Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Islam’

I am usually a very solid sleeper.  This morning sleep alludes me and thoughts of myriad concerns and big truths swirl in my mind.  It strikes me that if I were to fully rest in the big truths, the myriad concerns would shrink into insignificance.  So I think I will capture the big truths here and see what happens.

God is omniscient.

God is sovereign.

God is in control.

No matter what the view appears to be at the current moment, in the big picture God knows how He is going to bring good out of the present situation.  As I write this a scene from a movie comes to mind.  In the movie Sahara, Penelope Cruz has been lowered into a well in the desert.  While she is in there the bad guys come up and reek havoc.  She can only see a small sliver of sky but she hears the commotion and she knows the situation is dire.  As the scene continues to develop we see the two good guys coming up with a plan (albeit a seat-of-their-pants plan) and they save the day.  The analogy here is about Penelope in the well.  She can only see and hear a small part of what is unfolding much like we are in our times of distress.  But God is never surprised by the difficulties that we experience.  He is ready to meet us in the hard place and help us through it.  By the way, the analogy breaks down about the seat-of-the-pants plan.  God’s already aware of what He is going to do.  He is just waiting on us to exercise faith in Him to execute His plan.

God is good.

Now this big truth can only be handled exercising that faith I mentioned above.  A week ago today, a vile act was perpetrated upon college students in Roseburg, Oregon as a troubled young man took the lives of 9 college students and wounded 10 others.  He specifically targeted Christians.  “But wait a minute,” you might say.  “Aren’t they supposed to be the ones in the bottom of the well exercising their faith to be saved?”  Excellent and very important question.  The answer is that many times they are, but sometimes our purpose on this side of eternity is not to be saved so much from physical death, but to help save others from eternal death.  Let me get to the next big truth before I finish answering.

God sees the BIG Picture and He moves in accordance to our ultimate good.

The big picture includes the time we live on this earth AND eternity on the other side of death.  I guess you can add this to the list of Big Truths – there is life beyond the grave.  God knows this because He created it.  He has laid out a very clear way for us to enter into His joy in this place called heaven.  It is through faith in His Son, Jesus, whom He sent to die in our place on the cross.  Part of the big picture is that God wants that message to get out to all people.  Back to the victims of the violence in Oregon, they were killed because they stood up for Jesus.  I have asked myself a number of times, would I have that kind of faith.  I would hope so but as they say you don’t know until you are in it.  The Lord promises that He will help us in our hour of need.  I believe that means I would have the faith to stand regardless of the price I would pay.  Those victims had a reassurance that God was with them whether they lived through it or they went on to heaven.  The same is true for several victims of the shooting in Columbine, Colorado.  They were killed because of their faith.  Yet we can look to what happened in Columbine to realize that God used that terrible tragedy to bring many to faith.  I am confident that the Lord will use the sacrifice of those brave believers in Oregon to open many hearts to His redeeming love and grace.

There is an invisible war raging around us in the spirit realm and God has a role for us to play.

This is summarized in Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Paul, the writer of this letter, goes on to explain how the believer is to put on the full armor of God.  He ends his description with a call to pray.  Ephesians 6:18  “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”  We do not have to stand idly by and watch the enemy run rough-shod over God’s people or over the many who have not yet come to faith.  In fact we are specifically called to intercede, to stand in the gap, to faithfully articulate the Gospel, to exercise the rights and duties as citizens for the common good.  If those who know God will exercise their faith in listening and obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit, God’s plan will unfold in an amazing way.

Truth is not relative.  God is and truth originates in Him.

Islam and Christianity are not the same, they do not worship the same God, and they are a direct manifestation of that invisible war that Paul mentions in Ephesians.

Islam is not our friend, no matter how influential it’s proponents might be.  It is a man-made religion that promotes a strong deception wrapped in a maze of impossible to fulfill rules.  Sadly, it’s use of intimidation, manipulation, and power appeal to the baser instincts in man.  What perplexes me is why any thinking woman would ever willingly submit to the terrible dehumanization of Islam.  I understand the psychology of it a little… the constant repetition, the unrelenting intimidation to accept the belief system, the concern of being ostracized if you don’t conform and accept, these force women to a place where the only hope seems to be in acceptance.  It is no wonder why they do not want women to be educated.  Yet we who live outside that dark shadow know the truth.  Male and female where created by God to be partners, not master and slave.  Different strengths and weaknesses, different roles in many cases, but equally loved and cherished by the one true God, the God of the Judeo-Christian faith, the God of the bible.

The Christian faith is about a relationship with God the Father through faith in Jesus Christ, His Son, by the power of His Holy Spirit who lives within us.

It is possible to have the outward appearance of Christian faith, i.e. go to church, read the bible, pray, wear Christian jewelry, etc. and not have the relationship.  I can say that from experience.  I did all those things for several years, but in my heart I had areas were I chose to do what I wanted to do.  When I finally said yes to God and I gave my life fully over to Jesus’ Lordship, dramatic and wonderful changes took place.  I experienced a transformation as His Holy Spirit moved in.  I experienced salvation immediately and the process of sanctification of my life began.  I recently past my 32nd year of new life in Christ and I love Him more today than ever.  And He is still pointing out areas where I can manifest more of His love, His mercy, His grace.  Step by step He leads me in a love relationship that just seems to get better and better.

