Joy to the World… Surviving Holidays and Celebrations

Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 

Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)

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

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

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

Psalm 119:28 (ESV)

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

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

Psalm 43:5 (AMP)

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

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

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

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

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

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

Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)

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

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

Psalm 34:18 (NASB)

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

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

Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

God loves us very much and wants us to be set free from past pain and trauma.  Luke 4:18 are Jesus’ words, proclaiming that He came to heal the brokenhearted.  My prayer for you is that you will allow the Lord to direct your steps to receive the inner healing you need.  May God bless you with His peace and joy in your hearts, minds and spirits every day and especially during the holidays when we celebrate God’s amazing love and goodness to us.

Kathy Shelton

 

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

 

Are you BLESSED, but a MESS?

The answer to the question, “Are you BLESSED,” is yes if Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High God, is truly your Lord and Savior!  Then, you are blessed because you can look forward to spending eternity with Him and Father God in Heaven.  However, having a genuine, personal relationship with the Lord does not automatically heal all the pain and trauma in our hearts and spirits.  In spite of having accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart and life, you may still be a mess emotionally and spiritually.

The Body of Christ is blessed… but it is a mess!

Please don’t take this the wrong way.  I love our brothers and sisters-in-the-Lord who are genuine followers of Jesus Christ.  However, it is time for us to acknowledge the pain and trauma that the Body of Christ—the true Church—is carrying.  In the same way that people who are not Christians do, sincere Christians have experienced and stuffed pain from past and current trauma. 

Addiction to alcohol, drugs—legal and illegal, pornography, and other forms of escape may be the result of a person trying to numb the emotional, spiritual, and sometimes the resulting physical pain.  Knowing that we experienced emotional or spiritual trauma is not an excuse to continue abusing addictive substances, nor is it an excuse to do other ungodly things to numb the pain.  For some people, addiction can be the result of their free wills, bad choices and evil hearts.  Once we realize that pain and trauma are at the root of an addiction, we must seek help to receive godly freedom.

Situations we experience during our lives that cause pain and trauma, including abuse—emotional, verbal, mental, spiritual, sexual and physical—the death of a loved one, divorce, broken relationships, domestic violence, accidents, natural disasters, rejection, betrayal, and rape, always lead to a broken heart.  There are also untold numbers of wolves in sheep’s clothing who pretend to be Christians and break the hearts of sincere followers of Jesus Christ.  Countless, genuine Christians have broken hearts!

Tragically, the end result of overwhelming pain and trauma can be suicide, or attempted suicide.  When a Christian takes his or her own life, people may think they were not really a believer, but that is unreasonable.  True Christians are just as susceptible to the devastating pain that results from trauma in their lives as are non-believers.  In addition, the devil wants nothing more than to destroy peoples’ lives, especially Christians’ lives.  If he can plant thoughts of committing suicide as a way to escape unimaginable emotional and spiritual pain, he will do just that. 

I have experienced dozens of extremely traumatic situations in my life.  I became a born-again Christian in 1986, but prior to that I was raised Catholic and taught about God and His Son, Jesus.  Sadly, I attempted suicide two times, once in 1972 and the second time in 1982.  When the circumstances occurred that caused crushing, intense emotional pain for me, I just wanted the pain to stop.  I thought that death was the only option.  I was very wrong.  I praise the Most High God that I survived those suicide attempts and became one of His children on October 16, 1986!

As a result of Healing the Brokenhearted prayer ministry that I received in 2008, I learned that emotional pain and trauma from the past that I had suppressed was at the root of those suicide attempts decades earlier. During prayer, Jesus Christ released that emotional pain and trauma!  I praise the Lord that I am now completely free of the emotional and spiritual pain that resulted in those suicide attempts.  Freedom from past pain and trauma through Jesus Christ is lasting freedom! 

Over the years, I have prayed with hundreds of men and women who had stuffed pain for years and often decades. They were a mess, emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes physically.  The emotional and spiritual pain they were carrying was often so overwhelming that the only way they could survive was to deny it even existed.  They were all blessed as followers of Jesus Christ, but they were absolutely brokenhearted.

