Tag Archive | adultery

Everything done in secret comes to the light

I have been watching the developments over the hacking of the online cheating website, Ashley Madison. I, for one, am glad that the cheaters have been exposed, even if I do not necessarily agree with the way they were exposed. I find it very disturbing, however, that the cheaters are being treated as if they are the victims and that their lives and marriages are in ruins because of the illegal acts of Team Impact. I find it extremely distressing that such a website even exists. The fact that this website exists and is so popular is a sign of how morally and spiritually depraved our society has become. Men and women are being encouraged to cheat on their spouses, and are being deceived into thinking that the sexually illicit affair will spice up their marriages and make their lives more exciting. After all, life is short…so why not? Such a cavalier and flippant attitude to a very painful and destructive act is bewildering to me. Clearly, our society has given in to the lusts of the flesh and are living their lives on paths that will inevitably lead to their destruction.

Now that the cheaters have been exposed, many are offering up excuses in sad and pathetic attempts to justify or excuse their behavior. Many, also, are claiming that their name and information being on the site is all a mistake. Many are indignant that Team Impact would have the audacity to out them and pass moral judgment on them! How dare they expose us? Our actions are harmless. It is only sex. These people have lived with their deception and lies so long that they actually believe them now. I, for one, know first hand that affairs are by no means and in no way harmless and innocent. No matter how someone tries to spin it, there is NEVER a good and justifiable reason to commit adultery. Cheating on one’s spouse is perhaps one of the most selfish and heartless things a person can do. Eventually, everything done in secret comes to the light (Luke 8:17). Sexual sin is sin not only against God, it is also sin against one’s own body and the person’s spouse. Sin is never just your sin or my sin. The sin of either spouse affects the other spouse because a husband and wife are one flesh. So, when you sin against your own body, you sin against your spouse. It is that simple.

Proverbs 7 gives wise counsel to the man who considers the seductive words of an adulterous, sexually immoral woman. To paraphrase, the writer tells the man to RUN–not walk–as hard and as fast as he can away from such a woman. The reason given is because the path leads to ruin and destruction and death. The unwise man who succumbs to such seduction is considered foolish. He is being led to his own demise and cannot see it. A few moments, days, weeks, months of pleasure are not worth the cost that will be exacted. There are no exceptions. The Bible makes no concessions based on one’s race, religion, economic and social standing, or political power. God is no respecter of persons, and no one’s sins will be excused or overlooked by a holy and just God. All of our sins are in plain sight to God; there is nothing hidden from Him.

To hear the Toronto investigators label Team Impact as the ones who are causing social and economic ruin is preposterous! To hear the cheaters referred to as the victims who are now being victimized by Team Impact and others who now know their actions borders on flat out arrogance and smacks of callousness against those who have been truly wronged–the spouses of the cheaters! Do not blame those who expose the darkness for the consequences of your sinful deeds. Do not blame them for the social and economic ruin YOUR actions and your actions alone have caused! Do not accuse Team Impact of destroying your life, your marriage, your family, your career, etc. when you were managing that quite well on your own. Your actions alone led you to where you are. Your unwise and sinful choices and actions are what are destroying your life as you know it. You had no mercy on your spouse when you willfully and selfishly decided to begin an affair. You did not care how your actions affected her, so why are you now expecting mercy and compassion? You alone are to blame for all the consequences of your choices. Sin is destructive–it always has been and always will be. We destroy our own lives when we fail to live according to God’s precepts and standards.

While it is unfortunate that some of the users of the website chose to take their own lives instead of dealing with the consequences of their own actions, their deaths are not the fault of those who exposed their sin. Sin leads to death–both spiritual and physical. When you choose to sin, you condemn yourself. To those being extorted, that, too, is unfortunate, but sin carries a high price. Why not just come clean and be honest with everyone whom your sin affected? You created your mess, and it is a huge, ugly mess. I understand that hacking into a website and revealing information about people is illegal, but what Team Impact did is no worse than what you were doing. Their illegal actions are no worse than your totally selfish immoral actions. So, this is my counsel, and you can take it or leave it. Own up to your pathetic and destructive choices and take full responsibility for them. Deal with the consequences. Make amends to those whom you have hurt and get your heart right with God. Honestly, God is your only redemptive hope in the ugliness you created.

