Rebecca Duvall

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Forgiveness

forgivenessDid you know that 1 in 9 American adults have Kidney Disease and 1 in 3 who don’t already have it, are at risk to get it? There are currently over 101,000 Americans on the Kidney Donor List waiting to receive a donor. Of that 101,000, twelve of them will die each day while waiting.

March is National Kidney Month and Thursday, March 10th, is World Kidney Day. It’s all about bringing awareness to the world how important the kidneys are, and different ways to keep them healthy.

The National Kidney Foundation lists 5 easy things we can be doing today to help keep your kidneys healthy.

  1. Find out the condition of your kidneys with an ACR urine test or GFR blood test. Go to www.kidney.org/KEEPHealthy to find out how you can be tested for free.
  2. Reduce your intake of over the counter pain meds with an anti-inflammatory component (NSAIDs).
  3. Eat more foods rich in nutrients and less that are processed. They suggest the DASH Diet
  4. Exercising at least 30 minutes per day.
  5. Manage your blood pressure and sugar levels. High blood pressure & diabetes are the leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure.

So what about those who already have kidney disease and are in kidney failure? There are many ways you can help them as well.

  1. Cash donation
  2. Donate an old vehicle
  3. Give a stock gift
  4. Join a kidney walk
  5. Participate in a NKF Golf Classic Tournament
  6. Volunteer
  7. Become an organ donor

You can go to the National Kidney Foundation Donate page for details.

The kidney is near and dear to my heart because over three years ago, God gave me the opportunity to save my husbands life by giving him a kidney. Since doing this, God has also given us many opportunities to share this story; a story about God saving my husband, as well as renewing our marriage. This video, from The 700 Club, is a peak into our story and how forgiveness played an important roll in how my husband received a new kidney.

Another way God has allowed us to share our journey to a renewed marriage is through the book I have written, In His Way, which is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Christianbook.com.

Throughout much of my married life, I lived under the illusion that I had it all together – it was everyone else that needed fixing. Several years into my second marriage my husband, a Deputy Sheriff, became a workaholic and was never home. Meanwhile, I became a volunteeraholic, too busy to face the fact that we had become two strangers under one roof, raising three kids.

God revealed Himself to me through the different women I volunteered with. As my heart slowly opened to God’s presence, my marriage came crashing down around me. As I cried out for God’s help, I discovered my husband’s affair. I found myself surrounded by faithful people who gave me the strength to face the problems in my marriage and the tools needed to begin fixing it.

Over the next four years, my husband’s health deteriorated and he was forced to retire. Through this God continually showed me I was In His Way and then, when He knew He had my attention, He would proceed to show me how to do things In His Way. In the end, what God told me to do, saved my husband’s life, and our marriage. What was broken is now fixed by the grace and love of God.

My prayer for us today~ Father God, thank you for the forgiveness we receive through Your Son, Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins. I pray we would extend forgiveness to everyone in our life that has, or will, hurt us, Amen.

The Adulteress

7 appleProverbs 7

Warning Against the Adulterous Woman

My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and to insight, “You are my relative”. They will keep you from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words. At the window of my house I looked down through the lattice. I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who had no sense. He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. Vs 1-9

Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. (She is unruly and defiant, her feet never stay at home; now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.) She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said: “Today I fulfilled my vows, and I have food from my fellowship offering at home. So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey. He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon.” With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare little knowing it will cost him his life. Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death. Vs 10-27

Proverbs 7 2

The previous two chapters warned against the act of adultery. This chapter warns us about the adulteress/adulterer. It opens by telling us to not only keep and remember God’s commands, but to also make a point to regularly recall them. Practice them in our daily lives. This will help us to make good sound decisions that will be pleasing and glorifying to God Almighty, our Creator. How are you guarding and keeping His teachings? How has God’s wisdom saved you from the seductive words of another?

