Rev. Franklin Graham: Obama helps Islamists, ignores Christian Persecution *Rev. Franklin Graham questions Christianity of Obama and Romney

February 27, 2012 by  
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The Rev. Franklin GrahamUSA, February 21, 2012: The Rev. Franklin Graham says President Barack Obama has “given Islam a pass,” including ignoring atrocities against Christians in the Muslim world — so much so that the evangelist says he cannot “categorically” say Obama is not a Muslim.

In a stunning interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday, the renowned Christian leader and son of the Rev. Billy Graham expressed shock that Obama was doing little to protect Christians across the Muslim world against a wave of persecution.

MSNBC’s liberal hosts were flummoxed by Graham’s strong rebuke of Obama, and they asked him whether he believes the president is a Christian.

“You have to ask that of President Obama,” Graham shot back. “You can ask me do I believe you’re a Christian. I think people have to ask Barack Obama. He’s come out saying he’s a Christian. So I think the question is, what is a Christian?”

Graham said he asked Obama about his faith when he was first running for president.

Graham related their conversation: “He said that he was working on the south side of Chicago in the community and they asked him what church he went to.

“He said I don’t go to church. Then they said if you are going to work in our community you have to join one of the churches. Then, of course, he joined Reverend Jeremiah’s church. So that’s what his answer to my question was.”

Again queried about Obama’s faith, Graham repeated: “You have to ask him. I cannot answer that question for anybody. All I know is I’m a sinner and that God has forgiven me of my sins because I put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ.”

Graham added that he accepts Obama’s claim he’s a Christian at face value, but said ultimately only God knows his heart.

He did note that Obama has shown strong empathy toward Muslims, and the president has an Islamic background.

“Under Islamic law, under Shariah law, Islam sees him as a son of Islam, because his father was a Muslim, his grandfather was a Muslim, his great-grandfather was a Muslim,” Graham said.

“So under Islamic law, the Muslim world sees President Obama as a Muslim, as a son of Islam. That’s just the way it works. That’s the way they see him.”

Asked whether he believes Obama is “categorically not a Muslim,” Graham said, “I can’t say categorically because Islam has gotten a free a pass under Obama.”

Graham noted that Obama’s Middle East policies have helped Islamists while hurting Christian minorities throughout the region.

“We see the Arab Spring, and coming out of the Arab Spring, the Islamists are taking control of the Middle East. And people like [Hosni] Mubarak was a dictator, but he kept the peace with Israel and the Christian minorities in Egypt were protected.

“Now those Christian minorities throughout the entire Arab world are under attack. A Newsweek magazine cover story last week [was about] was the massacre of Christians in the Islamic world. From Europe all the way through the Middle East to Africa into East Asia, Muslims are killing Christians.

“The president can come out and make a statement demanding that if these countries do not protect their minorities, no more foreign aid from the United States. They are not protecting the minorities. The society in these Islamic countries is not protecting the Christians anymore.”

Graham added: “And hopefully, the people that are in power are going to protect the minorities, and Christians in the Muslim world are the minority. Egypt is like 13 million in the minority. Nigeria is 80-some million, but they’re still a minority.

“These Christians are having their churches burned. They’re being raped. Women are being raped. They’re being murdered. Because under Shariah law Muslims can take a Christian’s property, take a Christian’s life, can take his daughter. And this is what is happening. The governments are not able to protect the minorities in the society. And they’re unwilling to protect them. If a government is not going to protect the minorities, we should not give them one dollar of U.S. aid.”

Graham claimed Obama is doing little to nothing to help persecuted Christians.

“And he’s got the power of the White House,” Graham complained. “He could be speaking to these countries right now, demanding that they protect the Christians in those countries. He’s been quiet about it.

“We have an aid station in Southern Sudan. The Sudanese dropped bombs on it right before Christmas. We have a Bible school. Just two weeks ago the Sudanese air force dropped eight bombs on that Bible school. Why doesn’t the president come out and try to bring peace to the Sudan?”, he asked.

– MSNBC

Rev. Graham questions Christianity of Obama and Romney

 

Romney_Franklin_ObamaUSA, February 21, 2012: Franklin Graham, the son of prominent evangelist Billy Graham, questioned the Christianity of both President Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday.

