Question From A Reader
For Thought This Holiday Season
Journey on the Roads Less Traveled
Joyce Ann Edmondson
You’re not in love if you expect something in return. If you expect something in return for your love, such as flirting, praise, gifts, or sex then you’re really trying to produce a certain euphoric feeling within you that you think love is supposed to feel like. Love is not supposed to be a feeling, but rather an action.
Love is not self-seeking
You’re not in love if your love
does not produce tangible actions. Your love should produce
positive, productive action from you. We can all talk a good
talk, but when it comes to our walk, many of us fall. What can
we do differently to make sure that our talk coincides with our
If your wife comes home tired and cranky and needs you to tend to the children and cooking, what are you going to do? How will you demonstrate your love? Will you complain that you’re tired too and that your wife should just cook whether she is tired or not? Or are you going to give a part of yourself – labor and time, to tend to the household duties?
Love is patient, love is kind
You’re not in love if you are relying on a feeling to tell you so. What are your actions telling you? Are you serving in acts of kindness through forgiveness and compassion? Or are you relying on a feeling to tell you that you are in love? Feelings of lust and desire can mimic love and make us think we are in love. But what happens after these supposed love feelings wane off? Can love just come and go like that? No, love is not a feeling that can come and go like the tide – it is an action and loves comes through with the way we act and behave towards others.
It always protects
You’re not in love with someone you
committed adultery with. This is a no brainer, really.
If you allow your lustful desires to control how you feel about
someone than you are a very confused person. Many people confuse
sex with love because they are afraid to love or don’t know
how to love. It’s time to let go of the unhealthy sexual
attitude and be free to love without disrespecting others
Is love something you get or something you give? It is both. When someone loves you they will give a part of themselves to you through an action – through a behavior. Maybe they have forgiven you for committing adultery. Or perhaps they have sacrificed their time and hobby for the sake of your spouse. Or maybe they have given up on having a baby because you don’t want children. These are all tangible actions demonstrating what love is.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud
When you give love to someone it is in the
same way. Is flirting with someone you are not married to, love?
Is having sex with someone you are not married to, love? Is
giving and receiving praise, love? Is looking at porn, love? Is
desiring someone you are not married to, love? No, no, no, no,
and no. Then what is all of these things? Do you know?
So if you think you are in love with someone other than who you are married to, it is only euphoric feelings overriding true principles of what true love is, and those feelings certainly will not last. Have you ever thought about “why” the person you are having an affair with would have a relationship with a married person in the first place? Only those people who do not understand what real love is or how to love others properly would have an affair with a married person.
You are in love if you share a part of
yourself through a tangible action. Love is learned. We are
not born with it. If you were brought up in a home that
demonstrated unconditional love, you will understand how to give
unconditionally. But if you were brought up in a home where
everyone kept score and they loved with conditions, you will
love others in that same way.
The good news is you can teach yourself how to love by going back to the principles of what real love is. Write them down and magnet them to the refrigerator. Teach them to your spouse and to your children. The world can be more loving towards one another if we understand what the principles of love are.
And now I will show you the most
excellent way. (1 Corinthians 13) I am nothing, if I give all
that I posses to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,
but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does
not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it
is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no
records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in
truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always
perseveres. Love never fails.
Marriage Question: I know very well that my spouse will not willingly cheat on me. But I get so jealous when she is in the company of other men. I do trust her; but from the experiences of others, I don't trust most of the men she interacts with. Please what should I do?
Marriage Guidance: Well let's start at the beginning. You are admitting jealousy. That's a good place to start. Let's analyze what jealousy is and then we'll see what
the scriptures say about it. You might be thinking, "Hey I know what jealousy is, I want to know what to do about
it". Ok, jealousy is an emotion of discomfort. When we are emotionally uncomfortable it is a signal that the
Creator gave us that we have something to learn. So in a way, initially this is a good thing. It's like a warning light, a head's up kind of thing that says hey pay attention.
I think our God is a loving God and he's looking out for us. So let's thank Him for giving us an idiot light and righteous discernment about the situation, then sit down and read the scriptures tonight and find a way to love your wife even more. You need to figure out how to apply this to your situation in a loving way. Always patient, always kind. Christ's peace to you. Write again if you need more help.
Why is a spouse obligated to stay married
to an unforgiving person? Why is a spouse obligated to stay
married to someone who flirts? Why is a spouse obligated to stay
married to someone who gambles, does, drugs, or looks at porn?
Why is a spouse obligated to stay married to someone who says
they don’t love them anymore?
