Showing posts with label scripture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scripture. Show all posts

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!

Sunday, June 14, 2020

22. Living Free from Judgment, Part II - "Living in Light" Series

Part II. Freedom from Self-Judgment

Are you too hard on yourself? Have you ever been accused of being a perfectionist? When you make mistakes, do you beat yourself up? Well, if you're anything like me, the above questions ring too true. Sometimes, I am way too hard on myself. I can nitpick every tiny flaw. And when I do make mistakes, I think, what was I thinking?

But here's some good news, when we know the Word of God, we can stop beating ourselves up, raking ourselves over the coals, and constantly feeling like a disappointment - like nothing we ever do is good enough. This bad way of thinking is called condemnation...  

Condemnation is what the devil uses against ourselves, to persecute and judge our every mistake. He constantly finds and points out our faults. He loves to remind us of everything we've done wrong. He wants to keep us trapped in our guilt. He wants us to feel bad all of the time. 

But God wants just the opposite...
When Jesus died on the cross for us, He set us free from condemnation. He took the punishment we deserved and gave us freedom, forgiveness, and His righteousness by believing in Him as our Lord and Savior - we are saved by grace through faith. 

So STOP punishing yourself for all your mistakes, sins, and trespasses. There's a big difference between condemnation that comes from the devil, versus conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit.

Condemnation is what the devil uses to keep us trapped in our sins, but conviction is what God uses to stop sin. When we do make mistakes, and we will, we are to simply confess our sins to God, ask Him for forgiveness, and then ask for God's help to change, to repent. 

Don't get trapped in the devil's cage of condemnation! 

Here are 3 Things We Can Do to Help Us Live Free of Condemnation. 

1. Self-Forgiveness. 
The Bible says God forgives our sins, so why can't we forgive ourselves? Self-forgiveness is essential when it comes to living in freedom. We can forgive ourselves for our past mistakes. This does not mean that we don't learn from our past mistakes and change our ways. But constantly thinking about everything we've ever done wrong, will only pull us down, keeping us trapped in negativity, self-pity, and condemnation.

Joyce Meyer says, "We're not built for guilt." Guilt only puts us into a vicious cycle. When we feel guilty, we're doomed to repeat bad behavior. Because when we constantly punish ourselves, punishment can beat us up over and over again for the same mistake, only adding weight to the first offense. And when we're under the weight of all our mistakes, we can turn to any vice or comforter, which only compounds onto the initial sin. Suddenly we're in a downward spiral, adding sin upon sin.

Unforgiveness only comes from Satan, which leads to constant condemnation, judgment, and punishment. Forgiveness is a gift from God, a gift that we should freely give to anyone and to ourselves.
Remember, the devil wants to punish us and make us feel horrible for all we've done wrong so we will continue to do wrong.

But God wants us to accept His forgiveness through Christ, learn from our mistakes, and with His help, repent. When we forgive ourselves, we can cut loose our bondage to sin and truly change who we are. And with God's help, He will continue to cleanse us from our mistakes and renew us again and again. (1 John 1:9). 

2. Who We Are in Christ. 

When we realize who we are in Christ, we can begin to look at ourselves differently. For believers, since we have accepted Christ, we are clothed in His righteousness. This means when God sees us, He sees us as His loving, faithful children. He looks upon us with love, joy, and acceptance. He knows we will continue to make mistakes, but this in no way makes us horrible, broken, or not good enough. In fact, it's just the opposite. God sees us as good, healed, and more than good enough because of our right standing with Christ.
Okay, ladies... (and some guys too)... this means we really need to stop nit-picking our appearances. When we criticize our outward appearance, it only gives "the world" or the devil the right to do it too. When you constantly ridicule every little "flaw" or "imperfection" you think you might have, you're only listening to the devil. You are not listening to God. God thinks you are beautiful and wonderfully made. Why? Because He made you. Do not give into comparison and jealousy - this too is just another form of condemnation. (This might just have to become its own blog post!) 
Thirdly, the opposite of condemnation leads us to...

