Monday, June 11, 2018

Gadget Man


By Andrea Merrell

By his divine power, God has given us
everything we need for living a godly life.
2 Peter 1:3 NLT

My husband has a new toy … I mean gadget. It’s a large plastic gun that shoots salt—yes, I said salt—and kills flies and other small insects. The amazing part is that it really works.

Charlie loves gadgets. He has almost every tool imaginable, plus a variety of grills, smokers, and other cooking utensils. His other devices include a plethora of electronics, car parts, building material, and some items that leave me clueless. He has a hard time throwing anything away because we might “need it” twenty years down the road. He always wants to be prepared and has most everything that pertains to anything.

This reminds me of one of my favorite Scriptures that tells us God has fully armed us by giving us everything we need for living a godly life. That means there is nothing lacking. It seems that, just like Charlie wants to be prepared, God has made a way for all of us to be prepared for whatever life throws at us—whether tomorrow or twenty years down the road.

You might not think of them as gadgets, but God has equipped us with love, joy, peace, forgiveness, compassion, faith, strength, healing, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, skill, talents, abilities, creativity, and favor. The list goes on and on.

If you feel lacking in any area, ask God to show you the wonderful gifts He offers His children. All you have to do is receive.




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Monday, June 4, 2018

That's Not My Dog


By Andrea Merrell

Yanking a dog's ears is as foolish 
as interfering in someone else's argument.
Proverbs 26:17 NLT

There’s nothing worse than a ferocious dog facing off with you, backing you in a corner with teeth bared and a low growl in his throat. Maybe his bark is worse than his bite. Maybe not. How can we be sure?  If we don’t approach the situation with wisdom and caution, we just might get chewed to shreds.

In like manner, how many times have we stuck our nose into someone’s business where it didn’t belong, or tried to handle or control a situation that had absolutely nothing to do with us? Minding our own business is especially hard if we are fixers who want to correct every wrong, change things that are not up to our standards, and tell everyone else what to do.

Don’t misunderstand. There’s a time to get involved, but there's also a time to step back, stay on the sidelines, and just pray. How do we determine the difference? 

Generally, when people want our help or advice, they’ll ask for it. Until that time, it’s almost always better to keep our solutions and opinions to ourselves. Unsolicited counsel and advice is typically not appreciated or accepted and can even come back to bite us. In other words, it can be just as dangerous to meddle, interfere, and jump in the middle of someone’s business as it would be to grab a strange dog by the ears and yank. Not a wise move, and the consequences can be severe.

Ultimately, there’s a fine line between helping and hindering. The best way to get direction and know how to proceed is to pray and ask the Lord what to do. If He gives the green light, then go for it. Just make sure you walk in love and think before you speak. On the other hand, if you get a definite check in your spirit and there is no peace about getting involved, simply give that situation to God, walk away, and say to yourself, that’s not my dog.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and klakung1.)


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Monday, May 28, 2018

Repetition Is Good for the Soul


By Andrea Merrell

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, 
for tomorrow will worry about its own things. 
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:34 NKJV

“How many times have I told you …”
 
If you’re like me, you heard that question a lot when you were growing up. I’m sure our parents wondered if their counsel and reprimands would ever stick.

It’s true, we have to be told certain things quite a few times before we get it. Even as adults, our brains process and retain more through repetition. That’s why the Bible tends to repeat itself over and over on certain subjects, one of the biggest being worry.

In chapters 5-7 in Matthew, Jesus gives the people instructions for living. In chapter 6 verse 25, He begins with Do not worry about your life. In verses 27-28 He explains why, comparing us with the birds of the air and the lilies of the field and how He provides for them. Again, in verse 31, He says Do not worry (about your food or clothes). And verse 34 ends with Do not worry about tomorrow.

And tucked carefully and strategically before that last verse is the key: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

We might get tired of hearing the same old things over and over, but sometimes it’s necessary to remind us how God wants us to live—free of worry and anxiety, seeking Him first, and trusting Him above all else.

When the Scriptures repeat themselves, pay attention. A little repetition is good for the soul.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and stockimages.)

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Monday, May 21, 2018

I Choose You


By Andrea Merrell

 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ,
we have received an inheritance from God,
for he chose us in advance,
and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
Ephesians 1:11 NLT

There’s nothing worse than being picked last for a team.

Never very athletic, I remember many times in school when I would be the last person standing, waiting to see whose team I would be on purely by default. I always wondered how the first person picked felt when the team captain said, “I choose you.”

Everyone wants to feel valuable. We want to be picked for the team, trusted with delegated responsibility, and validated for what we bring to the table. We long to be first. To make it to the top. To be successful.

But in reality, what is the praise and applause of man? It’s shallow, temporary, and fickle.

The good news is God knew us before we were ever conceived. He chose us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) and has promised to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

When the applause and approval of man fades away, God still sees us as valuable, special, unique, and of great worth. He proved this once and for all by sending His Son to pay the price for all of our wrongs.

Don’t ever be discouraged when man passes you by. Regardless of your abilities or attributes, God says, “I choose you!”

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and cooldesign.) 

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Monday, May 14, 2018

I'm Not the Judge


By Andrea Merrell

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.
Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you.
Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.
Luke 6:37 NLT

Sometimes I can be my own worst enemy.

I know what God’s Word says about the importance of loving others, looking for the best in them, and not being critical or judgmental.

But what about me? Do the same rules apply?

I never gave it much thought until reading these words in Jesus Calling by Sarah Young:

Stop judging and evaluating yourself; for this is not your role. Above all, stop comparing yourself with other people.

The words hit home. The Bible says judge not, condemn not, and above all, forgive. It’s much easier to apply these instructions to our interactions with others, but in God’s eyes, we do just as much harm when we fail to apply them to ourselves.

When I dwell on my faults and failures, I become critical, mentally beating myself up for missing the mark and not living up to the standards I’ve set for my life. Walking in forgiveness includes extending the same mercy and grace to myself as I would to others, even when I don’t think I deserve it.

There is only One who judges righteously, and that is our Father in heaven Who loves unconditionally and looks past all our faults.

If you have a tendency to be too hard on yourself, remember … you are not the judge.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Sira Anamwong.)


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