Showing posts with label Christian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian. Show all posts

Sunday, July 19, 2020

24. Identifying & Defeating Demonic Attacks - "Living in Light" Series

Some of us think demonic attacks are like a scene from The Exorcist. But let me tell you, the majority of demons that live among us, are far more sophisticated and subtle. If you're not fully aware and understand how these extremely intelligent demons work, you could be getting attacked a lot more than you think. I'm not saying that full-bore demon possessions don't exist, they do, and I've seen plenty of real exorcisms to prove that fact. But what I hope to make you aware of, is that demonic attacks can happen to all of us. We just need to learn how to identify them and use the power of God through Jesus Christ to defeat them. 
The devil and his cohorts love to take advantage of us when you're most vulnerable. Whether you're tired, sick, stressed, in pain, or desperate, you name the vulnerability, they will take advantage of it. Sometimes it seems like 3 a.m. is their favorite time of night. They do this on purpose to catch us at our most weak. It's when we're not aware and alert, that they can pounce upon us. And passionate Christians, the children of God, are some of their favorite prey.

Identifying demonic attacks are key in defeating them. If we don't know when they're happening, it's impossible for us to rebuke them. 

Here are 3 main examples of demonic attacks from these extremely clever demons...

1. Negative Thought Bombardment.

Has your mind ever raced with negative thoughts? Has your train of thoughts pulled in one negative thing after another until the train went off a cliff? Were there times when no matter what you tried to do, you couldn't steer your mind back to a positive mindset? Well, if you're human, you probably answered yes to one of these. 

This is a subtle and sophisticated way we can be attacked. These demons get inside our heads where it seems impossible to get them out. When a rampant battle of negative thoughts bombards us, it's extremely difficult to get them to stop. These demons like to remind us of our painful pasts, every mistake we've ever made, and fill us with negative thoughts about ourselves, and even other people, in any way they can. 

They want to plague us with worry, doubt, and fear. So we will dread the unknown, doubt God's presence over our lives, and fear the future with a "terrified" mindset. They want to tell us lies, whispering bad things to us, and using those lies against us. If you haven't read my blog What I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me (Sooner) I recommend it to learn how to differentiate the devil's lies from God's Truth.
How to defeat this attack: Our best defense against these demonic attacks is the Word of God. Citing simple scriptures like, "I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ, (Romans 3:22)" and "In Jesus' name, I rebuke you, Satan, (Zechariah 3:2)" are two of the most powerful things we can say to get them to run fast. If you don't know these two scriptures yet, memorize them. So that when these attacks come forth, you'll be ready for them. If you have to, write them down and keep them near you or on your phone. You'll be amazed at the results! 

2. Overwhelming Negative Feelings.

Depression and anxiety are two of the devil's favorite poisons. I'm not saying that physical-chemical imbalances don't exist, they absolutely do. And making sure we're as healthy as can be is crucial in spiritual warfare. However, I do believe that when an overwhelming presence of depression and anxiety befall us, especially when they come out of nowhere, can very much be the presence of the demonic. 

This is why we need to be extremely careful about what we expose ourselves to. If you haven't read my blog Cut Out the Darkness yet, I highly recommend it. Sometimes what we watch. listen and pay attention can lead us on a downward trajectory that the devil can take advantage of. Anything that makes you feel sad, afraid, worried, jealous, or dispairing, can be used by the devil to attack you. Be very careful about what you expose yourself to. 

Like I love to say, "Pay attention to what you pay attention to!"

Some of us think we can't control how we feel, but that's simply not true. We can. If we make the right decisions that align with God's Word, our feelings will catch up with our correct decisions and thinking. If we live like the rest of the world, exposing ourselves to the sin that controls the news and social media, we only become a bigger target for demons to creep in and take us over. 

How to defeat this attack: Repeat, "My God is on the throne. He is bigger than anything I'm feeling at the moment and anything that is happening right now. He is in complete control. In Jesus' name, I rebuke you Satan, for it is written, I know you are already defeated." (John 16:33). 

God is greater than our hearts and our feelings, He knows everything, and is above everything. (1 John 3:19-20). 

