Showing posts with label Christianity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christianity. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

15. From Persecuting Non-Believer to Full-Bore Preacher! - "Living in Light" Series

The story of the Apostle Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) may be one of the most incredible human transformations ever. You take a strict Jewish Pharisee that believed in the slaughtering of Christians, that turned into the most dedicated, powerful missionary of the Christian faith, let me tell you, you've got something special.

He used to call himself, "the best Pharisee ever" (Philippians 3:4–6; Galatians 1:13–14), a self-proclaimed, egotistical title. However, after his encounter with Christ, he went on to say later, that he was "the best follower of Christ ever" (2 Corinthians 11:22–3; 1 Corinthians 15:9–10) all now by God's glory and grace.

Perhaps your following of Christ was similar to Paul's. Did a miraculous event cause you to go from not really believing in Christ to being a tried and true, full-bore believer?

As written in Galatians 1:15-16, "But when God, who had chosen me and set me apart before I was born, and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him..."

What Paul goes on to say, is that it was a Divine Intervention that caused him to become a believer. It was more than just studying the Gospel or even the prior Apostles' influence that caused him to be one. It was a spectacular encounter with Christ that changed his perception, thus leading him to be one of the most awesome followers ever.

So awesome, that in fact, Paul wrote HALF of the New Testament! HALF!!

This goes to show you that God can and usually will use the most "unexpected" and "uncommon" people to work out His glory and His plan for the world.

Is this you? Are or were you an "unexpected" follower? Were you raised with another religion that expected you to always stay that religion? Was your experience that transformed you an "uncommon" experience? 

Paul was raised under the strict Mosaic Law and under the more strict Law of the Pharisees, believing that Christians should be stoned to death and wiped off the face of the earth. But once he literally saw the light he knew what his true path was and how to follow it!

There are people that think they are too far gone for Jesus to forgive them. (Thank you Husband, for this important point!) But what Paul's story teaches us is just the opposite.

Paul was a relentless persecutor of Christians, throwing even women and children in prison for their beliefs. Common "logic" would cause you to think, how could Jesus ever forgive someone like that? But that's just how great Jesus is. He knows our true calling as believers and no one is too far out of His reach.

Do you think you've done too many bad things for Christ to accept you? Do you think you don't deserve God's love?

Paul asked for forgiveness and repented. It's so simple.

God had a plan for you before you were born. He had a plan for Paul and we are blessed to have his words, directions and guidance all given by God's glory. Ask God what His true plan is for you and continually seek His guidance for God will never lead you in the wrong direction.

"God, help me be like Paul and seek to do Your will, walk Your path and live in Your light. For you always know the best way, so I will follow you till the ends of the earth. 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!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

10. How I Became Born Again - "Living in Light" Series

Let's just start by saying I've tried it all. From positive psychology to meditating, to any new-age fad, to "The Secret" and so on. I'm not saying these things "can't work" because they do serve some purpose and did get me through some things.

But... (this is a big but...) when the going got rough, and then got rougher, and ever rougher than that, all those things literally got going.

They couldn't stand up to all the tests, tribulations, pain, suffering and sometimes what felt like pure torture that I was going through. It didn't hold up when I was going through hell, hitting rock bottom or nearly six feet under that.

When my family and I had decided to move halfway across the country mainly for my medical reasons, I thought the move was going to be the answers to all my prayers. I was finally going to get the help I needed from the best of the best.

But after we moved something interesting happened. My medical issues got worse, then worse, then worse than that. I found myself at a complete loss of how to handle it. My physical, mental, emotional and spiritual life was crumbling and there was no amount of "positive thinking" I could do to stop it.

I had always considered myself a Christian. What that meant back then or how I defined that wasn't always so clear. Let's just say I had believed in God and Jesus as the Messiah. Basically, I tried to do my best to be a good person based on my own standards and tried not to hurt others. But it's only until now, I realize that I didn't have a clue about what it meant to be a true Christian and live the life God had meant for me.

It was only until I was at the lowest point of my life that I came to fully surrender. Surrender every old way of thinking, surrender my perceived notions of the world and myself, surrender myself wholly and irrefutably to God in every way, shape and form. That is when He fully came into my heart and I finally began to heal.

Healing is a "dangerous word" when it comes to someone like me who has multiple chronic diseases. You don't hear it often and you'll never hear it come out of a doctor's mouth either. My old way of thinking told myself that I would never heal...

Chronic means forever. There is no way out. It will only get worse.

That is until God showed up, the ultimate Healer. After I fully let Him into my heart, I actually started to get better. What a thought! I was able to get off of highly addictive medications. My pain started to lessen day by day. I've started to actually reverse the damage that had been done to me physically over the course of ten years.

Every day I am truly getting better and better. I am the healthiest that I have ever been before.

It is truly a miracle.

And here's the thing, this is free to anyone. There is an open invitation to be healed. His hand is extended welcoming you to pure and otherworldly joy. First, we have to believe we can be healed by the Almighty, we have to receive Him and simply do His will. This may seem like a lot and we all can feel the desire to be skeptical, but we first have to believe and then we will begin to see. It's not the other way around.

I can honestly say I am finally being healed. Something I thought was completely impossible. But nothing, I repeat nothing, is impossible with God. He has opened my eyes and now I perceive myself, the world and everything in it in a way I never have before. I finally know I have found the path that was there for me all along. I simply had to start walking it.

There will be much more on this subject in future posts! Please subscribe at https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better to get notifications on upcoming posts. Thanks so much for reading & have a wonderful day!

And remember Jo may know better, but God knows best! Listen to Him and He will never lead you astray.