We’re told the adulteress/adulterer is everywhere. They are always watching and waiting for an opportunity to use their persuasive words to lead us astray. Again, we are told to listen and pay attention. If we don’t have God’s teachings and commands in our heart, we will easily fall victim to their smooth talk. We need God’s wisdom so we can discern between someone who truly cares for us and someone who seeks to use us for his or her gain, whether it be physical or spiritual. Have you witnessed another fall prey to someone’s persuasive words? How can you be helpful the next time you see this?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, your wisdom is greater than anything we could imagine. It’s meant to protect, guide and help us as we move throughout each day. Thank you Lord for your never ending love, grace and mercy offered to us as we try, and often fail, to become more like You. I pray for your wisdom, strength and courage to stand up against those who tempt us to leave the path You have planned for us. The path You created that is best for us, Amen.

Warning Of Folly & Adultery

6 lamp postProverbs 6

Warnings Against Folly

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go—to the point of exhaustion—and give your neighbor no rest! Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler. Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. A troublemaker and a villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart—he always stirs up conflict. Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. Vs 1-19

Warning Against Adultery

My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life, keeping you from your neighbor’s wife, from the smooth talk of a wayward woman. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes. For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another man’s wife preys on your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house. But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away. For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse a bribe, however great it is. Vs 20-35

mark 12 31

The chapter opens telling us we are not to let ourselves become dependent upon another. We are only to be dependent upon the Lord, not that of man. Man cannot provide what is best, that is something only God has the ability to do. If we do find ourselves under the thumb of another, we are to humbly, quickly and smoothly free ourselves.

We are then told seven things that are detestable by God and the punishment they may bring.

  1. Being snobbish
  2. Lying
  3. Killing the innocent
  4. Devising wicked schemes
  5. Rushing toward evil
  6. A false witness
  7. Stirring up dissension

Choosing to take part in any of the above things can cause us to become lazy, which can lead to poverty. Poverty, material and/or spiritual, will lead us down a path of desperation, which can bring about a corrupt mouth followed by disaster and ultimately destruction that is unfixable. Wow! That’s harsh. If you remember the previous chapters, wisdom to help us avoid this is always offered to us by God. We have the choice whether or not we accept and use this wisdom. We are also given a glimpse of what could happen if we ignore His wisdom. Have you ever been overcome by folly, or laziness? I certainly have. A few years ago, I gave my husband a kidney and was told I needed to take it easy so my body could properly heal. While my body healed my mind became lazy. I became all to aware of how things could be put off or not done at all. It took a severe kick in the pants from God to get myself up off the couch and back into life. You can read more about this on my post ‘Wrestling With God’.

We now receive another warning against adultery. This warning is a little different than the one in the last chapter. We’re told to focus on the teachings and commands of our parents. They will guide us on our path to life. However, if we choose to ignore their knowledge and become captivated by an adulteress/adulterer there will be consequences. We will be despised and judged. This path will bring disgrace and shame; not only to ourselves, but also to those we love. Is there someone in your life you can help who’s been captivated by an adulteress/adulterer?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the warning which comes from folly. I pray Lord we use the wisdom you offer to steer clear of folly. May we also offer help and encouragement to those we see struggling with folly and the temptations of an adulteress/adulterer, Amen

Warning Of Adultery

5 wellProverbs 5

Warning Against Adultery

My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it. Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, lest you lose your honor to others and your dignity to one who is cruel, lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich the house of another. At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or turn my ear to my instructors. And I was soon in serious trouble in the assembly of God’s people.” Vs 1-14

Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman? For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths. The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly. Vs 15-23

5 21 verse

So far, in chapters 1 thru 5, ‘pay attention’ has been used 4 times and ‘listen’ 7 times. I’m getting the sense that it’s extremely important we listen for and make careful note of the wisdom God has for us.

The topic of adultery can bring up many feelings. Feelings of disgust, shame, anger or sadness. Whether you’ve been affected by adultery or not, you have an opinion about it and it stirs up many emotions. Speaking from experience, I found the best thing to do, when affected by adultery, is prayer. Surrender your feelings and emotions to God. I believe He will help you work through them so your marriage can be mended.

