Central tweets to November

Tweets important to November

30 November – Luke 6:37

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.

28 November – Psalms 87:4

Delight yourself in the Lord ; And He will give you the desires of your heart.

27 November – Jeremiah 33:3

”Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

26 November – Psalms 100:5

For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.

25 November – 1 Corinthians 6:20

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

23 November – Romans 15:5-6

Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 15:5-6 NASB

22 November – Psalms 100:4

Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

21 November – Psalm 9:1

I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.

21 November – Isaiah 25:1

O Lord , You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.

19 November – Psalm 3:3

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.

18 November – Psalm 9:1

But You, O Lord , are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

17 November – 1 Corinthians 9:15

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

14 November – 2 Corinthians 12:9

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

13 November – Acts 20:24

But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

12 November – 1 John 3:1

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

11 November – Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

11 November – 3 John 1:2

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.

10 November – Proverbs 27:17

Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.

8 November – 2 Corinthians 7:1

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

7 November – Hebrews 9:28

so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

6 November – John 1:14

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

5 November – James 1:2-3

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

4 November – Ecclesiastes 11:5

Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.

3 November – Proverbs 13:20

He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.

1 November – Pslam 42:11

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

My most important tweets of December 2018

December tweets on the verse of the day from the YouVersion app and the Bible Eye app

As I prepare to study my Bible, I generally review the verse of the day (that usually has up to 6 illustrating images) by the YouVersion app. When I find it moving (which is most of the time), I tweet the verse along with the image that most moves me.

At other times, I see a scene that makes me think of a particular Bible verse. Now that the Bible Eye app has been modified to allow the user to pair an image with a verse, I have started doing that.

31 December – James 1:5

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

This is one of several images created through the Bible Eye app.

31 December – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

This, like most of the verse-of-the-day images, came from the YouVersion Bible.

30 December – 1 John 4:15

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

29 December – Luke 6:35-36

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

29 December – 1 John 2:6

the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

27 December – Matthew 4:4

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘ man shall not live on bread alone , but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God .'”

27 December – Colossians 1:16

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him.

25 December – Isaiah 9:6

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

24 December – Luke 2:14

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

22 December – Matthew 1:21

She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

22 December – 1 John 4:9

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

22 December – John 3:17

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

19 December – Isaiah 26:9

At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

19 December – Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

16 December – Ephesians 6:12

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

15 December – Matthew 5:14

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;

14 December – Matthew 5:17

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

13 December – John 4:20

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

12 December – Mark 8:34

And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

10 December – Romans 13:10

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

9 December – Proverbs 5:21

For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord , And He watches all his paths.

9 December – Proverbs 13:6

For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord , And He watches all his paths.

6 December – 1 Corinthians 16:14

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

4 December – 1 Corinthians 13:2

If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

2 December – Ephesians 2:8

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

1 December – Romans 8:37

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

An Encouragement for Christian Men to Stand

Recently, Pastor Bradford Smith published an article that (like the father above) presented such a scene of salvation that it would not be ignored. Therefore, I have provided his full article and associated photos (including the photo above).

The Power of a Godly Father

We’ve been duped and distracted. This is all a ruse, ancillary and sensational window-dressing. Our culture wars on gender, abortion, the militant LGBT lobby, drag-queen children, Christian bakers, free speech (religious and otherwise), gun control—mere skirmishes to a broader conflict. There is a full-scale assault upon the bastion of a righteous nation, the godly father.

These issues distract and divide depreciating biblical masculinity as an archaic concept, symbolic of a by-gone patriarchy. Meanwhile, our nation systematically castrates our men. We demonize masculinity, suppressing the slightest hints of masculine aggression in young boys. With few godly examples to emulate, young men go one of two routes, submit to being neutered and become a hollowed out shell of a man immersed in pornography, maybe video games, or lash out in the oppression of women. These days, the cultural ideal for manhood has become the homosexual man, one who possesses the capacity but not the propensity to reproduce, to father. You see, Satan knows all too well the power of a godly father.

Father to the Church

God calls godly men to lead His church. (1 Timothy 3, Titus 1) He commissions elders to lead, guide, shepherd, and protect His people. The church elder must be the husband of one wife, literally a one-woman-man. He must be of reputable character, and he must manage and lead his household well, his wife and his children. (1 Timothy 3:5) He must be a godly father. (God nowhere restricts single or childless men from service.)

