Monday, May 3, 2021

Open Your Hand

 By Andrea Merrell

 

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

Luke 6:38 NKJV

 

 

You could watch it happen whenever it came time for the offering. His body stiffened. His hands clenched together. He almost broke out in a cold sweat. Once the plate went past him, he visibly relaxed … and sometimes even smiled.

 

What a shame that the very thought of giving sends some people into a panic. The world screams at us to hold on to what we have. Look out for number one. Let everyone else look out for themselves.

 

But the Bible tells us the opposite. Give. Why? Because it will be given back to us. And what comes back to us—from the Lord—will depend on the measure we used when we gave. Give a teaspoon full, get back a teaspoon full. Give a bushel full, get back the same.

 

It’s a paradox that doesn’t make sense to our natural, carnal minds. Chris Tiegreen says, “The key to getting is giving.” And it doesn’t only work with finances. The same spiritual principle applies to love, joy, peace, acceptance, friendship, and anything else you might have need of. It’s a matter of sowing and reaping. Sow not, reap not.

 

As followers of Christ, we should be generous with whatever the Lord blesses us with. Being tightfisted, like the man in church, is like putting our seed in a box instead of in the ground and still expecting a great harvest.

 

Our God is a good God. A covenant-keeping God. A man of His Word. He desires to bless us far beyond our wildest imagination. All He asks is our trust and obedience.

 

The next time the plate comes around or you are prompted to give, go ahead. Give. Open your hand. Be generous. Sow with a grateful heart because God loves a cheerful giver.

 



 Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

 Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.)

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As followers of Christ, we should be generous with whatever the Lord blesses us with. via @AndreaMerrell (Click to tweet.)


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Monday, April 26, 2021

Don’t Knock It Until You Try It

 By Andrea Merrell

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good. 

Psalm 34:8 NLT

 

For most of my life the thought of peanut butter and celery sounded disgusting—until someone said, “Don’t knock it until you try it.” So I did … and loved it. The same with sushi, which is now one of my favorites foods.


Years ago, the popular catch phrase was WWJD (what would Jesus do?). Before that came around, Try God was the buzz. We saw it on bracelets, bumper stickers, and even on TV—believe it or not. (That’s how long ago it was.)

 

One could say the same about God: Don’t knock it (or rather Him) until you try it (Him). But how do you try God? It’s certainly not like putting on a piece of clothing to see if it fits or dating Him to see if He’s a candidate for marriage. The Bible tells us to taste and see that the Lord is good. Again, how do we do that? This is how the Passion translation puts it: Drink deeply of the pleasures of this God. Experience for yourself the joyous mercies He gives to all who turn to hide themselves in Him.

 

Trying God simply means to take Him at His Word. When we accept Him into our lives, we become part of His family, a joint heir with Jesus. And all the benefits of His kingdom—all the blessings contained in the Bible—are ours. He redeems us, forgives us, cleanses us, and clothes us in His very own robe of righteousness. He loves us unconditionally and blesses whatever we set our hand to do. He gives us abundant joy and a peace that surpasses human understanding. He gives us godly wisdom and surrounds us with favor. He gives His angels charge over us to protect us. He promises to never leave us. And He promises us an eternal home in heaven. 

 

Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? If you haven’t already done so, go ahead. Taste and experience the goodness of the Lord. You’ll never regret it.

 

And remember … don’t knock it until you try it.

 

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


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Experience the goodness of the Lord by taking Him at His Word. "Taste and see that the Lord is good." via @AndreaMerrell (Click to tweet.)

 

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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Don’t Lose Your Identity

 By Andrea Merrell

 

 Once you had no identity as a people;

    now you are God’s people.

1 Peter 2:10 NLT


We hear it all the time: Identity thieves are out to steal your information. Protect yourself. This causes us to be more alert and do whatever we can to keep this from happening. 

But there's another thief out to steal our identify ... the one we have in Christ.

 Some people spend a lifetime trying to “find” themselves, all the while searching in the wrong places or allowing negative feedback to determine their worth. My pastor recently said, “we are not a result of what people did to us or didn’t do for us. We are a result of what Jesus did in us and for us.” That’s where out true identity lies, but we still have to protect it.

Chris Tiegreen says:

God has given you a new identity, but it will be roundly attacked from every side. Resolutely insist on the identity God gave you in Christ. Refuse to be swayed, distracted, or even questioned. What God has affirmed, let no one even dare try to undermine. You are who you are because He said so. Live in your true, God-given identity as His child, a new creation, a member of a royal priesthood, and more. The Father is well pleased with His children, and no unholy voice can convince Him otherwise.

Be secure in who you are. You are in Him. His child. His beloved. Saved. Redeemed. The righteousness of God in Christ. Seated in heavenly places. More than a conqueror. A joint heir with Jesus. That’s the way God sees you and the way He wants you to see yourself.

 

 (Photo by Brett Jordan from Pexels.)

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Monday, April 12, 2021

Toothbrushes Aren’t Just for Good Oral Hygiene

 By Andrea Merrell

 

But if we confess our sins to Him, He can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins.

I John 1:9 TLB

 

I love for my house to be clean, but sometimes I get in a rush and do a quick swipe here and there rather than a thorough cleaning. Later, upon closer inspection, I see all the little areas that need more attention.

 

It always amazes me how many of those areas you can only get to with an old toothbrush—dirty little places that can be reached no other way no matter how hard you try. Once I take the time to scrub away the hidden grime, it gives me a tremendous sense of satisfaction.

 

One day I realized how easily the same thing can happen in me. Just when I think all is well and I’m “clean” before the Lord, I discover all those hidden crevices filled with wrong attitudes and bad habits. A harsh word here. An unfair judgement there. Unforgiveness that needs to be addressed.

 

A quick swipe of “sorry, Lord” won’t do it. That’s when I have to ask Holy Spirit to get out the spiritual toothbrush and clean out all the hidden junk. It might not always be comfortable, but it gets the job done. When it’s over, it’s a feeling like none other.

 

Are you in need of a little extra scrubbing today? No problem. The Lord is ready when you are, so go ahead and ask.

 

And remember … toothbrushes aren’t just for good oral hygiene.

 

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and khuruzero.)

 

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Allow Holy Spirit to clean out all those hidden crevices filled with wrong attitudes and bad habits. via @AndreaMerrell (Click to tweet.)

 

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Sunday, April 4, 2021

Where Does the Buck Stop?

 By Andrea Merrell

 

Within your heart you can make plans for your future,
but the Lord chooses the steps you take to get there.

Proverbs 16:9 TPT

 

We’ve all heard it. Most of us have probably said it. President Harry S. Truman even had a sign on his desk: The Buck Stops Here!


Passing the buck—or passing the responsibility on to someone else—is all too familiar in this day and time in which we live. Stepping up to the plate, so to speak, and taking responsibility for our own actions has become a thing of the past.

 

Someone once said that opinions are like armpits—everyone has one. But how do we form our opinions? Do we listen to those who love to gossip and sling dirt? Do we watch the news 24/7? Are we influenced mostly by social media?

 

The truth is we can form our own opinions and plan our own course, but the Lord is the only One who can establish our steps. He is the omniscient one, the one who knows all things. He knows the end from the beginning and everything in between. And He is the only truth we can bank on.

 

What it boils down to is this: Unless our thoughts, opinions, and words line up with God’s they don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Only what God says matters.

 

If you’re floundering today, spend time with God. Go to His Word. That’s where the buck stops. Period.

 

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and fantasista.)

 

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If you’re floundering today, spend time with God. Go to His Word. That’s where the buck stops. Period. via @AndreaMerrell (Click to tweet.)

 

 

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