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

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

 

 

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

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

 

Be angry and do not sin.

 

Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.

Psalm 4:4 (New King James Version)

You can be angry, but do not sin! Think about this as you lie in bed, and calm down.

Psalm 4:4 (Complete Jewish Bible)

Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,

Ephesians 4:26 (New King James Version)

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 (Complete Jewish Bible)

Okay. So, the Bible tells us that we can be angry, but not to let it escalate into sin. That is what it says! It does not say do not be angry, period, as so many people have taught or preached. I have heard many testimonies from people who were told to repent for their anger that had resulted from an emotionally painful or traumatic situation. That is ridiculous!

Our Most High God created us with emotions. One of those emotions is anger. There are several types of anger that people experience. Anger can be righteous anger, meaning that it is justified and godly, resulting from something unjust and hurtful that happened to us or someone else. God’s anger is reported in many places in the Bible, and it resulted from the sin and disobedience of human beings. However, God’s anger is never sin. He is holy and righteous. His anger is always justified and appropriate regarding wickedness and evil.

 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)

Jesus was extremely angry when He made a whip of cords and drove the money changers out of the temple. 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 is how Jesus described what the money changers and sellers had turned it into. 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! 

Most of us in the United States felt righteous anger after 9/11. That is not sin. That is a result of a horrific act that was perpetrated against our country and thousands of innocent people. As I have ministered to survivors of Satanic Ritual Abuse, I have seen incredible levels of righteous anger attached to the emotional, spiritual and physical pain and trauma that they had been carrying for decades. To tell them to repent for their anger would be further abuse! The same is true for survivors of sexual abuse and molestation. See the article It is not who you are! dated February 14, 2020, in which I described a woman in her seventies who had over-the-top levels of anger that were surfacing as a result of childhood sexual abuse. We should never tell others to repent for righteous anger!

Of course, there are times when our expression of anger is sin. That occurs when we allow our emotions to spiral out of control past the point of righteous anger. That is sin. In that case, when we step, or leap, over that line, we do need to ask God and anyone at whom we released the anger to forgive us.

There can also be demonic spirits of anger that are attached to our own sinful anger, or to the pain and trauma that we have suffered. During ministry sessions with wounded individuals, I have observed that righteous anger, as well as demonic spirits of anger, can be attached to pain and trauma that has been suppressed in someone’s heart or spirit. No amount of repenting will free a person from that anger. Only after the pain and trauma are released will the anger be released as well. Demonic spirits must usually be dealt with to rid a person of them once that person has asked for forgiveness for sin, or received healing from pain and trauma. When that happens, the demonic spirits will leave. However, I have also observed a great amount of spontaneous deliverance from spirits of anger during ministry sessions when people are healed and the pain and trauma are released. Praise the Lord!

One of the reasons, I believe, that typical deliverance methods used by many people in the Church are only temporarily helpful is because the demonic spirits returned and reattached to the pain and trauma to which they were originally attached. Unless it too has been healed and released, there cannot be true freedom. Lasting healing can only be received through the blood of Jesus Christ and the healing balm of the Holy Spirit.

Having experienced emotionally, physically, or spiritually painful and traumatic events should never be an excuse to continue acting out in anger! Repeated episodes of unexplained anger should be a signal to us that we need to get help. People often say, “I am this way because of what I have gone through in my life,” but that is a cop-out. Yes, the pain and trauma from the things that we experienced may very well be the root of the anger that keeps coming up. However, it does not need to continue! There is help available to receive Biblical inner healing and freedom.

Jesus said,

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

Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

All anger is not sin, but some of it can be released by dealing with suppressed emotional pain and trauma. Bottled-up emotional pain and trauma—in addition to anger attached to them—can lead to years of physical illness and pain as well. However, there is hope through Jesus Christ. We can be released from the prison of experiencing unrighteous anger! Jesus came to set the captives free and to heal the brokenhearted. 

God does not want anyone to remain a prisoner of pain and trauma from their past! He has provided help through His Son, Jesus Christ, but we must do our part to pursue healing and freedom. The first step is to sincerely ask Jesus Christ to be our personal Lord and Savior. Asking Almighty God to forgive our sins and then repenting by changing our behavior to line up with God’s Word and obey Him is crucial in the inner healing process.

Kathy Shelton

 

It is not who you are!

You have experienced trauma. You have experienced emotional pain. You’ve gone through hell. You have experienced abuse. Whether the abuse was spiritual, physical, verbal, emotional, mental, sexual, or any other type of abuse, it caused great pain and trauma in your heart, mind and spirit.

However, IT IS NOT WHO YOU ARE! It is what was done to you.

