Monday, June 5, 2023

Open Heart or Closed Mind?


By Andrea Merrell

For Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth;

nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.

Proverbs 8: 11 MSG


The session became intense as friction filled the room. The wife glared at her husband and then the therapist. “He never listens. He’s so close-minded. No matter how many times I try to have a conversation, he shuts me out.”

The therapist shook her head knowingly. “I see. You know, conversation includes dialogue from both parties. Are you leaving room for dialogue or just blasting him with a diatribe?”

The scene was part of a TV sitcom, but I wondered how many times this scenario takes place in real life. Many times we want a true, heart-to-heart conversation, but find ourselves ranting instead, unwilling to hear or consider the other person’s point of view.

Someone once said the mind is a terrible thing to waste. How do we waste it? By keeping it closed. Closed to new ideas, suggestions, and better ways of doing things. Closed to the thoughts and opinions of others. Closed to anything that goes against our grain.

In Proverbs 8, the writer talks about Lady Wisdom and how we should live:

Right in the city square where the traffic is thickest, she shouts, “You—I’m talking to all of you, everyone out here on the streets! Listen, you idiots—learn good sense! You blockheads—shape up! Don’t miss a word of this—I’m telling you how to live well, I’m telling you how to live at your best. My mouth chews and savors and relishes truth—I can’t stand the taste of evil! You’ll only hear true and right words from my mouth; not one syllable will be twisted or skewed. You’ll recognize this as true—you with open minds; truth-ready minds will see it at once. Prefer my life-disciplines over chasing after money, and God-knowledge over a lucrative career. For Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth; nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her. (vs. 1-11 MSG)

Seems that King Solomon—one of the wisest men in all history—considered wisdom as our greatest commodity, the attribute that helps us truly live well. And according to him, wisdom comes when we have a “truth-ready” open mind ready to receive “God-knowledge.”

Are you ready for the truth?

(Photo courtesy of and imagerymajestic.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Are You Ready for a Workout?


By Andrea Merrell

Following a recent back surgery, I was not referred to physical therapy or rehab. My only instructions were ... WALK!

Now, I enjoy walking, but between a hilly yard and road, the only flat surface anywhere close to my house is my driveway. When I first came home from the hospital, I pushed my little walker up and down the driveway. After a while I graduated to a cane. It was slow-going, not much fun, and definitely a workout. But if I wanted to heal and regain my flexibility, I needed to follow the doctor’s instructions.

It’s the same in my relationship with the Lord. If I want to be spiritually healthy and live the life I was created to live, I must follow the Great Physician’s instructions.

This Christian life is a journey, and we are instructed to walk:

  • In the Spirit (Romans 8:1 and Galatians 5:16)
  • In love (Ephesians 5:1)
  • By faith (2 Corinthians 5:7)
  • In unity (Ephesians 4:1)
  • In the light (Ephesians 5:8 and 1 John 1:7)
  • In wisdom (Ephesians 5:15 and Colossians 4:5)
  • In peace (Isaiah 57:2)
  • Uprightly (Psalm 15:2)
  • In integrity (Psalm 26:1)
  • In truth (Psalm 26:3 and 3 John 1:4)
  • In the fear of the Lord (Acts 9:31)
  • In newness of life (Romans 6:4)
  • With those who are wise (Proverbs 13:20)
  • Blamelessly (Proverbs 28:18)
  • In all His ways (Deuteronomy 10:12)
  • According to His commandments (2 John 1:6)

That’s quite a workout, but the benefits are totally worth it.

Are you ready for the challenge?

Photo by Dave Goudreau on Unsplash


Monday, May 22, 2023

Learn to Embrace Change


By Andrea Merrell

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV


“I don’t like this,” the woman said to me. “My life used to be so simple. I just want everything to stay the same.”

Change is inevitable. We all resist it from time to time, but it’s the only constant we can count on. People change. Rules change. Situations change, sometimes for the good, sometimes not. But the more we resist—and try to hold on to the past—the harder it becomes to go forward, grow in our faith, and maintain our peace.

This world is in a constant, ever-evolving state of transformation, but God and His Word never change. The Bible says He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). His Word is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119: 89). And when we give our hearts and lives to Him, our name is forever engraved on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16).

Seasons come and seasons go. There is a time and purpose for everything. Don’t fight the changes in your life. Embrace them and trust God for the outcome.

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Monday, May 15, 2023

Are You Trying to be Politically Correct?


By Andrea Merrell

Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

Psalm 119:89 NIV


“You can’t say that word anymore,” the daughter said to her mom. “It’s no longer politically correct. People will get offended.”

Her mom frowned. “Says who?”

I’m with the mom. Who gets to make the rules? The government? Society? Hate groups? I know one thing for sure … it certainly isn’t the Christian community.

I guess you could call me old-school and a bit stubborn because I’m not about to try and blend in with the crowd. Even if I wanted to, the rules change from one day to the next. It would be exhausting—not to mention nearly impossible—to stay up with the most current trend of acceptable terms.

In these days we’re living in, it’s far more important to be scripturally correct. We need to know God’s Word—which never changes—and not be afraid to speak truth whenever we have the opportunity.

This world and all its evil ways will one day be gone. But God’s kingdom and His Word will go on for all eternity. We can either keep trying to please the world and the powers that be or know that we are pleasing God by standing strong in faith on His truth.

Politically correct or scripturally correct? The choice is yours.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


Monday, May 8, 2023

There’s No Such Thing as a Problem-Free Life


By Andrea Merrell

In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties.

But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.

John 16:33 MSG


As I sat quietly one morning, I found myself dwelling on recent circumstances that threatened to take me down. Steal my peace. Rob me of my joy. “It seems it’s always something, Lord,” I complained. “I get over one problem, then here comes another. When do I get a break?”

I’m sure the Lord was smiling as I opened Jesus Calling and read that day’s devotion by Sarah Young:

Do not long for the absence of problems in your life. That is an unrealistic goal since in this world you will have trouble … Begin each day anticipating problems, asking Me to equip you for whatever difficulties you will encounter. The best equipping is My living Presence, My hand that never lets go of yours. Discuss everything with Me. Take a lighthearted view of trouble, seeing it as a challenge that you and I together can handle. ~Jesus

I had to smile too. Busted. Again. Longing for something never promised to me in this fallen world and forgetting that God is always with me, holding my hand and walking me through the fire. Giving me a chance to use my faith, without which it is impossible to please Him. And reminding me that each trial I face produces patience and spiritual growth.

Remember, there’s no such thing as a problem-free life on this earth, but one day it will be our reality for all eternity.

Are you ready for eternity?

Photo by Dmitrii Ko on Unsplash