The Joy of the Lord IS Your Strength!

Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)

Joy means happiness, pleasure, bliss, and ecstasy to the world. Since most followers of Jesus Christ have come from a worldly background,  it is easy to confuse the joy of the Lord with those emotions. However, the joy that comes from knowing the Lord and following Him is far beyond fleeting feelings of happiness. It is a sense of peace and contentment in knowing that one day we will be in heaven with our Most High God and the Lord Jesus forever.

If the enemy, Satan, can steal our joy, he has won half the battle. The devil loves to lead believers into a state of anxiety, fear, or worry. That is one of the ways he gets our focus off the joy of the Lord. If our hearts are broken, we are more likely to succumb to his tactics. One reason it is so important for us to cling to the joy of the Lord in spite of our situations is that it gives us strength against the enemy.

The joy of the Lord is our strength and remembering Almighty God’s marvelous works will help us to receive His joy and to sing to the Lord. Traumatic experiences weaken our hearts and spirits and the only true and lasting remedy is healing through Jesus Christ. The most incredible thing that the One True God has done for all of us is that He sent Jesus to this earth in order for us to be offered forgiveness for our sins and healing for our broken hearts. We must thank God for that and talk about it, because it is very healing to talk of all His wondrous works and it fills us with His joy!

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Philippians 4:4 (NKJV)

The fact that Jesus died a horrific death is nothing to rejoice about if He had not also risen from the dead. The disciples and His family were overcome with emotional pain before they realized that His promise to be resurrected was to be taken literally. Once they saw Jesus alive again, they rejoiced!

Since we have the blessing of knowing that Jesus’ death was not the end of the story, we should enthusiastically REJOICE! The more often we remember and meditate on the fact that Father God gave His Son, Jesus, to die for us and that Jesus rose from the dead, the more we will be able to rejoice. The Father and the Son love us deeply and eternally. No person can come close to that magnitude of love for us.

Our broken hearts are no excuse not to rejoice in the Lord. However, the devil uses the emotional and spiritual pain in our hearts and spirits to bring discouragement and despair into our minds, hearts and spirits. That is why we must obey God’s Word faithfully and rejoice in the Lord. As we rejoice in God and all He has done for us, we are filled with His joy. That strengthens and heals us in ways that are unseen, but more real and lasting than the world’s solutions for pain and trauma. The joy of the Lord is our strength and it helps heal our broken hearts.

Serve the Lord with gladness and delight;
Come before His presence with joyful singing.

Psalm 100:2 (AMP)

Serving the Lord can look very different, depending on our culture, our environment, our maturity level, and the stage or season of our life. Everyone, including mothers, fathers, students, teachers, doctors, business owners, employees, farmers, shepherds, missionaries, and ministers, can serve the Lord in their daily lives. For example, children can serve the Lord by being respectful and obedient to their parents.

As we do whatever the Lord has given us the opportunity to do in this life, we should do it with gladness and delight. However, a broken heart can dampen our ability to feel glad. Joyful singing may seem impossible at times. We may even become numb to feelings of gladness and joy as a result of the pain and trauma that we have experienced. Anything that inhibits our capacity for joy and gladness must be addressed and resolved. The pain and trauma that caused our hearts to be broken can steal our joy and strength.

Jesus Christ can release emotional pain and trauma from our hearts and spirits. He alone can heal the brokenhearted in a lasting way. We cannot serve the Lord in freedom until we have received healing for painful and traumatic situations that have caused the numbing of our emotions. The Lord wants us to joyfully sing to Him. We must ask Him to heal our hearts and spirits from whatever may be preventing us from doing so. A personal relationship with Jesus is the key to the restoration of joy in our hearts, minds and spirits. That joy gives us the ability to serve the Lord with gladness and delight.

When our hearts are broken, we must stand up against what the devil has done in our lives by embracing the joy of the Lord. If we allow the pain we have experienced to determine our outlooks on life, the enemy will be victorious and we will be miserable. However, as we rejoice in what Jesus did for us, we will be blessed and our hearts and spirits will be strengthened. The joy of the Lord is our strength!

Kathy Shelton

 

Listen to the Lord!