If you have sincerely asked Jesus Christ to be your personal Lord and Savior, you are a child of the Most High God. That is who you are! You are loved with an everlasting love by the Creator of the Universe, His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. You are loved!

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)

This world is full of people who are walking around, carrying pain and trauma that has been stuffed for years and often decades. One woman to whom I ministered was in her seventies, and during a ministry session, she told me about being molested by her father, beginning when she was five or six years old. She had never told anyone before about her father doing those horrible things to her. She had been having recurring dreams of him chasing her. That lady was living with extreme amounts of emotional pain and anger inside her heart and spirit. It was coming out at those she loved most—her family. They could not understand why she was so angry.

During that session, deep emotional pain was released from this precious, Christian woman as she sobbed uncontrollably. Jesus Christ ministered to this woman, and He did amazing and lasting healing in her heart, mind and spirit while I prayed with her. Afterwards, she laughed. She smiled. She was set free! Because she was able to talk about the trauma and receive compassionate prayer in Jesus’ name, she was able to receive the healing she needed. It did not change what happened, but Jesus changed her heart, her mind, and her spirit. He cleansed, purified, and healed her from that sexual abuse and trauma. The Holy Spirit filled the voids that were left once the pain and trauma were released. It was a beautiful process to help facilitate and observe. Her family was amazed at the difference they saw in her—the intense anger was gone!

What has happened to you is not who you are, unless you allow it to define who you are. You have to put an end to that. Do not let it continue for decades! You have to take control of your life because you have a beautiful, God-given destiny regardless of your age. God wants you to fulfill the destiny that He has planned for you. The enemy, Satan, does not want you to fulfill your God-given destiny. Satan often uses suppressed pain and trauma to stop people from living out their full potential for the kingdom of God.

The solution is healing through Jesus Christ! He can heal you from all the pain and trauma that was inflicted on you. Jesus can release it from your heart, your mind and your spirit. He came to set the captives free and to heal the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18, NKJV). Jesus can make your heart whole! That is a gift from our Most High God to you if you are a genuine follower of Jesus Christ.

The late Tom R. Hawkins, Ph.D., Founder of Restoration in Christ Ministries, stated the following: “The presence of the ‘flesh’ (man’s inherited propensity towards sin) will not be removed until death or the rapture. Thus, even a healed heart has harassment and temptation directed to the fallen nature, or flesh, from the outside sources of evil called the ‘world’ and all the powers of darkness.”

Having a healed heart does not guarantee that a person will not encounter future trauma, trials and spiritual warfare. However, with a healed heart, a person can function and live as the whole person God created them to be. It is not about becoming “perfect” and without trials, sin, and the challenges of life. It is about allowing the Holy Spirit to direct our reactions and being able to function according to God’s plan to the best of our ability at the time.

We must take part in our inner healing first by sincerely accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior and asking God to forgive our sins. Repenting for our sins—by changing our thoughts, actions and behavior—and obeying God’s Word are critical if we are going to truly live according to God’s will. We must ask the Lord what steps He wants us to take to pursue healing for our broken hearts.

Inner healing takes time, but going through the process is much better than living with deep emotional and spiritual pain. Reading the Bible out loud, listening to praise and worship music, singing to the Lord, and spending time alone with the Lord all help to heal our hearts, minds and spirits. It has been scientifically shown that reading the Word of God out loud helps to rewire our brains!

You may need to seek a qualified, Christian prayer minister who can help you to release the pain and trauma in your heart and spirit. However, that person has to be someone who is trained to do that in the name of Jesus Christ. Not every Christian minister knows how to pray for the release of emotional pain and trauma, but there are many available. If you need help finding one, check out our HELPFUL RESOURCES page by clicking here: HELPFUL RESOURCES. Inner healing will help you to start living your God-given destiny and not the life that Satan wants you to live.

God loves you and He has more for you than you can even imagine. He wants to see you set free! The lie from the enemy is that you will never be able to get healed from the trauma and that you will never be able to get passed it. YES, YOU CAN! However, you have to make the choice to go through the healing process. You have to make the choice to let Jesus Christ set you free.

If you have not sincerely asked Jesus Christ to be your personal Lord and Savior, that is the place to start. Jesus wants to help you. He died for your freedom and healing. However, you have to first make the decision to invite Jesus into your life in order to begin the godly path for inner healing. Once you make that choice, I know that Jesus will be by your side every step of the way. May the Most High God bless you with His everlasting love as you surrender to His will for your life.

Kathy Shelton

 

Joy Comes in the Morning!


