How To Get Through One of Those Days

How To Get Through One of Those Days

Is it just me, or does everyone have one of those days where they feel like a pathetic loser?

You know those days. Those days when you’re getting ready for work, eating breakfast, or driving and you’re just plagued by everything you haven’t accomplished, everything you don’t have, and everything that hasn’t changed in your life.

To be honest, “those days” have been a little too frequent for me lately. They can give you a sharp detour into a pit you can’t easily climb out of. Though you can’t always avoid the wave of discontent that follows these days, but you can get through them.

I know it’s best to seize those feelings before you let them take over, and I’ve come up with a few optional and necessary steps to help.

1. Talk to God (necessary)

Praying without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17) means talking to God about the good, the bad, and the ugly. The victories and the failures. The praises and the problems. Believe me, it’s probably the last thing you feel like doing, but it’s the most important step to propel you through the day. Do it on your commute to work, or if you’re at home, light a candle and make it a sit down occasion for you and God. We have that privilege thanks to Jesus. If you don’t know how to start, let me help:

“God, this is how I’m feeling today…”

2. Buy yourself something (optional)

You may not have the money and you don’t want to depend on things to make you feel better, but a treat can go a long way. When I was feeling down one day, I bought a new gym outfit so I could have the pleasure of getting something while still promoting a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy the little things and remind yourself that you’re special. No one has to do that but you.

3. Count your blessings (necessary)

With every disappointment or complaint you have in life, there is a blessing to counteract it. For instance:

Problem: The air conditioning in my car doesn’t work.

Blessing: Lord, thank you for my car so I can drive wherever I need.

Self pity comes from dwelling on the negative in your life. And I don’t doubt that we all deal with serious negative forces, but I also believe that we’re blessed far more than we realize. Dwelling on those blessings will ease up on the pity and balance it with a heart of thanks. (1 Thess 5:18)

4. Do something (optional)

The last thing you want are for those gray feelings to immobilize you. Do something you enjoy. Workout because it helps release endorphins. Watch a movie. Cook something. Retreat to your hobbies. If you can get together with people who will either listen to your feelings or help get your mind off them, you can be free from, let’s face it, yourself for awhile.

Join me in getting through the funk of those dismal days before they begin to control you. If any of these steps helps you in anyway, feel free to share it with me!

God bless!

-LJM22473552_10156700163428502_951317549_o

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Happened on September 23rd 2017?

What Happened on September 23rd 2017?

The world didn’t end.

Whenever someone claims that the world will end, the mocking begins because we know better.

Or do we?

You only need to know one verse in the Bible to know these people aren’t right. “No one knows the day or hour…” (Matt 24:36)

So what was the significance of that specific day, and if Jesus wasn’t coming back that day, should Christians still be concerned?

The answer is yes.

For those who are unaware, on the evening of the 23rd constellations and planets formed a unique image in the night sky.

Venus, Mars, Mercury, the Moon, and the Sun lined up at the constellations of Virgo and Leo. Biblically Virgo is “The Virgin” and Leo is “The Lion or Tribe of Judah.” A serpent named Hydra slinked underneath both the Virgin and the Lion’s foot touching its head (Gen 3:15). Jupiter represents the “man child” exiting The Virgin’s womb and the serpent is ready to devour it.

Below are pictures I took from the star-gazing app “SkyView Free” on that night.
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The above description is an accurate description of a sign in the heaven’s laid out in Revelation 12.22068966_10156647184308502_1951770134_o.jpg

Some facts to take into consideration. This exact same formation has been seen 4 times in the last 1000 years. The new moon at The Virgin’s feet is an annual September occurrence symbolizing the Jewish New Year.

If Christians think that this sign is just a coincidence and nothing more than the universe doing its thing, I’d advise you to take a closer look. The universe may be following its natural clock, but God has purposed everything and the Bible demonstrate God’s love for images, patterns, numbers, and more. They all work together over thousands of years to proclaim God’s sovereignty.

His timing is no different.

This same star/planet formation appeared around the time Jesus was born and we all know how the night sky impacted that event. If the same formation appears to us now, God is trying to tell us something.

Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43 But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. – Matthew 24:42-43

Just because there wasn’t any cataclysmic event or rapture on the 23rd doesn’t mean that in God’s timeline, the day is significant to God’s plan.

It is never wise for God’s people to be asleep or numb to His voice. The parable of the ten virgins in *** constantly reminds me that some people will not be prepared or be asleep when he calls.

We should live knowing each day we get closer to His coming. But the event in the world during that time will be far from pleasant.

