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Why I Write about Race as a White Person of Faith- Guest Post by Christine Kindberg

As a white person, I don’t have to talk about race. I mean, I have the privilege of choosing whether to acknowledge and think and talk about it—or to think of it as other people’s problem. As a white person, it’s way easier not to think about race at all. But as a person of faith, I see this as part of living into the life of love God has called us to.

When people ask me to tell them about my novel The Means That Make Us Strangers, I usually say something like, “It’s young adult historical fiction about a white, American girl who grows up in Ethiopia and then moves to South Carolina the first year there are African-American students at the white high school. It’s a story of belonging and identity, and race as part of that.”

I then wait to see how people will react. Usually people’s eyebrows go up a little when I identify the character as white, as if they’re surprised I should mention it—as if it would go without saying. Sometimes people stiffen at the word race, like I’ve said something impolite or mildly offensive. Most often I get this reaction when I’m speaking to another white person, and, unfortunately, it happens so often that I’ve come to expect some variation of it.

Maybe everything that’s been happening in the U.S. over the last few weeks has made it more acceptable for white people to talk about racial justice—I hope so. There are a lot of conversations we need to have, a lot of stories we need to hear.

White Christians especially have, for too long, turned a blind eye to our brothers and sisters who have been unjustly accused, killed, locked up, misunderstood, and shouted down. Worse, we as the white church have participated in harming our brothers and sisters—and have refused to acknowledge that—for years, decades, centuries. We have splintered the church by giving preference to people who look like us rather than people who follow the same God we do.

As a white person of faith, I’m troubled by my complicity in the harm my brothers and sisters have suffered, and so I process and respond as I know how: by writing about it.

Racial discrimination is part of my story, too. I grew up as a racial minority, surrounded by racism. The difference was, I was the privileged minority. I was born and raised in Latin America, where my light-colored hair, pale skin, and blue eyes won me favored treatment. I fit the ideal: I looked the way people pictured an “American,” even before they knew what kind of passport I held. The split-second associations people had when they saw me made them assume things would go well for them if they were nice to me. I got picked for lead roles in elementary school productions not because I could sing (I can’t), but because I looked “angelic.”

Now, as an adult, I live in the suburbs outside Chicago. One time I was driving home around midnight in the car I’d recently purchased. When I saw the police lights in my rear view mirror, I knew I was in trouble—my car didn’t yet have plates, and the temporary license plate taped in my back window was expired. I’d broken the rules and deserved the consequences. The cop shined his flashlight in my face and flashed it around the car a bit, then politely asked for my license and registration. A few minutes later, the cop came back and returned my papers, saying he’d let me off with a warning because I “didn’t look suspicious.”

I was furious. What did the cop know about me that would qualify me as “not suspicious”? He didn’t know I taught Sunday school and got a Christian character award in high school. He based that decision mostly on what I looked like. And I knew the chances were pretty high that if one of my black or brown friends had been driving that same road at that time of night—even without the blatant violation of no license plate—the assumption of innocence wouldn’t have worked in their favor.

We live in a world where people make assumptions based on appearance. And, unfortunately, in U.S. society, there’s also a deep-seated tradition of valuing white lives more than our darker skinned brothers and sisters, a tradition that goes back to black slaves being considered property, when it was written into our Constitution to count slaves as 3/5ths of a person.

This tradition was reinforced in daily life under Jim Crow laws, and it was enforced through lynchings and other acts designed to control black people through fear. It continues today in a judicial system that is six times more likely to arrest an African-American man than a white man, and—after arrest—is more likely to send the African-American man to prison and give him a stiffer sentence than a white man would get for the same crime.

As a Christian, I believe that these things should trouble me. The Bible is pretty clear: God cares about how we treat other people, and he cares about injustice. A lot.

Throughout the Old Testament, God repeatedly told the Israelites to not oppress those who were vulnerable in their society. Usually that meant orphans and widows, but the law also includes protections for minorities. For example, Leviticus 19:34 says, “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” The Old Testament prophets railed against the way God’s people turned their back on him and mistreated and oppressed others.

When Jesus came with his revolutionary love that gave dignity to social outcasts, women, and the poor, his command to “Love one another” (John 13:34), wasn’t limited to the members of God’s family who look and sound like us.

When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost (Acts 2), the church exploded to include Jews who spoke different languages and had radically different backgrounds and life experiences. Some of the first challenges of the early church involved dealing with racial and cultural divisions. It is to such a church that the New Testament says, “We love each other because [God] loved us first. […] Those who love God must also love their fellow believers” (1 John 4:19, 21).

I write about race because, as a person of faith, I see that my brothers and sisters are being treated unfairly. When your family is hurting, you do something. And for me, that means writing fiction that looks at some of the problems around race, not because it’s easy or a trendy topic, but because I think facing this painful topic and talking about it—even if we accidentally say the wrong thing and need to ask forgiveness and try again—is helpful and healing to the family of God.

What else can someone do to help against racism?

