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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.  

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My Renovation Project

I am facilitating a study of “Taste for Truth” by Barb Ravling with about 50 ladies online.  This week we are focusing on appearance and renewing the mind.

My earthly father called me Fatty Patty.  I wasn’t fat.   He also called me dummy.  I’m not dumb.  I’ve carried those lies with me far too long in this life.

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I renew my mind by reading God’s Truth.  I can not do this on my own; I’m being extremely prideful when I try to make any renovations in my life on my own.

My earthly father passed away 13 years ago today.

I thought I would become free that day.  Free from having an abusive earthly father.  Free from worrying about the possibility of him hurting my children or grandchildren.  Free from his anger and hatred.  Free from the bad memories of my childhood.

My life did not change on that day because I was already free when I was accepted into the family of God. ❤  I have had a loving Father for almost 23 years now.  A Father Who has accepted me, Who doesn’t call me names and Who doesn’t hurt me.  A Father Who wants the best for me and Who doesn’t put me down.  A forgiving Father Who guides me in His Truth, Who lovingly corrects me, and Who shows me how to do better in this life.  A Father I willingly obey because He loves me, He cares for me, and He protects me.

I am who I am because of Christ, NOT my earthly father.  I am who I am because I’ve been forgiven.  I am who I am because I renew my mind with God’s Truth and do not pollute my mind with what the world says I should feel.

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If you had an abusive father or didn’t have a father present in your life at all, you DO have a heavenly Father Who loves you and desires the best for you:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
Revelation 3:20 (ESV)

 

Love Your Spouse and Respect Your Ex

  There are many more children who have divorced parents than when I was growing up in the 60’s.  There were only about 9.2 divorces per 1,000 marriages in 1960.  This number more than doubled in 1980 and it continues to increase.

I believe the main reason for the steady increase in the divorce rate is because we have become a disposable society.  Automobiles, appliances, and cellphones are quickly replaced when the newest technology comes out. 
About 12 years ago I tried to have a microwave repaired; I had used it only for 2 years when it stopped working and the repair shop told me it was going to cost almost double to fix it than buying a new one.

It’s the same with marriages and  relationships.  I’ve heard many young people complain how someone they’re dating only stays with them until the next best thing comes around (I blame those numerous dating websites, but that’s a topic to explore another day).  I also hear children complain about how a parent (or another family member) talks badly about the other parent.

 

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 Ephesians 5:22-33 is for wives and husbands, but it’s the first two verses of this chapter that show how we all should treat each other:

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (ESV)

If we call ourselves Christians, we NEED to love each other.  That means NOT speaking badly about your spouse or your ex-spouse, ESPECIALLY in front of the children.  If you’re doing this, you’re sinning and setting a bad example to your children. 

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 Heavenly Father, I praise You as the Author of marriage.  Thank You for Your Word that gives us the example of Biblical marriage and how we should treat our spouse.  Thank You for faithful husbands and wives who live out these examples each day and who show others how we are to live and treat each other.  Thank You for godly parents who desire to be obedient examples to their children.  Father, I lift up those who are separated/divorced and ask that You please silence the negativity no matter who it comes from.  Holy Spirit, please convict Christian parents and family members who choose to speak badly of ex-spouses.  Please guide our homes to be loving and please restore broken relationships.  I ask these things in Jesus’ precious name so You will be glorified.  Amen.

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Acting Like New Creations

When I first became a Christian 22 years ago, the LORD changed many things in me.  The first thing to go was my potty mouth.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I often used the LORD’s name in vain and used many vulgar words.

Many other things changed in my life as I read the Bible and studied with other believers.  My anger disappeared as did my gossiping.  I was calmer with my children and enjoyed life more.  Sure there were struggles and I continue to have struggles, but staying in His Word gives me the desire to turn away from my old life.

Professing Christians are allowing more and more of the world in.  I have been in churches where couples who are living together are allowed to teach Sunday school.  I have a Christian friend who told me that she wouldn’t wait for remarriage to sleep with someone.  Many of my friends have adult children or grandchildren who are turning away from the ways of God and living sinful life-styles.

In 1 Corinthians 5, the Apostle Paul wrote about this very issue and what we’re supposed to do with Christians who continue to sin:

But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
1 Corinthians 5:11-12 (ESV)

Believers should be new creations.  This doesn’t mean that we now have freedom to keep on sinning or that we won’t sin — it means we strive to be more like Christ.  If we truly love Him and say we are His, we will turn away from our sin.

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Heavenly Father, thank You for being a Wonderful Creator!!  Thank You for all You’ve created on this planet in order for us to live and for Your amazing beauty around us!! Thank You for Your sweet, sweet fellowship.  Thank You for each new day to serve You.  Father, please forgive me when I sin and please show me areas of my life that I need to change.  Please show me, Holy Spirit, how to be a new creation.   Please guide me to lovingly help Christian friends/family who have gone back to old ways.  In Jesus’ precious name I pray, for God’s glory.  Amen.  

No Bake Cookies and Christian Love

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

 

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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.    

Choose to remember the good

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Mother’s Day has been a difficult holiday for me since my mom left this world almost 13 years ago. We often didn’t see eye-to-eye and my rebellion of my parent’s extreme strictness didn’t help our relationship. My mother could also be very manipulative, which I didn’t understand until after she passed away — a few years ago I started having long telephone conversations with my aunt about my mom.  I have slowly gained an understanding as to why Mom acted the way she did and why she often said hurtful things to me.

Mom got married at 17, divorced about a year later, went into the Air Force, and then was discharged from the Air Force in 1957 because she was unmarried and pregnant. Mom then married a despicable man, my biological father. I realize now that Mom didn’t want me to make the same mistakes she had, and that the things she said and did were done out of love and concern, not out of anger or hatred.

Instead of remembering the bad times, I choose to remember the good. One of my favorite childhood memories is when Mom would take us to Jones Beach during summer break. We’d go so early in the morning that the crews would still be combing the sands to make it pretty for a new day. I remember wonderful days of swimming in the ocean, searching for perfect sea shells and beautiful beach glass, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, taking in the wonderful aromas of coconut tanning lotion, and then going home exhausted with lots of extra sand in our car (and in our bathing suits).

Yesterday I attended an Eagle Scout award ceremony for a young man in our town. My heart broke for him because neither of his parents were there for his very important achievement.  I was thankful, though, that over a dozen school staff and their families chose to attend. I have never heard this young man say anything negative about his parents — an excellent reminder that we ALL need to be thankful and choose to focus on the good.

If your own mother was absent from your life due to drug or alcohol abuse, choose to remember the good. If your mother has already left this Earth, whether through death or a devastating illness such as Alzheimer’s, choose to remember the good times you have shared. If you never had a mother at all, or yours was just totally lacking in any maternal skills, choose to be thankful that she chose life!

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)

Please don’t allow Satan to steal your joy. If you had a bad relationship with your Mom, pray that God shows you the good times you shared. The Holy Spirit is inspiring me to make one wise choice after another and I do believe that these are sustainable disciplines. To God be the glory!!