Unless You Become like Little Children . . .

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

WINNING WITH THE WORD

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that will help you to be a winner in life by applying God’s principles for living the abundant life as found in the Bible, God’s manual for life.

AN INVITATION TO YOU:

To subscribe to this blog, click here. 
To subscribe to this podcast, If this blog and podcast have blessed you, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe as well. Thank you!

Be sure to check out our Featured Book of the Week at the end of this post.

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Do you prefer listening instead of reading? Then click below to listen to today’s blog post on podcast.

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Hello and Happy Day! This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, novelist and life coach, welcoming you to another episode of Winning with the Word. Today is March 1, 2021, and this is Episode #4 of Series 2021. This episode is titled “Unless You Become like Little Children”

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In a very telling story in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 18, Jesus called a little child from the crowd and placed the child in the midst of the people. Then Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18: 3).

This is a pretty serious statement made by Jesus Himself. It behooves us, therefore, to take strict heed.

What does it mean to become like little children? Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of children:

1. Children are naturally humble. They don’t have to try to be humble; they just are. They don’t act as though they are better than anyone else. They are accepting of others, with no strings attached. When we are proud and boastful and think the world owes us something, we are not acting like children. 

2. Children are not intimidating. We are not afraid of them. They are approachable, and they invite relationship. When we become threatening to others and unapproachable, we are not acting like children.

3. Children are free of guile. That is, they do not pretend to be what they are not. They do not put on airs. With children, what you see is what you get.  Is the same true of us?

4. Children make poor liars. They are open books. If a child lies, he is easily found out because his facial expression and guilty mannerism reveal the lie. Are we open books to others, or do we try to hide and deceive?

5. Children are unassuming. They don’t care about social status, the impression they make, the clothes they wear. They don’t care about skin color or financial status. They freely accept others for who they are and do not judge them. When we ascribe value to others based on their financial status, their looks, or their skin color, we are not acting like children.

Jesus taught that becoming like a little child requires conversion. In other words, it requires a turning away from pride and embracing humility. It is not in our human nature to be humble. We naturally gravitate toward pride. But in order to become like a little child, we must renounce pride and embrace humility.

In Matthew 18: 4, Jesus also said that whoever humbles himself like a little child would be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. I believe that what Jesus was pointing out here is that whereas pride is the foundation of destruction, humility is the foundation of greatness.

There is only one way to become like a little child, and that is, to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. In His life we see exhibited every one of the beautiful qualities that comprise the heart of a child. When you receive Him, you receive the qualities of childlikeness. 

If you have not yet accepted Christ as your Savior and Lord, pray this simple prayer with me now:

Lord Jesus, I want to become like a little child so that I may enter Your Kingdom. But I know that I can do so only through You. So, I choose now to receive You as my personal Savior and the Lord of my life. Forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me of all unrighteousness. Give me Your grace to follow you as a little child all the days of my life. In Your Precious Name, I ask and receive. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer sincerely, please write to me at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a free e-booklet that will help you get started in your walk with Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every single day. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, His manual for your life. In the Bible, God reveals Who He is, and He instructs you how to live.

Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn about Him and have fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers. It is critically important in these last days to fellowship with other believers who are mature in Christ and can guide you as you grow in Him.

If you are not yet a subscriber to the Winning with the Word blog and podcast, I urge you to click on the link below to subscribe now so you won’t miss a single weekly episode:

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/w4q0z

Now it’s your turn: What is your best childlike quality? Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you.

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Please tell your family and friends about “Winning with the Word,” and please pass this post on to them. Thank you!

For those of you who may not know, I write fiction about many of the issues I deal with in this blog and podcast. I encourage you to visit my website bookstore at maryanndiorio.com/book-table . 

This podcast is funded by listeners like you. If you have been blessed by Winning with the Word, I invite you to become one of my special patrons on Patreon.com. For only $1.00, $3.00, or $5.00 a month, you can help me proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Winning with the Word now reaches 36 countries because of your faithful support. So please help me to keep Winning with the Word on the air by becoming one of my valued patrons.  Your patronage helps to cover the costs of producing, hosting, and distributing Winning with the Word to the four corners of the earth. Patrons receive special benefits, including free books, short stories, podcasts, and videos. So, join my wonderful team of Patrons and be part of something great!