That he manages his home well indicates how he might manage the household of God. If he cannot manage his own home, how can he be trusted with such a responsibility? As God likens His church to a household, godly men are the fathers of the Church.

Yet, most men sit content in their excess as idle and flaccid caricatures of what God has called them to be. They flee the feminized Church in droves, leaving any practice of spirituality to their wives, further emasculating the Church. Entire denominations ignore the authority of Scripture and ordain female clergy. Women are left holding the bag, so to speak.

Sunday is my day to sleep in, or…

The game’s on, or…

I don’t really want to be preached at this morning…

This is not what God intended in His revealed will. God looks to godly men, to godly fathers, to lead His church in taking the Gospel to the nations. God dispatches godly fathers to lead the assault against the very gates of hell, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to set them free. (Matthew 16:18, Luke 4:18)

This is the power of a godly father.

Father to His Children

What a man does in his home is equally as important, if not more important than what he does in public, or in the church. The family is the building block of the church, the foundation of a godly nation. Few things indicate the condition of a nation more so than the state of its families.

And few things display the power of a godly father more than his role in the family. God entrusted the future of the Church to godly fathers, that they would minister to their families. This is a great Gospel issue and you may not evade this call.

Children inherit the faith of their parents. Really, they inherit the faith of their fathers. Dads, God is calling you to father. Men, God is calling you to father.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them. (Psalm 127:4-5)

The Lord has equipped us with two great weapons for this cutthroat spiritual battle. He has given us the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17) The Word of God is a weapon in the hand of a warrior. But He has filled our quiver with arrows, our children. Our sons, our children, are like arrows in the hands of a warrior. The Bible and our children—the weapons of a godly father. Would you put the sword of the Spirit into the hands of your sons?

This is the power of a godly father.

Reality confronts as most fathers abdicate the responsibility to make disciples of their sons, either leaving it to the Church or neglecting it altogether. This is a great Gospel issue. Most Christians convert before the age of 18. There are very few adult converts. If a young man leaves home before conversion, chances are he will die one day in his sin.

The religious practices of the father, above everything else, determine the future religious practices of the child. From a 1994 Swiss study, if a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful the wife’s devotion, only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper.

Secular psychology concurs. From Freud, a child’s psychological representation of his father is intimately connected to his understanding of God. Once a child is disappointed in or loses respect for his earthly father, belief in a heavenly father becomes impossible. The younger a man, the more likely he is to have a poor relationship with his father. Though the correlation is not firmly established, the younger man is also less likely to believe in God.

Here is the power of a godly father, the power to make disciples of all the nations…starting with his own sons.

Fathers to the Fatherless

Let us consider those who have no father?

It is a fact that orphans suffer. System kids who ‘graduate’ the system at 18 not having been adopted have only despair to look forward to. Statistically, most of them will fail at life. Incarceration, addiction, homelessness, poverty, children out of wedlock: this is the likely future of those never adopted. Every year, our nation generates thousands of new adults who will always struggle.

Those raised by a single mother struggle nearly as much. A disproportionate number of prisoners in our nation’s penal system come from single mother homes. The presence of an active father yields better students, higher achievement, college, higher income, fewer mental and social issues. Yet, the ranks of the fatherless grows daily as more and more men walk, abandoning their responsibility to father. It is the children who suffer.

Most of all though, who will teach them about Christ? This is the true issue as each year we populate the ranks of adulthood with thousands of those least likely to ever believe. This is a great Gospel issue and in this, we see the potential power of a godly man. Perhaps God knew what He was doing when He ordained that a man leave his mother and father and ‘cleave’ to the woman in the bonds of marriage.

The orphans, the fatherless, they live desperate for the love and commitment of a godly father. Selflessly, thousands of godly fathers nationwide answer the call to stand in the gap and say, “I will be that man.”

This is the power of a godly father.

Fathers to the Nation

Our nation yearns desperately for the leadership of strong and steady men, men of God, committed men, serious in their faith and with their families. Our nation desperately needs godly fathers to step forward and declare that which God has ordained.

The godly father would never stand by as our nation silently slaughters our babies in the womb.