3. Close & Personal Attacks.

The devil and his minions love to attack our close and personal relationships. Anything to divide us and cause strife in our relationships with the people we love most. He loves it when we fight with each other, especially over right and wrong, sometimes even using scripture to divide us even more. The devil knows the Bible, and he knows it well. That's why we need to make sure that we know the Bible just as well to fight back against him and put him in his place. 

When Jesus was tempted for 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness, the devil threw everything he had at the Messiah. And what did Jesus do? He constantly fought back using scripture as His best defense, saying, "It is written..." over and over again to counter the devil's attacks. This is very important for us as believers to understand. This is how Jesus taught us how to defeat the devil. 
The devil would have especially loved it if the Son would have separated Himself from the Father. He would have loved to create the biggest division of all time. But nothing could separate Jesus from God. The love they have for each other is the greatest love of all. This may seem like an extreme example, especially when referring to us in our human relationships. But understand this, the devil would love to divide and take away the people who you most love. 

Spoiler alert: HE HATES YOU. He will use anything and everything to defeat you. Don't fall into his trap.
How to defeat this attack: Tell your loved one, "Even though we may disagree on this issue, I love you and I forgive us for our fighting, disagreements, and quarreling. No disagreement will ever separate my love for you. Just as God loves us unconditionally, I will love you." (1 Peter 4:8).

Side note, I'm not saying that staying in an abusive relationship is what God wants. Of course not. However, the majority of the time when we're dealing with our regular close family and friends, love and forgiveness are paramount. Forgiveness is the ultimate act of love. And it gives the devil a black eye. Nothing defeats him like love and forgiveness do. The next time you fight with someone, remember how much you love them and ask yourself, is this disagreement worth it? Chances are, it isn't. 
Now that you know 3 ways you can be demonically attacked, I hope they will be easier to identify and defeat. Above all, let's love and forgive each other so the devil and his demons can't take root. Beware of strong, oppressive feelings that drag you down so the devil can take advantage. Be conscious of your thoughts, investigate every thought to make sure it's not coming from the Prince of Lies. Then, replace the devil's lies with God's truth. When you know who you are in Christ and remind him of it, the devil will flee from you. 
Our best defense is the Word of God. If all else fails... pray, and pray hard. Pray: God, please take these demons out of me, known and unknown. Make the devil shut up and leave me alone. In Jesus' name, Amen. When my own demons were too strong for me to defeat, God was the only One who could take them out. Believe that God can do anything with your whole heart. First, you believe, and then second, you see. This is the pinnacle of our faith

And remember Jo may know better, but God knows best. Follow Him and He will never lead you astray. If you enjoyed this please remember to subscribe here: https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better for free notifications on each new post! You can follow on Instagram & Facebook too!

Feel free to share with your friends & family! Thanks for reading & have a wonderful day!

Special thanks to YouVersion for scriptures and links!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

23. Living a Spirit-Led Life - "Living in Light" Series

The Holy Spirit is our Guide and our Teacher. It was given to us by Jesus Christ to convict us of our sins and teach us how to be a true follower of Jesus, in every sense of the Word (pun intended). It was given to us to lead us on a Spirit-led journey, give us godly direction, and the grace to live a correct moral life full of love, joy, and peace.
But how do we hear from the Holy Spirit? How do we know it's the Holy Spirit speaking to us, and not just ourselves, or something else? How do we know we are being Spirit-led, instead of self-led?

The Holy Spirit can talk to you in many different ways. Some people say they hear It as a still small voice. Others say the voice might sound like themselves or someone familiar. Others say they are spoken to in signs, or dreams and visions. I do know that God speaks to every one of us in a unique way. He has a truly specialized way of speaking to us individually. This is what makes your relationship with God special. No two people hear from Him in exactly the same way. 

The most important thing to remember is that the Holy Spirit must align with the Word of God. If a voice is speaking to you that does not align with God's Word, then it is not the Holy Spirit that's speaking to you. This is why reading the Bible and knowing God's moral law is of utmost importance in recognizing the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit can only speak Truth because it is Truth.

If a voice is speaking to you that contradicts God's Word, it is coming from the devil. And even possibly coming from yourself, because you've been believing the devil's lies for a very long time. 