None of us can violate God’s laws and expect to escape judgment for our actions. No one is exempt from any of God’s laws, either. Sin has negative consequences; that is a principle none of us can change. We reap what we sow. When we sow to our flesh, we reap pain, destruction and corruption. I find it pathetic that so many in our society want to live their lives as they please but they don’t want to own the consequences of their choices. I find it disturbing that such wicked and destructive websites are even allowed to exist. That is a sad commentary on how far our societies have fallen and a testament to our moral and spiritual bankruptcy and depravity. Sin is never to be taken lightly, and it should not be encouraged. It is pleasurable for a season, but it always leads to heartache and devastation. No one is without excuse. You went into the situation knowing full well what you were doing and now you expect to get sympathy and you claim to be the ones being “victimized”? May God help us, for we are desperately lost.

Keys to the Heart of God by Jaylin Palacio

Thanksgiving and praise…two crucial keys to the heart of God.  What is the difference between thanksgiving and praise?

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!  (Psalm 30:11-12 NLT)

What is thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is thanking God for what He has done.  He blesses us all the time.  There is always something for which to be thankful.  Much like a parent gets joy from hearing heartfelt appreciation from their child, God gets joy from our heartfelt appreciation.  How do we gain access to His heart?  “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4).

Thanksgiving is important in the life of a believer.  “Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God” (Ephesians 5:4 NLT).  I am reminded to be conscious of what comes out of my mouth.  We are in this world, but not of it.  Rather than copy the customs of this world, we should use our words to thank God for what He has done.

We express our thankfulness to God because everything He created is good:

“Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks” (1 Timothy 4:4).

Rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks are easy when things are going well, but we are called to do them at all times:

“Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Whereas thanksgiving is thanking God for what He has done, praise is honoring Him for who He is.

What is praise? 

Many Christians respond when something good happens with the term Praise God.  The word praise can be defined as to give thanks, confess, honor, or commend.  To praise God is to thank Him and to honor Him because of who He is.

Like me, you may have experienced times when your prayers seem to hit a wall and you wonder if your petitions are being heard.  During those times, I have found that if I take a step back and spend time praising God, telling Him how good He is and what He means to me, and then thanking Him for what He has already done, I get an immediate sense of closeness to Him and my faith grows stronger.  This is when I know I am touching His heart, and there is joy and peace in His presence.

When we ponder the great compassion that the Father has toward us in making a way of redemption through Jesus, it becomes easy to understand why all praise belongs to God:

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation” (1 Peter 1:3 NLT).  The Blood of Jesus Christ gives us access to God, “Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name” (Hebrews 13:15 NLT).

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and strength belong to our God
forever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 7:12 NLT).

What about you?  What can you thank God for today?  How will you praise God today?

Facing the Aftermath of Adultery? http://encouragementfromtheword.com/know-someone-facing-the-aftermath-of-adultery/

Did your spouse have an affair?  Join the community Marriage God’s Way and receive help on your healing journey http://forms.aweber.com/form/64/1906729764.htm

Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/author/jaylinpalacio

Blog http://encouragementfromtheword.com

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What is love?

1 Corinthians 13:1-7, 13

I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

 

 

One day my husband and I got in a huge argument and I do believe the “D” word was tossed around. He was sharing his struggles with me about ending the affair and he told me that he loved the other woman. Automatically, I got mad. Very mad. I told him that if he loved her, then he must hate me. I told him that a person cannot love two people like that at the same time. It is impossible. He told me that he knew what love was and he knew that he loved her. I looked at him and said (not at all calmly, but rather more like screaming), “That ain’t love. Love is not deceptive and does not lie. Love rejoices in truth.” I went on to say that love does not keep secrets and manipulate and act so selfishly or callously towards someone else. If he wanted to say he loved her, then what did he label his feelings for me as? I mean, honestly, he was treating me so harshly and kept hurting me, so he must have hated me.

I told him that I was not going to stay in a loveless marriage and he had to decide who he wanted to be with. If he did not love me or want to be with me, then HE could go file for divorce. Yes, I spoke those things, and I meant those things. But talking to my husband at that point was like talking to a brick wall. His mind was so deceived and so twisted that he could not see the truth. I really think he was in as dark and painful a place as I was, only his darkness and pain were totally different from mine. I can see all of this now, but back when I was in the midst of it, things were not nearly as clear.

However, by arguing with my husband about what love is and is not, I had to confront my own love for him. Love is patient, kind, unselfish, truthful, bears all things, believes all things, does not give up, and is persistent and hopeful (1 Corinthians 13:1-7).  I realized that I was trying to force change and truth on my husband, when he was not quite at that point yet. How much was I willing to bear? How long was I willing to fight without giving up? Was I going to believe that somehow out of this horribly ugly and twisted mess that good could come? Was I going to believe for restoration and healing despite how things looked at the present? Was I going to walk by faith and not by sight (Hebrews 10:38), speaking to things that are not as if they are (Romans 4:17)? These are the kinds of thoughts that went through my mind as I wrestled with God over staying in my marriage.

