To Forgive or Not To Forgive?

Biblical forgiveness is one of the principles that is most often incorrectly taught to followers of Jesus Christ.  Some professing “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. 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.

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 Christians, are not sincerely following Jesus, and they will not go to Heaven.

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)

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.

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 Christ 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 brother—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 occasionally 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.  God’s forgiveness can only be received through the birth, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. 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 in Heaven.  

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 Jesus said, in Matthew 12:31-32, that there is a sin that 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 have not asked God to forgive us, and have not 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)

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

Ephesians 4:32 (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.

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, and it should be a requirement for us to forgive others. 

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.  Based on God’s Word about forgiveness, I do not believe that the Lord expected that heartbroken lady to forgive the unrepentant 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 knew 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 Christian 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 forgiveness for sins, 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 and Jesus are genuine.  Almighty God will never force anyone to repent, but thank God that He gives us the opportunity to do so! Otherwise, we would all be doomed to an eternity in Hell.

               Kathy Shelton

Three Devotionals about Samson

The following 3 devotionals are about Samson and Delilah, and they are taken from my book, Devotionals for the Brokenhearted, which was published on Amazon.com on April 6, 2022. The link to the Amazon.com page for the book is here:

DEVOTIONALS FOR THE BROKENHEARTED

There are 2 additional devotionals about Samson based on Judges 16:20 and Judges 16:28 in the book. They are also available online on the Healing the Brokenhearted Devotionals website here:

https://healingthebrokenhearteddevotionals.wordpress.com/.

JUDGES 16:5

And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Entice him, and find out where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and every one of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.”

Judges 16:5 (NKJV)

Suggested reading: Judges 16:1-6

Delilah was instructed to entice Samson in order to discover the source of his great strength. Samson’s enemies wanted to bind him to afflict him. Synonyms for afflict are trouble, bother, worry, upset, distress and make miserable. They had nothing but evil plans for Samson. They wanted to cause him severe physical and mental distress by discovering the secret to his strength and taking it away from him!

The devil is the enemy of followers of the Most High God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Satan wants to take away strength from Jesus’ followers and cause us physical and mental distress in the process. He wants to afflict us! When emotional, physical and/or spiritual pain and trauma come our way, we must hold on tightly to our faith, the source of our strength. If our hearts are broken as the result of that pain and trauma, we need to run to the One True God—never run away from Him. He is our strength, and the devil knows that. We must never allow the devil or his army of evil beings to overpower us!

A broken heart can cause us to feel very weak and vulnerable, but Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. Sincerely accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and following His example for the rest of our lives will give us the strength we need to resist temptations from the kingdom of darkness. Pursuing Biblical healing for our broken hearts is one way to fight the spiritual warfare that every believer encounters.

JUDGES 16:15

Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies.”

Judges 16:15 (NKJV)

Suggested reading: Judges 16:13-15

This is a deep and serious question. “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me?” Delilah was asking Samson this, because he had not been honest with her and told her the source of his great strength. When we say, “I love you,” to another person, or to the Lord, it must be backed up by our actions, or they are just empty words.


Many of us have had our hearts broken as a result of liars in our lives who told us they loved us, but did not treat us like that was true. Evil people use the words I love you to manipulate and deceive their targets in order to fulfill their own desires. They are indifferent to the destruction they leave behind. The emotional pain and trauma that is caused by insincere words, lies and broken promises can be devastating and stay within our hearts and spirits for many years. The good news is that Jesus Christ came to heal the brokenhearted. He can release the pain and heal us like no one else in existence.


We must also be very careful—when we tell the Most High God that we love Him—that those are not empty words. He knows the difference! Saying that we love God and Jesus must be proven by the way that we live our lives. Practicing known sin and refusing to stop is rebellion to God and evidence that a person does not love the Lord. We should follow God’s Word and obey His commandments on a daily basis. Our sincere love for and obedience to the Lord is essential in the healing of our broken hearts!

JUDGES 16:17

…he told her all his heart, and said to her, “No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.”

