Joy to the World… Surviving Holidays and Celebrations

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)

It should be a blessing to get together with family and/or friends during Easter, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, birthdays and other times of celebration.  However, these days and seasons—which should be joyful—can be extremely lonely and emotionally painful times for many people.  As a result, and very sadly, the rate of suicide increases during the holidays. 

If you dread the holidays because emotional pain from the past is usually triggered, please know that you are not alone.  This is very common.  However, there is help.  Jesus can release that past pain and trauma!  As Nehemiah 8:10 says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”  His joy is not dependent on our circumstances or any past emotional pain we have suffered.  His joy is endless and without comparison.  If we are on a downward spiral into the opposite of His joy, we must draw near to our heavenly Father and pray for His strength and joy to overshadow the emotional pain. 

My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!

Psalm 119:28 (ESV)

When emotional pain or trauma from the past is triggered during the holidays, it can be extremely difficult for those who are unknowingly carrying that pain.  They may not realize that their reaction to Aunt Carol or Uncle Harry is really partially the result of past pain that has been buried and is now coming to the surface.  Reactions to what should be happy situations can appear to be inappropriate and even unreasonable to the traumatized person and others, because they do not understand that suppressed pain and trauma are being triggered.

Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why are you restless and disturbed within me?
Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall again praise Him,
The help of my [sad] countenance and my God.

Psalm 43:5 (AMP)

An example of emotional pain from the past being triggered after over six decades was described to me by one of my ministry recipients several years ago.  This woman, Betty (not her real name), had been married for over 50 years when she asked her husband to go to the store to buy a jar of pickles for her.  Betty told him the type and brand of pickles that she wanted, but when he returned home, he had a jar of generic pickles that was not even the type that she had requested.

This woman, who was in her seventies, said that she went into a rage!  Thankfully, Betty also had some knowledge about inner emotional wounds and quickly realized that her reaction had very little to do with the pickles.  So, she asked the Lord what was going on with her, and He revealed the root of her emotional outburst.  When Betty was a child, her family was very poor and her mother only bought things that were the least expensive.  If her mother came home with anything that was not the cheapest item, this woman’s father got very angry.  The pain and trauma that surfaced when Betty’s husband came home with the generic brand of pickles had been stuffed for over 60 years!  The end of the story is that Betty received the healing and freedom that she needed through Jesus Christ from this past emotional pain and trauma.  Praise the Lord!

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

Until inner healing is received, there are several things we can do to minimize experiencing emotional pain during the holidays.  If we know that particular people, or specific situations have caused us emotional pain in the past, we must do whatever we can to limit our contact with them, or completely avoid being exposed to them, if at all possible.   We must set healthy, godly boundaries to protect our hearts and spirits.  Other examples of guarding our hearts also include not watching worldly, seasonal programs on television or on other devices, not listening to certain holiday music, and not going to some parties or events, all of which may bring past emotional pain to the surface.  It is much easier to avoid being triggered than to deal with the emotional pain once it has come to the surface.

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)

Also, focusing on the main reason for the celebration is a must in order to avoid emotional pain and trauma from ruining holidays.  For example, remembering that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior—and not about the gifts, parties and social events—will help immensely.  We cannot get offended and hurt as easily if we keep the main thing, the main thing.  Jesus’ birth allowed for His death and resurrection which provided all people the opportunity to receive forgiveness for their sins and healing for their broken hearts.  Taking our focus off Aunt Carol or Uncle Harry will help prevent the pain and trauma they trigger from coming up in our hearts and spirits.  Everyone with a broken heart must focus, focus, focus on the Healer and not on the people and situations that caused their heart to be broken.  Creating new, joyful memories helps heal broken hearts as well. 

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18 (NASB)

It takes determination and laser-like focus on our part to be joyful during the holidays. Returning to a place of peace once emotional pain and trauma have produced depression, great sadness, despair or hopelessness in our hearts and spirits is not easy.  However, it is possible through the love and healing power of a genuine, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  There is never a better time to sincerely ask Jesus to be our personal Lord and Savior than the present moment.  He wants to heal our broken hearts, but He will never force anyone into a relationship with Him.  We must willingly choose to accept that gift, which will make it possible for emotional and spiritual healing to take place.  Once Jesus becomes the true focus of our lives, we can ask Him to release the pain that has surfaced and replace it with His peace and joy.

