How to Have Faith

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, click here.

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 May 10, 2021, and this is Episode #14 of Series 2021. This episode is titled “How to Have Faith.”

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Have you ever wondered why your prayers have not been answered despite your begging and pleading with God to answer them? Perhaps the problem has something to do with faith. Let’s take a look today at what faith is and what faith is not.

First, let’s take a look at what faith is NOT.

__Faith is not an attempt to make something exist that does not exist. Faith always rests on something that does exist. We place our faith in a chair as we sit down. The chair exists. We place our faith in God. He also exists, although we cannot see Him.

__Faith is not something we need more of. In Romans 12: 3 KJV, the Bible says that “God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (underlining mine). This means that every person receives from God the same amount of faith when that person is born again. Just as we all receive the same number of bones and muscles when we are physically born, so do we also receive the same amount of faith when we are born again.

__Faith is not something which some people have more of and some people have less of. The Bible makes clear that God is not partial toward people. He treats us all with equal love. The Bible reveals this truth in Acts 10: 34 NKJV: “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ’In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.’” 

Now that we’ve looked at what faith is not, let’s take a look at what faith is.

__Scripture defines faith as follows: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  This verse tells us that faith presupposes hope. No hope. No faith. Hope is the blueprint on which faith builds. Hope is the inner picture in one’s imagination to which faith gives substance. If we have no hope, we can have no faith.

In other words, faith transforms hope into reality. Faith makes what we hope for a reality as long as what we hope for is based on God’s promises. For this reason, we must know God’s Word!

__Faith is the currency of the Kingdom of God. It is the medium of exchange between God and us and between us and God. God gives us the promise–whether it be of healing, or provision, or peace–we give Him our faith in exchange for the fulfillment of the promise in our lives. 

Faith receives the promises of God. Faith reaches out to the spiritual realm and brings the promises of God from the spiritual realm into the natural realm.

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Faith makes what you hope for a reality.
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There are two kinds of faith: Natural Faith and Supernatural Faith. What is the difference?

Natural faith believes only what the five senses tell it. In other words, natural faith believes only what it can see, hear, touch, smell, or taste. Natural faith is also called “sense faith.” 

An example of natural faith occurs when we sit down in a chair. We place faith in that chair to hold us up. The kind of faith we are using to trust a chair is natural faith. It is the kind of faith that can see that the chair is sturdy and will hold us up.

We are born into this world with natural faith only, not supernatural faith. Supernatural faith comes only with being born again. In other words, we must accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord in order to receive supernatural faith. Supernatural faith believes what it cannot see, cannot hear, cannot touch, cannot smell, or cannot taste. Supernatural faith is God’s faith. 

Whereas natural faith says that seeing is believing, supernatural faith says that believing is seeing. 

In order to receive from God, we must believe with supernatural faith. Trying to receive from God with natural faith will never work. This is the reason we can beg and plead with God and nothing happens. We are trying to believe with natural faith, and it will get us nowhere. 

Supernatural faith is God’s faith in us, the faith we receive when we are born again. It is God’s grace that gives us the supernatural faith to receive even our salvation from Him. But we are then responsible to exercise that gift of supernatural faith in order to receive the promises of God as we go through life.

So, you may be asking, “How do we get the supernatural faith of God?” Romans 10: 17 KJV gives us the answer: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

There is an important principle hidden in this verse. It is this: We will eventually believe whatever we hear over and over again, whether it is true or false. This is how propaganda works. 

So, we need to ask ourselves,  “What message am I hearing over and over again in the news. Is it true?”

Just because we hear something over and over again does not mean it is true. Depending on its source, hearing something repeatedly could very well mean it is NOT true but, rather, a deliberate attempt to deceive us, to get us to believe something that is not true. So, beware what you hear!

Characteristics of Supernatural Faith

What are some characteristics of supernatural faith? Let’s take a look:

__Supernatural faith believes what it cannot see. For example, supernatural faith believes that there is a God. It believes that there is a Satan, a Heaven, and a Hell. Supernatural faith believes that there is such a thing as forgiveness of sin, although it cannot actually see forgiveness, but only its results.

__Supernatural faith goes beyond natural sight, beyond human faith. In other words, supernatural faith goes beyond the five senses.

__Supernatural faith comes only from God. Galatians 5:22-23 KJV reveals this: ” “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, FAITH, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Emphasis mine).

