Monday, August 3, 2020

I Choose You


By Andrea Merrell

And he chose us to be his very own, joining us to himself
even before he laid the foundation of the universe!
Ephesians 1:4 TPT

 
There’s nothing more humiliating for a young person than not being picked. The last person standing ends up on one team or the other simply by default.

Since I’ve never been very athletic—plus having asthma as a child—I faced this scenario often in school. No one wanted me on their team. Even though it wasn’t personal, it still hurt to be considered the weak link. I desperately wanted to hear the words, “I choose you.”

Unfortunately, this stigma tends to follow us into adulthood. We might not get the promotion we’ve worked so hard for or the dream job we’ve always wanted. Maybe the relationship we thought was perfect failed because the other person picked someone else. Maybe we lost the contract to someone more qualified. The Enemy will use every opportunity to make us feel rejected or “less than.”

The good news is God has different criteria. He doesn’t look for the most qualified. He doesn’t enlist the smartest, best looking, or most athletic among us. He’s more concerned with what’s in our heart.

Jesus said, You didn’t choose me, but I’ve chosen and commissioned you to go into the world to bear fruit (John 15:16 TPT). It’s a done deal.

God’s message for you today is, “I choose you!”

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


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Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Perfect Love Story


By Andrea Merrell

 
Between dating and marriage, my husband and I have known each other for over fifty years. We’ve spent a lifetime getting to know each other. But our love story is not perfect.

They say when the honeymoon is over, everything gets real. Our guard comes down. We no longer feel the need to impress. We don’t go through our days on our best behavior. The true us makes an appearance and settles in for the long haul.

Entering into a relationship means we agree to embrace our differences and accept the bad with the good. Isn’t that what we agree to in our marriage vows? We have much to learn about each other. Even if we’ve been together for years, our thoughts, desires, goals, fears, habits, quirks, and character traits are revealed over time.

Not so when it comes to our relationship with the Lord. He already knows everything about us. He knows us even better than we know ourselves. He knows every thought, what’s in our heart, and even the number of hairs on our head. And He accepts us just as we are—both the good and the bad.

Our part in the relationship is to spend our lifetime getting to know Him. Much like a diamond has many facets, God’s attributes are too numerous to count. Study the names of God. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Know Him as Savior and Lord, but also recognize Him as Healer, Deliverer, Love, Peace, Joy, Wisdom, Strength, Provider, Protection, Friend … the list goes on and on. The good news is we have an eternity to get acquainted with each and every facet of our amazing Lord.

The Bridegroom will one day come for His bride. It’s the perfect love story.

Are you ready?


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and tawatchai.)


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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Stillness of the Soul


By Andrea Merrell

Be still and know that I am God!
Psalm 46:10 NLT

I have a friend who turns on the television first thing in the morning, watches the news, then leaves it on mostly for background noise. Another tunes the radio to her favorite country station and listens all day. As for me, I prefer to be quiet and still.

Being quiet is easy. The problem is the stillness. While I can get my body to cooperate, my mind insists on wandering in a gazillion directions. It takes extreme discipline to tune out everything else but the Lord. Sarah Young calls it “stillness of soul.” It’s the place where we meet God and commune with Him. It’s there we pour out our heart to Him and hear His voice. It’s there we receive wisdom, guidance, and direction.

Creating that quiet, still space that belongs only to us and God is critical for our well-being and peace of mind in this chaotic world we live in. When times are hard and uncertain, God is sure. Steadfast. Faithful. And He has the answer to every single problem.

The Bible says Be still and know that I am God. The Passion Translation puts it like this: Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving, and you will see that I am God!

Whatever you’re facing today, find that sweet, restful spot where you can be alone with the Lord. Spend time with Him, trusting in His all-sufficient love and provision. Experience that precious stillness of the soul.


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and jeswin.)


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Monday, July 6, 2020

God Is Not Asleep


By Andrea Merrell

Indeed, He who watches over Israel

    never slumbers or sleeps. 
Psalm 121:4 NLT

 
Where is God in all this? Why doesn’t He do something? Doesn’t He care?

In times of chaotic world events, people who know God—and even those who don’t—turn the focus on Him and start asking those hard questions. Many want to blame Him for every evil thing that happens.

I once heard from the pulpit that God had been asleep, but He chose to get up early that morning to prepare the day for us. But the Bible says God never slumbers or sleeps. He never takes a vacation or even a break. He watches over us day and night.

According to Chris Tiegreen:

God does not flee from problems; He fixes them. He does not give up; He is bent on making all things new. That’s why Jesus told His followers to ask for God’s kingdom to come on earth just as it is in heaven. Yes, it comes in its fullness one day, but that doesn’t mean it’s only one day. God is not biding His time. He’s at work, today, in your life and the lives of those around you.

As long as there is a curse upon the earth and the Enemy is free to come and go, there will be hard times to face. The Bible tells us we will have trials and tribulation as long as we are in this world. But God is not unaware of our problems. Nothing catches Him by surprise. He knows the end from the beginning and everything in between. He is still sovereign and a Man of His Word. He has a plan and purpose which will one day be fulfilled. On that day, every knee will bow to Jesus our Savior, and every single tongue will loudly confess that He is Lord.

Until that day, know that God sees you. He knows everything about you and every situation you face. He loves you. He sent His Son to die for you. And He will complete the good and perfect work He began in you. Lay your burden at His feet and trust Him to take care of you.

And remember … God is not asleep.

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


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Sunday, June 28, 2020

Choose Your Friends Carefully and Prayerfully


By Andrea Merrell


There are “friends” who destroy each other,

    but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24 NLT
 
The relationship was toxic. I knew it deep inside but didn’t know what to do. I loved my friend, but she was manipulative and deceitful. Our time together drained me every single time, leaving me emotionally spent. I needed the courage to walk away. Fortunately, by God’s grace, I moved to another state and that was, as they say, that.


God wants us to have healthy relationships. He sends people into our lives who will support and encourage us. Pray for us. Bring out the best in us. People who sincerely care and will be there for us no matter what. People who add value to our lives. Sometimes these relationships are only for a season. But sometimes they are forever.

When it comes to friendships, pastor and author Bob Gass gives us the perfect prayer:

Lord, I need your wisdom to recognize the friends and associates I should choose. Help me to steer clear of the relationships that lead me away from the path you’ve laid out for me. Send people into my life who are godly and wise and will help us both to bless, encourage, and contribute to the quality of each other’s lives. Show me the friendships that are worth fighting for, and I’ll gladly do it. Be Lord of all my relationships so they will be what you want them to be.

Honor the healthy relationships in your life. Thank God for them. Pray for them. Be that friend who sticks closer than a brother.


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



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