Judges 16:17 (NKJV)

Suggested reading: Judges 16:16-18

Samson finally told Delilah the truth about the source of his great strength. He was a Nazirite and his unshaven hair was the outer representation of his consecration and devotion to God. That was the source of his strength and he knew he would be weak, like any other man, without it.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we must understand how important it is for us to consecrate ourselves to Almighty God! We pray and ask Him for many things, but are we truly dedicated and devoted to the One True God? Just as Samson’s strength came from his consecration to the Lord, our sincere dedication to our Most High God and His Son, Jesus Christ, gives us strength. That strength enables us to endure, and have victory over, the painful and traumatic events in our lives.

When our hearts are broken, we can feel very weak and almost unable to function, or go on. Those are the times when we must cling to the Lord and dedicate ourselves to Him moment by moment. The strength we need in our everyday lives, and especially in times of trials, is only possible if we have genuine, personal relationships with Jesus Christ. That relationship will get us through anything! However, that does not mean it will be easy. Some days will be more difficult than others, but knowing that Jesus is with us will strengthen our hearts, minds and spirits.

Kathy Shelton

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 of faith (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 16:25-40). 

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, God’s sons and daughters. 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 not participate in sinful behavior and we must avoid people who directly or indirectly discourage us from following Jesus’ example. During spiritual warfare we can never drop our spiritual weapons, and we must resist 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 of faith to the very end. Carry on, soldier! The victory celebration will be glorious when we meet the Lord face to face in Heaven.

Kathy Shelton

What did you just say?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (AMP)

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

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

Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)

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

If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness [of sin], we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we [really] walk in the Light [that is, live each and every day in conformity with the precepts of God], as He Himself is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another [He with us, and we with Him], and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin [by erasing the stain of sin, keeping us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].

1 John 1:6-7 (AMP)

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

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

Matthew 3:8 (AMP)

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

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

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

Kathy Shelton

The Trauma and Heartbreak of Spiritual Abuse

The seriousness of spiritual abuse and its effects cannot be overstated!

Spiritual abuse is the abuse of a person’s spirit. The deception accompanying spiritual abuse often keeps the victim in a state of confusion and disbelief. They may ask themselves, “How can people who are supposed to be helping me grow in the things of God be abusing me?” Unfortunately, spiritual abuse happens more often than one might imagine. The results are ugly and extremely damaging.

Since I began ministering to the brokenhearted, I have prayed with many women who have been spiritually abused. Yes, there are the obvious ritual abuse and Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) survivors who suffered horrific levels of spiritual abuse. There are also those who have come out of mainstream churches, “Christian” organizations, and non-Christian organizations where there was intense spiritual abuse that caused them substantial amounts of emotional and spiritual pain and trauma. Spiritual abuse can happen in religious organizations, but also in homes, schools and the workplace.

 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles have absolute power and lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them [tyrannizing them]. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your [willing and humble] slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [paying the price to set them free from the penalty of sin].”

Matthew 20:25-28 (AMP)

Exerting power and control over another person using Scripture or religious beliefs is spiritual abuse. Anytime a person places themselves in authority over another person—in place of the ultimate authority of the Lord Jesus Christ—that is a recipe for spiritual abuse! When someone is told that the person in authority knows better because they “have a better connection to God,” that is a wide-open door to spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse is evil and it increases if left unchecked.

One of the ladies to whom I ministered in the past told me about an abusive incident, which was one of many, that she experienced with her husband. She had disagreed with him about something that a man in ministry was teaching. She said that her husband grabbed her arm, twisted it behind her back, and repeatedly yelled at her that she needed to repent for disagreeing with the minister. He told her that she needed to ask God to forgive her for having the “horrible” thought that the man in ministry could possibly be wrong. This lady was in tears as she shared the details of this event with me. It was physical, emotional, verbal, and mental abuse, as well as spiritual abuse! This is just one example of spiritual abuse being accompanied by other forms of abuse. It is often the case that emotional, verbal, mental, physical and/or sexual abuse happen together with spiritual abuse. 

The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness,
But who can bear a broken spirit?

Proverbs 18:14 (NKJV)

The damage that is done to a person’s heart, mind and spirit—to their whole being—as the result of spiritual abuse can be overwhelming. It can be devastating. It can lead to the victim not being able to function normally. Survivors of spiritual abuse often struggle with anger. They experience different levels of anger as a result of the abuse. Most of the time, it is righteous anger and not sin.  The pain and trauma of spiritual abuse can also lead to suicide attempts, or a successful suicide, if the victim becomes hopeless about the possibility of relief from that pain.

