Monday, November 11, 2019

Do You See Me?


By Andrea Merrell


“Watch me, Grandma, watch me!”

My granddaughter bounced up and down, waving her little hand to make sure I was watching her attempt at gymnastics. After each flip, she would pause to make sure I was still paying attention.” Did you see me, Grandma? Did I do good?”

As children grow, they need constant approval and affirmation as they try new things. They want to be seen. But what about adults? Does that need ever go away completely?

We all need to be seen, and we all need to be loved. But trying to fulfill those needs apart from the Lord can leave us empty and cause us to feel invisible.

The truth is with God we are:

Fully Seen 
We are not invisible. God sees us completely, inside and out, every moment of every day. He sees our tears, our pain, and our needs. He views us through the shed blood of Jesus, clothed in His robe of righteousness.

Fully Known 
God knew us before we were ever conceived. In fact, we were His idea. He knows our thoughts and the desires of our heart. He knows the number of hairs on our head. And He’s even engraved our name on the palm of His hand.

Fully Loved 
God loves us so much He gave the best He had to give. He sent His only Son to suffer and die for us so we can spend eternity with Him. His love is unconditional and unending. He loves us in spite of our weaknesses and imperfections. He doesn’t play favorites, and you never have to perform to win His approval. There is nothing in heaven or on earth that can separate us from that amazing love.

When you feel invisible in this crazy world, know that God sees you when it feels as if no one else does. You are fully seen, fully known, and fully loved.


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and aechan.)



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Monday, November 4, 2019

The Prison of Unforgiveness


By Andrea Merrell


The woman swiped at tears as she described her dream.

The cell was dark and dirty. Pictures hung from the bars surrounding me, all memories of my past. Terrible, hurtful memories that tormented me. I cried out for help, but no one came. I looked out the tiny window and saw the sunlight. Heard the laughter of those who were free. My heart longed for peace. I wanted my life back.

This was a reoccurring dream. She was securely locked in a prison of unforgiveness—a prison of her own making. Forgiving others for the abuse she had suffered was something she could not, would not do. The sad part is that as long as she refuses to forgive her offenders, she will remain in bondage.

I can so relate to her story. Can you? When people purposely say and do terrible things to us, we feel betrayed. It’s easy to develop a victim mentality, telling ourselves the offender doesn’t deserve our forgiveness.

But who suffers? We do. Our heart becomes hard as the painful memories continue to haunt us. We lose our peace and our joy. And the worst part? We feel as if God has abandoned us.

Jesus has a lot to say about the subject. Forgive and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37 NKJV). And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us (Luke 11:4 NLT). He even asked the Father to forgive those who beat Him and put Him on the cross (Luke 23:34). What a beautiful example.

Forgiving others is powerful. It is the key that unlocks the door of the prison cell. That’s the first step. The second is to bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you (Luke 6:28 NKJV). That’s when our peace and joy return. That’s when we know we’re truly free.

If you’re locked in a prison of unforgiveness, God is handing you the key today. You can be free in the blink of an eye.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and sakhorn38.)



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Monday, October 28, 2019

It's a Matter of the Heart


By Andrea Merrell

So, keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is 
authentic and real, honorable and admirable, 
beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, 
merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts 
on every glorious work of God, praising Him always. 
Philippians 4:8 TPT

Candace was determined to change her behavior. With her strong, independent spirit, she was convinced it would be a snap.

How wrong she was. And how disappointed. The more she tried to change, the worse things became. She even put a rubber band on her wrist to snap every time temptation reared its ugly head. It was too much like Pavlov’s dog and his theory of classical conditioning. All she ended up with was a bruise on her wrist.

The problem is even if she had achieved the desired behavior, there was no change on the inside. No heart-change. As they say, the dead body would have floated to the top eventually.  

The Bible says, Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23 NKJV). Matthew 12:34 says, the mouth speaks what the heart is full of (NIV).

Sounds to me like the heart is vital to our Christian walk. We need to internalize God’s Word in order to change our inner (sinful) nature. Chris Tiegreen says, “When we try to achieve behavioral change without heart-change, it can’t be done. It leads to constant failure and frustration.”

If your desire is to change your behavior, start on the inside. Change your thinking. Agree with what God says instead of what others say—or even what you tell yourself. Fill your heart with good things (see Philippians 4:8), for out of it will flow the issues of life.

Remember … it’s a matter of the heart.


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and atibodyphoto.)



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Monday, October 21, 2019

The Bad Temper Club


By Andrea Merrell


The Bad Temper Club. I used to be a member. Actually, for many years I was the president and CEO. I finally cancelled my membership and moved on, but on occasion, I find myself wandering back inside the clubhouse to let my anger fly.

Even though there is a time and place for righteous anger, for the most part this emotion is a destructive force. It can end friendships, tear families apart, wreck our health, and destroy just about everything it touches. The Bible calls it foolish (Proverbs 14:17, 29).

Listen to what others have to say:

  • When your temper gets the best of you, it reveals the worst of you. Instead of solving the problem, anger only makes it worse. ~Bob Gass


  • Take this remark from Richard poor and lame: whate’er’s begun in anger ends in shame. ~Ben Franklin from Poor Richards Almanac


  • People who fly into a rage seldom make a good landing. ~Will Rogers


Most of the time, our bad temper stems from selfishness, impatience, hurt, fatigue, or frustration. But when we give someone the power to make us angry, we are at their mercy.  I’ve learned the hard way that my anger solves nothing. It only serves to make me feel foolish and guilty while I make others uncomfortable or push them away.

Bob Gass says, “Not everything is worth getting angry about. The more calmly you see a situation, the more clearly you see how to handle it. That’s why we have to choose our battles wisely."

If you’re a member of the Bad Temper Club, cancel your membership immediately. Bid it goodbye and get outta town. You’ll be glad you did … and so will everyone else.


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and saphatthachat.)




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    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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