 

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”

Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

(John 18:37)

According to the Word of God, if we are genuine followers of Jesus Christ and He is our Lord and Savior, we are supposed to hear the voice of Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of Lords! However, we must listen to hear His voice. Listening is sometimes difficult due to all the noise that interferes with His voice. It is like the difficulty of tuning a radio when we are trying to find a specific signal for a station, but all we hear is static due to the interference from other signals. Our lives and minds are bombarded with other signals from everything we are exposed to in this world, including our own thoughts and the voice of the enemy, Satan.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

(John 10:27)

To focus on listening to the Lord, we must learn to tune out everything that is not from our Most High God, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit. That means turning off all devices that distract us and hinder us from being able to hear God’s still small voice (1 Kings 19:12). To practice listening to the Lord, it is crucial that we turn off the television, phone, tablet, radio, computer and all other electronic devices. We also have to take time away from friends and family to be alone with our Most High God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit on a regular basis in order to develop the ability to clearly hear the Lord. The more we become familiar with His voice, the easier it will be to hear Him and discern His voice in the midst of the static around us.

When we are having a particularly hard time hearing the voice of the Lord, we need to pray to tune in better. We can command all voices that are not from God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit to be silent in Jesus’ name! This is such a simple thing to do. Based on our authority as sincere followers of Jesus Christ, it will result in the quieting of our minds, hearts and spirits from the ungodly noise and static. We cannot have peace unless we practice listening carefully to the Lord’s voice and follow His directions!

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.  He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”

(John 16:13-14)

The Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us in our daily lives to make godly choices and decisions if we listen to Him. What we do will glorify our Most High God if we are obedient to follow the truth that the Holy Spirit reveals to us. That truth will always line up with God’s Word and ultimately result in good in our lives. The Lord will never tell us to do anything to cause us harm. However, we may not understand how a seemingly painful sequence of events will lead to good when they are happening to us. That is why we must know—that we know—that we know—that we heard the voice of the Lord directing us in our decisions. As long as we have that confidence that we are in God’s will, the outcome will always result in good for us in the end (Romans 8:28).

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

(Isaiah 53:4-5)

Hearing and listening carefully to the Lord is also essential for us to receive freedom from pain and trauma and healing for our broken hearts. The Lord knows us better than anyone, including ourselves. He knows what we need to do to receive the release of emotional and spiritual pain that is suppressed within our hearts and spirits. Because of His amazing love for us, God sent His Son, Jesus, to help us receive freedom and healing. Jesus carried our grief and sorrows on the cross. The Holy Spirit came to comfort us in our grief and sorrows. Our Most High God has provided the answers for the healing of terrible emotional and spiritual pain. Our job is to listen to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and obey the guidance they give us. As we do that we will receive peace and our hearts will be healed!  Jesus said:

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

(John 14:27)

 

Kathy Shelton

 

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.

You are Loved!

 

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

(1 John 3:1)

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are children of God. What an amazing truth to meditate on and embrace with our hearts, minds and spirits. We are sons and daughters of the Most High God! We have an inheritance as such that is out of this world. Our Most High God has promised us a glorious eternity with Him that we can only imagine if we have genuinely accepted His Son as our Lord and Savior. That is His incredible love  for us!

However, when our hearts are broken as a result of abuse, the death of a loved one, divorce, accidents, natural disasters, or any other form of trauma, we may begin to believe that our future will be determined by those extremely painful and traumatic experiences. We may feel like it is who we are, and our outlook can be skewed, because we have accepted the negative labels—word curses—that accompanied the trauma.  Those labels may include victim, abandoned, rejected, or unloved. They can help keep us in bondage and prevent us from receiving freedom from the emotional and spiritual pain.

The trauma is not who we are—it is what happened to us! If Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, we are sons and daughters of the Most High God. That is our true identity. We are loved by the Creator of the Universe, the Great Physician, the Lord of Hosts. We are precious in His sight and He wants to heal our broken hearts. We must embrace that truth. God loves us with an incomparable, everlasting love!

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;  Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

(Jeremiah 31:3)

The following is a short list of who we are according to the Word of God, the Bible, if we have sincerely accepted God’s Son, Jesus, as our Lord and Savior.  The Scripture references are in parentheses.

We are children of God. (Romans 8:16)

Our sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus. (Colossians 1:13-14)

We have been saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8)

We are new creations in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

We are partakers of His Divine Nature. (2 Peter 1:4)

We are delivered from the powers of darkness through the blood of Jesus Christ. (Colossians 1:13)

God’s children are led by the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:14)

We are getting all our needs met by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

We humble ourselves and we cast all our cares on God. (1 Peter 5:6-7)

We are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10)

We do all things through Christ Who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)

We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ if indeed we suffer with Him. (Romans 8:17)

We can receive the blessings of Abraham, the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13-14)

We have been given eternal life in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 5:11-12)

In Christ, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing. (Ephesians 1:3)

We are healed by Jesus’ stripes. (1 Peter 2:24)

