Monday, April 8, 2024

Say No to Temptation

 

By Andrea Merrell


The temptations in your life are no different

from what others experience.

And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation

to be more than you can stand.

When you are tempted, he will show you a way out

so that you can endure.  

1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT

 

“There’s too much temptation,” the man said. “The pressure is killing me. I don’t think I can resist this time.”

He was referring to his addiction to alcohol and pornography.

Most Christians typically think being tempted refers to this same type of compulsion—all manner of sin and worldly pleasures—which ends up being, for the most part, brief and fleeting. But what about the temptation to be angry? To lie. To worry. To refuse to forgive. To throw in the proverbial towel and quit because life is just too hard.

It all boils down to our mind. That’s where the battle begins. The more we dwell on something negative, the more firmly attached it becomes. That's how strongholds are created.

I read somewhere that our mind is like a hotel. The manager and staff cannot control who comes in, but they can control who gets a room and how long they stay.

There will always be temptation. It comes in all shapes and sizes. And no one is immune. Even the apostle Paul faced it. He said, “I don’t want to do what’s wrong, but I do it anyway” (Romans 7:19 NLT).

But God, as always, gives us a way out—the name of Jesus and His powerful, life-giving Word. Through prayer, confessing His Word over our situation, and surrounding ourselves with godly people who can keep us accountable, we can overcome.

The next time temptation comes your way, just say no!


Photo by Andy T on Unsplash

Monday, April 1, 2024

Passing the Taste Test

 

By Andrea Merrell


Taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8 NLT


Most of us have a love/hate relationship with social media, but in this high-tech world we live in, it’s the best way to stay connected to friends and family, not to mention news-worthy events and other important tidbits.

While some things I don’t wish to see on Facebook come across my feed daily, there are others I appreciate and look forward to. Like recipes. Many of them have been, as my husband says, “keepers.” Others I’ve tried have been labeled as epic fails or Facebook faux pas, never to be seen or heard from again.

Dispels the myth that “if you saw it on the internet, it must be true.”

One thing is certain. When we look for what is “a keeper,” we can always count on Scripture, God’s Word that is forever settled in heaven. That’s where you’ll find no epic fails or faux pas. The old adage goes, “If God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” What it should be is this: “If God said it, that settles it. Period.”

The Bible tells us we should “taste and see that the Lord is good.” In other words, we don’t know how good something is until we try it, just like my FB recipes. But I can say without exception that everything I’ve tried (through obedience to His Word) has turned out to be very, very good. I’ve tasted God’s goodness in so many ways: Protection. Provision. Healing. Forgiveness. Wisdom. Guidance. Peace. Joy. And His amazing, unconditional love.

In this world, some things will pass the proverbial taste test, while others will not. If you want something you can always count on, you can count on God and His Word. 


 Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Monday, March 25, 2024

Delayed Answers to Prayer

 

By Andrea Merrell

 

I prayed and prayed … and prayed.


No answer ... at least none that I could see.


Was God not listening? Was He upset with me? Had He abandoned me?


I felt complete and utter rejection.


Yet deep in my heart I knew I had prayed according to God’s Word. I believed. I had faith that He would do what He said He would do. I looked back on so many answered prayers and knew God had not changed. He was, is, and always will be a man of His Word.


Yet in the natural, nothing changed.


Someone said to me, “Don’t forget; one day is the same as a thousand years to the Lord.” Not exactly what I wanted to hear. I didn’t want to wait a thousand years to get my prayer answered.


Then Holy Spirit went to work in my heart, reminding me that God’s timetable is not only different from mine but perfect. His ways and thoughts are so much higher than mine. He is constantly working behind the scenes even when I can’t see or feel it. His promises are true. They are yes and amen.


If you’ve prayed and prayed about something without seeing results, don’t give up. Your prayer might seem delayed, but know that God is concerned with everything that concerns you. He knows the end from the beginning and everything in between. And He’s always working on your behalf.


My answer came. Your answer might be on the horizon and turn out far better than you ever imagined. Mine did.


Photo courtesy of Molnar Belint on Unsplash.

 

 

Monday, March 18, 2024

A Formula for Overcoming Stress

 

By Andrea Merrell


Stress. Some call it the silent killer. It can destroy our peace, joy, health, sense of well-being—and even our life.

We all face it in one way or another. Even good things can cause it, especially when decisions have to be made and time is a factor. We can complain, medicate, or ignore the symptoms but instead of heading for burnout, The Word for You Today gives us an acronym for overcoming stress:

Seek God’s guidance

God promises to be with us—always. To give us guidance. To impart wisdom and keep us on the right path. When we seek Him first, He promises to take care of all that concerns us.

Trust what God tells you.

God is trustworthy. People will let us down but God never will. He is always working on our behalf even when we can’t see, feel, or understand it.

Remember past victories.

Sometimes we need to look back at all the times God has come through for us and praise Him in advance for seeing us through this time.

Exalt God above the problem.

We have to get our eyes off the problem and put them on the problem-solver. My pastor says, “Whatever you give your attention to, you empower. Whatever you empower, empowers you.”

Solicit the prayers and support of others.

We were not created to face this life alone. That’s why the body of Christ is so important. We should never hesitate to ask for prayer, especially when going through a rough time.

Stand on the promises of God.

God’s Word is truth, the ultimate and final authority on all matters. Find out what God says and stand on that truth.

If you’re facing a stressful situation, practice these six steps, then watch what the Lord will do in your life.


Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Loving the Unlovely

 

By Andrea Merrell


Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, 

not the worst.

Luke 6:28 MSG

 

The topic was love. The assignment for the week had been for the group to choose an “unlovely person” in their life and practice sharing God’s love with them.

The leader of the group was anxious to hear the results. “So, how did it go? Who wants to begin?”

Silence filled the room for a long moment until one girl finally spoke up. “That man I told you about, my next door neighbor. I tried. I really did. I know I’m supposed to love him, but I just don’t like him. I fact, I can’t stand him.”

Her words caused a buzz in the room and a lot of agreement from the others. Then a discussion followed about how we can love someone without liking them.

“Tell me what the Bible says about love,” the leader said.

Answers came like shotgun fire. Love one another. Love your enemies. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Love is patient. Love is kind. Do everything in love. Love covers a multitude of sin. Love never fails.

Pleased with the answers, the leader said, “So, how do we obey the Word when someone is hard to love?”

After another long pause, the answers came, slowly at first. We can pray for them. We can forgive them. We can see them through God’s eyes. We can be more concerned about their soul than their behavior. We can stop being critical of them and look for the best.

The leader went on to explain that we don’t base our love on a person’s words or actions. That makes it conditional. When we learn to see others as God’s creation—those He loves and sent Jesus to die for—it changes our perspective.

The Bible tells us that when we learn to love our enemies—the unlovely—it brings out the best in us.

Are you ready to love the unlovely?


Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.