Why You Need to Be Born Again

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 29, 2020. Today’s Podcast is Episode #26 in Series 2020 and is titled “Why You Need to Be Born Again”.

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Sadly, the term “born again” has fallen into disrepute over recent years, despite the fact that it is the most important term that one must address regarding one’s eternal destiny. People who are born again have been ridiculed, criticized, and even ostracized. Have you ever wondered why?

Often, when there is great public outrage against something, it is due to the fact that that “something” is true. You see, the truth offends. It has offended from the fall of Adam and Eve. It offended when Jesus walked the earth. And it continues to offend today.

Why does the truth offend?  Because it challenges a person’s self-will, his desire to be his own god. 

Rebellion is at the heart of the human condition. It was rebellion that brought evil into the world, and today, it is still rebellion that perpetuates evil.

Because of our first parents, Adam and Eve, each of us is born into this world with a sin nature. This means that we enter this world with spirits disconnected from God. In other words, spirits that are dead, for there is no life unless we are connected to God.

When Adam and Eve rebelled against God, they died spiritually and, eventually, physically. God never intended for us to die physically. Sin caused physical death as well as spiritual death. 

After they sinned, Adam and Eve were helpless to regain what they had given up by obeying Satan instead of obeying God. There was nothing our first parents could ever do to be restored to their original condition. Consequently, since they had corrupted themselves by their sin, they could pass on to us only corruption–spiritual, mental, and physical. They could only give us what they had. 

But God loved Adam and Eve and all of us, their descendants, so very much that He took it upon Himself to rescue us, to reconnect us to Himself. There was only one way He could do so. God needed a scapegoat–someone who was not only God and capable of paying a perfect price to our perfect God, but who also would become a man in order to represent mankind and stand in our place as our substitute. That Someone was Jesus Christ, God’s only Son!

Ever since that day when Jesus rose from the dead, He has been offering His gift of salvation to all who would take it. Won’t you accept His gift of salvation today? Tomorrow may be too late.

You see, when a person is born again by accepting Christ’s gift of salvation, that person is reconnected to God the Father. This reconnection qualifies the person to spend eternity with his Father in Heaven because he has become a member of God’s family.

So why should being born again matter to you? It should matter because whether or not you are born again will determine your existence for all eternity after you die. Contrary to popular teachings, you will continue to exist after you die physically and leave this earth. Your spirit and your soul will continue to exist in one of two places: Heaven or Hell. The choice is up to you, but you must make that choice before you die physically. You will not be permitted to make that choice after you die physically.

But the only way to ensure that your spirit and soul go to Heaven after you die is for you to be born again. Only those who are born again are permitted entrance into Heaven. Those who are not born again will go to Hell and remain there forever and forever and forever in a state of eternal torment–with no hope of ever leaving that horrific place.  And yes. Heaven and Hell are real places.

So, I urge you, accept Jesus Christ as the only One Who can save you. The Bible says in Acts 4: 12 CEV that “only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone.”

Won’t you run to that Name now and be saved? Please pray this simple prayer with me:

Lord Jesus, I have been duped by many who say that I don’t need You, that I can save myself. But I see now that I was believing a lie. Forgive me! You are the only one who can save me. So I accept You now as my Savior and Lord. Come into my life. 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. 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. This book was written for such a time as this, in which we are facing very serious issues of racism and hatred in our society. To discover the only real answer to racism, get your copy of IN BLACK AND WHITE now at Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, or other vendors of your choice.  If you are reading this blog post, you can also purchase IN BLACK AND WHITE at the link below or on my website at maryanndiorio.com. Just click the bookstore tab at the top of the page.

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You will also find additional resources on living the abundant life in Jesus Christ on my website at maryanndiorio.com.

If you have been blessed by these messages, 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. It is now reaching numerous 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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Listen to the podcast here:

Now it’s your turn: Have you been born again? If not, why not?  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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ARE YOU READY FOR THE RAPTURE?

WINNING WITH THE WORD
by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

“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 on the PODCAST LINK to today’s blog post:

PODCAST: “ARE YOU READY FOR THE RAPTURE?
by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

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We are living at a momentous time in history, a time when Jesus Christ could return at any moment to take his Church out of the world. This remarkable event whereby Jesus will instantaneously remove his followers from the earth is called the Rapture. As the Bible describes it, it will happen in the twinkling of an eye, in other words as fast as the blink of an eye. Interestingly, in Jewish tradition, the term the twinkling of an eye also refers to the sliver of the new moon that is seen on Rosh Hashanah, the Feast of Trumpets. 