  1. Most importantly, listen. Pay attention to black people who are willing to share their experience, whether that’s a friend or neighbor, a TV show, a movie, or books. If you say anything, ask a question. (Just make sure the question isn’t trying to prove or defend anything.)
  2. Educate yourself about history. Equal Justice Initiative has some great online resources to help. They also have a museum and a memorial to help the U.S. face its history of racial violence. Learn facts that can help correct your own thinking and that you can point others to.
  3. Work on yourself. Acknowledging “whiteness” as a subculture that influences how we view the world can be an important step to helping us come to terms with our own complicity in a system that privileges us. Lament and repentance are also important. When your own assumptions about other people come to the surface, notice that and take time to repent. Practice speaking truth in love when people around you are saying things that are untrue and unloving.

ChristineKindberg2

Christine Kindberg is the author of The Means That Make Us Strangers, a YA novel set in 1960s South Carolina. Christine lives in the Chicago suburbs and works as a Spanish-language editor at Tyndale House Publishers. When not reading or writing, she enjoys running, cooking with friends, and watching shows that feature British accents. You can find out more on ChristineKindberg.com, and you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Check out Christine’s novel!

The Means That Make Us Strangers

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What’s Your Dream? – Guest Post by Meghan E White

We all have a desire for better things. A hunger for more. We make plans and we dream dreams. They can range anywhere from vacations, to starting businesses, to owning a home, to getting married and having children. Those are all great, and they matter. But what about the dreams of God?

God has a specific purpose and plan for each of us. He has uniquely gifted us to do His will. We are not here just for our own goals, and we are not here to merely exist. You and I were made for bigger things.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10, NIV

God-sized dreams require one key element, God. There are many things I can accomplish in my own abilities, and never bring God into the equation. The God stuff is bigger than us. Impossible without Him. That’s one way you know it’s from God.

Has God given you a dream? If so, has it happened yet? Or, has your God given dream died? Maybe you have no clue of what dream God has for you. It’s time to ask Him. It’s time to cry out to Him, and seek His will for your life.

There are times when He drops His dream for us right in our lap without us ever asking. This was my experience. I never wanted to be a writer, ever. God planted that seed in me over twenty-four years ago when I wasn’t asking. My husband had a dream to write a children’s book. I assumed my role was to be a good, supportive wife. God had other plans. After many years of avoiding what God wanted me to do, I finally published my first children’s book in 2018.

You are the only person in this whole wide world that can do what God created you to do. He has given you talents and abilities, and ultimately, faith. You know the saying, God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.

Are you afraid? Have you made too many excuses?

I’m too old.

I’m too young.

It’s too late.

I’m not a “good enough” Christian.

God needs your willingness and your weakness.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.            James 1:22, NIV

There are many things that can hinder our God given dreams. Life is hard, and sometimes we are in survival mode. Intense trials come, and the last thing on our minds is to dream the things of God. Crisis can be the fire for our faith that will bring us to our knees, and really force us to seek God like never before.

Comfort can also prevent us from pursuing those God dreams. Stepping out is scary. It’s easier to play it safe. I stayed comfortable for many years. The thought of writing a children’s book was overwhelming. But God was unrelenting in His pursuit of me. I finally surrendered and stepped out. Yes, it was scary. But He provided every single thing I needed to accomplish His will. He’ll do it for you too!

Make a decision today, to do one thing toward your God given dream. Seek Him first, above all, and He will show you the way. Be patient as you wait on the Lord to reveal His plan for you. He’s always after our heart first and foremost.

Love you all,

Meghan


Meghan never dreamed of being a writer, but God had other plans. After many years of avoiding what God called her to, she wrote a Children’s book and now she can’t stop writing. She loves to encourage others through the written word. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or email her at meghanewhiteauthor@gmail.com. Be sure to visit her blog for more encouragement!

Check out her Middle Grade Christian Fiction book here!

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Why Care about Israel? – Guest post by Liat Nesher

Why should you care about Israel? That’s the question I aim to answer today.  First, a little backstory so you know where I’m coming from. 

My name is Liat, I was born in Kfar Saba, Israel into a Messianic Jewish family. 

Do you think your childhood was kind of crazy? Maybe think again lol  

I was born in Kfar Saba, Israel and lived all across Israel. There was the scorching dry desert of the Negev where we spent our days scrambling on top of donkeys & camels, meeting local Bedouins and sitting in front of whirring fans – attempting to escape the blistering heat.

We can’t of course forget about Northern Israel with its  trees drooping with ripe fruit and catching fish with an old water bottle in the Sea of Galilee (a local trick).   

Most memorable however would of course be Jerusalem. 

Jerusalem. A perfect mixture of ancient and modern. Of celebrations and of struggle.My memories of growing up on the outskirts of Jerusalem range from mountain top moments to crushing disappointments.

Photos above: Orthodox, Jewish Harp player at Jaffa Gate: original photography

A simple day of running errands near the Old City would mean hearing beautiful violin music waft through the air from street performers & listening to a harp player sitting near Jaffa gate. 