__Supernatural faith is distributed equally to every born-again believer. We find this clearly revealed in 2 Peter 1: 1 KJV: “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” The phrase “like precious” in this verse comes from the Greek word isotimos, meaning “of equal value.” All of us have the same amount of faith, and it is of equal value. The difference is that some of us simply use more of our faith than others, just as some of us use our muscles more than others. Those who use their muscles more than others are generally stronger because they have exercised their muscles more. So it is that those who use their faith more than others by standing on God’s Word during trials and temptations generally have stronger faith.

__Without supernatural faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11: 6). The establishment of our relationship with the Lord requires faith. The very faith with which we come to Christ is supernatural faith. Romans 10: 9-10 NIV says this: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

__The continuance of our relationship with the Lord depends on faith. Scripture makes this clear in 2 Corinthians 5: 7 when it says “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” The New Living Translation reads as follows: “For we live by believing and not by seeing.”

__Faith enables us to live in victory over our circumstances. In 1 John 5: 4 NLT, we learn this: “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.” We overcome the problems of life through our faith in God’s Word.

__And, finally, faith is essential to pleasing God.  No faith. No pleasing God. This is a very sobering truth. If we do not have supernatural faith, we cannot please God.

All of us want to please God, so let’s exercise our supernatural faith. How? By rejoicing in the midst of every trial and temptation. By drawing on God’s grace to get us through every storm. By trusting that our Heavenly Father says what He means and means what He says. He will always come through for us, no matter how impossible our situation may seem.

I said earlier that supernatural faith comes only from being born again. If you have not yet been born again–in other words, if you have not yet received Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord–I urge you to do so now. To receive Christ is to receive supernatural faith and everything else you will ever need. Just pray this simple prayer with me now:

Lord Jesus, I need Your supernatural faith. I am a sinner in need of Your mercy and grace. I ask You now to come into my life. I receive You as my personal Savior and the Lord of my life. Thank You for forgiving me and healing me. Thank You for welcoming me into Your family. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.

If you sincerely prayed this prayer, 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 teaches 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 will not miss a single weekly episode:

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

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

PLEASE TWEET: “How to Have Faith” (CLICK TO TWEET)

Now it’s your turn: Have you struggled with having faith and receiving from God? If so, why? If not, why not? Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you.

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For those of you who may not know, I write fiction about many of the issues I deal with in this blog and podcast. My latest novel, Miracle in Milan, has just been released in both print and ebook formats. It is the story of a young, female auditor who discovers evidence that the man she loves is an embezzler. You will find Miracle in Milan to be a page-turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat. To order your copy, go to Amazon or to my website bookstore at maryanndiorio.com/book-table . You may also find Miracle in Milan on Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. On my website, you will also find other fiction I’ve written to bless you.

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 50 countries on six continents 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 become a patron, go to https://www.patreon.com/winningwiththeword 

This week’s podcast is being sponsored by patron Barbara Hart. Thank you, Barbara, for being a valued patron and for choosing to become 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!

Finally, be sure to check out my latest non-fiction book, The Iron Saint. This book, modeled after The Iron Man triathlon, talks about the coming persecution of the Church in America and how you can prepare for it. The Iron Saint is available on Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other major book purchasing venues. You may also find it on my website at maryanndiorio.com/book-table. Get a copy for your pastor as well. 

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

To subscribe to Winning with the Word, click here.

To receive my monthly newsletter, click here.

To become a patron of Winning with the Wordclick here.

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Now Available for Purchase: Dr. MaryAnn’s latest novel, Miracle in Milan.

When a young, female auditor discovers evidence that the man she loves is an embezzler, she must choose between ruining him or ruining herself.

Amy Torelli, Chief Auditor for New York City-based Enson Pharmaceuticals, is assigned to audit the books of Enson’s Italian branch in the enchanting city of Milan, Italy. Having made an inner vow never to trust a man again because of her father’s betrayal, Amy finds herself falling in love with Enson Italia’s American-born Vice-President, Ted Masters. Will Ted be the one to cause her to break her inner vow?

Ted Masters is on the run. A run from rejection. From himself. From God. Having been wounded by a father who made him feel worthless, and having been dumped by the woman he wanted to marry, Ted is determined to keep all women at bay. But will Amy Torelli be the reason he changes his mind?
Miracle in Milan
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EBOOK FORMAT

 

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 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 Be Healed

__How Close Are We to the End?

__Your Authority and Power in Christ

__Have You Lost Your Hope?

__When Your Prayers Don’t Seem to Be Answered

__Are You Being Deceived?

__The Privilege of Persecution

__How to Think like a Winner

__7 Signs That the Tribulation Is at Hand

 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.

