Are You Thinking Straight?

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.

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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, June 1, 2020. Today’s Podcast is Episode #22 in Series 2020 and is titled “Are You Thinking Straight?”

You might be wondering, What a strange question to ask? Am I thinking straight? Yet the truth is that my question is one of the most important questions you may ever be asked in your life. Your answer to that question will determine whether your life turns out well or turns out badly.

Okay, Dr. MaryAnn. Aren’t you getting a little melodramatic here? After all, how I think is how I think. What difference does it make how I think, if the thoughts are my own?

The fact that you made that statement and asked that question is proof that you are not thinking straight.

So, before we go any farther, let’s define what is meant by “thinking straight.” Thinking straight means thinking in line with Truth. But then we have to ask another question: What is Truth? You may remember that a Roman governor of Judea, named Pontius Pilate, asked that same question of Jesus just before Jesus was crucified (John 18: 38). 

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is Truth. He Himself said of Himself in John 14: 6, “I am the Truth.” Jesus is the Word of God, and so is the Bible. This makes Jesus and the Bible one and the same. So, logically speaking then, if Jesus is Truth, and if Jesus and the Bible are one and the same, then the Bible is Truth.

So, if the Bible is Truth, and if thinking straight means thinking in line with Truth, then thinking straight means thinking in line with the Bible.

Let me ask you another question. Are you thinking in line with the Bible? Do you even know what’s in the Bible? If you don’t, then how can you think in line with Truth? 

We must know Truth in order to think in line with Truth.

Truth is a Person. Truth is Jesus Christ. If we don’t know Jesus Christ, Who is Truth, then we cannot live in line with Truth.

So, the first order of business is to get to know Jesus Christ. How? By accepting Him as your Savior and Lord. When you do, you will be born again, and you will begin to comprehend Truth.

We live in a world in which most of the information we receive is controlled by people who do not know Truth. People who do not know the Bible. People who do not know Jesus Christ. Indeed, people who are blatantly opposed to Jesus Christ and, therefore, to Truth.

The information we receive from such people is contrary to Truth, yet most of the public believes their lies. When we believe a lie, we will suffer the consequences of believing a lie.

To believe a lie is to put ourselves in bondage. To believe the Truth is to experience freedom. Jesus Himself said, “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.”

We are fast losing many of our freedoms today. Have you asked yourself why? The reason is that, as a culture, we have chosen to embrace the lie instead of embracing the Truth.

We will be free to the degree that we embrace the Truth.

Do you want to be free? Then embrace the Truth. Embrace Jesus Christ. He is waiting to set you free.

Pray this simple prayer with me:

Lord Jesus, I come to You now, just as I am. I want to know Truth. I want to know You so that I can be free. I receive You now as my Savior and Lord. Make of me what You created me to be. 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 and for He will help you to come to Him and to grow in Him and to become all that He created you to be. 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. My latest novel, In Black and White, recently won First Place in Historical Fiction in the 2020 Christian Indie Book Awards Contest. It is the page-turning, compelling love story between a white woman and a black man as they face the wrath of family and society in order to preserve their love. Get your copy at Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, or other vendors of your choice.

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For additional resources on living the abundant life in Jesus Christ, visit my website at maryanndiorio.com.

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. It is now reaching 19 countries throughout the world with the message of the Gospel. I could not do this without you.

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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Now it’s your turn:  “What steps have you taken to overcome perfectionism?”  Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you!

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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.

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The War on Christmas

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

Check out my 2018 Christmas Catalogue to Simply Your Christmas Shopping

“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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What happened to the expression “Merry Christmas”?

Worse yet, what happened to Christmas?

In case you aren’t aware of it, there is an all-out war against Christmas. And this war is being waged by none other than Satan and his demon cohorts.

Time was when everybody loved Christmas—both Christians and non-Christians alike. Did you know that some of our most famous Christmas songs were written by non-Christians? For example, “White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin, a Jew.  One of the writers of “Winter Wonderland,” Felix Bernard, was also a Jew.  Two other Jews, Sammy Cahn and Jute Styne, wrote “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let it Snow.” And there are more.

So, why did these people–who did not even believe in Christ—love and respect Christmas? Because the general social consensus in those days was a Christian consensus. People as a whole respected the Judeo-Christian principles on which our country was founded. Morality was still important, and those who did not obey the Ten Commandments were punished, if not outright ostracized. Peer pressure in those days was in favor of righteousness—exactly opposite of what peer pressure is today.

Make no mistake about it. The movement to eliminate “Merry Christmas” from our vocabulary is intentional and perverse. You see, Satan still wants to be God. So, as always, he has instituted counterfeits to lure people away from truth.

Take Santa Claus, for instance. Who would dare denigrate Santa Claus, that kindly old man who brings gifts to children? Yet, Santa Claus has been a deceptive means of drawing people away from the true focus of Jesus Christ, the true and rightful focus of Christmas.

From our children’s infancy, my husband and I taught them that Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa Claus. One day, when I was shopping at the local mall, a kind lady came up to me and to my daughter, who was then a toddler in a stroller. The lady asked her what Santa Claus was going to bring her for Christmas. Confused by the question, my little girl looked at the lady and then looked at me and said, “Mommy, doesn’t she know the truth about Santa Claus?” You can imagine the expression on the dear lady’s face!