Asked in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” if he believed Mr. Obama was a Christian, Graham said he would “have to assume” he is because “he has said he’s a Christian,” but then added that he cannot answer the question himself.

“You’ll have to ask President Obama,” Graham said, when asked directly what he believes about Mr. Obama’s faith.

“You can ask me ‘Do I believe you’re a Christian?’ I think the best thing for a person is to ask you directly, so I think people have to ask Barack Obama. He’s come out saying that he’s a Christian, so I think the question is ‘What is a Christian?'” Graham said.

Graham was also asked about the former Massachusetts governor, who is in tight race with Rick Santorum, a conservative Catholic, in next week’s Republican primary in Michigan.

“Most Christians would not recognize Mormonism as part of the Christian faith,” Graham said, declining to say outright that he does not count Romney, a Mormon, as a Christian.

“I’m just saying most Christians would not recognize Mormonism,” Graham said. “Of course, they believe in Jesus Christ, but they have a lot of other things they believe in too that we don’t accept theologically. But he would be a good president if he [won] the nomination.”

Graham suggested Mr. Obama is not as Christian as he could be, or as Christian as other presidential candidates on the trail.

“But the question is: What is a Christian? And a Christian is a person that believes Jesus Christ is God’s son who died on a cross for our sins who God raised to life. And that if we put our faith and trust in him, then God will forgive us of our sins. Now, that’s the definition of a Christian. I was 22 years old when I asked Christ to come into my heart. You cannot be born a Christian; you can only be converted. And that is by putting your faith and trust in Christ,” Graham said.

He said that, in a conversation he’d had with Mr. Obama a number of years ago, the president told him he’d started to go to church while working on the south side of Chicago because leaders in the community told him it was a necessity.

“So therefore, by your definition, he’s not a Christian,” prompted MSNBC’s Willie Geist.

“Again. You’d have to ask him. I cannot answer that question for anybody. All I know is that I’m a sinner and that God has forgiven me of my sins. Because I put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ. That’s all I know,” Graham said.

Graham had a different response when asked if Santorum was a Christian.

“Do you believe that Rick Santorum is a Christian?” asked Geist.

“I think so,” said Graham.

“How do you know? If the standard is only the person knows what’s within him, when you apply it to the president why is it different for Rick Santorum?” asked Geist.

Graham said he believes Santorum is “a man of faith” because of the “stand he takes” on moral issues.

“Well, because his values are so clear on moral issues. No question about it,” Graham said. “And I just appreciate the moral stand that he takes on these things. So I believe that he is. He comes from a Catholic faith; I’m Protestant so there are a lot of differences between what he believes and what I believe. But yet I think he is, no question, I believe he’s a man of faith.”

John Heilemann, a journalist and guest on the show, accused Graham of applying an “incredible double standard” to Mr. Obama and Santorum on the question of religion, given that previously he’d said that one can’t know the depth of another’s religious faith.

“No. I asked President Obama how he came to faith in Christ. And he said ‘I don’t go to church,'” Graham said. He said Santorum had been more persuasive on the question when he had a similar conversation with him about faith.

“You have to look at a person does with his life. Anyone can say that he’s a Christian, but you look at how they live,” Graham said.

Graham also said he thinks Gingrich is a Christian.

“I think Newt is a Christian,” he said. “At least he told me he is.”

– cbsnews

Christian student denied extra marks awarded to Muslims in Pakistan

February 27, 2012 by  
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OphthalmoscopePakistan, February 21, 2012: A Christian student missed out on a place at state medical school under the discriminatory system in Pakistan that awards an extra 20 marks to Muslims who have memorised the Quran.

Haroon Arif, from Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab, got ‘A’ grades in both his matriculation and intermediate exams but was just 0.0255% off the mark required in his final aggregate to attend a government-run medical university.

He argued that his knowledge of the Bible was equivalent to that of a Muslim who had memorised the Quran, and that he should therefore qualify for the extra 20 marks they receive; this would boost his final result by about two per cent.

Haroon said:

I deserved it and yet just because I am Christian, I have been put at a disadvantage.

