Showing posts with label blessings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blessings. Show all posts

Sunday, April 19, 2020

20. The Brilliance, Beauty, and Blessings of Obedience - "Living in Light" Series

I usually start my blogs off with a more dower, empathetic introduction, and then gradually build it up to the good news, but this time I'm going to start with the good news first! 

The brilliance of obedience has changed every facet of my life for the better. The beauty of obedience is that I now have a close, personal relationship with God who now talks to me regularly and gives me guidance and inspiration that I have never had nor felt before. The blessings from obedience are multiplying dramatically in my life, as I have never felt this happy before! We've truly been taken care of by God's own hand... it's true what the Bible says, that your cup will runneth over! (Psalms 23:5)

Now, with some backstory. I used to define my own perspective on right and wrong based on my experiences. I actually used to use the phrase, "There's no such thing as right or wrong. There's just good or bad." Wow, I could not have been more wrong. It wasn't until I started seeing things through God's eyes that He has very clear definitions of what right and wrong really are.

When the Holy Spirit came upon me last spring, I couldn't understand the voice in my head that was like a broken record telling me all the things that were wrong with the world. Sometimes, it was so intense that I couldn't sleep. A part of me thought I was losing my mind. It wasn't until I heard Billy Graham speak of the conviction of the Holy Spirit that I fully understood what was happening...

I was being called to walk a narrow path. A path of obedience and full bore repentance. To be a faithful servant of God Most High. And now a year later, all the dramatic changes I have made have only increased my happiness, revived my health, and given me blessings beyond measure.

Let me just say we all have our own path. My path might be narrower than most, but it's not more narrow than some. This is not about comparison. This is not about judgment. Comparison and judgment are dangerous things that only open the door to the devil. Just because I am walking a narrow path doesn't mean I'm any better than anyone else. We all have our own walks in life with God and those paths can change, depending on where we are in life. This is your choice and your personal business. It's entirely up to you.

I also want to say that grace is not done by works. (Galatians 2:16.) There is nothing we can do to replace what Jesus did for us on the cross. We can't earn our way into heaven. It is because of our faith in His righteousness that we are even considered for entry into the kingdom of God.

So even though grace is not done by works, I can say, that repentance and obedience can make your life better here on earth. You can experience life in a whole new way as you become a new creature in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17). I can say for sure that my happiness has increased, my life has become more beautiful, and blessings keep pouring into my life like they never have before.
Here are 3 easy tips to help you on your own path...

1. Don't Be Obedient Out of a Sense of Obligation. 

Don't think of it as an "I have to obey all the rules" to be pleasing to God. This can lead to resentment, self-judgment, and self-condemnation. Think of it as, "I love God and Jesus so much that I want to live a life of obedience and repentance. Out of love, I want to show God how much I love Him that I want to follow His rules, guidelines, moral standards, knowledge of His will, and His purposes. To show Jesus how much I love Him, I want to exhibit admirable character, moral courage, and personal integrity. Because Jesus died for me and took the punishment that I deserve because He loves me, I want to follow His divine guidance according to His word and live up to the highest standard.

In summary, do it out of love for God. (Deuteronomy 6:5).
Did you pick up on me constantly using the phrase, "I want to," versus "I have to"?

This makes obedience so much easier. When we do it out of a place of love, it becomes less difficult. Remember, God is like our real father...

For example, when we're little children, we want to be pleasing to our dad. We want him to be proud of us. We want to obey his rules so he will be happy because when Daddy was happy, we were happy. We don't want to make him upset or angry with us. We just want to feel his love, bring a smile to his face and warmth to his heart.

With God, it is no different. He is our Supreme Father above all fathers. Let's make God happy by showing Him our constant love for Him above all else. This is the 1st and greatest commandment. (Matthew 22:37). Yep, Jesus said so!

2. Obedience is for Our Benefit, Not to Imprison Us.

I used to think "religion" was a cage. A list of forever long rules that cages us and restrains us. Stops us from having any fun, or makes us feel guilty if we do. That religion is this high standard of perfection that is virtually unattainable. Saying things like, "I'm never going to be as good as Jesus, so what's the point of trying?"

But I've come to realize, Jesus didn't come to bring us religion. He came to bring us a relationship. One where we don't have to be perfect to be acceptable to God because Jesus already fulfilled our perfection by living a life free of sin. Beating ourselves to death with rules and regulations will not give us the life that Jesus died to give us. It is for that purpose, that He came to free us from all the man-made religious laws, obligations and rules that kept us in bondage so now we can live in faith, striving to do our best, because we know God will do the rest. (Galatians 3:23-26)...
So instead of thinking of it as a cage of rules and restraints, think of it as protection...


Protection of our minds, hearts, souls, and bodies. 

To guard ourselves against the evils of this world. 

To turn away from sin which DOES US HARM

To not subject ourselves to the ways of the world which CAN hurt us. 

Because of His love for us, God's terms are designed to keep us safe.

Remember, We have a brilliant Creator who gave us His commandments and terms for our benefit. We may not see the point of everything He asks/tells us to do right away. We may not understand why He asks/tells us to do something. But our faith has to be bigger than our understanding! If we truly do trust God with our entire being, we can obey God because we know for certain, He will work out everything for our good. Everything! (Romans 8:28.)
 3. Strive to Be Like Jesus.

I love the saying, "Perfect makes the practice." Instead of using the old adage, "Practice makes perfect," think of it as Jesus is already perfect, so as far as how God sees us, in Jesus through faith, we are already seen as perfect and righteous. (Romans 3:22).
Remember the popular phrase, What Would Jesus Do? As believers, it is clear that His perfection creates our practice. We must practice being like Him because His high standard is the epitome of how we should act. His perfection can inspire us to live a life as closely aligned with Him as possible. Because that's what it's all about. As true followers, we should live by His example. When Jesus comes to live inside your heart, you'll want to do everything you can to honor Him because you love and appreciate Him. Again, don't think of it as "have to", think of it as want to.