“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)

God loves His children, followers of Jesus Christ, very much and wants them to be set free from past pain and trauma.  Luke 4:18 are Jesus’ words, proclaiming that He came to heal the brokenhearted.  My prayer for you is that you will make the choice to accept God’s gift of salvation if you have not already done so, and that you will allow the Lord to direct your steps to receive the inner healing you need.  May God bless you with His peace and joy in your hearts, minds and spirits every day and especially during the holidays when we celebrate God’s amazing love and goodness to us.

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

GODLY BOUNDARIES – No Door Mats!

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

Psalm 139:14 (NKJV)

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

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

“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.”

2 Corinthians 6:18 (NKJV)

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

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

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

Not setting godly boundaries in our own lives is a trap that the devil uses repeatedly to cause us emotional pain, especially in the lives of ministers. Sincere Christian ministers are compassionate. That is why they have entered ministry. They desire to help people and this desire drives them at times to neglect the wisdom of the Lord in setting healthy, godly boundaries in their lives.

Although followers of Jesus Christ should be “moved with compassion,” that does not mean they are supposed to allow people to deceive or take advantage of them. Setting godly, healthy boundaries is so important if we are going to run the race and stay in it to the end. People will test our boundaries just like children test the boundaries with their parents. It is not a sin or an ungodly practice to protect ourselves from exhaustion and unreasonable demands from others. Saying no to people is not sin. Of course, saying no applies only to people and not to the Lord. He will never ask us to do anything that He does not give us the strength and guidance to accomplish.

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

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

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

Kathy Shelton

Laughter and Healing from Traumatic Events

 

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 emotional and spiritual pain they carry from traumatic events can become unbearable. The enemy can bring discouragement through numerous methods. One of those is when he whispers the lie, “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.

Traumatic events always cause a broken heart and spirit. Trauma includes betrayal, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, ritual abuse, rape, the death of a loved one, divorce, domestic violence, accidents and natural disasters. The levels of emotional pain that we can experience from trauma vary greatly. When traumatic situations are more severe, and if they are ongoing, the emotional pain can, and often does, lead to 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, doctors, nurses, mental health workers, police officers, firefighters, and people in many other professions that deal with the public can carry extreme, and sometimes debilitating, amounts of emotional pain from secondary trauma.

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

Proverbs 15:13 (NKJV)

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

Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)

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

If our hearts have been broken, a merry heart is sometimes very difficult to even imagine. However, our broken hearts and spirits can, and often will, result in physical sickness if the emotional and spiritual pain are allowed to continue without relief. That is what is meant by “a broken spirit dries the bones.” Dry bones are not healthy bones.

Not only is our spirit broken by sorrow of the heart, but our physical health is negatively affected as well. If we do not acknowledge the emotional pain and trauma we are carrying and seek help through godly, Bible-based prayer and ministry, the results can be devastating. When we least expect it, the suppressed emotional pain can be triggered by other similar situations, contributing to undesirable and ungodly behavior. This cycle will repeat until a person deals with the inner pain.

Proverbs 17:22 says that a merry heart is good medicine! One way to help the healing of our broken hearts and spirits is to laugh. There is absolutely nothing funny, nor laughable, about suffering emotional and spiritual pain due to a traumatic situation. However, laughing in the face of pain and trauma as we are able to do so is very important. It will help heal our hearts and spirits. If we cannot think of anything to laugh about, watching a funny movie is helpful. Reading a humorous book can also be healing.

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

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

We cannot allow our circumstances and the people responsible for breaking our hearts to determine our emotional, spiritual and physical health, or lack thereof, by staying in depressed and hopeless states. What Jesus Christ did on the cross for us is more than enough to give us hope and cheer us up. If Jesus Christ is truly someone’s personal Lord and Savior, they have the assurance from our Most High God that they will be rejoicing in heaven with Him and Jesus in the future. So, they must let their hearts be merry about that awesome promise!

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)

It requires an inner joy of the Lord to laugh when one’s heart and spirit are broken! 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. It also makes it much easier to have a merry heart.

Laughter and having a merry heart are very important parts of the healing process for our broken hearts and crushed spirits.  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 some healing when we are brokenhearted.  However, we must deliberately participate in that blessing to receive the healing it provides. Having and sharing a godly sense of humor with others is also extremely healing and essential in the inner healing process. Choosing to laugh and rejoice about something on a daily basis is choosing to have a merry heart!

Kathy Shelton

The Emotional Pain and Trauma of BETRAYAL

And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.

John 18:2 (NKJV)

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

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

Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.