This is the bottom line—please seek help if you are brokenhearted and feel stuck in the pain and trauma.  There is a HELPFUL RESOURCES page on this website (CLICK HERE).  Genuine Christians have the opportunity to be set free from devastating emotional and spiritual pain and trauma through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, but we must pursue inner healing to be able to fully live out our God-given destinies.

    “…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!  Jesus does not want us to go through our lives carrying deep, and often debilitating, emotional and spiritual pain.  The first step to freedom from pain and trauma is sincerely accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.  Then, the healing can begin in our hearts, minds and spirits.  Jesus loves us very much and wants to set us free! 

Kathy Shelton

 

The Bible and the Brokenhearted

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

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”       Psalm 34:18 (NASB, New American Standard Version)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:21

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

“The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inner depths of his heart.” Proverbs 20:27

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

“A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” Proverbs 15:13

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”          Proverbs 17:22

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

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 

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

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

Kathy Shelton

 

What in the world is going on with me?

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord,

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


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

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

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


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

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

Kathy Shelton 

The Tragedy of Suicide

The tragedy of suicide, taking one’s own life, occurs throughout the world. It is not limited to any age, gender, religion, or ethnic group, although the suicide rate is higher in some countries. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately one million people die from suicide each year, or one death every 40 seconds. It is predicted that by 2020 the death rate will increase to one every 20 seconds. There are indications that for each adult who died by suicide there may have been more than 20 others who attempted suicide. In 2019, the countries with the top 5 rates of suicide are Lithuania, Russia, Guyana, South Korea and Belarus. Nearly 30% of all suicides worldwide occur in India and China. Youth suicide is increasing at the greatest rate and young people are now the group at highest risk in a third of all countries.

The incidence of suicide is at an epidemic level in the United States. According to one news report in November 2018, the U.S. suicide rate is at a 50-year high! The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, AFSP, reports that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. More people die—on average 129 per day—as a result of suicide than car accidents in the U.S. That is over 47,085 deaths due to suicide in the U.S. per year.

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

Veterans in the U.S. have been taking their own lives at the rate of at least 20 per day—1.5 times higher than the general population. Active-duty, U.S. military suicides were at a record high in 2018 with a total of 321, including Marines, sailors, airmen and soldiers.  That was the highest number of suicides among active-duty personnel in at least 6 years.

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

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

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

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

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

2 Corinthians 1:8 (NKJV)

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

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

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

Feeling alone and isolating oneself from others only increases the emotional pain. Before the pain gets to the point where someone gives up and attempts to take his or her own life, they need to talk to someone. Talking about the pain and trauma can be very comforting and it can release some of the pressure, but that is a choice each person must make for themselves. They should also seek help from a qualified Christian counselor or minister. Not all Christian counselors or ministers have the understanding of the enormous spiritual dynamics involved in the hopelessness that leads to suicide. However, there is help available for those who are despairing of life itself.

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

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

John 10:10 (NKJV)

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

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

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

Jesus came “to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”

Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV)

Jesus wants us to live in His joy!
Kathy Shelton

 

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

 

Seasons of Emotional and Spiritual Healing

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

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

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

 

 
 
Another very important aspect of completing the journey through seasons of healing is waiting with hope. When we see a rose bud that has not yet opened, we wait with hope that it will someday become a beautiful flower. Waiting on the Lord and His perfect timing for the seasons of healing in our lives to be accomplished brings freedom in and of itself. It brings freedom from fear and hopelessness.
 
 
 
I would have lost heart,
unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness
of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Psalm 27:13-14
 
 
 
My prayer for you is that you will face emotional and spiritual pain and trauma as the Lord leads you into your seasons of healing, and that Jesus will release that pain and trauma so that you can blossom into all He has planned for your life.

 

 
 
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
 
 
 
 
 
Kathy Shelton
 
 
All quoted Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.

 

Carry on, Soldier!

