Monday, January 20, 2020

Rabbit Trails


By Andrea Merrell

We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought
and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One. 
2 Corinthians 10:5 TPT

 
The speaker was not holding my attention. My eyelids were heavy. No matter how hard I tried, my mind would not stay focused. The man kept taking rabbit trails and never seemed to find his way back to the main point. I left there wondering if he even had a main point.

We all have a tendency at times to veer off the subject at hand, but the Lord showed me one day how anxious thoughts are like rabbit trails. Those thoughts branch off in all directions, taking us off course and away from our foundation of trust in Him. The more anxious we become, the further away we find ourselves.

We’re told not to be anxious about anything, to cast all our care on Him, and to fret not. Anxiety causes worry, and worry leads to fear. The Bible says fear contains torment. It clouds our thinking and keeps us wandering around on those trails, lost in the woods of doubt and unbelief.

How do we find our way back to that place of peace and rest? By calling on the Lord. A simple “forgive me” or “help me” will get us back on the right path and restore our trust in the One who has promised to be with us always.

Don’t allow anxious thoughts to keep your heart and mind in a tangled knot. When they come against you, say what my former pastor used to say: “That’s NOT my thought.” Bring those thoughts captive and insist that they bow in obedience to the Anointed One. 

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





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Monday, January 13, 2020

Get Real with God


By Andrea Merrell

 
“I don’t know how to pray,” the woman said. “I don’t know enough of those fancy thee and thou words.”

The pastor shook his head and smiled. “That’s not what God expects. He simply wants you to talk to Him as you would a friend. Be genuine."

The woman’s eyes widened, then the reality of the pastor’s words hit their mark. “That I can do.”

Someone once said the things of God aren’t nearly as hard as we make them out to be. This is especially true when it comes to prayer. God doesn’t want us to come to Him with a prepared speech or fancy words. He desires a transparent heart-to-heart conversation where we put down the façade and get real with Him—without fear of being judged or rejected.


The truth is God already knows our thoughts, how we feel, and the desires of our heart. And He longs to talk with us about them all. Moses and God had an open, honest, candid exchange. Moses was honest with God without being disrespectful. And God called him friend.

If you’re having trouble communicating with the Lord, open up your heart. Pour out all your doubts, your fears, your questions, and your needs. Get real with Him. That’s what He’s waiting for.


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


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Monday, January 6, 2020

Just Be Kind


By Andrea Merrell

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking
be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another,tenderhearted, forgiving one another, 
even as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32 NKJV

 
“How can people be so cruel?”

It’s a question I’ve heard over and over. I’ve asked it myself.

Why can’t people just be kind?

When I was growing up, I was taught to speak to strangers. To be polite. It was a world where we didn’t live behind locked doors and kids were free to play outside unsupervised. We offered a helping hand to anyone in need. Oh, how things have changed.

As we head into a new year, I wonder what the future holds. The Bible says that in the last days things will “wax worse and worse.” It’s a sign of the times. But God doesn’t want His children to become paranoid or afraid to reach out to others. Instead, He says we should be kind to one another, tenderhearted.

How do we accomplish that? By keeping our eyes on the Lord, trusting in Him. By sharing the love, joy, and peace He has so abundantly blessed us with.

Make it practical:

  • Open the door for someone.
  • Allow that car to cut in front of you.
  • Listen. 
  • Don’t interrupt when others are talking.
  • Stop complaining.
  • Filter your words.
  • Don’t get ruffled when the clerk has a bad attitude or gives you the wrong change.
  • Offer a smile to someone who seems weary.
  • Let someone else go first.
  • Give a little extra to your favorite charity.
  • Help someone in need.
  • Turn your frown into a smile


Colossians 3:12 says to clothe yourself with kindness (NIV). Galatians 5:22 says, Kindness in action—it’s a fruit of the Spirit (TPT).

Changing our mindset begins with a choice. And it doesn’t take a lot of effort to just be kind.


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Prawny.)



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Monday, December 30, 2019

Turn Your Negatives into Positives


By Andrea Merrell

Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT


I’ve come a long way, but I still have a long way to go. With a melancholy temperament and an unrealistic tendency toward perfectionism, my immediate response to a situation has always been to see the negative side first. The what ifs. The could bes. It’s a natural response.

But I’ve learned that negativity is part of a gang. The other thugs are fear, worry, doubt, anxiety, stress, depression, and hopelessness. When we’re unaware and our guard is down, they can beat us up pretty bad. That’s why it’s so important to be vigilant, alert to the schemes of the Enemy, and spiritually armed.

It took me a long time to learn how to avoid this gang, and it’s not a case of fighting fire with fire. Just the opposite. It’s a simple matter of being thankful. In Jesus Calling, Sarah Young writes, “A grateful heart protects you from negative thinking.”

Too many times we don’t realize how much we have to be thankful for. But if we take the time to think about it, we find more reasons than we can count.

I’ve learned that grumbling and complaining get me nowhere—except in an even more negative frame of mind. But when I keep my mind and heart focused on the Lord and rehearse His goodness in my life, my heart and my lips overflow with praise and thanksgiving. That’s when I know I’m truly blessed.

Take a moment and think back on all God has done for you. Look around you at the blessings He pours out each day—big and small. Maybe it’s time to change your mindset. 

Go ahead. Try it. Make a choice to be grateful in 2020, and watch your negatives turn into positives. It’s easier than you think.

Wishing you a blessed, prosperous, and Jesus-filled New Year!

 

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


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Monday, December 23, 2019

Merry Christmas from Words That Matter


This year, as you celebrate the holiday season with friends and family, prepare a special place in your heart for the Christ of Christmas. Rejoice at his birth, but remember ... He is no longer the babe in the manger. He is our risen Savior. King of kings and Lord of lords. Emmanuel. God with us. Celebrate Him, not only at Christmas, but every single day throughout the year.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a blessed and prosperous New Year.



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