Again we are told the importance of discretion. This time because the temptations of an adulteress/adulterer seem sweet and smooth. After joining the path of an adulteress/adulterer, we will find it to be bitter and sharp. It will cause us to lose our honor and dignity. Most importantly, we will lose the trust of our spouse. This is a trust that will take time and patience to regain.

This next section, verses 15-17, took me awhile to understand. I had to read it a few times and let it sink in. (My elevator doesn’t always go quite as fast as others) This chapter went from a warning against giving in to the temptation of an adulteress/adulterer to drinking from your own well, not sharing it with others. What?!

When we get married we become one with our spouse. We are not to share our bodies with another. Our body is for our spouse and no other. We should be thankful for the spouse God has given to us. When we show thanks to God and our spouse, God will bless our marriage by allowing us to feel intoxicated and satisfied through the love of our spouse.

This chapter ends with another warning. God sees the sins of all. Choosing sin, adultery, and not turning from it, will cause us to stumble down a wicked path that will ultimately lead to death.

My Prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the warning to stay clear of the adulteress/adulterer’s path. I pray we would love our spouses the way we were created to, Amen

In His Way

holding bookAbout three years ago I heard the gentle whisper of God saying He wanted me to share with others my struggles. He wanted me to write how He helped me overcome my trials as I walked through them. At first, I laughed and blew it off. Yes, I use to do that when God first asked me to do something I’ve never done before. Especially if it’s something I’ve never even considered doing. Then as He usually does, He continued to remind me what He wanted me to do, until I sat down and talked to Him about it.

My excuses not to write my story were endless.

  • I’m not good at writing
  • I don’t know proper grammar to write a book
  • I don’t know what to write about
  • Who cares about my life and what I’m going through
  • I don’t have time to write
  • I don’t know the first thing about writing a book

As I gave God all of my excuses, which I thought were pretty good ones, He continued to tell me what I was to do. Once I finally decided to try, not because I wanted to, but because I wanted to show God how I couldn’t, He either put people in my path, or directed me to people, who would help and encourage me to write.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~ Hebrews 13:20-21

It’s been an amazing three years! I feel blessed by the many wonderful people God has brought alongside me to complete the task of writing my story. Actually, it’s not just my story. It’s a story about family, marriage and coming to faith. So it’s my family’s story, written in my perspective. Below is the brief description of the book, which you’ll find on the back cover of, ‘In His Way’.

Throughout much of my married life, I lived under the illusion that I had it all together – it was everyone else that needed fixing. Several years into my second marriage my husband, a Deputy Sheriff, became a workaholic and was never home. Meanwhile, I became a volunteeraholic, too busy to face the fact that we had become two strangers under one roof, raising three kids.

God revealed Himself to me through the different women I volunteered with. As my heart slowly opened to God’s presence, my marriage came crashing down around me. As I cried out for God’s help, I discovered my husband’s affair. I found myself surrounded by faithful people who gave me the strength to face the problems in my marriage and the tools needed to begin fixing it.

Over the next four years, my husband’s health deteriorated and he was forced to retire. Through this God continually showed me I was In His Way and then, when He knew He had my attention, He would proceed to show me how to do things In His Way. In the end, what God told me to do, saved my husband’s life, and our marriage. What was broken is now fixed by the grace and love of God.

I wrote this book for God and now I give it to Him, trusting it will be read by everyone He wishes to read it. My hope is that it helps others understand the love God has for them. I hope it turns people to God and the beautiful life He has planned for them. I hope it helps others get out of God’s way so they too can do things In His Way.

My book is now available on Amazon in paperback and ebook (Kindle). If you choose to read it, I would appreciate it if you would leave a review on Amazon. Even if you don’t like it. I just ask that you ask yourself how you would feel if someone wrote that about you before leaving your comment. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the encouragement and enabling You give us to step out and be all You know we can be. I pray we each take time to be quiet and still so we can hear Your gentle whisper, Amen

In His Way

Forgiveness and Healing

Jaylin PalacioI would like to introduce you to Jaylin Palacio. I immediately connected with her when I read her story. We’ve both been through similar heartaches and our desire to help others who have experienced this pain is something God has put on our heart. Her story explains how she used prayer and the power of God to see her through a painful time in her life.