To join, go to https://www.patreon.com/winningwiththeword 

This podcast is being sponsored by patron Karon Bekebrede. Thank you, Karon, for being a valued patron and for choosing to be a part of something great!

I would like to thank all of my patrons who are making this podcast possible. I could not do this without you!

To become one of my special patrons, go to https://www.patreon.com/winningwiththeword 

Until next time, remember that God loves you just as you are and just where you are and that He will help you to keep on Winning with the Word! 

PLEASE TWEET: “Unless You Become like Little Children” (CLICK TO TWEET)

To subscribe to “Winning with the Word”, click here.

To receive my monthly newsletter, click here.

To become a patron of Winning with the Word, click here.

Photo Source: Michael Schwarzenberger, Pixabay

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Featured Book of the Week:  THE IRON SAINT by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD

The Church in America is on the verge of a tremendous spiritual awakening, an awakening that will first be fueled by persecution unlike anything we have ever seen before in this land. Indeed, a prophetic word given in my home church during the month of November gave this warning to the Church: “Prepare for the fire of persecution!”

But the Church is not ready for this persecution. For the most part, the Church in America has been weak and lukewarm. Flabby and lazy. Consumed with the world and not with the things of God. As a result, the Church has been deceived and has subverted the divine order of things.

In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. MaryAnn Diorio seeks to help equip the saints for the work of true, integritous, and effective ministry. As a teacher in the Body of Christ, it is her burning desire to help correct this devastating error.

In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. Diorio has outlined a plan of action for strengthening the Church through uncompromising obedience to the Word of God. This plan of action is based on her own 50 years of walking with the Lord and being led by His Holy Spirit.

If you are a born-again believer and member of the Body of Christ, make this book a top reading priority.

PRINT FORMAT

E-BOOK FORMAT

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Check out these three popular Winning with the Word podcasts below. You may also search for a particular topic in the search box at the top of the sidebar on this page. 

__How to Think like a Winner

__7 Signs That the Tribulation Is at Hand

__The Dangers of Generation Separation

__Are You Thinking Straight?

__How to Deal with the “New Normal”

__What to Do When Your Child Goes Astray

___Are You a Perfectionist?

__Is the World Coming to an End?

__The Coming Global Cataclysm

 Are you new to this blog? If so, what is the “Winning with the Word” blog and why will it bless you to read it?

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that helps you to deal with the daily problems of life by using the Bible as your guide to solving them. The Word of God will make you a success in life!

AN INVITATION TO YOU: To subscribe to Winning with the Wordclick here.

_____________________________________________________________

Copyright 2000-2021 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at info@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

Amazon.com Required Disclosure: MaryAnn Diorio is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.Disclaimer: This site uses cookies. Your continued use of this site constitutes your consent to our use of cookies. 

How to Think Like a Winner

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

WINNING WITH THE WORD

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that will help you to be a winner in life by applying God’s principles for living the abundant life as found in the Bible, God’s manual for life.

AN INVITATION TO YOU: To follow this blog, click here. 

If this blog has blessed you, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe as well. Thank you!

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Do you prefer listening instead of reading? Then click below to listen to today’s blog post on podcast.

 

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Have you ever wondered why some people are more successful in life than others? Is it a question of so-called “luck”? Or is there something more to this thing called success?

The answer, as always, is found in the Bible. In this best-selling book of all time, God has clearly outlined the principles of success. The problem is that, sad-to-say, most people don’t read the Bible.

Or they read it after the fact. After the problem has arisen and nearly devastated their lives.

Yet, the Bible contains the answer to every single situation you will ever face in life. In fact, the Bible is God’s Manual for Life. It is the book He gave us to navigate our time on this earth successfully. Isn’t it a tragedy that most of the world neglects it?

The Bible is all about winning. Not only winning in this life, but, far more importantly, about winning in the life after this one. The life that will last forever. 

In the Bible, God has set in place certain principles, or laws, that govern success. If we live according to these principles, we will experience a wonderful, blessed life. But if we don’t, we won’t. It’s as simple as that.

So, what are these principles of success? And how can we apply them to our lives?

One of the fundamental principles is found in Proverbs 23: 7: This verse reads as follows: “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Let’s unpack this verse to discover what it means and how it can affect the entire course of our lives. 

