5 Steps to Spiritual Wellness

As I was perusing my Physical Fitness textbook, I marveled at the insights it gave into what they call “wellness.” In this case, the text explained how society can keep themselves well and healthy. Among sleep, stress management and your typical diet and exercise, it also mentioned a spiritual factor. The more I read the more I saw the parallels between being physically healthy and spiritually. Upon reflecting on what it takes to be spiritually well I drew several conclusions and many will sound familiar.

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1. Start Your Day Off Right

You know that refreshed feeling you get when you start your morning with a light jog or choose to have a protein shake for breakfast instead of a stack of pancakes? Energy just flows through you for the rest of the day and it makes you feel more positive and even proud of yourself. Talking to God in the morning has a similar effect. As soon as my feet touch the floor in the morning I make sure to wish my Savior a “Good morning.” After all, He is the reason I have another morning! Thanking God for another day not only focuses your priorities on God, but actually equips you for what the day will bring. Now your mind is in the right direction and you are more prone to be positive in tough situations and be thankful for the blessings.

2. Be Physically Well

We as Christians are supposed to act as the arms and legs of God. We don’t want weak limbs in charge of doing God’s will. Our body is a temple in which God dwells so it must be strong. Say no to the candy bar once in awhile, get your heart pumping fast each day, and be wise enough to keep your body from unnecessary harm. The world believes that because it is their body, they can do whatever they want with it. On the contrary, our body is borrowed from our Creator, therefore it should be treated with care and respect. This includes knowing that you don’t need to be adorned with “decorations” to express yourself and it may mean not putting more holes in your body than God gave you.

3. Clean out your brain cavity

As important as our physical state of being is, God dwells within us therefore we need to take a look at ourselves internally and do some spring cleaning. Deep dark secrets clutter our mind, bad experiences weigh us down with baggage, dislike and contempt keep us restricted. A lot goes on in our minds that hold us back from focusing on God. There is truth to the saying “Garbage in, garbage out.”  We fill our minds with trash by devouring the latest vampire series, spending 3 days on catching up with your favorite TV show on Netflix, and surfing the web on the latest celebrity gossip. I am guilty of all the above, but I have also seen the result of indulging in such things. Separation from God. It’s a process, but with God you can lay down your baggage and secrets, forgive those who’ve wronged you, seek forgiveness from others, and use your time wisely.

4. Get Educated

God has equipped us with the oldest textbook there is: the Bible. It isn’t wise for Christians to go around thinking that because they know the general Bible stories like “David and Goliath” and “Jonah and the Whale,” they do not have to read more of the Bible. The Bible says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” With every good book, no matter how many times you reread it, you get more out of it. Behind each word in the Bible is a message from our Savior. It is a strong vehicle for our communication with God. Reading the Bible better educates us in God’s will and way. It will give you real life applications. Just like a class tests you on the knowledge you acquire in the textbook, Satan tests you on the knowledge you acquire in the Bible. And that is not a test you want to fail.

5. Pray Often

Another vehicle of communication is prayer. How do you expect to get close to your friends if you don’t talk to them? Is it true friendship if you only go to them when you need something? We have the luxury of Jesus’ companionship at our fingertips 24/7! The Bible says to “pray without ceasing.” Prayer should not be limited to meals, bedtime, and the occasional devastation. Prayer should be a continual conversation with God. Impossible, you think? Maybe now, but you are missing out on the blessing that is to talk to God. Most common people can’t even get an audience with their king or queen, but we have the opportunity to commune with Him all the time. What is sad is that more often that not Jesus seeks an audience with us but we say we are too busy. I guarantee from experience that the more you talk to God, the more He’ll talk to you and the more your life will change.

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God gives us the tools in order to live life to the fullest. His greatest resource was His son Jesus who became our medium and made a path to paradise. By striving to improve all of these areas in my life, I have seen a significant change in me and what is great is you can too. Become spiritually well, my friends. It is the best decision you will ever make.

God Bless!