Matthew 26:14-16 (NKJV)

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

Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

Psalm 41:9 (NKJV)

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

Zechariah 11:12 (NKJV)

In spite of the fact that He knew it would happen, I believe that Jesus suffered great emotional pain from that betrayal. In Matthew 26:24, Jesus said, “The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” What a powerful statement! “It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” The Lord takes betrayal very seriously and, as followers of Jesus Christ, we need to do the same.

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

Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them.

Luke 22:3-4 (NKJV)

Betrayal can be used by the kingdom of darkness to bring disunity in ministries, families and other relationships. Many families and marriages have been devastated as the result of betrayal. Genuine Christians are often under attack from the kingdom of darkness. When professing Christians betray and attack true believers, they are assisting the devil and his forces.

A lack of integrity within the Body of Christ has led to backstabbing that resembles what occurs with non-Christians. This practice is definitely not loving one another as Jesus instructed His disciples to do. Gossip is extremely damaging and frequently involves broken promises of confidentiality. That betrayal can and has caused unimaginable emotional and spiritual pain for those who were betrayed in this way. Many of those who were betrayed by wolves in sheep’s’ clothing, phony Christians, have left churches as a result. 

All-too-common, overwhelming heartbreak occurs when genuine Christians are serving the Lord Jesus and being productive for God’s kingdom and, at the same time, being attacked and gossiped about by fake “Christians.” It may be done out of jealousy or pride, but it is always sin and causes deep wounds to those who are the targets of the betrayal. The ones doing this may not realize how much pain they are inflicting on Jesus’ sincere followers, but they are still accountable to our Most High God for their sinful behavior.

Broken trust is always a result of betrayal. Trust is not easily restored once someone has been betrayed. Whether it involves disloyalty, unfaithfulness, infidelity, gossip or any other form of betrayal, trust is always broken!

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

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

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

Healing from the emotional and spiritual pain of betrayal may take a significant amount of time, possibly even years. God does not forgive unrepentant sinners and He does not expect His children to do that either. However, forgiving someone who has betrayed you—and has repented due to godly sorrow—can be an incredibly difficult thing to do. It may require that you receive inner healing prayer from a sincere believer to release some of the pain before you are able to forgive the repentant person.

If you allow emotional and spiritual pain to fester inside you, it will turn into bitterness and resentment. In time, it will also affect you physically. Dealing with emotional wounds is for your benefit and well-being. Inner healing—through the love and blood of Jesus Christ—from the pain and trauma caused by betrayal is absolutely necessary if you are going to fulfill your God-given destiny. Thank God that Jesus is able to heal broken hearts and release the emotional and spiritual pain from betrayal!

Kathy Shelton

What did you just say?

Our words carry so much weight, especially in the spiritual realm. The Bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. As always, the Bible is absolutely true.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.

Proverbs 18:21 (AMP) (portion underlined for emphasis)

We need to be very careful about the words that we allow to come out of our mouths. Word curses are real and they have significant power. People who are serving the kingdom of darkness know this very well. They speak word curses, curses, spells, and incantations, and they see the results of the words that come out of their mouths.

Genuine Christians are not exempt from speaking word curses. They do it all the time. I know numerous followers of Jesus Christ who have unintentionally spoken word curses over themselves or others. Destructive and unwanted situations can come upon us based on things that we have said about ourselves. We are responsible and accountable to the Most High God for what we do and every word we speak.

There is a difference between speaking a word curse and speaking the truth—saying something that is factual. An example of a factual statement would be saying, “My father just died.” That is not a word curse. That is a fact. “I just filed for bankruptcy,” is also not a word curse. That is a fact. However, if someone says, “I am telling you right now, you are going to file for bankruptcy within the next five years,” that is a word curse. They are ignoring the power of God in someone’s life when they say those words. People have told others, “You are going to end up _________!” (Fill in the blank with any negative circumstance.) That is another example of a word curse. That does not take the Lord’s power into account and acknowledge that all things are possible with God. We must be very careful what we allow to come out of our mouths!

Many of the women and men to whom I have ministered in personal inner healing sessions, or in group workshops and seminars, have been told as children that they were not good enough. They were told that they were stupid. They were told that they were ugly, too this, or too that. Those were word curses that affected them throughout their lives in many ways. It is a form of brainwashing that is tremendously hurtful to the person receiving those negative words.

Another example of the power of word curses in someone’s life is when a person is told that they are not smart enough to do whatever they think they would like to do. If they are told that by people who have significant authority and influence in their life, they will often just give up pursuing the dream they once had. Word curses can change the course of a person’s life!