First of all, this verse clearly connects the way we think in our hearts with the way we are: “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Note the phrase in his heart. The verse does not simply say as a man thinks, but as he thinks in his heart.

Well, what is meant by the heart

The word heart as used here does not refer to the physical heart, the organ that pumps blood throughout our bodies. No, the word heart as used in this verse implies that intangible entity within us that we all recognize but cannot adequately define.

Yet, the Bible gives us a picture of what this intangible entity called the heart really is.

The heart is that part of us that connects our soul with our spirit. We are made in the image of God, and we have a spirit, a soul, and a body.  Each of these three parts is also made up of three parts. The spirit is made up of the conscience, the intuition, and the imagination. The soul is comprised of the mind, the will, and the emotions. The body is made up of bone, fluid, and soft tissue. 

The heart is the bridge between the spirit and the soul. In other words, the heart is connected simultaneously to the spirit and to the soul. On the one hand, the heart is connected to the conscience part of the spirit. On the other hand, the heart is connected to the emotions, the will, and the mind parts of the soul.

The Bible makes many references to the heart. Each of these references gives us a partial definition of the heart.

For example, in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 9, verse 4, we read this: “And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why are you thinking evil things in your hearts?’”

The act of thinking occurs in the mind. But in this verse, Jesus connected thinking with the heart as well. “Why are you thinking evil things in your hearts?” (Underlining mine). So, from Jesus’ comment, we see, then, that the heart is also involved in our thinking process. In other words, the heart is connected to the mind.

In the Book of Acts, chapter 11, verse 23, we learn that the heart is also connected to the will: “Who, when he arrived and saw the grace of God, rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain with the Lord with purpose of heart.” To purpose means to decide. To decide is a function of the will. When we purpose to do something, we are willing to do something. So this verse shows that the heart is also connected to the will.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 16, verse 22, we read this: “Therefore you also now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you.” Rejoicing is a function of the emotions, so this verse reveals that the heart is also connected to the emotions. 

Finally, two verses make clear that the heart is connected to the conscience, which is part of the spirit:

Hebrews, chapter 10, verse 22  says this: “Let us come forward to the Holy of Holies with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

1 John, chapter 3, verse 20, says this: – “For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.”

Condemnation is a function of the conscience. When we do wrong, our conscience condemns or convicts us. In saying that our heart condemns us, this verse makes it clear that our heart is connected to our conscience which is part of the spirit.

In light of all of the above, we see, then, that our heart is that part of us that is connected simultaneously to our mind, our will, our emotions, and our conscience. Our heart thinks; our heart decides; our heart feels; and our heart determines right from wrong.

Our heart is also the door to our entire being. Our heart is the portal whereby we allow God and people into our lives or we shut them out.

So, what does all of this have to do with our original verse: “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he?” On a very basic level, this verse means that what we allow into our hearts through our thoughts, our emotions, our will, or our conscience will affect the course of our lives. Indeed, there is another Scripture verse in the Book of Proverbs, chapter 4, verse 23, that warns us to guard our hearts with all diligence, for out of it come the issues of life. The Good News version translates this verse like this: “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.”

Bottomline, then, whether or not we win at life depends on how we think. If we think according to God’s way of thinking, as found in the Bible, then we will be successful. We will be thinking like a winner and we will win. But if we think contrary to God’s way of thinking as found in the Bible–in other words, if we think the way the world thinks–we will be thinking like a loser and we will lose.

God is the Supreme Winner. If we want to think like a winner and live like a winner, we must learn and put into practice the principles of winning that God has written down for us in His Holy Word. 

In my next post and podcast, I will be talking about how we can control our thinking. There are certain measures we can take to make sure that our thoughts will always lead us to success. So, you won’t want to miss my next post and podcast.

But before I close, I want to tell you that the starting point of winning in life is to know Jesus Christ. 

If you have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, pray this simple prayer with me now:

Lord Jesus, I want to know You. I receive You now as my Savior and Lord. Forgive me of my sin. Cleanse me of all unrighteousness. Give me Your grace to follow you all the days of my life. Thank You for satisfying my need for You. I ask and receive in Your precious Name. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer sincerely, please write to me at drm@maryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a free e-booklet that will help you get started in your walk with Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every single day. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, His manual for your life. In the Bible, God reveals Who He is, and He instructs you how to live.

Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn about Him and have fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers.

