Thankfulness… One Leper Returned

 

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

Luke 17:15-16 (NKJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 15:36 (NKJV)

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

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

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (Amplified Bible)

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

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

Psalm 118:1 (NKJV)

 

Kathy Shelton

 

 

The Tragedy of Suicide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Corinthians 1:8 (NKJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 10:10 (NKJV)

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV)

Jesus wants us to live in His joy!
Kathy Shelton

 

No More Games!

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

 Matthew 16:24 (AMP)

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

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

1 John 1:5-7 (AMP)

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

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

2 Timothy 2:4 (AMP)

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

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

Ephesians 6:12 (AMP)

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

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

Luke 6:46-48 (AMP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 7:21-23 (AMP)

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

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

James 2:18-19 (AMP)

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

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

John 3:5-8 (AMP)

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

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

Matthew 13:18-23 (AMP)

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

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

Galatians 5:7-9 (AMP)

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

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

2 Corinthians 7:10 (AMP)

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

Kathy Shelton

 

No Fear in the Fire

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

 Daniel 3:19-25 (NKJV)

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

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

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

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)

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

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

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

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

Isaiah 43:2 (NKJV)

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

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

Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

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

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

Matthew 10:28 (NKJV)

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

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

Psalm 33:8 (NKJV)

Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

2 Corinthians 5:11 (NKJV)

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

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

Psalm 47:8 (NKJV)

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

Revelation 19:5-6 (NKJV)

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

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

Psalm 145:5 (NKJV)

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

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

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

» Read the Bible out loud daily.

» Praise and worship God on a daily basis.

» Sing out loud to the Lord.

» Talk to other genuine Christians and pray with them.

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

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

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

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

John 11:25-26 (NKJV)

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

Hebrews 3:14 (NKJV)

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

Kathy Shelton

 

Be angry and do not sin.

 

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

Psalm 4:4 (New King James Version)

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

Psalm 4:4 (Complete Jewish Bible)

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

Ephesians 4:26 (New King James Version)

Be angry, but don’t sin—don’t let the sun go down before you have dealt with the cause of your anger; 

Ephesians 4:26 (Complete Jewish Bible)

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

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

 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.

John 2:15 (NKJV)

Jesus was extremely angry when He made a whip of cords and drove the money changers out of the temple. That was a perfect example of godly, righteous anger displayed as a result of people’s sinful actions. The temple was meant to be a house of prayer, not a “den of thieves,” which is how Jesus described what the money changers and sellers had turned it into. Jesus was furious when he used that whip of cords to drive those people who were defiling the temple off the premises. He was not being timid, shy, or politically correct. He was extremely angry and had a very good reason to react the way He did and kick them out. We should never feel guilty for having righteous anger. There are times when godly, righteous anger is not only appropriate, but also necessary to deal with ungodly situations! 

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus said,

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

Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

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

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

Kathy Shelton

 

It is not who you are!

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

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

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

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

Jeremiah 31:3 (NKJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kathy Shelton

 

Joy Comes in the Morning!


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

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

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


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

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


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

Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord.
Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)


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

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

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

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

Romans 8:37 (AMP)

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

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

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

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


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

Kathy Shelton

 

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