My question to you today is, are you ready for the Rapture? If Jesus Christ were to return today, would He take you to be with Him? Or would He leave you behind?

This is a very serious question, and it is critically important that you be able to answer it in the affirmative. If you are not sure that you would be able to do so, then listen very closely. What I am going to discuss with you today could determine your eternal destiny.

The Rapture of People out of the world

According to the Bible, God’s instruction manual for man, the day is coming when Jesus Christ will return to Earth to rule and reign for a period of 1000 years. This thousand-year period of time is referred to as the Millennium. About seven years prior to the second coming of Christ, however, He will appear in the sky and draw to Himself all those who have surrendered their lives to Him and who are living for Him. This event is called the Rapture and is described in 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17: 

“The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

Those people who will be taken out of the world at that time are called the Church. The Church is comprised of all those who have been born again by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, and who are serving Him as their Lord at the time of the Rapture. These people alone will be considered the children of God, and therefore eligible to be removed from the earth and to see God. You see, while all people are the creations of God, only those who have been born again are the children of God. Two Scripture passages confirm this truth.

The first is John 1: 12 that states: “But as many as received Him, to them, He gave the right to become children of God to those who believe in His Name.” The second is John 3: 3 that says, “Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

So those who have not been born again and who are not serving God at the time of the Rapture will be left behind. And they’ll go through the worst period of suffering in the history of the world. This period of suffering is called the Tribulation and will make all previous wars combined look like a picnic.

During this horrendous time of human suffering, the world will be under the rule of a dictator called the Antichrist. Many will believe him to be the Messiah when, indeed, he will be Satan incarnate. In other words, he will be a man totally possessed by Satan. The inhabitants of the world will suffer tremendous persecution and even death at his hands. While I do not have time on this broadcast, to go into great detail about all that has to take place, I encourage you to read the Bible and learn about these things for yourself. Read especially in the New Testament, the twenty-fourth chapter of the book of Matthew, the fourth and fifth chapters of the book of First Thessalonians and the Book of Revelation.

In the Old Testament, read in particular the books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Jeremiah and also the Minor Prophets. What you will learn from your reading is that we are fast approaching the return of Jesus Christ. While the Bible makes clear in Mark 13: 32 that no one knows the day nor the hour of Christ’s return, one thing is certain: He will return!  About this, there is absolutely no question. And so again, I ask you, “Are you ready?”

Even if Christ does not return during your lifetime, are you ready to meet Him when it is your turn to die? So often, we live as though we are never going to die. For some strange reason, we think that it could never happen to us. But sooner or later, each one of us will face our God and each one of us will have to give an account of our lives. How will you feel when you stand before God? Will you be joyful and confident? Or will you be fearful and ashamed?

Today, many people scoff at the thought of an afterlife. Some believe that everyone will go to Heaven because God is good and would not allow anyone to go to Hell. Others believe that once you die, that’s the end of it, that there is nothing on the other side of death. Still others believe that there are many ways to Heaven and that one can choose what one thinks is the best way for oneself. Such people think that just as all roads lead to Rome, all roads lead to Heaven as well.

The Bible takes issue with such thinking. Yes, God is good, totally good. But He will allow anyone who wants to go to Hell. Why? Because when God created us, He gave us a free will to choose our own eternal destiny. God did not create us as puppets to be manipulated by Him. No, God wanted us to be free, free to love Him and to serve Him because we want to, not because He forces us to.

But in creating us as free agents, God took the awesome risk that some people would reject Him and His gift of eternal life. And many, indeed, have rejected Him and His gift of eternal life with disastrous results. For such people who have died are now suffering the torments of Hell and will do so forever. It is too late for them to turn back.

But it is not too late for you. The destiny of those who are now in Hell does not have to be your destiny. Just as those who are now in Hell had the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ while they were alive on this earth, so do you have that same opportunity right now. Take advantage of your opportunity before it is too late for you to do so. As the Bible says in Hebrews 4: 7, “Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” Do not turn a deaf ear to the heart cry of God for your life. He is reaching out to you once again with his gift of salvation. You cannot be sure you will have this opportunity again. So receive it now while you can. Tomorrow may be too late.

