Showing posts with label Gospel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gospel. 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!

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!