Friday, May 19, 2017

I've Earned Those Wrinkles

By Andrea Merrell



I will be your God throughout your lifetime   
 until your hair is white with age.
I made you, and I will care for you.
    I will carry you along and save you.
Isaiah 46:4 NLT



Those dreaded words every woman hates to hear: “Grandma, what are all those lines on your face?”

My reply? “Sweetie, your grandma has earned every one of those wrinkles.”

It’s inevitable—at least without the help of Botox or surgery—that those tiny little lines start creeping across our face when we least expect it.

On a TV show years ago, one woman commented to another about all the wrinkles around her eyes. The other woman—who was highly offended—said, “Those aren’t wrinkles, they’re laugh lines.”

The first woman frowned and said, “Honey, nothing can be that funny.”

We can make all the excuses we want, but the ageing process is a part of life. We can keep trying to turn back the clock, or make the most of our here and now. As with most things, ageing gracefully is all about attitude. For me, I know I will get older, but I refuse to get old.

The Bible has much to say about elders, gray hair, and wisdom. Even when life hasn’t been especially kind to us, we can still look back at all we’ve experienced and learned, along with all the lives we’ve touched. We can also rejoice in the fact that the Lord loves us and has been right there with us all the way.

Our best days are ahead.


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

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Detoxing the Heart

By Andrea Merrell

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart 
brings forth good;and an evil man out of the 
evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil.
For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:45 NKJV


My friend does a “colon cleanse” on a regular basis. Maybe it’s a good thing … just never appealed to me.

There are a number of products on the market to cleanse, detox, and purify in order to rid ourselves of poisonous toxins that hide in our body.

But what about the heart?

Luke tells us that out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks. That means whatever my heart is filled with will spill out of my mouth. Most of the time that’s a good thing. Other times, not so much. Let’s look at the Message translation:

You don’t get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.

 Ouch!

To avoid this, Proverbs 4:23 also tells us to guard our hearts above all else, for it determines the course of your life (NLT). Sounds great, but not always easy to do. Because we live in a fallen world—not to mention the effects of the media—my ears hear things they should never hear. My eyes see things they should never see. And my mind dwells on things it should never think about in the first place. Can you relate?

So, what’s the answer? How do we clean out all the sludge that keeps us from thinking, hearing, seeing, and doing what is pleasing to our Father?

First, we ask for forgiveness (I John 1:9). Then we ask for cleansing and a renewed mind (Psalm 51). Next, we take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and dwell on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Cleansing the body is a healthy habit, but let’s makes purifying our hearts a higher priority.

The next time your mouth gives always the crud hiding within, ask God to detox your heart.


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

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Judge Not

By Andrea Merrell


Judge not, that you be not judged.  
For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged;
and with the measure you use, 
it will be measured back to you.  
Matthew 7:1-3

It was one of the toughest situations in my life. It was devastating, especially since the events were tearing a church apart.

And there I was, on staff and right in the midst of the chaos, with no one to turn to until God stepped in and cleaned up the mess.

They say time heals all wounds, but does it? One day—over five years after the fact—I found myself in an emotional battle when the guilty party’s name came up. This man had hurt me, betrayed me, and left a lot of wounded souls in his wake. How could he ever be used in ministry again? How could he be trusted?

But I had forgiven and moved on ... hadn’t I?

My own hurt had deceived me … betrayed me. Thinking I had done what was right in God’s eyes, I had actually failed miserably. One morning in my devotional reading, God turned on the light and turned up the heat. He showed me that I had unknowingly set myself up as judge and jury, sentencing this man to a life separated from God and God’s calling on his life. In my mind and heart, I had rejected, judged, and condemned another believer.

The Bible says judge not. When we ignore God’s Word—whether consciously or not—we set ourselves up for failure. When we sow judgment, that’s what we reap. We receive a much better harvest when we plant seeds of kindness, mercy, forgiveness, and love.

This scenario taught me a valuable lesson: check your heart daily and don’t take anything for granted. God never intended for us to judge, only to love.

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

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Life is Short ... Don't Waste It

By Andrea Merrell

Death is never easy, no matter the circumstance. But sometimes it makes you stop and evaluate your own life, which can turn out to be a good thing.

My husband and I were going to make a trip to the chiropractor on Good Friday. I suggested making a call first to be sure the office was open. When my husband reached the answering machine and played the message out loud, we were both shocked.

Our chiropractor—who we had been seeing for over twenty years—passed away recently at the age of fifty-eight. He was strong, healthy, and physically active, as far as we knew. He had a heart to help others and was one of the most positive, encouraging people we had ever had the pleasure to know. The loss of this fine man—especially at such a young age—was devastating.

As I prayed for the family, God reminded me that life is short … much too short to be spent bickering, fighting, and not getting along with others. It’s important to make the most of the time we have on this earth to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives, because no one is promised tomorrow.

Knowing God and being part of His family makes life worth the living. He is loving, faithful, and showers us with mercy and grace every single day.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Graphics Mouse.)

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Blending Together as One

By Andrea Merrell

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts
form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized 
by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 
Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14


To blend is to mix elements together so they become one … possibly something intricate or complex.

Some people have an eye for blending colors. They know just the right shades and tones to use to design beautiful clothing, paintings, and interior design.

Others have an ear for blending musical notes. They hear the notes that fit together to make a symphony come to life.

Seasoned cooks and chefs have a sense of smell and taste for blending foods together. They know just the right ingredients to use to create a wonderful, mouth-watering meal.

Skilled craftsmen have the fingers for blending together the right materials to create sky-scrapers, beautiful gardens, furniture, or any number of wonderful creations.

But what about each of us as a part of the Body of Christ? How well do we blend together with others to create the perfect tapestry God intended?

Just as a husband and wife are to become “one flesh,” each member of the Body comprises a small part of the whole. Each one is essential to the success of the other—none more important or special than the other. When we work together to fulfill God’s plan and purpose on the earth, it becomes a beautiful blending together of love and unity.

And that’s the way God intended it to be.


(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Stuart Miles/Ben Schonewille.)


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