We are more than conquerors through God and Jesus Christ Who love us. (Romans 8:37)

We are overcomers by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and the word of our testimonies. (Revelation 12:11)

We can have victory over evil spirits. (1 John 4:4)

      We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.       (2 Corinthians 4:18)

We walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

We are being transformed by the renewing of our minds. (Romans 12:1-2)

We are God’s fellow workers. (1 Corinthians 3:9)

We are the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

We are to be imitators of God. (Ephesians 5:1)

We are to be the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)

The above verses clearly state who we are as children of the Most High God! We must never let the devil convince us otherwise. The negative labels that people and the kingdom of darkness have inflicted on our hearts, minds and spirits are lies. God’s Word shines the truth of who we are and what we are called to live as God’s children and genuine followers of Jesus Christ. Not only does our heavenly Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit love us, but we love them in return and show our love by trusting God and obeying His Word.

We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

 

Kathy Shelton

 

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.

A Whip of Cords!

 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.  (John 2:15)

WOW! Jesus was very angry when He saw how those people had turned the temple, His Father’s house, into a place where business was being conducted. That was a perfect example of godly, righteous anger displayed as a result of people’s sinful actions. The temple was meant to be a house of prayer, not a “den of thieves,” which Jesus called what the money changers and sellers had made it.

Jesus was furious when he used that whip of cords to drive those people who were defiling the temple off the premises. He was not being timid, shy, or politically correct. He was extremely angry and had a very good reason to react the way He did and kick them out. We should never feel guilty for having righteous anger. There are times when godly, righteous anger is not only appropriate, but also necessary to deal with ungodly situations! 

And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.  (Mark 3:5)

Jesus was in the synagogue when He looked at the supposedly godly men with anger. Jesus was angry! Many followers of His have been told by others—both Christians and non-Christians—that being angry is not a godly response to any situation. However, there are many examples in the Bible where the Most High God and His Son, Jesus Christ, were angry due to evil, unrighteous behavior.

We have to understand the difference between righteous, godly anger and anger that is a product of our mind, will, emotions, or a demonic spirit. Righteous anger is a response to sinful actions, or injustice, and Jesus experienced it when He walked on this earth. The pain and trauma that is caused by unrighteous circumstances break our hearts and usually result in righteous anger in our hearts and spirits as well.

However, we must be careful not to allow our hearts to become hardened. Jesus was grieved by the hardness of their hearts. We should always try to please the Lord and not grieve our heavenly Father, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. We must do our best to prevent our hearts from becoming hardened, but if that has already happened, we can ask the Lord to forgive us and soften our hearts. He wants to heal our broken hearts and to release the unspeakable emotional and spiritual pain we carry. We must take the first step by surrendering to His ways and perfect will for our lives.

Be angry, but don’t sin — don’t let the sun go down before you have dealt with the cause of your anger;  (Ephesians 4:26)

Be angry? Does God’s Word really say that it is okay to be angry? Yes! However, the Lord qualified that statement by adding the phrase “but don’t sin.” Righteous anger—godly anger—is not sin, but can turn into sin if we let it. We must recognize the difference.

It is absolutely normal to become angry when someone or something has caused us pain and trauma. In fact, anger is often attached to emotional and spiritual pain in our hearts. However, ungodly anger can grow into bitterness, which can then lead to other destructive emotions if it is not released from our hearts and spirits. It can also cause physical illness. We must be very careful how far we allow the emotion of anger to progress, because we are the ones who will ultimately suffer damage to our hearts, bodies and spirits. If anger has developed into sin, we must ask God to forgive us in Jesus’ name.

Our hearts can even become hardened concerning God if we are not cautious regarding anger. Healing for our broken hearts is more difficult as a result.  People with hardened hearts turn away from God—the One who can release the pain and heal them. Asking Jesus to release the pain and anger from our hearts and spirits and asking the Holy Spirit to apply His healing balm are part of the inner healing process. Hardened, broken hearts can be healed by the Lord!

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  (Ezekiel 36:26)

The good news is that our Most High God has promised to give us new hearts and new spirits! He promised to give us soft, pliable hearts in place of the hard hearts that result from the pain and trauma in our lives. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to heal the brokenhearted. Deep pain from traumatic events can be released and hearts can be healed. The miraculous process of inner healing is possible through the incomparable love and freedom offered by Jesus Christ.

