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Sunday, June 14, 2020
Feel free to share with your friends & family! Thanks for reading & have a wonderful day!
Friday, May 15, 2020
It's really easy to judge other people. We love to point out what we don't like about them, in all sorts of ways. "I don't like what they say," or "I don't like how they act." The problem with this judgmental way of thinking is that we can constantly focus on what's wrong with everyone. This mindset is a trap that will constantly steal our peace. One negative thought can easily lead to another and we can find ourselves in a constant mental war with anyone and everyone.
This is what the devil wants. He wants us to focus on what's wrong with everyone else. He is a master distractor, that loves to have us focus on what's wrong with others, instead of what may be wrong with ourselves. He can even use the Word of God to have us constantly fighting with each other. Let's just say the devil will use anything to divide us. Don't fall into this trap.
Why is living free of judgment important? Because judgment is a heavy, heavy thing. That voice in our heads that loves to judge everyone and everything can constantly steal our peace, and make us angry, upset, depressed, anxious. You name the negative emotion!
This can open the door to the devil. The accuser that loves to judge everyone and everything to "his standards". He is the self-proclaimed "supreme judge" that loves to separate us, divide us, and turn us against each other. This can also lead to anger, hate, and the self-entitled position for us to dole out judgment and the desire to punish each other. This is a burdensome job, a job that is not ours.
Furthermore, I will explain whose job it really is as we continue on further...
1. Are You Perfect?
Remember the popular phrase, "Nobody's perfect?" Well, except for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, the phrase is very true. Although we can know right from wrong according to God's Word, we can still make mistakes. Jesus said, "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone," when the adulterous woman was about to be stoned to death. Every person dropped the stone and walked away because they realized they were all sinners too (John 8:7).
We're all sinners. We can realize that we're surely not perfect and no one else is either. We all make our own mistakes and don't want to be judged and punished by others for those mistakes. If anyone knows that we're not perfect, it's God. His standards of perfection are so high, everyone besides Jesus, fell short. But God still loves us regardless.
That's why God's Word is so helpful when it comes to how we think and treat others. When we realize we're not perfect, we're less likely to dole out judgment upon other people. We can still love others given their flaws and mistakes. If God, the Holy of Holies, can do this for us, we can surely do it for them.
In Matthew 7:3-5, Jesus goes on to say, "Why do you look at the [insignificant] speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice and acknowledge the [egregious] log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me get the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite (play-actor, pretender), first get the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye."
We can be so quick to judge, criticize, ridicule, and opinionate about what others do wrong. But how often do we examine our own thoughts and behaviors?
*Here's a tip that really helps me:
Every time I find myself judging someone,
I turn it back around on myself.
I call it "turning the mirror around"
and I look at my own actions, thoughts, and behaviors.
I ask myself, "Do I do that?"
Then dig deeper, "Do I do that in any way, shape, or form?"
and even, "Have I done that in the past?"
And, "How would God want me to treat others,
given that I may have made the same/similar mistakes?"*
We can take these opportunities when we want to judge others, to examine ourselves instead. Ask yourself the above questions and truly think about what you have said or done. We will explore much more on this topic in the next blog!
I love what Joyce Meyer says, "The less you judge, the more peace you'll have." Ain't that the truth? Judgment is a heavy burden to bear. To constantly have to judge everything someone does or says is mentally, emotionally, even spiritually taxing. If we give ourselves that job, we'll never have a day off! So...
2. Who's the True Judge?
The only true judge of this world is God. The truth is, we never have enough information to judge anyone fully. We don't know a whole person's heart like God does. We are not the moral authority. Only God is the moral authority. We don't know everything that's going on in a person's life. We don't know everything that they've been through either. Only God knows everything.
So leave the judging up to God. He knows better than all of us. Let God take care of it. Our God is a God of justice (Psalm 50:6). He will serve out His punishment that will perfectly match the crime. Even if we feel offended by something someone else does to us, God will take care of it. Personally, this way of thinking gives me so much peace.
Let go and let God--this saying never gets old!3. Can You Forgive Them, For They Know Not What They Do?
Maybe you're a person that's read the entire Bible and can accurately state what's right or wrong, good or evil, a sin, or a virtue. But the truth is, most people haven't read the entire Bible and just don't know. Before I started this journey, I for sure didn't know half of what I know now. I realize now that others simply don't know certain things, and I can forgive them because I didn't know those things either.
I can forgive others because God has forgiven me. We can, "Forgive those who trespass against us," because God forgives us for our trespasses (Matthew 6:14). If we can learn to treat others the way God treats us, let me tell you, there would be so many fewer problems in our world.
The Golden Rule is paramount: "Do unto others, as you would have done unto you. (Luke 6:31)."
Let's not let the devil divide us, separate us, and turn us against each other. As believers, we can unite under God's love for us as we learn to love each other. Let God be the judge. We can pray for others' repentance and obedience. We can encourage others to read, learn, and study the Word of God. Let us be the shining example of what God's true love and acceptance really are.
Read Part II. Freedom from Self-Judgment next!
And remember Jo may know better, but God knows best. Follow Him and He will never lead you astray. If you enjoyed this please remember to subscribe here: https://www.joannmears.com/jo-knows-better for free notifications on each new post!
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
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.
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!
Thanks for reading & have a wonderful day!
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
- 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!
Monday, February 10, 2020
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.