-LJM

1 Thessalonians 5:17,  Psalms 4:3, Hosea 4:6,

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Matthew 15:11, Philippians 4:8

Dead End

By Leah Jordan Meahl

 

I walked with You

I squeezed through the gate

And dug my heels in the path before me

One foot in front of the other

You marked my way with Your trail of breadcrumbs

Of flower petals made of silk

You made my bed in the luscious pasture

And filled my cup with the still waters

I stumbled from You

Like a lost sheep

I peeled the blinders from my eyes

And ignored the signs

That told me the path was going to end

I paid no attention, I didn’t much care

My curious eye ready to offend

Knowing soon I would turn around again

You stayed with me

You whispered in my ear

This is the way, walk in it

From whom shall I fear?

You smiled at me and filled my soul

With rest from the maze of lies

Your truth insists that though I may leave

I will always find You again.

My Way or the Highway

A stranger gives you a ticket to anywhere. Where would you go?

Most people would make the decision based on their dream place like the beaches of Cancun or the “City of Love.” The question is, would you ask God where He wanted you to go?

Many Christians have the false belief that once you cross the line of salvation you have “Hell insurance” and you are all set on the path to Heaven no matter what you say, how you act, and what you think. God has forgiven you of your past so it doesn’t matter what you do from here on out because God will forgive you. A pastor once asked his congregation, “For those of you who believe that, what if you’re wrong?”

Hell is real. As much as Father doesn’t want us to go there, the Bible is very specific about what will and what will not inherit His kingdom.

God is love. Some people get confused and ask, “If God is love then why does He send people to Hell?”

I’ve asked myself this very question many times before, but I finally got a revelation. God does not send us to Hell, we buy the ticket. We dwell in the ways of the world and we let the world come between us and our relationship with God. There was a time when Hell was the only option, but because God is love He sent Jesus, His Beloved, to give us another option.

Praise God, we now have another route! The way is narrow and less traveled, but it is a way if you choose to walk it. God even gives us a map telling us how to get there, how wonderful is that? It may mean making some changes. You may have to drop a few bags and cut a few ties. I know I have had to make changes, but Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, I think I can make a few sacrifices so that His gift was not given in vain.

You were given a ticket when you were born. It’s a ticket of life. The ticket takes you on the journey.

A wise man once told me that “Life is not about the destination, it’s about the trip.” The journey that you choose to take will tell you where you will end up. So maybe it is time to look at yourself and ask, “Where am I going” before you get lost. Don’t worry, if you do get lost I know the perfect GPS. God’s Personal Service.

So a stranger gives you a ticket to anywhere. Where will you go?

Choose the narrow way.

God Bless!

-LJM

Matthew 7: 13-14

In the Field

By Leah Jordan Meahl

 

Down the concrete bleachers I bound

Finally thankful that no one’s around

The evening air is cool and damp

As I follow the glowing streetlamps

Passing through a chain link fence

Leaving behind a world so intense

Now I am all alone

Channeling a realm unknown

I speak to the air and let it drift away

Like a message in a bottle to be found someday

Though in the silence I feel a presence like no other

That’s peaceful and warm like the arms of a mother

I circle and circle leaving my trail

Of glistening footsteps telling my tale

Oh how often I circle this field

Having no worries with God as my shield

I gaze up at the moon and stars above

Just bathing the power of His love

It is here that I come to rest in Him

When the world starts to make my light grow dim

It is here I find Him who makes me whole

His hand healing the ache in my soul

I bid the moon and stars goodnight

Knowing that Jesus is holding me tight

Until next time to the field I go

To my sanctuary, there’s no better place I know.

-LJM

Unanswered Prayer

“I hate unanswered prayers,” I heard a wise woman say in the face of disappointment. As much as i sympathized with her I was reminded of a conversation I had with someone close to me. We will call him Sam.

Despite our close relationship, Sam and I had very few conversations about God. When we did speak of it, I felt discouraged by his point of view.  I remember him saying something along the lines of “God picks and chooses whose prayers He’s going to answer.” No doubt Sam was speaking from life experience.

I believe that kind of thinking stems from repetitive hurt and disappointment. It’s normal to pray time and time again and not see God work. As a result we tend to lose faith, but can we really allow an inkling of doubt to interfere with believing that God is in control?

I remember saying in response to Sam’s statement, “OR God answers all prayers just not when we want and the way we want it.” That was it at the time, but if I could I would explain it more to him.

Scientifically, as humans, we only use approximately 10% of our brain. If that is the case, how can we possibly understand how God conducts His business? How can we even expect to fathom a being who could allow us to use the other 90% of our brain if He wanted us to?

