Monday, July 16, 2018

How To Be a Change Agent


By Andrea Merrell


Sometimes life throws us a curve ball, and we have to duck before it smacks us in the head and lands us on the ground.

I’ve been in many situations in my life where people have been so difficult, the fight-or-flight instinct kicked in, and I had to make a quick decision.

Circumstances can be hard to deal with in any venue—work, home, social environments, and even in the church. We have no control over circumstances, but we do have control over our actions.

God wants us to be a change agent—someone who shines His light and brings life to all we come in contact with. Here is a prayer from pastor and author Bob Gass that can help us improve every situation we find ourselves in:

Where there is contention, let me be a peacemaker. Where there is deceit, let me speak truth. Where there is despair, let me bring hope. Where there is fear, let me bring faith. Where there is darkness, let me bring light. Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.

Today, make the decision to be a change agent.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and mrpuen.)


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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Walking the Straight, Smooth Path


By Andrea Merrell

A voice cries out,
“Prepare in the wilderness a road for the Lord!
    Clear the way in the desert for our God!
 Fill every valley; level every mountain.
The hills will become a plain,
    and the rough country will be made smooth.
Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it.
The Lord himself has promised this.”


Isaiah 40:3-5 GNT

The trail was rough, filled with rocks, briars, tree roots, and low-hanging branches. As the sun dropped in the sky, the way became more treacherous. It was time to change our direction.

Rocky paths are difficult to navigate. We can find ourselves striving to maintain balance and grabbing for limbs to steady our steps. At times we come to a steep incline. At other times the path takes a drastic drop. Sometimes we trip and fall or come to a dead end, wishing there was a better way.

The truth is there is a better way—God’s way. He is the One who establishes our path and lights the way before us. When we choose to follow His lead, He clears the way ahead, eliminating the debris that would hinder our journey. As Isaiah says, The hills will become a plain, and the rough country will be made smooth.

Whenever I choose to go my own way, it usually does not end well. But when I make a decision to stay on the path God has set before me, I can trust Him to see me safely to my destination as I accomplish His plan and purpose for my life.

If you’re on a rocky road or a slippery slope, take God’s hand and allow Him to lead you to the road paved with His blessings.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Keerati.)


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Take God's hand and stay on the path He has set before you. via @AndreaMerrell (Click to tweet.)


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Monday, July 2, 2018

Does Practice Really Make Perfect?

By Andrea Merrell


For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal
but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 
casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself
against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought
into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Rehearsing something over and over can be good or bad. It depends on what we’re rehearsing.

Too many times, we play out situations, circumstances, and problems in our mind so much we have it down to, as they say, a science. We over-analyze those problems, turn them inside out, and create a fix from every conceivable angle.

I’ve learned that when I get caught in this trap, it steals my peace and causes nothing but anxiety. If practice really does make perfect, there are those of us who have genuinely perfected the act of worry.

God wants our focus to be on Him, not problem-solving. The only thing He wants us to practice is His presence. He has promised to lead, guide, and direct our path, lighting the way before us. He has given us His Holy Spirit as counselor and teacher and His Word as the ultimate guidebook for life.

The next time you’re tempted to rehearse your woes, pull down those strongholds and cast down any thoughts that rob you of your peace and joy. Practice His presence instead of your problems. That kind of practice really does make perfect.

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

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Rebellion Is Not Just a Kid Thing


By Andrea Merrell


For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,

And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

1 Samuel 15:23

My young granddaughter narrowed her eyes, balled her fists, and refused to budge. It was obvious she was not going to do as she was told.

But as I watched, I saw myself and thought about all the times I have stubbornly disobeyed God or ignored His instructions altogether.

Rebellion comes in many forms, and God puts it in the same category as witchcraft ... His words, not mine.

Our carnal nature goes to work as soon as we enter this world, and it doesn’t stop just because we get past the terrible twos. Body language says a lot to others. As we get older, we might learn to hide our true feelings from those around us, but we can’t fool God. He looks at the heart. He sees the bad attitudes and hears our negative, rebellious thoughts.

Working out our own salvation, putting off the old man and putting on the new, and renewing our minds is a lifelong process. It begins with a decision and requires commitment, determination, and dedication. But with Holy Spirit guidance, we can overcome our selfish, rebellious attitudes and replace them with attitudes that honor and glorify God.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Goldy.)

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Monday, June 18, 2018

What's In Your Heart?


By Andrea Merrell

For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.
Matthew 12:34 NLT

The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them. I cringed. Where in the world did that come from?

My answer was found in Matthew: For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.

Seriously? I had no idea that thought was in my heart. It had somehow bypassed my head and implanted itself in a deeper place. Ouch!

Maybe that’s why Proverbs 4:23 says above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Guarding our heart sounds like a huge responsibility. Well, it is. Everything we’re exposed to on a daily basis affects us in one way or anotherwhat we see, hear, read, listen to, and especially what we allow our minds to fixate on. Before we know it, our heart is filled with debris that needs to be cleaned out. That’s where prayer, repentance, and God’s Word come into play. As Ephesians 5:26 tells us, we are sanctified and cleansed with the washing of water by the Word.

The next time your thoughts and mouth betray you, check the source. The commercial asks “what’s in your wallet?” But God is asking “what’s in your heart?”

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and usamedeniz.)

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