Monday, March 19, 2018

This Too Shall Pass

By Andrea Merrell

Ever have so many problems you feel as if you won’t make it through another day? I’ve had many of those moments, especially within the past year, and have found myself saying, “This too shall pass.”

We all know trials are part of this earthly existence. They come with the package. But our response to them can many times determine the length and severity. Keeping our focus on the Lord instead of the problem is the biggest key.

Our burdens may seem to linger with no end in sight, but they all have a shelf life. Situations and circumstances I once thought would never change have been transformed by God’s miraculous, loving hand. With Him all things are truly possible. In fact, God calls those heavy burdens “light and momentary troubles” (2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV). The verse goes on to say that these troubles are gaining for us “an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” I love the way the Message puts it in verses 16-18:

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

I’ve learned that when the storms of life rage all around me and the darkness closes in, my hope is renewed as I look to the One who loves me, is always with me, and cares about everything that concerns me. With one single word, He can calm the storm and cause the light to break through. Even if the storm continues to rage, He fills me with His peace and gives me a new, godly perspective.

If you’re experiencing a trial that is threatening to take you under, don’t give up. Be still and listen for His voice. He is saying to you, “Hold tightly to my hand, my child. This too shall pass.”

(Photo courtesy of and Stuart Miles. )


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Monday, March 12, 2018

You Only Have Seven Seconds

By Andrea Merrell

We’ve all heard “you never have a second chance to make a good first impression” and “first impressions are lasting impressions.” But how long does it take for that first impression to happen?

One communication expert says it only takes seven seconds. In those first critical seconds, people have the opportunity to respond to our facial expressions, countenance, gestures, body language, and energy—or lack of. They can size us up by our appearance, the tone of our voice, and our attitude.

According to pastor and author Bob Gass:

What we say accounts for 7 percent of what people believe. How we say it accounts for 38 percent. What they see accounts for 55 percent. Amazingly, more than 90 percent of the nonverbal cues we give off have nothing to do with what we actually say.

As in all things, Jesus is our ultimate example. He said “I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11). We get the word good from the Greek word kalos, meaning winsome. The word winsome means pleasant, engaging, worthy, and honorable—a true picture of Jesus who drew people to him like a magnet.

According to Henry Ward Beecher:

There are persons so radiant, so genial, so kind, so pleasure-bearing, that you instinctively feel in their presence that they do you good, whose coming into a room is like bringing a shining lamp there.

Those first few seconds are critical. Let’s make the most of them.

(Photo courtesy of and digitalart.)



Sunday, March 4, 2018

No Empty Calories

By Andrea Merrell

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again.
Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
John 6:35

Growing up, I was required to be a member of the “Clean Plate Club.”

In my grandparents’ home there was no waste—ever. If I left a few bites of food on my plate, I was reminded of all the starving children in Africa. My initial reply was, “then pack up my leftovers, and mail them to Africa.”

Not a wise move on my part. I quickly learned to keep my attitude in check and eat all my food … whether I wanted it or not.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized it’s not always necessary to clean my plate at each meal—for both health and weight reasons—especially when it’s something I don’t particularly need or enjoy. Many times, I find myself saying no to those empty calories.

On the other hand, I’ve also realized how important it is not to leave leftovers when feasting from God’s Word.

God’s Word is referred to as both milk and meat. Jesus is called the Bread of Life. This is food for our spirit and soul. It's the sustenance we need for our spiritual growth and well-being.

If you’re hungry for more of God, go ahead and dive into His smorgasbord of peace, love, joy, forgiveness, promises, counsel, and direction. Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8 NLT). Fill your plate and eat every bite. You’ll come out stronger and completely satisfied every time.

And there are never any empty calories.

(Photo courtesy of and rakratchada torsap.)


Monday, February 26, 2018

What Shakes Me Doesn't Shake God

By Andrea Merrell

Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates 
the removal of those things
that are being shaken, as of things that are made,
that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Hebrews 12:27 NKJV

It was one of those statements that makes you sit up and take notice. Maybe it wasn’t as profound to others as it was to me, but when the preacher said “just because something shakes you, doesn’t mean it shakes God,” it definitely got my attention.

My mind instantly began going over scenarios that had shaken me over the years: betrayal, illness, financial problems, prodigals, death …

This list could go on, but each situation brought a unique set of fear, anxiety, and worry. Too many times I’ve felt hopeless, wringing my hands and trying to figure out how to fix the problem instead of running to the ultimate problem solver.

I’ve learned over the years that nothing catches God off guard or by surprise. He knows the end from the beginning and everything in between. He also has an answer for every question and a solution to every problem. All we have to do is ask, then put our faith and hope in Him and Him alone.

If you feel your world shaking, know that God is right there. Trust Him. He is ready to come to your rescue.

(Photo courtesy of and ambro.)


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Monday, February 19, 2018

Living Unplugged

By Andrea Merrell

I am the vine, you are the branches.
He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit;
for without Me you can do nothing.
John 15:5 NKJV

In this technology-driven society, how can we possibly live without our devices—especially if we don’t keep them in good shape and charged?

I need a charger for my Fit Bit, my iPhone, and my iPad. My laptop will only work just so long without being plugged in.  All these devices have a short shelf life without being recharged. Even my desktop computer must be connected in order to function.

But what about me?

How long can I be fruitful and productive—especially for the kingdom of God—when my battery runs out? 

When I pay close attention, it’s easy to tell when my battery is low. My patience runs thin, my frustration level changes drastically, and my words become curt and even unkind. When I need recharging—or refilling—it's difficult to control my thoughts and guard my attitude toward someone who has offended me.

This is the time to run to my only source of supply. The Bible calls Him the Vine. We are the branches. In order to be fruitful, we must stay connected.

There’s an old song that talks about having a little talk with Jesus. According to the writer, it makes everything right.  

Are you abiding in the Vine? If not, have a little talk with Jesus today. He's waiting to hear from you.

(Photo courtesy of and atibodyphoto.)


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