Monday, February 18, 2019

A True Father


By Andrea Merrell

 
Now hope does not disappoint, 
because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts
by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5:5 NKJV


My father never wanted children, so we didn’t have much of a relationship. He and my mother divorced when I was twelve, and he moved out of my life. For good.

When I went to live with my grandparents, my grandfather—who had quite the temper— was of the opinion that children should be “seen and not heard.” As long as I behaved perfectly around him, everything was fine. One tiny misstep and … well, you get the picture.

Rejected by my biological father and never able to measure up to the unrealistic expectations of my grandfather, I never felt safe or good enough. Putting my trust in men did not come easily. Growing up, I often admired (and maybe envied) others who had a wonderful father.

My heart was empty and searching for approval until God poured out his unconditional love and acceptance on me and showed me the attributes of a true father. At last, my heart found its home.

Over the past forty-plus years, I have watched my husband be that wonderful father and grandfather to our family that I always longed for. What a blessing to watch God’s unconditional love in action.

We never have to perform to receive God’s approval. It’s there for us regardless of how we feel or how we behave. All we have to do is receive it.

Whether you were raised with or without a loving earthly father, look to God as the ultimate father … your daddy, your Abba ... your heavenly Father who loves you more than you can ever comprehend.

He is a true Father.



(Photo courtesy of Blogpiks.com and FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Stuart Miles.)


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Monday, February 11, 2019

Let God Be God


By Andrea Merrell

 
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly 
above all that we ask or think, 
according to the power that works in us.
Ephesians 3:20 NKJV


The girl’s perception of God was disconcerting. “God doesn’t love me. He doesn’t heal. He doesn’t bless. He’s never done anything for me. I’m not even sure He exists.”


Too many times our perception of God is created by our own misguided thinking. As one pastor puts it, “I honestly believe in the Western church we have so created God in our own image we’ve lost sight of His true character.”

God’s character is to love. He is love. More attributes of His character are: healing, giving, compassion, faithfulness, joy, peace, wisdom, guidance, and every manner of blessing. He is a God of abundance—not a God of just barely enough to get by.

So, why don’t we experience His abundance? Because we don’t believe it or expect it. We have allowed the Enemy to convince us that a poverty mentality is “spiritual” … that God is withholding His goodness either to keep us humble or because we don’t deserve it.

In reality, when we stay intimately connected to the Father, blessings just naturally flow in every area of our life. When we don’t believe or expect that to happen—and we keep our eyes and heart elsewhere—we miss much of what God wants to do for us. When we try to keep God in the proverbial box, we limit what He can do, wants to do, and will do in our lives.

God is good—all the time. And He wants to pour out His blessings on me and on you. All we have to do is bring our thinking in line with His Word and let God be God.

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


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Monday, February 4, 2019

The Clean Plate Club


By Andrea Merrell

 
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, 
rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 
so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped
for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV


When I was a child, I had to eat my vegetables, like them or not. Actually, I was required to eat everything so I could be—as my grandfather said—a member of the “clean plate club.”

Since I was never allowed to be a picky eater, I grew up not only liking most foods, but also having an understanding and appreciation for all the vitamins and minerals needed to keep me healthy. I learned to make good choices.

With today’s busy lifestyle, we have fast-food restaurants on every corner. There are buffets of every cuisine where we can pick and choose. We can even go online and have our favorite food delivered straight to our door. We’re free to make our choices and eat only what we like.

Not so with God’s Word. The Bible is not an a la carte menu from which we can pick and choose what suits us and leave the rest alone. It’s an endless smorgasbord of instructions, guidance, warnings, commandments, love, comfort, encouragement, and blessings. Everything works together to bring us the perfect meal, full of all the nutrition we need to keep us spiritually healthy.

When it comes to God’s Word, don’t be picky. Be a member of the clean plate club.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and jk19911.)



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Monday, January 28, 2019

Can God Really Speak Through a Donkey?


By Andrea Merrell

 
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, 
and they follow me.
John 10:27


It always amazes me when God’s children deny that He talks to us today—however He chooses. He spoke the world into existence, and He’s been speaking to us ever since.
 
Still skeptical? God spoke to Moses from a burning bush. He spoke to Joseph through dreams. He spoke to Elijah through a still, small voice. He even spoke to Balaam through the mouth of a donkey. Seriously. Go check out Numbers 22:28-30.

“But that’s all in the Old Testament,” you might be saying. The Bible tells us the Lord never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He has never been willing to conform to any of the tidy little boxes we’ve tried to use to contain Him. His thoughts are higher than ours and His ways not our own. John 10 tell us He is the Good Shepherd and we—his sheep—know (recognize) His voice and follow Him.

I love the various ways God chooses to communicate His love, encouragement, and guidance. It might be through a friend or family member. Maybe a sermon or daily devotion. But there are so many other avenues: a book, song, movie, sunset, nature, dream, or even the laughter of a child. Sometimes his voice is so clear it seems audible. At other times it's a gentle whisper.

As far as I’m concerned, if God can talk to someone through a donkey, He can communicate through any avenue He chooses. The key is whether or not we’re listening.

God is speaking. Listen closely ...

Can you hear Him?

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and membio.)




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Monday, January 21, 2019

Does That Make Me a Rebel?


By Andrea Merrell

 
Let your light so shine before men, 
that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16 NKJV


No white after Labor Day. Who came up with that rule? Does anyone still follow it? I think it went out the window when women started wearing—or almost wearing—cropped tops, plunging necklines, see-through dresses, hot pants … well, you get the picture. At some point, society decided anything goes.
 
Some Southerners may still follow the no-white rule. I don’t. I love dark shirts and sweaters with white pants, so I wear them year-round. Does that make me a rebel?

The Bible compares rebellion to witchcraft. Yikes! That’s a hard pill to swallow, right? But rebellion against God versus rebellion against the norm is a whole different animal.

What the world may classify as acceptable, God sees as sin: lying, stealing, cheating, slander, abuse, homosexuality, addiction … the list goes on. When we go against the world’s standards, we’re seen as weird, Bible-thumping, right-winged radicals who refuse to go along with the status quo. In reality, that’s exactly what God expects from His children. The only rules we are to follow—along with the governing laws of the land—are those He has set forth in His Word. And obedience brings blessings.

Trying to fit in with the crowd is never a good idea. The Bible calls us a peculiar people. That means we’re to be different … lights shining brightly in a dark world, pointing the way to Jesus.

When I’m wearing my white pants in December, the world may call me a rebel. But that’s okay as long as God sees me as His obedient child.

How about you?

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and renjith krishnan.)




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Trying to fit in with the crowd is never a good idea. We’re to be different … lights shining brightly in a dark world, pointing the way to Jesus. via @AndreaMerrell (Click to tweet.)