After this broadcast, you will never be able to say that you never heard the message of salvation, because I am sharing it with you today. And that message is that God loves you and wants you to live forever with Him in Heaven. In order for you to be able to do so, He sent Jesus Christ to pay the price for your sins. John 3: 16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

All you have to do is accept what Jesus Christ did for you. It’s so simple. Just accept His gift of eternal life and you will be saved. Romans 10: 9 says that “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” To confess with your mouth means to say it aloud with your mouth. Say with your mouth that you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and that you make Him the Lord of your life.

Life and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. When you do, you will be saved. And once you are saved, you will begin to experience the abundant life, which, in John 10: 10, Jesus promised us when He said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

You will never have abundant life until you have Jesus. First John 5: 12 makes this clear:  “He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” Do you have life in your life? If not, go to Jesus Christ, the Source of all life. He will gladly give you life simply for the asking. Then you will be ready to meet Him when He returns. Accept Him now as your Savior and Lord by repeating this simple prayer after me:

Lord Jesus. I want to be ready when you return for your Church at the time. With the Rapture, I want to be counted as one of Your children. I admit that I am a sinner in need of your mercy and grace. I believe that you are the Son of God, that You died for me, and that Tou rose again on the third day. I invite You now to come into my life. I receive You as my personal Savior and as the Lord of my life. Nake of me all that You created me to be. Amen.

If you sincerely prayed this prayer, you are now a born again Christian. I invite you to write to me at drmaryann@drmaryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a little booklet that will help get you started in your Christian walk. I also invite you to visit my website at maryanndiorio.com. There you will find a wealth of information to help you grow in your walk with the Lord, as well as a way to contact me with your prayer requests. We have had miraculous answers to prayer through this ministry. So please send in your prayer requests. God is able and willing to meet your every need.

Thank you so much for listening. This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, your Virtual 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.

 

Now, it’s YOUR turn: What about you? Are you ready for the Rapture ? Please share your comments in the Comments Box below. Thank you!

TWEETABLE:  “ARE YOU READY FOR THE RAPTURE?” by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio @DrMaryAnnDiorio (Click to Tweet)

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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:

Living in a Violent World”

“How to Handle Offense”

Is the Apocalypse Near?” 

“Convergence: Clear Sign of the End Times”

“The Rise of Wicca, Witches, and Warlocks” 

Please 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. 

For additional encouragement, check out my podcasts at the following links:

A Moment with MaryAnn – Podcasts on Living the Good Life

Winning with the Word Podcast Series

Write Your Heart Out! – Podcasts for Writers

Please tell your family and friends about this blog and my other resources, and please pass this post on to them. Thank you!

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Copyright 20111-2019 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.

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Do You Serve a “Quid pro Quo” God?

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.

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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Quid pro quo.  Tit for tat. Something for something.

Is this the kind of God you serve?

Legalism—and its twin sister religion—are alive and well in the Church today. But, just as in the days Jesus walked the earth, legalism kills.

What is legalism? Legalism is any doctrine that states we can earn our salvation. All religion is legalistic because religion, of its very nature, believes that one’s salvation depends on one’s performance. If I do good works, God will approve of me and allow me to enter Heaven.

Such was the belief of the Pharisees, whom Jesus soundly condemned. 

Interestingly, all belief systems today, except Christianity, promote some sort of legalism. All require that one “perform” in order to reach God and be saved.

The uniqueness of Christianity is that it teaches that all of our attempts to perform in order to be saved are futile. Why? Because we could never perform well enough to earn our salvation. We could never do enough good works or kind deeds to merit Heaven.

This is the reason we need a Savior. We need a perfect Person (Jesus) to pay the perfect price for our sin. The perfect price is the only price that will satisfy the wrath of a perfect God.

Jesus paid that price. As man, He alone could stand in our place because He was also God, and, as God, He alone could pay the price of sin required by our perfect God.

Jesus Christ has “performed” for us. In other words, Christ’s death and resurrection are all that were needed for us to be saved.

Yet, there is something in man that wants to pay his own way. We’ve all heard the phrase “There is no free lunch.” Well, salvation isn’t free, either. But the One Who paid the price for our salvation was Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He paid the ultimate price–the sacrifice of His life–so that we could be saved.

There is no other way to be saved except by believing in Jesus Christ and in what He has done for us. This is our salvation: to appropriate Christ’s death and resurrection to our personal lives. All we have to do is believe and receive His gift of eternal life. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.”