In the Bible, the prophet Isaiah tells us that our thoughts or not His thoughts and our ways are not His ways. So obviously our logic is not His logic. Humans are flawed, sinful, and downright simple compared to God. If God ran the show like we wanted Him to A) He would be a below average God and B) Everyone would be considered a god.

If we were supposed to understand the workings of God then we would have no need for faith or trust. We can’t expect to have all of our questions answered which is why we are asked to lean not on our own understanding. God sees the big picture, we don’t even see the frame.

There is a reason the Bible says time and time again, “Have faith and know that I am God.” It is frustrating to have your most heartfelt prayers seem to go unanswered, but Satan is the one saying that God doesn’t care about your prayers.

I firmly believe that God answers all prayers in His own way and that it will be the best for us. The book of Matthew says, “Ask and it will be given, seek and you shall find.”  I don’t believe in a God that says, “Maybe if you prayed harder…” or “Sorry maybe next time.” I believe in a God that makes all of His children a priority. When we ask God about the desires of our hearts, He asks in return for faith to know that He will come through.

In this we need to come to Him like children, praise Him for being our Father, ask of Him, thank Him for what He will do, and have faith that He will do it.

God Bless

-LJM

Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 46:10, Matthew 7:7, Isaiah 55:8-9

5 Steps to Eliminate Your Golden Calf

What is your idol?

Many Christians shrug off the first and second commandment by thinking, “Well I don’t bow down to any statue so I’m good to go.” Unfortunately, there is a reason God makes such a big deal about idolatry in the Bible and since the Bible is a guide directed toward Christians, it might benefit those who listen.

The true definition of an idol is this: Anything that separates you from your relationship with your Heavenly Father.

An example from the Old Testament talks about the Israelites building an elaborate golden calf which they worshiped as a manifestation of God. They believed that God wouldn’t mind if they had something materialistic to rely on. Needless to say the story didn’t end well (Exodus 32).

Idols come in many ways, shapes, and forms and the average Christian probably has a minimum of 10 idols (and that’s aiming low). How did I come to this conclusion you ask? I took a look at my life with the question, “what is my idol?” I took out a sheet of paper and before I knew it, there was not one, not two, but a whole list of things that could be considered my idols.

We as humans in this day and age are a materialistic society. We focus on how we look and what we have and before we know it, we are completely distracted from God. There are so many things that control us nowadays we may not even be aware of it. Here are a few examples.

Addictions have a habit of controlling our lives like alcoholism, smoking (not just cigarettes), overeating (gluttony), sex, and pornography to name a few. These are the more serious idols that we may be worshiping without even knowing it.

Some of the more subtle examples include video games, TV series, and social networking. These can devour our time so that we feel we have no more time in the day to pray or read our Bibles. Therefore, they become our idols.

Believe it or not people, even fashion can become an idol. By focusing so much on what we wear or how society looks at us, we become self-absorbed and vain. Vanity is as much an idol as a golden calf.

If any of these examples refer to you, then don’t worry. You are not alone and there is something you can do. From my own growing experience with Father I have come up with 5 steps that will help you get rid of the idols in your life.

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1. Admit and Accept

Like any addiction, the first step to overcoming is to first realize that you have a problem. Having idols that keep you from God is definitely a problem. So man up and understand what in your life is keeping you distracted from your spiritual walk. Then you have to make the decision to change it.

2. Repent and Reconcile

Not one day should go by without you repenting for the sins you have committed. We are imperfect people and we sin without even knowing it sometimes. Having idols is a sin so therefore you must ask the Lord’s forgiveness for those sins. Once you have set yourself straight with Father, you need to work on your plan of action.

3. Know Your Team

You need to realize right now that you CANNOT do this alone. God is your ultimate accountability partner and He will help you overcome. If you try to do this by your own will and strength, you will fail every time.

4. Start Small

If you were on a diet one of the first things people tell you is to make wise decisions. You will be tempted. You won’t feel like doing the right thing. That is normal, but the trick is to do it anyway. Set small goals. Start your morning by reading the Bible. You will see a difference. Only give yourself a limited time a day watching TV or getting on the internet. Try going a day without smoking or it could be as simple as having a glass of water instead of having a soda.

