Do Everything In Love

1 Corinth 13

Heaven gained a great Christian apologist on Saturday.  Nabeel Quershi was called home after his yearlong battle with stomach cancer.

Apologetics comes from the Greek word ἀπολογία meaning “verbal defense” or “speech in defense”.   Apologists defend objections using historical evidence.

I first read about Nabeel’s life in Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity.  Nabeel was brought up in a very loving and deeply religious Muslim family, memorizing the Qur’an by the age of five.  His family trained him in apologetics so Nabeel could defend Islam and disprove other religions.

I reread excerpts from this book to my husband after I learned about Nabeel’s passing.  I forgot how much I enjoyed reading about the lighthearted teasing between Nabeel and David Wood.  As students at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, the two intellectuals became good friends.  When Nabeel challenged David’s Christian beliefs, their discussions eventually led Nabeel to dig deeper into the history of Islam.  I could feel the love in their friendship and discussions.  Not anger, not hatred, not arrogance.  Love.  

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One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  John 13:34-35

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When Nabeel found about his stage IV stomach cancer, he vlogged to keep people informed of his progress.  This was his last vlog.

Norma McCorvey, who was Jane Roe in “Roe v. Wade” was Won by Love.  Nabeel Qureshi was also won by love.  As Christians, love needs to be our motivation in EVERYTHING that we do!  May we all pray not only for Nabeel’s wife and daughter, but also for his many family members who are Muslim.  


Being a Good Mother-in-Law

I married my husband at 21 and became a Christian at age 33.  I
never had a Christian mentor and could have used the help of an older Christian sister when my mother passed away when I was 42.   As I revisited the story of Ruth, I realized I want to be a better Christian mentor to my own daughter, daughter-in-law and to other Christian young women.

  If you’re unfamiliar with Ruth and Naomi’s story in the book of Ruth, Naomi had been a widow for 10 years when both of her married sons passed away.  Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem and since both of Naomi’s daughter-in-laws were Moabites,  Ruth instructs the childless younger women to return to the homes of their own people.  Orpah does, but Ruth insists on staying with Naomi:

 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”  But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”  And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
Ruth 1:15-18 (ESV)

Each time I read Ruth, I wonder what made Ruth decide to stay with her mother-in-law.   Was it her kindness?  Was she just feeling sorry for her?   Had Naomi been such a good mother-in-law that Ruth desired to go with her instead of going back to her Moabite people?

  I would only want to go with a woman who was kind and upright. As a child/teenager there was so much turmoil in my own family, so I didn’t have good examples.  I married into a Christian family, but I’ve only seen favoritism and badmouthing of ex-daughter-laws which made me bitter.  Rereading Ruth has shown me the kind of mother-in-law I would like to be and how God has directed me to be.

Titus 2:3-5 shows the responsibilities of females in the church body:

Titus 2

Here’s my list of rules for mother-in-laws.  Please feel free to share any advice/rules that have helped you in your mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship.

1. Pray for your daughter-in-law.
2. Always call ahead before visiting.
3. Do not be intrusive.
Don’t call too much, visit too much or do things without asking.
4. Don’t be critical of your daughter-in-law.
How she raises her children, keeps her house, her cooking, etc. is her business.
5. NEVER criticize your daughter-in-law to your son or other family members.
6. Do not gossip about your daughter-in-law.
7. Don’t show favoritism – this includes your own children, grandchildren, and other daughter-in-laws.
8. NEVER tell your grandchildren that their mom or dad is wrong.
9. Love and praise your daughter-in-law.
10. Do kind things for your daughter-in-law.
11. Always include your daughter-in-law.  Schedule special times with her, other daughter-in-law(s) and your daughter(s). Going out to eat or getting coffee together, a simple day of baking, getting manicures, etc. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
12. If your son divorces, be kind to your daughter-in-law, especially if there are children. She will ALWAYS be the mother of your son’s children. NEVER talk badly about an ex-daughter-in-law, especially in front of your grandchildren.


No Bake Cookies and Christian Love

  It was 34 years ago that I first tried a No Bake Cookie.



I was single, overseas, and living in Air Force barracks. When a coworker’s wife made them for him to share at work, I asked for the recipe. It was the first recipe that someone ever wrote out for me. This couple also happened to be some of the first true Christians I met.

From the ages of 15 to 21, I could have been called a “wild child”. Even though I ran and worked out, I also smoked cigarettes and drank heavily. Very heavily. I lived a very wicked lifestyle and everyone I worked with knew it.