Arab merchants, on the other hand, were attempting to coax customers into their store with promises of coffee and tea. “My friend! Join us!” They said with heavy accents and hopeful smiles.

I of course, stop along the way to chat with strangers (there is really no such thing in Israel, we are more like one big family)  and taking in all the incredible sights, sounds and scents from the market nearby.

I love walking down the streets of Jerusalem cherishing the sense of life, beauty & belonging. 

I don’t want to deceive you however, life in Israel is by no means rainbows and butterflies. It is often a daily struggle of intense stress, chaos and fight for survival.  

With the cost of living so extremely high and salaries so low it’s typical for families to be in debt struggling to make ends meet and cover basic expenses such as rent & groceries. At times, that’s the least of our worries.

It was just a regular day after school. My brother grudgingly agreed to come pick me up instead of me having to take the hour 1/2 bus ride home. It would eat up some of his time but save me from getting bus sick as I often did on the windy, narrow roads. 

I climbed into the car and peered out my window mindlessly, my thoughts consumed with whatever middle school girls think about. Then suddenly I heard it. “BOOM.” I jumped. It resounded throughout the city.

“What was that?” I asked breathlessly. Confusion etched into my brother’s face. “Did something fall on our roof?” He asked dubiously. I glanced up at the unharmed interior of the car and shook my head.

We cautiously rolled forward and continued on our way. Ambulances & police  began flying by us racing towards my bus station. My brother fumbled with the radio. “A bomb was planted on bus by Palestinian terrorist…. critical  condition… first responders on scene…”

It stammered in and out. 

Later it was confirmed. Another terrorist attack at the central station in Jerusalem, right where I would have been standing. Several killed, dozens badly injured. 

This tragedy happened several years ago but there have been hundreds more like it since. 

Just a few days ago a young Israeli soldier was killed by Arab youth throwing rocks at him. He was his parents only son. My heart breaks a little every time more news rolls in of another death, another attack, more pain, more struggle. 

WATCH & SHARE SHORT FILM THE HEARTBEAT OF ISRAEL

It can be hard to grasp the complexity of Israel, more importantly God’s heart for Israel and the Jewish people when being so far removed. It can seem like Israel is so far away and it can be difficult to discern what is even the truth behind current events since mainstream media portrays a very skewed reality.

Every single believer should care about Israel and the Jewish people. Not only care about it but be willing to lay down their lives if necessary. That’s a pretty bold statement but it’s exactly what we’re called to do by following Yeshua’s example. 

Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)

As believers we need to recognise that the Jewish people are God’s chosen people. When Yeshua came to earth scripture says He came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel! 

“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His prized possession, above all peoples on the face of the earth.”

(Deuteronomy 7:6)

Why are we chosen? Are we chosen because we’re better than everyone else? Stronger, smarter, holier? I don’t think so.

“The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.” (Deuteronomy 7:7)

Israel is by no means perfect. We see throughout the bible their rebellion, sin and failure. Just like us, they need God’s mercy, forgiveness and redemption. 

In the Old Testament (Torah) we see horrific acts of child sacrifice, sexual immorality, violence, corruption… the list goes on. 

I’m grieved to say that In modern day Israel, there are still ungodly practices that go on:  abortions, prostitution, homosexuality, etc.

Believe me when I say that Israel was not chosen because of their lack of sin, exactly how it’s not our actions that justify us before God but our faith in Yeshua. 

photo above: gay pride parade Tel Aviv 

“I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.” (Romans 11:1-2)

The truth is that God will never forsake His people Israel, despite our sin and flaws He will always choose Israel to be His special treasure above all the earth. 

There is a theology circulating around some churches that states “Israel messed up too many times with their sin, rejected the Messiah (Jesus/Yeshua) therefore God abandoned them and has replaced Israel with us (Christians.)

This could. not. be. further. from. the. truth!

We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are all in desperate need of His forgiveness and mercy. 

God has not, and never will replace Israel. What we has done however is open up the way so that whoever wants to follow Him has the opportunity to do so, regardless of their ethnic background. 

So what about the nations? Where does that leave those who are not Jewish? 

The original question was not “how can I be Jewish and believe in Jesus?”

The original question was “How can a non-Jewish person believe & follow a Jewish Messiah?!” 

This was such a foreign thought in biblical times yet God clearly provides us with an answer. 

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Yeshua the Messiah.” (Galatians 3:28)

  1. We are one in the Messiah.

Through Yeshua we are one united people. There is no separate standard or favouritism. The goal if you’re a Gentile is not to ‘become as Jewish as possible.’ Like-wise the goal for a Jewish believer is not to ‘abandon all Jewishness, traditions & culture to prove your salvation.’ 

I’ve seen both occur and it’s simply not the narrow way that leads to life that God instructed us to follow! 

