All posts by Paul Merrill

About Paul Merrill

Observing the shiny bits of life since I can remember.

The still small voice

How can we hear the still small voice of God if we’re not giving Him the space to speak to us?

I’m asking myself – and you.

When I’m driving to work, I listen to books on CD that I check out from a library that’s conveniently along the way. I tend to listen to books that are fiction. My reasoning is that since I’m thinking all day long, so I need a break from analytical thinking by putting my mind in neutral.

But if I’m filling that neutral mind with a story, I don’t have space to listen to God.

finger touching a car stereo's power buttonSo starting now, I’ll be switching off the car stereo for at least one day a week. It’s a start.

And I’ll begin my drive by asking God to speak to me while I drive.

Will you join me in this challenge?

Who knows – we may end up by being nicer drivers too!

Paul Merrill writes here every first Friday.

Waiting again

Heather and I are at a place of waiting again. We are trusting God for what’s next in several areas of our lives.

It’s not easy, nor is there lots of fun in that aspect of our journey.

I’m reminded of family car journeys, when the kids ask, “Are we there yet?”

The kids are wanting the destination to be here and now, but the parents know it’s physically impossible to get to the Pennsylvania border any faster than traveling at the speed limit will allow.

So the parents try to distract the kids in every way they can think of. Sometimes it works. Sometimes not.

When all else fails, they stop for ice cream.

This analogy breaks down in places. God doesn’t distract us from thinking about how we want to get to our destination now. And we don’t know which border our car is heading toward.

But ice cream fits. God has given us some tasty moments to savor along our way. We’ve been able to enjoy many beautiful sights.

And our car is working fine.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

Because we don’t know what’s next, that’s our opportunity to depend on God. We would appreciate your prayers as we wait to get to the border.

Paul Merrill writes here every first Friday.

Burning hearts

(First published March 6, 2015.)

It was just three days after Jesus had been killed. Two of his followers went for a walk to be with other followers. They were passionately discussing all the earth-shaking events surrounding the loss of their friend and leader. (This story is in Luke 24.)

Suddenly, a guy started walking along with them. He didn’t seem to know what all the fuss was about. And they didn’t recognize him, so they explained the events surrounding Jesus’ death.

They talked together for a long time. It’s comforting to me that though they didn’t know the Scriptures about what was going to happen to Jesus, He was patient enough to explain it to them. He talked in a way they understood. Yet he did not use soft words to ease them into the truth – as usual, he talked without any candy coating: “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures.”

I love that. They had a hard time believing the Scriptures! I don’t always believe. I need Jesus to explain things to me.

I’m not sure why God kept Jesus’ identity from them for a while. Maybe it’s a picture of how God sometimes reveals Himself to us slowly. We want to see all of God now, but God knows that’s not what we need.

I love how they finally recognized who Jesus is when He broke bread. Eating together was such an important part of their relationship that they knew how He broke bread. That’s a good reminder to me that I need to spend a lot more time with friends breaking bread together. And talking.

“Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” I love that burn.


Paul Merrill writes here every first Friday.

You are a library

shelves in Bemis Public Library, Littleton, ColoradoYou are a library – your life is a series of books.

Each season of your life is a book. Each day and each moment are written in those books. Some people enter your life and leave. So they are part of some chapters and some books. Some people stay and are part of a lot of your books.

We don’t know the words of every book. When we were born, we couldn’t read yet, so the words from that book were only known to our mothers and maybe our fathers. As we grow older, our reading ability diminishes and we may no longer be able to read the words.

God loves to tour our library and read those books out loud if we will let Him. He wrote them with us and for us.

Sometimes He helps us understand what a book means. Other times He might say that we’re not ready to understand what another book means.

I take great comfort in knowing that He knows every single word of every one of my books. Not only did He write my books alongside me, He also designed the cover and the look of each page. (Every one of my books has a different design.)

Psalm 139:13: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

(Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.)

I’m not God

hand writing the phrase, "I'm not God."“Forget” is a word that seems to come up in my thinking over and over.

One of the things I keep forgetting is that I’m not God.

Yes, I know that I do not have the power to create the universe from nothing. I know that I do not know the answers to problems that are vexing our world and my neighbor.

But I forget when it comes to the day-to-day ins and outs of life.

“If they would just do it differently, things would be better.” I see an unresolved situation that I think I know a fix for and spend a lot of negative mental energy wishing I could influence a change.

Sometimes it’s a good thing to push back. Most of the time, it’s not.

I would do better to bring my situation to God and ask Him to work. Then I’ll learn patience. My trust muscles will get stronger.

Psalm 46:10-11…

“Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.”

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress.

God’s plan will happen.

(Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.)