Traumatic situations include abandonment, betrayal, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, molestation and rape. Those emotionally and spiritually devastating acts against us can make us feel unclean, filthy and angry.  Bitterness, anger, hatred, and other destructive emotions can be attached to the pain and trauma. Those destructive emotions may even be the root of us trying to take matters into our own hands to repay the offending individuals for what they did that wounded our hearts and spirits. When ungodly anger leads to retaliation, it is not healthy for us in any way. Retaliation does not heal or release the pain and trauma that we carry.

Allowing Jesus to remove the emotional and spiritual pain in our hearts and spirits is the only way to receive true freedom. Biblical, healing and cleansing prayer can release the pain and trauma—healing our hearts and spirits—which normally also releases the attached destructive emotions. Only the Lord Jesus can truly cleanse us from the effects of abuse, pain and trauma. As Jesus cleanses us from the defilement of trauma, and releases the emotional and spiritual pain from our hearts and spirits, we can truly experience newness and peace. Our hearts of flesh can be restored!

God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.   (Psalm 7:11)

We must trust that the Most High God will judge those responsible for causing us unspeakable pain and trauma. His Word says that He is angry with the wicked every day. He is the Most High, Just Judge and He will bring about the appropriate consequences and punishment to those who do not genuinely repent for their sins. Repentance must include heart-felt, godly sorrow for evil actions or words—and a change in behavior—or it is not true repentance at all. It is essential that we place the offenders in the hands of the Most High God and let Him determine the timing for justice to be done. Then, we will know peace in the midst of pain and trauma, and the healing of our broken hearts—and the release of attached anger—will be more easily achieved.

Kathy Shelton

 

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.

WAITING in the Midst of Pain and Trauma

WAITING?!? Most of us, especially those with broken hearts, have a very difficult time waiting for anything. We have become a society of instant everything. We want it now, whatever it may be. However, the Most High God often tells us to wait on His perfect timing for answers to our prayers. We may never understand why the Lord requires us to wait for so many things, but we must trust that He knows what is best for our lives and what will cause us more harm if we receive answers to our prayers too soon. Trusting the Lord makes it easier to wait on Him.

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

(Psalm 27:13-14)

Many people lose heart because they do not believe that they will ever see their situations improve. The pain and trauma they carry can become unbearable and may even lead to suicidal thoughts. The enemy can bring discouragement our way through numerous methods. One of those is when he whispers the lie to us, “God does not care about you. He would not have allowed this terrible thing to happen if He did.” If we listen to the devil and his lies, our faith will be weakened, our hearts can become more troubled, and deep depression can set in.  

What does the goodness of the Lord mean? Some people are under the impression that it means their lives will be pain-free and problem-free. However, the Lord never promised that our lives would be easy. The goodness of the Lord is not based on our circumstances. The Lord is always good! His goodness can be seen all around us, but we must look for it through eyes of faith. Looking through eyes of despair and depression hinders us from seeing the goodness of the Lord. 

Our prayers to see God’s goodness in certain situations may be delayed for various reasons, but we need to continue to have faith that He is working on our behalf. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” We must allow the Lord to strengthen our broken hearts by standing firm in our faith.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

(Romans 8:25)

Saying that waiting is difficult is an understatement. How many of us eagerly wait with perseverance? The Lord may require us to wait for answers to our prayers for emotional, physical or spiritual healing for days, months, years, or even decades. However, God’s plans for us are always good, and in the midst of our times of waiting, He will strengthen us and draw us into deeper relationships with Him, Jesus and the Holy Spirit if we allow Him to do so. Our heart attitudes must be that—regardless of our circumstances, pain, trauma, or our lack of understanding why—we will trust our heavenly Father completely. He is the Most High God, the Lord of Hosts, and the Creator of the Universe. We must remember that He is never surprised by our situations and suffering, and that He loves us with an everlasting love!

The Lord did not immediately deliver numerous people written about in the Bible. Many of them had to wait for years and decades before they saw the answers to their prayers. Noah, Abraham, Joseph, the Apostles and many others had to wait on the Lord before they saw God’s promises fulfilled.  However, while they were waiting, they served the Lord! In obedience to the Most High God, while Noah was waiting for God’s deliverance from the immense evil on the earth, Noah built an ark even though there had not been any rain. Joseph went through horrible circumstances, but he kept his eyes on the big picture—the Lord’s will for his life during each season regardless of the pain and trauma he endured. Paul did the same. We must also keep our eyes on the big picture. Having to wait is not unusual, nor is it punishment for anything we have done. It is just a fact of life.

As we are suffering unspeakable trauma, we often pray for Almighty God to intervene and relieve the emotional and spiritual pain that has cut us to the core of our beings. We may ask the Lord why we have not received answers to our prayers and the prayers of others, and why the suffering has continued in spite of them. Wanting immediate answers to our prayers is a dangerous attitude, because the devil can take advantage of that and lead us to doubt and be discouraged when answers are delayed.

