Joy Comes in the Morning!

 
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted.
Psalm 77:2 (NKJV)
 
Genuine followers of Jesus Christ have all experienced the dark night of the soul at one time or another in their lives.  Those days, weeks, months or even years can seem like they will never end and be extremely difficult to endure.  Regardless of how much we love the Lord and seek His comfort, there are times when our souls—our minds, wills and emotions— refuse to be comforted.
 
His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant;
you have been faithful over a few things,
I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
Matthew 25:23 (NKJV)
 

In Psalm 23:4, David wrote about walking through the valley of the shadow of death.  That valley is no fun to walk through, but the main thing to keep in mind is that we walk through it.  We should never stop and give up!  People who have sincerely asked Jesus Christ to be their personal Lord and Savior, who asked Almighty God for forgiveness for their sins in Jesus’ name, and who have repented and changed their ungodly behavior will eventually experience joy in the morning.  That joy may come the next day after a traumatic event.  However, it may be weeks or months before that joy comes to our hearts, minds and spirits.  True Christians know that when we pass from this life into eternity, and we see the Lord face to face, we will be filled with joy!

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)
 

The cycle of experiencing grief, weeping, and sorrow and then returning to a place of joy is part of life.  However, some Christians can get stuck in the grieving part of the cycle and do not regain the joy of the Lord.  The joy of the Lord is our strength as it says in Nehemiah 8:10 and we must return to His joy in order to receive the healing we need from traumatic events in our lives.  We can only do that if we are one of God’s children, living our lives for His glory.

In 2 Corinthians 11:24-28, Paul wrote about many of the traumatic events that he had experienced:

Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
2 Corinthians 11:24-28 (ESV)
 
Most of us have not suffered the majority of those types of horrendous situations, other than possibly sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, and being cold.  Nevertheless, many true Christians, including me, have been extremely wounded and devastated by traumatic circumstances which caused our hearts and spirits to be broken.  Have you been betrayed?  I have.  Have you been divorced?  I have.  Have you been lied about by close friends or family members?  I have.  Have you been raped?  I have.  Have you been the victim of a violent crime?  I have.  Have you suffered the loss of a loved one due to their death?  I have.  Have you been abandoned?  I have.  Have you been rejected?  I have.  Have you been emotionally, verbally, mentally, physically, sexually, or spiritually abused?  I have experienced all of those types of abuse and more.  Have you been the victim of domestic violence?  I have.  Have you survived a natural disaster?  I have.  However, I am a survivor and more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ!  You can be too!! 

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].

Romans 8:37 (AMP)

Paul called the immense traumatic circumstances that he suffered “light afflictions” in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.  He encouraged us not to lose heart and remember that the trials in our lives are only for a moment compared to eternity.  We must always try to keep God’s perspective as our focus—the big picture—that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NKJV).

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing,
yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment,
is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.
For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NKJV)

When I write these articles, I am writing from a place of truly having lived through and survived numerous forms of extremely traumatic events.  My personal relationship with Jesus Christ has enabled the inner healing that He has done in my heart and spirit. The amount of emotional and spiritual healing I have received is amazing and it has allowed me to help others.  Jesus died for all my griefs and sorrows.  He died for yours as well.  Isaiah was prophesying about Jesus in these verses:

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 (NKJV)

Our Most High God has promised us that joy will come in the morning.  He does not tell us which morning, only that joy will come.  We must participate in the fulfillment of that promise in any way that He leads us to do so.  The main thing that we can do to see that happen in our lives is to worship the Lord regardless of what is happening in the natural realm.  As we obey and honor Him, we will experience increasing amounts of His joy! 

 

Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:4-5 (NKJV)
 
 

Kathy Shelton

 

What in the world is going on with me?

Have you ever asked yourself that question?  You love the Lord Jesus and have sincerely asked Him to be your personal Lord and Savior, but something is blocking you from receiving freedom from ungodly habits and reactions to things.  The sin that we continue to battle in our lives is sometimes the result of past emotional pain and trauma that are festering beneath the surface.  If you find yourself repeatedly “going around the same mountains,” this may be the reason.

A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,
But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
Proverbs 15:13 (NKJV)


Our spirits register everything about us from the moment of conception on.  When a person’s countenance is sad, there is a broken spirit involved. 

The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness,
But who can bear a broken spirit?
Proverbs 18:14 (NKJV)

 
A broken spirit is the result of traumatic events—one-time occurrences or on-going situations.  We often suffer traumatic situations as the result of the actions of evil people who have no consciences.  The reality is that much of the trauma we experience is caused by close friends, family and others we trusted who were just pretending to be Christians.  Those traumatic circumstances are even more devastating due to the tremendous betrayal that is part of the trauma.  

Traumatic events include the death of a loved one, divorce, abuse of any kind (sexual, mental, verbal, emotional, spiritual or physical), domestic violence, being the victim of any violent crime, physical illnesses and surgeries, repeatedly moving from one location to another (especially during childhood), natural disasters (fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.), and anything else that is extremely upsetting to normal life circumstances.  Trauma can not only break our hearts, but it can also break our spirits!

Addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, gambling, food, prescription medications, ungodly relationships, cutting oneself, or anything else may be the result of trying to numb emotional pain and trauma from the past or present.  As painful memories from past events are triggered and come to the surface, the associated emotional, mental, spiritual or physical pain may be intense.  In an attempt to numb or deaden that pain, an individual may have one, two, three, or more drinks, use drugs, or in some other way try to relieve or deaden that pain.  It may work for a short time, because the activity changes the chemical balance in the person’s brain.  However, it is not a permanent solution and the unbearable emotional, mental, spiritual or physical pain eventually surfaces again.  The cycle of numbing the pain, the pain reappearing, and numbing it again can lead to full-blown addiction.