 …we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.

2 Corinthians 1:8 (ESV)

People who are spiritually abusive often twist Scripture. They take Bible verses out of context. They manipulate people in ways that are absolutely inspired by the kingdom of darkness. Perpetrators of spiritual abuse also use isolation, secrecy, and fear to control their victims. They count on the victim’s silence about their abuse. All of these things make it very difficult for a victim to break free and receive the healing they desperately need for the emotional and spiritual pain and trauma.

Spiritually abusive people are sometimes deceived themselves into thinking that what they are doing is right. A lot of the perpetrators of spiritual abuse are deceived, and the nature of deception is that the person does not realize that they are deceived. However, that is no excuse and does not forgive their deeply harmful behavior, nor does it release them from accountability. They will answer to God for their actions. On the other hand, many perpetrators of spiritual abuse know exactly what they are doing!

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?
Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.

Jeremiah 13:23 (NKJV)

Leopards cannot change their spots and abusers do not discontinue their abusive behavior, because they are accustomed to practicing evil. The perpetrators of spiritual abuse do not respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, nor does their conscience tell them that they have gone over the line. Normally, someone who is spiritually abusive only stops if they are forced to do so by an earthly authority or by the Lord. 

Several of the women to whom I have ministered were survivors of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA). One of those ladies told me the reason that the abuse finally stopped for her. The high priest was in the process of murdering her when he suddenly and unexplainably died. His neck snapped. The lady told me that she believed angels came to her assistance at the precise time when the perpetrator was going to end her life. I do not believe that the high priest would have stopped otherwise. The Lord came to her rescue!

 Are not all the angels ministering spirits sent out [by God] to serve (accompany, protect) those who will inherit salvation? [Of course they are!]

Hebrews 1:14 (AMP)

People may ask, “Why does God allow people to be spiritually abused? Why doesn’t He stop it?” It is the same reason that He does not stop sin in general in this world. God has given a free will to everyone. We need to stop blaming God for all the horrific things that happen and put the blame where it belongs—on the human beings who make the choice to be abusive and on the kingdom of darkness that inspires those evil choices. Spiritual abuse is one of Satan’s many tools to destroy human hearts, minds and spirits.

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)

When people sincerely invite Jesus Christ to be their personal Lord and Savior, they are often brokenhearted because they have experienced significant pain and trauma in the past. Many times, what draws them to the Lord Jesus Christ is that He is so loving and forgiving, and it is an opportunity to be accepted in spite of all their past sin, pain, and trauma. However, their woundedness also makes them easy targets for those who are spiritually abusive. Christians, especially new Christians, can be too trusting of other people, which can lead to them being spiritually abused.

Jesus Christ is never spiritually abusive. He never tries to force anyone to do anything against their will. Jesus understands the frailty of human beings. He understands the sin nature of human beings and how it can interfere with our relationship with God. He did not accept or condone sin, but He forgave sin and told people to “go and sin no more.” That is God’s will for us—that we would be forgiven and that we would not repeat the sin in the future. That is called repentance. Abusers rarely repent! Although they may call themselves Christians, they are not truly following Jesus Christ. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

Matthew 7:15 (NKJV)

If you are currently suffering spiritual abuse or you are a survivor of spiritual abuse, I would highly recommend that you seek help from a trained, Christian prayer minister or counselor who can give you the assistance you need to obtain freedom from the emotional and spiritual pain you are carrying. Seek someone who can help you receive the healing you need from the effects of that abuse. There are suggested resources on the HELPFUL RESOURCES page on this website (CLICK HERE).

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] for our sins [fulfilling God’s requirement for justice against sin and placating His wrath].

1 John 4:10 (AMP)

God loves you and He wants you to be whole. He wants you to be free. He wants your heart and spirit to be healed. He has a destiny for your life and it is not for you to experience or suffer spiritual abuse and its effects any longer. Please make the decision today to step out and pursue your healing and freedom. It is worth it. You are worth it!

May God bless you! My prayer for you is that you will have the strength to stand up and make today the first day of the rest of your life—free from spiritual abuse.