2. If you love me keep my commandments. 

The entire focus of our faith is love. When a man in the New Testament asked Yeshua what was the most important commandment in the Torah He said “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment…” Matthew 22:37

How do we show our love towards God? Yes of course by spending time with Him, but equally as important is obeying Him. Living our life in a way that is pleasing to Him. We can’t claim to love God and then blatantly disobey His commandments.

 Photo above: Jewish girl praying at Kotel (Western Wall, Jerusalem)

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15

What commandments are you talking about? You might be asking? 

I want to make it clear I’m not promoting legalism or rabbinic man-made laws. In fact Yeshua was vehemently opposed to that kind of religion! 

However at the same time Yeshua kept and encouraged us as His followers to keep the Torah.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” (Matthew 5:17)

A few examples would be ‘the Sabbath: one of the Ten Commandments, Kosher Dietary Laws & the biblical appointed times (holidays such as: Passover, Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles, Shavuot/Pentecost, Purim etc) 

Click to check out these amazing resources to learn more about the Torah & biblical holidays.

If you’re completely new to all of this it can be a bit overwhelming. The good news is that God isn’t in a rush! Take your time to prayerfully seek Him in embracing His will for your life. Gaining an understanding of the role we can play as believers in regards to Israel and the Jewish people gives us so much more purpose, clarity and passion behind our faith. 

Keeping the Torah & God’s biblical holidays are not burdensome rituals. They hold so much meaning & richness that enhance our faith. 

So why should you care about Israel? 

Because God cares about Israel. 

“If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.” (Psalm 137:5)

“For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His home: saying, “This is my resting place for ever and ever…” (Psalms 132:13-14)

As a believer you have an active role to play in sharing God’s heart for Israel & the Jewish people. 

God promises that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed.(Genesis 12:3)

Thank you for your prayers & support towards Israel and for helping us bring the Word of the Lord out of Zion to the nations! 

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 Thank you so much to all my wonderful readers who follow this blog and support the work we are doing here in the Land of Israel!

Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to get on my mailing list and receive weekly newsletters full of encouragement and news from Israel. 

If you would like to support this blog & the ministry ‘Media with a Message’ that works to reach the younger generation through media with a Messianic perspective then you can make a donation HERE.

Sign up for our online Hebrew Course ‘The Aleph Course!’ 

Learn to read the bible in it’s original language! Go through easy to follow along video lessons + printable workbook at your own pace. 

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NEW RELEASE!  Butterfly Hebrew + English Scripture Cards

These unique, high quality photo cards have English & Hebrew scriptures on the front, leaving room inside for a personalised message, makes a wonderful gift for family and friends! 

Each card displays an original photograph of butterflies & flowers in Israel.

10% of all proceeds are sown into trustworthy ministries both in Israel & abroad. 

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For more of Liat’s content visit her website here.

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The Choice

You didn’t choose to be here,

To come into the world screaming,

To be exposed to the elements seen and unseen.

Being in constant lack, and constant strife,

Avoiding the predators and the dangers while

Also trying to pick yourself up from the pit you’ve fallen into

Again.

No one would willingly choose this.

But He chose.

He chose to be here,

To come into the world screaming,

As a baby, not just as a man,

To be exposed to the elements seen and unseen,

Such as a king searching with the desire to execute,

Being in constant lack, and constant strife,

With no roof over His head or bed of His own,

Marching into danger as all the predators watched,

Avoiding the pit, but climbing the mountain

Again.

If you did have the choice,

You wouldn’t choose the pain,

You wouldn’t choose to be left by your friends,

You wouldn’t choose betrayal,

You wouldn’t choose to die young,

Or by the worst death,

But He chose.

You can choose what’s next…

Ephesians 1 
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I would have been on the wrong side of the Ark…

It’s true. From the outside of the famed story of Noah’s Ark, it’s easy to assume I’d be faithful enough to believe Noah and join his family in safety. But one day, I paused and reflected upon my skeptical nature.

I’m a stubborn person. I wouldn’t classify myself as a “Thinker” or one who needs to have every fact and statistic to understand something, but I’m bull-headed in the sense that it’s difficult to change my mind.

If I were living in Noah’s day, as the person I know myself to be, here’s how I think it would go.

I would believe that The Designer existed. Looking around the world, I would imagine that only someone great could create such beauty and life. I would also revere my ancestors, Adam and Eve, whom I was told gave birth to everyone around me. I would believe that the earth is vast and unexplainable.

And as for my purpose, I would believe that I was made to simply enjoy where I was placed. Everyone I knew set out to enjoy themselves, why shouldn’t I? I’d work for my food and relax with my friends. Who cared about what I did so long as I enjoyed myself?

Until one day, I’d hear from my friends about Noah. Noah was one of the oldest patriarchs of the land. He kept to himself and his family. He claimed to walk with The Designer. No one believed him because no one else had walked with The Designer.

When Noah wasn’t shouting doom and gloom at the people, he was building what he called an Ark. Out of curiosity, I would probably check it out. An impressive feat of engineering, I would think.