As genuine followers of Jesus Christ, we need to be living from the hearts and spirits that Father God gave us.  Unfortunately, most of us are living from hearts and spirits that are broken.  Inner healing is the healing of our emotional and spiritual wounds.  Many of them are wounds that we initially experienced in early childhood.  These traumatic experiences often become repressed with time and remain hidden within us, contaminating our souls and distorting our beliefs and behaviors.  If we bury our emotional and spiritual pain, we are burying something that remains alive!  Suppressed emotional and spiritual pain doesn’t just disappear.  It can turn into lingering physical pain.

The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Psalm 34:18 (NKJV)
  
A contrite spirit is also translated as a crushed spirit (NASB translation).  Therefore, the verse above reassures us that the Lord saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and proclaim liberty to the captives (Luke 4:18, NKJV).  The Lord wants to heal our broken hearts and spirits!

The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD,

Searching all the innermost parts of his being.
Proverbs 20:27 (NASB)


James 1:4 (NIV) instructs us to become mature and complete, not lacking anything.  This reference is one of many portions of Scripture that highlight our responsibility to work on our maturity.  Once the Lord reveals that some sin in our lives is pain-driven, we must do all we can to pursue Biblical healing and freedom.  We should never use any type of pain as an excuse to sin!

Inner healing is a process like peeling and onion, one layer at a time.  It is not about trying to be perfect all at once.  We all need inner healing, because we have all been wounded emotionally or spiritually to one degree or another.  None of us grew up in a perfect world.  We don’t get healed if we stay in denial about how we are broken.  God does the redeeming, but we choose to mature.  If we are serious about becoming more like Jesus, we must ask Him to show us pain and trauma that He wants to heal in us. 

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
Matthew 22:37 (NKJV)


We were meant to love God with undivided, whole hearts.  Traumatic situations cause our hearts to be broken and divided into many pieces.  The good news is that there is hope!  A genuine, personal relationship with God’s Son, Jesus Christ, can lead to the healing and restoration of our hearts and spirits.  Jesus is the only One who can truly heal broken hearts and spirits!  Many people have received freedom from the effects of emotional and spiritual pain and trauma, including ungodly behavior, sin and addictions, through Biblical, healing prayer ministry.  Jesus Christ came to set the captives free, but sometimes it requires a person, “Jesus with skin on,” to help in the inner healing process.  We all need the encouragement and prayers of trusted, genuine followers of Jesus Christ!

Do not give up hope!  Jesus loves you and wants to heal your broken heart and spirit.  The Lord will show you the way to receive the healing you need as you focus on loving Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit right where you are at the moment.  The Lord Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8, NKJV)

Kathy Shelton 

The Bible and the Brokenhearted

The Bible has a lot to say about those who are brokenhearted.  It also has the answer for us to be able to receive healing and freedom from the emotional pain and trauma that we experienced in our lives regardless of the amount of time that has passed since the painful situations occurred.  The following verses are taken from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible unless noted otherwise.  They are just a few that address the very common human condition of being brokenhearted.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.      

Psalm 34:18 (NASB, New American Standard Bible)

When we suffer emotional and spiritual pain that is the result of traumatic events, such as any type of abuse, the loss of a loved one, divorce, rape, accidents and natural disasters, our hearts will be broken and our spirits will be crushed.  Trauma devastates us in many ways, but our Most High God provides the comfort and healing we need if we have become His children by having genuinely accepted His Son, Jesus Christ, as our personal Lord and Savior.

We need to be living from the heart that God gave us.  Unfortunately, most of us are living from a heart that is broken.  Living from and with a heart that is broken is a miserable manner in which to live.  It is not the Lord’s perfect will for His children.  His perfect will for us is stated in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

Matthew 22:37

Our Most High God also intended for His children to love Him with all their hearts.  If we are living with broken hearts, we cannot love our Heavenly Father with whole hearts.  Healing for the pain and trauma that caused our hearts to be broken must be accomplished before we can truly love God with all our hearts.

Stuffing emotional and spiritual pain does not help, but only makes matters worse, because it will eventually come to the surface, and it can be like a volcano erupting when that happens.  Crying when we are brokenhearted is very healing and cleansing.  Even though Jesus knew that Lazarus had died and that He was going to raise him from the dead, Jesus groaned in His spirit and was troubled, and Jesus wept (John 11:32-35).  He saw the emotional pain that Mary, Lazarus’ sister, was experiencing and Jesus cried.  Crying is a healthy reaction to painful and traumatic situations.

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives…

Luke 4:18

In Luke 4:18 above, Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1 and then proceeded to add the following:

And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Luke 4:21

That is the good news—Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted!  Isaiah 53:4 says that Jesus “has borne our griefs (or sicknesses) and carried our sorrows (or pains).”  These nouns, griefs and sorrows, have reference to sicknesses, both spiritual and physical.  Borne and carried mean to take upon oneself or to carry as a burdenJesus died to take our emotional pain but we must release it to Him.  Through gentle, Holy Spirit led prayer, we can release the hidden emotional pain and trauma to Jesus.

The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inner depths of his heart.

Proverbs 20:27

The Lord wants us to search our hearts and acknowledge areas that need emotional and spiritual healing.  That can be a painful process in and of itself, but the end result of receiving godly healing and freedom from pain and trauma is definitely worth the time and effort involved in the inner healing process.

