A beautiful sound like a trumpet or a chime interrupted our after dinner conversation. Wanting to investigate, all four of us left the Italian …The Shofar
Please welcome my friend, and fellow author, Leah Meahl to the blog. Leah and I met last year through blogging, and connected immediately because of our shared faith. She has been very kind and supportive of my writing, and even invited me to contribute as a guest on her blog.
Leah is a talented, accomplished writer with two books to her name. Her first book, The Threshold, debuted last year. Students at North Greenville University turned Leah’s book, The Threshold, into a film. How cool is that! It’s a powerful story. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/VW1rRDSF9gk Leah makes a cameo in the opening scene.
Her new book, Pebbles: 31 days of faith-enriching parables, releases September 25th on Amazon. Please go to her website to find out more about her books and blog. I’m going to stop talking, and let Leah tell you about her new book. Without further ado, the talented, kind, lovely, Jesus loving author, Leah Meahl! It’s a pleasure to have you on my blog. Thanks for sharing with us. Take it away, Leah.
Thank you, Meghan for having me on your wonderful blog! I’m so thrilled to share a little bit about me and the process of writing my latest book Pebbles: 31 days of faith-enriching parables.
- What made you write Pebbles?
I originally wanted to write a comprehensive guide to everyday faith. I guess it’s no surprise that it was more complicated than I thought. I happened to write a parable for my blog one day and the thrill of it eventually sparked the idea to write a series of parables. Parables are a fun and creative way to get to the heart of a matter rather than just spelling it all out. Writing about certain aspects of faith became easier for me because I could layer them with relatable events, characters, and qualities.
- What do you hope to accomplish with Pebbles?
I want readers to have a fresh devotional that they can connect with emotionally and spiritually. I want the illustrations to grab their attention and rest in their minds long after they read them. Most importantly, I want this devotional to give readers a chance to examine the faith they already have and challenge it to a new level in their lives.
- What do you like about writing parables?
I enjoy the process of crafting a concise and poetic story. They don’t take long to write and yet they still pack a punch. I love it! I will definitely be doing more in the future!
- What was the most challenging part about writing the parables?
31 individual stories ended up being a lot more than I thought and sometimes I lacked inspiration. I had to learn to let the ideas come organically and not rush myself. Some parables took a couple hours to write, others took a couple weeks. No matter how long they took me to figure out, I’m really pleased with how they turned out.
- Which one of Jesus’s parables do you connect with the most?
I really love the parable of the pearl. The merchant finds a pearl and sells everything to get it. The parable is one or two lines, yet it has always struck a chord with me because of how outrageous it is. To give up everything for a pearl that on the outside doesn’t really do much for you, really reveals how precious the kingdom of God is, even if it doesn’t look like it on earth.
I’ve had an awesome time writing these parables as well as commissioning the original artwork to go along with them. I can’t wait for readers to sink their teeth into them September 25th!
Leah Jordan Meahl is a northern girl raised in the south. She has many passions including belting showtunes and drinking too much coffee, but none of them come close to the love she has for God and for writing. She loves fiction and devotional writing, but she also writes a blog for the average growing Christian. Her debut novella, The Threshold, was published in 2019, and she’s gearing up to release Pebbles: 31 days of faith-enriching parables. Feel free to connect with her!
When life begins to unravel, as it is guaranteed to do from time to time, what is your response? We have options. We can panic. We can get angry. We can feel sorry for ourselves. We can worry. These are all normal human reactions. We have another choice. We can fight back.
The hard days and tough warfare will come to each of us. What do you do when you are in the trenches, deep in spiritual battle? Our instinct is to give up. Or, fight the wrong battle. Don’t let the physical stuff distract you from the actual battle. Our battles are ultimately spiritual. That’s the real battle.
For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. Ephesians 6:12,
Many years ago, I learned how to fight spiritually. The weapons of this type of warfare are not physical, yet they are more powerful than a nuclear bomb. Here is a basic breakdown of what I do when I’m fighting back.