Be alert, seek and you will find, and be ready for anything. This is all advice from the Bible. I encourage you to be wise and test all you read and listen to. Let the Holy Spirit guide your thoughts and give you more understanding every day.

God bless
-LJM

4 Addictions Christians Ignore

4 Addictions Christians Ignore

“I struggle with pornography.”

“I have a problem with alcohol.”

“I can’t stop smoking.”

These statements often result in prayer and intercession, counseling and possibly rehabilitation. Christians have a heart to help the people who fall into these addictions, because God wants His people to overcome them, right?

If that’s the case, shouldn’t that include all addictions?

These are just a few of the addictions that Christians, including myself, let slide under the radar.

1. Coffee

I’m a coffee lover, and though it started as an occasional indulgence, college ushered it into a daily habit. After being confronted, I realized I needed coffee more than I believed I did, and the thought of giving it up made me almost angry. Do you see the red flags? Coffee has become more of a trend than a drink, an appearance over the nutrient. For those of us who cling to this beverage, we need to ask ourselves ‘why?’

2. Social Media

Nowadays having social media is almost as necessary as having a cell phone. How else are you supposed to stay connected with friends, market your talents, or stay up to date with current events? I find myself browsing through my media accounts seeing the same dozen posts because I just checked it five minutes before. It’s something for our fingers and eyes to do, and we spend hours scrolling because we haven’t reached the point where we’re satisfied. How many minutes do we waste a day and is that healthy?

3. Video Streaming

“Done with this TV series, what should I watch next?” I’ve seen this post and I’ve shared the same thoughts. With Netflix, watching TV or movies is at our fingertips. When we binge watch a show and feel the loss and sadness when it’s over, we jump right on to the next to fill that silence. We justify vegging out to our feel good show, but we should consider, what we watch, how much we watch, and how it affects our minds in the long run.

4. Junk Food

Salty or sweet, we are simply drawn to foods that will never be healthy for our bodies, and every one of us has their weak spot. Mine is chocolate. Like coffee, if it’s difficult to give up even for a few days, you may need to reflect on the root of addiction. Foods that become addictions lead to gluttony and I don’t think I need to prove that point in our society.

“[The grace of God] instructs us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…” -Titus 2:12 (NIV)

The only reason I can point any of these out is because I can relate to all of them. They all have some hold on my life and as a Christian, I believe God wants to break every chain, not just the ones we declare harmful. Addictions of any kind affect how we live for God and that alone is why Christians should take them seriously.

What I’ve learned is that we keep coming back to these things because we’re not satisfied. And though something may seem harmless, like an idol, our dependency on it can sneak in and distract us from the One we’re supposed to depend on.

Pray for me as I begin to wean myself from these things as I will pray for those of you who may be caught in these snares too.

God bless!

-LJM

 

What Kind of Bible Reader Are You?

What Kind of Bible Reader Are You?

Growing up, reading the Bible was like pulling teeth for me. I had trouble understanding the flowery language, staying engaged with the density of historical facts, and applying the truth to my relationship with Jesus. Have you ever felt the same way?

When I started college, I was determined to read the Bible for myself which I believe was a turning point in my spiritual journey. From then I’ve experimented with Scripture reading methods and have come to the conclusion that there are 5 types of Bible readers.

Which one are you?

The Readers

These people approach the Bible like a trilogy combined into one book. They will most likely use an easy version to read and their priority is to tackle each book from front to back. Entering into one book, they will read all the chapters before going onto the next. Each one completed is a small victory until the day finally comes where they’ll celebrate having finished the entire Bible.

The Artists

A trend has emerged known as “Journaling,” but instead of pens and highlighters, these maxresdefaultreaders decorate their Bibles with water colors and calligraphy. Special Bibles have been printed with wide margins and even coloring templates to encourage the process. Their priority is to tap into their artistic mind and meditate on one verse or passage at a time. While savoring the intricacies of Scripture, they result in aesthetically pleasing pictures.

The Writers

When these people pick up their Bible, they come armed with highlighters, pens, pencils, and maybe even a notebook. Similar to The Artists, they prefer a wide-margined Bible so they have plenty of room to take notes. Their goal is to interact with the text, and they do so by writing questions, comments, and applications. Their Bibles are covered with rainbow streaks of color, underlined words and phrases, and notes squished in every possible empty space.

The Students

Scholars who want to understand the depth of Biblical mysteries fall into this category. They open the Bible with the goal of diving into specific topics or issues and research everything they can find about it. The versions they use probably include commentary from the original Greek and Hebrew translations. Their findings help make connections, support beliefs, and gain a better understanding of God and His ways. The students may be the best and most thorough group and one that bleeds into the others.