The godly father would never stand silent as orphans languish in their affliction.

The godly father could not tolerate our collective national drift from godliness.

Perhaps you or I could be that man. I pray that God would raise up a generation of such men, that He would show His power in the commitment of godly fathers.


A Visual Analysis of the Graphics Chosen by Pastor Bradford Smith

One of the things that drew me into this article was the graphics.  Therefore, as a complement to Pastor Smith’s eye for illustrating images, I would like to point out all of the things that these pictures add to the message that Pastor Smith sought to share on fatherhood.

First, we have a father and son likely at a major league baseball game. A bat comes flying and almost eveybody looks out for their own well being. The man and woman in front of the son duck so low as to almost be out of the frame of the picture. Even the man two rows behind the son has his arms drawn up defensively around his chest. Fortunately the father stretches out his protective arm (and, for that, likely receives a nasty bruise or worse). Conversely (until the father protectively swung his arm in front of the boy), the son had kept his face buried in his iPhone and would have received a disabling blow to the brain had his father’s arm not intervened. Still, since the son raised his head to put his nose on the same level as the bat and since dad’s arm cannot absorb all of the kinetic force of the bat, we can only guess at how appreciative the boy remained after the capturing of this photo. Still, in the light of this protective model of fatherhood, the following verses should illuminate further God’s plan for using fathers to protect others.

Then I said to you, ‘Do not be shocked, nor fear them. The Lord your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.’ (Deuteronomy 1:29-31 NASB)

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13 NASB)

As we consider the soaked back of the dad, first consider the slightly wet legs of the son. You see, as the two walked together, the father adjusted his hold on the umbrella so that neither would get wet. Problem was, that did not work. In the end, dad ended up as you see him: drenched from head to foot while son was mostly dry (except for some dampness around the feet). As with many other parents before him, this father sacrificed his comfort, his leather briefcase and shoes, and, possibly, his health for the sake of his son. To prove God’s concern that we follow in these steps, the following verses model our responsibility to care.

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8 NASB)

do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4 NASB)

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, (1 Peter 5:6 NASB)

Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:13 NASB)

His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually. (Job 1:4-5 NASB)

Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. (Colossians 3:21 NASB)

I’ve seen these guys at prayer breakfasts, deacons meetings, and volunteer events at the church’s food pantry. They have been seen with saws in hand while working on some widow’s house, with a ladle serving scrambled eggs to the homeless in the park, and with a ratchet wrench in hand while standing over a single mom’s shuddering car. Often, these guys come to the prayer meeting wearing blue jeans and baseball caps because they will be painting rooms in the shelter less than an hour after the prayers have been offered. Needless to say, these guys do not just walk the walk, but also pray the prayer and so much more. Likewise, the following verses show God’s direction for fathers to father the church.

Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. (Psalm 82:3 NASB)

shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; (1 Peter 5:2 NASB)

You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12 NASB)

For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. (Titus 1:7-9 NASB)

In this age of Planned Parenthood, the blessing of birth seems to have slipped from the West’s collective consciousness. However, this blessing has always been at the forefront of God’s mind and that of His servant. In the case of the work-worn father of this grad, his body shows evidence of long hours of strenuous work and deprivation. Obviously, he either doesn’t own shoes or he has gotten so accustomed to going barefoot in the dust that he would rather have his son’s graduation photo taken like this. In contrast, his son stands tall and wears the full uniform of graduation: a cap and gown with shirt, tie, slacks, and loafers. Although you cannot minimize the academic work the son completed, you also cannot slight the contributions of the father. You can only recognize the part both play as the son respects the father and the father supports the son. Nonetheless, looking to the following Bible verses will confirm the value God places on children.

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

(Psalm 127:3-5 NASB)

Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me. (Mark 9:37 NASB)

But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. (Mark 10:14 NASB)

See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 18:10 NASB)

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
(Psalm 139:13-16 NASB)

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:1-6 NASB)

Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. (John 16:21 NASB)

Although I have seen Bikers for Christ and have taught a number of young school-age kids (anywhere from second to fourth graders, as needed by the director of Sunday School); however, these two have not been together during my observation. Mostly, this just proves that I am not omniscient. But the one omniscient God has seen the marginalized. He cares about the prisoners. He cares about the orphans and widows. Looking at the following verses will prove these interests of God in first the prisoner and then the orphan and widow.