I know of students who did not perform well in the test and had lower marks in their matriculation and intermediate exams, but they got in, just because of these twenty marks.

Haroon tried to show the university his three certificates in Bible education, but the authorities said they had no policy to accept them.

Mohammad Atif, head of public affairs at the University of Health Sciences, which conducts the medical tests, said:

We realise this is against human rights and have debated a lot on this policy, since minorities are being marginalised – but we follow government orders.

Haroon took the case to court with the help of a human rights organisation, arguing that his rights had been violated. He submitted two letters, one from the Church of Pakistan and the other from the Bishop of Islamabad, that stated that Haroon’s religious education was on a par with any Islamic education. But the court did not acknowledge that this was a human rights issue.

And it does not seem that the policy, which has been in place for over 20 years, is likely to change any time soon.

Punjab’s education minister Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman said:

We cannot change the system because of a nominal amount of people.

A state-run medical school, which charge only ten per cent of the cost of a private university education, was Haroon’s only hope of training to become a doctor. His parents are lowly paid health workers.

He said, “I have seen my parents in this profession but only as support staff. Is that all Christians are destined to do?

I am as much a Pakistani as any Muslim, we are all equal citizens and the government will realise this.

Pakistani Christians face widespread discrimination in public life, which means that most can get only menial and low-paid jobs, keeping them trapped in poverty.

– barnabas team

Hindu Radicals damages Pastor’s car in Kerala

February 27, 2012 by  
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Pastor's Car damaged in KeralaKerala, February 25, 2012: Pastor Titus Ignatious Kappan is doing gospel work in Kanhangad Sub Division of Kasaragod District in Kerala, ever since June 2010. The name of pastor’s church is Life Changers Church, and he has a fellowship of a little over 100 members, most of whom are Hindu converts from SC backgrounds. On 21st February, Tuesday evening, he was invited by Mr. Rajan, an SC convert and member of his fellowship, residing at Chathurakinar in Kanhangad to join him for dinner. Accordingly, the pastor drove himself in his car Tata Indica Vista 2010 model, along with his children for dinner and parked the car in front of the house. After exchange of pleasantries and a short prayer, they began their dinner.

While they were having their dinner, suddenly some ant- social elements came over to their place and began tackling the pastor and his children, abusing them using very foul language. Though the pastor tried to pacify them saying that he would talk to them after dinner, they would have none of his advice, they began damaging his car with huge boulders and stones and smashed all the glasses and also badly damaged the entire car.

As there was no other way except to get in touch with the police immediately, the pastor telephoned to the police. On learning that the pastor was calling the police, all the culprits ran away from few others. After an hour or so, the police arrived and inspected the spot, collected the necessary details and took the car to the police station. Based on the FIR filed by the pastor, the police also filed a charge-sheet, but however so far no arrests of the culprits have been made. When they inquired with the police, we understand that the police told them that they have been working on it.

– persecution.in

Joint ballistic test tomorrow as Indian-Italian relations thaw *Italy-India Tug of war continues, while widow left homeless

February 27, 2012 by  
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Joint ballistic test tomorrow as Indian-Italian relations thawIndia-Itali, February 24, 2012: The High Court in Kerala heeds a request by the Italian consul in Mumbai to wait for two Italian policemen before conducting the test. Locals are satisfied, believing that cooperation is the only way to find the truth and achieve justice. “The autopsy did take place,” said Kerala Region Latin Catholic Council secretary general.

India and Italy will jointly conduct ballistic tests on board the Enrica Lexie. Responding to a request of Giampaolo Cutillo, Italian consul in Mumbai, the High Court of Kerala ordered the test be postponed, initially set for today, until tomorrow to allow technical staff from the Italian police (Carabinieri) to reach Kochi harbour, where the oil tanker is berthed.  This additional sign of openness comes a day after the prosecutor decided to extend the detention of the Italian marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, without formally arresting the two.

“The people of Kerala and the families of the fishermen are satisfied about how the case is unfolding,” said Fr Stephen G. Kulakkayathil, secretary general of Kerala Region Latin Catholic Council (KRLCC). Speaking to AsiaNews, he said, “Finally, Indian and Italian authorities have found the right approach, which is to work together.”