The scriptures say that the law is now written on our hearts. (Romans 2:15). And that we can use the Holy Spirit to discern right from wrong, good from evil. (I do plan on delving deeper into this issue on a future post.) With that being said, I also encourage you to read the Bible that clearly distinguishes right from wrong and good from evil, and explains all of God's preferences on how we are supposed to live. "Let us not lean on our own understanding," but follow the Word of God. (Proverbs 3:5-6).
*One good tip to remember is that when you think the Holy Spirit is truly talking to you, make sure that nothing it says completely contradicts the Word of God. This is how you know for sure that it is the Holy Spirit that's talking to you, and that it is not coming from the enemy, the devil, the adversary.*

We have a brilliant Creator. One that has designed his Word to be the perfect way for us to live our lives. We have a beautiful Father. One that wants us to live a beautiful life, free of the ugliness, sins, and evils of the world. We have a generous God, one that wants to shower us with blessings and provide us with our every need.

When we obey God, it shows Him how much we love and appreciate Him.

Living in God's light, while doing our best to repent and be obedient, can make our lives better, purely, truly, and entirely. Let's try to do our best each and every day. As Revelation says, "Jesus is coming soon!" (Revelation 22:20). Better now, than never!

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, April 1, 2020

19. You Are So Blessed - "Living in Light" Series

It's easy to think of all we don't have at times like these. We may not have employment right now. We may not have toilet paper right now! We may not have our favorite restaurants, social venues, or just our usual day to day activities that keep us going in our normal lives. We could be in total isolation from our family and friends, separate from our support circle. And even worse, battling this virus head-on, fighting for our lives.

As COVID-19 rages on, it can wear on us mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, and even spiritually. But with Christ, there is always hope...

So first, let's say a prayer for those who are genuinely suffering: "Dear Father, we pray that you provide health and healing to all those with COVID-19. Please provide them with everything they need in such critical times. We know You can heal the sick, comfort the mourning, and deliver the suffering into peace and safety. So blessed are You, Lord, to give us Your blessings when we need them most, which we are so grateful for. In the name of Your son, Yeshua (Jesus), our faithful Messiah, Amen."

Focusing on everything we don't have right now can leave us feeling helpless, vulnerable, insecure, anxious, stressed, and downright scared. However, with the special power of gratitude, we can focus on all we do have. Blessings are sometimes the smallest things around us that we tend to ignore. Sometimes even the things we usually take for granted. If you do have toilet paper right now, consider yourself blessed!

I think hard times can help us evaluate our lives in ways we're not used to. They can help us identify our true priorities more clearly. We can start to recognize what we truly like about our lives, and even delve deeper into the things we want to change. I encourage you to use this time to think about what it is you really want in life. It may be the perfect time to make some positive changes.
1. Blessed are those who know what they have and are grateful for it. 

I encourage you to focus on all the things you do have at the moment. Especially blessed are all those that still have their health. Our health is so important to our lives since we cannot fulfill our destinies without it. More than ever, stay aware to protect yourself and others. Use wisdom and discernment to make the best possible choices for your health in this critical time.

Let's just say, if you have a roof over your head and food on your table, you are so blessed. This is the time to appreciate our basic needs to the fullest. Constantly look for things that you can be grateful for. Make a list if need be. It's amazing how through the perspective of gratitude, our whole world can change for the better.
2. Blessed are those who are always provided for.

God blesses us in good times and in bad. Sometimes I'm amazed by how well He has taken care of me and my family in our most desperate times. Somehow, someway, we were always provided for through the poorest of times. I'm reminded that in the wilderness, God always provided for the Israelites. It may not have always been what they "wanted" by it was always what they needed.

Complaining may be a common trap in these times. Constantly thinking of all we don't have and venting about what we want. Whenever I feel a complaint coming on or if one dares to escape my mouth, I try to replace it instantly with (a) gratitude directly related to the exact issue. 

For instance, I could say, "I didn't get a good night's sleep, but I'm grateful for the sleep I did get," or, "They didn't have any apples at the supermarket, but they did have bananas." Then thank God for bananas! Constantly replace your complaints with gratitude. It will change your perspective toward the positive regardless of your circumstances. 

*Remember, the Israelites' journey through the wilderness would have been a lot easier if they had stopped complaining.* 
3. Blessed are the believers in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

It makes God so happy when we thank Him for all that we have. And we are so blessed to have God in our lives. It makes life so much easier. Remember to thank God for anything and everything, and you can just feel the love pour into your heart. Sometimes we can just blurt out, "Thank God!" without actually thinking about it, but I encourage you to take the time to actually thank God, wholly and specifically for all the blessings He has given you. It honors Him and shows Him that you acknowledge His specific blessings that only He has added to your life. 

With God as our strength, we were built for hard times. It doesn't mean that we truly understand everything that's going on all of the time, but we can trust in God that He knows, He is in control, and we don't have to worry. If you've read the end of the Bible, you know - it all turns out just fine.
4. Blessed are the ones who bless others.

It's very important to be kind to one another in difficult times. We can choose to bless others in need. Let people know that you're there for them. Just offering a helping hand can be such a blessing, so they know that they have help and support just in case they need it. 

A good way to get ourselves off our minds is to help others. It's easy to get locked in our own minds and in our own worlds. Giving to someone else can be so rewarding as it helps our perspective to recognize our bountiful blessings to such an extent that WE can be a blessing to others. Being selfless when people need our help the most will not be forgotten by God. 

I truly hope this blog is a blessing to you. 

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!