Some will protest that Santa Claus has his origins in St. Nicholas, a monk born toward the end of the third century, A.D. This is true. But the St. Nicholas of history is a far cry from the Santa Claus of today who has replaced Jesus as the center of Christmas. 

Today, parents are criticized if they do not allow their children to go along with the Santa Claus myth. But what happens when children learn that parents did not tell them the truth about Santa Claus? Could this be a reason that, later on, children believe that their parents lied to them about Jesus, too?  A sobering thought!

You see, sometimes what we think is minor is really major.

The Holy Bible says that Satan presents himself as an “angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14). This means that he uses things that look good to entice us into things that are evil. In 1 Peter 5: 8, Scripture commands us to be continually on the alert against his devices. 

As we approach Christmas this week, let us remember that it’s all about Jesus Christ Who died for our sins when we ourselves should have died for them. Christmas is all about remembering the One Who loved us so much that He gave His very life so that we could spend eternity with Him.

Merry Christmas!

Now, it’s YOUR turn: Please share your questions and insights in the Comments box below. Thank you!

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If you found this post helpful, please forward it to a friend. Thank you! You may also be interested in reading the following popular posts:

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“Sex and Soul Ties”

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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 info@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

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How to Drive Out the Darkness from Your World

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Have you ever been in a totally dark room and lit a match? Amazing, isn’t it, how that tiny little match lights up the whole room!

Every day we go out into a world that is growing increasingly dark.  Your workplace may be dark. The school or university you attend may be dark. You may even find yourself living as the only Christ-Follower in a home that is dark. If so, what are you to do? Here are a few suggestions that have worked for me in various environments:

Handle  ignition matches1-Remember that we are the light of the world. Jesus said as much in Matthew 5: 14. We are that little match that will light up whatever environment we enter, no matter how dark. Because Christ lives in us, He goes with us. So, whenever we enter a room, Christ is entering with us, and His light in us will light up that room.

2-Remember that we must first strike the match. In order for Christ’s light in us to shine into the darkness, we have to strike the match. This means we have to yield to His light in us and allow it to flow out of us. In other words, we have to choose to shine His light. We cannot, as Scripture warns, hide the light under a basket (Matthew 5: 15). It does no good there.

3-Remember that we must hang our light on a lampstand. How do we hang our light on a lampstand? Through the words we speak and the things we do.

There is a dangerous quote going around in Christian circles and attributed to St. Francis that says this: Preach the gospel always and if necessary, use words.While I understand the intent of this quote, I think it has caused many Christ-Followers to feel they are off the hook when it comes to preaching the Gospel with words. Such an attitude is clearly contrary to Scripture.

Shortly before He ascended to Heaven, Jesus said this: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Preaching means opening our mouths and using words. If we do not use words to be a light, we may give the false impression that the good works we do are the result of our upbringing and not the result of Christ’s life within us.

Why must we hang our light on a lampstand by what we say and do? So that everyone who sees our light will praise our heavenly Father. The light we carry is not for our glory; it is for God’s glory. When those in darkness notice the light–and they will notice it–they will want to know where our light comes from. When we tell them it comes from Christ in us, they will want the light for themselves.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN: What do you do to drive out darkness from your world?

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5 Reasons Not to Be Afraid

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Fear is in the air. But so is peace, if you know where to look for it.

Peace is found in only one place: In Jesus Christ. He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).  Not only does Jesus give peace; Jesus Christ IS Peace.

Maligne Lake in Jasper natioanal park, Alberta, Canada

Jesus gives us many reasons not to be afraid. Here are five of them:

1) “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).  No matter what we face in life, we never face it alone. Jesus is always with us, whether we feel His Presence or not.  We have His Word on this, and His Word is enough.

2) “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).  No matter what enemy we may face, God faces the enemy with us. No matter what the outcome may look like, the truth is that we will win in the end. 

3) “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). The spirit of fear comes from Satan. God has given us the spirit of power, the spirit of love, and the spirit of a sound mind. This is the truth about who we are in Christ.

4) “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love”
(1 John 4:18).  The more we love, the less we fear.  The antidote to fear is love.  Love drives out fear.  Those who do not love live in great fear.

5) “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4). When things look the bleakest and the most fear-inducing, God is still there with us. This is His promise to us, and He will keep His Word.

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Choosing “the Good Portion”

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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Jesus spoke of “the good portion”.  He praised Mary, Martha’s sister, for choosing the good portion. He also promised that the good portion would not be taken away from Mary.

African American Studying the Bible at Home

What is “the good portion”? The good portion is Jesus Himself. Mary chose to spend time with her Lord and Savior instead of worrying about lesser things.

Martha was upset with Mary for not helping her in the kitchen. What Martha did not realize is that seeking Jesus first would equip her to take care of the kitchen in an expeditious manner. Feeding her spirit first would give Martha the wisdom necessary to deal with the duties of daily life.

Choosing the good portion is choosing the heart over the head. The heart represents the wisdom of God’s Spirit within us. The head represents human reasoning. 

When we choose the heart over the head, the head will come into proper alignment with the heart. And everything else will fall into its proper place.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

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