Monday, January 16, 2017

No More Pretense

By Andrea Merrell

No one likes a hypocrite, a phony.

But aren’t we all hypocrites to some degree? Author Bob Gass says, “It’s not your shortcomings that make you a hypocrite, it’s hiding them and pretending you don’t have any.”

We all need acceptance and approval. An occasional pat on the back.  A hearty attagirl or attaboy. The problem comes when—in our desire to look good and impress—we live a life of pretense, hiding our faults and weaknesses so others will think we’ve got it all together. This unhealthy lifestyle can become addictive to the point where we completely lose sight of who we really are.

As Christians, we can’t be swayed by what’s popular or keep up with the Jones family. Listen to what The Message says in Ephesians 4:17-25:

And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.
But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.
 What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.

God wants His children to live authentic, transparent lives so He can work through us to touch hurting people. Trying to be something or someone we were never created to be will cause us to live lives of frustration and discouragement. Knowing the truth—and knowing who we are in Christ—will set us free to be exactly who God created us to be.

We're all imperfect people, but God loves us just the way we are.

(Photos courtesy of and Stuart Miles.)


Monday, January 9, 2017

This Year I Will . . .

By Andrea Merrell

God has great plans for all of us in 2017.

Each day brings new mercies, new opportunities, new challenges, and lots of blessings. Please join me as we enter a new season, and let’s walk together into the New Year with joy and anticipation as we look for God's faithfulness.

This year I will . . .

  • Listen to God – I will open my ears and my heart to the voice of the Lord and follow the leading of His Holy Spirit. Lord, help me to be quick to hear and obey.
  • Trust God – This year I will trust God more than ever before. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV).
  • Practice self-control – I will remain calm and level-headed regardless of situations and circumstances. I will guard my heart, my thoughts, and my words. Lord, help me to be an instrument of peace wherever I go.
  • Recognize and follow my calling – I will honestly assess my strengths and weaknesses and concentrate on the gifts, talents, and abilities God has placed inside me. I will recognize my limitations and never try to be something or someone I was never meant to be.  For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose
    (Philippians 2:13 NIV).
  • Let God be God in my life –Without God I am nothing and can do nothing, but Philippians 4:13 (AMPC) tells me I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

According to pastor and author Bob Gass:

Today, God is, in essence, saying to you: “Live by My Word in every area of your life. Learn to be sensitive to My voice, quick to respond and to obey. My yoke is easy and My burden is light. I’ll never give you anything too hard to handle or too heavy to carry.  Give Me your concerns—one by one as they arise. Delight yourself in the assurance of My love, My provision, and My protection, and I will give you the desires of your heart. Because the Devil is the accuser, he’ll constantly point to your flaws and failures and tell you you’re not worthy.  Don’t listen—he’s the father of lies. I’ve saved you by My grace and positioned you in Christ. I see you through His atoning blood; therefore, you are always accepted in My eyes. Give Me all your anxieties and cares. Begin to live in the present, not the past or the future. Look for My blessings and you’ll find them. Enjoy life in all its fullness, for this is My plan for you this year."

Wishing you a blessed, prosperous, and Spirit-led 2017.

(Photos courtesy of Miles/David Castillo Dominici.)


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Saturday, December 31, 2016

I Dare You!

By Andrea Merrell

I’m not usually one to issue challenges, but here goes.
A New Year is beginning. What will you do with it? Have you even thought about it? Whether or not you’ve made a list of resolutions—the ones that generally fade away after about four weeks—let me propose a little different slant.

I dare you!

I dare you to take God at His Word. I dare you to believe His promises are true—for YOU! I dare you to make your relationship with Him your first priority. I dare you to spend more time in prayer. I dare you to memorize and meditate on the Scriptures. I dare you to look for ways to bless others. I dare you to give generously—of yourself and your money. I dare you to be joyful and filled with His peace no matter what’s going on in your life. I dare you to walk in the Spirit and to walk in love.

As ChristiansGod's representatives on the earthlet’s  allow His love and light to shine through us as we make 2017 the greatest year ever.

Father, I ask you to bless this coming year in ways I never dreamed possible. I commit to putting you first and seeking your face every single day. Fill me to overflowing with your Holy Spirit and let my life be one that honors you in every way.

(Photo courtesy of Miles.)


Monday, December 19, 2016

Wishing You a Jesus-Filled Christmas

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and 
sharing my posts over the past couple of years.

By Andrea Merrell

This past weekend, I had the extreme displeasure of watching in amazement as a customer verbally slammed an employee at a local drug store. The man was very angry, very loud, and very much out of line.

After the man stormed off in a huff, I wanted to hug the employee for being such a good sport and handling herself so well. I apologized for the man's behavior and she said, "Oh, do you know him?"

I laughed and said, "No, but if I did, I probably wouldn't admit it."

Hopefully, the man was having a bad day and this was not his usual frame of mind. The woman assured me she had been through this with customers before and, since we were only a week away from Christmas, it would surely happen again. How sad to expect this kind of treatment during such a special time of year.

I silently prayed for both upon leaving the store and vowed to be extra kind to everyone I came in contact with, especially those working in retail. As Christians, we should always let our light shine, but so much more during the holidays as we strive to point others to Him. 

Christmas is so much more than shopping, baking, parties, lights, and decorations. May we never forget the real reason for the season.

As you enjoy this wonderful time of year, I would like to wish you a Jesus-filled Christmas as you celebrate with family and friends.

Christmas blessings to you and yours.

Merry CHRISTmas! Never forget the real reason for the season. via @Andrea Merrell (Click to Tweet.)

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Are You Plugged In?

By Andrea Merrell

I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you,
you will bear much fruit; 
apart from me you can do nothing. 
John 15:5 NIV

I pushed all the buttons and fiddled with the knobs, and … nothing. The toaster was obviously not working.
Then I happened to glance at the cord. Whoops. Not plugged in. Duh!

I laughed at my blunder but couldn’t help but think about all the times when things weren’t going right in my life. Times when I struggled to make it through a day or control my attitude toward someone who had offended me. Times when my prayers seemed to bounce off the ceiling, and I wondered why God wasn’t listening.

Jesus tells us He is the vine, we are the branches. If we want to bear fruit, we must be firmly attached to the vine. Otherwise, there's no life, no fruit. We can do nothing apart from the power that is in the vine, but we can do everything through Christ, who gives (us) strength (Philippians 4:13 NLT).

Without Him I am nothing. Without Him I can do nothing. But when I’m plugged in to the source, I can do anything and everything He asks me to do.

What about you. Are you plugged in to the source?

(Photo courtesy of


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