Word curses can also be spoken in anger to us or by us to others. Words said in anger can be very damaging. The effects of those words are long-lasting and hurtful to our hearts and spirits.

One woman was told by several family members that if she divorced her husband, she would go to hell. All the people involved were professing Christians. Yet, they told this woman—who was being abused physically, emotionally, mentally, verbally, and sexually by her husband—that if she divorced her husband, she would go to hell. Their words could have kept her in bondage in that horrific marriage. She had two small children who were also being impacted by the ungodly actions of their father. That woman eventually divorced her husband. I don’t believe for one second that she is on her way to hell because she left her husband and his abuse. That does not line up with what the Bible teaches about God’s love for His children!

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting comfort and encouragement and the good [well-founded] hope [of salvation] by His grace, comfort and encourage and strengthen your hearts [keeping them steadfast and on course] in every good work and word.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (AMP)

Christians need to diligently watch their words! So many people have used Scripture from the Bible, taken out of context, to speak word curses over others. That does not honor our Most High God, our loving heavenly Father. He says that He wants the best for us—that He has a future and a hope for us. He had a future and a hope for that young woman and her two children that did not include continuing to be subjected to that horrible abuse.

For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)

Word curses from any source, including curses and all the evil words that people who are serving the devil and the kingdom of darkness speak, can have a huge impact on our lives. However, we can break word curses because of the power of the blood of Jesus Christ! What Jesus Christ did on the cross was more powerful than any word curse, spell, or curse that can possibly be spoken over us by Christians or non-Christians. Jesus’ blood provided the means for us to be set free from those curses. Jesus’ resurrection provided the power to break word curses. We have to believe it is possible and we have to pursue freedom. We also have to be walking with the Lord in a way that is free of known sin in our life. We cannot be straddling the fence. We cannot have one foot in the kingdom of God and one foot in the kingdom of darkness and expect to have the authority we need to break word curses that have been spoken over us.

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 1:6-7 (AMP)

We must be fully and totally sold out to the Most High God, the Creator of heaven and earth. Then we can apply the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, over us to cleanse ourselves from those curses. The most important part of that process is that we have fully given our hearts, minds, and spirits to our Most High God. We must have submitted ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ and sincerely asked Him to be our personal Lord and Savior, not just our Savior, but our Lord and Savior. Repentance is crucial. Stopping ungodly habits and known sin is vital for us to be able to break word curses in Jesus’ name.

So produce fruit that is consistent with repentance [demonstrating new behavior that proves a change of heart, and a conscious decision to turn away from sin];

Matthew 3:8 (AMP)

Following the Lord’s guidance and obeying Him are essential for freedom from oppression caused by word curses. We cannot expect to have victory over the word curses that have been spoken to us, by us, or over us if we are not walking with the Lord to the best of our ability. It is not a game. Satan is very serious about wanting to destroy as many people as he can on this planet. He is doing a really good job. The devil is very disappointed when people become Christians. However, the devil doesn’t stop trying to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10) when someone makes the profession, “I am a Christian. Jesus is my Lord and Savior.” Satan does not end his attacks on us until the day we die. We have to stop giving him the pathway to attack us by using our own words, or by using words spoken over us by others. We have to break those word curses in Jesus’ name once we have genuinely surrendered our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you need help to receive freedom from word curses you have spoken or from word curses spoken by others, there is help available. Check out our HELPFUL RESOURCES page.

Word curses can play a part in causing our hearts to be broken. God does not want us to continue living with broken hearts! He wants the work that His Son did on the cross when Jesus said, “It is finished,” to be the source of victory in our lives. Take steps toward your victory by pursuing the freedom that you need from word curses. Begin the habit of speaking words of blessing over yourself and others. Be blessed today as you submit your life to Jesus Christ—the One who loves you more than you can imagine.

Kathy Shelton

The Importance of Godly Relationships

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

Supportive, godly relationships are critical as we go through and heal from traumatic situations. Traumatic situations include the death of loved ones, serious illnesses, physical abuse, sexual abuse, spiritual abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, rape, domestic violence, being the victim of a crime, divorce, accidents, devastating financial conditions and natural disasters. Those extremely painful circumstances can leave us feeling alone, abandoned, rejected, depressed, hopeless, betrayed and even suicidal at times. Negative and harmful emotional responses are often initiated or exacerbated by the lies of the devil. He always tries to discourage God’s children and lead them into a pit of despair when they are weakened by traumatic situations.

