Sharif Study Bible

Friday, April 16, 2021

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 to publish it 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 completion 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 and enable 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 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).

Fast

Friday, April 9, 2021

During this season, Muslims start the month-long fast called Ramadan. The Muslim calendar is based on the lunar year, which has only 354 days. So each year the month-long fast comes about 11 days earlier than in the previous year.

Muslims fast from dawn to sunset every day throughout this month. They abstain from food, drink, smoking, smelling nice aromas, and marital relations. Each day after sunset, they break the fast, usually with a feast. They are allowed to eat until dawn of the following day.

According to Islam, the Ramadan fast enables people to gain a right standing with God and an entry into paradise.

Some Muslims actually believe that during this month the devil is chained and cannot cause them harm, that the doors of heaven are open and the doors of hell are closed.

Prayer

O Lord Jesus, I pray with love and compassion in my heart for Muslims during this season of fasting.

You know, Lord, that most Muslims are sincere people. They are serious about their religion and beliefs. Help them realize that to approach you they have to go through Jesus and his sacrifice at Calvary. They cannot save themselves from sin by “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps”! They cannot lift themselves up to you by performing rituals and religious duties.

O God, help them discover that we are saved, not through works of righteousness, but only by faith through your undeserved favor.

I pray that you will reveal yourself to Muslims during this month as the Savior who has already accomplished all things. May they know that on the cross “it is finished.” Amen.

Promise

It is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life” (Galatians 3:11, NLT).

The Cross

Friday, April 2, 2021

Today we remember Jesus’ crucifixion, the only means by which we have eternal life. Islam rejects Jesus’ death on the cross. The Quran states that he was never crucified, that he never died, and that instead, God took him to heaven alive. Muslims reason that God would not let Jesus, the good prophet, die such an ignominious death on a cross for sins that others committed.

Muslims do not see the seriousness of humans’ sinful nature, so they reject the need for redemption. For them the cross is foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).

Prayer

God Almighty, our loving Heavenly Father, we acknowledge you as our eternal Redeemer. We come humbly, awed by your love and Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary. What shame and pain he endured to save us from sin and doom! The Lamb of God died to give us life. Thank you.

My Muslim friends do not understand that Christ’s death on the cross was your supreme gift to sinful humans. Help them realize that they are sinners who need redemption. Show them the power of the cross that saves us from sin, transforms our lives from darkness to light, and rescues us from the kingdom of Satan to make us part of the Kingdom of God.

Convict them of their serious sin of rejecting the cross. May they believe your Word and accept the Gospel. I plead for Muslims that they will know that Jesus died to redeem them from their sins and rose to justify them. Remove the veil from their minds; open their eyes. Capture their hearts with your love.

All praise and glory to you, crucified and risen Christ, the First and the Last, the Living One who died and who is alive for ever and ever. Amen.

Promise

For the message of the cross is sheer nonsense to those who are lost, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18, SAB).

Imams to Come to Christ

Friday, March 26, 2021

An imam is a Muslim religious leader. He leads prayer in the mosque and performs other religious duties. An imam is also a community leader who gives counsel and direction to his people.

Jewish priests were among those who staunchly opposed Jesus and antagonized him. Would you expect that a large number of them would become believers in Jesus? Yet, according to the New Testament account, that is exactly what happened (Acts 6:7).

Let us believe together that through the mighty power of the Spirit of God, tens of thousands of Muslim imams will put their faith in Jesus Christ the Lord.

Prayer

Almighty God, my Heavenly Father, I come before you boldly, because of the Lamb who died on the cross for me. I am forgiven because he shed his blood on my behalf. I bring to you the hundreds of thousands of imams around the world. They need you, Lord Jesus. Only you, by the power of the Holy Spirit, can penetrate their hearts and bring them into your Kingdom.

Reveal Jesus the Lord to them, in his love, compassion and power. Help them realize he is the Master, the Lord, and the Redeemer of all.