3. Self-Love through God.

I used to have a hard time with the entire concept of loving one's self. Thinking, isn't that narcissistic, self-indulgent, pride feeding ego? But when we truly know how much God loves us, it gives us permission to love ourselves in return. We hear John 3:16 all the time, but do we really understand what it means in-depth? It means that God loves us so much, in all our entirety, given all our faults, that He gave His only Son, to rescue us from our imperfection, sin, and death

I emphasize, HIS ONLY SON! God DID NOT have to do this. He could have just called it quits, scorched the earth, wiped us clean off the face of existence, but He gave the MOST PRECIOUS BEING IN ALL EXISTENCE just because He loves us! God gave us His favorite human ever. He made the ultimate sacrifice, putting Jesus through hell and back, because of His profound, deep, and never-ending love for us. 
So the next time you think about insulting yourself, think about how much God loves you and what He did for you. Think about what Jesus went through. When we ridicule, criticize, demean, and condemn ourselves, we are ridiculing and criticizing God's love for us. God doesn't think we're no good. He loves us fully and completely so we should love ourselves fully and completely too. Self-hate, ridicule, and self-punishment, are not what Jesus dies to give us. Learn how to think the way God thinks. Learn how to see yourself as God sees you. 

When we know that God forgives us for our sins, we can forgive ourselves for our mistakes. Even though we're not perfect, but that when we know that we're the righteousness of God in Christ, all that we should really concern ourselves with, is how we appear to God. Loving ourselves is not wrong, for God loves us, so learning how to love ourselves is simply doing what God already does for us. And if God can do this for us given His high standards, we can surely do it for ourselves. 

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!

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.

 

Part II. Freedom from Self-Judgment is coming soon!


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!

 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

17. Fear Not - "Living in Light" Series

In an extremely volatile world of the coronavirus, rollercoaster stock market, an election, and so much chaos, it's easy to let fear, worry, and doubts consume you. These are the times we need to lean on God the most. There are so many helpful scriptures that can guide us with direction and wisdom.

In Joel 2:21, "Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice; for the Lord will do great things." And in Matthew 10:31, "Fear not therefore: better are you than many sparrows."

As believers, we can take comfort in the fact that God dwells with us and Jesus dwells within our hearts. This doesn't mean that our lives will be free from problems, but it does mean that God will give us the grace to get through them. Our value as believers is worth so much to God.

One thing we need to understand about fear is that it does not come from God. It comes from the enemy, the devil, the adversary. God does not want us to be afraid, full of worry and doubts.

I remember a conversation I had with my therapist once. She had told me that all fears are irrational. I had refuted that statement saying, well what about when you're walking alone at night and you see a dark figure coming towards you? Doesn't fear kick in to say head away from this potential threat? Is that fear truly irrational?

She did agree with me at the time, but I know now what I didn't know before: that there is a clear cut difference between fear, and discernment as well as wisdom. Fear will give us the anxiety to react emotionally to these type of situations, but discernment is a small still voice that kicks in saying, this could be a potentially dangerous situation, it's probably best to cross over to the other side of the sidewalk.

That's the problem with fear. It can lead us to go into a panicked mindset, causing us to make bad decisions. Our minds can tumble in a downward spiral by imagining the worst about any situation. Chances are the worst-case scenario is not going to happen to you.

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought the worst was going to happen then absolutely nothing did? 

The devil loves to fill us with fear. He knows that it makes us fall into a trap of negative feelings. And unfortunately, those feelings can turn into negative actions that can harm ourselves.

God's perfect love casts out fear ( 1 John 4:18.) Next time, pray for God's discernment and wisdom to make the best decision possible. This is the best advice I can give! As soon as you feel a tinge of fear, ask for His guidance. Don't give into the enemy's pitfall of fearfulness, that's exactly what he wants for you to do. That's how he gains more control over your life.


"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." - Matthew 6:34

I used to worry a lot. My mind used to always go to the "what if...?" scenarios. Worry can lead to creating problems that simply don't exist. Having faith in God every second of every day is an extremely valuable tool. If we constantly have faith in His will, we have nothing to be worried about. Everything is going to happen according to His plan. It doesn't mean it will always make sense to us, but we can trust that He works out everything for our good (Romans 8:28.)