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God,.”  
John 1: 12

The message of salvation is the message of grace. It is not based on the condition that we perform for God. It is based simply on our believing that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, performed for us. We must rest in that truth. We must rest in Christ’s performance, not our own, for our own could never meet God’s standards of holiness.

When we come to God to be saved, we come on the basis of Christ’s merit and His merit alone. When we do, we will discover that His grace is more than sufficient to save us from all sin.

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

TWEETABLE:  “Do You Serve a ‘Quid pro Quo’ God?” by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio @DrMaryAnnDiorio (Click to Tweet)


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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:

“How to Destroy Mental Strongholds”

“Convergence: Clear Sign of the End Times”

“The Rise of Wicca, Witches, and Warlocks” 

“Don’t Let Satan Play Your Pipes!”

“How to Recognize a Controlling Spirit”

“Sex and Soul Ties”

Please 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. 

For additional encouragement, check out my podcasts at the following links:

A Moment with MaryAnn – Podcasts on Living the Good Life

Winning with the Word Podcast Series

Write Your Heart Out! – Podcasts for Writers

Please tell your family and friends about this blog and my other resources, and please pass this post on to them. Thank you!

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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.

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.

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“Why Should You Be Ready for the Rapture?”

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.

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

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Are you ready for the Rapture? 

You may be hearing this question more frequently than usual lately. Why so? 

First, let’s talk about what the Rapture is. The English word “rapture” as used in this instance comes from the Latin word “rapio” which means “to seize, snatch, or carry off; to be caught up or taken out of; to remove in spirit and/or in body from one place to another.”  The Rapture of the Church means the removal of the church from earth to Heaven. In other words, the Rapture is the rescue of the Church from the realm of earth–where the wrath of God will be poured out during the Tribulation
–to the realm of Heaven where the Church will be safe and secure.

The Greek translation of the Latin word for rapture is harpazo, which means to snatch away or to take away. The Apostle Paul uses the word harpazo in 1 Thessalonians 4: 17 where he writes: “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

This same word harpazo is used in other places of the Bible as well. For example, in Acts 8: 39 when Holy Spirit “caught up” Philip near Gaza and brought him to Caesarea or in Paul’s recounting of his experience in “being caught tup to the third heaven” in 2 Corinthians 12: 2-4. So, in the case of 1 Thessalonians 4: 17, we can be sure that the word harpazo means the actual removal of born-again Christians from the earth to Heaven.

So, we are settled that when the Lord returns for His Church, if we are still on the earth, we who are born again will be removed from the earth and taken to Heaven. 

That said, we need to ask ourselves why we must be ready to be removed and what we need to do to get ready.

The answer to the reason we must be ready to be removed from the earth at the time of the Rapture is simple: in order to escape the wrath to come. Paul describes this reason in 1 Thessalonians 1: 10: “…to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

There is a time of wrath coming upon the earth. It will be a time of the worst terror, suffering, persecution, and hardship the world has ever seen. It will occur under the brutal rule of the AntiChrist. Only those who have accepted Christ as their Savior and Lord will be spared from this wrath by being taken out of the earth by God Himself. All others will be left behind to experience this most horrific of times. 

What about you? Are you ready for the Rapture? If not, you need to get ready right now. How do you get ready? By repenting of your sins and acknowledging that Jesus Christ is the Only One Who can save you. Receive Him now as Your Savior and Lord by praying this simple prayer:

Lord Jesus, I acknowledge that I am a sinner in need of Your mercy and grace. I choose to turn from my sin and to receive You now as my Savior and Lord. I want to live with You forever. Amen.

If you sincerely prayed this prayer from your heart, you are now born again and will be raptured with the rest of us who are born again. Now, tell others about what you have done and encourage them to do the same. 

In my next few posts, I will be discussing more about the end-times and what we, as Christ-Followers, can expect. Meanwhile, I refer you to two videos recorded at the recent “Understanding the Times Prophecy Conference” hosted by Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries. These videos are not pleasant to watch, but we need to know the signs of the times as prophesied in the Scriptures in order to live and to minister in these last days. So, I urge you to watch them. WARNING: They are not for children!

Here are the links to the two videos:

“Home Invasion: The Rise of the Surveillance Society” by Eric Barger
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE5lvqAujnQ

“Artificial Intelligence and the Coming Apocalypse” by Pastor Billy Crone
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUN8DJJAKJY

Prayer for Today: Lord God, we thank You that through Christ, we can have eternal life. We praise You for the gift of salvation through Christ. Guide us as we share this truth with those whom You bring across our paths. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

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

TWEETABLE:  “Why Should You Be Ready for the Rapture? by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio @DrMaryAnnDiorio (CLICK TO TWEET).

