Monday, December 10, 2018

Inside Job


By Andrea Merrell

The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them.
People judge by outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 NLT 


There was something different about her. She looked exactly the same, but a change had taken place. Her smile. Her body language. The light in her eyes. Even the tone of her voice.

I wondered what had happened … what made the difference. Then the Lord whispered, “It was an inside job.” I couldn’t help but smile, thinking of all the times He had done an inside job on me.

Too many times we tend to judge people by their outward appearance. If not careful, we place them in a tidy little category without knowing their story. Without knowing what’s going on in the depths of their soul.

But thankfully, God bypasses the outer shell and focuses on the heart. He knows our every thought. He’s acquainted with our hopes, dreams, fears, weaknesses, and desires. He knows us far better than we know ourselves. When we surrender ourselves to Him—the clay pot yielding itself to the potter—He goes to work to mold and make us into the person He created us to be. 

But He does the work from the inside out. Only He knows the treasures He has placed inside each one of us—gifts, talents, abilities, creative ideas, and so much more. And only He knows how to bring out the best we have to offer.


The next time you see someone who appears to be different, remember that there just might be an inside job going on.

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


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Monday, December 3, 2018

Are You Hangry?


By Andrea Merrell

 
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.
Psalm 63:5 NLT

My husband teases me when it’s way past time for me to eat. Evidently, my attitude deteriorates, and he accuses me of being hangry (both hungry and angry).

That’s when I know it’s time to fix the problem.

Even though it doesn’t happen often, it’s become a joke between the two of us.

But being spiritually hangry is no joke. It’s an easy condition to spot. My patience level goes down. My irritation level goes up. And my words come out snarky, like little poison darts from a blowgun.

That’s when I know it’s time to get the spiritual nutrition I need to get me back on track.

God’s Word is referred to as both milk and meat. Jesus is the Bread of Life—the living Word or the Word made flesh. Psalm 19:10 tells us: The laws of the Lord are true … they are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. He promises to satisfy us more than the richest feast.

The next time you’re feeling hangry, pick up your Bible and feast on God’s Word. It will satisfy your soul as nothing else can.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and debspoons.)


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Monday, November 26, 2018

Let Me Out!


By Andrea Merrell

 
 No temptation has overtaken you
except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, 
who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,
but with the temptation will also make the way of escape,
that you may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13


Our trip to Canada was a great experience. Quaint little towns, a lovely vineyard and winery on the top of a hill, and beautiful, rolling countryside.

Getting into Canada was a breeze. Getting out was a different story. The officer at the gate took his job very seriously. He asked if we purchased anything. I told him we ate lunch. (I’m surprised he didn’t ask for proof.) He asked our purpose for being there. My husband told him we were vacationing in Maine in our motor home. All the while, his eyes traveled everywhere. The outside of the vehicle. The inside. Us. He even checked the front of our Jeep to be sure we were telling the truth about towing it behind the RV.

After a few minutes of interrogation, I felt like a bug under a microscope. I wanted to shout, “just let me out of here!”

The scenario reminds me of how easily we find ourselves falling into sticky situations that can lead to a lifetime of sin and bondage. It’s so easy to get in. Getting out, not so much.

The getting out begins with acknowledging our need, making a decision to change, then calling out to the One who can deliver us in an instant. No questions. No interrogation to be sure we’re telling the truth. And no condemnation to make us feel like a criminal. Only love, mercy, and a whole lot of grace.

If you find yourself caught in a bad situation and can’t break free, call on the Lord and say, “Let me out.” He will faithfully make a way of escape.


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


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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Spiritual Act of Rest


By Andrea Merrell

 
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary
and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:20 NLT

I don’t know about you, but I’m not very good at resting. Even when I try, my mind spins out a to-do list three miles long and reminds me there’s no time to take a break.

Somehow, we’ve been deceived into thinking rest is equivalent to lazy. Not so. Even Jesus took time to pull away from the demands of the crowd to rest and spend time with His Father.

What we fail to realize is that when we learn to rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him (Psalm 37:7), God sees it as an act of worship. Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their power (Isaiah 40:31 AMP). In returning and rest you shall be saved. In quietness and confidence shall be your strength (Isaiah 30:15).

In Jesus Calling, Sarah Young writes: “Rest in Me, my weary one, for this is a form of worship.”

In God’s kingdom, everything has a purpose—even rest. When we’re weary, He invites us to simply come to Him. In His presence, we will find rest for our soul.

As you go through this holiday season, take some time away from the busyness of your day, and spend it with the Lord. He invites you to rest.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

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


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Monday, November 12, 2018

Never Satisfied


By Andrea Merrell

But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God?
Will the thing formed say to him who formed it,
"Why have you made me like this?"
Does not the potter have power over the clay,
from the same lump to make one vessel
for honor and another for dishonor:
Romans (:20-21 NKJV




We all know the Bible says “Judge not.” In other words, don’t put yourself in the position of judge over people, situations, and even yourself.

I’ve been guilty of all three, especially the latter. I’ve moaned and complained more times than I can count.

It seems we’re never satisfied. If we have curly hair, we’d prefer it to be straight. If we’re short, we want to be tall. If we’re musical, we’d rather be athletic—and vice versa.

It’s taken me a long time to realize that when we give God our laundry list of all the things we don’t like about ourselves, we dishonor the One who created us. The creation railing against the Creator. The sheep telling the Shepherd how to do his job. The clay instructing the potter.

God knew exactly what He was doing when He formed each of us in our mother’s womb. We are unique. Special. One of a kind. God breathed the breath of life into us with a plan and purpose that could be fulfilled by no one else. 

I’m not saying that I never complain anymore, but I’m certainly working on it. I love this quote by Barbara Walters that I read in a book many years ago: “I am who I am. I look like I look. I am my age.”

Wise words to live by. I think I’ll try it. How about you?

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


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