My Battle Plan
The best way to utilize this strategy is to silence your phone. Stay off social media, t.v., and the internet. Shut everything off. Put all your energy into God. You must press in to Him. There are four weapons that I apply simultaneously in the fight.
It’s time to put on your favorite worship music. If you don’t have any, it’s easy to look some up online and let it play. You may not feel like worshipping God, but in no time you will be uplifted. You will begin to focus on God, and not on your problem.
Sing a new song to the Lord;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to Yahweh, praise His name;
proclaim His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonderful works among all peoples. Psalm 96:1-3
Pour out your heart to God. No half hearted prayers. Tell Him everything. He already knows anyway. Just be honest and respectful. We can come to God freely because of Jesus. So come. Pray like you have never prayed before. If you can’t find the words then write out a simple prayer. Ask at least one person to intercede for you if possible. Also, be quiet before the Lord in your prayer time, and ask Him what He wants to tell you.
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4: 6-7
God’s Word is a lamp, a treasure, the truth, and it’s alive. The word of God is a sword. It’s our ultimate weapon. The Word is how you are going to cut through the lies. Keep your Bible open, and bookmark verses that speak to your situation. If you’re lacking faith, then look up every verse on faith. If you need healing, look up verses on healing. If you’re worrying, look up those verses. You get the idea. Say those verses out loud. Read them 100 times if necessary. You can also write them on note cards and place them all around your home.
Take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is God’s word.
I know it is difficult to go without food. Only fast if you are healthy, and please ask your doctor if you have any concerns. Fasting is throughout the Old and New Testament.
There are all kinds of views on what to fast. Some will just skip one meal a day, others will go without food the entire day or a few days. Some “fast” from social media, or other non-food types of enjoyment. I go without food. I still drink coffee in the morning and then just water the rest of the day. That may not work for everyone. I’m not an expert on fasting.
What’s the point of a fast? It focuses our minds and bodies on Jesus. Fasting and praying go together. When I feel hungry I use that as a reminder to pray. I can honestly say that the spiritual results from fasting are incredible. I hear God’s voice much more clear. I get a new, Godly perspective. I feel closer to Him.
So we fasted and pleaded with our God about this, and He granted our request.
That’s the very basic breakdown of how I fight my battles. God is the thread through all four components. Worship, prayer, the word, and fasting point to God. It takes the focus off of our trial, and on to God. When we place our problems into God’s mighty hands, He can do what we cannot. That is powerful. My battle plan is not to just get what I want. It changes my heart, and my mind. It strengthens my faith. I begin to ask God what He wants, and I plead for His will not my own.
If you are battling today, please leave me your prayer request. We are to bear one another’s burdens.
Love you all,
All scripture is from the Holman Christian Standard Bible © 2009
Photo by Maria Pop on Pexels.com
I love to sit on the patio and read my Bible in the morning. I feel a little closer to God when I’m outside. The other day, something on the pool noodle caught my eye. It was a medium size brown spot that I thought was a butterfly. A closer looked revealed this adorable tiny frog.
This little guy looked so happy just chilling on the pool noodle. I had to get a picture. I followed the flow of the water, and I think I scared him. Mr. Frog, that’s his name now, jumped from the pool noodle and quickly swam away. He tried to climb the tile with no success. He kept clawing, and grabbing the side, but he couldn’t get out of the pool.
As I watched Mr. Frog struggling, I recognized myself. I have gone in waters I should not have. Flailing, sinking, and trying to claw my way out of situations that I put myself in. If only I had just listened to God.
Have you ever ignored something God told you NOT to do? Do not go to that place. Or, do not get involved with that person, or do not get involved in that deal. Or, do not spend that money, or a million other things. We want what we want.
We tell God, I’m fine on this fake log. I’m just relaxing in this calm water. Nothing is going to happen. What we are really saying to God is, I know better than you do. I really want this and I deserve this.