If you are not yet a subscriber to the Winning with the Word blog and podcast, I urge you to click on the link below to subscribe now so you won’t miss a single weekly episode. For those who are listening, the URL is 

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/w4q0z

For those of you who may not know, I write fiction about many of the issues I deal with in this blog and podcast. I encourage you to visit my website bookstore at maryanndiorio.com/book-table . 

If you have been blessed by this blog and podcast, I encourage you to share them with others. I also invite you to become a Winning with the Word patron on Patreon. As a patron you will enjoy special benefits only for my patrons. Just go to Patreon.com and search for Winning with the Word to join. I would like to thank all of my patrons who are making this podcast possible. We now reach 26 countries all over the world. I could not do this without your help.

Until next time, remember that God loves you just as you are and just where you are and that He will help you to keep on winning with the Word! 

PLEASE TWEET:“How to Think like a Winner” by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio (CLICK TO TWEET)

Please tell your family and friends about “Winning with the Word,” and please pass this post on to them. Thank you!

To subscribe to “Winning with the Word”, click here.

To receive my monthly newsletter, click here.

Now it’s your turn: Do you have additional thoughts on how to think like a winner? Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you.

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Photo Source: Image by Arek Socha  from  Pixabay
Reference: https://blog.biblesforamerica.org/what-is-the-heart-in-the-bible/

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Check out these three popular Winning with the Word podcasts below. You may also search for a particular topic in the search box at the top of the sidebar on this page. 

__7 Signs That the Tribulation Is at Hand

__The Dangers of Generation Separation

__Are You Thinking Straight?

__How to Deal with the “New Normal”

__What to Do When Your Child Goes Astray

___Are You a Perfectionist?

__Is the World Coming to an End?

__The Coming Global Cataclysm

 Are you new to this blog? If so, what is the “Winning with the Word” blog and why will it bless you to read it?

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that helps you to deal with the daily problems of life by using the Bible as your guide to solving them. The Word of God will make you a success in life!

AN INVITATION TO YOU: To subscribe to Winning with the Wordclick here.

_____________________________________________________________

Copyright 2000-2021 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at info@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

Amazon.com Required Disclosure: MaryAnn Diorio is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.Disclaimer: This site uses cookies. Your continued use of this site constitutes your consent to our use of cookies. 

Are You Walking the Narrow Road?

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio


WINNING WITH THE WORD

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that will help you to be a winner in life by applying God’s principles for living the abundant life as found in the Bible, God’s manual for life.

AN INVITATION TO YOU: To follow this blog, click here. 

If this blog has blessed you, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe as well. Thank you!

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Do you prefer listening instead of reading? Then click below to listen to today’s blog post:

 

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Hello and Happy Day! This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, Novelist and Life Coach, welcoming you to another episode of Winning with the Word. Today is Monday, September 14, 2020. Today’s Podcast is Episode #36 in Series 2020 and is titled “Are You Walking the Narrow Road?”

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In the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, verse 13, the Word of God gives a sobering command and warning: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

What is the narrow gate? One Biblical commentator calls the narrow gate “the gate of true conversion” (Benson).  Many pray the sinner’s prayer and

believe that is all they need to do to be saved. But to pray the sinner’s prayer without turning away from sin, without crucifying the flesh, without obey the Lord’s commands is pointless–and even dangerous.

True conversion means turning away from sin and living a life of holiness. This takes great effort, and few people are willing to put in the effort. It is not easy to say no to the flesh–to greed, to lust, to selfish ambition. Yet, that is precisely what we must do if we want to follow Jesus Christ.

There is a huge difference between accepting Christ as our Savior and accepting Him as our Lord. He Himself said that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. Accepting Christ as Savior alone has a selfish aspect to it because it is an act of concern only for one’s personal salvation. While this is certainly a good thing, the act cannot stop there. It must go beyond the concern for deliverance from Hell to the love that inspires perfect obedience to the Lord Who saved us.

When Jesus called His twelve apostles, He commanded them to FOLLOW Him.  One definition of the word follow means to take orders from. When we choose to follow Jesus, we choose to take our orders from Him and to put aside our own will and desires in order to accomplish His.