Why are you obligated to stay married to an
adulterer? If we answer this question out of “love feelings”
then it would seem ridiculous to be obligated to stay married
under these circumstances. But when you answer this question
under the principle of the “commitment to love” it changes
the equation drastically, doesn’t it. God did not design
marriage for you to base your actions on feelings. God designed
marriage for you “to love” even when you don’t “feel”
You are obligated to stay married to an
adulterer because marriage is for better or worse.
Maybe the "worse" part is when your spouse falls away
from God and commits adultery, but you are still married.
Marriage does not end because times are rough and your spouse is
enslaved within sinful lust. Marriage does not end just because
you don’t think you are in love anymore. Marriage does not end
just because you say so.
God instituted marriage as a lifetime
commitment. And it has been that way from the beginning. We
become one flesh when we enter into the sacred institution of
marriage. We are joined into wedlock until one spouse dies. Only
God can end marriages through death.
For example, by law a married woman is
bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband
dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then if she
marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is
called an adulteress. (Romans 7:2)
Man cannot separate what God has joined. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate. (Matthew 19:6).
cannot separate what God has joined? This is difficult to
the apostles heard Christ's word on marriage, they said,
"then it is better not to marry" (Matthew 19:10). I
don't think the apostles would have said that, if Jesus'
teaching had all the modern-day escape clauses. In reality,
there is no escape from marriage, just as there is no escape
only way someone would not understand “why” they are
obligated to stay married to an adulterer is if they think
they don’t sin, and therefore do not need forgiveness. This is
why Christ said, “if any of you is without sin, let him be
first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7) Everyone dropped
their stones and went home.
know that if you do not forgive the adulterer, Christ will not
forgive you your sins? Does this mean unforgivness is a sin? I
think it does. It means that having an unforgiving heart is a
“hardened heart.” If
the adulterer has stopped in their sin and is willing to work on
the marriage, then it is your duty to allow that to happen
through forgiveness. Forgiveness is an act of love and
self-sacrifice – it is the commitment to love.
you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father
will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)
what should a married person do when the adulterer continues in
the affair or keeps cheating over and over again?
spouse of an adulterer is obligated to stay married to an
adulterer. But if the unbeliever continues in their sinful ways,
what can you do but let them go. The only alternative would be for the believer to deny their
own faith to preserve the marriage, which in many instances
would be worse than letting the unbeliever go.
the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman
is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in
peace. (1 Corinthians 7:15)
The above verse is not a loophole for divorce. In fact, it says nothing about divorce. It states, “If the unbeliever leaves, let him do so.” It does not say, “If the unbeliever wants a divorce, give it to him.” No, it does not say that. Divorce may be legal with the state, but in God’s eyes, even if you divorce, you are still married, unless husband or wife dies.
There is a great commotion
again this year surrounding how people are going to celebrate Christmas
and whom they are going to worship, Jesus or santa? Even if the retail
establishments, government institutions, schools and churches want to
take Jesus out of the nativity and put santa in there instead it should
not take away from what Christmas means to you. Even if they take the
word Christmas from all the holiday cards and quit worshipping the
nativity scene, it should not take away from what Christmas means to
In the same way, the system
can take the bible and prayer from the government schools but they
cannot take God from the hearts and minds of its students.
Jesus Christ is within the lives of those who allow Him to be
there. We can take Jesus with us to school everyday and pray silently
anytime we want throughout the day. How can they take God out of the
schools when God is in Spirit? They can’t!
No one can ever take our beliefs from us unless we allow them to. However, when we take offense to how others celebrate Christmas that is when we allow them to trespass on our spirit. If they want to take the statue of Jesus in the manger away, let them. If they want to worship santa and his reindeer instead of Jesus, let them! If they want to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, let them. If they want to take the name of our Lord, Jesus out of public prayer, let them. Your prayer does not have to be their prayer. Pray silently anyway you want and let them pray anyway they want.
come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. (2Corinthians 7:17
It’s all about forgiving
those who trespass against us, so we can continue believing in the way
we want. When we forgive others that is how we separate ourselves from
the unbelievers. But when we fuss and fight with them over how to
celebrate Christmas we become one with them instead of separate from
them. When we fuss over how to say Merry Christmas we forget we are
supposed to love our neighbors.
every effort to live in peace with ALL men and to be holy; without
holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14 NIV)
The true meaning of Christmas
is in our thoughts, not in a nativity scene or Christmas card.