And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.
(Luke 4:17-19 NASB)

‘Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:9-10 NASB)

Open your mouth for the mute,
For the rights of all the unfortunate.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.
(Proverbs 31:8-9 NASB)

You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. (Exodus 22:22 NASB)

He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. (Deuteronomy 10:18 NASB)

“At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do. (Deuteronomy 14:28-29 NASB)

You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge. (Deuteronomy 24:17 NASB)

“When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. (Deuteronomy 24:19 NASB)

“When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. You shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments. (Deuteronomy 26:12-13 NASB)

Because I delivered the poor who cried for help,
And the orphan who had no helper
(Job 29:12 NASB)

You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand.
The unfortunate commits himself to You;
You have been the helper of the orphan.
(Psalm 10:14 NASB)

To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed,
So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.
(Psalm 10:18 NASB)

A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
(Psalm 68:5 NASB)

Vindicate the weak and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and destitute
(Psalm 82:3 NASB)

The Lord protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked.
(Psalm 146:9 NASB)

Do not move the ancient boundary
Or go into the fields of the fatherless
(Proverbs 23:10 NASB)

if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, (Jeremiah 7:6 NASB)

“Assyria will not save us,
We will not ride on horses;
Nor will we say again, ‘Our god,’
To the work of our hands;
For in You the orphan finds mercy.
(Hosea 14:3 NASB)

and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.’ (Zechariah 7:10 NASB)

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you
(Matthew 6:1-4 NASB)

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:27 NASB)

Although Pastor Bradford Smith‘s article calls the reader to action on items already made central by previous calls to action and Biblical verses, the photograph here does something even more central. It calls the Christian to focus on the Lion of Judah (Christ, as revealed in Revelation 5:5). By centering ourselves on Christ, we will be drawn to act in ways that will benefit both Christ and His kingdom. Therefore, we will find ourselves the least of these as we serve and focus on Him.

and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5 NASB)

The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (Matthew 25:40 NASB)

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (John 14:15 NASB)

Father loves you

Father loves you

Awake in the middle of the night, I prayed:

“How can I communicate to my boys’ class on the love of a father when I haven’t felt the love of my father.”

Then the verses came to mind:

As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love.
(John 15:9 HCSB)

The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. (John 3:35 NASB)

This is why the Father loves Me, because I am laying down My life so I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from My Father.   (John 10:17-18 HCSB)

for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. (John 16:27 NASB)

And, almost audibly, I heard:


JesusPainters Ministries: Better to Give

Putting Jesus’ Words into Action

In Acts 20:35, Paul furthers his point about ministering to others by quoting Jesus:

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:35 NIV)

Therefore, on the example of both Christ and Paul, Mike Lewis of JesusPainter Ministries went to a local grocery store and paid forward on the love of God.

Christ: the Picture of Love

JesusPainter Ministries attempts to illustrate the love of God (1 John 4:8 and Romans 5:8) in a painting.

A Moderate Imam Speaks About Radical Islam

Thanks to MCN for this linked photo.

N.Y. Imam Points out the Inconsistencies Lived out by Many Muslims

Imam Tareq Yousef Al-Masri said the following at the Oulel-Albab Mosque in Brooklyn, New York on 9 January 2015:

“The crisis in France casts its shadow upon us.  The two young brothers who stormed the offices of the (Charlie Hebdo) magazine, which published offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, and affronted the Muslims, just as it affronts others …  This is a satirical magazine, which is well known as such.  This magazine knows no limits when it comes to freedom of speech.  It is peculiar that two years ago, during the Boston (marathon), it was two brothers, of Chechen origin, and now, we have two brothers – of Algerian origin, I think.  What’s the story with brothers?  What’s the story with that all-destructive ideology?  Let us admit, without lying to ourselves, that we, the Muslims, are time bombs.  When I say ‘we, the Muslims,’ I do not mean every single Muslim, but Muslims of the religious sector are time bombs.  When a sinner repents, the first thing he does is make a bomb.  He blows up and kills people.  We must admit this.  We cannot become immune if we do not admit this.  If you have a cancer, it won’t help you if I tell you that you have the flu.  I must tell you that you clearly have cancer.  When someone has cancer, they run a series of tests, in order to identify the cause of this cancer.  They don’t just say that this cancer is an act of God.  Everything comes from Allah, but this should not prevent us from studying the underlying reasons for this cancer.

