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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Monday, May 7, 2018

Small-Minded Prayers


By Andrea Merrell

 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel,
“Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!
Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm
so that I will be free from pain.” 
And God granted his request.
1 Chronicles 4:10


“You don’t think big enough,” my friend said. “God’s not put off or intimidated when you dream big and ask for what you want.”

She was right. My small-minded prayers only showed my hesitation—and possible lack of faith—to, as she said, “pray outside the box.”

The Bible says it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). Jabez is a good example for us to follow. We’re told that he was “more honorable than his brothers.” Why? Because he dared to ask God for great things. There was nothing extraordinary or special about Jabez. The Bible doesn’t tell us much about him except that he was a common man with uncommon faith.

God said to Jeremiah, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).

The apostle Paul said God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

In Psalm 37:4 were told that God will give us the desires of our heart when we trust in Him. That means when our desires line up with His, we can have what we ask.

If God has placed a dream in your heart, present it to Him. Then believe He'll bring it to pass. Turn your small-minded thinking into big-minded, audacious prayers.


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

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Monday, April 30, 2018

But I Can't Do That ...


By Andrea Merrell

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 NKJV

It’s remarkable what we think we can’t do until we have to.

Looking back over the years, I’m reminded of all the things I thought I would never master. Everything from learning to use chopsticks to driving a stick-shift to operating a computer. It seems, as they say, practice makes perfect. Well, maybe not perfect but certainly better.

Now, as a lifetime, bona fide, right-handed chick, my left hand is learning to pick up the slack because of a right shoulder issue. You don’t realize how challenged you are until you have to eat, stir, reach, and lift with the opposite appendage. I haven't had to write with my left hand (yet), but I did do some left-handed painting this past weekend. It's a little like a baby learning to walk ... lots of falls and getting back up.

My husband tells me I can do whatever I set my mind to. And the Bible tells me I can do all things through Christ. That means, when I trust Him, He gives me the strength for whatever task I might face. The Message puts it this way: Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

It’s easy to grumble and complain when we deal with any type of handicap—whether temporary or permanent—but I realize how blessed I am when I see videos of mothers with no arms changing diapers with their feet, babies with no arms feeding themselves with their feet, and athletes with no legs doing amazing exploits.

If you’re facing a difficulty and think you can’t, call on the One who can. He will empower you and give you whatever you need to get the job done.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Master Isolated Images.)

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If you’re facing a difficulty and think you can’t, call on the One who can. He will empower you and give you whatever you need to get the job done. via @AndreaMerrell (Click to tweet.)


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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

To Do or Not To Do ... Is That Even a Question?


By Andrea Merrell


God expects us to lay our burdens at His feet. Cast all our care on Him. Give Him everything.

Everything? Okay, here goes.

Lord, I pray, I give you my all … spirit, soul, and body. All that I am, all I have, all my hopes and dreams.

Then I go away from that prayer and realize there was something important in my pocket I forgot to give Him—my to-do list.

Being a recovering perfectionist, I can definitely be a little OCD with my lists and notes. Okay, a lot OCD. But I’m learning. In the past, I would present my long laundry-list of items (that desperately needed to be checked off) to God and ask Him to help me get them done. Not a bad idea at all. It’s really difficult to accomplish something without Him, especially if I want to do it well and on time.

But lately, I’ve learned a new concept. A pastor recently said we shouldn’t get up in the morning and present our list to God, asking Him to bless it. Our best plan for the day, according to him, was to tell God good morning, then ask what He would like for us to accomplish that day. Sounds like a great plan to me. Changed my whole perspective.

While it’s true God cares about everything that concerns us, even down to the smallest detail, He is more concerned about His plan and purpose for us … what He wants to accomplish in and through us.

What I’ve learned is that my day works much better when I allow God to create and prioritize my to-do list instead of trying to invoke His blessings on my own opinion of what needs to be done.

If you’re a list-maker like me, try it. You might be surprised how well the Father will order your day and how much you will accomplish.


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

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