Unfortunately, through the years, Christian’s and non-Christian’s
alike have made Christmas a politically correct holiday, and that can be
religiously offensive to some people. The truth of the matter is
Christmas was not always celebrated by Christian’s because it was once
considered a pagan holiday. What has changed?
We should give the
unbelievers back their holiday. We should start thinking about the Birth
of Jesus Christ every single day of our lives and worshipping and
adoring Him for saving us from death and giving us eternal life with Him
forever in His Heavenly Paradise. We should not be worrying about how
others are going to celebrate Christmas.
We are not commanded to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We are, however, commanded to love God with all of our heart, mind and soul. And we are commanded to love one another. Christian’s should be celebrating the birth of Jesus every day as a way of life.
Instead of fussing and
fighting over the right way to celebrate Christmas, how about loving
Jesus Christ first, and then doing whatever your heart directs you to
thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and
admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and
spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you
do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
How can we give someone
spiritual gifts during this holiday season? Can we wrap HOPE
up in a box and put a big ribbon around it? No, we can’t. But we can BE
hope by sharing our testimony with someone who has ears to hear.
That would be one of the best gifts we could give anyone. Who could not
use the message of hope?
Can we wrap WISDOM
up in a box and put a big ribbon around it? No, we can’t. But we can SHOW
wisdom by living our life as an example of someone who has built
his or her house on the rock. There is no better gift we can give others
than the gift of wisdom.
How can we gift-wrap MERCY?
We can forgive someone whom needs our forgiveness by showing
mercy and giving them the gift of compassion. We teach compassion
and kindness by doing compassionate things. How great forgiveness
becomes when we have unburdened someone’s heart through our compassion
for him or her.
can never be gift wrapped because it would shut it up in the
dark. But we can show patience with someone
who is having a stressful day behind the check out counter or we can be
patient with our own family by listening to what they have to say
without interrupting like we always do. Patience truly is a virtue.
Can we just hand over TRUST
in a pretty red box with a green ribbon around it? No, we must first ask
God to help us to trust again so we can give the gift of trust to
someone we love. We cannot give the gift of trust until we accept the
gift of Christ within our heart. Blessed is the one who already trusts
in God, for they can freely give trust away to another.
At Christmas time many
husband’s and wives look for LOVE under
the tree but all they got was a tie and a blender. Love does not come in
pretty shiny packages because it is something that needs to be acted
upon by the giver. How many ways can we show love?
We can show love in a hundred and one ways – find your ways and give
love away today.
How many times can we be HUMBLE
with others? Can we put some pretty paper around it and hand it over to
our children for Christmas? No, we first must walk
in humbleness every day so our children can get a better
understanding of how they may walk in modesty as a true follower of
How can we show ACCEPTANCE
when we are all so different? Acceptance only means tolerance in the
sense that we are not anyone’s judge and executioner and we should not
behave as such. If we become overly self-righteous with others, what are
we really saying to them about who we are as Christ followers? We are to
rebuke our brothers and sisters in the Lord and that is our example to
follow. Jesus said, turn your life around and sin no more.
Too many people are living in a state of depression and loneliness. What better present can we give then the gift of JOY? In what ways can you gift wrap joy and bring happiness to the sad, and encouragement to the discouraged, and courage to the fearful and, rest to the anxious. God says He will fill our mouth with laughter and our lips with shouts of Joy! Ask Him and receive the gift of joy so you may in turn give the gift to someone else. (Job 8:21)
How does one show THANKFULNESS?
We do not find thankfulness under the Christmas tree; on the contrary it
does not come in a big or small package because thankfulness is shown
through our life in Christ. It is shown in how we treat others and how
we treat ourselves.
We should all stop and be
thankful for the many things we take for granted, such as the man or
woman we married, and know how blessed we are to have that person to
share the rest of our life with. Being appreciative of him or her at all
times throughout the marriage, and not just when everything is going
Being thankful for the
beautiful children God has given us, so that we may teach them His
merciful ways of giving and loving without expecting anything at all in
return. Our children our really God’s children – we are only
caretakers of them until they are old enough to take care of themselves.
We have so much more to be
thankful for in this world but this article is getting too long as it
is. So I must end it with the biggest gift we have been given from God
and that is forgiveness through Jesus Christ our
Lord and Savior. Without that gift we would not understand what any of
these precious gifts I have mentioned so far can really do for our
lives, but as it is, we know that through Him we may some day be with
God in Heavenly Paradise.
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2: 6-7)
See You All in 2009!
© 2008 Heaven Ministries
To unsubscribe from the Heaven Ministries Newsletter click here.