“We want to see an appropriate investigation so that every aspect of the case is clear: ship’s position, distance, weapons, etc. Working together is the only way to determine who is really responsible for these deaths.”

Speaking about the controversy surrounding the autopsy of the two fishermen, Fr Kulakkayathil said, “The autopsy did take place. I was on the beach when the coast guard brought back the bodies, which were immediately taken to the local morgue. The next morning, police moved them to Trivandrum’s Medical College Hospital. Tests indicate that Gelastine died from a gunshot to the head. Binki died instead from a wound to the chest. Two bullets, that’s all.”

Meanwhile, the position of Italian authorities has not changed. According to the Italian Navy, oil tanker Enrica Lexie was in international, not Indian waters when the incident occurred.

The number of shots fired also does not add up. For Italy, there were two bursts of machinegun fire (in the air and in the water), a single burst of 60 shots according to India.

The presence of another ship, the Olympic Fair, also casts its shadow over the whole affair. The Greek-flagged ship is said to be very similar to the Italian ship and was also involved in gunfire.

Greek authorities have denied the claim, saying that no ship fitting that description was in the Indian Ocean at the time.

– asianews

Italy-India Tug of war continues, while widow left homeless

 

Tug of war between India-ItaliaIndia-Italy, February 23, 2012: Two Italian marines to be held for a further 7 days. Relatives of victims experience a “strong sense of insecurity.” Pinku’s widow left in dire straits: The Tamil Nadu Government has no job or home for her.

While India and Italy continue with their diplomatic standoff, the situation of the families of two victims “is getting no better”, explains Fr. Ignaci Rajasekaran, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Trivandrum (Kerala) to AsiaNews. And the widow of Pinku, the fisherman originally from Tamil Nadu, is still homeless. Today the magistrate in Kochi decided a further seven days in custody for the Italian marines. This was the Kerala High Court decision after admitting the appeal by the Italian government for the release of Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, arrested for the murder of two Indian fishermen off the State coast.

However, with each passing day, the priest says, “two opposing situations are taking shape. The Kerala Government has responded decisively to concretely help Dora, the widow of Jelestein. In addition to 500 thousand rupees, the government has offered her a job and Quilon parishioners [diocese the family belongs to] have gathered around her. Thanks to this support, the widow has decided to appeal to the court of Quilon, to get more aid. ”

The widow of Pinku, the second fisherman killed, is in a completely different situation. Unlike the other family, very little is known or told of this family in the papers, both Italian and foreign. “The Government of Tamil Nadu – admits Fr. Rajasekaran – is guilty. Apart from giving the 500 thousand rupees compensation, it has done nothing. The chief minister has just paid a visit to the widow, expressing his condolences for the death of Pinku. In the Archdiocese of Trivandrum, we are trying to contact the state ministers to push them to do something. But being in Kerala we do not have a big influence. ”

Fortunately, even in the case of the widow of Pinku parishioners, the villagers and the local church have been active. “All together – says the priest – we are organizing a protest to demand the government of Tamil Nadu find a job and a home for that family. Both widows are suffering and experiencing a strong sense of insecurity, but not having a roof over ones head is terrible. I hope that something will change soon. ”

– asianews

‘Ten years of the Gujarat Genocide’

February 27, 2012 by  
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Ten years of the Gujarat GenocideInvitation to a Commemoration Meeting in Mumbai:

‘Justice for Victims of 2002 Genocide’

Day/Date: Monday, February 27, 2012; 6-8 pm. (Meeting starts at 6 pm sharp)

Venue: St. Xaviers College Main auditorium, Next to Rang Bhavan, 5, Mahapalika Marg, Mumbai. (Phone: 22620661)

February 27/28 mark ten years both of the tragic death of 57 persons due to fire in a compartment of the Sabarmati Express near Godhra station and the criminal manipulation of this tragic incident as a pretext for the Modi government sponsored anti-Muslim genocide throughout the state.