I used to believe the devil's lies all of the time. That negative voice that kept telling me I was never good enough. That voice that tempted me to indulge in whatever would make my flesh feel better. Or would seduce me constantly with the external validation of others, relying on people's compliments or comments to make me happy. 

It wasn't until I received the Holy Spirit after being born again, that I began hearing a different voice entirely. A voice that completely contradicted the devil's lies. The Holy Spirit told me I am good enough, and have always been good enough because of my right standing with Jesus Christ. A voice that led me to do what is right, not whatever made me feel good in any given moment. A voice that validated me beyond measure of whatever a human's compliment that may have only temporarily filled me with pleasure, but was always short-lived.  

The devil's lies only leave us wanting more, never feeling fully satisfied, and relying on the acts of others for our happiness. This simply does not work. However, the Holy Spirit fills us with abundancecompletely satiates us, and has us only relying on God's validation, because God's validation is the only thing that matters.
1. Receiving the Holy Spirit's Conviction.

I pray constantly for the conviction of the Holy Spirit to lead me on the right path, the narrow path, so I can become more like Christ as I follow Him. 

Let's be clear, conviction comes from the Holy Spirit, only condemnation comes from the devil. Conviction is the voice that tells us we made a mistake, but also tells us how to fix it, or gives us the grace to correct it. Condemnation also tells us we made a mistake but wants us to feel guilty about it, wallow in self-unforgiveness, so we can stay in bondage to sin. I talk much more about this subject in my previous post: 22. Freedom from Self-Judgment, I highly recommend reading it if you haven't read it yet. 

When we are convicted, it is our job to ask for forgiveness right away, then ask for the Holy Spirit's guidance on how to repent (change) and take the right steps in correcting our offense. We may not get this answer right away, but in my experience, we usually already know what we should have done and it's best to act in the morally correct way in alignment with God's Word.

Example: You know when you're exhausted after coming out of the grocery store, and you go to put your cart away, and there's no cart rack insight? Now your flesh might tell you that's okay to prop it up next to a lamppost, or in a garden median, or simply leave it in the parking lot, but you know deep down you should walk your cart all the way back up to in front of the store or where you originally got it from?

Whether you realize it or not, that's the Holy Spirit talking to you. It's not going to tell you to take the easy route and do whatever feels good at the moment. It's going to tell you to do what's right even if you don't feel like it! Usually, doing the right thing takes more work than doing the wrong thing. 

The devil wants us to be lazy, with a careless "whatever" attitude, but the Holy Spirit wants us to endure and perhaps even suffer for what is right, noble, and honorable because that's what Jesus would do. Pay attention to that voice that always says, "Do the right thing," that's the Holy Spirit! 

2. Do the Right Thing, Not the "Easy" Thing.

I'm telling you, I work sometimes in the grocery store parking lot. Not only putting my own cart away but putting other people's carts away too. Especially if I see a mother with two toddlers and a full pregnant belly! The Holy Spirit will convict me on the spot! But the peace and joy I get after putting her cart away, I'll tell you, it's second to none. I know for a fact that God is very happy with me at that moment. It is so worth it! 

That's why I want the conviction of the Holy Spirit because it makes my life better! It's not just a long list of rules and regulations that I need to be scolded with constantly, in fact, it is a liberation from my sins that releases unimaginable joy and peace that I have never known before. When you simply do what is right, your heart gets filled with God's love and He validates, appreciates, and even rewards you for your good behavior.
To have a truly Spirit-led journey, we must surrender ourselves to doing what's right. This is not always easy, but it is always worth it. And as we further our walk with Jesus, the Holy Spirit becomes louder and clearer in such a way that we can clearly distinguish who is really talking to us in our heads. And the narrower your path becomes, the more the Holy Spirit will speak to you!

The devil wants us to take the easy way so it keeps us dependent on him. The Holy Spirit wants us to completely depend on God. When we lean "not on our own understanding" and trust what the Holy Spirit is telling us, it will never lead us astray. (Proverbs 3:5).