One professing Christian told me that women shouldn’t be in the military. He also told me how his wife stayed home, never wore pants, and only listened to the radio. Sure — like that was going to give me a desire to become a Christian.

Thankfully, God continued to put nonjudgmental people in my path who shared His love in kind and thoughtful ways. They did not put down my sinful lifestyle. They didn’t comment on my filthy language. They showed me Christ’s love in caring actions and the way that they lived their lives.

 I’ve used that cookie recipe numerous times. I’ve made them for my own family. I’ve made multiple batches for youth group events. I’ve taken plates of them to new neighbors, sick friends, and new moms. I make them for the kids I work with at school.

I rewrote that recipe on a card because the original became wrinkled and stained from use.  Every time I take the recipe card out, I think of that loving Christian wife who made cookies for her husband’s coworkers, how the LORD used those cookies to soften my heart, and I thank Him for that loving act so many years ago.  As I made a batch of  No Bake Cookies tonight, I thanked the LORD for allowing me to serve Him and will do so every time I make them.    

Meet Together

 In my 20 years as a believer, quite a few people have told me that they do not need to be a member of a church body.  This goes against everything God’s Word tells us.  Fellowship with other believers encourages us, challenges us, and helps us stay accountable.  Fellowship also shows obedience to God and His word.  

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 Ecclesiastes 4

When we are in fellowship with other Christians, we are able to encourage each other.  We do this by comforting one another during hardships, working together, sharing meals, offering help during sickness, etc.

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2 Corinthians 6

When we are only in fellowship with nonbelievers, the ways of the world begin to rub off on us.  Have you noticed how when you wear a white blouse or shirt that it is virtually impossible to not get a speck of “the world” on you?  Dust/dirt from my car, food unintentionally left on a table or chair by the previous occupant, or even a small spill from a drink always seems to find a way on my white blouses!  When we are out of fellowship with other believers, we lose that accountability and we can easily become accustomed to sin.

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Ephesians 5

Ephesians 5 contains instructions on how Christians should live. Light always exposes darkness — we use flashlights, lamps, and even car headlights to help us see better and to reveal the things that are hidden in the darkness.  Verse 11 commands us to “have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of the darkness”.   Stay in fellowship with other Christians who will help keep you away from the fruitless deeds of darkness.

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 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
John 10:11-18 (NIV)


The shepherds would lie down at the gate to the sheep pen — outside the sheep pen there were animals that could kill them. There is protection only inside the sheepfold: sheep are not very smart, they are not very fast animals, and they can not defend themselves. They need a shepherd — they recognize the voice of their shepherd and will stay near him.

Jesus Christ is the Head of the church and has appointed pastors/elders to guide the local flocks. Just as the sheep outside of the sheepfold are vulnerable, so is the lone Christian who refuses to attend church.

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And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

Teaching each other through fellowship and NOT programs

I became a Christian at age 33 and
never had a Christian mentor.  When my mother passed away, I really could have used the help of an older Christian sister to help me then and to also hold me accountable in my spiritual growth. Titus 2 shows the responsibilities of church members, with verses 3-5 directed to females:

Titus 2
I believe many Christians have become too busy for real relationships.

Most churches are not hurting for programs.  With so many activities during the week, there are great needs in the church for workers and leaders.  I have witnessed how many churches put people in teaching positions and even leadership roles way too early in their Christian walk.  I have also noticed that there are many people within the church body who do not believe that we each have responsibilities within the church — their actions, of course, contradicting Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.  I have also seen many give up serving in the church when their families are grown or even stop attending when life gets difficult.

 I am so VERY thankful for my current church home, Grace Family Fellowship. We are a reformed, family-integrated church that desires to walk in obedience to the Scriptures alone, and we align our families and our church in this same manner.  We believe that the leadership of the father in the home is paramount to the instruction of the family (and NOT the youth pastor or children’s minister), and that fellowship of the church is needed in order to have true accountability. We believe accountability begins with proper delivery of God’s Word through expository preaching. 

I now have more time for relationships with both older and younger women. I enjoy visiting with the younger women in my church, and I sometimes bring meals to give them a break from cooking.  These younger gals in my church are teaching me so much as I observe their obedience to the LORD in their actions, the way they allow their husbands to be the head of their households, and especially in the ways they work with their children — these young women do not expect the church to teach their children.  They also do not have their children in every extra-curricular activity like so many families do today.

So how are things done in your church?  Do you have so many programs available that you have little time for authentic fellowship with other believers?  Do you find yourself totally exhausted from all the volunteer work that you do?  Have you ever been mentored, or are you currently mentoring a young believer?  Do you have time for real relationships — not just reaching out to friends on the Internet?