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

Proverbs 15:13

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

Proverbs 17:22

Laughter and having a merry heart is a very important part of the healing process for our broken hearts and crushed spirits.  It does good like medicine and is very healing for our emotional and spiritual pain.  Laughing has many beneficial effects on us emotionally, spiritually and physically.  It is one of the remedies that the Lord created through which we can receive healing when we are brokenhearted.  However, we must deliberately participate in that blessing to receive the healing it provides.  Choosing to laugh and rejoice about something on a daily basis is choosing to have a merry heart!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 is God’s plan for the brokenhearted.  He wants to comfort us in all our tribulation—in all our emotional and spiritual pain and trauma.  Once we have received a significant level of emotional and spiritual healing, the Lord desires that we then help comfort other brokenhearted people just as we were comforted by God. 

The Bible clearly states God’s promises and provisions of inner healing for the brokenhearted.   Jeremiah 31:3 tells us that our Most High God loves us with an everlasting love!  1 John 4:9 says, “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”  Living through Jesus Christ is the only way that we can receive true and lasting healing for our broken hearts.    

Kathy Shelton

JUSTICE… What is it?

Many seek the ruler’s favor, But justice for man comes from the LORD.

Proverbs 29:26 (NKJV)

Countless followers of Jesus Christ, especially those with broken hearts, long for the day when they will see justice for the wrongs done to them by others. It can cause endless torment to our minds, hearts and spirits when there is seemingly no justice for evil acts committed against us. However, the reality is that we may never see justice accomplished here on this earth for many reasons. 

Definitions of justice include fairness or reasonableness, especially in the way people are treated or decisions are made. Justice may also be defined as the legal system, or the act of applying or upholding the law. There is no justice achieved in the world’s court systems in an overwhelming number of cases. However, every judge on this earth will have to answer to the Most High God for every unjust ruling they have imposed in court.

 Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.

Habakkuk 1:4 (NKJV)

At times, innocent people are wrongly convicted and go to prison. However, people who are guilty without a shadow of a doubt are released and serve no time for their crimes due to loop holes in the law. If a guilty person is convicted, sentences are often very minimal. Most of the time, criminals do not compensate their victims for the horrible pain and trauma they inflicted. To make matters worse, criminals usually find some way of blaming the victims for what happened. Criminals have no conscience and perjure themselves—lie in court—and they will say and do anything to avoid justice.

A disreputable witness scorns justice, And the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.

Proverbs 19:28 (NKJV)

There are so many repeat offenders in the world who just move on from one victim to the next. People who have 2, 3, or over a dozen driving while intoxicated (DWI) convictions are still free and driving after drinking. How many serial killers and serial rapists have we heard about on the news? Rape is an extremely traumatic crime that often goes unpunished due to a lack of evidence, a “he said, she said” attitude by the legal system, or outright blaming the victim. The emotional, mental and spiritual pain and trauma resulting from rape is devastating for the victim, but “justice” in the courts is nonexistent in many instances. 

For I proclaim the name of the LORD: Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.

Deuteronomy 32:3-4 (NKJV)

Our Most High God is a God of truth, without injustice, righteous and upright! His justice will prevail in the end—if not on this earth, after we pass from this life into eternity. God knows the truth, the whole truth. No one can lie to Almighty God. He will punish evil doers, and our God will execute justice for their victims!

The LORD executes righteousness And justice for all who are oppressed.

Psalm 103:6 (NKJV)

He does not preserve the life of the wicked, But gives justice to the oppressed.

Job 36:6 (NKJV)

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.  For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NKJV)

Make no mistake—there will be consequences for evil works and sins—if we do not sincerely repent and change our behavior, which is the evidence of a real, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Our hearts must be renewed and sorrow for our sins must be godly and genuine. Our All-knowing God knows the difference.

It is a joy for the just to do justice, But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.

Proverbs 21:15 (NKJV)

There will be eternal consequences and God’s justice for sin and rebellion to God. Unbelievers will go to Hell. Liars will go to Hell. The devil and evil angels will end up in Hell. There are no loop holes in God’s laws! Some professing Christians choose to believe that the blood of Jesus Christ covers all their future sins and that there is no need for them to repent and change their attitudes and behaviors. They are wrong. Paul repeatedly confronted sinning “believers.” Jesus paid the price for our sins, but we must genuinely accept Him as our personal Lord and Savior, not just say a prayer and continue to practice known sin. The Lord Jesus said:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV)

When we pass from this life into eternity, we will all be judged by our Most High God. The Bible is clear about God’s justice and judgment.

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

2 Corinthians 5:9-11 (NKJV)

But the LORD shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment.  He shall judge the world in righteousness, And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.

Psalm 9:7-8 (NKJV)

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

Revelation 20:10-12 (NKJV)

How much greater punishment do you think he will deserve who has rejected and trampled under foot the Son of God, and has considered unclean and common the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and has insulted the Spirit of grace [who imparts the unmerited favor and blessing of God]? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the deliverance of justice rest with Me], I will repay [the wrongdoer].” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful and terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God [incurring His judgment and wrath].

