WINNING WITH THE WORD
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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 7, 2021, and this is Episode #18 of Series 2021. This episode is titled “Are You a Ritual Robot?”
For many years, I belonged to a traditional, mainline church that emphasized ritual over relationship, law over grace, and tradition over the free flow of the Holy Spirit. I was a devoted member of this church and followed all of its tenets to the tee.
Yet, I was dead inside.
One Sunday, when I was in my early twenties, I attended the morning service as usual. On this particular day, I was feeling very discouraged about life. Depressed even. I went to church out of habit–and ritual–but when I left the service that Sunday morning, I felt worse than I had felt before I entered the service.
Something was not right.
As I stood on the front steps of the church, I cried out to God. I said, “God, there has to be something more to You than this. Show me if you are real.” After that heartfelt prayer, I went home as usual, wondering whether or not things would ever change.
Shortly thereafter, things did, indeed, begin to change. For the first time, a young woman asked me a question that changed my life. The question was, “Have you been born again?”
At that time, I had been in my church for 23 years, but I had never once heard the term “born again” preached from the pulpit, nor did I have a clue as to what the term meant. The young woman explained to me that being born again means accepting Jesus Christ as one’s Savior and Lord.
I told her that I already believed in Jesus. But she said that believing in Jesus did not mean I was born again, because, as the Bible says in James 2: 19, even demons believe in Jesus!
Wow! I had never read that. Of course, I had never read the Bible, either. My denomination taught that only priests were qualified to interpret the Bible and that the laity could not, nor should not read this greatest of all books.
The young woman went on to explain that there is a huge difference between giving mental assent to Jesus and receiving Him into one’s heart. The head and the heart are not the same. She further explained that tradition was deceptive in that it made one think that one was saved when one was not. Tradition for the sake of tradition was legalism, not life. One could spend his entire life observing church traditions and still go to Hell.
So, the reason I felt dead on the inside was that I was dead on the inside. I had not yet been born again. I had not asked Jesus to save me so that He could make me alive spiritually by giving me a new spirit full of His eternal life.
In short, I had become a Ritual Robot.
As I began to ponder what the young woman had told me, I asked many questions, both of myself and of others. For example, I asked, “Why did Jesus have to die if my good works could get me to Heaven?” I asked, “How will I know if I have done enough good works to get to Heaven, and when would I know this?” One priest told me that I would not know until after I died. I flinched in disbelief. I did not want to take such a huge risk with my eternal destiny. Who would?
I encourage you, too, to ask questions. Hard questions. God loves questions. And He wants to answer them.
Perhaps you, too, have become a ritual robot. Perhaps you, too, have been going through the motions of religion in the hope that the repetition of such motions will earn you eternal life. But the truth is that eternal life cannot be earned. It is a gift, pure and simple. A precious gift from Jesus Christ to whoever wants to accept it.
What about you? Would you like to receive the precious gift of eternal life that Jesus Christ is offering to you? You know, you are not listening to this podcast or reading this blog post by accident. You are here by divine appointment. Why? Because God loves you. Yes, God loves YOU! And He wants you in His family.
Won’t you accept the Father’s invitation to you today? Won’t you say yes to His offer of the gift of eternal life?
Maybe you’re still wondering if all of this is true? Well, let me paraphrase the question that the great French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, asked: If Jesus Christ is not the Savior but you accept Him, you have nothing to lose. But if Jesus Christ is, indeed, the Savior and you do not accept Him, you have everything to lose.
Will you wager losing your soul for not accepting Christ? Or will you wager gaining eternal life by accepting Christ? The choice is yours.
If you do not accept Christ as your Savior, you have everything to lose. But if you do accept Christ as your Savior, you have everything to gain.
So, pray this simple prayer with me now:
Lord Jesus, I need You. I need You to save me. I need You to have eternal life. So I invite You now into my life. I receive You as my personal Savior and the Lord of my life. Thank You for forgiving me and bringing me into Your family. Thank You for saving me. Thank You for giving me eternal life. I pray this in Your Name. Amen.
If you sincerely prayed this prayer, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 who can guide you as you grow in Him.
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Now it’s your turn: Have you been born again? If not, what are you waiting for? Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you.
Photo Source: Erik Stein (Pixabay)
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 and deals with the issue of unforgiveness. 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 will also find Miracle in Milan on Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.
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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!
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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
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.
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“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!
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