The Collectors

You may assume the collectors have something to do with the many versions of Bibles this group collects, but instead, it’s actually something their Bible collects.

Dust.

The Collectors use their Bible when needed whether on Sunday mornings, Bible studies, or in desperate situations. The rest of the time Bibles sit on shelves or nightstands while dust sneaks onto their leather covers.
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I believe the Bible speaks to us in diverse ways. I believe His angels swarm around and minister to us as soon as we open the Scriptures. I believe that spiritual growth is stunted without consistent time in God’s Story.

The world will suffocate the life out of us, and even though we have the means, we choose not to take a breath of fresh air. Choose to breathe in the clean air of Jesus’s love, The Father’s presence, and The Holy Spirit’s truth daily.

Choose to be less like the Collector and more like the Student, but whatever group you fall under, take something away from the Word every time you read it. You never know when it may come in handy.

You are loved and Jesus wants a relationship with you even more than you with Him.
So who are you?

God bless!

-LJM

How to Succeed in College

How to Succeed in College

As summer ebbs into cooler evenings, I braced myself for the seasonal change. Not only were pumpkin spice lattes on their way, but also were students heading back to school. I watched as my social media erupted with reuniting friends, cute dorm room pictures, and growing anticipation for the school year.

This season hits hard for us recent grads, and it makes us look back on those years that flashed by like a dream. So, after contemplating my four and a half years of school, I’d like to share with you just 3 essentials to having a successful college life whether you’re starting a new year like a veteran, or entering for the first time like a starry-eyed tourist.

1. Don’t Stress

The easiest college trap to fall into is the stressful one. I noticed a pattern: whether it’s the beginning, middle, or end of the semester you will hear this statement, “Well, it’s that time of the semester.” The phrase acts as an excuse to be stressed but the truth is, you will never get away from “that time.”

Yes, classes can be difficult, projects will all be due at the same time, and some tests will have more weight than others. You may be in several clubs that have events coming up, but you can choose to deal with all of the above with readiness or let it collapse on you like a ton of bricks.

How do you stay away from stress? Follow these rules religiously:

Pray, prepare, sleep, and trust God through the results.

2. Get involved

Nothing sucks the life out of college than doing nothing but going to class. Go to an event even if you don’t have anyone to go with. Find a club that you can be passionate about. My freshman year, I immediately auditioned for both the play and the glee club, where I could use my passion for performing. I met my closest friends the more I got involved.

If you’re not just starting out, maybe you could apply for a leadership position like RA (resident assistant) ,or president of a club, or mentor for incoming freshmen. All of these will help establish connections and help shape your level of responsibility as well as provide an outlet for creativity.

These are memories you will need to hold onto once you graduate.

3. Spend time with Jesus

This is the most essential because your relationship with Jesus influences every aspect of your life. College is where I had to take my faith into my own hands and hang on for dear life. Whether you’re at a Christian college or not, you are now an independent Christian and that means pursuing it for you and only you.

God uses college to test you in many ways. You will do a lot of growing during this time. Many college students pull away from the God they grew up knowing. I want to encourage you to take the time to grow closer to God. College will come and go, but He will be your constant.

Savor the independence, adhere to the call of responsibility, stand firm in your faith, discover who you are, and enjoy!

Did you takeaway anything different from your time in college? If you’re in school, what has worked for you? Please share in a comment!

God bless!

-LJM

James 4:8

 

Never Forget: Eclipse 2017

Never Forget: Eclipse 2017

The hype leading up to the total eclipse on August 21st didn’t really phase me.

Until the hour came.

Suddenly, the phenomenon that had everyone talking became real. Through foil lens, I saw a black disc push its way between me and the sun. As I began to grasp the significance of this event, a flame of excitement finally ignited.

My family and I staggered around our backyard staring up at the sky in glasses that surround you in darkness. We fumbled with cameras trying to capture an image that can only be appreciated if you experience it for yourself. It felt like the quickest sunset ever as the sky grew dim to dusk in a matter of seconds.

Then it happened.

I ripped off my glasses along with hundreds of thousands of people to see the majesty. Surrounding that same black disc was a light so white that I thought I was looking at a ring of angels holding hands. Knowing that so many people were sharing a speechless moment made me think of Revelation 1:7

Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him — even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen.