I thank you for the imams who have already placed their faith in Christ the Lord. Help them grow continually in the love of God and the knowledge of Christ. Give them wisdom by your Spirit. Protect them and their families. Illumine their hearts and minds to know how to lead their congregations into the light of Christ. Teach them your Word. Help them depend on you.

Promise

Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you (Jeremiah 1:18-19, NIV).

Sharif Bible

Friday, March 19, 2021

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 reporting enthusiastic reception of the Sharif Bible.

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 transformed, comforted and built up in their faith. Bring a great harvest of believers from Muslim backgrounds into the Kingdom.

I pray that the Sharif Bible, with its easy to understand language and down-to-earth vocabulary, will shape the Arabic language for generations. May it bring life, joy, peace, and love to individuals, communities, and nations.

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).

Ignatius of Antioch

Friday, March 12, 2021

Ignatius was born in Syria when it was a Roman province. As a young man, he put his faith in Christ and eventually became Bishop of Antioch. He and his friend Polycarp were disciples of the Apostle John, which means he was a Church leader in the generation right after the Apostles. Because of his faith in Christ, he was sentenced by the Roman authorities to die. On his way to Rome to be executed, he wrote a letter to the Roman church asking them not to try to rescue him from death. He said he was ready to give his life for the sake of the One who had died for him. He also told the believers there that the fierce wild beasts waiting for him were a blessing!

To close his letter, he said he knew what was good for him because, “finally I have started becoming a disciple to my Master…. It is better for me to die than to own kingdoms of this earth.”[1]

In Rome, they threw him to those wild beasts, and he was martyred.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, you experienced persecution (John 5:16; 15:20). When you suffered, you left us an example, that we should follow in your steps (1 Peter 2:21).

Let Muslims who have come to Christ know that the troubles we encounter here are small and momentary. Yet, they achieve for us a glory beyond any comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17).

I pray for my Muslim friends who have decided to follow you. As you filled Ignatius of Antioch with faith and courage, give converts the determination to live and die for you. Help them realize that there is nothing too dear to sacrifice for you, you who gave your life to save us.

In your precious name. Amen.

Promise

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:10, NIV).

Footnotes

[1] https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0107.htm

Father Abraham

Friday, March 5, 2021

Abraham has a special place in the Muslim religion. Muslims consider him a prophet and think that he and his son Ishmael are the ones who built the Kaaba in Mecca. This is the holiest place in all of the Muslim world.

Muslims depend on their good deeds to please God. So, in Islam, prayer, fasting, giving alms, and the like help one to have a good standing with God. Yet, that is not how Abraham pleased the Lord. The Bible says, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith” (Romans 4:3, NLT).

Prayer

Eternal God, our Father in heaven, how majestic and compassionate you are! Your Word tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). You know that we fallen humans are incapable of doing works good enough to please you. That is why we pray for Muslims, that you will open their hearts and minds to grasp this truth. Help them come to you empty-handed, and know that only by faith can they throw themselves at the foot of the cross to receive mercy and find grace to help them (Hebrews 4:16).

May they open their inner being and put their faith in the all-powerful and far-reaching sacrifice of Christ our Redeemer. Let Abraham’s life motivate them to have faith like his:

  • The kind of faith that made Abraham believe God is able to raise the dead back to life. That is why he was ready to sacrifice his son in obedience to God (Hebrews 11:17-19).
  • Confident faith that caused Abraham to send his servant to another country to get a wife for his son, Isaac. Abraham believed that God would send his angel to find that wife (Genesis 24:7).

In Christ’s precious name I pray. Amen.

Promise

The one who does not depend on his works, but believes in God who acquits the guilty, this faith is what God considers as righteousness (Romans 4:5, SAB).

Coronavirus Pandemic

Friday, February 26, 2021

“We have lost control; we have killed the epidemic physically and mentally. Can’t understand what more we can do; all solutions are exhausted on ground. Our only hope remains up in heaven; God rescue your people.”[1]

Prayer

Heavenly Father, our world is in turmoil. The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on us. We come to you because you are loving and merciful. We pray for the sick, that you will heal them; for those who have lost loved ones, that you will comfort them; for those who are struggling financially, that you will give them relief.