Hebrews 10:29-31 (AMP)

Deuteronomy 28 says that obedience to the Lord results in blessings and disobedience brings curses on us. The Bible includes numerous examples of justice and punishment that people experienced due to their disobedience and sin. Here are just a few:

• Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:1-24)

• Pharaoh’s son died because Pharaoh would not let God’s people leave Egypt. (Exodus 12:29)

• Moses did not get to go into the promised land. (Numbers 20:7-12)

• David and Bathsheba’s son died. (2 Samuel 12:13-19)

• Ananias and Sapphira died after lying. (Acts 5:1-10)

• Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:17, 26)

There are also many examples in the Bible of God’s justice that blessed people for their obedience to him. They include:

• Joseph received a huge honor and promotion after enduring an unjust prison sentence. (Genesis 41:37-46)

• Peter was supernaturally released from prison. (Acts 12:5-11)

• David was victorious over Goliath. (1 Samuel 17)

• Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were unharmed in the fiery furnace. (Daniel 3:19-28)

• Daniel was not hurt in the lion’s den. (Daniel 6:10-22)

• Paul and Silas were set free from prison. (Acts 16:25-40)

While waiting and hoping for God’s justice to be carried out on our behalf, we should do the following:

» Trust God! Peace comes when we trust God and His Word.

» Read the Bible out loud daily.

» Praise and worship God on a daily basis.

» Thank God that justice will come in His way and timing.

» Focus on drawing closer to the Lord.

» Ask Jesus to heal the emotional and spiritual pain and trauma.

» If necessary, pursue help to receive healing and freedom from a trained, born-again Christian.

Justice is our Most High God’s righteous judgment and punishment for evil actions done to us, or by us, that have not been confessed and forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ, and where no genuine repentance has been produced by godly sorrow. God’s justice and judgment will be executed in His perfect timing.

Kathy Shelton

To Forgive or Not To Forgive?

Biblical forgiveness is one of the principles that is most often incorrectly taught to followers of Jesus Christ.  Some professing “Christians” believe that because they once said a prayer asking Jesus to be their Lord and Savior that all of their past, present and future sins are automatically forgiven by Almighty God.  They do not believe that they will be held accountable for any sins and that there is no need for them to repent.  That line of thinking only leads to rampant sin in the life of a person who is not a genuine Christian. We must understand that God’s forgiveness requires us to sincerely repent by changing our ungodly behavior when we sin.  If we refuse to repent, Jesus Christ is not our Lord.

Forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, means that we are given the opportunity to spend eternity with Almighty God in Heaven.  John 3:16-21 state that Jesus came to provide for our salvation.  The verses also describe the difference between those practicing evil who are condemned and people who are honoring God.  People who willfully continue their evil, sinful behavior, in spite of claiming to be Christians, are not sincerely following Jesus, and they will not go to Heaven.

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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. 

John 3:16-21 (NKJV)

God’s forgiveness is not unconditional.  God expects us to obey Him.  When we disobey the Lord, we will suffer the consequences.  Deuteronomy 28 clearly describes the blessings that we will receive for obeying God and also some of the results if we choose to disobey Him.  In Genesis 19:15-26, Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt because she disobeyed the Lord and looked back after being told not to do so.  The cost of her disobedience was immediate death.

My Scriptural understanding of our responsibility to forgive others has changed greatly during the past several decades.  I was taught repeatedly, and as a result I once believed, that we are supposed to forgive everyone regardless of what they did, whether they were a genuine follower of Jesus Christ or not, and whether or not they were sorry and repentant.  I no longer believe that based on several Scriptures, many of which are Jesus’ own words.  According to Luke 17:3, Jesus stated that repentance is a condition required for us to forgive a brother—a fellow Christian.

Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.

Luke 17:3 (NKJV)

True Christians will obey the Lord and if they occasionally sin, they will repent and change their behavior.  They will express genuine remorse.  However, there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing who are pretending to be followers of Jesus Christ, but do not obey Him and do not repent for their sins.  We can know the difference based on a person’s actions and sincere sorrow.  John 3:36 clearly warns us that the wrath of God remains on those who do not obey the Lord.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. 

John 3:36 (ESV)

Sincere followers of Jesus Christ should always be willing to forgive others when it is appropriate to do so.  Our Most High God does not forgive everyone, but He is ready and willing to forgive us when we are truly sorry for our sins and change our behavior—repent—to live according to His Word.  God’s forgiveness can only be received through the birth, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. People who refuse to genuinely accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, and obey God’s commandments and directions, will not spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  

For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.

Psalm 86:5 (NKJV)

However, the Lord Jesus said, in Matthew 12:31-32, that there is a sin that God will not forgive.  Blasphemy—the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence—against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven by God.  These words from Jesus show that our Most High God considers that to be unforgivable!

“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.  Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” 

Matthew 12:31-32 (NKJV)

In Acts 5:1-11, Ananias and Sapphira tried to deceive the Holy Spirit and lied to Peter about the amount of money they had received when they sold a possession.  They kept back a portion of the proceeds from the sale.  That was not the problem.  Their sin was that they lied about it.  They were both guilty of deception and lying.  Ananias and Sapphira were given the opportunity to repent and tell the truth, but they did not do so.  They died as a result.  That may seem like a harsh consequence for lying, but it is one example of believers receiving God’s judgment for not repenting for their sin. 

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Acts 5:3-4 (NKJV)

Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.”

Acts 5:7-8 (NKJV)

In addition, when we have sinned and have not asked God to forgive us, and have not repented for our sins, it always blocks our relationships with Him.  He will not hear our prayers if we have known sins on our accounts.  

But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.   

Isaiah 59:2 (NKJV)

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. 

Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)

God does expect us to forgive as we have been forgiven in Christ.  After we make a sincere profession of faith in Jesus, ask God for forgiveness for our sins, and repent, God forgives us.  The condition of repentance is often ignored by those who want us to forgive them, but do not want to change their behavior.  At times, people may forgive someone who is not repentant because they do not want to lose that relationship.  However, that is a very selfish reason to forgive and it allows the offender to continue the ungodly behavior without consequences. That is not in agreement with God’s character and Word.  In this life or after they die, our Most High God always carries out His judgment against those who do not repent.

This is a powerful quote from John Hagee: “Granting forgiveness without demanding a change in conduct (behavior) makes the grace of God an accomplice to evil.”  Just think about that statement.  Ungodly behavior is sin and evil.  If we grant forgiveness without requiring the person to repent and change their behavior, we are making the grace of God a partner with that evil.  Godly sorrow and repentance are not optional in order to receive God’s forgiveness, and it should be a requirement for us to forgive others. 

Why would we think that we should forgive unrepentant rapists, pedophiles, murderers, and other evil people, including pseudo “Christians,” when Almighty God does not forgive such people?  Those who tell abuse victims/survivors to forgive an unrepentant, evil perpetrator are asking them to do something that our Most High God does not do!  One woman to whom I ministered told me that she would never forgive the person who murdered her daughter.  Not only was the killer unrepentant, but he denied that he had committed the crime even though all the evidence proved he had done it.  Based on God’s Word about forgiveness, I do not believe that the Lord expected that heartbroken lady to forgive the unrepentant murderer of her precious daughter.

Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 

Acts 8:22 (NKJV)

 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.    

2 Corinthians 7:10 (NKJV)

Without faith in the One True God and His Son, Jesus Christ, a person cannot truly forgive.  The love of God makes it possible for us to genuinely forgive when it is appropriate.  A desire to obey and please the Lord is absent without that faith.  A remorseless wrongdoer cannot benefit from God’s forgiveness.  The fact that God forgives us based on our acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice and our repentance is the only reason that we have hope and the assurance that we will spend eternity with the Lord in Heaven.  Obeying God and forgiving—when it is appropriate—helps to keep our relationships with the Lord strong.

Also, we cannot base whether or not we have truly forgiven someone on our feelings.  We may still feel emotional pain when we think about the person or situation.  Many years ago, the life and career of a man I knew was seriously damaged and almost destroyed as a result of the wicked actions and lies of several people.  He was carrying an indescribable amount of pain and trauma.  Hoping to reduce his suffering, that Christian man eventually made the conscious decision to forgive the people involved, but he still felt lots of bitterness and anger regarding the injustice that had been done to him.  The bitterness and anger were attached to the emotional pain and trauma that he had suffered, which had not been released or healed.  If we forgive someone who is truly sorry and repentant, we may not always feel like we have done so until Jesus releases the pain and trauma and heals our broken hearts.

“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)

Our Most High God gives everyone the opportunity to receive forgiveness for sins, true freedom, and healing through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Whether or not we are forgiven by God depends on our sincere acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  Our obedience to God and His Word, and our repentance when we sin, prove that our relationships with Him and Jesus are genuine.  Almighty God will never force anyone to repent, but thank God that He gives us the opportunity to do so! Otherwise, we would all be doomed to an eternity in Hell.

               Kathy Shelton

Three Devotionals about Samson

The following 3 devotionals are about Samson and Delilah, and they are taken from my book, Devotionals for the Brokenhearted, which was published on Amazon.com on April 6, 2022. The link to the Amazon.com page for the book is here:

DEVOTIONALS FOR THE BROKENHEARTED

There are 2 additional devotionals about Samson based on Judges 16:20 and Judges 16:28 in the book. They are also available online on the Healing the Brokenhearted Devotionals website here:

https://healingthebrokenhearteddevotionals.wordpress.com/.

JUDGES 16:5

And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Entice him, and find out where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and every one of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.”

Judges 16:5 (NKJV)

Suggested reading: Judges 16:1-6

Delilah was instructed to entice Samson in order to discover the source of his great strength. Samson’s enemies wanted to bind him to afflict him. Synonyms for afflict are trouble, bother, worry, upset, distress and make miserable. They had nothing but evil plans for Samson. They wanted to cause him severe physical and mental distress by discovering the secret to his strength and taking it away from him!

The devil is the enemy of followers of the Most High God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Satan wants to take away strength from Jesus’ followers and cause us physical and mental distress in the process. He wants to afflict us! When emotional, physical and/or spiritual pain and trauma come our way, we must hold on tightly to our faith, the source of our strength. If our hearts are broken as the result of that pain and trauma, we need to run to the One True God—never run away from Him. He is our strength, and the devil knows that. We must never allow the devil or his army of evil beings to overpower us!

A broken heart can cause us to feel very weak and vulnerable, but Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. Sincerely accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and following His example for the rest of our lives will give us the strength we need to resist temptations from the kingdom of darkness. Pursuing Biblical healing for our broken hearts is one way to fight the spiritual warfare that every believer encounters.

JUDGES 16:15

Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies.”

Judges 16:15 (NKJV)

Suggested reading: Judges 16:13-15

This is a deep and serious question. “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me?” Delilah was asking Samson this, because he had not been honest with her and told her the source of his great strength. When we say, “I love you,” to another person, or to the Lord, it must be backed up by our actions, or they are just empty words.