3. Always Let the Spirit Be Your Guide. 

We have a lot of voices in our heads. Whether it's God, the devil, ourselves, and even other people. Constantly talking to us, even going to war in our minds that can steal our peace, and act out of our emotions. And emotions, are a tricky, tricky, thing. They are fickle, and can drastically change from one moment to the next. 

I'm not saying that emotions are always a bad thing, God wouldn't have given them to us if He didn't want us to feel things. But acting out of our emotions can be dangerous. When we only act about how we feel in any given circumstance, it does not mean we are making the right choices. In fact, the devil wants us to stay trapped in how we feel, giving way to our feelings in hopes we won't do what God asks us to do. 

That's why we need to clearly identify and recognize the Holy Spirit's voice and guidance. This is not always an easy thing to do. The devil is clever, and the longer I walk with God, the more clever the devil has become. He likes to use half-truths (John 8:44) sometimes to lead us astray. He'll say, "You're so tired today, you poor thing, don't do what you promised, take a nap instead." Clever, right? 

The truth is you may be tired, exhausted, and beyond worn out, but you know deep in your spirit, you should do as you promised, because that's the right thing to do. The devil likes to sometimes start with "the truth" then close the thought with a lie to reel us in. He wants us to surrender to our emotions and discard the real voice of truth, the Holy Spirit, that always knows better.
This is a constant learning journey, one where we will live and we will learn. When we are Spirit-led instead of self-led, we can take the proper moral steps and exhibit correct behavior, making our best-informed decisions possible. This does not mean we will always get the answers we want, nor does it mean it will make others happy. But that is the true essence of understanding the Holy Spirit! 

Sometimes we're told to do something we don't want to do. It's not always comfortable, easy, or what we feel like doing. And sometimes, our decisions won't make others happy. But doing what we feel like, and living our lives to please others, is not a Spirit-led life. (Acts 5:29). 

A Spirit-led life is one that's pleasing to God. His is the only opinion that should matter because it's the Truth.
Obeying the Holy Spirit from the depths of your heart will give you joy and peace. When you want to obey because of your profound love for God, you will feel what true love is

When you live your life according to the Holy Spirit's guidance, He will comfort you, provide for you, and nourish your true soul in a way no one else, and nothing else, can.

When we do what's right, God will reward us, if not just here on earth, but in heaven. Stockpile your rewards in heaven, for life here, is short-lived, but heaven will be for eternity. (Matthew 6:20). Would you rather do what you feel like doing now? Or would you rather know that what God can give you is better than anything else? 

Being Spirit-led is a gift from our Messiah. We should honor that gift out of our abounding love and gratitude for what He did for us, is doing for us, and will continue to do for us in the future. We should not obey with a "have to" mentality, we should obey with a "want to" spirit! When we do this, we are passionately saying, "We love You!" Being Spirit-led is the right way to live. Pray for the voice of the Holy Spirit in everything that you do and you will be amazed by the results!

And remember Jo may know better, but God knows best. Follow Him and He will never lead you astray. If you enjoyed this please remember to subscribe here: https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better for free notifications on each new post! You can follow on Instagram & Facebook too!

Feel free to share with your friends & family! Thanks for reading & have a wonderful day!

Friday, May 15, 2020

21. Living Free from Judgment. Part I - "Living in Light" Series

Part 1. Freedom from Judging Others. 

It's really easy to judge other people. We love to point out what we don't like about them, in all sorts of ways. "I don't like what they say," or "I don't like how they act." The problem with this judgmental way of thinking is that we can constantly focus on what's wrong with everyone. This mindset is a trap that will constantly steal our peace. One negative thought can easily lead to another and we can find ourselves in a constant mental war with anyone and everyone.

 

This is what the devil wants. He wants us to focus on what's wrong with everyone else. He is a master distractor, that loves to have us focus on what's wrong with others, instead of what may be wrong with ourselves. He can even use the Word of God to have us constantly fighting with each other. Let's just say the devil will use anything to divide us. Don't fall into this trap.

 

Why is living free of judgment important? Because judgment is a heavy, heavy thing. That voice in our heads that loves to judge everyone and everything can constantly steal our peace, and make us angry, upset, depressed, anxious. You name the negative emotion!

