Monday, May 2, 2016

Thou Shalt Not Be Stupid

By Andrea Merrell

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God,
and he will give it to you.
He will not rebuke you for asking.
James 1:5 NLT

Someone made the comment recently, “Thou shalt not be stupid.” No, it’s not one of the Ten Commandments, but maybe it should be.

We’ve all made mistakes. I’ve certainly made more than my share. Impulsive behavior, selfishness, confusion, and lack of godly counsel can lead to some pretty severe mishaps. We can spend all our time cleaning up our messes and trying to put out the fires we start with our tongue and our actions.

What’s the answer? God tells us if we need wisdom, all we have to do is ask. He is our Shepherd, and He has promised to lead, guide, and protect—as long as we’re willing to hear His voice and follow Him.

God’s ways are perfect. Ours, not so much. I’ve learned that when I need answers and direction, I must ask for His help. I must be obedient and not give in to my own misguided thinking. When I do things His way, the results are always better.

The next time you find yourself tempted to go the wrong direction, remind yourself: Thou shalt not be stupid.

(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Stuart Miles/stockimages.)

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Monday, April 25, 2016

The Spiritual Discipline of Rest

By Andrea Merrell 

The Lord is my shepherd;

    I have all that I need.
 He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.

Psalm 23:1-3 NLT

It happens when I least expect it. After all these years, I should recognize the signs—fatigue, failure, and frustration.

When my body is overly tired, fatigue can lead to failure in whatever I’m doing. Failure leads to frustration. When I’m frustrated, I get discouraged and want to give up and quit.

In reality, exhaustion is not merely physical. It also affects us mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. Jesus knew this truth. That’s why He took the time to rest. When we constantly overdo it and push ourselves, we get stressed out and burned out. But we tend to keep going so no one will view us as lazy or unmotivated. We don’t think resting is spiritual.

I read somewhere that sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is take a break, take a vacation, or just go to bed. When we’re at our best, we can honor God through our normal, daily activities. This is what the Message translation says in Romans 12:1:  So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. 
 
When we live our lives as unto the Lord and commit ourselves—and everything we do—to Him, He accepts it as an offering of worship.

Begin today to live your life as an act of worship, and develop the spiritual discipline of rest.



(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/marcom/Stuart Miles.)

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Monday, April 11, 2016

What Does Salvation Mean To You?

By Andrea Merrell

Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord . . .
2 Chronicles 20:17 NKJV

Once again, during my quiet time with the Lord, He revealed something to me from a Scripture I’ve probably read at least a hundred times: Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.

Salvation is a wonderful gift. In fact, it’s the most important gift we can ever receive here on this earth. But if you’re like me, you most likely think of deliverance from the power and curse of sin. Some call it being saved. Others refer to it as being born again. Children like to say “Jesus lives in my heart.”

The Bible says without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. Because of the supreme sacrifice Jesus made, giving His life for us as He suffered, bled, and died on a horrible cross, we are made free from the law of sin and death. When we accept that gift, salvation is ours. We are redeemed. We become a child of God with a home in heaven for all eternity.

But there is so much more to salvation. According to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, it also means: destruction from the illusion of sin, sickness, and death; liberation from ignorance; preservation from destruction or failure; deliverance from danger or difficulty.

In other words, God offers salvation in every area of our life—health, finances, relationships, and any other area where we struggle. We fight battles every day in one form or another—physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually—but Scripture reminds us that the battle is not yours (ours), but God’s. We don’t have to worry about winning the battle because we have a heavenly advocate who has already won the war. All we have to do is believe His Word, align our thinking with His, then stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.

The Bible tells us over and over not to fear, be discouraged, or give up. What a comfort to know the Lord is always with us. His angels go before us, and He always has our back.

Whatever you’re going through today, give it to God. Then . . . stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. He will never fail you.

(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/tiverylucky/tiramisustudio.)

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Christian, How Recognizable Are You?

By Andrea Merrell

There are only a few cars I can recognize at first glance: a Mini Cooper, Dodge Caravan, VW Beetle, and a Hummer. Not a very impressive list, I know.

Cars have changed so much over the years, it’s difficult to tell one from the other. Even my Ford Escape is hard to distinguish from a Honda CR-V. The vehicles I recognize immediately are distinctive and stand out from the rest.

It’s the same with Christians. Some are distinctive and stand out in a crowd. There’s no mistaking their close relationship with the Lord because His love shines through.

Unfortunately, there are others who blend in so well with the world around them, it’s difficult to know what—and if—they believe.

We are called to be salt and light. We are peculiar people, givers, ambassadors, servants, and His hands extended. There should never be a question about our authenticity or to Whom we belong.

My prayer is to always be recognizable as a follower of Christ.

What about you? Are you a vehicle of His love, mercy, and grace?






(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/sattva/photostock.)


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Monday, March 28, 2016

9-1-1 Prayers

By Andrea Merrell

O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer!
Psalm 61:1 NLT


“Hello, this is heaven … what is your emergency?”



Is this what we expect to hear when we offer up crisis prayers? Life happens; it’s a fact. Situations and circumstances come in all shapes and sizes, generally when we least expect them. Sometimes we wait until they knock us off our feet before we pick up the hotline to heaven, but many times those are the only things we pray about.

Am I saying it’s wrong to pray about big things?

Absolutely not.

What I am saying is that when we fail to make prayer a daily habit—as natural as breathing—we neglect praying about the small things as well. The Bible is very clear in Philippians 4:6 (NLT) when it says, Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Did you catch that? Pray about everything. God loves us and wants to be consulted about everything and included in everything. He is never too busy or too disinterested for us to communicate with Him. He does not have call waiting or voicemail, and His line is never busy. He has no secretary or assistant to screen His calls, and He will never put us on hold while he takes care of someone else.



When we live a life of prayer and intimate communion with our Father, this is what we can expect to hear: “Hello, my child … I've been waiting for your call. What can I do for you? My riches and kingdom are at your disposal.”


Won't you call on Him today?




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

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