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

Genuine followers of Jesus Christ have all experienced the dark night of the soul at one time or another in their lives.  Those days, weeks, months or even years can seem like they will never end and be extremely difficult to endure.  Regardless of how much we love the Lord and seek His comfort, there are times when our souls—our minds, wills and emotions— refuse to be comforted.

In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted.
Psalm 77:2 (NKJV)


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

His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant;
you have been faithful over a few things,
I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
Matthew 25:23 (NKJV)


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

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)


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

Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
2 Corinthians 11:24-28 (ESV)

Most of us have not suffered the majority of those types of horrendous situations, other than possibly sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, and being cold.  Nevertheless, many true Christians, including me, have been extremely wounded and devastated by traumatic circumstances which caused our hearts and spirits to be broken. 
Have you been betrayed?  I have.  Have you been divorced?  I have.  Have you been lied about by close friends or family members?  I have.  Have you been raped?  I have.  Have you been the victim of a violent crime?  I have.  Have you suffered the loss of a loved one due to their death?  I have.  Have you been abandoned?  I have.  Have you been rejected?  I have.  Have you been emotionally, verbally, mentally, physically, sexually, or spiritually abused?  I have experienced all of those types of abuse and more.  Have you been the victim of domestic violence?  I have.  Have you survived a natural disaster?  I have.  However, I am a survivor and more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ!  You can be too!! 

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

Romans 8:37 (AMP)

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

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

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

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:4-5 (NKJV)


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

Kathy Shelton

 

To Forgive or Not To Forgive?

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

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

John 3:16-21 (NKJV)

Those verses and the rest of God’s Word have impacted my daily life for over 33 years since I asked Jesus to be my personal Lord and Savior.  I have lived differently ever since the evening that I surrendered my life to the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  My outlook changed from a worldly perspective to one based on God’s Word, His promises and His directions and guidance.  I accepted God’s forgiveness and do my best to obey Him in every area of my life.  I am not perfect and none of us will ever reach perfection on this earth.  That is why we must understand that God’s forgiveness requires us to sincerely repent by changing our ungodly behavior when we sin.  If we refuse to repent, Jesus Christ is not our Lord.

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

Biblical forgiveness is one of the most incorrectly taught principles to followers of Jesus Christ.  Some Christians believe that because they once said a prayer asking Jesus to be their Lord and Savior that all of their past, present and future sins are automatically forgiven by Almighty God.  They do not believe that they will be held accountable for any sins and that there is no need for them to repent.  That line of thinking only leads to rampant sin in the life of a person who is not a genuine Christian.

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

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

Luke 17:3 (NKJV)

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

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

John 3:36 (ESV)

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

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

Psalm 86:5 (NKJV)

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

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

Matthew 12:31-32 (NKJV)

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

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

Acts 5:3-4 (NKJV)

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

Acts 5:7-8 (NKJV)

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

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

Isaiah 59:2 (NKJV)

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

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

Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)

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

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

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

Acts 8:22 (NKJV)

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

2 Corinthians 7:10 (NKJV)

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

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

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

Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

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

               Kathy Shelton

 

JUSTICE… What is it?

Many seek the ruler’s favor, But justice for man comes from the Lord.  Proverbs 29:26 (NKJV)

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

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

 Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.  Habakkuk 1:4 (NKJV)

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

A disreputable witness scorns justice, And the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.  Proverbs 19:28 (NKJV)

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

For I proclaim the name of the Lord: Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.  Deuteronomy 32:3-4 (NKJV)

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

The Lord executes righteousness And justice for all who are oppressed.  Psalm 103:6 (NKJV)

He does not preserve the life of the wicked, But gives justice to the oppressed.  Job 36:6 (NKJV)

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.  For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.  Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NKJV)

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

It is a joy for the just to do justice, But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.  Proverbs 21:15 (NKJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

» Read the Bible out loud daily.

» Praise and worship God on a daily basis.

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

» Focus on drawing closer to the Lord.

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

» Pursue help to receive healing and freedom from a trained, follower of Jesus if needed.

 

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

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’  Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV)

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

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.  2 Corinthians 5:9-11 (NKJV)

But the Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment.  He shall judge the world in righteousness, And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.  Psalm 9:7-8 (NKJV)

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.  Revelation 20:10-12 (NKJV)

How much greater punishment do you think he will deserve who has rejected and trampled under foot the Son of God, and has considered unclean and common the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and has insulted the Spirit of grace [who imparts the unmerited favor and blessing of God]? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the deliverance of justice rest with Me], I will repay [the wrongdoer].” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful and terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God [incurring His judgment and wrath].  Hebrews 10:29-31 (AMP)

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

 

Kathy Shelton