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Have You Lost Your Hope?

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, click here.

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.

______________________________________

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

https://media.blubrry.com/winning_with_the_word/content.blubrry.com/winning_with_the_word/WWW_04_12_21_Have_You_Lost_Your_Hope_.mp3

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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 April 12, 2021, and this is Episode #10 of Series 2021. This episode is titled “Have You Lost Your Hope?”

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It is no secret that we have been living in times that pose a great challenge to our hope. Hopelessness, depression, and despair are widespread, particularly among our young people.

So, what can we do not to lose hope?

As always, the Bible gives us the answer. In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he writes, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” (1 Timothy 1: 1). Notice that Paul calls Jesus Christ our Hope.

Jesus is our Hope. We not only put our hope in Him. He is Hope itself.

Let’s take a look at the nature of hope. What is it, and why is it so essential to life?

In his 1828 dictionary, Noah Webster defines hope as follows: “Confidence in a future event, the highest degree of well-founded expectation of good; as a hope found on God’s gracious promises.” Webster continues his definition of hope by quoting the Scripture verse in Joel 3: 16: “The Lord will be the hope of His people.”

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“Jesus Christ, our Hope” (1 Timothy 1: 1)
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So, according to Webster’s definition, the Lord God is our Expectation of Goodness. When we consider the Lord, we can always expect goodness from His hand. When we place our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are expressing confidence in the truth that goodness from His hand always lies ahead. This is hope.

So, how does hope operate?

Now, please pay close attention to what I am about to explain, as it is very important to receiving what we need from God. This truth transformed my life. I know it will transform yours as well if you grasp it and apply it to your own life.

Just as the soul is comprised of the mind, the will, and the emotions, the spirit is comprised of the conscience, the intuition, and the imagination. Hope is a function of the imagination. Hope is the blueprint that resides in our imagination. That blueprint is the inner picture we have of ourselves and of our situation in life. So, we can say that hope is a blueprint.

This blueprint or picture of ourselves inside ourselves is what faith turns into reality. Let me give you an example:

Years ago, my husband and I built a house. Before the house was built, the architects gave us the blueprints of the house. When family and friends would come over to visit, we would show them the blueprints and say, “This is our house.”

Now, the blueprints were not the actual, physical house. They were the picture of what the house would eventually be. They were, in other words, the hope of the house. When we looked at the blueprints, we were exercising the hope that one day that house would be a physical reality. 

When the physical house was actually built, it was the substance of our fulfilled hope–the physical, material reality of what we had seen on the blueprints.

So, first we had the blueprints of the house, and later, we had the actual house.

Now, the blueprint was necessary to build the house. Without a picture of what the house should look like, the builders could not build the house. Without the blueprint, the builders could not give substance to the house.

Scripture says in Hebrews 11: 1 that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

So, continuing with the metaphor of the blueprint and the house, the blueprint of the house represented our hope, and the actual house represented the faith that gave substance to that hope–in other words, the faith that made that blueprint of the house or that hope of the house a reality.

In order for us to receive from God, we must have a blueprint in our imagination of the promise of God that we wish to receive. In other words, if we are praying for healing, then we must have a blueprint–or a picture on the inside–of ourselves as healed. Our faith, then, will turn that inside picture into a physical reality. If our blueprint or picture of ourselves on the inside does not match God’s Word, then our faith will turn into a physical reality whatever picture we have on the inside of us–whatever picture we are imagining.

Our faith, then, will bring into reality whatever we picture on the inside, whatever we imagine. Make sure that what you are picturing in your imagination is only what God says about you. Nothing more, and nothing less.

In closing, I’d like to ask you, “Is Jesus Christ your Hope?” If not, you can make Him your Hope right now. Just pray this simple prayer with me:

Lord Jesus, I need hope. Since You are Hope, I need You. I ask You now to come into my life. I receive You as my Hope, as my personal Savior and the Lord of my life. Forgive me of my sin. Thank You for restoring my hope. In Your Name, I pray. 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 teaches 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 will not miss a single weekly episode:

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

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

PLEASE TWEET: “Have You Lost Your Hope?” (CLICK TO TWEET)

Now it’s your turn: Have you struggled with getting hope? Have you struggled with finding hope in the midst of despair? Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you.

Photo Source: Tumisu from Pixabay
Additional Resources: Andrew Wommack Ministries
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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 43 countries on six continents 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 become a patron, go to https://www.patreon.com/winningwiththeword 

This week’s podcast is being sponsored by patron Sharon Lamson. Thank you, Sharon, for being a valued patron and for choosing to become 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!