 

This can open the door to the devil. The accuser that loves to judge everyone and everything to "his standards". He is the self-proclaimed "supreme judge" that loves to separate us, divide us, and turn us against each other. This can also lead to anger, hate, and the self-entitled position for us to dole out judgment and the desire to punish each other. This is a burdensome job, a job that is not ours

 

Furthermore, I will explain whose job it really is as we continue on further...

 

1. Are You Perfect?

 

Remember the popular phrase, "Nobody's perfect?" Well, except for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, the phrase is very true. Although we can know right from wrong according to God's Word, we can still make mistakes. Jesus said, "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone," when the adulterous woman was about to be stoned to death. Every person dropped the stone and walked away because they realized they were all sinners too (John 8:7).

 

We're all sinners. We can realize that we're surely not perfect and no one else is either. We all make our own mistakes and don't want to be judged and punished by others for those mistakes. If anyone knows that we're not perfect, it's God. His standards of perfection are so high, everyone besides Jesus, fell short. But God still loves us regardless.

That's why God's Word is so helpful when it comes to how we think and treat others. When we realize we're not perfect, we're less likely to dole out judgment upon other people. We can still love others given their flaws and mistakes. If God, the Holy of Holies, can do this for us, we can surely do it for them. 

 

In Matthew 7:3-5, Jesus goes on to say, "Why do you look at the [insignificant] speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice and acknowledge the [egregious] log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me get the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite (play-actor, pretender), first get the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye."

 

We can be so quick to judge, criticize, ridicule, and opinionate about what others do wrong. But how often do we examine our own thoughts and behaviors? 

 

*Here's a tip that really helps me

Every time I find myself judging someone, 

I turn it back around on myself. 

I call it "turning the mirror around

and I look at my own actions, thoughts, and behaviors

I ask myself, "Do I do that?

Then dig deeper, "Do I do that in any way, shape, or form?

and even, "Have I done that in the past?"

And, "How would God want me to treat others

given that I may have made the same/similar mistakes?"*

 

We can take these opportunities when we want to judge others, to examine ourselves instead. Ask yourself the above questions and truly think about what you have said or done. We will explore much more on this topic in the next blog!

 

I love what Joyce Meyer says, "The less you judge, the more peace you'll have." Ain't that the truth? Judgment is a heavy burden to bear. To constantly have to judge everything someone does or says is mentally, emotionally, even spiritually taxing. If we give ourselves that job, we'll never have a day off! So...

 

2. Who's the True Judge?

 

The only true judge of this world is God. The truth is, we never have enough information to judge anyone fully. We don't know a whole person's heart like God does. We are not the moral authority. Only God is the moral authority. We don't know everything that's going on in a person's life. We don't know everything that they've been through either. Only God knows everything.

 

So leave the judging up to God. He knows better than all of us. Let God take care of it. Our God is a God of justice (Psalm 50:6). He will serve out His punishment that will perfectly match the crime. Even if we feel offended by something someone else does to us, God will take care of it. Personally, this way of thinking gives me so much peace. 

 

Let go and let God--this saying never gets old!

3. Can You Forgive Them, For They Know Not What They Do?

 

Maybe you're a person that's read the entire Bible and can accurately state what's right or wrong, good or evil, a sin, or a virtue. But the truth is, most people haven't read the entire Bible and just don't know. Before I started this journey, I for sure didn't know half of what I know now. I realize now that others simply don't know certain things, and I can forgive them because I didn't know those things either. 

 

I can forgive others because God has forgiven me. We can, "Forgive those who trespass against us," because God forgives us for our trespasses (Matthew 6:14). If we can learn to treat others the way God treats us, let me tell you, there would be so many fewer problems in our world.

 The Golden Rule is paramount: "Do unto others, as you would have done unto you. (Luke 6:31)." 

 

Let's not let the devil divide us, separate us, and turn us against each other. As believers, we can unite under God's love for us as we learn to love each other. Let God be the judge. We can pray for others' repentance and obedience. We can encourage others to read, learn, and study the Word of God. Let us be the shining example of what God's true love and acceptance really are.

