Persecuted Church

Friday, November 10, 2017

This Sunday is designated as a day of prayer for the persecuted Church worldwide. Christians are undergoing severe persecution in many parts of the world. It is estimated that during the 20th century, more Christians were martyred than in the prior 19 centuries combined! In Muslim countries the followers of Christ are often mistreated, imprisoned and murdered.

The Islamic system does not allow freedom of religion. Religious, political and social authorities serve as guardians to protect that system. They have a long arm through the government and police, the mosque and sheikhs, work and family, friends and neighbors, and so forth. The Islamic system persecutes and disposes of people who leave Islam. Today untold numbers of our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering persecution.

Prayer

Sovereign God, as Herod, Pilate and other leaders made plans against Jesus (Acts 4: 27), rulers and common people in today’s world are persecuting your children!

Brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering persecution do not love their lives so much as to shrink from death (Revelation 12:11). I may not know them personally, but I intercede for them. You taught us to “bear one another’s burdens,” so I want to stand alongside them. They are members of the Body of Christ; when one member suffers, the rest of the body suffers.

O God Almighty, be with those who are enduring a nightmare of mistreatment, beatings and abuse. I bring their plight to your attention, merciful Father. Visit them. Soothe their pain. Comfort their souls. Encourage their hearts. May your face shine upon them.

In prayer I ask you to wake up the Church around the world to pray for persecuted believers and come to their assistance. Christians who occupy influential positions could act to alleviate the pain of our suffering brothers and sisters. Father, help them to not be silent. Move them to respond to the tragedy of the persecuted Church.

Promise

Your healing will quickly appear… the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. …you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. …your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD… will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail (Isaiah 58:8-11, NIV).

Antichrist Strongholds

Friday, November 3, 2017

We are surrounded by systems and strongholds that oppose Christ the Lord and King. There are social, political, economic, and legal structures and schemes that try to disparage God.

We are not for or against a particular political system. We are Bible-believers, Christ-worshippers; and we come from all walks of life and backgrounds. We seek the glory of God and his alone. We align ourselves with his Word.

We should not harbor enmity or hatred toward anyone. Even if they oppose us, deride our faith, doubt our God, and insult our Savior and King, they are not our enemies. The real enemy is Satan who manipulates them. Our war is against Satan and his strongholds.

Such people are poor humans who need love and compassion from us, and mercy and forgiveness from God. We do not depend on human methods or material weapons, because this is spiritual warfare against satanic powers. Rather, our method is prayer, and that is all.

Prayer

O Lord our God, may you be praised for ever and ever! Why do the nations rage? Why do the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against you and against your Anointed One (Psalm 2:1-2).

Help us arm ourselves with the weapons you gave us in your Word: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:14-17).

He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord derides them.…at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Psalm 2:4; Philippians 2:10-11).

I pray in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

Promise

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4, NIV).

Mahram for Women

Friday, October 27, 2017

According to Islam, women are crooked, prone to temptation and are themselves a means of temptation to men! Therefore, they should be watched carefully, cover their bodies when in public and not speak to strangers.

Consequently, Muslims believe that a woman should never leave her home or community alone. She should have an escort or a chaperone to keep an eye on her. That chaperone in Islam is called mahram. In a sense, a mahram protects a woman from herself!

Normally a mahram is a parent, sibling, son or any other male who is not eligible to marry the woman he protects.

This concept, like some other beliefs in Islam, speaks of a broken religious system that does not recognize that the real problem is the root of sin in a person’s heart. The guardians of the system think they can control sin through outward restrictions. In the case of mahram, a male accompanies a woman to keep an eye on her!

Prayer

Lord God our Maker, you created us man and woman in your own image. You endowed us with great gifts. Yet, we all have fallen in sin. None of us, away from Christ, can claim righteousness. None of us is superior to others! We do not believe that women are more sinful than men.

I pray that many Muslims, both men and women, will come to you this week through Jesus our Savior and Redeemer. Help them realize that they are all sinners who fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), and it is only by your grace that people can have access to you.

I offer this prayer to you in the precious name of Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord. Amen

Promise

Most blessed among women is Jael, the wife of Heber…. May she be blessed above all women who live in tents (Judges 5:24, NLT).

“Greetings [Mary], you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you…” Mary said, “From now on all generations will call me blessed…” (Luke 1:28, 46, 48, NIV).

Bless Muslims We Meet

Friday, October 20, 2017

What is the ultimate blessing according to the Bible? The greatest blessing is to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior! What would happen if we determined to pray for and bless every Muslim we see today as well as every other human being? We believe God answers prayer; so we can trust that many of those we meet and pray for will one day come to Christ. Our Master commanded us to bless and not to curse. Even if I do not approve of some people’s behavior, when I pray for them and bless them, I serve as a vessel of honor to the glory of Christ. I may not know them personally, but I can pray for them. Even if they belong to a group that insults, curses and persecutes believers in Christ (Luke 6:28; Romans 12:14), Jesus grants me the power to bless.