Finally, be sure to check out my latest book, The Iron Saint. This book talks about the coming persecution of the Church in America and how you can prepare for it. The Iron Saint is available on Amazon and on my website at maryanndiorio.com/book-table. Get a copy for your pastor as well. 

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

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.

________________________________________________________________________

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

_________________________________
Check out these 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. 

__The Privilege of Persecution

__How to Think like a Winner

__7 Signs That the Tribulation Is at Hand

 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 Have Hope When Things Seem Hopeless

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, April 20, 2020. Today’s Podcast is Episode #16 in Series 2020 and is titled “How to Have Hope When Things Seem Hopeless.”

Lately, I’ve been deeply saddened by the rising number of suicides as a result of the Corona virus. I read of a young nurse in Italy who killed herself when she was diagnosed with the virus. Others are killing themselves as a result of the recent sharp dives in the stock market that have drastically cut their life savings.

What do all of these people have in common? They have all placed their hope in the wrong place.

You see, where we hang our hope will determine if our hope will carry us through bad situations. The people mentioned above hung their hope on things of this world–things that had no solid foundation. Things that will not last. 

Where are you hanging your hope? If on the things of this world–your IRA, your savings account, your job, your vitamins, your medication, your social distancing–all of these things are temporary and will not ultimately protect you. Only Jesus Christ can and will protect you.

There is only solid and secure place where we can hang our hope, and that is on Jesus Christ. In 1 Peter 3: 6 the Bible says this about hoping in Jesus: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead….” Notice this verse calls Christ our “living” hope–a hope that is alive and will remain alive forever.

So, if you want to have hope when things seem hopeless, turn to Jesus Christ, the perfect Hope-Giver. If you have not yet asked Jesus to come into your life and be your hope, do so now. Please pray this simple prayer with me:

Lord Jesus, I have lost my hope. I am discouraged and depressed. Sometimes I want to give up. But You are offering me true hope. So I receive You now as my Savior and Lord. Fill me with Your hope, the hope that never ends. 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 relationship with Jesus Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every single day, starting in the Gospel of John, which is in the second half of the Bible. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, His manual for your life. In it He reveals Who He is. In it He reveals His infinite love for you and 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 also invite you to visit my website at https://www.maryanndiorio.com/book-table. There you will find a complete list of the novels, novellas, and short stories I have written about characters with problems like yours. One such story is my latest novel, In Black and White.

BUY NOW!

On my website, you will also find many additional resources to help you grow in your walk with Christ.

If you have been blessed by these messages, 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. I could not it without you.

And to all of you wonderful listeners out there, 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.

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HOLDING ON TO HOPE

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

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

“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 examine your heart and how to program your heart for success.

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A young Christian friend of mine in her early twenties confided to me her great concern about the future.

“As a Christian, I know I shouldn’t be anxious,” she said, “and I feel so guilty that I am. But with all the horrible things going on in the world, I wonder if I’ll get to live a normal life. Will there even be a world by the time I’m ready to be married?”

My friend is not alone in her concern. Across our nation and throughout the world, people of all ages, including Christians, are doubtful and uncertain about the future. Perhaps you yourself are one of them.

If so, you too may be feeling guilty about your lack of confidence in the future. You know that Christ commands you not to worry about tomorrow, but you have difficulty obeying that command. What can you do?

Before we consider why we as Christians can face the future with confidence, let’s look at some factors that may be playing a major role in robbing us of this very hope.

Factor #1: WORLD EVENTS. Wherever we turn, the media bombards us with reports of disaster, destruction, and death. Wars and rumors of wars so overwhelm us that we find ourselves growing increasingly fearful and cynical about what lies ahead. In an age of sophisticated communication systems, we see close up the sin and suffering of an entire world. Such instant and constant bad news, magnified to global proportions, only fuels our sense of uneasiness and dread.

Despair, not hope, dominates the news. When the media, instead of God’s Word, becomes our primary source of mental and spiritual food, we build our lives on a foundation of fear.

Factor #2: PERSONAL PROBLEMS. Not only do world events trouble us, but personal trials also sap our hope. After nearly 25 years of climbing the corporate ladder of success, Jerry, a family friend, lost his job. At age 50, with two children in college, Jerry discovered that his ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. Shattered and defeated, he struggled with bouts of severe depression. After renewing his hope in Christ, however, Jerry found another job.

Perhaps you too, like Jerry, have lost your job or are facing financial challenges. Maybe health problems or poor family relationships are eroding your confidence. Whatever the case, personal problems can definitely rob you of hope for a better future.  