 

 Read Part II. Freedom from Self-Judgment next!


And remember Jo may know better, but God knows best. Follow Him and He will never lead you astray. If you enjoyed this please remember to subscribe here: 
https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better for free notifications on each new post!

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

18. We're Built for Hard - "Living in Light" Series

It's easy to get sucked into the panic, anxiety, and distress of everything that's going on with coronavirus, the markets, and the sheer mayhem right now as we're going through something that has never happened before. In my prior blog, if you haven't read it: 17. Fear Not, learn how to live free of worry, doubts, and fears. But today, I want to talk about how as believers, we are made for times like these.

People are realizing that you can't put your hope in your governments, other people, businesses, etc. and they are right. As much as we'd like to believe in the strength and stability of all these things, that fact is, things are much more fragile and unstable than we'd like to think.

But here's the Good News: As believers, we know that God is on the throne and the battle is the Lord's. Nothing that He allows to happen deviates from His will. We are surrounded by His continuing hedge of protection and we have faith in His master plan for this earth. As believers, we can completely and wholly rely on Him for our safety and security. 

One could ask, can't believers get the virus as well? Of course, they can. But don't think that for one moment that you cannot beat the virus and completely recover from this. This is when we need God the most, who can step in and heal us from the inside out. According to this evening's statistics, over 84,000 have recovered from the virus. The odds are in humanity's favor.
(Side note: Thank you, Armand, for this incredible scripture that is perfectly attuned to these times!)

1. Trust in God no matter what.

Think of all the believers in the Bible. Whether they were crucified, decapitated, tortured, stoned, imprisoned, you name the tragedy, they all endured great difficulties. We are no different. We are anointed for hardships. We are built for hard. Why? Because God knows we can endure all things with His help. How? Let's explore...

The story of Joseph is a good one to remember in times like these. Not only was he thrown into a pit, sold by his own brothers into slavery, then later thrown into prison for a crime he didn't commit, he never lost faith in God's will and put his full trust in Him. And eventually, Joseph was rewarded by becoming second to Pharoah and lived in prosperity for the rest of his days. (Gen. 37-50)

And even with the story of Paul, when he was imprisoned multiple times for his beliefs, endured endless persecution, trials, and tribulations, storms both literal and metaphorical, Paul never stopped trusting God and praying for His will to be done. He put his full faith in God knowing that he did not know the day to day outcomes but trusted Him regardless. (Book of Acts).

These men had otherworldly faith and we need the same. God strengthens the weak. Heals the sick. Comforts the suffering. Provides for the birds who do not sow, but only reap. He lives within us and gives us supernatural strength to get through anything that will befall us. That is how we can endure great difficulties.
2. God gives us supernatural strength.

I think another reason that believers in the Bible went through so much struggle, was to provide us with great examples of what to do when things get hard. God doesn't say we will never go through troubles, but that He will give us the strength and grace to get through any troubles. Paul even said to rejoice through your troubles and praise God because everything is going according to God's great plan. It's a hard concept to swallow, but every time you face a new struggle, thank the Lord, bless Him, and praise Him first. It will completely change how you face your new obstacle.

"Baruch atah Adonai! Blessed are You, Lord! You are my strength and grace and I can endure any hardship with You!"
I remember being bedridden for 7 months straight. It was one of the most difficult times of my life. I didn't understand why I was going through so much pain for so long with no clear answers from any doctors. This is when I had to surrender myself to God. God is the only reason I could endure all that suffering. And once I did that, it set it all in motion. Two more surgeries later, the doctors were able to find out what was wrong and I finally started to heal.

God will provide the right people to support you, the right doctors, the right help, whatever you need, as long as you trust in Him and use wisdom and discernment guided by the Holy Spirit to make good decisions

One of the most powerful things we can do is surrender to God. Pride has to be tossed out the window. Humility must consume us. Humble yourself before Him and He will take better care of you than you ever could've yourself. He can guide you with His divine foresight, for you to make the best possible choices for your life.

3. Surrender yourself to God.

Believers are built for hard. We are anointed for difficulty. It's not because of our own strength, self-righteousness, and immunity to all hardships, it's because of His strength, righteousness, and the Almighty's reign over all things with His omnipotence and power. That's why and how we are built for hard.