The peace I have found now with God is almost unexplainable. It's a supernatural calm. I can't say that I still don't have my "moments" but they are few and far between. I know I'm only an almost one-year-old born again, a toddler still learning how to walk the walk, but I know I have God's hand to hold onto now.

We have to be willing to give up our doubts. When I first became born again, I realized I had to surrender my desire to control everything. Being a control freak, this was not an easy task. Early on, I remember staring into the eyes of the painting, Jesus by Akiane Kramarik. This was the moment that God spoke to me, clearly, loudly, with no qualms about it.

He said, "Why do you still doubt Me?"

What He so perfectly pointed out to me was that I still had doubts. I had doubts that I could ever be healed. I've had chronic pain for a long, long time, and 24 surgeries and procedures later, I was told by many an expert that I always would. It would have been easy for me to never believe I would be healed. "Common-sense" says I never will be...

But that's what so amazing about our God. He isn't a "common-sense" God. He is a supernatural God.  An awesome God. He is so much bigger than any of our problems. Dump all your doubts in the garbage! Your faith has to be bigger than your fears. He wants us to fully rely on Him for everything we go through. He wants to carry our burdens so we can live a life of peace. (Matthew 11:28.)


Do not let fear, worry, and doubts consume you. When God is with us, we have nothing to fear. We have nothing to worry about. We can be free of all doubts. 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!

Monday, March 2, 2020

16. The Garden of Eden "Diet" - "Living in Light" Series

Medical Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. This is for educational purposes only. Should you choose to implement this information, please do so only with the assistance of a licensed medical professional. I assume no responsibility for any adverse effects or consequences that result. 

If you haven't read my blog on my food journey from carnivore to full-bore vegan, you can read here: https://joknowsbetter.blogspot.com/2019/11/7-are-you-what-you-eat-part-2-living-in.html to gain more insight on my slow transition and why I felt compelled to make changes.

Today I want to delve deeper into the vegan, 100% plant-based, whole foods diet, on a deeper spiritual level using scripture as the guide to not only how we live, but what is best to take care of ourselves.

In the beginning stages of creation, Genesis 1:29-30, "So God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed is on the surface of the entire earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you... I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so."

We know that Adam and Eve, before the fall, ate a plant-based diet. We don't know if they drank milk from animals or ate eggs. What I find really interesting is that our great grandparents were living in perfection, in total paradise, where death did not exist yet. It wasn't until after the fall, that death occurred, first to clothe us, then for sin offerings, then to feed us.

When it's first mentioned in the Bible that we can eat meat is in Genesis 9, when God told Noah it was okay (GNB). The two words that stick out to me are can and okay. There's a lot of things we can do, it doesn't mean we should. And just because something is called okay, it doesn't mean it's what's best.

90% of all medical conditions and diseases are caused by lifestyle. It's not plagues, rogue infectious diseases, not even the environment in which we live, it's what we're putting inside our mouths. It's what we do to our bodies. 
It's our job to take care of our bodies, the temple that houses our souls. If we do not have our health we cannot live our lives to the fullest and in abundance, so we can actually enjoy it! (John 10:10).

As someone who's been diagnosed with multiple chronic diseases, I can attest to this. When you have crippling pain it's hard to help others. It's hard to worship God. It's hard to do anything for other people. To take care of others, we need to first take care of ourselves.

The story of Daniel is extremely interesting when it comes to diet. For 10 days, Daniel and others were given nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink (Daniel 1:12-15), and just like Daniel had already known, they looked better and were healthier than the young men that ate the king's food, food rich in animal protein and fat.

If someone would continue this plant-based diet, would their health continue to improve?

Now, thanks to proof backed science, the answer is an astounding yes! A great resource is Dr. Michael Greger's NutritionFacts.org. He's an M.D. doctor, not just a naturopath or "bro-science" self-proclaimed aficionado. He actually wrote a book called "How Not to Die" based on how a plant-based diet can actually improve health, reverse diseases and even treat chronic illnesses. On his website, there's a ton of free material that can help you do the diet right!