Then the water changes, and the foam log flips. We are sinking fast, so we swim like crazy to the side of the pool, but our efforts are in vain. We just keep slipping deeper. Every attempt we make to fix our problem makes it worse. We are stuck.
God is our rescuer. He is not watching us from the side shaking His head, or pointing a finger at us. God is in the rescue business. He is waiting with open arms, and an extended hand to help us. We just need to reach out and ask for His help. God will never turn us away.
He will respond to the prayer of the destitute;
he will not despise their plea.
Psalm 102:17 NIV
It does not matter if we made the bad choice. God’s love for us is beyond any mistake. God’s not going to give up on us, or turn us away. He knows our heart, and He knows what we need. Yes, there will be natural consequences from our choices, but God will walk us through whatever we have to face. He will make a way.
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?”
Hebrews 13:6 NIV
Do you need God to rescue you? Are you in a jam? A pickle? Up against a wall? God does some of His best work in impossible situations. Just ask Him to help you. Be patient. Trust His timing and trust His answer. God is faithful.
Love you all,
If you need prayer please go to my contact page.
P.S. I rescued Mr. Frog. No frogs were harmed in the writing of this post.
I had a moment the other day. A moment of feeling less than. I usually try to keep my eyes on God, and just focus on what is in front of me. In my weakness, I looked around and saw everything that I wasn’t. Lord, how am I going to do what you’ve called me to do? I don’t have some huge sphere of influence. I don’t have thousands or millions of followers. I will never be that. My gifts are small.
Immediately the Holy Spirit said, “The Widow’s Offering”. I knew exactly what that meant. Right away I pictured a woman with two coins in her hand giving her small offering. This is not a Bible story I have read recently. I’ve never even given it much thought until now.
The Widow’s Offering
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Mark 12:41-44, NIV
When Jesus was watching all the people leave their temple offerings, He knew each person’s heart. Jesus knew how much money each one gave and why. Jesus noticed what no one else did. While everyone was probably looking at the wealthy throw their money into the temple treasury, Jesus noticed the widow.
The wealthy were impressive with their large amounts of money being deposited. It made a lot of noise as it went into the box, and made them look great. But Jesus paid close attention to the widow, not to the wealthy. That does not mean the wealthy do not matter. In that instance the widow stood out. Her offering was everything she had. When the widow dropped those two coins in, only Jesus noticed.
Because Jesus knew what she gave and He knew her heart. She was poor and a widow. That’s a double whammy in that world. Yet, with everything against her, the widow gave her two small coins. The widow had great faith, so much so that Jesus said, “she put more in the treasury than all the others.”
God always sees what we do not. The widow’s tiny offering was counted as more than all the others. She gave sacrificially, out of love. The wealthy were giving out of ease and obligation. It was no real sacrifice to throw in large amounts of money.
The widow had big faith. She could have easily held on to her last two coins, but she didn’t. She gave her best. The widow gave it all to God. She trusted God to take her insignificant offering and do something great with it.
I want the faith of the widow. So many times I take my two small coins, shine them up, and hand them to Jesus. He never turns them away. Then there are days and moments, like I had the other day, where I doubt myself. I doubt that God can use my tiny offerings of my writing, my prayers, my time. I drop my coins in thinking they are unnoticed.
What I consider a meager gift is seen as a treasure in God’s eyes. He knows our motives. He knows our hearts. He also knows what abilities, and resources we’ve got. He gives to each of us differently. My best for God may look completely different than yours.
The widow was a woman in need, yet she gave God everything. I want to give God my best. No matter how small that may look. No matter if all I’ve got to give Him is two small coins. I want to give God my best when it’s all I have left.
God will take what looks like not enough and make something beautiful.
Love you all,
Thank you that you see things we cannot. Help us all to give you the best of our time, our money, our gifts and talents. May we glorify you in all that we do. Take our best, even if it’s two small coins and make it something great in your Kingdom.
Photo by Javon Swaby on Pexels.com