Spiritual warfare can also be a reason that we have to wait for answers to our prayers. According to Daniel 10:12-13, the answers to Daniel’s prayers were hindered and delayed for 21 days!  There was a very real battle taking place in the spiritual realm over Daniel’s prayers and the answers to them. Our Most High God heard those prayers as soon as Daniel prayed them, but the prince of the kingdom of Persia battled against the answers, delaying them from being delivered.

Spiritual warfare is more real than anything we can see in the natural realm. We must understand that our broken hearts are often the result of attacks from the kingdom of darkness, either directly or through other people. Continuing to pray and ask Almighty God for help is crucial as we fight against demonic and evil entities. The blood that Jesus Christ shed on the cross is more powerful than anything the devil, or his helpers, can do to us. As we remember to stay focused and wait on the Lord, we will see the answers to our prayers and healing for our broken hearts!

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

(Isaiah 40:31)

 

Kathy Shelton

 

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.

GODLY BOUNDARIES – No Door Mats!

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.  (Psalm 139:14)

Brokenhearted people often have major problems setting godly boundaries in their lives. The lies of the enemy, Satan, can cause us to feel like we deserved the abuse and/or trauma that we have suffered. We may feel like a doormat, being walked on over and over, because we were vulnerable and an easy target. That is how the enemy would like us to view ourselves. Embracing the true identity that the Lord God has created for us enables us to reject Satan’s lies!

We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of the Most High God! The enemy would like us to forget that and see ourselves as less than the beautiful creations that we were meant to be, reflecting God Himself. When we are carrying pain and trauma in our hearts and spirits, our opinions of our worth and value can be skewed. Not having godly boundaries is agreeing with the devil that we are worth less than how our loving God views us. The true nature of who we are in God’s eyes can be distorted—which then causes us to accept more abusive treatment—and the destructive cycle continues. We must break that cycle by believing God’s Word and taking godly action to receive the freedom to be who God created us to be.

“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18 )

Genuine followers of Jesus Christ are sons and daughters of the Most High God, the Lord Almighty! We must protect our hearts, minds and spirits, realizing that we are precious to our Heavenly Father and that He is saddened when we do not do so. He paid an enormous price for us to become His sons and daughters when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer an excruciating death for our salvation. Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead needs to be treasured for the amazing and incomparable gift it is to us by our valuing ourselves enough to set godly boundaries!

Connected to the practice of not having healthy, godly boundaries is the fear of man. The fear of man—and what a person may think or do if we do not make them happy and comply with their requests or demands—is one of the most difficult things for people with wounded hearts and spirits to overcome. Many people learn that the fear of man keeps them from suffering additional abuse and trauma. The fear of man becomes stronger with time and brokenhearted/traumatized individuals will often do anything to please people to avoid the consequences of not doing so.

We must understand that forgiveness does not mean that we are supposed to allow repeated abuse. Nowhere did Jesus say that we have to trust someone to love them. He also did not say that we have to continue in relationship with those who continually cause us severe emotional or spiritual pain. Jesus told the woman who was caught in adultery to go and sin no more. If a person is not remorseful and repentant, we should not stay in the relationship unless the Lord leads us to do so, knowing the possibility of future reconciliation. If they honestly repent and/or seek help to stop the behavior, we should cautiously and with the Lord’s direction, support their pursuing freedom from the sin. However, allowing them to continue to hurt and abuse us is not how the Lord wants us to live. We must value ourselves as sons and daughters of the Most High God who loves us beyond anything we can imagine. It grieves Him when we don’t set godly boundaries with people.

Not setting godly boundaries in our own lives is a trap that the devil uses repeatedly to cause us emotional pain, especially in the lives of ministers. Most ministers are compassionate. That is why they have entered ministry. They desire to help people and this desire drives them at times to neglect the wisdom of the Lord in setting healthy, godly boundaries in their lives. Although we should be “moved with compassion,” that does not mean we are to allow people to deceive us or take advantage of us. Setting godly, healthy boundaries is so important if we are going to run the race and stay in it to the end. People will test our boundaries just like children test the boundaries with their parents. It is not a sin or an ungodly practice to protect ourselves from exhaustion and unreasonable demands from others. Saying no to people is not sin. Of course, saying no applies only to people and not to the Lord. He will never ask us to do anything that He does not give us the strength and guidance to accomplish.