We live in a world full of pain and trauma and there is no way to avoid it. However, our Most High God provided ways for us to not just survive, but to more easily go through and heal from the effects of trauma. We must be diligent in staying connected to God and genuine Christians in order to avoid the traps of the devil that occur if we isolate ourselves due to one-time or ongoing traumatic events.

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

Deuteronomy 33:27 (NKJV)

 

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

Psalm 68:5 (AMP)

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

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

John 14:6 (NKJV)

Jesus also said,

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

Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)

Therefore, the first relationships that we should always rely on for comfort and healing are those with Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They are the most important relationships we can ever experience on this journey that we call life. Supportive, godly relationships with other people are also essential for us to continue to be comforted during, and heal after, emotionally traumatic situations. The Lord knows our need for godly counsel, prayer and support, especially when we are weary and vulnerable to the lies of the enemy.

We all need a listening ear and a kind word from a godly person to lift our spirits when we are drained as the result of emotional and spiritual pain. He will surround us with people who love us and care deeply about our pain, but they may be people other than family members. The family was created to provide that kind of comfort and support. However, we do not live in a perfect world and our own family members may be the cause of some of the emotional pain and trauma that we suffer. Feelings of rejection, betrayal and abandonment can become intensely painful when trauma is caused by our loved ones. Loneliness and a feeling of isolation are lessened when we reach out to genuine Christians.

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

Psalm 68:6 (AMP)

Traumatic circumstances always break our hearts. People often carry emotional pain for years and decades without even realizing that suppressed pain and trauma are affecting them in significant areas of their lives. We were never meant to go through pain and trauma alone. Isolating ourselves during those circumstances is the worst thing we can do and only adds to the pain. That is why we must receive love and kindness from people who are living according to God’s Word—whom we can trust with our broken hearts—not in place of the Lord, but in addition to Him. 

We must reach out to godly friends, family, healing ministers and others who can provide prayer, encouragement and the love that we need for the healing process to be accomplished. Our Most High God created us to be in close relationship with Him and godly people. Cutting ourselves off from those relationships makes us incredibly susceptible to destructive feelings and to attacks from the devil. Fear of being hurt again can also cause us to be hesitant to reach out to people for help. However, The Lord will show us who can be trusted and through whom He wants us to receive His comfort and healing. We must receive God’s provision of healing for our broken hearts through His Son, Jesus, and the godly relationships with which He blesses us.

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

 

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

 

Thankfulness… One Leper Returned

 

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

Luke 17:15-16 (NKJV)

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

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

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

Although being healed of leprosy was a miraculous example of healing, the most important healing anyone can receive is the healing of their heart and spirit through a sincere conversion to becoming a follower of Jesus Christ by asking Him to be their personal Lord and Savior! As followers of Jesus, we should also be overwhelmed with thankfulness regardless of what might be happening in our lives. Our hearts and spirits should reflect the amazing gift we have been given of being forgiven for our sins and welcomed into God’s family. We are children of the King of Glory! We are sons and daughters of the Most High God! The undeserved gift of salvation is more than enough for us to be forever grateful to the Lord.

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

Too many people, including a large number of Christians, take everything for granted and have an attitude of entitlement. They act like they deserve blessings from God—like the Creator of the Universe owes them something. If we do not surrender our lives to the Lord in humility and have a sincere, personal relationship with Jesus, what we deserve is punishment for our sins. That includes spending an eternity after physical death in Hell—separated from Almighty God forever. None of us deserve any blessings without living a life of obedience and thankfulness to our Most High God. However, thanks to our merciful and loving, heavenly Father, He does bless us if we accept His Son, Jesus, and live according to God’s Word. That includes being thankful to the One who sent His Son to die for us and to heal our broken hearts and spirits.

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

Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was a wonderful example of giving thanks to God. The Bible contains several instances where Jesus gave thanks, including the following one in Matthew 15.

And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude.

Matthew 15:36 (NKJV)

Paul exhorted believers to give thanks as well. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, he urged followers of Jesus to give thanks in every situation no matter what the circumstances. We need to be thankful in every situation, not necessarily for every situation. Paul said that we should be thankful and continually give thanks to God for this is “the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” The will of God for His children is that we are thankful and continually give thanks to Him! If we are not actively being thankful to God, then we are disobeying God’s Word. Disobedience to God’s will is sin and causes distance in our relationships with the Lord. It also hinders the healing of our hearts and spirits. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 must be put into practice in our lives!

Rejoice always and delight in your faith; be unceasing and persistent in prayer; in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (Amplified Bible)

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

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

Psalm 118:1 (NKJV)

 

Kathy Shelton