Perhaps when Noah was taking a break, wiping the sweat off his brow or getting a drink, I would strike up a conversation with him.

“Why are you spending these years building this? What do you intend to do once it’s finished?” I would ask.

“It’s for those Elohim intends to save,” he’d reply. Elohim, The Designer.

“Save from what?”

“From the water that will fall from the sky and kill every living thing.”

“Water doesn’t fall from the sky,” I’d argue. “How do you know it will come from the sky?”

“Elohim says so.”

No matter what I’d ask, Noah’s answer would be the same. Because Elohim said so. How could I deny it if The Designer says so? But I would deny it. I’d never seen water from the sky. I’d never heard The Designer’s voice. If everything were to be destroyed by this water, shouldn’t The Designer tell more people?

So, I’d watch as the Ark continued to form. Years would go by. Still no sky water. And though all his talk about the death of all living things would sound depressing, I would be fascinated by his words and how he acted different from everyone I knew. So, I would go back and talk to him.

Before I would leave for the day, Noah would ask me, “Will you join me on my Ark? If you believe, you can be saved too.”

But I would laugh and humor him saying, “We’ll see, Noah.”  

Even when I would notice the throng of animals heading toward his Ark, I would manage to reason with it. Noah was storing up food, of course it would attract animals. And I would laugh with my friends as they joked about taking care of those loud, stinky creatures.  

Armed with questions and rebuttals, I’d visit Noah and his family. His wife would tell me about the new animals coming in and his son’s wives would talk to me while the men were working.

Noah would come and say to me, “The Ark is almost finished. Will you join me and my family?”

Stirred by his kindness, I would hesitate. But then I would sigh and shake my head.

“It just sounds too far out for The Designer to destroy what He created. And with water from the sky no less! It’s not logical, and you have no guarantee that it’s going to happen. I don’t want to say you’ve wasted your time, but I would just need to see it for myself.”

Noah would lower his head in disappointment, which would make me feel guilty, and he would walk away.

I’ll apologize tomorrow, I would think. But in returning the next day, I would find no one on Noah’s property. And the massive door of the Ark would be closed. I would hear the animals making their usual noises inside. I’d call to Noah from the ground, but no one would answer from the massive structure.

For seven days I’d return to see if Noah and his family had given up and come out of the Ark, but they hadn’t. This was the craziest they ever looked, and my friends made even more fun of them. But I wanted to reason with them. I wanted to talk with Noah. I wanted to make him understand how foolish they looked. They were even making The Designer look foolish.

And the day everything would change was the day I would approach the closed Ark and step in a puddle. My heart rate increasing, I would look around to see water trickling up from the ground. My feet would squish in the mud around me. As I would get away from the water, I would feel that first drop. Like a cool pin prick on my shoulder. I’d touch the damp spot on my shirt and look up.

Sky water.

As more drops hit my face, I’d run up to the Ark and scream, “I’ve seen now!” hoping someone would hear me and take pity on me. But Noah had already given me the chance. Chance after chance. Just like I thought he’d wasted his days, I would realize in an instant that I’d wasted mine.

And as the water would creep up my ankles, I’d cry, knowing my comfort and enjoyment was about to come to an end.


It’s good to question the things we believe in, but there comes a time when our stubbornness and our desire to understand everything needs to take a back seat.

In the end, the Bible says it will be like the days of Noah. People have and will continue to stake eternity on needing proof it exists. But it only takes one moment of faith to change everything.  

I truly believe that if I were around in Noah’s day, I would have drowned, because of how I think, because I’m slow to accept things unless you give me a good case. I’m hoping that realizing this will help me in my own walk towards truth—towards The Designer.

Genesis 6 + 7

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Three Days without Jesus

"...because just as Jonah was in the stomach of the sea creature for three days and three nights,[b] so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights."  -Matthew 12:40

Today, I started thinking of that first day. And the second day. And the third day. The disciples (excluding John and Mary M.) had fled; they weren’t there for the crucifixion. Maybe they watched the trial from afar. Maybe they heard the chants “Crucify Him!” in the distance.

No matter where they were, I’m sure they felt the ground shake when the earth split. Did they think it was a coincidence?

But when it was all said and done “finished,” I wonder what it was like? When the disciples found their way back to each other for the first time, did they collapse into each other’s arms and cry over the massive hole in their hearts?

Were they huddled together in silent dismay? Did they break out into arguments over what the Pharisees did and why Jesus let it happen? No doubt, they must have been searching through the fog of grief trying to grasp all that He’d said to them beforehand.

Yes, He had told them what would happen, but the Bible says they couldn’t comprehend it. Perhaps, they never heard it until He allowed them to remember at the proper time?

Did they question all that they’d experienced with Him? The man who called Lazarus out of the tomb was now in a tomb Himself. Was He not as powerful as they thought? Had everything they’d seen been a hoax?

I can imagine them tossing in their sleep, grasping at their final moments with Him. Maybe they couldn’t shake the thoughts about the pain He endured and guilt knowing they could have been with Him but weren’t. After all He’d done for them.