Prayer

Lord, may I not sin against you by failing to pray for and bless the people I meet today (1 Samuel 12:23). Make me sensitive to the promptings of your Spirit, Lord God Almighty. Help me to bless Muslims. I pray that they will trust him and yield their lives to him. May Christ make his home in their hearts. May their roots grow down deep into God’s love through Jesus Christ. Help them experience and understand how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. Dear Father, make them complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from you (Ephesians 3:14-19).

You called us to be blessed and to bless others (Genesis 12:2; Galatians 3:7-8; Ephesians 1:3). One day I will finally finish my work on earth and appear before the throne of God in heaven. As I stand there worshipping with other believers from every tribe and nation and tongue, may I be amazed to see multitudes of former Muslims adoring Jesus in heaven! Amen.

Promise

Pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it (1 Peter 3:9, NLT).

Sharif Study Bible

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Sharif Study Bible seeks to help Muslims who come to Christ become grounded in the Word. It contains articles, notes, illustrations, maps, word studies and many other study helps. It does the following:

  • Provides helpful cultural, historical and geographical information;
  • Presents homiletical notes that help preachers and teachers;
  • Challenges readers with applications and questions for a deeper life in Christ;
  • Answers the questions Muslims ask as they are exposed to God’s eternal Word.

Work on the Sharif Study Bible has been in progress for some time, and we hope it will be published soon.

Prayer

Lord God our Heavenly Father, throughout history you spoke many times through the prophets. Finally, you spoke to us by your holy Son Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1). We thank you.

Your Word is vital to our lives as believers. So we pray for the preparation of the Sharif Study Bible. Help all who work on it to be sensitive to your Spirit, handle correctly the Word of God, and declare the truth of the Gospel with integrity.

When this volume is published, may it help all those who work with Muslims, empowering them to declare your truth with power, simplicity and clarity. May it be a tool to bring millions of Muslims to the Kingdom of our Savior. Help Muslim believers in Christ understand and value your Word and find life, joy and peace through it. Teach them how to share your Word with others—”Share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared” (Nehemiah 8:10).

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Promise

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach the truth, to rebuke error, to correct wrong, and to guide to righteousness, so that a person who belongs to God will be prepared and equipped to do every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17, SAB).

Sharif Bible

Friday, October 6, 2017

After twenty-five years of hard work, the Sharif Bible has been published in Arabic for Muslims. For the first time in history, the Bible has been translated specifically for Arab Muslims. It speaks to them meaningfully and naturally. It is a stirring, vibrant translation that offers the Holy Scriptures in a way that causes Muslims to feel at ease with its words, names, expressions, style, and format. They acknowledge that what they read is written for them.

At the same time, the Sharif Bible translates literally such expressions as “Son of God” (for Jesus); “God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”; and God is our “heavenly Father.”

The response from Muslims has been overwhelming. Also, Christian cross-cultural workers from various organizations and groups are sounding upbeat reactions and reporting enthusiastic responses to the Sharif Bible. Work is now underway to complete the Sharif Study Bible in Arabic, an important tool for leaders and pastors of new believers from Muslim backgrounds.

Prayer

Almighty God, I thank you for the Bible, your written revelation to humankind—so simple and clear. And thank you for the Sharif Bible translation that presents your Word to Muslims in the same way—simply and clearly. I pray that many Muslims around the Arab world will receive it with joy and open hearts. Break down the barriers the enemy has raised to keep it from reaching Muslims. Change the hearts and attitudes of those who seek to ban your powerful Word.

I pray that you will open doors for large distributions of the Sharif Bible in every city, town and village in North Africa, the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf. You are able to provide funds for such a big dream.

May people who receive the Sharif Bible read it and be changed, comforted and built up in their faith. Bring a great harvest of believers from Muslim backgrounds into the Kingdom. For your glory, I pray in Jesus’ name and by your Spirit. Amen.

Promise

When I came on your words I devoured them; they were joy and happiness to me (Jeremiah 15:16, REB).

Church in the West

Friday, September 29, 2017

In the past few decades, millions of Muslims have migrated to the West. Some seek jobs, others pursue freedom and a better living, and still others hope to conquer the West by converting Westerners to Islam or by sheer reproduction and numerical growth! I personally take this migration to mean the Lord wants to help the Church win large numbers of Muslims to Christ by bringing them to her doorstep.

On the other hand, as I travel among churches in various Western countries, I am dismayed at people’s lack of accurate information regarding Islam and Muslims. An average Christian believer does not know how to relate to Muslims or how to share the Gospel with them. If Christ commanded us to bring in the lost, it is our duty to invite them to believe in Jesus and receive forgiveness and eternal life through him.

Prayer

Lord God Almighty, send a Holy Spirit-empowered awakening to your Church in the West. Help her to take up her responsibility to bring Muslims to Christ. Arouse her, O God, to realize the utter spiritual destitution of Muslims. They need you. You are their only hope.

Call leaders who can educate your people in how to share the Gospel with Muslims. Burden their hearts to reach these needy millions for whom Christ died. Move with power upon pastors and believers to let their light shine upon Muslims.

Mobilize Christians to go to Muslim enclaves and communities to help save the lost and rescue the dying. Fill your children with courage to open their mouths and witness for you. Speak through them and draw people to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior.

In the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

Promise

Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor… I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow (Isaiah 52:1; Jeremiah 31:13).