What Does Love Require?



Hot on the heels of the fire storm of comments for and against certain celebrities and their expressed views about President-elect Donald Trump, equality, and a litany of other issues, a good friend of mine recently posed a thought-provoking question on Facebook. He asked if it is possible to make a point without hurting others. At the time, I responded by saying, “Only by making it a point to LOVE them!”.

The next morning, still pondering that idea, the theme of a powerful Bible study video segment by Andy Stanley began repeating in my head: “What does love require of me?” (a link to the video is below). No matter how strongly we feel about a particular subject, as followers of Christ we are called to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Him (2 Corinthians 10:5). The most important way that obedience and our love for the Lord plays out is by choosing, day in and day out and often moment by moment, that our ultimate response in every situation will come from a place of Godly love and from His perspective.

Here is a new poem that the Lord inspired me to write and which sprang out of those musings. If it speaks to you, please feel free to share this post!

“What Does Love Require?”

What is the loving response
– the most positive words to say?
Before opening our mouths to speak,
will it edify in some way?
Is your demeanor that of peace
or is there warfare in your soul?
Is your motive to encourage
or to defend, shame, or control?
Should you tactfully address a group
or just keep it one on one?
When and where and even IF
stops before damage is done.
Perhaps, energy channeled,
we’d do best not talking at all;
Humble actions speak volumes,
but foolish pride precedes a fall.
For the lasting impression
– the Jesus the world will see
are the words, deeds, and attitude
of the followers we claim to be.
The exact methods vary
– God grants wisdom to discern
when to share or hold our tongue
while remaining open to learn.
In each and every encounter
we can choose to hurt or inspire;
the question we should be asking is:
what does love require?

©Ladeena Ashley

I realize that this is all much easier said than done. Yet the Lord knows how hard it is to tame the tongue. In His Word, God tells us that although it is a small part of our body; with it we can share life-giving words but also can inflict great damage. James compares it to a bit in a horse’s mouth, a ship’s rudder, and the spark that has the power to ignite a raging forest fire if left unchecked (James 3:2-11).

However, we are not left to ourselves in this! God has promised that he will grant wisdom to all who ask (James 1:5; Proverbs 2:6), and nothing can separate us from the love we have in Christ (Romans 8:38). We just have to practice the habit of drawing from His bottomless well of wisdom and indescribable wide and deep love (Ephesians 3:16-21) that never fails!

So, what does love require of you? To share it through all situations!
Not just on Sunday, around “churchy people”, or on special occasions, but EVERY DAY!
You and I fail all the time, but He won’t give up on you (Isaiah 41:10), so keep trying!

God’s Word
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35

“The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'” – Galatians 5:14

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” – Luke 6:36

“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8

Extra Credit
Here is the link to the study I mentioned. It is a 42-minute video, but well worth a listen to delve even deeper into why it’s so often difficult to love others as we should.
Andy Stanley – Brand: New – What Love Requires
(Please note: link will open in new window on YouTube.)
Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
2017 All Rights Reserved (blog content & photos)

The Power Of Our Words


Words are powerful things, and must be wielded carefully! I pray before and while I’m writing every post that my words are completely directed by the Lord. Thankfully, He often gives me little reassurances through the words of a friend, a song, or a perfectly timed devotional. So I trust, even when what I write is a tad more direct and less “flowery”, that my words will not merely encourage but also inspire you and even challenge you.

Here’s a “free-word association”, in the truest sense of the… word! And, I still ended up rhyming, too, so it’s sort of a poem. Bonus!


Say the word. Spell a word. Give the word. Write the word. Reword. Send word. Sound out a word. Words in pictures. Express in words. Choose your words wisely. Word of mouth. My word is my bond. I give my word. A picture is worth a thousand words. Use your words. Words of wisdom. Words on a page. Let a word slip. Hurtful words. Healing words. Words of hope. Sad beyond words. Sometimes there just are no words.
What’s the word? The word I love?
The written Word of my Lord above.
Words through all eternity.
Words can bring peace and unity.
Words can cut. Words can kill.
Words can lift others, joy to instill.
Words of life. Words of love.
Words sent from the Father above.
The Holy Word of God is my sword
and I use my words to praise Him.

© Ladeena Ashley

6-1-93 (revised 8-12-16)

Words Of Kindness

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “practice random acts of kindness”. It’s great, if done in His name, but it is also imperative to practice speaking words of kindness. Never has that been more important than on social media, where nowadays even a single careless or unkind comment can spark a fiery series of accusatory reactions. Usually it’s best to hold your (virtual) tongue and simply scroll past. It reminds me of the old adage: “if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all”, which is good advice. So if you must comment, make sure it’s positive, loving, and sincere. Is your attitude less than humble at that moment? Just move along, partner. Better yet, close the page, walk away, and pray for that person. A wise friend once told me that it’s hard to be angry with someone as you’re praying for them! However, with the growing number of negative posts, you might be praying a lot; but that could really be a good thing!

Show Them God’s Love

Okay, here’s a tough one…what about people who are different than you, are making unhealthy choices, or whose lifestyle you don’t agree with?

The first thing to remember is: God loves them as much as He loves you. He doesn’t play favorites (Acts 10:34; Deuteronomy 10:17). No one is perfect. We all fall short of what God intends, just in different ways (Romans 3:23). Show mercy to them because God has shown mercy to you.

The second thing is: We shouldn’t expect that non-believers adhere to standards that don’t apply to them…yet. Let’s put it another way: Jesus didn’t say, “change and follow Me”, He simply said, “follow Me”, and in doing so, we are changed. In fact, the only folks we are allowed to judge are those within the believing community, those who claim to know Christ and who have agreed to His follow His ways. (1 Corinthians 5:12).

So by all means, show mercy and “love people into the faith” so to speak. You can share God’s love without necessarily condoning all they do. How? I do it by daily surrendering myself to God in humble prayer, acknowledging that I am His and can do nothing on my own (John 15:5), offering myself as His ambassador, committed to be His light in the dark places and to everyone I meet. By studying His Word and hiding it in my heart (Psalms 119:11), and by daily praying for opportunities. Also, I bear in mind that my part may be simply to plant or water; someone else may be harvesting later. Best of all, the outcome isn’t dependent on us! The Spirit does most of the work, giving the right words to say (Luke 12:12; 21:14-15), and helping guide them toward the hope that’s found in God through Jesus, the very Word of God! And His Word never returns empty (Isaiah 55:11)!

© Ladeena Ashley
2016 All Rights Reserved (main content & blog photos)

Extra Credit

For more reading about the power of words, I invite you to read James 3:1-12.

Below is a link to a collaborative song by Hawk Nelson and MercyMe. It’s been playing in my head lately, and fits this post perfectly!

YouTube link: Words – Hawk Nelson ft Bart Millard 

(Note: link will open up in a new window)