Monday, March 4, 2024

A Clean Slate

 

By Andrea Merrell


If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

1 John 1:9 NLT

 

Remember the old chalkboards we used in school many moons ago? Did you ever get stuck with the task of cleaning one? I did. It was almost impossible to get all the chalk off, so the board never looked really clean.

With the invention of the white board and dry-erase markers, the task became much easier. A few good swipes is all it takes.

With God, it’s even easier to erase mistakes. One sincere prayer of repentance, and He wipes the slate clean. “I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins” (Jeremiah 31:34 NLT).

How is that possible for God when we’re constantly bombarded with thoughts about everything we’ve done wrong? Because the Bible says, “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12 NLT). If that’s not enough to convince us, Micah 7:19 says, “You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!” (NLT).

God take forgiveness seriously—and so should we. When we mess up, He promises that if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9 NLT).

God will never dredge up our sins and hold them against us, so why should we?

Do you have a clean slate? 


Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and winnond.



Monday, February 19, 2024

God is Up to Something

 

By Andrea Merrell


Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you 

will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. 

Philippians 1:6 NKJV


Crash! The sound reverberated through the house as the young mother turned to her husband. “What in the world is that child up to now?”

“Beats me,” her husband replied, “but you can be sure it’s nothing good.”

If you’re a parent, you can probably relate. We want our kids to be good. To do good. To be obedient. To follow instructions and stay out of trouble. Sadly, that learning curve is typically very long and very tedious.

But we can’t blame it all on the kids. As adults, we face the same temptations to do things that are not always so good. Maybe God shakes His head and says, “What in the world is my child up to now?”

The great news for us is that no matter what we’re “up to,” God is always up to something—something good. In the Bible study “Experiencing God,” Henry Blackaby tells us that God is always at work in, around, and through us. He never stops. Even when we can’t see the results, we can trust that He hears our prayers, sees our needs, and sets the answers in motion. At times the answer comes quickly. At other times we have to wait, but God has promised to finish the work He has already begun in us.

God is up to something good, and we should be about our Father's business. 

What are you up to?


Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com and Volkan Olmez.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Double Jeopardy

 

By Andrea Merrell


Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.

Job 5:2 NIV


I listened to the woman’s story. Through tears, she told me about the abuse she had suffered for years. “My life is ruined,” she said. “Things could not possibly get any worse.”

But they did.

Unable—and unwilling—to forgive her abuser and give the situation to the Lord, the guilt, shame, and condemnation she carried became so heavy she felt crushed beneath the weight.

The anguish deep within soon turned to anger. She developed a victim mentality and found herself dealing with a root of bitterness that ruled her every waking thought and invaded her dreams. It colored her words and controlled her actions. It affected her relationship with others, her self-worth, and her attitude toward God. She found herself living in double jeopardy—persecuted and prosecuted twice for the same offense.

The suffering we go through in this life will eventually make us wiser and stronger if we deal with it God’s way. But allowing it to fester can eventually become worse than anything we’ve actually gone through.

The Bible says, resentment kills a fool and bitterness is like a poison. They can harm you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—even physically. No matter what you’ve gone through, don’t be foolish. Don’t allow it to ruin your life. Give it to God. Forgive and move on. That’s how you experience His peace and His unspeakable joy.

Don’t wait. Do it today.


Photo by Jurica Koletić on Unsplash

Monday, February 5, 2024

The Reward for Commitment

 

By Andrea Merrell

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.

Colossians 3:23 NKJV

 

“I’m going on a diet,” my husband announced one morning. “Time to get rid of this belly.”

I was up for losing weight myself, but the plan he suggested (lots of meat and no carbs or sugar) ... something I didn't think I could handle. I agreed to try it but told him I couldn’t promise to commit.

He did his research. Talked to a pilot buddy who swore by it. Listened to podcasts. He was all in. I was still skeptical.

After only one week, we both lost several pounds. We felt better. Had more energy. Slept better. Maybe this would turn out to be a good thing after all.

I started reading labels and getting stuff out of the house that we couldn’t eat—chips, snacks, potatoes, rice, pasta, and bread. Time went on, and the pounds kept coming off. In less than a month, my husband lost twelve pounds. I dropped ten—the reward of my commitment.

It’s the same with our commitment to the Lord. He wants us all in. To love Him with all our heart, soul, and strength. To seek Him first above all else. To do everything we do just as if we are doing it for Him, not others or ourselves.

God’s rewards are well worth our commitment. He gives us salvation along with peace, love, and joy. He offers forgiveness, strength, and wisdom. He promises to never leave us. His blessings are far greater than anything we can ask for or imagine.

What are you committed to?


Photo by Mark Duffel on Unsplash

Monday, January 29, 2024

A Great Big Love

 

By Andrea Merrell

God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
    Expect love, love, and more love! Jeremiah 31:3 MSG

 

There I was in the middle of the night, down on my knees in my daughter’s room. She had just thrown up, and I can tell you, it wasn’t pretty.

 

I heard sniffling and looked up. She was balanced on her knees, staring at me from her bed. Simply doing what mothers do—or so I thought—her tearful comment took me by complete surprise. “I’m so sorry. You must really love me.”

 

“Of course I do,” I said, trying to comprehend the tears.

 

“Well, that’s a great big love. I love you too, Mom.”

 

Fast forward about thirty years. Back surgery and a reaction to the anesthesia turned me into a hot mess. I could barely function and needed serious help. My baby girl came to the hospital and stayed with me until I was able to go home. I found myself staring at her and thinking, I’m so sorry. You must really love me. And that’s a great big love. She saw me at my worst, at one of the lowest points in my life. And she loved me through it all.

 

It made me even more thankful for the love God has for me. Agape love. Sacrificial and unconditional. Nothing that can be earned by being the best version of myself. God sees me at my worst when no one else sees. He is aware of every low point in my life. Every failure. Every sin. Yet He loves me with an everlasting love that goes beyond human comprehension, and sometimes He shows me by using other people.

 

Never doubt God’s love for you. It’s a great big love that never stops.



Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash