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

Children of God

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 (NKJV)

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

However, when our hearts are broken as a result of any type of abuse, the death of a loved one, divorce, domestic violence, rape, 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 His children 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 (NKJV)

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 personal Lord and Savior.  The associated Scriptures are in parentheses below each statement.

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 God through 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 can 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 blessing 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. He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.

(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 as dear children.

(Ephesians 5:1)

We are to be the light of the world.

(Matthew 5:14)

The above declarations clearly describe 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.

We love Him because He first loved us.

1 John 4:19 (NKJV) 

Not only do our heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit love us, but we love them in return. They show us their love for us in countless ways. We show our love for them by trusting God and obeying Him and His Word, because He first loved us.

Kathy Shelton

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 (NKJV)

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 (NKJV)

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 of human beings.

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. Mark 3:5 says that 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 (NKJV)

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 confess that sin and 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 (NKJV)

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 can 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, rape and domestic violence. 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 (NKJV)

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 a 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. As we trust the Lord to judge and punish the evil doers,  the healing of our broken hearts—and the release of attached anger—will be more easily achieved.

Kathy Shelton

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 Christ forever.

If the enemy, Satan, can steal our joy, he has won half the battle. The devil loves to lead a Christian into a state of anxiety, fear, or worry. That is one of the ways he can get their focus off the joy of the Lord. If a person’s heart is broken, they are more likely to succumb to Satan’s tactics. One reason it is so important for us to cling to the joy of the Lord in spite of our circumstances is that it gives us strength against the enemy.

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

Philippians 4:4 (NKJV)

The joy of the Lord is our strength and remembering Almighty God’s marvelous works will help us to receive His joy and to rejoice in 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 His Son, Jesus, to this earth in order to offer us the opportunity to be forgiven for our sins and to receive healing for our broken hearts. We must thank God for that and talk about it, because it is very healing to speak of all His wondrous works. It fills us with His joy!

The fact that Jesus was born and 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 that Jesus was 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. Those amazing blessings should cause sincere Christians to rejoice!

A broken heart is no excuse not to rejoice in the Lord. However, the devil uses emotional and spiritual pain to bring discouragement, depression 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 permanent than the world’s solutions for pain and trauma. The joy of the Lord is our strength and it helps heal our broken hearts and spirits.

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 a person’s age, culture, environment, maturity level, and the stage or season of their life. Everyone, including mothers, fathers, students, teachers, doctors, nurses, 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 are suffering or have experienced in the past. 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 and will steal our joy and strength. However, 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 genuine, personal relationship with Jesus as our Lord and Savior 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 healed and strengthened. The joy of the Lord is our strength!

Kathy Shelton

 

The Tragedy of Suicide

The tragedy of suicide, taking one’s own life, occurs throughout the world. It is not limited to any age, gender, religion, or ethnic group, although the suicide rate is higher in some countries.

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 800,000 people die from suicide each year, or one death every 40 seconds. There are indications that for each adult who died by suicide there may have been more than 20 others who attempted suicide. In 2019, the countries with the top 5 rates of suicide were Lithuania, Russia, Guyana, South Korea and Belarus. Nearly 30% of all suicides worldwide occur in India and China. Youth suicide is increasing at the greatest rate and young people are now the group at highest risk in a third of all countries.

The incidence of suicide is at an epidemic level in the United States. According to one news report in November 2018, the U.S. suicide rate was at a 50-year high! The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, AFSP, reports that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. More people die—on average 132 per day—as a result of suicide than car accidents in the U.S. That is over 48,000 deaths due to suicide in the U.S. per year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. reports that suicide is the #2 cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 34. In addition, there were approximately 1,400,000 Americans who attempted suicide in 2017. Women attempt suicide 1.4 times more often than men, but men die as the result of suicide 3.5 times more often than women. Physicians have been reported to have a higher rate of suicide—twice as high—than any other profession.

Veterans in the U.S. have been taking their own lives at the rate of at least 20 per day. More than 6,000 veterans die by suicide annually. Active-duty, U.S. military suicides were at a record high in 2018 with a total of 321, including Marines, sailors, airmen and soldiers.  That was the highest number of suicides among active-duty personnel in at least 6 years.

All for Jesus Ministries is based in New Mexico in the United States. According to this New Mexico website:

https://nmhealth.org/publication/view/help/1832/,

New Mexico’s rate of suicide has consistently been more than 50% higher than the U.S. rate. Sadly, New Mexico had the fourth highest suicide rate in the U.S. in 2016. One suicide every 19 hours—more than one per day—occurs in New Mexico. Approximately 491 people died by suicide in New Mexico in 2017. That is more than deaths resulting from breast cancer or people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The above statistics do not take into account that, due to shame or disgrace, suicide is generally underreported.  Attempting suicide, or actually committing suicide, is usually the result of unbearable emotional, mental, spiritual or physical pain and trauma. Trauma includes the death of a loved one, divorce, any type of abuse, rape, being subjected to war or terrorism, a homicidal attempt on one’s life, domestic violence, serious accidents and natural disasters. The debilitating symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can lead to suicide.

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.

2 Corinthians 1:8 (NKJV)

Paul wrote about despairing even of life in 2 Corinthians 1:8. According to 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, Paul had gone through unimaginable trials, including beatings with rods, whippings with thirty-nine lashes five times, perils everywhere he went, surviving a ship wreck, sleeplessness, hunger and thirst, being stoned, and being thrown into prison. He endured those things without losing hope, yet in the province of Asia, something burdened him beyond measure and above strength, causing him and his companions to despair of life itself. However, they did not commit suicide, but trusted in God to deliver them. Paul said that the prayers of others brought them through their season of hopelessness.

A broken heart is often the starting point for suicidal thoughts. The person who attempts or commits suicide has lost hope that the pain will stop any other way. The enemy of our souls, the devil, adds to that hopelessness by agreeing with the person that suicide is the answer. A demonic spirit of suicide may be attached to the pain, and the combination can be deadly. When someone commits suicide, they escape the pain and trauma, but their loved ones and friends are left with devastating pain and trauma as a result and their hearts are broken into hundreds of pieces.

Suicide is a tragedy that can often be prevented. How? First and foremost, the person needs to sincerely ask Jesus Christ to come into their life and be their personal Lord and Savior. That does not automatically mean that all the pain and suicidal thoughts will instantly disappear, although that can happen. In fact, people who are followers of Jesus Christ are not unaffected by the devastation or the finality of the act of suicide, but they have the opportunity to receive healing and freedom from emotional and spiritual pain. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Healing and freedom are possible through Jesus Christ!

Feeling alone and isolating oneself from others only increases the emotional pain. During the coronavirus pandemic, Covid-19, people have been more isolated than ever in an attempt to control the spread of the virus. Loneliness and depression can result, but do not have to lead to suicide.

Before the pain gets to the point where someone gives up and attempts to take his or her own life, they need to talk to someone. Talking about the pain and trauma can be very comforting and it can release some of the pressure. If necessary to avoid an irreversible act of suicide, they should seek help from a trained crisis counselor or a qualified Christian counselor or minister. Not all Christian counselors or ministers understand the enormous spiritual dynamics involved in the hopelessness that leads to suicide. However, there is help available for those who are despairing of life itself.

There are things that we can do to counteract the isolation and loneliness during Covid-19. As followers of Jesus Christ, we must put His teachings into practice. Spending dedicated time with the Lord in prayer is an essential part of fighting loneliness and depression. Reading God’s Word, the Bible, out loud and listening to praise and worship music are also extremely important. We must also control what we allow ourselves to see and hear. Turning off and/or not reading negative and upsetting news stories, commentaries, emails and text messages protects our hearts, minds and spirits from further trauma. These are very traumatic times and even the most devoted Christians can be knocked off balance if they are not careful to focus on the Lord and His goodness.

Life is a precious gift from our Most High God and He wants us to live out our destinies as His children and followers of His Son, Jesus.  Satan wants to steal our life purposes, to kill us, and to destroy God’s plans for our lives.  However, Jesus came so that we could have abundant life as He said in John 10:10.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 10:10 (NKJV)

Since we are prayer ministers, not counselors or mental health professionals, we always recommend that anyone with severe emotional symptoms seek out the help of medical doctors and trained Christian counselors in their local area and country.

In the event of an emergency situation for someone who is contemplating suicide in the United States, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255, or contact the Crisis text line by texting “TALK” to 741741.

We do not suggest that we know and understand all of the aspects of mental illness, especially the effects of mind-altering drugs and prescription medications. However, we have observed that emotional pain is often accompanied by spiritual considerations that need to be addressed in the spiritual realm through prayer. Biblical inner healing prayer may help someone who has experienced suicidal thoughts, depending on the individual’s specific circumstances. When Jesus releases past pain and trauma through prayer, it also often results in the removal of suicidal tendencies. Praise the Lord!

Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Scriptures in Isaiah 61:1-3, including the following:

“…to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV)

Jesus wants us to live in His joy!
Kathy Shelton

 

One More Time—Falling and Getting Back Up

Do you feel like a failure? Are you brokenhearted? Have you struggled with the same behaviors or addiction for years without victory? Have you felt like giving up? Don’t! It takes courage to get back up when we fall. Be courageous and the Lord will strengthen your heart.

Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.

Psalm 31:24 (NKJV)

If you have sincerely asked Jesus Christ to be your personal Lord and Savior, then you can hope in the Lord. We all occasionally miss the mark of perfectly following and obeying the Lord. However, practicing known sin on a regular or daily basis is not missing the mark. That is rebellion and willful disobedience to God.

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:6-9 (NKJV)

Our faithful God will forgive a repentant person who is genuinely sorry for their sins and makes the choice to change their behavior. God is ready to forgive.

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

Psalm 86:5 (NKJV)

Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are good! However, no person is good all the time—no one. Human beings have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Falling short of the glory of God does not make us hopeless cases. It means that we are human.

Just because you have failed once, twice or even hundreds of times, that does not mean that you cannot succeed. A friend of mine once told me that a high-ranking officer in the military shared with him that he would rather have someone under his command who had fallen and gotten back up than someone who had never fallen at all. He knew that the one who had fallen and gotten back up would not easily succumb to defeat. The person who has failed at receiving healing from past pain and trauma, but continues to pursue their freedom is very likely to eventually be victorious. Do not lose heart!

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

The enemy of our souls, Satan, encourages genuine Christians to feel defeated and discouraged. If we allow him to accomplish that in our lives, he has won the battle. However, he does not win the war! The Bible makes it clear that Satan and his forces will be completely defeated in the end. We must hold on to that truth as we fight the good fight of faith.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 

1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV)

Regardless of what you are facing today, do not give in to the temptation to give up! Yes, there are horrible storms that come into our lives. Those situations can cause us a lot of emotional, spiritual and/or physical pain, and trauma, but our victory is found in overcoming through the Lord Jesus Christ.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:31-39 (NKJV)

We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ!

Do not give up! If you have fallen again, get back up one more time and fight for your victory. You will succeed with the Lord Jesus Christ by your side. Take His hand and let Him lead you into freedom. He loves you and wants that for you more than you can imagine. I have witnessed Jesus Christ set hundreds of people free from past pain and trauma. He can do the same for you!

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 (NKJV)

For suggestions regarding how to receive help, check out our HELPFUL RESOURCES page. Your freedom from sin, addiction, and past pain and trauma is worth fighting for. Be filled with hope today!

Kathy Shelton

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 the 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 possibly cause us 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 (NKJV)

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 (NKJV)

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 (Jeremiah 31:3)!

The Lord did not immediately deliver numerous people written about in the Bible from their problems and traumatic situations. Many of them had to wait for years or 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 human beings. 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 and spirits!

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 (NKJV)

As we wait on the Lord in the midst of pain and trauma, our emotional, mental, spiritual and physical strength can be depleted. That is why we must make a point to continue to fill ourselves with the joy of the Lord to renew our strength. Actions that we can take include listening to praise and worship music, singing out loud to the Lord, reading the Bible out loud, praying with others and meditating on God’s goodness. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10) at all times and in every traumatic circumstance while we are waiting on the Lord!

Kathy Shelton

 

 

No More Games!

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].”

 Matthew 16:24 (AMP)

Are you a genuine Christian, or just playing games?
Do you still have one foot in the world?
Are you in rebellion to God and His Word in some areas of your life?
Are you obeying our Most High God at all costs?

This is the message [of God’s promised revelation] which we have heard from Him and now announce to you, that God is Light [He is holy, His message is truthful, He is perfect in righteousness], and in Him there is no darkness at all [no sin, no wickedness, no imperfection]. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness [of sin], we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we [really] walk in the Light [that is, live each and every day in conformity with the precepts of God], as He Himself is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another [He with us, and we with Him], and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin [by erasing the stain of sin, keeping us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].

1 John 1:5-7 (AMP)

Sincere Christians do not continue to live according to their own wills and ignore God’s commandments and directions. They do not continue to intentionally live worldly lives. True Christians do not walk in darkness—they walk in God’s light.

No soldier in active service gets entangled in the [ordinary business] affairs of civilian life; [he avoids them] so that he may please the one who enlisted him to serve.

2 Timothy 2:4 (AMP)

Spiritual warfare is real. Our enemy, Satan, and his evil forces will fight us for the rest of our earthly lives once we make a genuine profession of faith in Jesus Christ, ask God to forgive our sins in Jesus’ name, and repent by changing our behavior to line up with the Bible. We must know which side we are on in this unending warfare. If we are children of God, we must be on the side of His kingdom and stay there. We cannot be victorious in spiritual battles if we are constantly switching back and forth between God’s kingdom and the kingdom of darkness! 

 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.  

Ephesians 6:12 (AMP)

Everything we do either pleases and honors Almighty God, or it pleases and honors the devil. Our actions must match our words. Our testimonies of being followers of Jesus must be demonstrated by our obedience to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not practice what I tell you? Everyone who comes to Me and listens to My words and obeys them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a [far-sighted, practical, and sensible] man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and yet could not shake it, because it had been securely built and founded on the rock.”

Luke 6:46-48 (AMP)

We will be judged by our Most High God based on the sincerity of our commitments to Him. He knows our hearts and every thought we entertain. God knows the motives for our actions and whether or not we are just pretending to be Christians, but in reality are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Our Holy and Just God will not welcome phonies into His kingdom to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

All the nations will be gathered before Him [for judgment]; and He will separate them from one another, as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right [the place of honor], and the goats on His left [the place of rejection]. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father [you favored of God, appointed to eternal salvation], inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’

 “Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Leave Me, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels (demons);’

“Then these [unbelieving people] will go away into eternal (unending) punishment, but those who are righteous and in right standing with God [will go, by His remarkable grace] into eternal (unending) life.”

Matthew 25:32-34; 41; 46 (AMP)

We cannot afford to be Christians in name only, nor should we ever desire to live a life that deceives others. That way of life leads straight to Hell. Jesus made this very clear in the following verses. 

 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me [you are banished from My presence], you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].’

Matthew 7:21-23 (AMP)

If we say that we believe in God—and that Jesus Christ is God’s Son—and we have consecrated our lives to the Lord, we must act like it. Even the demons believe in God, and Satan witnessed the birth, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The devil knows the truth about Jesus, but he is still the most evil being around. He inspires people to do wicked things. However, every human being has a free will and can choose to do good or evil. Genuine Christians are not perfect, but they do their best to live according to God’s will and not their own. 

But someone may say, “You [claim to] have faith and I have [good] works; show me your [alleged] faith without the works [if you can], and I will show you my faith by my works [that is, by what I do].” You believe that God is one; you do well [to believe that]. The demons also believe [that], and shudder and bristle [in awe-filled terror—they have seen His wrath]!

James 2:18-19 (AMP)

A person becomes a genuine Christian and part of God’s kingdom when the Holy Spirit draws them, convicts them of their sin and shows them their need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We either dedicate our lives to our Most High God, or we don’t. There is no middle ground. True conversions to becoming a child of God and following His Son, Jesus Christ, happen one time. Genuine believers will never need to “rededicate” their lives to the Lord, because they did that once and for all time at some point, and they never looked back. 

Jesus answered, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh [the physical is merely physical], and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be surprised that I have told you, ‘You must be born again [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified].’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:5-8 (AMP)

Once a sincere confession of faith and acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior occurs, there is no turning back. From that point on, our whole perspective and focus changes to line up with God’s Word and His will. People who respond to altar calls, or invitations to accept Jesus, over and over have never before sincerely become born-again Christians. During difficult and frightening times, people may turn to God, but once the crisis is over, they often return to their wicked, worldly ways. Jesus taught about that in Matthew 13:18-23. Steadfast faith only happens if someone is truly born again.

 “Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom [regarding salvation] and does not understand and grasp it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and at once welcomes it with joy; yet he has no [substantial] root in himself, but is only temporary, and when pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles and falls away [abandoning the One who is the source of salvation]. And the one on whom seed was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the worries and distractions of the world and the deceitfulness [the superficial pleasures and delight] of riches choke the word, and it yields no fruit. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands and grasps it; he indeed bears fruit and yields, some a hundred times [as much as was sown], some sixty [times as much], and some thirty.”

Matthew 13:18-23 (AMP)

It is time for pseudo Christians, wolves in sheep’s clothing, to be revealed for who they really are and, if at all possible, for genuine followers of Jesus to separate from those people who are just playing games. The sin in the lives of pseudo Christians will have a negative effect on God’s children if they allow those wolves in sheep’s clothing to influence their hearts and spirits—knowingly or unknowingly. Paul warned the Galatians about this peril in the following Scriptures.

You were running [the race] well; who has interfered and prevented you from obeying the truth? This [deceptive] persuasion is not from Him who called you [to freedom in Christ]. A little leaven [a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers] leavens the whole batch [it perverts the concept of faith and misleads the church].

Galatians 5:7-9 (AMP)

Only godly sorrow for sin will result in a true born-again experience in someone’s life. There is no fake it until you make it in God’s kingdom. We are either sold out for the Lord, or we are on our way to Hell.   

For [godly] sorrow that is in accord with the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but worldly sorrow [the hopeless sorrow of those who do not believe] produces death.

2 Corinthians 7:10 (AMP)

Living for—and obeying—our Most High God in every area of our lives is the only way to truly honor Him. Asking Him for forgiveness when we miss that goal and sincerely repenting by intentionally changing our behavior to be God-honoring will be a natural response for any genuine, born-again Christian. Only genuine, born-again Christians can receive the healing and freedom offered by our Most High God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and to proclaim liberty to the captives (Luke 4:18, NKJV), but we must be sincerely following Jesus and walking in God’s light to receive the peace and joy produced by those incredible gifts!

Kathy Shelton

 

No Fear in the Fire

Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.  Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

 Daniel 3:19-25 (NKJV)

During our lifetimes, we go through many trials, traumatic situations and difficulties that can cause us to become fearful. There are definitely times when godly fear, the healthy emotion that God created us to experience, helps to protect us and leads us to safety. However, there is also a very real, unhealthy and ungodly fear that can overtake our emotions. We must be watchful and careful to not allow ourselves to participate in that process. That type of fear can result in great despair and cause us to become terrified of the future.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego had every reason to become terrified when King Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into the fiery furnace. Their faith in the Most High God and His ability to save them—in spite of how things looked in the natural realm—was strong and they even voiced their trust that they knew God was in control of the outcome. God honored their amazing faith by sending the Lord to be with them in the midst of the fiery furnace and making sure that the fire had no power on their bodies. “The hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them” (Daniel 3:27). We must have the same type of steadfast faith exhibited by Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego in the midst of trials and extremely difficult situations.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

Ungodly fear is the opposite of faith. Ungodly fear can be the result of our own overactive emotions that we allow to get out of control, but it can also be the result of demonic spirits of fear oppressing us. God never gives us a spirit of fear! However, genuine Christians have the authority in the name of Jesus Christ to command demonic spirits of fear to leave and go to the dry place. The blood of Jesus Christ was shed for our freedom from those evil spirits!

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.  

Isaiah 43:2 (NKJV)

We must be like Peter when he stepped out of the boat to walk on the water toward Jesus. As long as Peter kept His eyes on Jesus and trusted that the Lord would enable him to do the seemingly impossible, his fear was kept away. However, when Peter lost his focus and began to look at the water, the waves and the possibility of danger, he began to sink (Matthew 14:28-31). It is crucial that we keep our eyes on Jesus in every trial and traumatic situation.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

Our Most High God commands us in Philippians 4 to be anxious for nothing. He tells us what to do instead—pray with thanksgiving, making our requests be made known to Him. Our awesome God also assures us what the results will be for our obedience to Him in both difficult and easier times. His peace which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus! We must believe and receive this incredible promise from Almighty God.

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:28 (NKJV)

The Word of God does tell us that we are supposed to fear the Lord. He is the only One who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. The fear that we should have of our Most High God is based on awe and respect for Him. He knows everything—the past, present and future. The Lord knows our every thought, desire and action. We cannot lie to God and we cannot escape His judgment. Fearing the Lord as the One who always brings justice to wicked people is a healthy fear. Sincere Christians will always have that deep awe and respect for Him and do their best to obey His Word. 

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.

Psalm 33:8 (NKJV)

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 5:11 (NKJV)

We must also keep in mind that nothing that happens is ever a surprise to God. He does not fall off His throne in Heaven when tragedies occur on the earth. He is Omnipotent, all-powerful, and His power does not end due to trials in our lives. We can become fearful because we may feel like the situations are out of our control and they very well may be out of our control. That loss of control can be frightening. However, the Lord is never fearful and He can always intervene in any circumstance. His perfect will may not be done due to the free will that He has given to all human beings, but He will work all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

God reigns over the nations;
God sits on His holy throne.

Psalm 47:8 (NKJV)

Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!” And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!

Revelation 19:5-6 (NKJV)

Remembering that our Most High God is all-knowing and all-powerful will help us remain in His peace and fight the temptation to allow ourselves to operate in ungodly fear. Mediating on His glorious works that are recorded in the Holy Bible and reminding ourselves about times in our lives when He was with us in trials will keep us focused on the main thing. We need to keep the main thing, the main thing. That is that God is in control and He loves us with a passion. God loves us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to be born, to die a horrific death and to rise from the dead for us to be forgiven for our sins and spend eternity with God in Heaven if we will accept His free gift of salvation.

I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And on Your wondrous works.

Psalm 145:5 (NKJV)

While we are going through trials and difficult times, we should do the following to combat ungodly fear:

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

» Spend time alone with God in prayer. Talk to Him!

» Read the Bible out loud daily.

» Praise and worship God on a daily basis.

» Sing out loud to the Lord.

» Talk to other genuine Christians and pray with them.

» REST! We can become battle weary and rest is essential.

» Watch faith-based movies and videos that are encouraging to our hearts and spirits. Here is a link to one example, “You’re Gonna Be Okay” by Brian & Jenn Johnson:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjF9IqvXDjY

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

John 11:25-26 (NKJV)

For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,

Hebrews 3:14 (NKJV)

Above all, we must hold steadfast to our faith if we have sincerely accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior and changed our behavior, repenting by obeying God’s Word. Jesus promised to be with us always and that should overshadow any difficult situation that we may experience. It will if we choose faith over ungodly fear!

Kathy Shelton