Godly boundaries are good walls. However, painful and traumatic situations happen in our lives that can break down the good walls that the Lord designed to shield us from evil. We tend to develop ungodly, destructive walls as a result. Those detrimental walls can separate us from the love of God and His Son, Jesus. Harmful walls can also prevent us from receiving the healing we need for the emotional, mental and/or spiritual pain that exist inside us.

We cannot be truly healed unless we allow the finished work that Jesus did on the cross to penetrate the ungodly walls that we have built around our broken hearts and spirits. Jesus will remove the harmful walls as we receive His healing, and He will replace them with godly ones. Asking Jesus to release the pain we are carrying and replace it with His love will help us to develop godly, healthy walls, or boundaries, in our lives.

Accepting help for healing and freedom from past pain and trauma can be a difficult and frightening thing to consider, because it involves facing the truth and being honest with others about what we have endured. This is especially true if the pain and trauma were caused by other believers. However, we must return to the Lord’s truth that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and ask God for the courage to begin setting godly boundaries and to restore our true identity in Jesus’ name!

Kathy Shelton

 

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.

The Emotional Pain and Trauma of BETRAYAL

And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place;  for Jesus often met there with His disciples.  (John 18:2 )

Betrayal is the most insidious form of emotional pain and trauma that a person can experience. If you have ever been betrayed by someone close to you, you know the extreme pain that betrayal can cause in your heart, mind and spirit. Betrayal can break your heart more quickly and more deeply than any other kind of emotional pain or trauma. It is much worse when the person is a professing Christian.

Jesus suffered betrayal at the hands of one of His disciples, Judas. He sold Jesus out for thirty pieces of silver!

Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.  (Matthew 26:14-15)

This betrayal preceded the transition in Jesus’ ministry to his death and resurrection. It was necessary for God’s plan of salvation to be accomplished and it was prophesied in Psalm 41 and Zechariah 11.

Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.  (Psalm 41:9)

Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.  (Zechariah 11:12)

In spite of the fact that He knew it would happen, I believe that Jesus suffered great emotional pain from that betrayal. In Matthew 26:24, Jesus said, “The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

What a powerful statement! “It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” I think that the Lord takes betrayal very seriously and as followers of Jesus Christ, we need to do the same.

That is just one form of betrayal, delivering someone to an enemy. Betrayal can take other forms such as revealing confidential information, or breaking a vow or a promise. It is always based in deception, which is lying. Since Satan is described as the father of lies in the Bible, we know that he and his army are at the root of betrayal. This is clearly pointed out in the following verse.

Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them.  (Luke 22:3-4)

Betrayal can be used by the kingdom of darkness to bring disunity in ministries, families and any other relationship. Many families and marriages have been devastated as a result of betrayal. The Body of Christ is under attack from the kingdom of darkness. When Christians betray and attack each other, they are assisting the devil and his forces.

A lack of integrity within the Body of Christ has led to backstabbing that resembles what occurs with non-Christians. This practice is definitely not—loving one another—as Jesus instructed His disciples. Gossip is extremely damaging and often results from broken promises of confidentiality. That betrayal can and has caused unimaginable emotional and spiritual pain for those who were betrayed in this way.

All-too-common, overwhelming heartbreak occurs when people are serving the Lord Jesus and being productive for God’s kingdom only to be attacked and gossiped about by fellow Christians. The ones doing this may not realize how much pain they are inflicting on others in the Body of Christ. It may be done out of jealousy or pride, but it is always sin and causes deep wounds to those who are the targets of the betrayal. Many of those who were betrayed have left the Church as a result. Thank God that Jesus is able to heal those hurts and release that emotional and spiritual pain!

Broken trust is always involved in betrayal. Whether it entails disloyalty, unfaithfulness, infidelity, or any other form, trust is always broken!

There are many examples in the Bible of situations where people went through various types of betrayal. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Matthew 26:49). Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery (Genesis 37:12-36). Delilah betrayed Samson after learning the secret to his strength. She had a man shave off Samson’s hair and then turned him over to the Philistines for an enormous amount of money (Judges 16:4-21). Hosea’s wife committed adultery (Hosea 3:1).

Adultery, breaking the marriage vows by having a sexual relationship with another person, is an extremely damaging form of betrayal. It destroys not only the trust between the married couple but also the soul of the one committing adultery. Ungodly soul ties are formed between the man and woman committing adultery. This negates the ability of the one committing adultery to be loyal to the godly soul ties with their spouse. The more the adultery is repeated, the more desensitized the people involved become as with any other sin. The ungodly soul ties become stronger and the result may be another marriage ended. An emotional affair can be just as devastating for the same reasons.

