Lord and ask for His help. Make the decision to put away resentment and walk in God’s peace. Don’t allow these harmful emotions to wreck your mind, your body, or your relationships.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.)

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Monday, January 8, 2018

The Truth About Feet

By Andrea Merrell

All of you together are Christ’s body,
and each of you is a part of it.
I Corinthians 12:27 NLT


Feet. You gotta love ‘em … in spite of all the problems they cause.

Have you ever thought about—or experienced—any or all of the problems that can happen with feet? I’m talking about problems like callouses, bunions, corns, and ingrown toenails. Then there’s the matter of bone spurs, nail fungus, stone bruises, athlete’s foot, and plantar fasciitis. Dry, cracked heels can cause major discomfort. And stub your little toe … ouch!

The Bible refers to certain parts of the body as “uncomely” (unattractive, unpleasant, or unappealing), but necessary. Some people hate feet. They can’t stand to look at them or have anyone touch their own. Others—like me—spend the summer months in flip flops and sandals and love nothing more than a good pedicure.

As the Body of Christ, we all represent certain parts. Some regard certain parts as more important than others, but God sees each one as significant and necessary. This is what I Corinthians has to say:

If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”
In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.  And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
Whatever your role in Christ’s Body, never take it for granted, and never think of yourself as more or less important than another part. We are created as individuals and put together to complete the whole.

And be sure to take care of those feet!

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.)

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Monday, January 1, 2018

Welcome to a New Year

By Andrea Merrell

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,
but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past
and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach
the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize
for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Philippians 3:13-14


It’s been a rough year. Between several months of sickness, an eye surgery with weeks of recovery, radiation for my husband, and serious family issues, 2017 is not a time I will remember with fondness.

Can you relate? Maybe this has not been your best year. Perhaps you’re looking forward to a fresh start in 2018.

The apostle Paul wrote these words: But I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead … If anyone had reason to complain, it was Paul. He was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, robbed, thrown into prison, and rejected by his own countrymen.

And we think we have problems …

The truth is we can dwell on the past and the problems we endured, or put it all behind us and look forward to what God has in store for us. We’re all familiar with Jeremiah 29:11, but I love the way the Message puts it: I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

As this New Year unfolds, make your relationship with God your number one priority. Don’t dwell on the past, but look forward to the future. God’s promises are many and with Him, your best days are always ahead.

Wishing you a bright, healthy, prosperous, and Jesus-filled New Year!


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.)

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Monday, December 25, 2017

And Ye Shall Find Him ...

 By Andrea Merrell


And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes
lying in a manger. Luke 2:12

“Ye shall find the babe …”

We’re all familiar with those words, especially during the Christmas season. An angel appeared to unsuspecting shepherds and told them of the miracle. They left their flocks, followed the star, and found the baby Jesus, just as the angel said.

A popular song tells us that “wise men still seek Him.” From the beginning of time, men and women have looked for the promised Messiah. But He is no longer “wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.” He is now seated at the Father’s right hand, ever making intercession for his beloved children.

Most people are never more aware of the Lord of Lords than at Christmastime. But we must still continue to pursue Him. Luke 11:8-10 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened (NIV)."

During this wonderful season, seek Him with all your heart, your soul, and your mind …

… and ye shall find Him.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.)


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