Christians are often accused of being narrow-minded. Well, we are narrow-minded because our minds are continually focused on staying on the narrow road. It is far too easy to fall off the edge of the narrow road into the ditch of sin precisely because the road is narrow.  So our minds must continually focus on this truth—that the road is narrow and we must walk it carefully and not move off of it.

Jesus said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 19: 23). The sign of true conversion is self-denial. The cross we are to carry daily is precisely this self-denial. It is saying no daily to all those desires that are contrary to God’s Word and choosing, instead, to obey the Lord’s commands as found in His Word.

If you have made Jesus your Savior but not your Lord, I urge you to repent and to complete a full conversion. Turn from your sins and begin to obey the Lord’s commands.

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and Lord, please do so now by praying this prayer with me:

Lord Jesus, I want to make you both Savior and Lord of my life. I accept You now as my Savior and as my Lord. Forgive me of my sin. Cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Give me Your grace to follow you, to deny myself, and to obey you all the days of my life. I ask and receive in Your precious Name. Amen.

If you prayed this simple prayer, please write to me at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a little booklet that will help you get started in your walk with Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every single day. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, His manual for your life. In the Bible, God reveals Who He is, and He instructs you how to live.

Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn about Him and have fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers.

For those of you who may not know, I write fiction about many of the issues I deal with in this blog and podcast. I encourage you to visit my website bookstore at maryanndiorio.com/book-table

If you have been blessed by this blog and podcast, I encourage you to share them with others. I also invite you to become a Winning with the Word patron on Patreon. As a patron you will enjoy special benefits only for my patrons. Just go to Patreon.com and search for Winning with the Word to join. I would like to thank all of my patrons who are making this podcast possible. We now reach 26 countries all over the world. I could not do this without your help.

Thank you so much for listening. This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, novelist and life coach, reminding you that God loves you just as you are and just where you are, and that He will help you to keep on Winning with the Word.

PLEASE TWEET: “Are You Walking the Narrow Road?” by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio (CLICK TO TWEET)

To subscribe to “Winning with the Word”, click here.

To receive my monthly newsletter, click here.

Now it’s your turn: Have you embraced your race? If not, what is holdiong you back? Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you

Please tell your family and friends about “Winning with the Word,” and please pass this post on to them. Thank you!

Listen to this week’s podcast here:

______________________________________________
Photo Source: Image by Dreampic123 from Pixabay 

Check out these three popular Winning with the Word podcasts below. You may also search for a particular topic in the search box at the top of the sidebar on this page. 

__Are You Living on the Level?

__7 Signs That the Tribulation Is at Hand

__The Dangers of Generation Separation

__Are You Thinking Straight?

__How to Deal with the “New Normal”

__What to Do When Your Child Goes Astray

___Are You a Perfectionist?

__Is the World Coming to an End?

__The Coming Global Cataclysm

 Are you new to this blog? If so, what is the “Winning with the Word” blog and why will it bless you to read it?

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that helps you to deal with the daily problems of life by using the Bible as your guide to solving them. The Word of God will make you a success in life!

AN INVITATION TO YOU: To subscribe to Winning with the Word, click here.

_____________________________________________________________

Copyright 2000-2020 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at info@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

Amazon.com Required Disclosure: MaryAnn Diorio is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.Disclaimer: This site uses cookies. Your continued use of this site constitutes your consent to our use of cookies. 

Who Are You Really?

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio


WINNING WITH THE WORD

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that will help you to be a winner in life by applying God’s principles for living the abundant life as found in the Bible, God’s manual for life.

AN INVITATION TO YOU: To follow this blog, click here. 

If this blog has blessed you, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe as well. Thank you!

______________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

Do you prefer listening instead of reading? Then click below to listen to today’s blog post:

 

______________________________________________

Hello and Happy Day! This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, Novelist and Life Coach, welcoming you to another episode of Winning with the Word. Today is Monday, August 24, 2020. Today’s Podcast is Episode #33 in Series 2020 and is titled “Who Are You Really?”

 

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We hear a lot of talk these days about self-image, self-esteem, and self-fulfillment. 

All of this discussion has as its goal discovering who we really are. While discovering our true identity is crucial, most of us are going about it the wrong way. We are looking in the wrong place to discover who we really are. We are looking to ourselves.

Let’s take a deeper look. Have you noticed that all of these phrases–self-image, self-esteem, self-fulfillment–include the word “self”? It seems as though the entire goal of life is to find ourselves. We think that in finding ourselves, we will ultimately find the meaning of life and our purpose in life. 