Many of us have had our hearts broken as a result of liars in our lives who told us they loved us, but did not treat us like that was true. Evil people use the words I love you to manipulate and deceive their targets in order to fulfill their own desires. They are indifferent to the destruction they leave behind. The emotional pain and trauma that is caused by insincere words, lies and broken promises can be devastating and stay within our hearts and spirits for many years. The good news is that Jesus Christ came to heal the brokenhearted. He can release the pain and heal us like no one else in existence.


We must also be very careful—when we tell the Most High God that we love Him—that those are not empty words. He knows the difference! Saying that we love God and Jesus must be proven by the way that we live our lives. Practicing known sin and refusing to stop is rebellion to God and evidence that a person does not love the Lord. We should follow God’s Word and obey His commandments on a daily basis. Our sincere love for and obedience to the Lord is essential in the healing of our broken hearts!

JUDGES 16:17

…he told her all his heart, and said to her, “No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.”

Judges 16:17 (NKJV)

Suggested reading: Judges 16:16-18

Samson finally told Delilah the truth about the source of his great strength. He was a Nazirite and his unshaven hair was the outer representation of his consecration and devotion to God. That was the source of his strength and he knew he would be weak, like any other man, without it.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we must understand how important it is for us to consecrate ourselves to Almighty God! We pray and ask Him for many things, but are we truly dedicated and devoted to the One True God? Just as Samson’s strength came from his consecration to the Lord, our sincere dedication to our Most High God and His Son, Jesus Christ, gives us strength. That strength enables us to endure, and have victory over, the painful and traumatic events in our lives.

When our hearts are broken, we can feel very weak and almost unable to function, or go on. Those are the times when we must cling to the Lord and dedicate ourselves to Him moment by moment. The strength we need in our everyday lives, and especially in times of trials, is only possible if we have genuine, personal relationships with Jesus Christ. That relationship will get us through anything! However, that does not mean it will be easy. Some days will be more difficult than others, but knowing that Jesus is with us will strengthen our hearts, minds and spirits.

Kathy Shelton

The Pain

Emotional pain.
Physical pain.
Mental pain.
Spiritual pain.

The pain is so real. The pain is so intense. The emotional, physical, mental and spiritual pain from traumatic events can cause people to do many things to try to escape, numb, or cope with the pain they are feeling. A person may turn to drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, cutting, denial, anger, and other self-destructive behaviors. Numbing the pain with drugs, alcohol or other ungodly coping mechanisms to try to alleviate the pain can lead to addiction. However, the Lord is the only One who can bring true, lasting freedom and healing from the pain.

He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3 (NKJV)

Traumatic events include betrayal, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, ritual abuse, rape, the death of a loved one, domestic violence, divorce, accidents and natural disasters. The levels of emotional pain that we can experience from trauma vary greatly. As traumatic situations become more severe, and if they are ongoing, the emotional pain can, and often does, cause physical illness.

Secondary trauma is trauma that we heard about or saw that happened to someone else, but did not directly involve us. Secondary trauma can have a significant impact on our hearts and spirits even though we did not experience the traumatic event first-hand. Ministers, counselors, mental health professionals, police officers, firefighters, and people in many other professions that deal with the public can carry extreme, and sometimes disabling, amounts of primary and secondary pain and trauma.

Trauma is energy. It comes at us like a blow to a bone. That bone can receive a hair-line fracture, a splintering, a complete break or several breaks depending on the force behind the blow. Emotional and spiritual trauma have similar effects on our hearts, minds and spirits. The effects from traumatic events that do not receive healing will steadily distract our focus and drain our energy away from reaching our God-given destinies.  The pain from trauma will fester and eventually erupt like a volcano if it is not released and the damage is not healed.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious result of extreme traumatic events. It is not just limited to veterans of war, although there are a high percentage of veterans suffering with horrific PTSD symptoms. Many more people are living with the debilitating symptoms of PTSD than anyone realizes. PTSD is a real illness. It can develop after living through or seeing a life-threatening, traumatic event. PTSD makes a person feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over. PTSD can cause problems like flashbacks, or feeling like the event is happening again, trouble sleeping or night terrors, feeling alone, and panic attacks. PTSD starts at different times for different people. Signs of PTSD may start soon after a terrifying event and then continue. Other people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later.  PTSD can lead to all of the ungodly coping behaviors mentioned above and that last, most self-destructive action of suicide.

Current traumatic situations can, and often do, bring the emotional pain of similar past traumatic experiences to the surface. We were meant to love God with whole, not broken, hearts. We cannot do that when the pain and trauma are constantly bombarding our hearts and spirits.

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

Matthew 22:37 (NKJV)

The pain can also cause us to wear an emotional “mask” around others. We don’t want others to see how deeply we are hurting. Many people just don’t know how to cope. They may try to get help, but it may be unsuccessful, or even cause more damage. So, they may eventually turn to wearing a “mask,” not letting anyone know how severely brokenhearted they are—not letting anyone know the level of pain that they are carrying. However, the more they wear that “mask,” the more the “mask” becomes part of who they are! The following poem by Helen Joseph, The Mask, addresses this very well.

Always a mask

Held in the slim hand,

Whitely,

Always she had a mask

Before her face–

Smiling and sprightly,

The Mask.

 

Truly the wrist

Holding it lightly

Fitted the task:

Sometimes however

Was there a shiver,

Fingertip quiver,

Ever so slightly–

Holding the mask?

 

For years and years and

Years I wondered

But dared not ask.

 

And then–

I blundered,

I looked behind,

Behind the mask

To find

Nothing–She had no face.

  

She had become

Merely a hand

Holding a mask

With grace.