5. Follow Through

When hitting a baseball it is important to follow through instead of cutting yourself short. You’ve started small and worked your way up to bigger goals well now is the time to keep yourself in check. Know that you will mess up and have bad days, but if you give up, those idols will come back and rule your life.

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I have found that the more I read my Bible and talk to God the more I am able to feel Him throughout the day. Therefore, He keeps me accountable and I feel more convicted when I do wrong. My Heavenly Father guides me to think more like Him on a daily basis, but I couldn’t possibly get to that point without focusing more on Him.

If you spend more of your time doing the things of the world whether it be for recreational purposes or even on a need-to basis, you are putting other things before Him. The Bible says that “[Jesus] is the way, the truth, and the life, no one can get to the Father accept through Him.” Anything else in our life is only going to keep us down.

The Bible also says that we cannot serve two masters. If you live “of the world” you are serving the world and not God. In addition, idolaters are one of the many things that will not inherit the kingdom of God. Take these things to heart, they are not meant to judge you, but to instead bring you closer to Father.

God Bless

-LJM

Exodus 20, Exodus 32, John 14:6, Matthew 6:24,

1 John 2:15, Romans 12:2,1 Corinthians 6: 9-10, Philippians 4: 13

Ain’t No Valley Low Enough

It wasn’t until I got to college and I was more independent than I had ever been did I realize just how much pain there was in the world. You hear horror stories on the news like the kind that make you go, “How terrible” but you don’t fully understand until you are surrounded by hurt. Suddenly I was surrounded by people who were hurting or who have been scarred in their lifetime. Sometimes I needed to physically get away from all of the brokenness.

Unfortunately you can never fully escape except through God. With God everything can be made whole. Sinful people cause the sadness and hurt in the world, but when you look to God, you are looking at the one thing that will forever be perfect. With a low spirit I would have to regenerate with God and then I would have to take a deep breath and head back into a broken world.

One of my favorite inspirational speakers, Nick Vujicic (a must youtube search), said “Pain is pain, brokenness is brokenness.” Everyone goes through painful circumstances. Sometimes they’re continual, sometimes they just take you down temporarily. Regardless it is still painful and no matter what it is, God cares about it and He wants to help you through it.

My lowest moment so far in my life came when I was 16 years old. I brought trouble upon myself and I didn’t like the person I was becoming. If an outsider were to look at my situation, they would probably think, “That is not such a big deal.” It was a big deal. I was ashamed that I disappointed the people I loved the most, but I believe with all of my heart that it was supposed to happen. As a result I learned a lot about myself and what I was going to do.

Our “valleys” come in many forms: physical and mental disabilities, broken families, bullying, bad decisions etc. Whatever the case, God can use all things even Satan himself to help us grow into the people He wants us to be. The trick is to stay out of the pit of self pity that traps us like quicksand.

For those of you who have little baggage, praise God, but there is a reason for that. I believe that there are people with little baggage so they can help carry the burdens of others. After a couple of years in college I came to the conclusion that that was one of my purposes. The Bible tells us to “Carry one another’s burdens in love and thus fulfilling the law of Christ.” Christ carries us especially through our valleys; therefore, we must do the same for each other.

I came up with a phrase, though it may not be original, I live by it. “The lower Satan takes you, the higher Jesus can raise you.” Satan can take you down whether it be through situations out of your control or circumstances that you brought upon yourself. Either way, Jesus merely holds out His hand and all you have to do is take hold of it.

God bless.

-LJM

Galations 6:2

I Believe I Can Fly

Nothing like soaring above the clouds and watching the sunset to remind you of how beautiful God’s creation is. As I sit by the window of this plane I think back to the first time in my memory that I talked to God.

When you were a kid, did you ever just look up and ask, “God, are you really there?” Well maybe you even ask now. There comes a time in everyone’s life where they just want to put the cards on the table and know beyond a shadow of a doubt whether or not there is a god.

My moment came when I was 8 years old. I don’t have any memory of sincerely talking to God before then. I remember chanting my meal time blessings, and bedtime prayers, but I don’t remember actually having a conversation with God until I was 8.

