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The Chosen – A Different Look at the Life of Jesus

This is definitely a must watch for believers!

The Ramblings of a Young Writer

57045367_10219951556525700_1009674565644713984_o Opening credits of The Chosen, the first multi-season show about the life of Jesus, created and directed by Dallas Jenkins

For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed a few posts and videos having to do with a show called The Chosen. Now some of you may be wondering what The Chosen is and why I am so excited and passionate about it. If you have a few minutes and don’t mind a little reading, I’ll tell you.

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Dear Father, How About Now?

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Hi Father, I know we’ve talked about this extensively, but I just wanted to bring it up again because, well, it never leaves my mind.

Yes, my love. I know.

I know you know how I feel. I know you feel my ache. Sometimes, it’s just dull, but sometimes it feels like it does right now, like an ocean swell that never crests and laps onto shore.

What else, my daughter?

I long to just let myself burst and deflate. Is that too much to ask?

It will not satisfy.

I know You’re the only One who satisfies. My flame glows for You alone, and I love it.

But?

But I’m still a puzzle that’s incomplete.

You don’t trust that I have all the pieces in due time?

Of course, I do, but the puzzle is collecting dust. The picture’s a blur. It’s not like I can pretend it’s all together.

What will you have Me do?

I’ve been looking around.

And?

How about this one, who says I’m a jewel destined to be treasured?

He has found his jewel already.

This one says he isn’t looking for something serious, perhaps just for a time?

Time that will be spent in pain more than happiness.

I saw this one and he looks wonderful and we have so much in common and I think it could be so great.

You see what’s possible, I see what is. And it would not be good enough for you.

Okay then, I’ll just have to wait.

Yes.

But I’ve waited so long! I’ve done everything you’ve asked. You’ve watched me wade through the options. You’ve seen me get so attached to nothing. You’ve been with me through the most pain and sat with me at my loneliest. How much more do I need to endure?

If I had let you go with any of the options that crossed your path, you would be drowning in mistakes and sorrow. It may feel like suffering now, but you’ve yet to see the suffering I’ve kept from your heart.

Then how will I know? I can’t trust myself to make these decisions.

You can trust Me.

I know. But I have so many fears and doubts. Maybe I’m better off going without. Maybe I need to learn to be content in this suffering.

I know what is better for you.

Yes, You do. What would I do without You?

I hope you never have to find out.

Me too. Thank you, Father.

You’re welcome, my love.

See you tomorrow?

Tomorrow and forever.


Ladies, have you ever had a conversation like this with God? More like, how many times did you have this conversation? For those of you who are battling that overwhelming swell of loneliness, I understand.

I don’t like to admit to it much, but I acknowledge that that is a human feeling. Loneliness isn’t a sin, but it certainly can lead to it. Have this conversation with The Father instead.

However, despite these feelings, I’ve never had as much joy and contentment in my life as I do now. I look back at my crushes and my almost relationships and I say, “thank you God for knowing better because WHAT WAS I THINKING?!”

I don’t want less than God’s best and that’s not just a saying on a T-shirt. The relationship I want and the relationship I need absolutely cannot be any less than what God wants for me because I don’t see the point.

I’ve had people tell me my standards are too high or I’m not looking enough. They have good intentions, but if you hear that too, don’t listen to them. Let God prepare you and let God prepare him for the right time.

Please do yourself a favor and focus on Jesus, who is always there, who doesn’t fail you, who knows what you need when you don’t know it yourself. Spend those unbearable times with your eyes fixed on His blessings, His provision, and His unique companionship.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

Colossians 1:9-12 (NIV)

The Bridge between Fellow and Friend

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Once there was a Fellow with his Friend. One day, the Fellow said to his Friend, “Hike up this mountain with me, for I’ve been told we will find the purpose of life. Wouldn’t that be the most beautiful sight to see?”

But his Friend shrugged with a frown on his face. “I am not good at climbing mountains. I’m scared of heights and many dangers lie in the wilderness,” he said.

But the Fellow pressed his Friend. “I will journey with you and protect you. Is finding the purpose of life not worth the risk?” And with the Fellow’s encouragement, his Friend finally relented.

So, the Fellow and his Friend journeyed up the mountain and the Fellow did just as he said. He helped his Friend up the steep rocks and kept a lookout for dangerous wild animals. As they kept on, his Friend grew more comfortable with his surroundings and he was glad he came.