Maybe they woke up the second and third day and looked for Him, but then remembered the terrible ache of knowing He wasn’t there.

In those three days, who took the lead? Who fell silent? Who was the comforter? Who grew depressed and angry? Who was starting to make a plan?

And did one of them, even in the back of his mind, consider the possibility of what was to come that joyful morning?

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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?

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)
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The Bridge between Fellow and Friend

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

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Fix Their Crown: Adding Value to Others

“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

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What You Need to Know About Christianese

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

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The Year of Rejection

“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

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Godly Conduct in a Not-So Godly Job part 2

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

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To You Who is Close to My Heart and Who Suffers from a Mental Illness…

I want you to know that I don’t regret walking alongside you.

I want you to know that though I’ve never cried as much over someone, I will continue to cry with you for as long as you need.

I want you to know that I am on my hands and knees praying for you.

I want you to know that I will never give up on you.

I want you to know that I don’t get it. I may never will.

I want you to know that sometimes, I don’t say the right things or the things you need to hear.

I want you to know that I dream of you living the abundant life you never thought possible.

I want you to know that I get mad at you sometimes because of this. I hope you’ll accept this as a human reaction.

I want you to know that I’m proud of you. Keep going.

I want you to know that this evil thing that plagues you has never once made me love you less.

I want you to know that Jesus is with you, even on the days you feel absolutely nothing.

And finally, I want you to know that I’m not going anywhere.

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Can You Honor God in a Job that’s Not Christian?

If you’re a Christian twenty-something-year-old, you’ve probably prayed more than once for God to lead you to the right job, and you just hope that that job incorporates something you like doing with the security of being able to pay your bills. However, sometimes life doesn’t work out like that right away and you take anything just to keep you from being homeless.

*BACKTRACK: don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying if you’re in that boat that God hasn’t answered your prayers. It just means that you’re in a different step of the answered prayer.

Anyway, that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to express to you the importance of being able to honor God wherever He places you whether it’s a transition job, a job you hate, a job that’s not ‘Christian,’ or a dream job.

When I say job that’s not ‘Christian,’ I’m referring to a career that’s not necessarily in the ministry like a church, a Christian publication, a mission field, etc. If you don’t have that type of job, that’s okay, you can still be an instrument for God where your passions lie.

If you’re like me, you may be working a side-hustle that allows you to put your efforts into your passions like writing, acting, or music. In that line of work, God has taught me that I can make an impact doing the most ordinary things.

I believe that working in a way that’s pleasing to God is much more a head and heart deal than it is the physical tasks you’re doing. Let me explain.

First of all, you need to ask yourself if you even want to honor God in your career or workplace? If you don’t feel the need, then you will probably act so accordingly. No worries, I’ll let you talk to God about that yourself. BUT if you do want to take the steps, here are some things to consider.

Seeking His will. His will is a very large umbrella that covers most of our lives. Even Jesus Himself surrendered to what God wanted rather than His own desire in the moment of His crucifixion. It’s also part of how Jesus taught us to pray. “Thy will be done.” If we truly want to do what God wants us to do, we will continue to submit to God’s purposes even if they don’t always line up with what we want.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him that He will do it.” Psalm 37:4,5

You may be wondering…how do I know that what I’m doing is in God’s will? That’s a whole other blog, but the short answer is this: you don’t. At least, not 100%. But it goes back to what God has given you from the start: talents, knowledge, passions, experience. If this is something you’ve already committed to prayer, I believe God will make it known to you in some way. He did for me.

Going back to His will, two foundations you’ll need are wisdom and trust. All you need to do is continually pray for wisdom (James 1:5). Trust can be a more complicated issue. Proverbs makes it simple though. Say it with me now…

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5,6

The key word I want you to zoom in on is ‘all.’ Trust requires all your heart and in all aspects of life. But the good news is, if you both are going toward the same goal, He goes before you so that all you need to do is just keep swimming. That’s why you can trust Him.

I’ve only scratched the surface of this topic, so be on the lookout for a part 2 where I dive deeper into Godly conduct in a less than Godly career.

How do you feel about God in your line of work? Take some time to think about how God has woven your life to get you to this moment.

God bless!

-LJM

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Summer Activities to Keep Your Faith Alive

School’s out, sun’s out, and we’re outside to enjoy it! Whether you just graduated, took the summer off, or been out of school for a while, you’re in for some kind of routine change these next few months.

It’s easy to get lost in the slew of sunshiny activities, new schedules, vacation days, and more, but one thing you don’t want to lose is your time with Jesus. Here are some activities to help enjoy summer and keep your time with God a priority.

  • Outdoor Devotions

If you have a regular devotion time, you probably already started doing them in the comfort of the morning sun. I love being able to enjoy the birds and the breeze and the calm of the morning while reading my Bible and devotionals. Sit on your porch, balcony, or bring a blanket out to the lawn. Have a cup of coffee or smoothie to combine with the perfect morning pick-me-up.