Love does not bail just because things get hard or things are not going as you expected. Love does not simply give up because your love is not some fairy tale. No, actually, it is in the hard and challenging situations in which love is tested and proven. True love can withstand tests and trials and will come out stronger because of those things. We live in a society where people walk away from their marriages and families so easily. The word “love” is thrown around so haphazardly. Frankly, I do not think we really know what love is until the love has been tested and proven. I do not think we can truly realize the nature of love until that love has been tried and gone through some times when the other person is unlovable, when it would have been so easy to just walk away and find someone or something better. When I spoke my marriage vows before God, I took them very seriously. I realized that the part “for better or worse” was now being tested. An adulterous affair is the “worse” part, and I had made a promise to my husband, to God, and to those who witnessed our sacred vows that I would be faithful and true to my husband for as long as we both should live–no matter what.

Love may begin as feelings, and those feelings can be incredible. You are deliriously happy and stay on a high. You honestly don’t have to eat or sleep; you can live on love. But, it is not possible to stay in that state. Reality steps in. We have to work, we have to eat, we have to sleep. We have responsibilities and obligations to fulfill. At some point, love must go beyond those giddy, up in the air feelings. It must become an act of our will by which we commit ourselves to someone and enter into a covenant relationship with that person. It must become a way of life in which the needs of others are more important than our own. It must enter into a place of being able to look beyond how someone is treating us and feeling towards us to choosing to love that person in spite of those things. You see, by very nature, love is unselfish and giving. It keeps going and loving, believing that there is hope and that redemption can come and will come. I guess that is why I kept going, why I kept loving, even though I felt like I was the other woman. Fifteen years earlier I would have just walked away. Wow! Where God has brought me and the things I have learned!

Praise God in the Storm

Often during our darkest, loneliest moments, we see God more clearly. Perhaps it is because in our distress, we come to the end of ourselves and our limited human resources and we begin to look to God. As we focus on God, and get our attention off of ourselves and our circumstances, He is able to reveal more of his heart and nature to us. We begin to experience his strength in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), his peace in our confusion, and his grace to carry us through the storm. Praise is one of the believer’s most powerful weapons because it exalts God and reminds us of who God is and of his sovereignty. But we do not feel like praising God when our world seems to be falling apart. We don’t feel like lifting up our eyes to the One who can rescue us. However, it is in these times when we least feel like praising God that we need to do it the most. Consider David. Throughout the book of Psalms, David shares his heart and mind. He expresses his fears; his doubts; his struggles. He is honest about where he is and what he is experiencing, and we see that David dealt with the same feelings and thoughts that we deal with today. There is one thing, though, that David consistently does in the Book of Psalms. He commands his soul to focus on God, to remember God’s faithfulness and goodness, and to exalt God. He calls forth his will to surrender to God’s plans and purposes even amidst the storms. David chose to direct his will and his spirit to praise God instead of remaining in the pit of self-pity and fear that he was feeling. He went against what our human inclination is—he chose instead to do the very thing that he felt least like doing, which was to praise God.

I am reminded of Paul and Silas as they were in prison (Acts 16: 19-34). The prisons of those days were horrible, so I am sure that Paul and Silas were experiencing much physical and emotional discomfort and pain because they had been severely beaten. They were in prison, not for something they had done wrong, but simply because they refused to stop preaching the gospel to those around them, and they had cast the demon out of a girl who was being exploited by her masters. As bold as Paul was though, he was human. He wrestled with his flesh and all of its components—feelings, thoughts and attitudes—just as we do. We know from one of his epistles that he had some sort of chronic problem that he kept asking God to relieve him of (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). But, let us examine what Paul and Silas did in very dire circumstances and consider the influence of their choices. They praised God. They willfully put aside their fleshly feelings and thoughts and chose to praise God. They sang songs and worshipped God in spite of the chains that bound them and the prison bars that held them captive. They stopped focusing on themselves and cast their eyes on Jesus. As they prayed and worshipped, the ground began to shake and the prison doors were opened. The chains that held Paul and Silas fell off, too. The guard posted outside of the prison had heard Paul and Silas worshipping God and praising Him, and this choice greatly impacted the guard. Because of the praise that Paul and Silas continually offered to God while imprisoned, God moved. The prison guard asked how he could be saved! What an impact our choices have. How powerful is praise!