Doing this diet right is extremely important and it does take additional knowledge!

Furthermore, something occurred to me early on when I started this diet when I actually started losing my taste for eating animal meat: Why would I want to eat something that's dead? Why would I choose to eat... death?

It's kind of a funny question, but the more I thought about it, the more it started to make sense. Why does something have to die for me to live? It doesn't. I didn't start this diet for moral reasons, but the more I've contemplated this, the better I feel that life doesn't have to be ended for my life to continue.

And since I had first found out that I was allergic to animal milk and eggs, this was a have-to, health choice that I made, but I found my thoughts questioning whether we really should eat these things as well. Should we eat the aborted undeveloped fetus of an egg? And should we be drinking milk from a lactating mother that is used to fatten up her baby calf at a rapid pace? Would we drink the milk from a breastfeeding human mother as adults? Probably not!

Adam and Eve, living in perfection and paradise, were on a plant-based diet. Nothing had to die for them to live. They could have eaten from the Tree of Life and lived forever. Isn't it interesting that the fall of man came from eating the wrong thing? The same thing is happening to us right now.

The garden of Eden was God's original plan for our lives. Death would have never existed. God had already given us everything we needed to survive and thrive. I know it's a hard concept to swallow, especially if you've been eating animal products your entire life like I had. I didn't think I could do it either, but now that I'm feeling and seeing the benefits, I don't know if I'll ever go back.

The benefits: Less pain and inflammation! I'm now officially off of pain medication after being on lots for 11 years! More weight loss! I finally was able to drop under my plateau weight, something that I thought was impossible to do without starving myself. More energy! I was amazed at this one! It's amazing what I can get done in a single day now. Better digestion! It used to be a struggle for me to get the recommended 35 grams of fiber a day, now I'm over 100 grams, so no problem there!

And since I started this diet to help my interstitial cystitis, it is improving pretty consistently even though I've only been doing this for 4 and a half months. I've read the testimonies of dozens of women who caused their "I.C." to go into remission after 6 months on a vegan diet. That's a pretty quick turn around for an "incurable chronic disease".

I don't have any doubts that a 100% whole foods, plant-based diet is the best diet there is. It's the only one that's been proven to cure chronic diseases. And in Revelation 21:4, "...there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the former order of things has passed away." Death will no longer exist on the new earth. So maybe we should start getting used to not eating meat now? Haha!

Living in Light is about being our best, the way God wants us to be. This diet has added to my spiritual awareness, mental awareness, and empowered my physical state of being like nothing I've ever done before. I know it can help you too.

Do your own research, but make sure to listen to real doctors that aren't paid or sponsored by "Big Meat, Dairy and Egg" who have their own agendas or the cherry-picked studies funded by corporations who rely on our food addictions to keep them in business. Dr. Greger is a great resource because he accepts no money from any industry that's more interested in profits than our health. From his website, "100% of all proceeds he has ever received from his books, DVDs, and speaking engagements have always and will always be donated to charity."

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 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!

Monday, February 10, 2020

13. Getting Comfortable with Uncomfortable - "Living in Light" Series

Most of us want to make positive changes for the better. But here's some honest, cold, hard truth, change is hard. If you want to change your thoughts, get ready for some constant painstaking examination and awareness of every single thought. If you want to change your body, get ready for some physical rebellion! If you want to change your life, get ready to be pushed out of your comfort zone altogether...

The truth is: change is uncomfortable

So knowing this, how do we get "comfortable" with uncomfortable?

Let's start with how strong your desire is to change. Some things may sound good "in theory" in your mind. We can say, "It would be nice if..." or "Maybe someday I will..." but the power to change comes from your choice, and how deeply rooted this desire is, will ultimately determine how long you can stay "uncomfortable".

Two things are involved, our acceptance of how things are and our awareness of needing to change how things are.

Unfortunately, a lot of the time, we can placate and rationalize our acceptance to death with, "Oh it's not so bad" or "This is just the way I am" or even, "That's life". We will do everything we can to stay in our comfort zone no matter what. That's when awareness needs to step in!

Only when we have awareness of needed change, is when we can accept that how things are right now are not how you want things to truly, really, deeply, be. 

