Monday, February 24, 2020

To Be Like Jesus


By Andrea Merrell

For those God foreknew he also predestined 
to be conformed to the image of his Son.
Romans 8:29 NIV

 
We hear it all the time in church: We need to be more like Jesus. We sang about it as we grew up: Oh, to be like Jesus. We are called to be His followers.

To follow is to imitate, but what exactly does it mean to imitate our Lord and Savior. After all, He’s deity. God’s one and only Son. The Word made flesh. Our soon-coming King. We’re born with a sinful, carnal nature. How can we possibly put that aside and become what God wants us to become?

The Word says God predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son. That means He determined in advance by divine will that we could possess the attributes of Jesus. I believe, just as in all things spiritual, we make it much harder than it really is. When God gave us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3 NKJV), He didn’t make the process so complicated we could never achieve it.

Simply put, Jesus has eyes of grace, a heart of compassion, hands of healing, a tongue of wisdom, ears of understanding, and the breath of peace. That’s why we’re instructed to offer ourselves as living sacrifices. Every part of us is designed to bless others.

Are you ready to be like Jesus?

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


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Monday, February 17, 2020

Silence Your Fear


By Andrea Merrell

 
The squeaky wheel, as they say, gets the oil. Why? Because it’s loud, irritating, and won’t go away. It’s the same with fear. Chris Tiegreen says, “For a silent attitude, fear can be awfully vocal.”

While our spirit struggles to hear the still, small voice of God, fear screams at us:

  • You’re a nobody. And no one cares.
  • You’re not brave enough to step out in faith.
  • You’ll never get healed. Might as well stop praying.
  • You can’t afford to tithe. Hold on to your money.
  • Your family will never come to know the Lord.
  • Your business is going under.
  • You’ll never make it.

The voice of fear tries to convince us that God has forgotten about us. He no longer cares. He has much more important matters to attend to. He doesn’t listen anyway.

The Bible calls Satan the “father of lies.” One of his biggest weapons against us is fear, which is a distortion of faith. It’s a matter of placing our trust in the negatives we face rather than in God and His Word.

Tiegreen also says, “Refuse to partner with it. Make no agreements with its threats. Turn your faith back to the truth God has spoken about your future and your circumstances. Confront fear and step out in faith. The God of power has promised to be with you.”

I John 4:18 tells us that “fear involves torment.” It also says, “perfect love casts out fear." James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” The Bible is filled with “fear nots.” We can equip our minds and hearts with the ammunition we need.

What are you waiting for? Silence your fear by confronting it with the Word.


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and imagerymajestic.)



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Monday, February 10, 2020

You Have Great Potential


By Andrea Merrell

 
Some kids know exactly what they want to be when they grow up. They possess gifts, talents, and abilities that are bursting to come to life. Others don’t have a clue. I was one of the latter.

Today we’re told to learn our children’s temperament and natural bent. We’re expected to help them find their “sweet spot”—what they love and what they’re good at doing.

I never had that kind of encouragement. Instead, I grew up trying to please others by measuring up to their standards instead of establishing my own. I didn’t see the potential in myself.
But God did.

As I came to know, love, and follow Him, He began to draw out those gifts He placed in me and set me on the path to my God-given destiny.

Think for a moment about people throughout the Bible who probably felt like nobodies. Mary was a young girl engaged to be married. But she was destined to become the mother of our Lord Jesus. David was a shepherd boy, looked down upon by his older brothers. But God used him in a mighty way—not only to rid the land of a giant but to become king.

Moses was hidden in a basket as a baby, then raised in an Egyptian palace. After he murdered a fellow Egyptian, he fled to the desert to hide. But there is no hiding from God. Moses felt weak and inadequate, but God saw tremendous potential in him to lead His chosen people out of slavery.

Someone once said there are seeds of greatness in everyone. But seeds must be nurtured in order to produce.

If you’re struggling with where you are in life and wondering if you’re fulfilling your purpose, know that God sees the potential in you to do great things for Him. Use your gifts. Sharpen the skills He gave you and see how your life will change for the better.


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




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Monday, February 3, 2020

Just Deal With It


By Andrea Merrell

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Psalm 34:17 NKJV

 
It was something I refused to deal with. Thinking about the situation brought up painful memories and created emotional turmoil.

Funny how we try to sweep situations under the proverbial rug. We think outta sight … outta mind. But that’s only a temporary fix.

Pastor and author Bob Gass says “What we refuse to deal with deals with us and often in harmful ways.” He also says we tend to “act out of our unresolved issues.”

I’ve heard all my life that things will come back to bite you in the backside. Unfortunately, that’s true. When our heart is full of pain, unforgiveness, or unresolved issues, it affects us in numerous ways—everything from anger to bad dreams to stress to even paranoia.

Instead of hiding from our past or refusing to acknowledge what’s causing our life to be out of kilter, we need to, as they say, lay all our cards on the table. As David always did when he was in trouble, we need to cry out to the Lord. He is always ready to come to our rescue.

Ask God to search your heart. Find out what is controlling your thoughts, words, and actions. Then … just deal with it.


You’ll be glad you did.


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


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Monday, January 27, 2020

Be Careful Who You Confide In


By Andrea Merrell

 
I knew I had made a mistake as soon as the words left my mouth. I was sure that confiding in the wrong person would, as they say, come back to bite me.

“Never cast your pearls before swine,” my grandfather used to say. The words taken from Matthew 7 were some of his favorites. They made no sense to me when I was growing up. Sometimes we have to go through something to understand it.

A pearl is an ancient symbol of a spiritual truth given to us by God. But some people have a closed heart and are not able—or willing—to receive or understand.

Sharing with others can be a wonderful experience—joy, success, sadness, prayer needs, and even spiritual truths from God’s Word—but only when shared with the right person.

When we share our greatest blessings, some might be envious or even offended. When we share our weaknesses and failures, they might never look at us the same. Others will be quick to tell everyone they know. 

One writer says, “Be cautious when confessing your mistakes. Your attempt to be open may be very sincere, but your mistake may loom larger in their memory than the lesson you’ve learned and are trying to share with them.” This has happened to me or more than one occasion.

God calls us to be open and transparent. Don’t be afraid to let others in. Just use wisdom. 

And be careful who you confide in.


(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Ambro.)


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