Monday, April 22, 2024

Do You Know God?

By Andrea Merrell

My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.

Job 42:5 NIV


“I knew about God when I was growing up,” my friend said. "I heard His name often when my father used it as a swearword. Our home was more like a war zone.” She stopped to wipe away tears. “But now I really know Him. I’ve experienced His love, and I've seen what He’s done in my life.”

As she told me her story, I thought about Job. When we read the account of his life, we see that he was a wealthy, prominent man who lost everything—his health, his children, and his wealth. Some would say he had every reason to curse his creator and feel sorry for himself.

But in the midst of all his adversity, Job chose to trust the Lord. He said, “My ears had hear of You, but now my eyes have seen You.” And the Bible tells us that Job’s latter days were blessed even more than they were in the beginning.

I heard about God my entire life. I grew up in church. I went to Sunday school and VBS. I got baptized at an early age and tried to do all the “right” things. But my younger years were filled with all the dos and don'ts. No one ever told me I could have an actual relationship with a loving heavenly Father. I was like my friend and like Job: I knew about God. But nothing in my life changed until I really knew Him. The Master of the universe. The all-powerful Creator of heaven and earth. Yet He calls me His child and His friend.

God created man for fellowship and communion. He desires a close, personal relationship with His children. My friend now has that, and so do I. We have experienced His grace and His amazing love ... the greatest gifts anyone could ever receive.

What about you? Do you know about God or do you really know Him? 

Photo by Emmanuel Phaeton on Unsplash

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Are You Content?

By Andrea Merrell

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.

Philippians 4:11 MSG


There she was again, complaining about all the things she didn’t have. The woman was beautiful, smart, and talented. She had a good job. Friends. A big family. A hefty bank account. But she was never happy, always focused on whatever seemed out of reach. Always wanting what she couldn’t have.

She was much like Eve. God filled the Garden with every luscious fruit imaginable, yet Eve wanted the only one she was told to stay away from rather than being thankful for the abundant supply all around her. Her negative focus led her straight into temptation, and we all know the rest of the story.

On the other hand, Paul—shipwrecked, beaten, rejected, and imprisoned—learned to be content despite his negative circumstances. He wrote:

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. (Philippians 4:11-13 MSG)

Paul’s secret? He worried about nothing and praised God for everything. He was thankful for every blessing and never concerned himself about the rest. His focus remained on the One who created and sustained him no matter what was going on in his life. That’s the way to live in peace.

Have you learned to be content?

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash


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.