But is this really true? Is it really true that when we find ourselves, we will discover who we really are? That we will discover the meaning of life and our life purpose?

The answer to this question lies in God’s Holy Word. What does God say about finding ourselves? In Matthew 10: 39, God says this about our search for ourselves:  “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Hmm. Now that’s the exact opposite of what the world has taught us, isn’t it? The world has taught us that we need to find ourselves in order to discover the meaning of life. God says that if we focus on finding ourselves to discover the meaning of life, we will eventually not only lose ourselves, but we will also miss the meaning of life. On the other hand, if we focus on finding God, we will find ourselves and the true meaning of our lives.

Why does finding ourselves depend on finding God? Because God is our Maker.

To expect the self to know the purpose for which it was made is like asking a car to know the purpose for which it was made. The car is incapable of knowing its own purpose. Only the maker of the car can tell us the purpose for which the car exists.

Likewise, the self is incapable of knowing its own purpose. Only the Maker of the self can tell the self the purpose for which the self exists.

While this may be a weak analogy, I think you get my point. 

You see, my friend, we were made in God’s image. Precisely for that reason, our true identity lies only in Him.  if we ignore or deny that truth, we will miss the very meaning of our lives.

The world’s emphasis on the self takes our eyes off the true source of our identity, and that source is God Himself. When we look to ourselves to define ourselves, we will be deceived and go astray. We will lose our bearings.

But when we look to God to define us, we will discover who we really are.

To seek our identity outside of this truth is to end up with a false image of who we truly are. Yet, this is exactly what Satan tempts us to do.

Liar that he is, Satan tempts us to believe that we can know ourselves by ourselves. He tempts us to isolate ourselves from our Maker. 

But isolation leads to desolation. And that is precisely the goal of the enemy. The Bible says he comes only “to steal, kill, and destroy.”

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10: 39)

There is only one way that you can discover who you really are. That way is through Jesus Christ. He Himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  So, if you want the truth about who you really are, follow Jesus. Only in Him will you discover your true identity.

Let me ask you: Have you been looking to Jesus Christ for your identity? Or have you been looking to yourself? If you have not sought your identity in Christ, repent and begin to do so now by accepting Him as your Savior and Lord. Pray this simple prayer with me:

Lord Jesus, I’ve been looking to myself to discover who I am. No wonder I’ve been going around in circles. Only You can tell me who I really am because You made me. So, I come to You now and invite You into my life. Reveal to me who I am. But most of all, reveal to me Who You are, for it is only by knowing You that I will begin to know myself. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

If you prayed this simple prayer, please write to me at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a little booklet that will help you get started in your walk with Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every single day. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, His manual for your life. In the Bible, God reveals Who He is, and He instructs you how to live.

Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn about Him and have fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers.

For those of you who may not know, I write fiction about many of the issues I deal with in this blog and podcast.  I encourage you to visit my website bookstore at maryanndiorio.com/book-table

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Thank you so much for listening. This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, novelist and life coach, reminding you that God loves you just as you are and just where you are, and that He will help you to keep on Winning with the Word.

PLEASE TWEET: “Who Are You, Really?” by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio (CLICK TO TWEET)

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Listen to this week’s podcast here:

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__The Dangers of Passivity

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__7 Signs That the Tribulation Is at Hand

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__The Coming Global Cataclysm

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EIGHT SIGNS OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, Your Virtual Life Coach

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4: 23

How well I remember my first vegetable garden! Each day I would lovingly water the tender plants and carefully check their growth. I found it exciting to watch them increase in height and fullness every few days and to know they were flourishing.           

Planting a garden led me to think about my spiritual growth. Was there a way, I wondered, to measure my progress in an area of life that defied accurate measurement? Although I could not measure my spiritual growth with a ruler, I needed to know if I were moving ahead, or slipping back, in my walk with the Lord.

As I studied God’s Word, certain indicators began to emerge that have helped me to determine whether or not I am progressing spiritually. Over the years, these indicators have served as a checklist which, I trust, will also help you to evaluate where you are in your own spiritual development.

