Monday, July 24, 2017

Be Careful Who You Confide In

By Andrea Merrell

A perverse person stirs up conflict,

    and a gossip separates close friends.

Proverbs 16:28 NIV

It was one of those “something told me” moments when I realized I shouldn’t be sharing my issues with certain individuals. I didn’t listen, and it came back to haunt me.

It’s important for all of us to have someone to talk to and confide in, especially when we’re going through a hard time. But we have to choose that person (or persons) wisely. There are many listening ears, but not all are trustworthy.

We must choose a friend, counselor, or accountability partner who can keep a confidence. Someone who won’t gossip and spread our private issues around. Someone who walks according to the principles of God’s Word. We also need someone who will let things go and not make us wear a label for the rest of our life.

Pastor and author Bob Gass says:

Bad news is often remembered longer than good news. Long after you have resolved the issue and moved on with your life, the wrong people will continue to focus on it and talk about it. That’s why God’s Word says, “Those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.”

God is always ready and willing to come to your rescue. Take your problems to Him, and be careful who you confide in.


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/stockimages.)


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Monday, July 17, 2017

Start with a Clean Slate

By Andrea Merrell

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!

    His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT

I can’t stand a dirty screen on my iPad. But even if I clean it each morning, as soon as I touch it (looking at the weather, checking e-mails, browsing through Facebook, or playing a game), my fingerprints are, once again, all over the screen. Then it’s time for another cleaning. It gets monotonous, but I can only stand the grime just so long.

It’s the same way in my walk with the Lord. Even when I begin my day with Him and come away “clean”—washed by the Word and the power of forgiveness—everything that touches me that day leaves a fingerprint. Opportunities arise throughout the day to respond or react. When I react with anger, frustration, or criticism, I create more grime that dirties my soul and begs for another cleansing.

Thank God, His mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is greater than we can ever comprehend. His compassions never fail. His love is unconditional and everlasting, and He is always ready to forgive and cleanse. All we have to do is ask.

Start each day with a clean slate by spending time in the Lord’s presence and in His Word. Then go back as many times as you need to in order to maintain clean hands and a pure heart (Psalm 24:4 NKJV).

You’ll never regret it.


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/winnond)


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Monday, July 10, 2017

Rinse and Repeat

By Andrea Merrell

So then faith comes by hearing,
and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17 NKJV

Wash your hair; rinse and repeat. Wash the dishes; rinse and repeat. Wash the dog; rinse and repeat.

Our life is full of repetition—making the bed, paying the bills, doing the laundry, brushing our teeth, and going to work. We can become such creatures of habit that we go about our normal routine without even thinking about what we’re doing.

Repetition is like anything else; it can be good or bad, productive or non-productive. It’s all in your perspective.

As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” In most cases, the more we do something, the better at it we become. In the same way, the Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing. Hearing what? The Word of God. A friend and former pastor used to say “Faith comes by hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing.

In other words, we don’t typically retain what we hear only once. We need to hear something over and over in order for it to stick.

We're instructed throughout the Bible to meditate on what we read. Hebrews 2:1 (NKJV) says, Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.

If you desire more of God in your life and a closer relationship with Him, read, pray, and meditate.

Then rinse and repeat.

(Photo courtesy of Morguefile.com)

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Spiritual Root Canal

By Andrea Merrell

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive
the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness
grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
Hebrews 12:15 NLT

“You’re carrying an offense.”
 
It was the last thing I wanted to hear, especially from my husband. I disagreed—loudly—telling him my offense had been dealt with and put behind me.

Then why did I get so angry? I asked myself. Why did I lash out at the person who loves me and was only trying to help me?

Taking on an offense can be so subtle we hardly realize it. Even when we think we’ve forgiven someone, it’s easy to ignore the root of bitterness that has embedded itself in our heart. That bitterness taunts us, raising its ugly head every time the offending person’s name is mentioned.

Psalm 119:165 says Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them (KJV).

Seriously? Nothing? That’s a tall order, but God never instructs us to do anything He doesn’t give us the power to do.

Pastor and author Bob Gass says this:

Turn to God. Give Him all your worries and cares … for He cares about you (1 Peter 5:7 NLT). Give Him your pain, your failures, your hang-ups, and your challenges. Forgive the person who hurt you. Obsessing over what they did and trying to make them pay just keeps you chained to them. But forgiveness breaks the chain and sets you free. In your own strength you may be able to do something to alleviate your pain. But God can destroy the root of the pain and cause you to walk victoriously into the future.

If someone has hurt you, and your offense—left unattended—has caused a root of bitterness to take hold, allow God to do a spiritual root canal today and destroy the root of your pain.

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

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Monday, June 26, 2017

God Wants to Set Us Free

By Andrea Merrell

Stand fast therefore in the liberty 
by which Christ has made us free,
and do not be entangled again 
with a yoke of bondage.
Galatians 5:1 NKJV

Sometimes I can’t help but laugh at the way God sets things up when He wants to get my attention.

 Recently, on my way to church, I listened to a song on the radio that spoke of being free. The line that jumped out at me was “there are no chains on me.” When I got to church, the guest speaker read from John 8:31-36 about how the truth makes us free. “Freedom,” he said, “releases you into your calling and destiny.” When the service was over and I got back into my car, there was another song on the radio about … you guessed it … being set free.


Free. That was my word from God for the day, but I wondered what it meant for me specifically.

I tried to remember all the things that had held me captive in the past—chains that kept me in bondage. There was rejection and verbal abuse which caused low self-esteem and a desire to be a people-pleaser. There were deep wounds inflicted by cruel words and situations out of my control. Even though God had lovingly delivered me from the pain of my past, there seemed to be more chains to be broken.

The next morning when I opened my devotional book, the title of the devotion was “God Wants to Set You Free.” Okay, God, I thought. I get it. It’s obvious we have work to do.

As I spent time in God’s presence, He revealed negative attitudes and offences that needed to be dealt with. As I confessed my sin, He once again forgave me, cleansed my heart, and renewed my spirit and soul. He washed me clean and set me free from the unseen chains that were holding me down. Sometimes we don’t realize how much bondage we’re in until we’re delivered and looking at things from the other side with a different perspective—a godly perspective.

Freedom is a wonderful gift. Allow God to set you free today.

***
I would love for you to check out my new book, Marriage: Make It or Break it, now available on Amazon.

(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Stuart Miles/David Costillo Dominici.)

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