I know I get wordy.  Please forgive me.  However if you have read this far let me tell you one final story.  Twenty six years ago I was awakened one minute earlier than I awoke this morning, 2:22 am.  On that occasion I assumed God wanted me to pray for something or someone as I had become sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s nudge usually being linked to a prompting to pray for someone.  I rolled out of bed onto my knees that night ready to pray, but it was quiet in my Spirit.  I waited several seconds and then I asked, “What is it Lord?”  To which the Holy Spirit spoke very clearly to my Spirit, “Dan, I am going to have you say special things to special people.  And to prove it I’m going to take care of your house today.”  God produced the miraculous provision of a home that we then owned and raised our family in for 18 years beginning the next day.  I may share the full story at some time, however my point this morning is that the miracle was to validate to me that God would give me special things to say and I needed to say them.

If you are reading this then I am confident you are one of the special people God was referring to.  Ask Him to show you the BIG truths that you don’t already have a firm hold on.  Ask Him to help you see Truth and accept it.  Most important, ask Him to make Himself, clear to you.  Because He is real and He loves you, I am totally confident He will begin to move in ways that provide you with increasing faith to know and to grow into Christ Jesus – the One Who loves us more than we can comprehend.

Now unto Him Who is the truest, most ardent lover of your soul and mine, be glory, honor, praise and dominion, forever and ever. Amen!

Read Full Post »

The sales person pitching their wares will often tout their product with the line “An opportunity so huge you won’t want to miss it.”  If we listen just a little we are drawn in and before we realize it we are purchasing this must-have item that 30 minutes before had never seriously crossed our minds.  Such is the power of salesmanship.  There are amazing opportunities in life, but the majority of them arrive without the fanfare of a huckster working the crowd to drum up business.  In fact the greatest opportunities are often disguised as challenges, a difficulties, or a crisis.  Today the world faces a number of major challenges.  That means we are on the cusp of some amazing opportunities.  In times of trouble it is imperative that we fix our eyes on the Lord and follow His leading for the crisis to be transformed into the blessing that He can bring.  Let’s look at one of the opportunities today.

The rise of ISIS (and Iran) in the Middle East is a major crisis.    I have been perplexed by the lack of outcry from more moderate Muslims over the violent actions by ISIS.  We don’t know all the motivations, but I assume fear of being targeted by the extremists is part of it.  However my recent study of the subject reveals that the true nature of Islam is revealed in the rhetoric and actions of ISIS.  If we peal away the politically correct rhetoric and misrepresentations of the “religion of peace” and get to the heart of the teachings of Islam, we find a movement that is commanded to achieve world domination through whatever means necessary.  Lying and violence to achieve the spread of Islam is not just condoned, it is encouraged.  This is a sobering realization and one that is vitally important that we grasp.  What Hitler wanted to do in the name of the Aryan race, ISIS wants to do in the name of Allah.

Up to this point my prayer has been, “Lord please stop ISIS.”  “Lord, please protect our soldiers.”  “Lord, please give our leaders wisdom in dealing with ISIS.”  But yesterday I realized I was missing the opportunity that lies before us, an opportunity that I believe the Father wants us to participate in through our intercession.  That is the evangelization of the Muslim world.  You see, the Muslim faith exerts very strong restraining pressure to keep people from leaving the faith.  From the total loss of family and friends to loss of life, the negative societal implications for a Muslim to convert to another faith is practically overwhelming.  Yet today the stark, brutal nature of the religion and its moral bankruptcy when compared to the teachings of Jesus have never been more clear.  This presents an opportunity to reach moderate Muslims with the true Gospel of peace.

We support a dear family that has been ministering in Muslim lands in central Asia for 11 years.  They recently relocated to a country very close to Iraq.  Obviously I have been praying for their safety.  They answered God’s call to missions as a newlywed couple and now, four children later, they minister as a family of six dedicated souls.  The Lord has laid it upon their hearts to find people of peace.  These are Muslims who God has put the notion in their heart that there is something more, something greater, and they are willing to ask questions that Islam forbids.  In their last place of service the Lord brought a young Muslim family into their life because one member had a vivid dream of Jesus coming and speaking to them.

Our opportunity is to join with the Lord in praying these divine encounters into being.  There are many Muslims right now who are scared and searching.  While ISIS is making a big show of their brutality to westerners, they are that much and more brutal off-camera toward moderate Muslims.  This is a time when the door of opportunity to reach a very hard people group with the gospel exists.  Jesus specifically commanded His followers to pray for this in Matthew 9:38 and Luke 10:2.  From Luke, Jesus told them, “The harvest in plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.

Here are a few specifics that the Lord has put on my heart to pray for as well as suggestions our missionary friends have offered as prayer points.

1) Pray for the Lord to stir the hearts of Muslim people to seek Him.  This will include supernatural visitations of God’s power.

2) Pray for the Missionaries to make contacts with “people of peace” in other faiths who are open to talking about the gospel and truth.

3) Pray for protection, including invisibility from the enemy during the crucial formative stages of this movement.

4) Pray a hedge of protection for the missionaries, their families, and the new converts that God will bring into the body.

5) Pray for courage for Muslims to take their next steps and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

6) Pray for Muslim families to convert so that home churches can begin in their homes.

7) Pray for provision for this work to go forward.  Provision is first God’s hand directing and leading all these efforts.  Second it is the prayer covering that we are talking about right now.  Third, it is the meeting of the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of those engaged in this work.

May the Lord bless you today with His mercy in abundance as you go forth to love and serve the Lord.

Read Full Post »