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

 

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

 

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

 

Why did this happen to me?

  Trauma…

Abuse
Rape
Molestation
Divorce
Betrayal
Rejection
Abandonment
Domestic Violence
Death of a Loved One

The list goes on and on. These are all horrible things that can happen to us as we go through life. Traumatic events such as those above and others can cause intense pain in our hearts, minds and spirits!

We may ask ourselves the question, “Why did this happen to me?”  That is a dangerous question because it can lead to bitterness, anger, resentment, blaming God, or blaming ourselves. The pain from traumatic experiences can relentlessly torment us unless we receive healing and freedom from that pain and trauma. When deeply painful things happen to us, including the death of a loved one, betrayal, divorce, abuse, or any other traumatic event, we can be overwhelmed with so much emotional pain that it can lead to physical illness. Yes, the emotional and/or spiritual pain that we carry can, and often does, lead to short-term (acute) and long-term (chronic) physical illness.

The answer is not to allow the pain from the trauma to destroy us, or our relationships with the Most High God. The answer is not to stuff the pain. The answer is not to medicate it with illegal drugs. The answer is not to drown it in alcohol. The answer is not to do anything else harmful to try to deaden the pain. However, there are times, especially for those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), that medication is necessary and helpful to treat severe symptoms that are the result of extreme, life-threatening trauma. Medication may also be necessary to treat physical illness that results from trauma. However, the overuse of any medication can lead to addiction, which is often the result of deep emotional pain.

We must do our best not to focus on why the traumatic situations happened in our lives. Focusing on how to be more than conquerors through God in Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 8:37-39) is much better for our emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. The ultimate answer to the emotional and spiritual pain we suffer is to seek healing through Jesus Christ—the Healer. He came to set the captives free. He came to heal the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18). 

“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)

There is so much that we have yet to learn about how pain and trauma affect our brains, our spirits, our DNA, and everything about us. However, as long as we continue to strive to receive the healing we need and not just give in to the pain, there is hope. The hope is in the fact that Jesus Christ came to heal the brokenhearted! As I stated above, we all have free wills. That is how we are able to accept God’s gift of salvation through the birth, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. We are all given the opportunity to sincerely ask Jesus to be our personal Lord and Savior and spend eternity in Heaven. When we do that, we can have real hope.

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)

If you are in such intense emotional pain that you are using illegal drugs or over using prescribed drugs to medicate it, drowning it in alcohol, or participating in some other addiction or behavior that helps you to numb the pain, you need to realize that the cause of the pain must be addressed. We have to admit that we are brokenhearted. We have to acknowledge that the pain is damaging our relationships with others, especially our relationships with God. We have to draw as close to Him as we can, seek His healing, and seek His restoration. We must reach out for help in getting free and healed from the emotional and spiritual pain. There is help available through Christian prayer ministers and others who use the Holy Bible as their basis for helping people receive needed inner healing.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18 (NASB)

Jesus will never cause you pain. He brings comfort. He brings healing. His healing is not superficial and it is not temporary. It is lasting and it is the only way to get out of the prison that the trauma has put you in. There is a light at the end of the very dark tunnel of emotional and spiritual pain. Jesus is that light!

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)

We can rejoice in that truth. God loves us with an everlasting love! He wants us to know that there is help available for the healing of our broken hearts through His Son, Jesus!

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

 

Jesus Came to Heal Broken Hearts!

We have all been brokenhearted at one or more times during our lives.  The pain that we experience as a result of traumatic situations can be emotional, mental, spiritual, and even physical—and it can be intense!  Biblical, inner healing prayer ministry in Jesus’ name can help heal our broken hearts and release that pain.  It is a blessing from our Most High God to receive inner healing—freedom from emotional and/or spiritual pain and trauma.

Inner healing is the healing of emotional and spiritual pain that was caused by traumatic events.  Many of them were experienced in early childhood.  We all need inner healing because we have all been wounded emotionally and spiritually at some time in our lives.  Examples of traumatic events are emotional abuse, verbal abuse, mental abuse, spiritual abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, rejection, abandonment, betrayal, being the victim of a violent crime, the death of a loved one, divorce, accidents, and natural disasters.  These events all cause our hearts to be broken.  The good news is that Jesus came to heal broken hearts! 