God did not change the situation that Paul and Silas were in, but He acted nonetheless. He did not deliver Paul and Silas; He chose instead to use the praise and worship of two men who were unjustly imprisoned to demonstrate His glory and power. Because the glory of God was so mightily displayed, the guard desired to have the same power that lived inside of Paul and Silas. He desired to know the Savior they were worshipping and praising. Paul and Silas could have done what many of us do when we feel that we have been treated unjustly or have been greatly wronged. They could have let their feelings dictate their actions; however, they acted in direct contrast to what they were feeling. What would have happened to the soul of the guard in charge of watching over Paul and Silas if they had given in to their flesh and acted on their feelings, and not on faith? Their willful praise and worship while in one of the worst conditions possible had a powerful eternal influence in the life of the guard. It is somewhat symbolic that just as the physical chains that had bound Paul and Silas fell off, so were the spiritual chains of the guard loosened. He came to a place where he was no longer bound to the flesh and a slave to sin and found true freedom in Christ—all because of Paul and Silas praising God instead of cursing God.

Our choices will either lead us to freedom or they will lead us into deeper captivity. We make the choice. God will not make the choice for us. Like Paul and Silas, I was in a dire situation that I had no part in creating. I felt the heavy chains of strong emotions, such as fear, doubt, and anger, on me. I was in prison in a way, though I did not realize it at the time. I often acted out of my feelings and hurt; I said things out of anger that I should have never spoken. I gave in to fear and depression at times because I just did not feel like fighting my emotions anymore. I was too tired and too weak and too self-absorbed. Instead of looking to God, I was looking at my circumstances, and I was allowing myself to remain in bondage. I know that many, including myself, think that I did what was expected given the circumstances I was in. It was only natural for me to feel as I did and to act as I did at times. But, as a Christian, I am called to walk according to the Spirit, not according to my flesh—or what is natural. Sin is part of human nature, so it is perfectly natural. God was calling me to deny my natural man and surrender to His spirit. He was telling me to do something that was totally opposite of what I was feeling and thinking. I was faced, then, with another hard choice. I could remain in bondage to all the emotions of my natural man, or I could decide to focus on God, to praise Him, to worship Him, and break free of the chains that were binding me.

Obviously, at some point I chose to focus on God and to praise Him despite the awful situation and trying events of my life. When I started praising God, I came to realize that though my circumstances had not changed and the outcome was unpredictable, God had not changed. He remains unchanged and constant. He is “I Am.” He is whatever we need Him to be and whatever He desires to be in order to fulfill His purpose and plans for our lives. I like the way the song, Praise You in the Storm, by Casting Crowns, puts it when it says that God is who He is no matter where we are. God is always there and He is always true to His nature. It does not matter where we find ourselves, because God is who He is and He never changes. So, I could cling to the God who never changes or I could focus on the wild and chaotic circumstances of my life, which seemed to change every day. There was no certainty in the place I found myself, but there was certainty in God. There was hope; there was strength; there was grace—in God. I had to get back to the basics of my faith, to the core of my beliefs, which is all based on who God is. There was absolutely nothing I could do to change my circumstances. I was totally helpless in my own strength, and that is why I so desperately needed to cling to God.

In time, the circumstances of my life would be radically and powerfully changed, but God did not deliver me from the storm immediately, no matter how hard or how long I prayed. His plan was far greater than my human mind could grasp, and He chose to use the most painful and darkest circumstances I had ever faced to demonstrate His power and glory. But, as I realize now, God was weaving together all the sordid events of my life and the unpopular and difficult choices I made as an act of faith and a step of obedience, to significantly influence the lives of others.

Not called to walk on water, but close enough

There were times that were so dark and lonely, I honestly didn’t think I would survive. The darkness and pain were suffocating, and the nights seemed so very long. It just kept raining and raining, and the storm clouds grew darker and more ominous. I had no idea how long this storm would last, or even if I would survive it, but I had to keep going. I know the strength that kept me going could only have come from God, and he also spoke peace to me many times in the midst of the storm. Make no mistake, God carried me through the whole sordid series of events, and that is the only reason I am emotionally sane today.

