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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Sunday, June 21, 2020

No Plan B


By Andrea Merrell

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.
John 15:6 NLT

 
The woman was adamant. “I don’t need to go to church or read outdated words from some old Bible. I’ll go to heaven. I’m a good person.”

The conversation bounced back and forth between the woman and her friend like a ping pong ball, but she would not budge. She was convinced God had a plan B for people like her. She was determined to find her own way.

The Bible clearly says Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life.”  It also says that no one gets to the Father any other way but through Him.

One writer says there is one—and only one—way for us to be saved. And that is the way of the cross. Jesus suffered, bled, and died … for you … and for me. He endured great agony and humiliation to become the ultimate sacrifice.

As the song says, “the cross has the final word.”

In God’s kingdom, there is no plan B.


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


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Monday, June 15, 2020

Are You Moved with Compassion?


By Andrea Merrell

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and great in mercy.
Psalm 145:8

 
While I’ve never been the victim of an abusive marriage, painful divorce, or loss of a child, I have friends and family members who have—many of which have experienced the worst of the worst. Most of them have moved on past the grief and pain, but a few remain in a quagmire of hopelessness.

Because I haven’t been there/done that, I cannot fully relate to their emotional distress. So, what is my responsibility toward them?

First and foremost is prayer. Even though I don’t understand, God knows every hurt. Every fear. Every betrayal. Every painful memory. And most importantly, He is the healer.

People have different responses to the pain of others. These are the most common:

  • Pity—the act of feeling sorry for someone.
  • Apathy—a lack of interest or concern.
  • Empathy—the ability to put yourself in someone’s shoes and share their feelings.
  • Compassion—a feeling of kindness that gives a strong desire to alleviate suffering.

The Bible tells us that Jesus was moved with compassion when he saw others in need. This is one of the ways we are to become more Christlike.

Along with prayer, there are many ways to show compassion. We can be a listening ear. A shoulder to cry on. A safe place for others to vent or simply share their heart. We can do whatever we can to meet a physical or financial need. Most of all, we can be being a faithful and trustworthy friend.

Let’s face it, we all need help from time to time. 

Apply the Golden Rule, and allow yourself to be moved with compassion.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and usamedeniz.)


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When others are hurting, are you apathetic or moved with compassion? via@AndreaMerrell (Click to tweet.)



Sunday, June 7, 2020

Don't Just Settle


By Andrea Merrell

If you are willing and obedient,

You shall eat the good of the land.
Isaiah 1:19 NKJV

 
She was settling. Again. Not willing to pray. Not willing to wait. Trying to work everything out on her own. After hours of counseling and godly advice, it was another epic fail.

Have you ever noticed how it goes against our carnal nature to wait … for anything? We want what we want, and we want it now. And sometimes we do whatever we have to do to get it. Most of the time our efforts come at a great price, yet we end up settling for less than God’s best.

The Lord clearly said if we’re “willing and obedient,” we’ll eat the “good of the land.” In other words, when we seek the Lord and obey His commandments, we can enjoy the best He has to offer: salvation, peace, love, joy, favor, protection, guidance, healing, provision, strength, wisdom, and an abundant supply of whatever we need.

The psalmist said, “Those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing” (Psalm 34:10 NLT). James tells us that “every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17 NKJV).

If you have a need today, submit it to the Lord. Thank Him in advance. After all, that’s what faith is all about, right? Then wait patiently for the answer.

Don’t settle. God wants to give you His best.

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


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Monday, June 1, 2020

Time to Weed the Garden


By Andrea Merrell

The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them.
but the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7 NLT

 
Someone once said to me, “You tromped through the weeds of my life to get to the garden of my heart.” It was many years ago, but I still think about it from time to time.

We all have weeds in our life. Unwanted plants of fear, hurt, and rejection. Bitterness. Anger. A bad attitude. A critical nature. Even various forms of addiction that spring up from the seeds we’ve sown. Sometimes those weeds can be so tall we feel as if others can’t see us at all … only our weaknesses and failures.

The Lord said to Samuel, People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. In spite of our weaknesses and all the weeds in our life, God sees only the potential in each of us. He recognizes the gifts, talents, and abilities He has placed within us. He views us as His unique and special creation. He never condemns us or passes us by because of our messy life. He lets us know when it’s time to weed the garden.

God only sees the best in us. I saw the best in my friend. Maybe it’s time we start seeing ourselves ... and others ... through His eyes.


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Alesanko R.)




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