I remember laying in my twin bed staring up at the ceiling. My deepest wish at the time was the ability to fly. I wanted to be Mrs. Peter Pan.  If I had to choose a superpower it would be flight. I could just picture myself flying circles around my friends and everyone would think I was the coolest person ever! I thought of all the awesome things I could do with my power like reaching high places without a stool, saving kittens out of trees, and never having to be afraid of falling ever again.

I stared into the darkness of my bedroom and said aloud, “God, I really really really wanna fly. I know You have the power to make it happen. I would really love it if You would let me fly.” I prayed and prayed over and over until my eyes grew drowsy and I drifted off to sleep. The next morning I would remember my prayer and I would stand on my bed, ready for take off. Deep down I knew I wouldn’t be able to fly, but it wouldn’t stop me from trying.

That wasn’t the last night I asked. I figured, maybe God didn’t hear me. Maybe He heard me and I didn’t do something right. So once again I sprawled out on my bed, put my hands together, and prayed aloud, “God, if You’re really there, will you let me fly?” When that didn’t work I tried one last time.

Maybe if I got on my knees and put my hands together God would listen. “If you let me fly then I will believe in You.”  Now I had Him, I thought. But the following morning I jumped up from my bed only to be brought down like a rock.

Instead of sulking in the corner about how God doesn’t listen or that there isn’t even a god, I just shrugged it off. I had no doubt in my mind that God was there and there was nothing that could make me believe otherwise. At such a young age I had to start coming to the realization that I am not always going to get what I want right away, even if I ask God. We zero in on our needs and wants, but God knows what is best for us. And He answers our prayers in his own time.

Oh and I did get my prayer answered. For the third time this summer I have flown over the United States and I’m sure it will not be my last.

-LJM

1 Corinthians 8:6, Romans 1:20

These are the Stepping Stones

Last week my family took a trip to Ft. Lauderdale for our family vacation. Through a week of relaxation and plenty of beach time, I had a reoccurring thought, “God never takes a vacation.” Each and everyday our Heavenly Father speaks to us and reveals His presence in our lives whether it be through an encouraging word or a ray of sunshine.

This thought has fueled my relationship with Father this past year and I have a few books to prove it. The first is of course my Bible. The second is my devotional, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and the third is my journal, but I will get to that later.

He is always teaching, always encouraging, always guiding, and, of course, always loving. Even though His efforts are everlasting, we, as humans with our short attention span, find a way to be disconnected from Him and fail to notice.

Now we come to the inspiration behind this blog! Just under a year ago my friend and I were standing at a book shelf at Barnes and Noble. The books in front of us were not to read, but instead they were to write in. Journals of all sizes and colors lined the shelves.

My friend and I, we’ll call her Sally, we liked to reminisce about the times when we were adolescents ranting away to our best friend named, “Dear Diary.” Looking back through those best friends I realized how young and shallow I sounded. Talking about every guy that said “Hello” to me like he was Mr. Right, what I ate for dinner, how many times I went on a diet, how many fights I had with my brother and so on. Each entry was pointless and it was almost embarrassing to read again. There was no depth, no growth involved, it just reminded me of how odd I was as a child.

As a result, Sally came up with an idea that I will now forever carry with me and pass on to others. Instead of complaining about everything wrong in our lives in a diary, why don’t we journal about the blessings that God gives us. So there we were ready to pick out a journal whose purpose was to record all the good that God does in our lives. I picked out the small purple notebook featured in the picture above. Little did I know about the wonderful step I was to take with God.

In under a year I have filled up that entire journal with life lessons, answered prayers, and healed heartaches. Each entry proves that if you are open to hearing The Lord’s voice, you will hear it. This journal is a tool that helps me channel my thoughts and prayers with Father. It reminds me of His eternal presence through his blessings which often follow tough lessons. As a result, my faith grows stronger every day.

This blog is a way for me to share what I have learned from God by keeping this journal. It is a way for me, as a writer, to show you how God is faithful and if you have eyes to see, you will see His beautiful work in you.

Let me give this late disclaimer. Keeping a journal is not what is going to get you a relationship with Father. The first step to a relationship is to pray, the second is to read His word. How else are you going to know when He is talking to you? Keeping a journal is simply a tool in this relationship. I look forward to sharing my experiences and thoughts with you and I hope that this will encourage you in entries to come.

-LJM

Revelation 2:7, Proverbs 20:12

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