Let us admit something else.the majority of us Muslims hate the Christians – true or false?  Yes, that is the truth.  You see how many people oppose (congratulating Christians on their holidays), you have to admit that deep-rooted hatred dwells in the hearts of the Muslims.  Someone might say to me: ‘Do you think they love us?  They hate us too.’  What do you care what others do?  Just because there are thieves, would you become a thief too?  In that case, all people would be thieves.  Who instilled so much hatred in these generations?  It is the ideology present in the books – the ideology of Ibn Taymiyya, of Ibn Al-Qayyim, of Al-Nawawi.  These are the pillars of this ideology.  In modern times, we have Ibn Baz, Ibn Al-Uthaymeen, Al-Huweini, Muhammad Hassan …  These people are responsible for instilling hatred in human beings.

Christians sometimes cite the Quranic verses used by these thugs, those (Salafi) scholars who have corrupted the nation of Muhammad, and who have buried our good reputation in the ground, I’ve just mentioned their names – from the past and from the present.  When we tell people that it is forbidden to wish a Christian ‘Merry Christmas,’ does this not lay the foundation for terrorism?  This is how you condition yourself to feel hatred.  The truth of the Quran has been distorted by scholars who corrupt the youth.  Those killers (in France) are the victims of Ibn Taymiyyah, of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, of Ibn Al-Qayyim, of Al-Nawawi, of Al-Huweini, of Ibn Bax, of Ibn Al-Uthaymeen, of Muhammad Hassan.  By Allah, these are wretched victims, who believe that they are worhipping Allah by killing people.

[These scholars consider] any Quranic verse of moral value to have been abrogated. They consider any verse that calls to treat people with kindness to have been abrogated. All that remains valid is: Kill! Slaughter! Is that the only thing that God tells us?!  They have made the Muslims hate everyone – the Christians, the Jews, the atheists, and all human beings. Why did God say: “We made peoples and tribes that you may know one another”? How can you get to know other people if you hate them?! How can you maintain a relationship with them? Oh you who believe that truth is on your side, show me what “merchandise” you are selling. It amounts to nothing but killing and accusing others of heresy and polytheism. It is all bad. What have you contributed to human civilization? Nothing! Then you try to claim that you are the best among people, and that you will go to Paradise while everybody else will go to the Hellfire.

I am ashamed of the rotten and despicable conduct of the Muslims. Today, the Muslims stand up in mosques and wash their hands of these two brothers – or of the two brothers from the Boston bombings – but is this enough? No. Oh servants of Allah, do not hate people! Love people. Get closer to them. Do you want to invite other people to join Islam, while you hate them and curse them day and night?!  In my fatwas, I said that we should wish the Christians happy holidays. I wrote that Allah said: “And speak to the people good.” Would you believe that some Wahhabi on Facebook said that this verse referred to the Jews and the Israelites?! In other words, they are supposed “to speak to people good,” while we are supposed to treat people like trash…  Anyone claiming that we are not allowed to wish the Christians happy holidays has prepared the killers in France, Boston, in Iraq, in Syria, in Egypt … These people constitute the fertile ground for terrorism, which they present as the religion of Allah, conveyed to the Prophet Muhammad, while Islam has nothing to do with them.”

Encouragement to Imam Tareq Yousef Al-Masri

You are correct in your assessment that hatred will not draw people into relationships.   Likewise, being seen as a source of violence does not endear us to anyone.  Love, however, opens the doors to relationships and relationships are the currency of life.

Love and the Christian Message

Within the Christian view, love is our primary law.

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.” (Mark 12:28-41 NIV)

Love is where God requires primacy.

Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:37-39 NIV)

Love requires effort and, for the Christian, goes against the natural tendencies of men.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21 NIV)

God acts as the greatest example of love.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:7-21 NIV)

A special relationship between God and believers in His Son starts with love.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1 NIV)

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:9-17 NIV)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17 NIV)

The specifics of love.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NIV)