I have quoted the above poem during Healing the Brokenhearted Ministry seminars and workshops for many years. There has always been a very strong reaction to the poem from those in attendance. Many people can relate to wearing am emotional mask/false face. It is not socially acceptable to wear our pain on our sleeves—to let it be known to others. Unfortunately—very unfortunately—in Christian churches, there is an enormous amount of emotional and spiritual pain being carried by believers, and they are afraid to be real with anyone. They have been hurt too much. They may have been spiritually abused and deeply wounded by professing Christians. They don’t want to take a chance that it will happen again and understandably so.

When we go to a church service and look around, we will normally see rows and rows of people wearing their emotional masks. If we ask them how they are doing, they will answer, “I’m doing fine. I’m doing good. I am blessed.” Yes, Christians are blessed because Jesus came, died, and rose again so that we can spend eternity with Him and the Father in Heaven. However, life on this earth is difficult to say the least. It is not a bed of roses even for, and sometimes especially for, Christians. We have all experienced emotional pain and trauma.

The answer, however, is not to walk around wearing a mask! The answer is not to worry about what others will think. Our Most High God is the only One we need to please. Wearing “masks” does not please Him. If we please Him, then we will be pleasing those people He wants us to please. We cannot do that while wearing an emotional mask!

Instead of continuing to wear an emotional mask/false face that will draw us deeper and deeper into isolation from our Most High God and other people, we need to find someone with whom we can share our deepest pain. We need to allow that emotional mask to come off. We need to be careful, because as many of us have discovered, not everyone is safe. However, we can ask a trustworthy, Christian friend or family member if they know a safe believer who can help us receive freedom in Biblical ways. We must reach out and not isolate ourselves in order to receive the inner healing we need.

The LORD is near to the heartbroken
And He saves those who are crushed in spirit (contrite in heart, truly sorry for their sin).

Psalm 34:18 (AMP)

Healing for our pain requires that we take the first step and sincerely ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. We must obey God’s Word and repent for our sins. Jesus’ sacrifice was a huge price paid for our freedom and healing, and we need to honor it by being honest with our Most High God and genuine in our confession of faith.

Jesus Christ can release and heal our pain and trauma! 

Jesus said:

“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 is always safe! We need to talk to Him. We must pray and listen for His response. He will lead us and guide us on the healing path that we need to follow for the specific pain and trauma that we have experienced.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

Revelation 21:4 (NKJV)

May the Lord Jesus bless you as you seek His healing and freedom from pain and trauma. I pray that your heart will be open to receiving that healing and freedom and that nothing will stop you from pursuing it. I bless you as you determine to stop wearing an emotional mask long enough to get the help you need so that one day you will not have to wear that “mask” ever again. May Jesus Christ strengthen your heart and give you courage. May you see the goodness of the Lord as you remove your mask!
Kathy Shelton

Seasons of Emotional and Spiritual Healing

Jesus Christ can lead us through seasons of healing from past emotional and spiritual pain and trauma if we will let Him. The Lord never forces anyone to do anything. Our Most High God created us with free wills. It is our choice to enter the inner healing process, or to remain in wounded and broken conditions. Jesus was born, died and rose from the dead to set the captives free and to heal the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1, NKJV), but we must choose to receive His freedom and inner healing.

The first step to receiving inner healing is to sincerely ask Jesus to be the Lord and Savior of our lives! Only genuine relationships with Jesus Christ, Father God and the Holy Spirit can provide the emotional and spiritual healing that we need. Our obedience to the Lord and His commandments and instructions is the evidence that we are His children. Obeying God is crucial in the healing process.

The Lord rarely releases all past pain and trauma at one time. The emotional and spiritual healing He provides usually occurs during different seasons of our lives. Seasons of healing can last days, weeks, months, or even years.  Just as in the natural realm, there are longer seasons, shorter seasons and more stormy seasons in the process of emotional and spiritual healing. The important thing is that we enter the inner healing season trusting the Lord to lead us through it. We must have the courage to enter or re-enter the healing process whenever He directs us to do so.

 
 
 
   
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
 
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sometimes the opportunity to enter a season of healing presents itself spontaneously without us doing anything to initiate it. Emotional pain from the past can be, and often is, triggered and comes up as the result of current painful or traumatic situations. When that happens, we need to trust that the Lord knows the perfect time for healing of an area of emotional pain and trauma and follow His guidance to pursue freedom. We should pray as Jeremiah prayed in Jeremiah 17:14 (NKJV), “Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.” However, we also need to realize that the healing of emotional pain and trauma can be a painful process, especially if we have experienced serious emotional trauma over a long period of time.
 
We must enter seasons of healing with this realization that we may experience pain during the process. Just as healing from physical surgery, illnesses, or accidents normally involves pain, healing from emotional and spiritual pain and trauma is a journey that includes good days and some very painful ones. Don’t expect the healing journey to be a piece of cake. However, Jesus promised to be with us always and we can endure the pain of the healing process with Him right by our sides. His incomparable love and peace give us the strength we need to receive inner healing from pain and trauma.
 
If we fell into a cactus plant, and needles were lodged in our bodies, there most certainly would be pain involved in their removal. We are blessed as followers of Jesus that He can apply supernatural anesthesia during the healing process and minimize the pain of the process as He releases the suppressed emotional and spiritual pain and trauma, and heals our hearts and spirits. The healing balm of the Holy Spirit’s presence is the best medicine available for the challenging and ongoing, inner healing process.
 