Kathy Shelton

 

The Joy of the Lord IS Your Strength!

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

Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)

Joy means happiness, pleasure, bliss, and ecstasy to the world. Since most followers of Jesus Christ have come from a worldly background, it is easy to confuse the joy of the Lord with those emotions. However, the joy that comes from knowing the Lord and following Him is far beyond fleeting feelings of happiness. It is a sense of peace and contentment in knowing that one day we will be in heaven with our Most High God and the Lord Jesus Christ forever.

If the enemy, Satan, can steal our joy, he has won half the battle. The devil loves to lead a Christian into a state of anxiety, fear, or worry. That is one of the ways he can get their focus off the joy of the Lord. If a person’s heart is broken, they are more likely to succumb to Satan’s tactics. One reason it is so important for us to cling to the joy of the Lord in spite of our circumstances is that it gives us strength against the enemy.

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Philippians 4:4 (NKJV)

The joy of the Lord is our strength and remembering Almighty God’s marvelous works will help us to receive His joy and to rejoice in the Lord. Traumatic experiences weaken our hearts and spirits and the only true and lasting remedy is healing through Jesus Christ. The most incredible thing that the One True God has done for all of us is that He sent His Son, Jesus, to this earth in order to offer us the opportunity to be forgiven for our sins and to receive healing for our broken hearts. We must thank God for that and talk about it, because it is very healing to speak of all His wondrous works. It fills us with His joy!

The fact that Jesus was born and died a horrific death is nothing to rejoice about if He had not also risen from the dead. The disciples and His family were overcome with emotional pain before they realized that His promise to be resurrected was to be taken literally. Once they saw that Jesus was alive again, they rejoiced.

Since we have the blessing of knowing that Jesus’ death was not the end of the story, we should enthusiastically REJOICE! The more often we remember and meditate on the fact that Father God gave His Son, Jesus, to die for us and that Jesus rose from the dead, the more we will be able to rejoice. The Father and the Son love us deeply and eternally. No person can come close to that magnitude of love for us. Those amazing blessings should cause sincere Christians to rejoice!

A broken heart is no excuse not to rejoice in the Lord. However, the devil uses emotional and spiritual pain to bring discouragement, depression and despair into our minds, hearts and spirits. That is why we must obey God’s Word faithfully and rejoice in the Lord. As we rejoice in God and all He has done for us, we are filled with His joy. That strengthens and heals us in ways that are unseen, but more real and permanent than the world’s solutions for pain and trauma. The joy of the Lord is our strength and it helps heal our broken hearts and spirits.

Serve the Lord with gladness and delight;
Come before His presence with joyful singing.

Psalm 100:2 (AMP)

Serving the Lord can look very different, depending on a person’s age, culture, environment, maturity level, and the stage or season of their life. Everyone, including mothers, fathers, students, teachers, doctors, nurses, business owners, employees, farmers, shepherds, missionaries, and ministers, can serve the Lord in their daily lives. For example, children can serve the Lord by being respectful and obedient to their parents.

As we do whatever the Lord has given us the opportunity to do in this life, we should do it with gladness and delight. However, a broken heart can dampen our ability to feel glad. Joyful singing may seem impossible at times. We may even become numb to feelings of gladness and joy as a result of the pain and trauma that we are suffering or have experienced in the past. Anything that inhibits our capacity for joy and gladness must be addressed and resolved. The pain and trauma that caused our hearts to be broken can and will steal our joy and strength. However, Jesus Christ can release emotional pain and trauma from our hearts and spirits. He alone can heal the brokenhearted in a lasting way.

We cannot serve the Lord in freedom until we have received healing for painful and traumatic situations that have caused the numbing of our emotions. The Lord wants us to joyfully sing to Him. We must ask Him to heal our hearts and spirits from whatever may be preventing us from doing so. A genuine, personal relationship with Jesus as our Lord and Savior is the key to the restoration of joy in our hearts, minds and spirits. That joy gives us the ability to serve the Lord with gladness and delight.

When our hearts are broken, we must stand up against what the devil has done in our lives by embracing the joy of the Lord. If we allow the pain we have experienced to determine our outlooks on life, the enemy will be victorious and we will be miserable. However, as we rejoice in what Jesus did for us, we will be blessed and our hearts and spirits will be healed and strengthened. The joy of the Lord is our strength!

