Monday, October 15, 2018

Keep Your Focus on the Lord


By Andrea Merrell

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.
Psalm 138:8 NKJV

Suddenly, my world was blurry. I blinked, adjusted my glasses, blinked again. Nothing.

Thinking something was wrong with my eyes, anxiety crept in. Not a good feeling or situation when you’ve had a corneal transplant and cataract surgery in each eye. Thankfully, before panic could fully set in, I realized one of the nose pieces on my glasses was missing, causing my lenses to shift and throw my vision out of focus.

But isn’t that what happens with our spiritual vision? When something is missing in our walk with the Lord, our life shifts and throws everything off. Our vision becomes blurry.

The Bible is full of instructions about keeping our hearts and minds fixed on Him. Why? Because He is always with us and promises to perfect all that concerns us—every problem, situation, circumstance, and decision. When our thoughts wander away from His presence, we fail to see our way clearly.

In Jesus Calling, Sarah Young shares His heart with us:

A trusting response includes me in your thoughts as you consider strategies to deal with a situation. My continual presence is a promise, guaranteeing that you never have to face anything alone. Gently bring your attention back to me whenever it wanders away. I look for persistence—rather than perfection—in your walk with me. ~Jesus

If you’re struggling to make sense of what’s happening in your life, check your spiritual glasses. Maybe the nose piece has fallen off, and all you have to do is replace it. Shift your attention back to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will bring all things back into focus.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and photostock.)

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Monday, October 8, 2018

Cast Your Anchor


By Andrea Merrell

 
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, 
both sure and steadfast. 
Hebrews 6:19 NKJV


I’m not much of a boat lover, and I don’t know a lot about the mechanics of boating. But I do know an anchor is necessary to keep you from drifting aimlessly about, especially in strong winds and currents. This heavy device is needed to keep a vessel firmly in place.

But there is an anchor of a different type—an anchor for our soul. Something that keeps us steadfast, sure and steady in a tumultuous world. That anchor is hope, an unseen cord that connects us to heaven.

When the rough seas of life look as if they’re about to take us under, all we have to do is look up and hold tight to that cord and the hand of the Savior.

Hope—that feeling of trust and expectation—keeps us going no matter the circumstances. Hope and faith go hand in hand. Hebrews 11: 6 tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God. Faith comes by hearing, receiving, and believing the Word. And with faith comes hope.

When a boat begins to drift, the taut rope of the anchor pulls the vessel back into proper position. When our thoughts—and sometimes our words and actions—drift away from the Lord, that anchor of our soul gives a gentle tug and pulls us safely back into the Savior’s loving arms.

If you’re drifting aimlessly, cast your anchor of hope. You will find the peace, purpose, and stability you have been searching for.


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and renjith krishnan.)



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Monday, October 1, 2018

God Doesn't Play Hide-and-Seek


By Andrea Merrell

  Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your presence?
 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.

Psalm 139:7-10

The day I decided it would be fun to hide from my grandmother did not end well.

I was in middle school, old enough to know better. The more she searched, the more she panicked. Just before she picked up the phone to call the police, I stepped out from my hiding place behind the hutch, expecting relief and a hug. What I got was … well, let’s just say it was not what I expected.

As kids, we play hide-and-seek from each other. As adults, we try and play the same game with God. We tend to think the things we say and do in secret are known only to us.

Not so.

God not only knows exactly where we are each and every moment—especially since He’s right there with us—He knows the “thoughts and intents of our heart” (see Hebrews 4:12). He hears every word spoken and sees every deed—good or bad.

The psalmist asked, “Where can I go from your Spirit.” The answer is nowhere. God does not want us to try and hide from Him, and He certainly does not hide from us. God’s “game” is only to seek. He pursues us with His relentless love and expects us to seek Him with all our heart.

If you know someone who is living in the shadows, thinking they’re not visible on God’s radar, extend your hand and lead them into the glorious light of His presence. No longer do they need to hide.

Seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul . Deuteronomy 4:29 NKJV.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and artemisphoto.)




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Monday, September 24, 2018

Know When It's Time to Reboot


By Andrea Merrell 

And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that you may prove what is that good and acceptable
and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2

My computer does the craziest things. Sometimes when I type a period, it spits out five or six. At other times, the screen will freeze, wacky pop-up messages will appear, or my printer will jam and fail to print.

That’s when it’s time to reboot.

It seems to work much the same in my everyday life. Sometimes when I intend to be positive and constructive, my words come out negative and snarky. At other times, my mind wanders, my routine gets off track, and my life gets totally out of kilter.

Just like my computer, that’s when it’s time to reboot.

The Bible gives us a lot of instructions about how we should conduct ourselves, but we have to choose to follow those instructions.

They say a mind is a terrible thing to waste. The biggest waste comes when we fail to renew our mind. When we begin to think like God thinks and our words and actions line up with His Word, our values and belief system change. Everything falls into proper perspective, opening the windows of heaven for God to bless us as He desires to do.

When my computer acts up, I can keep on fighting with it—which only leads to frustration—or I can do what’s necessary to fix it.

When my carnal nature acts up, I can keep on making excuses for my thoughts, words, and behavior—which only leads to feelings of guilt and condemnation—or I can do what the Word tells me to do. Always a win-win situation.

If you’re struggling in your spiritual walk, don’t get discouraged. It happens to everyone. Maybe you just need to reboot.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and TAW4.)


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Monday, September 17, 2018

Change Your Position


By Andrea Merrell

 
 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you,
because you obey the voice of the Lord your God.
Deuteronomy 28:2 NKJV 


“What has God done for you today? This week? This past year?” The questions from the pulpit put us all on the proverbial spot.

Many people, when asked these questions, have a hard time thinking of a single blessing. Why is that? Maybe they’re looking in the wrong direction or from the wrong position.

Author John Mason says:

We typically see things not as they are, but as we are. By how we position ourselves, we’ll see the evidence of God everywhere or nowhere. Too often our minds are locked on one track. We’re looking for red, so we overlook blue. We’re thinking tomorrow, and God’s saying now. We’re looking everywhere, and the answer is right under our nose. When a person is positioned correctly, he’s ready to receive all God has for him.

So, how do we position ourselves correctly? The Word tells us that when we obey the Lord, blessings will not only come, they will “overtake” us.

God’s love is a guarantee. It’s unmerited, unconditional, and unending. But His blessings come through obedience. When we keep our minds and hearts focused on the Lord—seeking Him first above all else—we will find Him continuously at work in and around us.

If you can’t see God at work in your life, change your position and watch Him pour out His blessings on you.

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


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