  • Painting

I love to play around with painting. My favorite place to paint is on the porch with a sermon or some worship music playing in the background. It helps me focus, feeds my spirit, and exercises my creative juices. I paint rocks, shells, and canvases. Some have verses or images pressing on my heart. Even if painting isn’t your thing, you can do something else like wood carving, knitting, puzzles, sketching, while allowing God to minister to your soul through teaching or music.

  • Hiking

Nothing brings the heart closer to God than nature in my opinion. Its unmistakable beauty can be such a clear representation of God’s fingerprint. Bring a friend or a group and hold a Bible study at a picturesque location. Don’t get too distracted by the scenery—the point is to be surrounded by God’s beauty as you fellowship and dig into His Word.

  • Camping

The summer is the perfect time for a retreat. Longer than a hike, camping takes you out of the luxuries of the world and brings you back to the basics. Camping can be a good time to escape from every day distractions so that you can pray under the stars or spend time in the Bible by the fire. If you can’t go far, you can take a mini-retreat via tent in the backyard.

  • Night of Worship

Sticking with the camping theme, a simple worship and fellowship around a small bonfire can be so refreshing. It’s a time to get intimate with people, with yourself, and with God. Time to share feelings, encourage others, and simply worship. I guarantee you and your friends or family will want to have another one soon.

  • Be Thankful

Nowadays, summers fly by, so make sure you’re relishing this one with thanksgiving. Before we know it, the nights will turn cold and coats and boots will be coming out of storage. Be thankful for the sun, the rain, and the time with family and friends. Be aware of new life, new blessings, and the change that summer sweeps over your life.

No matter how much you do this summer: vacation time, friend time, family time, work time, beach time…it will never be as fulfilling as Jesus time. Shine some light on the soul this summer. Have fun, make memories, and grow into the next season of life!

God bless!

LJM

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When You Feel Stuck

Do you remember jumping on the trampoline when you were a kid? You couldn’t wait to get your shoes off and throw yourself on the taught black netting. You’d squat down and launch into the air, land and propel even higher the second and third time.

The thrill was that feeling in the pit of your stomach. You know the one. When you’re at the peak of your jump with your stomach lifted into your ribcage and your hair floating and outstretched like your arms. It was the moment of flight just before you returned to the springy mesh for another go.

Do you ever feel like that in life? I know I have, especially this past year. I felt like I had jumped higher than I’d ever jumped before, reaching for a pivotal moment in my life, and then…I just stayed there. I hovered with my intestines wrapped around my lungs and my feet flailing in the air, anticipating the descent, but never getting permission to land.

I was stuck. Stuck because I had done all I could and I just had to wait for something to happen. Stuck because this could change everything. My life felt halted even though time did not. I kept thinking, “if I only knew, if I could only speed things along, I could get on with my life.”

But it was a season. A necessary one even though I still don’t know all the reasons why it was necessary. If you’re still in the air, let me give you some advice while you’re up there.

  • Acknowledge it

It’s okay to know that this is how you feel and it’s uncomfortable. But it’s also okay not to know what’s going on. If you trust that God knows what He’s doing, you know that this unpleasantness is not just to make you squirm.

  • Pray

I’ve never felt more dependent on God than I have this year. I could do nothing but make little attempts at controlling the situation, but ultimately, God had the final word. It could be a word you like and it could be a word you don’t, but know that it’s coming and the best thing you can do is pray God will help you wait for it and that He will help you prepare for the result.

  • Don’t make impulsive decisions

When I get impatient, I start making rash decisions and paying for them later. As soon as you start to take matters into your own hands thinking you’re helping God along rather than the other way around, I guarantee you’ll regret it. They either hurt or do absolutely nothing to help the situation.

  • Remember it’s temporary

I read something on Twitter that said, “all suffering has an expiration date.” I relate that to trials of any kind whether it be temptations, suffering, overcoming people and places, even feelings. All of it lasts for a season, even if it’s a long season. The best way to help the time go by painlessly is to let God do His thing, and to do less kicking and screaming and more surrendering. A drowning victim has a better chance of surviving when they stop fighting their rescuer and just simply let themselves get dragged to shore.

  • Pray

Did I already say this? It’s worth repeating. Jesus wants to walk alongside us, especially through our moments of extra struggle. If we just grit our teeth and plow through on our own, we could miss out on valuable growth in our relationship with the Most High, who wants nothing more than our heart. Talk to God as much as you need and ask Him what He’s trying to say during this time. He’ll answer the way your heart needs to hear it.

I thought I knew what it would look like to finally come down from being suspended in the air. I thought I would drop and hit the ground running full speed ahead. Whereas that might be true for some, it wasn’t for me. Instead, God eased me down so slowly, I didn’t even know He was doing it.

He lowered me back to earth, rested my feet on the ground, and now as if I’m a child, He’s shuffling me forward one step at a time.

Remember what goes up, must come down eventually, and it will be at the pace you need with the next step laid out in front of you.