Viewing pornography is another form of betrayal. It is a serious betrayal of a person’s relationship with the Most High God. It becomes an addiction and an idol in the heart of the person, because it takes the place of the Lord in their mind, heart and spirit. Viewing pornography is also a form of adultery. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The betrayal of a spouse viewing pornography has destroyed innumerable marriages and families.

Surviving and healing from the emotional and spiritual pain of betrayal requires a level of obedience to God that comes through years of training in the Lord’s school of life. Forgiving someone who has betrayed you is the most difficult thing to do. It may require that you receive inner healing ministry prayer from another believer. If you allow the pain to fester inside you, it will turn into bitterness and resentment. In time, it will also affect you physically. Dealing with these emotional hurts is for your benefit and well-being. Inner healing from the pain and trauma caused by betrayal is absolutely necessary if you are going to fulfill your God-given destiny and endure to the end.

Kathy Shelton

 

All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.

(This article was written using excerpts from Chapter 5 in my book, Healing Hearts: A Journey in the Midst of Spiritual Adversity.)

Thankfulness… One Leper Returned

 

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

Luke 17:15-16 (NKJV)

Luke 17, verses 11-19, recounts the story of the ten lepers healed by Jesus. It is a remarkable testimony of the genuine thankfulness of the one leper who returned to thank Jesus and give glory to God. However, it is also a very sad statement that the other nine lepers did not return once they realized that they had been healed.

The one extremely grateful man glorified God with a loud voice! He wanted everyone to know that Jesus healed him and how thankful he was to God. He did not just continue on his way as the other nine did, accepting the miraculous gift of cleansing, but failing to go back and thank the One who had mercy on them.

Besides returning to thank Jesus, this one leper also showed his great thankfulness by falling down on his face at Jesus’ feet! He did not just glorify God verbally, but he demonstrated his immense gratitude with his physical actions as well. He humbled himself, knowing that only God could have done such an incredible healing. His physical suffering from the horrible effects of leprosy was over. The terrible social stigma of being a leper was also ended. The emotional pain and trauma connected to that would no longer continue. He was overwhelmed with thankfulness!

The most important healing anyone can receive is the healing of our hearts and spirits through a sincere conversion to following Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior! As followers of Jesus, we should also be overwhelmed with thankfulness. Our hearts and spirits should reflect the amazing gift we have been given of being forgiven for our sins and welcomed into God’s family. We are children of the King of Glory. We are sons and daughters of the Most High God. Regardless of anything else He ever does for or through us, the undeserved gift of salvation is more than enough for us to be forever grateful to the Lord.

We must show our thankfulness and love for Jesus by obeying God’s Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to convict us when we fall short of living the godly life that the Lord desires for us. When that happens, we must ask God to forgive us in Jesus’ name, and change our attitudes and behavior. Repeating the same sin over and over does not indicate that we are truly thankful for Jesus’ incredible sacrifice. Only genuine repentance, having a change of heart, and following the Lord’s instructions demonstrates how much we love Him and how grateful we are for what He has done for us. 

Too many people, including a large number of Christians, take everything for granted and have an attitude of entitlement. They act like they deserve blessings from God—like the Creator of the Universe owes them something. If we do not surrender our lives to the Lord and have a sincere, personal relationship with Jesus, what we deserve is punishment for our sins. That includes spending an eternity after physical death in Hell—separated from the Most High God forever. None of us deserve any blessings. However, thanks to our merciful and loving, heavenly Father, He does bless us if we accept His Son, Jesus, and live according to God’s Word. That includes being thankful to the One who sent His Son to die for us and to heal our broken hearts and spirits.

An attitude of entitlement is an ungrateful attitude. It is also a sign that people do not really understand Who provides for them. How could the nine lepers not return and thank Jesus? The Scripture says that the one who returned was a Samaritan. The Samaritans and Jews normally despised each other. Jesus was a Jew, but this Samaritan man did not care about that reality. That one leper was exceptionally grateful and honored Jesus!

Showing the Lord our thankfulness is an essential part of the inner healing process for emotional pain and trauma. We must verbalize our gratefulness to the Lord and share our testimonies of what He has done for us. There is no substitute for being thankful. It blesses the Lord when we thank Him and we bless others when we tell them how He has set us free. The more we do that, the more freedom we will receive. Our broken hearts will continue to be healed as we deliberately and daily thank God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Psalm 118:1 (NKJV)

 

Kathy Shelton

 

 

Relationships

The Importance of Supportive, Godly Relationships in Going Through and Healing from Trauma

Supportive, godly relationships are critical as we go through and heal from traumatic situations. Traumatic situations include the death of loved ones, serious illnesses, physical abuse, spiritual abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, molestation, rape, divorce, accidents, devastating financial conditions and natural disasters. Those extremely painful circumstances can leave us feeling alone, abandoned, rejected, depressed, hopeless, betrayed and even suicidal at times. The Lord never meant for those things to happen in our lives, but we live in a world full of pain and trauma and there is no way to avoid it. However, our Most High God provided ways for us to not just survive, but to more easily go through and heal from trauma.