Many, many times, I could not pray. All I could say was “God, help me.” At others times all I could do was cry, “God!”  I am so thankful that others were lifting me up in prayer when I was unable to do so for myself. Believe me–that kind of despair is engulfing. It sucks the life out of you. I felt like a zombie–just walking around, lifeless. A part of me died with my husband’s confession, and there was more death to come. During this whole time, I developed a fear of the dark (ok, maybe I’ve always been a little afraid of the dark…lol), and I could not sleep no matter how hard I tried or how much I needed to. My bed was soaked in tears and awful, ugly thoughts would not stop racing through my tortured mind. I remember one night very clearly: Sleep was eluding me yet again and I was in so much pain. I was confused and scared and beyond desperate. I got out of bed and walked into the den. Everyone else was asleep, so the house was dark. I walked over to my rocking chair and sat down. Tears began to stream out of my eyes and I sat there in the dark and cold and cried for several minutes. I felt so alone, so suffocated by the darkness. I began crying out to God, telling him how scared I was, how much I was hurting. I told him that I wanted to trust him. I said, “God, I’m scared. It’s so dark and I can’t see where I’m going.” Immediately, the spirit of God whispered to me, “That’s why I’m carrying you.”  And then he put a mental image of Jesus picking me up and carrying my tired and weary body. It was the first bit of comfort I had had in quite some time and it was a very tender moment. Even though the storm was far from over, I knew in my deepest heart that I was not in it alone. I knew that Jesus was with me, and that no matter what happened, he could control the storm.

I felt instant peace, and I knew that no matter what I would face, I was not going to go through it alone. You see, I was too weak to walk on my own at this point. I was amazed I was still standing and not lying in bed, an emotional wreck, feeling sorry for myself. I knew in that instant that God spoke to me that He was carrying me. I saw Him, picking me up, and carrying me like a mother carries her infant, close to her heart. I knew then that I didn’t have to see where I was going, I didn’t have to know what the next step was or even how I was going to make it, because God was carrying me and He could see what lay ahead, even in the dark.

If it had not been for that tender moment with God, with hearing his voice clearly, I do not know if I could have faced what was to come. I am not going to lie and say that I never asked God where he was in all the chaotic mess that my life had become, because I still wrestled with very real fears and doubts. I still had many unanswered questions. But, deep in my spirit, I held on to the words that God so mercifully spoke to me. I am reminded of the verse in Hebrews that tells us the just shall live by faith (Hebrews 10:38) and that faith is the evidence of things not seen, and the substance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). With my natural eyes, I could not see what was in front of me, but my spiritual eyes tried to stay focused on Jesus. I certainly took my eyes off of Jesus at times, but that did not change his character, and it did not void the promise that God gave me. Even when I felt that I was all alone, God had told me that he was with me and that he was carrying me, and he remained true to his promises.

Even the apostle Peter, who was so bold that he dared to step out on water to go to Jesus, suffered from doubts and got his eyes off of who Jesus is, of the power available to Peter through faith. And, because of his doubt, because he forgot for a moment who was calling to him, his faith was shaken and he began to sink. But notice what happened afterwards. When Peter cried out, Jesus reached out to Peter so that Peter would not sink (Matthew 14:22-33). Let that truth sink in for a moment. Despite Peter’s lack of faith, Jesus refused to let Peter sink. He did not let Peter drown. Now, God did not ask me to walk on water, but He was asking me to trust Him even though I could not see his hand or his purpose in all that was going on in my life. He asked me to hold on to his promises in spite of how hard and scary things had become. Like Peter, I faced a dilemma, a crisis of faith. I could either keep my eyes focused on the Author and Finisher of my faith, on the One who is Faithful and True, or I could focus on the stormy sea and the raging winds. Like Peter, I failed to keep my eyes on Jesus at times during this trial, but Jesus never once let me sink or drown. Instead, he gently called out to me and extended his hand. It was up to me to take his hand and hold on to it.

My physical eyes could only see the surface; they could only see the obstacles. My natural body heard the cruel and hurtful words of my husband; it saw his callousness and selfishness. It felt the very real pain and fear. It asked the questions “Why?” and “How long God?” It wanted to cave in to the overwhelming emotions even to the point of death. But, in the spiritual…things were different. The Bible states that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). It also states that the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14). In my flesh, I didn’t understand. In my flesh, I did not see. In my flesh, I felt defeated. But that was not what I experienced in my spiritual man. No, I did not understand; I did have questions. I was afraid, I was hurting, and I was struggling. In spite of those things, though, I knew that God was holding me. I knew he hurt for me. I knew he had a plan that was beyond my understanding. And, I knew that no matter what became of my marriage, I was going to be okay, as long as I continued to hold fast to God. God was not giving me any guarantees about my marriage, but he did give me his promise that if I would listen to Him, if I would seek Him, if I would obey him, He would take care of me. God always honors obedience—always. I could not control my husband or change his heart or his actions, but I could choose to give all of those things to God. I did have control over where I would place my trust and faith, and I chose Jesus. I had to be encouraged many times to continue to focus on Jesus, to continue to trust him; it was definitely a decision I daily faced, but it was never a choice I regretted.