When the sun peeked out from behind the moon, the first ray of light was so brilliant I had to look away. They call it “the diamond ring.” It couldn’t be more appropriate of a name because when I think of a diamond ring as big as the sun, I think of how God has given us the largest engagement ring in the universe and one day, the church will be his bride (Revelation 19:7-9).

It’s mindboggling to realize how we have no control over such an event. I read someone refer to us as simply “onlookers.” When it comes to God’s power, we are only onlookers, reveling in the wonders of God’s creation.

The change in my attitude towards the eclipse reminded me of an important lesson. I felt like doubting Thomas as I underestimated the eclipse until seeing it for myself.

Circumstances/events in our lives come and go, sometimes with warning and sometimes without. The fact is, we should be ready for anything God brings to us, whether it be times of blessing or times of disaster. Everything happens so we can see The Chief at work.

I’ll admit, these takeaways didn’t come to me until after the awe of the moment. But I want to treasure this experience so that I won’t be forgetful like the Israelites in the Bible, who saw miracle after miracle and still turned away.

I hope that you were just as impressed by our once in a lifetime event…until 2024 at least. Comment on what the eclipse meant for you; I would love to hear your experience.

God bless!

-LJM

Psalm 19:1

PS. Don’t forget to check out my pictures of the eclipse on Instagram- @leahjordanmeahl

 

 

Walking in the Cemetery

Walking in the Cemetery

The other day I was reading my devotional, Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado before going to work. Under a list of bullet points I was surprised to read “Make major decisions in a cemetery.”

I had to reread that line a couple times. It seemed so random and not flowing with the other ideas, but I pondered it nonetheless. I decided that my next morning walk would be at a cemetery not far from my house.

The morning was slightly cooler than it’s been the past blazing week. I pulled into the cemetery and instead of being surrounded by headstones, I was surrounded by bouquets of flowers. Most of the grave markers are set flush to the ground so you have to practically be standing over top them to read them.

If you ever need a reality check, the cemetery is a good place to go. Especially when you see the markers of children who didn’t even make it to 5 or 10 years old.

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Visiting Uncle Skipper (2014)

My Uncle “Skipper” died of leukemia when he was 9 years old. He was my first real understanding of death, which is odd because I never met him. Even now I feel a strange connection with him and the knowledge of his brief but precious life.

 

In a cemetery you are very aware of lives that have come to an end and no matter what age, they’re always gone too soon. So, here are some thoughts I had while sitting on a cold stone bench overlooking the resting memorials.

If we could check off everything on our bucket list, would we feel like it was a life well spent? If we landed that dream job, married the love of our life, had the perfect number of children, and could afford a lake house for retirement, is that a successful life?

I gotta be honest, sometimes I feel like if I don’t achieve any of those things, I’ll have wasted my life. But a passage keeps coming to my mind.

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”  ∼Mark 8:34-36 (ESV)

In life, we are constantly bombarded with planning our future and making goals for everything we want to do while we’re still on this earth. Whenever someone close to us passes away, we are reminded that life is short and we should always live as if it’s our last day. While all of that is true and blanketed with good intentions, it’s easy to fall into making each day about us.

As Christians, the fact of the matter is time is short.

Time is short to represent Jesus.

Time is short to do His will.

Time is short to celebrate His name in thankfulness.

I was listening to an online sermon by Todd White (worth looking up here) and he made it abundantly clear that we might be the only Jesus people see. We might be the only Bible people read. What are we doing about it? Are we really making good use of our time as servants of Christ? That’s what it means to be a Christian, isn’t it?

The Bible consistently reminds us of our selfish nature, but thankfully, it also gives us a better alternative to living. If we could just peel our selfishness away and focus on living for God and for others (Lk 10:27), there will be no greater achievement on earth as it is in heaven.

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This epitaph inspired me because I realized I would rather be remembered by walking out the fruits of the Spirit than how many books I publish or performances I give. The fruits of the Spirit are evidence of God in our life so you better believe I want people to see them. They’re found here in Galatians 5 if you want to know what they are.

Let me leave you with a few ideas on how you can reveal the love of Jesus in your daily life:

  • Generously tip all of your servers (not just the deserving ones)
  • Leave notes of encouragement
  • Don’t complain about work
  • Learn peoples’ names (everyone likes to hear their name)

If you have any other ideas on how you like to represent Jesus, leave a comment so we all can learn from each other!

The next time you find yourself in the cemetery, remember the advice from my devotional: “make a major decision” to walk in the light of Jesus, bearing His fruit so the world can pick it from your branches.

God bless!

-LJM

P.S. Daytime walks in the cemetery are far less scary than nighttime walks.