Your time of being unstuck is coming. But whether you’re stuck or unstuck, trust in the Lord with all your heart, and just keep going.

God bless!

-LJM

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like spring whose waters never fail.

Isaiah 58:11
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When More Than Your House Needs Spring Cleaning

It’s that time of year when the sun shines and suddenly you’re aware of every piece of dusty furniture, smudged glass, and clogged gutter and you dedicate every spare moment taking part in the reluctant but necessary ceremony of spring cleaning.

Don’t worry! I’m not going to give you literal housecleaning tips. You’re going to have to jazz that up your own way. However, I would like to encourage you to take the duster around your heart in case any cobwebs have started to build up. Here are some ways to get started.

  • Look for the dirt

Are there choices or habits that just aren’t working for you? Do you find yourself in a rut rather than a routine? Now’s the time to stop in your tracks, look those bad boys in the eyes, and say “We’re gonna fight.” It’s time to be active not passive. Take the time to make a list of the things in your life that are missing, not working, or just plain harmful. Recognize them and pray about them. They are issues for a reason, and God is the only one who can give you enough strength to wrestle with them.

  • Sort through the mess

Just like when we decide to sort through closets, attics, or storage space, we must sort through the areas that affect us spiritually, mentally, and physically.  What are our priorities? How do we manage our time? What do we spend our money on? How are relationships? Keep whatever brings a smile to your face and discard the unnecessary in your life.

  • Prepare for your plan of attack

Now that you’ve asked the hard questions, it’s time to fast and pray about what God has revealed to you. Fasting depends heavily on prayer for strength, discipline, patience, and whatever you’re wanting to accomplish through this cleanse.  It’s humbling, it’s difficult, it’s refreshing, and it’s beneficial in many ways. However you decide to fast (food, media, TV), lean on the grace of God to help you grow closer to Him. He may reveal ways to help with this process. He may give you the added strength to be done with somethings that’s hindering your growth. Or He may spiritually reset your mind.

  •  Clear the clutter

This is when you officially act. I look at clutter as anything that has crowded your life in a negative way and has kept you from Jesus. Whatever that may be, come up with a plan to deal with them. Take it one day at a time and know that you’re not going to step into perfection, but you can step into progress.

Spring cleaning can be grueling, but the whole reason we do it is because we want to be surrounded by the things that make us feel good and healthy and proud. Do this for your soul and for your mental health. Your spirit will thank you.

If you take the time to go through these steps, you’ll be ready to walk lighter and smile brighter, feeling renewed, rejuvenated, and redeemed.

Happy cleaning!

-LJM

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The Cry of Jerusalem

*On the anniversary of Israel becoming a nation (May 14th, 1948)*

My limbs are broken, cut through the bloody bone,

The sky above my only ray of hope,

It’s where You left and now I watch and wait,

My eyes spill tears yet disappear within

My skin. I’m old and haggard just let me die,

My lungs held on but filled with hopeless sighs,

My voice deemed not my own is lost

I moan and wail, but I am never heard.

Your voice rings rich low piercing through the clouds,

I hear your song stream far across the sky,

And feel your smile stretch over valleys wide

You’re here, You’ve come for me, I cry at last,

Your arms outstretched wrap me from east to west,

I’m full of you forever finally home.

Copyright © Leah Jordan Meahl

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America Black and Blue

Black lives matter. Police. Protests. Mourning. 

These words flood my Facebook feed, and you may be like me and think, “If I see one more post about this stuff…”

All I have to say is, today is the perfect day to practice what Jesus preached.

It goes without saying that recent events have been nothing but heart breaking. The tragedies we’ve witnessed within the last couple weeks have no reason for happening except for the devil showing his face.

But we should not react like the world. Jesus’s heart is stirred just like you and I, but with wayyyy more righteous anger. However, His response should be ours. Life and all its turmoil, evil and all its assailants have given us Christians an opportunity to do the unthinkable.

Pray for the officers.

Pray for the protesters.

Pray for the victims and their families.

Innocent or not, all need God equally.

“But to those of you who will listen, I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you.” 

– Luke 6:27-28

God loves them as much as He loves us. God sent Jesus to die for the man we call evil and the man we call innocent. We aren’t the judge, He is.

God sent Jesus to die for the man we call evil and the man we call innocent. We aren’t the judge, He is.

If you take away anything from this, please recognize who the real enemy is. Satan, the Devil, the Adversary, whatever you want to call him, is the mastermind of it all, and he is simply giving us a taste of his capability.

Praying is not simply giving our condolences to God for the souls who have brutally lost their lives. But by praying, we are combating Satan’s demons with God’s warrior angels. We are putting God in control of the problems at hand. Most importantly, we are allowing God to not only impact the lives of others, but also our lives as well.

Fortunately, in the midst of all this devastation, we can rest in the hope that Jesus has already overcome the world and that He will win in the end.

John 16:33, Romans 12:14, Matthew 5:44

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