On February 27, thousands of victim-survivors of the mass crime, lawyers, jurists, activists, artistes and intellectuals from all over the country will assemble at Gulberg Society, Ahmedabad for a commemoration. Through words and images, reminiscences and video-clips, photo exhibition, names of ‘Missing Persons’ enlisted on a ‘Wailing Wall’, honouring those who risked their lives to save neighbours who were the target, music and tears, the Crimes Against Humanity committed ten years ago will be recalled and the plight of the traumatised and the displaced highlighted. The survivors from Gulberg Society will lead the assembled people through the housing colony and recount the horrors of February 28, 2002. A collective resolve will be renewed to continue the struggle for justice to the victim-survivors and punishment to the perpetrators and masterminds of the carnage.

The entire programme at Gulberg Society, symbolising the Holocaust in Gujarat will be webcast for viewing Live on the afternoon/evening of Feb 27 and posted on U-tube subsequently so that we remember, never forget.

Simultaneous Commemoration Meetings are planned in several cities, including Mumbai and Delhi. For a part of the meeting on Feb 27, we hope to be able to view the programme webcast Live from Gulberg Society. The Mumbai meeting is being jointly organised by ALL justice and peace-promoting individuals/organisations and St Xaviers College. We urge you to be there and also publicise it widely within your circle of family, friends and colleagues urging them to be there too.

Convenor: Javed Anand, Citizens for Justice and Peace javedanand@gmail.com

Pannur Jesuits

Churches ordered to stop holding services in Iranian national language

February 24, 2012 by  
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Iranian-Christians-worshipIran, February 21, 2012: The last two registered Tehran churches to hold services in Farsi have been ordered to stop doing so on Fridays in an apparent bid to prevent Muslims from hearing the Gospel in their own language.

The pastors of Emmanuel Protestant Church and St Peter Evangelical Church were issued with the order by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security earlier this month and announced it to their congregations on 10 February.

It means that there are now no Christian services in Farsi, the language of the Muslim majority in Iran, in any officially registered church in the capital on Fridays. The order was not applied to Sundays, but Friday is the main weekend-day in Iran, and it is difficult for people to attend church on any other day because of work commitments.

The two churches are among the small number of officially registered churches that principally serve the Armenian and Assyrian communities of Iran. Most of their activities are conducted in the Armenian and Assyrian languages.

Middle East Concern said that the order to stop Farsi services was consistent with the authorities’ policy of restricting Christian activities to these traditional communities. It is illegal to conduct church services and Bible studies in Farsi, which prevents Muslims from hearing the Gospel and converts from Islam from worshipping in their own language.

Individuals Targeted

Individual members of the two churches have also been targeted; some have lost their jobs after the authorities put pressure on their employers.

In a separate case, Maasis Mosesian, an elder of the Assemblies of God church in Tehran, was arrested in a raid on his workplace by state security agents on 8 February. No reason has been given for the arrest of the married father of two, whose family have not been allowed to see him.

The Iranian authorities are also continuing their campaign against the country’s growing house church movement. On 8 February, a house church in Shiraz was raided by security officers; they searched the premises, confiscated Bibles and arrested at least seven Christian converts. Their homes were also searched, and items including Gospels, Christian books, CDs, computers, faxes and satellite TV receivers were seized.

– barnabas team

Building A Home

February 24, 2012 by  
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Building A HomeThe walls of a house are not made of wood, brick or stone, but of truth and loyalty.

Unpleasant sounds, the friction of living, the clash of personalities are not deadened by Persian rugs or polished floors, but by conciliation, concession and self-control.

The house is not a structure where bodies meet, but a hearthstone upon which flames mingle separate flames of souls which, the more perfectly they unite, the more clearly they shine and the straighter they rise toward Heaven.

Your house is your fortress in a warring world, where a woman’s hand buckles on your armour in the morning and soothes your fatigue and wounds at night.

The beauty of a house is harmony.

The security of a house is loyalty.

The joy of a house is love.

The plenty of a house is in children.

The rule of a house is service.

The comfort of a house is in contented spirits.

The maker of a house, a real human house, is God Himself, the same One who made the stars and built the world.