When past pain or trauma is triggered, a person can act out of character, or react to a situation in a way that is out of proportion to what happened.  Until the pain and trauma are released and the broken parts of our hearts are healed, the cycle repeats itself.  To make matters worse, trauma piggybacks trauma and pain piggybacks pain.  They pile up within us.  The more pain and trauma that we suffer over the years, the more the resulting effects will be devastating and overwhelming to our minds, hearts, spirits and bodies.

“…He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives…”     Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

Luke 4:18 is a quote from Jesus Christ.  Almighty God loves us very much!  He does not want us to go through our lives carrying deep, and often debilitating, emotional and spiritual pain.  Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was born on this earth, died a horrific death and rose from the dead to set us free from sin and to heal our broken hearts!  The first step to freedom from pain and trauma is to sincerely accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.  We must ask God for forgiveness for our sins in Jesus’ name and repent by changing our behavior to line up with God’s Word, the Holy Bible.  Then, the healing can begin in our hearts, minds and spirits.

The Healing the Brokenhearted Ministry (HBH) is one type of Biblical, inner healing ministry through which Jesus heals broken hearts and strengthens relationships with Him, our Most High God and the Holy Spirit.  It is not intended to replace other Christian inner healing methods, but to be an additional tool for deep emotional and spiritual healing.  HBH was developed by Kathi Oates and Rev. Andrew Miller.  The Lord launched HBH in New Mexico after I attended the Healing the Brokenhearted Training Seminar in North Carolina in August 2008.

The goal of Healing the Brokenhearted Ministry is for the ministry recipient to be healed and set free from past pain and trauma.  This is accomplished through gentle and loving prayer.  HBH ministry is done under the direction and control of the Holy Spirit.  During a ministry session, Jesus releases pain and trauma so that the ministry recipient can be free from that burden.  However, it is not necessary for the person to remember the trauma that caused the pain in order to receive healing and freedom from it.  Some people have also received physical healing as a result of HBH ministry.

There are other Christian ministries that focus on Biblical inner healing listed on the HELPFUL RESOURCES page on this website’s top menu. Click here: HELPFUL RESOURCES for more information.

 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom].   2 Corinthians 3:17 (AMP)

Our Most High God has revealed many things to us in His Word.  One of His promises to us is that healing and true freedom—liberty—are available to His children.  We are given the opportunity as genuine followers of Jesus Christ to pursue and receive Biblically based, inner healing for the pain from traumatic situations that we experienced.  The emotional and spiritual pain that we carry in our hearts, minds and spirits will interfere with our abilities to have close relationships with Almighty God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  It will also hinder our abilities to serve the Lord and to fulfill our God-given destinies.  We cannot fully connect to our heavenly Father while we have pain and trauma buried inside us.  Addressing emotional and spiritual pain and trauma in Christ-honoring ways will set us free and allow us to experience the joy of the Lord!

               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

Does the Truth Really Matter?

Does the truth really matter? Doing a word search of the Bible for truth, lies, liars and lying results in an overwhelming amount of Scriptures that clearly answer this question. However, many people these days, including professing Christians, have decided and believe that truth is subjective. In other words, they believe that truth depends on their opinions and worldviews. Nothing could be further from the truth according to God’s Word!

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Exodus 20:16 (NKJV)

He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

1 John 2:4 (NKJV)

Our Most High God included not bearing false witness—not lying, but telling the truth—as one of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:16. That is how seriously He regards telling the truth. According to 1 John 2:4, if we say that we know God and do not keep His commandments, we are liars! Nowhere in the Bible does the Lord treat lying as a minor sin. In fact, there are several places in God’s Word where it states that He hates lying!

These six things the Lord hates;
Indeed, seven are repulsive to Him:

A proud look [the attitude that makes one overestimate oneself and discount others], a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,
 
A heart that creates wicked plans,
Feet that run swiftly to evil,

A false witness who breathes out lies [even half-truths],
And one who spreads discord (rumors) among brothers.

Proverbs 6:16-19 (AMP)

Many people also believe that there is a difference between an outright lie, a half-truth and a little white lie. Lying is lying. There are no little white lies in God’s eyes. According to Proverbs 6:19, our Holy God hates a false witness who speaks even half-truths! A half-truth is still a lie.