Prayer: Dearest God, we thank you for Your protection, supernatural strength, and Your bountiful providing of our every need. We trust in You, fully and completely, and surrender ourselves to Your will, for we know You work out everything for good. Amen!
And remember Jo may know better, but God knows best. Follow Him and He will never lead you astray. If you enjoyed this please remember to subscribe here: https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better for free notifications on each new post!

Thanks for reading & have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

14. Living the New Life - "Living in Light" Series

For as Christ is risen, He lifted all sins from Adam and beyond. From the dust Adam rose, then fell into the foul dust (the darkness of Satan's demonic trickery), however, Christ has ended such darkness within us because of His sacrifice, thus a bite to His heel will be no match for the Lake of Fire. Christ Almighty, the Savior, the divine Messiah, will get the last bite, and then us believers will live in the everlasting light.

- Inspired by 2 Corinthians by JoAnn A. Mears

It's so important that we understand who we are in Christ. As believers, we will be judged for our beliefs. We may even get cut off from friends and family. I have acknowledged, that once I became of full-bore Born Again Christian writer, I would lose followers. But I'm okay with that! I really am! Jesus lost followers too. What I'm doing might not be considered "on-trend" or "popular" but that doesn't concern me. It never has. I've always tried to stay as original as possible and create unique content.

But what about you? Are you having a hard time defending your faith?

Remember these words: "I will never leave nor forsake you." -  Deut. 31:8, Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5

In Deuteronomy, it adds that we should not be afraid or discouraged. This is easier said than done, just like a lot of things. But I'm learning that when you start walking the path, your strength and confidence grows. It's like the Holy Spirit is a constant presence in your life so you don't feel alone, like an outsider or an outcast. On the contrary, you're a part of the Jesus club now! You can feel His presence within you.

People may want to judge us because they think we are the self-proclaimed "judges" of right and wrong. Although I can't speak for all Christians, but the Bible clearly states, "Judge not, lest you be judged." - Matthew 7:1.

I will admit to you that as a "newborn baby Christian" at first, I did have problems with judging other Christians. Especially people who would say that they're Christians, but don't act like "Christians" however we choose to define that. But I quickly came to the realization that I am not the Judge of this world. I have no place passing judgment on others.

And now I'm extremely careful about every "judgey" thought that enters my mind. I quickly, like a mirror, turn it back on myself. I ask myself, "Have I done this? Or am I doing it now?" and use wisdom and discernment to examine my own inner and outer life. I realized that before I started walking a narrower path, people could have said the same thing about me! "Well, she calls herself a Christian, so who does she think she is?"

Now I know who I am. I am the righteousness of God in Christ. Amen! And you can be TOO.

In 2 Corinthians 7:4 (TPT) it says, "With an open heart let me freely say how very proud I am of you. In fact, when I think of you my heart is greatly encouraged and overwhelmed with joy, despite our many troubles." I love what Paul is saying here about encouragement. As Christians, we should be constantly encouraging each other, not judging each other. And if anybody judges us, Christians or non-believers alike, that's on them, it's not on you!

Judging other people steals our peace. We live in a world consumed by the judgment of others. Like in social media, at first glance of a picture or statement, we decide in seconds, "Do I like this post? Am I angry at this post? Am I sad about this post?" or better yet, leave a comment, "This is ugly," or "This is wrong because..." Judgment is a hard thing to escape!

But here's the Good News (Gospel), in Ephesians 2:15, "When His body died on the cross, Christ took away the power of the Mosaic laws and rules (and proclaimed condemnation). In that way, He made the two groups join together as one new group of people. As a result, He caused them to have peace," and in Romans 8:1, "Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

It's not our place to judge or condemn for God wants us to have peace. He wants us to focus on ourselves so we can live our best lives and simply obey Him because we love Him.

Tell hate, judgment, and condemnation to get out of here! You are living a new life in Christ full of love, happiness, and peace. No one can take that away from you.