1. Do I have an increasing hunger to know God and His Word? When I first became a Christian, I was like a newly wed enraptured and enamored with her husband. Then, over the years, I became comfortable in my relationship with the Lord. Yes, I still loved Him deeply, but I had lost some of the passion.When we find ourselves longing fervently for a closer relationship with God, and we determine to develop that relationship through daily prayer and study of His Word, we know that we are progressing spiritually.

2. Do I have a stronger desire to separate myself from the things of this world? Spiritual growth involves a process of separation. God said, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate” (II Corinthians 6:17). Although for now we must live in and influence the world, it must have no grip on us. As we grow spiritually, our desire for the things of this world will decrease while our desire for the things of God will increase.

3. Do I have a growing faith? The Word of God tells us that “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). When we find it increasingly easier to stand on God’s Word, especially in difficult circumstances, we are growing spiritually. The Bible becomes our final authority, and we can trust God to work in our lives. Whereas we once focused on the problem, we now focus on the solution found in the Word.

4. Do I find it easier to forgive? Jesus said, “Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). We know that we are growing spiritually when it becomes easier to forgive. This includes forgiving not only those who have offended us, but forgiving ourselves as well.

 I remember an occasion when I asked the Lord to reveal to me if there were anyone in my life whom I had not forgiven. Feeling certain that I had forgiven everyone, I was startled when a young woman came to mind. She had wronged me many years earlier, but I had never even thought of forgiving her. Although I had completely forgotten the incident, I immediately repented of my unforgiveness and asked God to bless her.

5. Do I have a growing love for other people? When we notice an increase in our love for other people, we know we are growing spiritually. Increased love manifests itself in actions. Are we more patient? Do we readily respond with kindness instead of anger? Do we criticize less? How can we say we love God if we don’t love our fellow man (I John 4:20)?

6. Do I have a heightened desire for the spiritual welfare of others? We are growing spiritually when our heart’s cry is to lead others to Christ and to the fullness of the abundant life, no matter what the cost.

Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). We are increasing in spiritual maturity when we are ready to follow the Lord’s leading for each person we meet, knowing that at times we plant, at times we water, and at times we reap. Ridicule and persecution cause us to rejoice because we are sharing in Christ’s suffering.

7. Do I have a greater awareness of sin? We are growing spiritually when we are more sensitive to sin in our lives. What we may have considered harmless a few years or even a few months ago now pricks our conscience. Moreover, we find ourselves grieving deeply at the seriousness of sin’s offense against our Lord.

When I committed my life to Christ, certain activities that had seemed neutral to me suddenly took on a different perspective. As I grew spiritually, I became aware of subtle ways I sinned without even realizing I was sinning.

8. Do I have a greater willingness to obey God in all things? We are growing spiritually when obedience to God becomes a joy instead of a duty. As Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11: 27-28). When our response to God’s call becomes “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42), we know we are making spiritual progress.

Spiritual growth takes time. Just as we would not expect a child to grow up mentally and physically overnight, we should not expect to grow up spiritually overnight. Sometimes our progress may be slow. At other times, it may even seem as though we are regressing. Often it is only with the vantage point of several years that we can look back and realize how much we have actually grown.

Like physical and emotional growth, spiritual growth is sometimes painful. But let’s be encouraged! The Holy Spirit, our instructor, is guiding us and leading us into all truth. We can rejoice, therefore, in the knowledge that each moment, day by day, we are becoming more conformed to the image of Christ.                                                        

Now, it’s YOUR turn: How do you measure your spiritual growth?

TWEETABLE: “Eight Signs of Spiritual Growth” by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio (CLICK TO TWEET)

If you found this post helpful, please forward it to a friend. Thank you! Check our archives in the right sidebar for older posts on a variety of topics. You may also search for a particular topic in the search box at the top right. Some of our most popular posts

How to Recognize a Controlling Spirit

Sex and Soul Ties

How to Make Change Your Ally

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NOTE: If you are struggling to know your purpose in life, I can help you! As a highly experienced Certified Life Coach, I will help you set priorities in line with your God-given purpose. For more information or to set up a phone appointment, please send me an email at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. You’ll be taking a major step toward fulfilling your destiny!

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Matters of the Heart is a weekly blog that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart, the issues we all face but sometimes don’t want to talk about. The heart is the programming center of our lives. What is programmed into our heart will affect every area of our lives. Learn how to discover what is in your heart and how to program your heart for success.

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