Monday, November 23, 2020

Just Own It


By Andrea Merrell

 
Here’s how I imagine the conversation going when God asked Adam why he ate fruit from the forbidden tree in the Garden.

“Not my fault, God.” Adam shrugged. “It was my wife’s idea. Gotta keep the little woman happy, right?”

“I see,” God said and turned to Eve. “Care to explain why you chose to disobey my one and only rule?”

Eve’s mind raced as she looked from God to Adam to the tree—where the Devil was hiding, peeking out at her with a wicked grin. Eve pointed to the tree. “It’s his fault. The Devil made me do it.”

It was the first blame game. Adam blamed Eve, then Eve blamed the Devil. Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Adam and Eve had taken responsibility for their own actions and asked God’s forgiveness? Life would have turned out very differently. But then we’ll never know …

Our carnal nature—along with prompting from the Enemy—compels us to say and do whatever we have to in order to stay out of trouble. Instead of owning it and fessing up (as my grandparents used to say), we make excuses and look for someone else to blame.

We’re all going to mess up. Make Mistakes. Sin. It’s part of our humanness. But trying to hide it from God while shifting the blame is pointless, because God already knows. All He wants is for us to come to Him with a repentant heart and confess our junk. When we do, His forgiveness and cleansing will be swift and sure.

Next time you mess up, don't blame someone else … just own it.


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




Monday, November 16, 2020

Who's Influencing You?


By Andrea Merrell

 
“Stay away from that girl. She’s a bad influence on you,” my grandmother used to say from time to time when I was growing up. She meant well and was trying to protect me, but I never could figure out her criteria for “bad influence.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t always heed her advice—which was usually correct. Even as an adult, I've occasionally found myself connected with the wrong crowd.

According to Bob Gass, there are two groups of people we should never allow into our lives:

The first is composed of VNP people: very needy people, very negative people, and very needling people. The second contains VDP people: very draining people, very doubting people, and very distracting people.

Gass says we should love, help, and encourage them however we can but never allow them to influence or lead us.

Relationships are important. The wrong ones can pull us down and keep us in a constant state of turmoil. The right ones will lift us up, believe the best in us, speak words of truth into our life, and stand with us no matter what comes our way. There is nothing better than a God-ordained friendship.

Take a look around. Who’s influencing you?

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




Monday, November 2, 2020

A Spoonful of Sugar


By Andrea Merrell


All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us
what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.
It corrects us when we are wrong 
and teaches us to do what is right.
2 Timothy 3:16 NLT
 

I needed to change. The reality hit me in the face like a wet rag, but it was a truth I had to accept.

It’s easy to see the faults and weaknesses in others. Those attitudes and behaviors that desperately need attention. But seeing them in ourselves—and having the courage to take our medicine and do something about them—is a whole other matter.


According to Mary Poppins, all it takes is a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. But God doesn’t sugarcoat anything, especially when it comes to our well-being. They say, “the truth hurts.” Maybe so, but if it helps us get moving in the right direction, it’s worth the temporary pain.

Change comes when we are truly submitted to God—spirit, soul, and body—and when we stop making excuses, take responsibility for our own actions, and take our spiritual medicine (God’s Word). No sugar needed because what God says is coated in His amazing love for us.

Have you had your medicine today?


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and peenat.)




Monday, October 26, 2020

In Thy Hands

This week's devotion is by author Callie Daruk. Be sure to check out her new devotional, What Does God Want You to do Before You Die? I highly recommend it. It will give you a whole new perspective on a difficult subject.



By Callie Daruk

My times are in thy hand. Psalm 31:15 KJV

“If he dies, Lord, I will still love you.”

While sitting in the NICU waiting room, I’d settled this and spoke it softly to God in my heart as I awaited news of my deathly ill son’s condition. My husband sat next to me, and we drew strength from the warmth of our hands clasped as tight as our lips. The pain in our eyes spoke what our words couldn’t. I was unprepared to face the death of my son but in that moment, deep down, I knew no matter how hard the physicians worked on my son, his times didn’t lie in their hands.

Following a touch-and-go emergency surgery (and twelve more that followed), to the relief of my heart, the proclamation I’d uttered before the Lord was not tried. The glaring reality, however, is that it could be at any moment. It is a terrifying thought but one vital to come to terms with. Charles Spurgeon so beautifully stated, “Let us learn to hold loosely our dearest friends. Let us love them, but let us always learn to love them as dying things.” As I read his profound words, I think differently as I look into the eyes of my loved ones.

Love deeply – hold loosely.

Whether the skill of a brilliant surgeon or the tightest grasp of a mother, time remains in God’s hands. In His master plan, the time will come when time will be no more. Rather than holding loosely, we will be free both to love and to hold without fear of loss.

Whatever pain or loss you may have experienced here, take heart. With hands wide open may we surrender our own times and the times of those we hold most dear to the One whose grasp will never slip.


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Learn how to love and to hold your loved ones without fear of loss. via @CallieDaruk. (Click to tweet.)


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Callie Daruk is an award-winning author and speaker who encourages others to seek Christ with their whole heart. Her new devotional, What Does God Want You to do Before You Die, released October 6, 2020 with CrossLink Publishing. Callie serves as the Chapter President of Word Weavers Int., Robertson County. Her writing has appeared in Guideposts, The Upper Room, Focus on the Family, Kids Clubhouse, Charisma, Just 18 Summers and Nashville Christian Voice magazines. Connect with her on social media and at www.calliedaruk.com.

    

Monday, October 19, 2020

Emotional Junk


By Andrea Merrell

 Junk: useless or of little value. 

When I was in high school, and even into the first few years of my marriage, I had no idea how much emotional junk I was carrying around. Baggage from my past I was never meant to hang on to.

That junk manifested itself in anger, hurt feelings, treating others as I had been unfairly treated … and then making the same mistakes over and over. I hurt the very people I cared about the most. I hurt myself. And my behavior was anything but glorifying to God.

Rather than taking responsibility for my attitudes, words, and actions, I blamed everyone around me. The result? I remained trapped inside a prison of my own making. I cried out to the Lord, wondering why He wouldn’t set me free. This continued for years until that wonderful day He showed me how to let go of the past and stop choosing wrong behaviors.

Job 11:13-19 (NLT) says:

If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer! Get rid of your sins and leave all iniquity behind you. Then your face will brighten with innocence. You will be strong and free of fear. You will forget your misery; it will be like water flowing away. Your life will be brighter than the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning. Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety. You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help. 

If you’re carrying around a bunch of junk from the past, it’s time to get rid of it and walk in freedom. Give it to the Lord. Take responsibility for your own actions, ask for forgiveness, and choose to let it go, once and for all.


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Sira Anamwong.)



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