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.

Proverbs 12:22 (NKJV)

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord. He delights in those who deal truthfully with others. The truth was what Jesus came to tell everyone. He was never concerned about being politically correct when He spoke the truth. Jesus boldly spoke the truth without apology! He called the Pharisees and Sadducees a brood of vipers (Matthew 12:34) and He compared them to whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones (Matthew 23:27).

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 said that He is the truth. If a person claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ, but does not live and speak the truth, they are not a child of God. They are not going to end up in Heaven when they pass from this life into eternity. According to Revelation 21:8, liars will end up in Hell. There is a difference between someone who slips up and lies, but quickly asks God to forgive them and repents, and people who have made serial lying their way of life. The latter cannot abide with God, because they do not speak the truth.

Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?

He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart;

Psalm 15:1-2 (NKJV)

Refusing to admit the truth does not make it any less true. Ananias and Sapphira suffered the most severe consequences when they lied about the money they received from selling their land. They immediately died after lying (Acts 5:1-11). That is how seriously the Lord views lying!

“And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, And they do not know Me,” says the Lord.

Jeremiah 9:3 (NKJV)

It is very suspicious when people begin a sentence with the phrases, “To tell the truth,” or “Honestly.” As followers of Jesus Christ and children of God, we are supposed to tell the truth and be honest in our communication with others. We should always desire to obey God’s Word and commandments and change our behavior if it does not line up with His ways. Genuine repentance for lying is not an option if we are going to spend eternity with our Most High God. The Lord said that liars do not know Him!

Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?

Galatians 4:16 (NKJV)

Liars often think that those who tell them the truth are their enemies when, in reality, the opposite is true. God loves us and His Word is full of the truth and instructions that we need to obey to receive His blessings in our lives. Speaking God’s truth to someone we love takes courage and shows that we really care about them. Lying produces broken hearts and broken relationships. The most destructive effects caused by lying are to our relationships with Almighty God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Liars often view God and godly people as their enemies.

Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.

Psalm 86:11 (NKJV)

Walking in the truth is the evidence that we love God and that we have an awe and necessary fear of Him. Liars have no fear of God. They do not walk in His truth and their relationships are a mess as a result. Healthy, godly relationships cannot exist without truth and trust. There can be no trust in a relationship with a liar. Lying always destroys trust between people in any relationship. Slander—saying something false that damages somebody’s reputation—is a particularly evil and devastating form of lying. Liars often use slander to make themselves look better in people’s eyes, but God sees and knows the truth about everything. He has promised to bring to light the secret things that are hidden in darkness and disclose the motives of the hearts (1 Corinthians 4:5, Amplified Version).

In addition, most people who are not Christians consider lying to be unacceptable. Legally, lying under oath in a court of law is called perjury and the person who commits perjury is subject to significant punishment if they are caught. As children of the Most High God, we should always live according to His standards, which are much higher than the world’s standards. The truth protects us and allows us to take refuge in our Heavenly Father.

He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

Psalm 91:4 (NKJV)

Unfortunately many people have become desensitized to lying. Misrepresenting or twisting the truth can become habitual. Liars may also have allowed their consciences to be seared if they ever had one. They lie when they are caught like the little child with their hand in the cookie jar and cookie crumbs all over their face who says they did not eat any cookies. Liars often lie to try to cover their lies. That is an endless cycle that pleases the devil. Jesus said that the devil is the father of lies and the devil is the father of those who lie!

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

John 8:44 (NKJV)

Knowing and living the truth of the Bible is what determines if we are genuine followers of Jesus Christ. The truth sets us free. Lying never produces freedom. It only results in more bondage to the kingdom of darkness! When we admit and accept the truth, it gives the Lord the opportunity to heal our emotional and spiritual pain and trauma. The first step to inner healing is facing our brokenness. We cannot receive God’s lasting healing and freedom if we continue to lie.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

John 8:31-32 (NKJV)

Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.

Ephesians 4:25 (NKJV)

Without a doubt, our Most High God’s principles include that the truth really matters!

 

Kathy Shelton