Monday, December 4, 2023

A Different Kind of Rest


By Andrea Merrell


He restores my soul
Psalm 23:3 NKJV


“What is your word for the year?” I’ve often been asked.

Until this year (2023) my answer has always been, “I don’t have one.” But at the beginning of the year, God gently spoke the word rest to my weary soul.

Rest has always been hard for me. I feel guilty going to bed early, sleeping late, or even taking a nap. I can’t stop thinking about all the other things I should be doing. Even sitting still without accomplishing something (mending, ironing, folding clothes) has been a challenge.

Giving our bodies a break is a necessary part of life to keep us healthy. But there is another kind of rest: rest for the soul.

The psalmist David tells us that our Shepherd will cause us to lie down in green pastures beside still waters. Why? So He can restore our soul (Psalm 23:2-3). Jesus Himself invites us to come to Him when we carry heavy burdens. Why? So we can find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-29).

Are you weary? What heavy burden are you carrying today? Fear? Worry, Anxiety? Depression? Whatever it is, give it to Jesus. He is ready to give you rest.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Monday, November 27, 2023

God’s Holy Fingerprint


By Andrea Merrell


In the beginning God created … Genesis 1:1 KJV


There they were again—fingerprints. All over the refrigerator I had just cleaned. Keeping the fridge free of them had become an impossible task.

I started thinking about all the other items we touch each day, leaving our unique, one-of-a-kind prints. We generally can’t see them, but they’re still there.

It’s the same with creation. God created everything we see around us, from the highest mountain to the deepest ocean. The Master Creator hung the moon and stars and fashioned the beauty of nature that covers the earth. His Word. His touch.

And the best part is He created each of us. We carry His seal of approval and acceptanceHis holy fingerprint. 

Look around you. Marvel at His handiwork. “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3 KJV). And what He created, He calls “good.” That includes you.

Photo by George Prentzas on Unsplash

Monday, November 20, 2023

One Size Does Not Fit All


By Andrea Merrell

I am the way, the truth, and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 14:6 NKJV


I pulled the hanger from the rack and examined the dress. Perfect. Then I looked at the tag to make sure I had the right size. The tag read, One Size Fits All.

All? Seriously? All of whom?

Just for grins, I tried on the dress. If I had been about thirty pounds heavier and two feet taller, I could have made it work. Too bad. Back on the rack.

God is a God of diversity. Just look around. Even in a small group of people, you will find different heights, weights, and shoe sizes. Unique individuals with varying tastes when it comes to colors, music, and entertainment. Some enjoy country life while others thrive in the big city. Some adventurous souls travel the country while others prefer to be homebodies. As they say, to each his own.

In the grand scheme of everyday living, one size does not fit all.

Not so when it comes to gaining access to God’s kingdom and becoming part of His family. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” In all our diversity, there is only one way to heaven, and that is through Jesus Christ. When we accept Him as Lord and Savior, He gives us everything we need—salvation, healing, strength, peace, love, joy, wisdom, and eternal life with Him.

One-stop shopping. No need to look elsewhere. In this case, one size fits all.

Photo by patricia serna on Unsplash

Monday, November 13, 2023

Time to Renew


By Andrea Merrell


Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2

They say when it rains, it pours. In my case it happens once a year. All of a sudden, requests come flooding in for me to renew something—insurance, credit cards, memberships, dues.

At times it feels a bit overwhelming handling them all at once, but it’s important to take care of each one in a timely manner or I lose my benefits.

The same is true in my spiritual life. The Bible tells me to renew my mind—not just once a year but on a regular, ongoing basis. Sounds complicated, but the Message breaks it down like this:

So, here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life—and place it before God as an offering … Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.

God is always with us. That’s a promise. And He wants our full attention to be on Him, not on worldly pleasures or problems.

When I fail to keep my mind renewed, it tends to focus on problems and a myriad of other negative influences. It robs me of peace and joy and interferes with my time in God’s presence. But when I turn my attention to Him and renew my mind with His Word, everything changes.

Have you renewed your mind with His Word? Try it. You’ll love the results.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Who Are You?

By Andrea Merrell

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.          
1 Corinthians 13:12 NKJV

“Hi, Andrea.”
The woman gave me her brightest smile, and every nerve in my body went on high alert.

I had no clue who she was.

With the confused expression that must have been on my face, she said, “You don’t know who I am, do you?”

It’s a terrible feeling when someone walks up to you—someone who apparently knows you well—and you don’t recognize them. It becomes an embarrassing and vulnerable moment.

This has happened to me many times over the years. Thankfully, the Lord has kept my foot from sliding into my mouth on a few of these occasions … especially the one where I thought one of my former classmates (who turned out to be younger than me) might have been one of my former teachers. That would have been a grand faux pas.

The good news is when we get to heaven, we won’t be faced with this problem, even with our brand-new, glorified bodies. It will be the best reunion ever, and we won’t have trouble recognizing a single soul. The best part is that Jesus, who knows us better than anyone, will be standing there with arms wide open and our name on His lips, ready to welcome us home.

But then I shall know just as I also am known.  

(Photo courtesy of Free Digital and David Castillo Dominici.)