Ask yourself, "How badly do I want this?" "Am I willing to go through hell to get it?" or does the "If it happens it happens," mentality kick in?

For your changes to really succeed, your desire for these changes better be deeply rooted, well thought out, and relentlessly pursued no matter how uncomfortable it is.

Now I'm not suggesting that you have an all or none mentality, a leap off a cliff idea, a throw yourself into a baptism by fire situation, in fact, it's just the opposite. You can read a previous post called "The Power of Baby Steps" here on how small, incremental changes lead to big results.

What I am suggesting is that before you choose to make changes in your life, you should be mentally prepared for those changes and remember that the mind, the body, even just life itself, will resist change to no end, simply to remain comfortable.

So once you've decided to quit drinking, lose 50 pounds, move half-way across the country or whatever your needed changes are, how do we get comfortable with uncomfortable? (All these things I've done and let's just say, it wasn't/isn't so comfy!)

Let's delve into quitting drinking alcohol. This is a tough one in our society. Your friends and family may drink. You may go to restaurants that serve alcohol. Every holiday or special event seems to breed intoxication. This is when your deeply held desire to stop drinking better be really, really deep. You will be tempted, put in really uncomfortable positions by saying something like "No thanks, I'll just have water." You may even make others feel uncomfortable because your not drinking can feel like you're judging them for drinking. (Let that go.)

This is when our choice to be comfortable with uncomfortable must kick in: We must rise up, above our emotions and feelings, and use wisdom to tell ourselves, "I deeply want to stop drinking and stay sober, and even though this is hard, I know it will be worth it for what I want in my life, no matter what."

I love that quote from A League of Their Own, I'm paraphrasing, "They didn't say it would be easy, but they did say it would be worth it."

With the change you're thinking of doing, ask yourself, will it be worth it?

And here's a secret, positive changes are always worth it.

Let's look at weight-loss. Eating less is hard. It hurts. It's painful. The body especially hates change. It wants to stay exactly how it is and will resist whatever you try to change about it. There are times when you feel so starving. It can literally feel like you're dying, no lie! I really do believe in the power of baby steps when it comes to physical change, but regardless of how little the steps you take are, weight loss can be so uncomfortable. Or when you start working out, you get blisters, muscle soreness, sometimes fatigue, even added hunger! It's so frustrating!

But then all of sudden, you start feeling/seeing some benefits, and then you start believing... it is soooooo worth it.

I love when Joyce Meyer preaches on rising above your feelings, start making right decisions, then your feelings will catch up with your decisions. It's so true. If we always did what we felt like, we'd never make any progress. Feelings are so fickle and can lead us nowhere. But once we set our minds right, our feelings will have no choice but to succumb to our wisdom, and that's how we become wiser, stronger, and more in control of our thoughts, bodies, and lives.

What about moving halfway across the country? At first, our minds resist. "But I like where I live now," or "It's not what I really want right here, but it's okay," or "It sounds like too much work."

Sometimes even thinking new thoughts are extremely uncomfortable. We're creatures of habit. We're used to what we're used to. Fear can kick in telling all sorts of things like, the grass isn't always greener, what if I don't fit in, or how can I make it work financially.

Again, ask yourself how strong your desire is to move there. Is it deeply rooted? Do you really want to be closer to your family and friends? Do you really want that new job? Do you really want that fresh start?

Make the right decisions for yourself, and your feelings will catch up with your decisions.

"What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens--skip like a lamb, if you like!--for even if they don't like it, I do... and all heaven applauds." - Luke 6:23 (MSG)

If anyone truly knows what is uncomfortable is, it's Jesus. Walking in truth, in our truth, can be very uncomfortable. We know what good changes we need to make. Yes, you do. Yes, you do know! And with Christ as our strength, all things are possible. In our most difficult times of change, let's rely on His righteousness, perseverance, and glory to carry us through. For He knows, it is really worth it, and the rewards will be heavenly! Let's rejoice in our good "uncomfort", for it means that we are truly changing for the better. And when we walk in our truth, we can truly live in light, and light will never, ever, fail us.

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!