Factor #3: YOUR THOUGHT LIFE. We become what we think about. What we think about is the direct result of what we put into our minds. If we consume a steady mental diet of worry over our personal problems, it’s no wonder that we lose confidence in the future. The Bible tells us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7 KJV).

If you continually sow thoughts of hopelessness into your heart, you will reap a crop of despair. If, on the other hand, you sow thoughts of hope, you will eventually reap a harvest of hope. What kind of thoughts are you sowing?

Factor #4: LOSS OF FOCUS ON JESUS CHRIST. Fear and anxiety about the future result when we take our eyes off Jesus, the One Who holds the future. Consider the Apostle Peter. When he stepped out of the boat onto the water, his eyes were focused on Jesus. The instant Peter took his eyes off Jesus and put them on his surroundings, he became filled with fear and began to sink.

This is exactly what we do when we focus on what’s happening around us rather than on the Word of God. When we allow our attitude about the future to be controlled by our circumstances instead of God’s Word, we exalt our circumstances above God. Putting circumstances above God is nothing short of idolatry.  

Idolatry is placing greater trust in something other than God, whether that “something” be money, self, or world events. To be anxious about the future is to place more trust in the negative situations around us than in God’s promise to take care of us. Are you placing more trust in the world’s word or in God’s Word?

Factor #5: LACK OF SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE.   Unless we feed continually on the Scriptures, we cannot develop a strong sense of confidence in the future. The Bible states, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isaiah 26:3 KJV). When our minds are anchored in God, we will experience peace in the midst of every storm, knowing that God’s plans for us are “for good and not for evil, to give [us] a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 TLB).           

Factor #6: YOUR COMFORT ZONE. Strange as it may seem, many of us Christians actually want to hold on to our fear about the future. Like a security blanket, it has become so much a part of our daily lives that we think we can’t function without it. After all, how can we call ourselves responsible if we don’t worry about the future?   There is a big difference between worrying about the future and being responsible in preparing for it. To worry about the future is to focus on our own strength as we face the future. To be responsible in preparing for the future is to rely on God’s strength.

A classic example of this dichotomy is the biblical account of the two sisters, Mary and Martha (Luke 10: 38-42 KJV). Martha was the worrier, the burden-bearer, the one who put the cares of this world above the care of her soul. Jesus said of her that she was “troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41 KJV).

Mary, on the other hand, had different priorities. She realized that the most important thing she could do was to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him. Mary knew that if she filled her heart with God’s Word, she could make it through anything. Unlike Martha who relied on her own strength to face the challenges of life, Mary depended on God’s strength. Jesus said of Mary that she “hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42 KJV).

Now that we’ve looked at some hope-stealers, let’s consider some reasons why we as Christians can be not only confident as we face the future, but joyful as well.

God has everything under control. He is the Lord and there is none else (Isaiah 45:18 KJV). As the Creator of the universe and everything in it, God knows the beginning and the end. Nothing can happen to us without His permission. No matter what life may bring, we can rest secure in the knowledge that God knows our needs and that He will meet them.

God is faithful. He does exactly what He says He will do: “For I am the Lord: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass” (Ezekiel 12:25 KJV). When God promises that the word He speaks shall come to pass, He means it. It doesn’t matter what the situation looks like.

When my younger daughter was an infant, she was diagnosed with an incurable illness. Upon hearing the doctor’s report, my husband and I were assailed by fear. But we chose to resist the attack by focusing on God’s Word that said our daughter was healed by the stripes of Jesus (I Peter 2:24 KJV).  

For several months, we clung to that verse with every fiber of our being because our daughter’s very life depended on it. Eventually, her symptoms completely disappeared, much to the amazement of her doctors. Today she is a healthy 35-year-old young woman wholeheartedly serving Jesus Christ.

God is love. Everything He does is motivated by love. As our Father, He is intimately involved in the lives of His children. He Himself says that He has numbered the very hairs of our heads (Matthew 10:30 KJV). Because God is love, we can trust that He will take care of us.

God is the God of hope. There can be no hope without God, for all hope is rooted in Him. By its very nature, hope looks to the future. As Christians, our hope is in Jesus Christ and in His promise of eternal life.

When my elder daughter was in college, she purchased a Christian lapel button that read “Just visiting.” That’s the attitude we should take about our stay on this earth. This is not our final destination. We know that a far better life awaits us beyond this one. When we focus on that future life, we can keep the problems of this earthly life in proper perspective, confident in the knowledge that “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28 KJV).