After much traveling, the two came to an overpass. Across from the overpass, another mountainside towered over them. It was much grander than the one on which they stood. Hoping this wasn’t the end of their journey, they looked for a way to cross. It didn’t take them long to find but a single rope bridge hanging between each mountainside. With glee, the Fellow started for the bridge, but his Friend became hesitant once again.

“Haven’t I told you I’m afraid of heights? Surely more treacherous dangers lie over on that mountain.”

The Fellow replied, “Is finding the purpose of life not worth the risk?”  But his Friend became obstinate and stood his ground on the side of the mountain where he had grown secure. 

“I do not think a bridge like that would be safe enough to cross. It looks as if it has been here since the beginning of time!”

“Surely, it is trustworthy,” the Fellow pleaded. “Come, I will cross first, and you will see that the bridge is secure.” The Fellow grabbed hold of the rope rails and gingerly made his way across the swinging bridge. When he successfully stepped on solid ground, he turned back to his Friend.

“See? I speak the truth!” But his Friend shook his head.

“You may have made it to the other side unharmed, but how do I know that it will not break underneath my weight and cause me to plummet to my death? No, I cannot go any further. I am safe on this side of the mountain and I will stay here.”

In fright, he ran from the bridge.

The Fellow’s face fell. “As you wish,” he said. “but I will not stay with you. I will follow the path, so that I can find the purpose of life.” With that, the Fellow turned away and disappeared in the woods.

His Friend, however, set up camp on his side and waited for the Fellow to return. But the longer he waited, the more impatient he grew. What if something terrible had happened to the Fellow? He approached the bridge which swayed gently, but fear swelled up in him when he saw the long way down. In fright, he ran from the bridge.

Perhaps, the Fellow was just taking his time. His Friend began to wander around the mountain as he waited for the Fellow. Suddenly, the earth rumbled and began to shake beneath him. The ground split and rocks crumbled, falling down around him. He charged back toward the bridge, hoping he could still flee to the other side before the whole mountain collapsed. If he ran fast enough, he would not fear the bridge anymore.

 But as he cleared the shaking trees and the roaring earth, he gasped, finding that the bridge was no longer there. It had detached from his side of the mountain and he found no other way of escape.

The mountain crumbled to dust, and the Friend’s last thoughts were of his Fellow, who had safely crossed over the bridge.

Ecclesiastes 12

© Leah Jordan Meahl 2019

Fix Their Crown: Adding Value to Others

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“Be the woman who fixes another Queen’s crown without telling the world it was crooked.” -unknown

In this ‘follow me, subscribe to me, look at me’ (guilty!) world, it’s easy to forget to focus on the people you’re reaching out to. But what if we take a moment to stop looking at ourselves and making sure our crown is standing tall, and instead, take a look at the crowns God has given to others.

The above quote is packed with truths about how we should treat people. Everyone has a crown of some sort. Sometimes, life happens, and emotional things cause the crown to fall or become crooked. By you acknowledging that the other has a crown, you are acknowledging that they are precious in the eyes of God, now in the eyes of you, and help them to walk in that. You take them aside and do what you can to make sure that crown is sitting straight and gleaming like the starts in the sky. How do we do this? Let me break it down for you for the moment you need to straighten someone else’s crown.

1. Examine yourself

Before any of the following can be done, you need to peek behind the curtain of your heart. Why do you want to reach out to this person? Is it to help? Is it to gossip? Is it so you can feel good about yourself? You also need to check on your own sins. You’re not better than the person you’re helping and sometimes you need to help yourself before you help someone else. Run yourself through a list before you send that first message.

2. Check-in

When you let someone know you’ve been thinking about them (in a not creepy way), you’ve just added value. You’ve let them know that for a second, someone in the world took a moment to acknowledge you. Not only is that comforting, it also helps you stay connected. Who is going to listen to anything you say if you haven’t tried to contact this person since high school?

3. Encourage

In order to feel valued, one must be given something of value. Something they can use in their life. People like free stuff. Now, I’m not talking about a bunch of gifts. I’m talking about priceless stuff. Being the shoulder to cry on, the sound board to bounce off of, the ears to simply listen. Those actions can sometimes be more encouraging than trying to fix a problem with advice.