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”

Matthew 10:34 (NKJV)

Jesus made this statement to His twelve disciples as He was preparing to send them out into the surrounding areas to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons. Jesus was warning them about the spiritual warfare that they would encounter as they served the Most High God. The sword that He was referring to was a weapon used not in peaceful situations, but in fighting the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12). Jesus also explained in the verses following Matthew 10:34 that division in relationships would occur as a result of their steadfast faith. We will experience the same things as we follow Jesus and serve the Most High God.

When we make a genuine decision to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, it is life-changing in many ways. However, we rarely realize that we have also enlisted in a very real war in the spiritual realm. Life is not easy in general, but lives that are surrendered to the Most High God and His Son, Jesus Christ, include the reality of ongoing spiritual warfare at various levels and intensities throughout the Christian journey.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

The Lord has provided many spiritual weapons for us to use as we battle against Satan’s kingdom, the kingdom of darkness. Ephesians 6:14-18 contains a list of some of the weapons that are necessary and successful in the spiritual battles we face in our Christian lives. They include truth, righteousness, the Gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God and prayer.

If we are going to be effective in the battles, we must live a life of truth just as our Lord Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). Righteousness—godly standards and principles—must also be followed in order to avoid giving the enemy any right to repel the weapons we are using against him and the kingdom of darkness. During warfare, we cannot shift back and forth from one side to the other. We must choose God’s side and stay there. If we continue to practice known sin, we align ourselves with the armies of the kingdom of darkness. Opposing the enemy requires us to reject and repent for sin and to resist the temptation to join the devil’s side by being in agreement with his lies, deception, and all other sinful and evil behavior.

Quoting Scripture, the Word of God, is a powerful weapon that will cause the armies of the enemy to flee. Becoming diligent about praying every day, as frequently as needed and for as long as necessary, is essential in the fight against the attacks from the devil and his helpers.  Praise and worship are also huge weapons that are highly successful in fighting the good fight. Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to the Lord while they were in the most horrific prison, resulting in their miraculous release (Acts 16:25). 

Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.

Psalm 24:10 (NKJV)

It is not the Lord’s will for us to fight in this warfare alone. We must always remember that the Lord our God fights for us! Our Most High God is also the Lord of Hosts, the Lord of Heaven’s armies! When we need help, warrior angels are ready to assist us in the battle against the kingdom of darkness. Hebrews 1:14 says that angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister for us. Asking Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts, to send them to help us fight spiritual battles is crucial for victory, especially when we are feeling beaten down and weak.

Spiritual warfare can be extremely exhausting—physically, emotionally and spiritually. Twila Paris’ song, The Warrior is a Child, is a great reminder that “even winners can get wounded in the fight” and “even soldiers need a quiet place to rest.” No follower of Jesus Christ is strong enough to constantly fight spiritual warfare without times of rest away from the front lines. We all need those times of refreshing and recovery. We also need the prayers of other genuine believers to help fortify us in the battles. The principles of warfare in the natural realm of never leaving anyone behind and supporting the other soldiers to the death are even more important in fighting spiritual warfare!

No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.

2 Timothy 2:4 (NKJV)

Staying focused on our calling as soldiers in God’s kingdom against the kingdom of darkness is also essential if we are going to be effective in spiritual warfare. The devil and his helpers will do their best to distract us with worldly matters and activities to trap us in their web of lies and deception to the point that we lose our concentration and ability to respond appropriately when attacks are launched against us. To please our Most High God and be ready to fight the spiritual battles that come our way, we must avoid sinful behavior and people who directly or indirectly discourage us from following Jesus’ example. During spiritual warfare we can never drop our spiritual weapons, and we must avoid the temptation to run away—going AWOL—in the same manner that a member of the armed forces is absent from his or her place of assignment without official permission. We must carry on to the best of our ability using the weapons that the Most High God has provided for us and continue to fight the good fight to the very end. Carry on, soldier! The victory celebration will be glorious when we meet the Lord face to face.

 

Kathy Shelton