Hope is the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19 KJV). Without it, we cannot fight the good fight of faith. In order to remain confident as we face the future, we must hold on to the hope that is set before us, namely Jesus Christ and the salvation He has provided. The battle has already been won. Therefore, we can rejoice as we face the future, knowing that for the children of God, the best is yet to be!

Now, it’s YOUR turn: Have you been finding it difficult to hold on to hope? If so, what are you doing about the challenges? Please leave your valued comment in the box below.

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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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Copyright 2018 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 drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

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WHEN ALL HOPE SEEMS GONE

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
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Wherever I turn, I find people who feel hopeless. Be it a teenager whose parents just divorced or an elderly person without a family, people everywhere struggle with despair.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is currently the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. On average, 121 people kill themselves every single day. That is 121 too many!

But suicide isn’t the only epidemic in the United States. Millions of people suffer from depression and depression-related disorders, like anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorders, bipolar disorder, and phobias. This should not be. Yet it is.

But why is it?

I would posit that many of these problems stem from a loss of hope, and a loss of hope stems from the lack of a deep, personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 6: 19 that hope is “an anchor for the soul.” In other words, hope keeps us stable and positive in the midst of obstacles. Hope keeps us looking ahead toward a better tomorrow. Toward the day when Christ will return and usher us into the eternal realm where all suffering will cease.

But while we are here on this earth, God wants us not only to survive, but also to thrive. And in order to do so, we must have hope. But our hope must be in the right place.

The only right place for our hope is in Jesus Christ. To hope in anything outside of Christ is to hope in vain, for only Christ is the Solid Rock on which hope can stand.

Much of our disappointment in life comes from the fact that we have hoped in the wrong thing or the wrong person. Perhaps we have placed our hope in a spouse or a child only to be disappointed in that spouse or that child. Perhaps we have placed our hope in a job or a career, only to be disappointed in that job or that career. Perhaps we have placed our hope in a friend who has betrayed us or a parent who has let us down.

Whatever the case, when we place our hope in imperfect human beings or in imperfect human situations, our hope will falter. But when we place our hope in the Perfect God, our hope will never fail.

In Psalm 39: 7, King David asks this question: “And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?” David answers his own question when he says: “My only hope is in You.”

David knew that the only safe repository of his hope was God. The same is true for us. When we place our hope in God, we will never be disappointed.

Perhaps you are listening today and you are feeling hopeless. Perhaps your life has crumbled and you don’t know where to turn. Perhaps you have even contemplated suicide or have already made arrangements to kill yourself. If I am talking to you, then I urge you to give yourself another chance.

You see, Satan wants to destroy you because you have a great purpose in God’s plan, and Satan wants to keep you from fulfilling that purpose. If you were not important to God, Satan would have no need to get you to feel hopeless or to kill yourself. But you are a threat to Satan, so he wants to eliminate you—to take you out of the picture. He does this by stealing your hope.

Without hope, we see no reason to go on. So, if Satan can steal your hope, he can steal your life and your blessings.

God, on the other hand, wants to give you life not steal it from you. He wants to give you hope and peace and every good thing. But in order to receive the hope that God wants to give you, you must receive it from His hand. You must, in short, come to Him.

God is waiting for you to do that now.

Today, if you are feeling hopeless, I urge you to turn to Jesus Christ. He is waiting with open arms for you to turn to Him. He wants to be your Hope. If you have not yet accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, I invite you to do so now. Just pray this simple prayer after me:

Lord Jesus, I come to You just as I am. I admit that I am a sinner in need of Your mercy and grace. I acknowledge that You are the Son of God, that You died for me to pay the penalty for my sin, and that You rose from the dead. I receive You now as my Savior and Lord. Make of me all that You created me to be. Amen.

If you sincerely prayed this prayer, you are now a born-again child of God and follower of Jesus Christ. Place your hope in Him. I promise you that you will never be disappointed.

For more information to help you grow in your relationship with Jesus, I invite you to visit my website at maryanndiorio.com.

Now, it’s your turn! Do you ever feel hopeless? If so, what do you do to combat hopelessness?

Please share your insights in the box below. Thanks!

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Copyright 2000-2017 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 drmaryann@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.

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.

AN INVITATION TO YOU: To follow this blog via Facebook, click here. If you are not on Facebook or would prefer to subscribe via a different venue, please check the sidebar to the right for subscription options. Thank you!


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Copyright 2001-2017 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA.  All Rights Reserved.