“We need to build each other up in Christ and in order to do that, we need to stop focusing on the surface while ignoring the deep stuff.”

4. Sow seeds

Branch out from your typical Christian responses (not that they’re bad) and look for more original ways to bring the love and hope of Jesus. If you read my last post, you’ll understand why. Jesus brings life. If you’re caring for a Christian, don’t be ashamed to ask them how their relationship with God is going. These things aren’t easy to talk about, but maybe they got some things to get off their chest. And as a Christian, you can be there to hear, understand, and not judge them. If they’re not a Christian, be gentle and maybe share about how God has gotten you through tough times. Our job is to shine God’s light not to blind them with it.

5. Respect boundaries and privacy

These moments of edification should happen in private and in appropriate settings. Exercise discernment and caution with who you reach out to and what you talk about. Don’t broadcast other’s problems or make sure everyone can see that you’re being nice in public. Be direct but loving. We need to build each other up in Christ and in order to do that, we need to stop focusing on the surface while ignoring the deep stuff.

” Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12 (NIV)

If you’re wanting to be the one helping with people’s crowns and you’re not sure how it should look or what it should feel like, just look at the fruit of the spirit in Galations 5. Does your interaction demonstrate the Godly attributes it needs to? You might not get the results you want, but it’s never wrong to offer someone something good. It’s never harmful to make someone feel treasured. It’s never wasted to share the love of Jesus.

Strengthen your brothers and sisters. Offer them someone better to look at than just you. Show them love, show them Jesus.

God bless!

-LJM

What You Need to Know About Christianese

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I first heard the term ‘Christianese’ in college. My Christian college. Since then, my eyes have been opened to this whole other language that’s exclusive to us believers. That may sound obvious, I mean, doesn’t every group have their own go-to phrases?

But Christianese has more negativity attached to it and that’s the complete opposite of what we want. Can it be avoided? What do we do about it? Do we need to do anything about it? These are the questions I want answered!

***Disclaimer: I realize I may even have some Christianese sprinkled in this blog. That’s my point.

I’m not going to call out these phrases specifically, but if you’d like some examples of Christianese, just take a listen to the people in your Bible study, your church, and unfortunately, Christian comedians. Take note of the statements you hear repeated almost verbatim by different people. These are the phrases that get satirized by the world and even our own people. And that can’t be a good thing. Who will respect the God we worship if we don’t even respect Him?

As Christians, we want to appeal to those who don’t know for themselves the life-giving power and love of Jesus. We want to encourage and edify others, not sound like worn out bells. We can’t let our comfort in the words and phrases we’ve heard or grown up with inhibit others from taking the gospel seriously.

We’re in a tough place. As soon as we mention Jesus or God or the Bible, we’ve entered into churchy language. That can’t be helped, and those who take offense are those who probably don’t want to hear about it anyway. I feel like that’s the type of Christianese that can’t be avoided. I want to talk about Jesus! I don’t want to preach, but I want to share what Jesus is doing in my heart, and I think there’s a difference.

Now, the other extreme would be to quit talking about God or biblical things altogether to avoid sounding Christiany. That would be compromising your beliefs and your testimony based on cultural opinion. I don’t want to scare you out of saying certain things. Don’t be ashamed! Just be aware.

So, though the lingo is part of the territory, I think we need to be conscious of how we’re delivering it. Are we just reciting the church script or are we speaking from the heart?

The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.

Proverbs 18:4 (NIV)

Let’s take the time to examine our words. Do we actually know what these familiar concepts mean to us? Process the verses, digest the truths, and meditate on how they affect your life. Maybe when you’re faced with an opportunity to share with someone or pray for another, you can do so confidently knowing what you’re talking about.

It’s not about saying something correctly. It’s not about memorizing the jargon to feel like you belong in the group. It’s about understanding what’s going on in your heart and being able to articulate it to others in the most authentic way possible.

Now, don’t clobber me if you feel like I’m attacking people who use these phrases. I do it too! But ever since I noticed it, I became frustrated by it, and I set out to use that awareness to better understand my beliefs and express them in a way that maybe can help people relate more. I hope this information will also enhance your ministry as well.

What are your thoughts? Am I making too big a deal of this? Or is Christianese too sacred to tweak? Let me know in the comments!