– Emmanuel Baptist News

Building A Home

Pastor accused of forced conversion in Tamil Nadu

February 24, 2012 by  
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christian-persecutionTamil Nadu, February 23, 2012: John Chidambaran has been ministering in Thuvakudi, Trichi District for the past 20 years. He has a church named Mercy Prayer Hall which he built about 20 years ago. The land on which the church and the parsonage stands built on his own land which includes about 3 1/2 (three and half) cents of poramboke land allotted to Pastor John Chidambaran by the Thasildar of Tiruvarambur. Pastor’s neighbour who demands part of the poramboke land picked up a quarrel and broke the water pipe on February 21, 2012. Aggrieved by this, the pastor made a complaint to Thuvakudi Police Station. In retaliation to the police complaint, the neighbour brought about 10 RSS men led by one Mahendra and had the pastor beaten. His daughter Mercy (27years), was also beaten who was taken to the Hospital for treatment.

The Police came into the picture and said that they will settle the matter amicably and took an undertaking from the Pastor. Even after this, the neighbour, along with Mahendra the leader of RSS men went to Pastor’s brother and had him beaten and sent him to Judicial custody in Trichy central Jail on 22nd February 2012. Mahendra had created some problem for the pastor about 8 years ago and he has revived his attack on the ground of forced conversion.

– persecution.in

Urgent Prayer & Action: Death – Final Verdict for Pastor Youcef

February 24, 2012 by  
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Pastor Youcef NadarkhaniIran, February 22, 2012: “The world needs to stand up and say that a man cannot be put to death because of his faith.” -J. Sekulow, ACLJ

According to a FOXNews report today, the final verdict has been handed down on Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s fate—death.

As Youcef’s supporters all around the world feared, the Iranian trial court has decided that he will be executed on the charges that he left Islam to convert to Christianity.

These charges have stood in spite of the fact that it could not be proven that the 34-year-old father of two had been a Muslim during his adult years, which would prove apostasy. In addition, Youcef himself has always maintained his innocence saying that he was always a Christian as an adult.

He was given the chance to recant his Christian faith, but he refused, and he also refused to say that Muhammad was a prophet.

Jordan Sekulow, executive director of The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), said, “The world needs to stand up and say that a man cannot be put to death because of his faith.

“This one case is not just about one execution. We have been able to expose the system instead of just letting one man disappear, like so many other Christians have in the past.”

According to the report, the final order was given just days after US Congress supported a resolution sponsored by Penn. Rep. Joseph Pitts, which denounced the charges and called for an “immediate release.”

“Iran has become more isolated because of their drive for nuclear weapons, and the fundamentalist government has stepped up persecution of religious minorities to deflect criticism,” Rep. Pitts toldFoxNews.com. “The persecuted are their own citizens, whose only crime is practicing their faith.”

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s family and supporters are asking for urgent prayer by Believers worldwide, on his behalf, and for people to contact their legislators to ask for intervention.

– breakingchristiannews

Watch What You Say…

February 22, 2012 by  
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”Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus… have been a wonderful encouragement to me.” 1 Corinthians 16:17-18

watch-what-you-say1

Most of us have no idea how much other people’s emotions, self-esteem and hopes are influenced by what we say.

Paul said,

‘Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus… have been a wonderful encouragement to me.’

If you’ve never heard of them, it’s because most encouragers hate being the centre of attention.

They’re happy to work in a supporting role. But without them very little would get done.

The opposite of giving encouragement is spreading discouragement, and Paul says,

‘Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up… that it may benefit those who listen’ (Ephesians 4:29).

Jesus said, ‘…[You’ll] give account… by your words you will be justified, and… condemned’ (Matthew 12:36-37).

watch-what-you-say

What you say can never be taken back, and it’ll be used as evidence for or against you one day.

Dr Thomas Blackaby points out,

‘Words… can leave scars for a lifetime, and many people will never forget some of the things you’ve said to them, both good things, such as words of encouragement, and bad things, such as criticism and rebuke… Make the best possible use of words so they bring blessings on others.’

So, are your words encouraging?

Can it be said that there’s ‘…nothing crooked or perverse… in them’ (Proverbs 8:8)?

Ask God to ‘Set a guard… over [your] mouth…’ (Psalm 141:3) So whatever you say glorifies Him and lifts others up.

watch-what-you-say 

– fwd: samuel machado

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