We must give ourselves time to recover during and between seasons of healing. Our hearts and spirits cannot endure non-stop emotional and spiritual surgery any more than our physical bodies could survive numerous physical surgeries without resting and recovery time between surgeries. Rest is another important aspect of the inner healing process.
 
Also, it is more difficult to receive inner healing from past pain and trauma if we are experiencing current stress and trauma. That hinders the healing process just as an underlying illness can hinder healing and recovery from physical surgery. Therefore, we must do whatever we can to reduce or eliminate ongoing stress and trauma to receive the most effective, godly inner healing possible.
 
The end result of going through seasons of inner healing is worth whatever the journey may require. Healing for emotional and spiritual pain and trauma usually requires more than prayer from a family member or friend. We must be diligent and wise in seeking help from trained, Christian counselors or prayer ministers if necessary. We must also always give God praise and thanks for the freedom and healing He provides every step of the way. Thankfulness increases joy and they are both essential in the healing process.
 
 
 
 
I will praise You, O LORD,
with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
 
Psalm 9:1 (NKJV)

 

 
 
Another very important aspect of completing the journey through seasons of healing is waiting with hope. When we see a rose bud that has not yet opened, we wait with hope that it will someday become a beautiful flower. Waiting on the Lord and His perfect timing for the seasons of healing in our lives to be accomplished brings freedom in and of itself. It brings freedom from fear and hopelessness.
 
 
 
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 (NKJV)
 
 
 

 
 
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope.
 
Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV) 
 
 
 
 
 
My prayer for you is that you will face emotional and spiritual pain and trauma as the Lord leads you into your seasons of healing, and that Jesus will release that pain and trauma so that you can blossom into all He has planned for your life.
 
 
Kathy Shelton
 
 
 

 

Did I Just Do That?

Ungodly behavior and actions triggered by trauma

Walking in peace no matter what traumatic circumstances are happening around us—it takes time to mature to this point. No one can deny that we live in turbulent, trying times. Trauma can be a daily experience. However, God chose for each of us to live in such a time as this. In this article I want to talk about how to daily walk out Romans 12:2.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2 (NASB)

The battlefield of the mind is where there is a daily confrontation. God knows we are in a war and does not leave us defenseless. He has given us an array of arms, and He has told us how to dress and what weapons to use. When going to war, would you rather be in a tank or carrying a rifle on the ground? The term in war would be a force multiplier. Force multipliers are factors or combinations that give weapons greater force. A lot more damage to the enemy can be done with a tank rather than a rifle. The purpose of this article is to encourage us how and what to use when we battle to have godly behavior no matter the circumstances or the battle for our minds.

There are key principles that we must remember in this war between panic and peace. The enemy’s weapons are lies, deception and fear.

1) Remember, it’s a battle for the mind.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NASB)

God’s weapons win the battle, and He calls us to use those weapons.

2) Put on His armor.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:10-17 (NASB)

(Words in the above Scripture are in bold or underlined for emphasis.)

3) Know and use God’s force multipliers or weapons of war.

When we recognize we are not lone soldiers with a gun, but are in the “tanks” of God’s weaponry, we will be using God’s force multipliers. Our thoughts and perspectives will be entirely different.

Force Multipliers

Jesus (All authority is His)

These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.

Mark 16:17,18 (NASB)

(Words in the above Scripture are in bold and underlined for emphasis.)

We obey police because of the authority they carry. Therefore, use the authority of Jesus.

Holy Spirit

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

1 John 4:4 (NASB)

(Words in the above Scripture are in bold and underlined for emphasis.)

Remember, Who lives in you. Recognize which fortress you are living in, fear, or faithfulness of Holy Spirit.

Word

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it produce and sprout, and providing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes out of My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:10,11 (NASB)

Declare the Word of God out loud. It is a weapon.

Angels

The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. Bless the LORD, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word! Bless the LORD, all you His angels, you who serve Him, doing His will. Bless the LORD, all you works of His, in all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, my soul!

Psalm 103:19-22 (NASB)

Ask God to send His angels to do what you cannot.

Prayer

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

1 John 5:14,15 (NASB)

Then Elisha prayed and said, “LORD, please, open his eyes so that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

2 Kings 6:17 (NASB)

Some thoughts on how to use the weapons/force multipliers when events trigger reactions:

Remember: The enemy’s primary weapons are fear and deception over traumatic events. Our weapons are to demolish these strongholds or fortresses that the adversary builds. Psalm 91 is about the protection we have in God’s fortress. “Abide in the shelter of the Most High.” The battle in the mind is which fortress are you occupying. Events happen. We choose how to react, who to trust, to whom are we listening—our resources or God’s promises.

God’s weapons are truth and shalom (peace). Daily put on God’s armor. Study Scripture with an eye for looking at His promises to help us, and use His provided weapons. Remember, we are not powerless (a lie) or defeated. The Holy Spirit lives within us, is always truthful and is all powerful. Pray with others. (Two tanks are mightier than one.) The Holy Spirit and angels do the heavy lifting, not us.

Kaaren Craig, All for Jesus Ministries’ Board Member

(edited by 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 (NKJV)

According to the Word of God, if we are genuine followers of Jesus Christ and He is our personal 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 in our environment 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 that is heard is static and interference from other signals. Our lives and minds are bombarded with sounds 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 (NKJV)

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 distractions 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 experience God’s 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 (NKJV)

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 painful 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).

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

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 (NKJV)

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 hidden within our hearts and spirits. Because of His amazing love, God sent His Son, Jesus, to offer everyone the opportunity to 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 (NKJV)

Kathy Shelton