Kathy Shelton

 

Thankfulness… One Leper Returned

 

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

Luke 17:15-16 (NKJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 15:36 (NKJV)

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

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

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (Amplified Bible)

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

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

Psalm 118:1 (NKJV)

 

Kathy Shelton

 

 

One More Time—Falling and Getting Back Up

Do you feel like a failure? Are you brokenhearted? Have you struggled with the same behaviors or addiction for years without victory? Have you felt like giving up? Don’t! It takes courage to get back up when we fall. Be courageous and the Lord will strengthen your heart.

Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.

Psalm 31:24 (NKJV)

If you have sincerely asked Jesus Christ to be your personal Lord and Savior, then you can hope in the Lord. We all occasionally miss the mark of perfectly following and obeying the Lord. However, practicing known sin on a regular or daily basis is not missing the mark. That is rebellion and willful disobedience to God.

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:6-9 (NKJV)

Our faithful God will forgive a repentant person who is genuinely sorry for their sins and makes the choice to change their behavior. God is ready to forgive.

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

Psalm 86:5 (NKJV)

Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are good! However, no person is good all the time—no one. Human beings have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Falling short of the glory of God does not make us hopeless cases. It means that we are human.

Just because you have failed once, twice or even hundreds of times, that does not mean that you cannot succeed. A friend of mine once told me that a high-ranking officer in the military shared with him that he would rather have someone under his command who had fallen and gotten back up than someone who had never fallen at all. He knew that the one who had fallen and gotten back up would not easily succumb to defeat. The person who has failed at receiving healing from past pain and trauma, but continues to pursue their freedom is very likely to eventually be victorious. Do not lose heart!

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

The enemy of our souls, Satan, encourages genuine Christians to feel defeated and discouraged. If we allow him to accomplish that in our lives, he has won the battle. However, he does not win the war! The Bible makes it clear that Satan and his forces will be completely defeated in the end. We must hold on to that truth as we fight the good fight of faith.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 

1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV)

Regardless of what you are facing today, do not give in to the temptation to give up! Yes, there are horrible storms that come into our lives. Those situations can cause us a lot of emotional, spiritual and/or physical pain, and trauma, but our victory is found in overcoming through the Lord Jesus Christ.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:31-39 (NKJV)

We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ!

Do not give up! If you have fallen again, get back up one more time and fight for your victory. You will succeed with the Lord Jesus Christ by your side. Take His hand and let Him lead you into freedom. He loves you and wants that for you more than you can imagine. I have witnessed Jesus Christ set hundreds of people free from past pain and trauma. He can do the same for you!

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 (NKJV)

For suggestions regarding how to receive help, check out our HELPFUL RESOURCES page. Your freedom from sin, addiction, and past pain and trauma is worth fighting for. Be filled with hope today!

Kathy Shelton

No More Games!

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

 Matthew 16:24 (AMP)

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

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

1 John 1:5-7 (AMP)

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

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

2 Timothy 2:4 (AMP)

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

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

Ephesians 6:12 (AMP)

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

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

Luke 6:46-48 (AMP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 7:21-23 (AMP)

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

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

James 2:18-19 (AMP)

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

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

John 3:5-8 (AMP)

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

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

Matthew 13:18-23 (AMP)

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

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

Galatians 5:7-9 (AMP)

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

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

2 Corinthians 7:10 (AMP)

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

Kathy Shelton

 

No Fear in the Fire

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

 Daniel 3:19-25 (NKJV)

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

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

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

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)

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

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

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

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

Isaiah 43:2 (NKJV)

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

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

Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

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

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

Matthew 10:28 (NKJV)

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

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

Psalm 33:8 (NKJV)

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

2 Corinthians 5:11 (NKJV)

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

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

Psalm 47:8 (NKJV)

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

Revelation 19:5-6 (NKJV)

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

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

Psalm 145:5 (NKJV)

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

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

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

» Read the Bible out loud daily.

» Praise and worship God on a daily basis.

» Sing out loud to the Lord.

» Talk to other genuine Christians and pray with them.

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

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

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

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

John 11:25-26 (NKJV)

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

Hebrews 3:14 (NKJV)

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

Kathy Shelton