I have had one true love of my life (other than the Lord). His name is Jay. We met when I was 16, and we married when I was 19. Twenty years later, I discovered that he was committing adultery. I was devastated beyond words. Never in my life have I felt such an intense ache in my heart. The one person that I trusted the most hurt me so deeply. How does one cope with such a painful ordeal?

In the aftermath of adultery, the flood of emotion can make a person crazy. But no matter how chaotic our life gets, there is one source of strength that never changes. No matter how unreliable people can be, God will never leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:5). The Bible is our guide for living, and it is the ultimate resource for how to respond to the inevitable trials and tribulations of life.

Some of the guidelines found in the Bible are “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV) and “Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2 NIV). The Bible instructs us to be kind to each other, to be tenderhearted, to forgive one another, and to live a life filled with love. That is much easier said than done when you have been deeply hurt by someone you love. I did nothing wrong and did not ask to be put in this situation of immense pain. I was there because of the actions of two other people. This is the question I asked myself: How do I forgive when I have been hurt so badly?

Forgiveness is the last thing that we feel like doing when we are in so much pain. However, when we make the choice to forgive in obedience to God, He heals our hearts and leaves no bitterness in our spirit. When my world was turned upside down, I relied on the source of strength that never changes. I prayed in three general areas, and He answered my prayers in each area:

  1. Opening Jay’s Eyes. Jay was not acting like himself. He was saying and doing things that were so unlike the man I married. I could not wrap my mind around how a loving husband and father could leave his family. I prayed that God would intervene and that Jay would realize that he needed to come home. God answered that prayer in a tangible way. Jay came home six weeks after I started praying about this, and his eyes were definitely opened. He even said that he knew that people were praying for him because he felt so uncomfortable in his sin.
  1. Providing for My Needs. Ironically, my boss was the other woman, so that job ended when I found out about the affair. I could not collect unemployment because I voluntarily quit the job. My husband left, leaving me with no job and a huge mortgage payment that I could not pay. I prayed to my God who provides all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Amazingly, all of my needs were met while I had no income. Once Jay returned, he started a new career that he loves, and I started to work as a paralegal. God has blessed Jay in his career so much that I am now able to stay home by choice. Thankfully, we did not lose the house while Jay was gone. We modified the loan after he came back resulting in a lower monthly payment and interest rate, and we are now rebuilding our credit.
  1. Healing My Broken Heart. In the midst of the anguish, I could not see how I would ever be able to function again. Since then, God has healed my heart in so many ways. I still remember the pain, but now the anger is gone. I feel so strong emotionally, and I want to help others who are dealing with the aftermath of adultery. I started a support group on Facebook called Christians Surviving Marital Infidelity which allows me to encourage others who are going through the pain that I remember well.

When I look back at this time in my life, I am reminded of the Footprints in the Sand poem. The Footprints in the sandauthor was dreaming about walking along the beach with the Lord. She noticed that during the low periods of her life, there was only one set of footprints. She questioned the Lord as to why He was not there for her during the lowest periods of her life. The Lord explained to her that He was carrying her during those times. In the same way, God carried me through this trial. I also recognize that even though we are all capable of being hurt by others, God gives us the ability to forgive. He also heals our hearts so that we can overcome the storms of life and come out stronger as a result.

 

Jaylin PalacioJaylin Palacio is the author of He Will Never Leave You, a first-person narrative about facing the aftermath of adultery, the faithfulness of God, and the healing power of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is the loyal spouse’s way to leaving the consequences in the hands of God and allowing God to heal the betrayed person’s heart. You can get to know more about Jaylin and check out her blog at http://jaylinpalacio.wordpress.com/know-someone-facing-the-aftermath-of-adultery/.

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