-LJM

Isaiah 12:4

The Year of Rejection

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“We all learn lessons in life. Some stick, some don’t. I have always learned more from rejection and failure than from acceptance and success.”

Henry Rollins

2019 has held promise, but that promise has been suspended above me and I haven’t been able to reach it. Instead, I’m standing on a tightrope and rejection keeps giving the rope a shake, threatening to make me fall.

Trying to figure out what to do is pretty much the motto of your twenties and this year has been no exception. I took some risks, held out hope for amazing job opportunities, auditioned for ministry projects, and sent out some stories and manuscripts to several publishers. Can’t get anywhere unless you put yourself out there, right?

For months, I received rejection after rejection. I surprised myself at how well I handled it at first. As a writer, you quickly learn it’s is part of the competitive industry. But when more areas in my life were met with rejection, I found myself starting to stack it against God.

I always pray that God’s will be done instead of mine. I firmly believe in Him opening and closing doors according to His will. But how many doors can you get slammed in your face before you start taking it personally?

I doubted my ability in every sense of the word, and I doubted God. It’s easy to believe He can do all things, but will He do them for me? I started listing all the rejections I’d received and the more I dwelt on them, the more discouraged I became.

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. 
Psalm 37:23,24

It’s easy to let Satan use the rejections and failures in your life to steer you away from trusting God while God’s trying to use them to steer you toward His purpose. We need to remember that IF we surrender our way to the Lord, He will guide our path.

Use the roadblocks, the pitfalls, and the detours to your advantage. Praise God for His direction and constantly remind yourself to trust that He knows the way for you to go. He’s got the job for you, He’s holding the opportunity for you, and He’s saving the place for you to be.

Our trust honors His promise and He is faithful just as we should be. Don’t let the rejection fuel your worries. Don’t let the failures define your worth. It’s a waste of time.

Meanwhile, I’ve got my first book coming out—the first, I hope and pray, of many. (see ‘Books’ page)

God is good.

-LJM

Godly Conduct in a Not-So Godly Job part 2

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In a previous blog, we discussed how to honor God with a career that’s not necessarily Christian. Now, we get into the nitty gritty as we answer the question: What do we do when we work in an environment that doesn’t support Godly principles and people who don’t believe the same way we do?

This is probably a situation that most of us will fall into when following a career path. If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves blending in with a toxic environment and fail to be the light that Jesus wants us to be. So, if you want to know how you can “do everything for the glory of God,” here are some helpful tips.

  • Respect those in higher positions (Romans 13:5)

We may not always agree with how our bosses choose to run the show, but they’re the ones who have been placed in authority for whatever reason. The more respect given, the more respect earned. Remember, the truest testament of respect is when it’s demonstrated without the person present.

  • Watch what you say (Ephesians 4:29)

Nothing hurts you faster than your own words. One statement in poor taste can damage your reputation, your relationships, and your witness. It’s wise to practice self-control when it comes to what you say. Being true to yourself doesn’t mean saying whatever you want. People speak with enough negativity to last several lifetimes. You should be the one to speak with encouragement, compassion, and love.

  • Dial down the complaints (Philippians 2:14)

The verse is self-explanatory. Don’t complain. Don’t argue. People say they don’t want to work in a drama-filled environment, yet it’s amazing how much drama we still find in our workplaces. Sometimes it can be boiled down to those two traits. If you remember Who you’re doing the work for, maybe that will help when the job frustrations eat at you. Praise the Lord for your job—you have it because He blessed you with it.

  • Be honest (Proverbs 12:22)

The Bible says let your yes be yes and your no be no. No gray areas. Let your work be just as honest and your words just as sure. Because one day, someone will come against you and your integrity (or lack thereof) will speak for itself. Be the person your managers and coworkers can trust.

It doesn’t take long to realize the importance of these qualities in someone especially in the workplace. What you need to ask yourself is what kind of employee do you want to be? What kind of Christian do you want to be?

You don’t always need to stand on your desk chair and proclaim Jesus to the office. You don’t need to carry the thickest Bible you have under your arm everywhere you go. You can, however, always ask God to give you opportunities to shine His light, because He will. In the meantime, walk, talk, and work according to His Word and you will give Him the most honor wherever you are.

God bless!

-LJM