Monday, October 14, 2019

Knowing God as Father


By Andrea Merrell

  The Lord is like a father to His children,

    tender and compassionate to those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:13 NLT

“I realized I was serving a King and not being a daughter to a Father.”

The girl’s testimony rang true. I had been in her shoes, finding my value in what I could do for God—feeling as if I had no value otherwise—instead of accepting and walking in my position as His child … His daughter.

Religion teaches us to see God as Creator, King, and Judge. Some even see Him as harsh and demanding. Too many times we’re taught to only fear Him instead of coming to Him in simple, childlike faith.

God’s true nature—especially his fatherhood—can be hard for us to grasp. This is especially true when our earthly father does not exemplify the qualities we expect from a parent. But God offers unconditional love, security, protection, comfort, affection, tenderness, and understanding. In other words, all our heart longs for. He is caring, generous, and dependable. He has promised to never leave us. And we don’t have to prove our worth or earn His love by serving Him. Our value and true identity are found only in our personal relationship with Him.

Our Father knows us inside and out, even better than we know ourselves. He knows our thoughts, our needs, and our desires. And He delights in giving us everything we need … and then some.

Don’t just serve a King. Take your rightful position as a son or daughter of a loving, heavenly Father. He is waiting with open arms.


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and TCJ2020.)




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Monday, October 7, 2019

Times of Refreshing


By Andrea Merrell

Times of refreshing will stream from the Lord’s presence.
Acts 3:19 TPT

It was a smoking-hot day at Dollywood, with temps in the mid-nineties. But just when we felt we could go no further, we happened upon one of their “misters,” a shelter with a continuous spray of water for people to rest and cool off. A time of refreshing.

We could have missed it. We could have walked on by. But we made the choice and took the time to take advantage of such a wonderful blessing.

In this hectic, fast-paced life, we all need those times of refreshing. God provides His own misters along our path, but we have to make the choice and take the time to enjoy them. The twenty-third Psalm tells us that our Shepherd will lead us beside still waters and cause us to lie down in green pastures in order to restore our soul. The Passion translation puts it this way:

The Lord is my best friend and my Shepherd.
I always have more than enough.
He offers a resting place for me in His luxurious love.
His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.
That’s where He restores and revives my life.

As we navigated our way through Dollywood, we came upon more of these misters. We stopped to enjoy each one. That’s the way our Shepherd wants us to live each day, taking time from the busyness to enjoy those places where we can rest in His love and peace.

As they say, stop and smell the roses. Rest. Enjoy the beauty around you. Allow God to restore and revive your soul.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and kobkik.)




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Monday, September 30, 2019

No Longer a Spiritual Orphan


By Andrea Merrell

 For it was always in his perfect plan to adopt us 
as his delightful children,
through our union with Jesus, the Anointed One, so that his tremendous love that cascades over us would glorify his grace—for the same love he has for his Beloved One, Jesus, he has for us. And this unfolding plan brings him great pleasure!
Ephesians 1:5-6 TPT 

I’ve loved the Lord as far back as I can remember, but for a large portion of my life I doubted His love for me. In my own mind, I simply wasn’t good enough and didn’t deserve the blessings and promises laid out in His Word. Those were for everyone else … not me.

I was a spiritual orphan. Born again but standing on the outside looking in. Whenever bad things happened, I was sure it was somehow my fault or God was displeased with me. I was the glass-half-empty gal with low expectations.

As pastor and author Chad Norris says in his book Mama Jane’s Secret, “Spiritual orphans are always dominated by what they can see, taste, touch, feel, and hear.” In other words, we are ruled by our senses and emotions rather than our faith.

Norris goes on to say, “Those at the King’s table trust His Word no matter what the natural says, because the Word matters more than what we can see, taste, touch, feel, or hear.”

My transformation came when the revelation of God’s love—for me—literally exploded on the inside. My true identity became a reality. No longer a spiritual orphan, I recognized myself as a loved and cherished child of God. Every blessing and promise in His Book belong to me. All I have to do is believe and receive.

If you doubt your standing in God’s kingdom and feel you don’t measure up, there’s good news for you. He is standing with arms wide open waiting for you, His child in whom He takes great delight.

Run into His arms. You are no longer a spiritual orphan.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and tuelekza.)



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Monday, September 23, 2019

The Truth About Grace


By Andrea Merrell


God’s grace. We talk about it. We thank Him for it. But do we really understand it?

We often refer to grace as God’s unmerited (undeserved) favor. Some call it divine assistance. While others deem it as mercy, kindness, or pardon.

While all these attributes are correct, we tend to leave out an important element—God’s power, or the power of God that works in us. When we receive God’s grace, it’s just the beginning. It opens the door. To what? The transforming power of God that is able to deliver us and change our circumstances.

Chris Tiegreen puts it like this:
Many Christians … speak of the grace that covers their brokenness without any expectation of fixing it; of grace that compensates for their wounds without any hope of healing them; of grace that forgives flaws without any sense of recovering from them. In other words, they need grace but deny hope and resist change.
 
Grace … is not only greater than all your sin; it’s also greater than all your habits and tendencies. It not only covers all your brokenness, wounds, and flaws; it can also heal them. In fact, it insists on healing them, even when you’re afraid of change or reluctant to enter into it. God offers his transforming power to anyone bold enough to accept it. Grace and power flow together. Never seek one without the other.

God’s grace, as the song says, is truly amazing. And it prepares the way for God to set us free by His power. Grace and power … a matched set that can turn your life around and bless you in ways you can’t imagine. That’s a truth you can bank on.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and radnatt.)


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Monday, September 16, 2019

It Takes Time to Grow


By Andrea Merrell

Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going 
through labor pains for you again, and they will continue 
until Christ is fully developed in your lives.
Galatians 4:19 NLT 

A young mother expressed concern because her baby boy wasn’t progressing as fast as her sister’s child. “Jill is already saying words and walking, and she’s younger than Mark. Do you think there’s something wrong with my son?”

The answer was no. Statistics say that girls generally progress faster than boys but in truth, everyone and everything matures at a different rate. Whether plant, animal, or person, it takes time to grow.

Too many times when we see another believer still living a carnal lifestyle, we’re tempted to criticize and judge. “He should be a more mature Christian by now. What’s wrong with him?”

Probably nothing. Maybe he’s having “growing pains.”

There will always be the proverbial battle between the flesh and the spirit. That’s why we’re told to work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12). It’s a process, not an event. A marathon, not a sprint. And it takes time and effort.

Paul said his labor pains would continue until Christ was fully developed in the life of the early believers. God is the only one who knows how long that will take in each one of us. Until that time, He will patiently and lovingly nurture us as we become more and more Christlike.

If you’re not where you want to be—or think you should be—spiritually, don’t be discouraged. Keep on seeking the Lord with all your heart. And remember ...

It takes time to grow.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and domdeen.)




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