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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:

“Are You on the Verge of Giving Up?”

“How to Stay Sane in an Insane World”

“Is Regret Stealing Your Joy?”

“How to Recognize a Controlling Spirit”

“Sex and Soul Ties”

Please 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. 

For additional encouragement, check out my podcasts at the following links:

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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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RIPE FOR HARVEST

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

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

MARYANN’S NOTE: At Holy Spirit’s direction, I have been posting a few personal experience stories over the past few weeks. These experiences happened to me personally and reveal God’s supernatural presence and power in our lives. Today’s post is the last of the series. I trust that these stories have encouraged you, inspired you, and revealed to you how much God loves you and is involved with your life as well.
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The young woman rushed toward me, a smile on her face and a joy in her eyes that I had never seen in anyone’s eyes before.

“Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord?”

My muscles tensed at her jolting question. It was not one I had expected to hear at a Friday night party sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ at a major Eastern university.

I furrowed my brows. “Excuse me? I don’t understand what you mean.”

She smiled and repeated her question, her face radiant with a joy that, I could tell, was not of this world. “Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord?”

“I’m sorry,” I replied. “I am____________.” And I gave her my lifelong religious affiliation.

My past did not deter her. “A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is for everyone, even for someone of your religious background.”

She was earnest and passionate. Unwavering in her zeal and, even more so, in her conviction.

“I’m sorry,” I said again. “I respect your beliefs, but this is not for me.”

Her smile faded just barely, but the joy in her eyes never did.

Her name was Margo. She was kind, gracious, and polite. We parted on friendly terms. As she walked away, the look of love in her eyes remained indelibly seared in my soul. Little did I know then that it would hover before me and bless me for the rest of my life.

Now, 45 years later, I can still remember that look of love in Margo’s eyes. A look that Inow understand was Christ in her bidding me come to Him. Now, 45 years later, I am certain she prayed incessantly for me.

Why am I certain? Because two years after my encounter with Margo at that university party, I overcame my fear of questioning my old belief system, and I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord. And, in the 45 years since, I have had the great honor and privilege of leading countless people to a similar, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Now, 45 years later, I understand what was going on in the spirit realm that night at the university party.

Tragic how fear can keep us from truth. Tragic how ingrained beliefs can so imprison us that we are afraid to question them. Tragic how religion can keep us from relationship!

Margo knew this. She saw it in me when I did not see it in myself.

When I did not want to see it in myself.

And so, she shared the truth in love. Not theology. Not intellectual arguments.

But a Person.

She shared Jesus Christ in her by allowing Him to flow through her into my life. And even though, to my deep regret, I did not accept Him that first time He presented Himself to me through that precious young woman, His infinite mercy profoundly touched me and left its indelible mark on my soul.

Jesus understood my fear of renouncing what I had been taught from childhood and had always believed. But He did not allow that fear to persist in my life. He pursued me with His love.

As did Margo with her prayers.

For 45 years, I have searched for her. I want so much to tell her that I did finally come to Christ and that, because of her boldness in sharing the Gospel with me, countless others have come to Christ. I want her to know that her witness was not in vain, that the seed she planted has borne much fruit.

I may never find Margo this side of Heaven. But one day, whether here on earth or on the other side, I will thank her personally for sharing Christ with me. Until then, I will continue to pay tribute to the love of Christ in her by imitating her boldness and sharing Christ wherever and whenever I can.

And, until then, I will continue to encourage others that no witness for Christ is in vain. For He promises us this: “My word, which comes from my mouth, is like the rain and snow. It will not come back to me without results. It will accomplish whatever I want and achieve whatever I send it to do” (Isaiah 55:11 GOD’S WORD® Translation).

Only God knows where the seeds we plant will sprout and bear fruit. That is His concern, not ours. Ours is to do His bidding, to be a Margo to that one who is too afraid to let go of status quo beliefs and move into truth.

That one who, like me, was ripe for harvest but just didn’t know it.
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Copyright 2015-2017. All Rights Reserved. This article originally appeard in Book Fun Magazine on September 22, 2015.

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 are:

Touched by Angels

Sex and Soul Ties

The Deadly Trap of Tolerance

Victim or Victor: Which One Are You?

How to Conquer Stinkin’ Thinkin’


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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 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.

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