Like in Colossians 2:12, "When they baptized you, it was like God buried you with Christ. And God also raised you to a new life with Christ. You believed that God has great power to do that. You believed that God raised Jesus to life after He died. Because you believed, God raised you to have a new life."

We get to live a new life free of criticism! And what a great freedom that is! I encourage you to examine your critical, judgemental thoughts and start anew. It's never too late to cut out the "stinkin' thinkin'" as Joyce Meyer states, and start letting thoughts of love, joy, and peace resonate in your mind. For this, is how we truly live in light!

And remember Jo may know better, but God knows best. Follow Him and He will never lead you astray. If you enjoyed this please remember to subscribe here: https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better for free notifications on each new post!


Thanks for reading & have a wonderful day!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

12. What I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me (Sooner) - "Living in Light" Series

Oh man! If only I had known years ago about what I'm about to share with you. Life would have been so much easier. I would have had more help in times of trouble. I would have had more direction in times of utter confusion. I almost can't believe I didn't know this. 

You know how we all have that little negative voice in our heads? That voice that tells us we're not good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough? That it constantly points out every little flaw, negativity, annoyance or past mistake that we've made? 

Have you ever wondered where this voice comes from? 

Well, my friends, I'm here to tell you. That negative voice you hear is the devil. Satan himself trying to fill your head with constant lies. He loves to poison your thoughts, anything to make you feel less of yourself and other people. He is the prince of lies. And if you let him, he can have constant control of your thoughts, actions, and beliefs. 

"He's been a murderer right from the start! He never stood with the truth, for he's full of nothing by lies - lying is his native tongue. He is the master of deception and the father of lies!" - John 8:44 (TPT)

For a long time, I thought that little negative voice in my head was mine. And sometimes when we hear a lie for long enough, we can believe it is the truth. That's what's so dangerous about the devil. He actually tries to convince us in our minds that we are good for nothing, low down people that can never change, never get better, never be happy. And once we start believing that, it draws us further and further away from God. That is the devil's m.o. So he can have more and more power over us so we stop believing in God completely.

"Be well balanced and always alert, because your enemy, the devil, roams around incessantly, like a roaring lion looking for its prey to devour." - 1 Peter 5:8 (TPT) 

One of the biggest lies I started to believe in was that my chronic conditions would never get better. The devil would constantly remind me about what every doctor has told me, every diagnosis, every time I tried to get better and failed. "You'll never get better. There's a reason why they use the word chronic with you all the time. It's never going to happen. Just give up."

But that's when a miracle stepped in. Last spring when I was born again, a Voice came to me that told me to stop listening to that voice. To not believe a word that he tells me. That He can heal me. That He will heal me. This was God speaking to me.

"Is anything too difficult or too wonderful for the Lord?" - Genesis 18:14 (AMP)

People are cured every single day from what I have. Chronic conditions can actually go away

And so I urge you, question every little thought that comes into your head. Especially when it's a negative one. For if it is, that is the devil speaking to you. 

One vision tactic that I used early on, was to picture myself as a Queen sitting on a throne, and every time a person came into the court with bad news, I would simply say, "Guards take him away!" The person with the bad news represents the devil and the guards are God. And now that I have more knowledge of the Bible, I can quote, "The Lord rebuke you Satan" - Zechariah 3:2, and the bad thoughts will magically disappear. You too can use God's help to get rid of the devil in your mind. 

Every time you hear something bad about yourself in your head, tell the devil to take a hike. 

Begin listening to what God says about you and start believing it... 

"I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it well." - Psalms 139:14

This process takes work. If you're used to your mind and thoughts running rampant on you, you may have the Lord rebuking for you all day long and that's okay! Be on guard always. The mind is a battlefield. Do not let the devil win over you. 

God has a wonderful plan for your life and He wants you to be happy. With His help, you can change. You can even change your thoughts, which will change your beliefs about yourself, which will, in turn, change your actions. You can Live in Light every single day.

And as for me wishing someone had told me this earlier, it's better late than never! It's not too late for you either. God told me Himself! And remember Jo may know better, but God knows best. Follow Him and He will never lead you astray. If you enjoyed this please remember to subscribe here: https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better for notifications on each new post!

Thanks for reading & have a wonderful day!