The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;

Deuteronomy 33:27 (NKJV)

 

A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.

Psalm 68:5 (AMP)

The most important relationships that our Father God wants us to turn to when we experience and need healing from traumatic events are our relationships with Him, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Our Most High God wants to comfort us and lead us on the paths that will help us. He wants to heal our broken hearts that have been devastated by traumatic situations. However, we must accept God’s love and His Son, Jesus, as our personal Lord and Savior, to be able to receive His incomparable comfort and healing. 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 14:6 (NKJV)

Jesus also said,

 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)

Therefore, the first relationships that we should always rely on for comfort are those with Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They are the most important relationships we can ever experience on this journey we call life. Supportive, godly relationships with other people are also essential for us to continue to be comforted during, and heal after, emotionally traumatic situations. The Lord knows our need for godly counsel and support when we are too weary to hear Him clearly. We all need a kind word, a hug and a smile to lift our spirits when we are weary. He will surround us with people who love us and care deeply about our pain, but they may be people other than family members. The family was created to provide that kind of comfort and support. However, we do not live in a perfect world and our own family members may be the cause of some of the emotional pain and trauma we suffer. That is when feelings of rejection, betrayal and abandonment can become intensely painful.

God makes a home for the lonely;
He leads the prisoners into prosperity,
Only the stubborn and rebellious dwell in a parched land.

Psalm 68:6 (AMP)

Traumatic circumstances always break our hearts. We can carry emotional pain inside us for years and decades without even realizing that suppressed pain and trauma are affecting us in significant areas of our lives. We were never meant to go through pain and trauma alone. Isolating ourselves during those circumstances is the worst thing we can do and only adds to the pain. That is why we must receive love and kindness from people who are living according to God’s Word whom we can trust with our broken hearts—not in place of the Lord, but in addition to Him. We must reach out to godly friends, family, healing ministers and others who can provide prayer, encouragement and the love that we need for the healing process to be accomplished. Our Most High God created us to be in close relationship with Him and godly people. Cutting ourselves off from those relationships makes us incredibly vulnerable to negative feelings and to the lies from the devil. Fear of being hurt again can also cause us to be hesitant to reach out people for help. However, The Lord will show us who can be trusted and through whom He wants us to receive His comfort and healing. We must receive God’s provision of healing for our broken hearts through His Son, Jesus, and the godly relationships with which He blesses us.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

Jesus came to not only save us from our sins, but also to heal our broken hearts! A personal relationship with Him is essential in receiving comfort and healing during and after times of emotional pain and trauma. Our heavenly Father also blesses us with His love and peace through supportive, godly relationships with people who know how to listen and be compassionate when we are in emotional pain. Keeping emotional pain stuffed inside only makes things worse. We must let go of our pride, reach out to the Lord Jesus and His genuine followers, and allow them to help us.  

 

Kathy Shelton

 

 

Laughter & Healing

 

A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 15:13 (NKJV)

A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.

Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)

These verses make it very clear that a merry heart is good for our physical well-being. However, when we go through emotionally painful and traumatic experiences, it is difficult to have a merry heart. That, in turn, can seriously affect our physical and spiritual health!

Medical and scientific research has found that laughter reduces stress hormones and boosts the immune system. It also lowers blood pressure and reduces pain. Once again, the secular world is proving that what the Lord told us in His Word is absolutely true.

Not only is our spirit broken by sorrow of the heart, but our health is negatively affected as well. If we do not acknowledge the emotional pain and trauma we are carrying and pursue inner healing through godly, Bible-based ministry, the results can be devastating later in life. When we least expect it, the suppressed emotional and/or spiritual pain will be triggered by other similar situations. This cycle will repeat until we deal with the inner pain.

Laughter and a merry heart are part of the physical and inner healing process for past and present emotional pain and trauma. They are also excellent maintenance for our bodies and spirits. As followers of Jesus Christ, we must be intentional and very selective regarding what we read, listen to, and watch in order to maintain a merry heart and healthy bodies and spirits. Let laughter be a regular part of your daily spiritual exercise!