Give wisdom to the doctors and scientists to find a cure and a vaccine. Yet, we know that only you can stop the spread of this disease with your mighty power. You are in control of history as well as the future.

May your Holy Spirit turn the chaos to victory for the sake of the name of Jesus our Lord. May many people run to you in faith and commitment. You are the true refuge, protector and defender. Give your children wisdom and courage to minister to others and love them.

Even though we might not understand everything about the divine purpose of this worldwide scourge, we rest assured in your love and care. You fill our hearts with hope and joy even when we are threatened by darkness and death. Thank you.

Christus Victor! Amen.

Promise

Even though I walk through the very dark valley, I will fear no harm, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, comfort me (Psalm 23:4, SAB).

Footnotes

[1] As of this printing there is confusion on the internet about who made this statement, whether Italy’s Prime Minister or Brazil’s President.

King’s Table

Friday, February 19, 2021

Mephibosheth, a prince in Israel, was lame in both legs from childhood. When King Saul, his grandfather, turned away from God and disobeyed the Lord’s commands (1 Samuel 15:11), God chose David to replace him as king. Jonathan, Mephibosheth’s father who was also the crown prince, loved David. The two men were close friends and had a pact of loyalty with each other.

After Saul and his royal family were almost completely wiped out in a battle against their enemies, David was crowned the new king. When he was told that Mephibosheth had survived and was in hiding, he had the lame prince brought to his palace. He promised to restore to him all his family’s property and invited him to eat regularly at the king’s table. (Read the story in 2 Samuel 9:1-13.)

Muslims are in a situation much worse than Mephibosheth’s. They are lame because of a negative belief system that denies Christ the Lord and Savior. Satan has deprived them of what God intended them to have: eternal life in Christ. Yet, God is inviting them to the King’s table.

Prayer

Jesus Christ, our Lord and Eternal King over all the universe, thank you because you are extending an invitation to hurting, lame, paralyzed Muslims to eat at your table. You have prepared a feast for them. Your banquet hall is waiting.

Help Muslims realize that they are invited to eat at the King’s table. May they know that “The king has prepared a great banquet for them” (2 Kings 6:23). I pray that they will open their hearts to accept this invitation and receive Christ’s blessings. Restore to them, O God, what the enemy has taken away.

May Muslims receive the benefits of the cross of Jesus Christ with joy and gratitude.

In your mighty name I pray. Amen.

Promise

Don’t be afraid, I will show you kindness…. I will restore to you all the land that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat at my table always (2 Samuel 9:7, SAB).

Believers in the “King’s Palace”

In Every Muslim Country

Friday, February 12, 2021

Paul was imprisoned in Rome for the sake of Christ. Rather than complaining about it, he said that his imprisonment helped to spread the Gospel, and that everyone, including the palace guard, knew that he was in jail because he served Christ (Philippians 1:12-14). As he was giving his final greetings and signing off at the end of his letter to the church in Philippi, he said, “All the believers here, especially those in the king’s palace, send you their greetings” (Philippians 4:22, SAB).

May God place believers in Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior in every king’s and president’s palace in the Muslim world.

Prayer

God, our Father in heaven, you alone are the King over all kings and rulers. I pray that by the power of your Holy Spirit you will invade hearts of people in these high places. You, who channel the king’s heart like a stream of water (Proverbs 21:1), change their hearts to give total allegiance to Christ alone.

May the portals of these palaces be opened so that Christ, the King, can enter (Psalm 24:7-10). May the workers and dwellers in those stately residences be transformed by your divine power so that they bring people from death to life and from darkness to light. O Lord, make them useful in leading other Muslims to your Kingdom, who will then become useful in bringing others to Christ.

May the banner of Christ be lifted high over all these officials. May the righteousness of God rule in the “King’s Palace.”

Promise

I have heard your prayer…. God is able to accomplish far more than we might ask or imagine, according to his power at work in us (2 Kings 19:20, NLT; Ephesians 3:20, SAB).