Dear Muslim friends around the world,
God bless you and your family!
I love you!
Dear Muslim Friends,
I am curious, as a Christian (who loves Muslims!), what have you experienced on the “Night Of Power” (Laylat al-Qadr) during your lifetime?
Truly, one of the aspects of Islam that intrigues me greatly is this time during Ramadan known as the “Night of Power”
For my non-Muslim readers, Islamic tradition holds that the Night of Power is the night that the first revelation of the Qur’an was sent down to Muhammad. Muslims are instructed to “seek” the Night of Power during the last ten days of the thirty days of Ramadan, particularly on the odd numbered nights (the 21st night, the 23rd night, etc.).
It is reported that Muhammad said:
“Whoever stays up (in prayer and remembrance of Allah) on the Night of Qadr, fully believing (in Allah’s promise of reward) and hoping to seek reward, he shall be forgiven for his past sins” (hadith from Sahih Bukhari).
The Qur’an, Sura (chapter) 97, says of the Night of Power:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
We have indeed revealed this message in the Night of Power.
And what will explain what the Night of Power is?
The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
Therein come down the angels and the spirit, by Allah’s permission, on every errand.
Peace! Until the rising of the morn!
“Muslims worldwide spend the last ten nights of Ramadan in solid devotion, retreating to the mosque to read Qur’an, reciting special supplications, and reflecting on the meaning of Allah’s message to us. It is believed to be a time of intense spirituality, when the believers are surrounded by angels, the gates of heaven are open, and God’s blessings and mercy are abundant. (http://islam.about.com/od/ramadan/a/leyla_qadr.htm)
As I close this post, may I ask questions of you, my Muslim readers:
*** Do you believe you have ever found/experienced the Night of Power?
*** How would you know if you did?
*** If you found the Night of Power, do you believe all your sins were forgiven?
*** If your sins were all forgiven, how would you know?
*** If your sins were all forgiven, could that forgiveness be lost or forfeited by later sins?
Thanks for reading and as always, I love you, my Muslim friends!
Postscript: the greatest – the most powerful – night of my life was May 28, 1966. That amazing night found me, even though I wasn’t looking for it (what compassion and mercy!).
On that night, I experienced an unbelievable power – the power of God in forgiving my sins. A kind man simply read one verse of the Bible to me. It was John 3:16. I will never forget the change and the new life that came to me on that night.
Whether you call yourself a Muslim or Christian, I pray for each one of us to experience that kind of power.
To all my dear Muslim friends around the world,
Have you ever had a dream or a vision of a “man in white,” especially during Ramadan?
The Injil describes such a vision:
“Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light.” (Matthew 17:1-2)
Dear Muslim reader, maybe you have had a dream or vision of Isa – of Jesus. Many Muslims around the world have seen Him this way and they say that they have never known such love. If you see Him, I pray that you will respond to His amazing love – for you!
If you have a dream or vision of Jesus, seek out a follower of Jesus to talk to. Look for an Injil to read and learn more about the Prophet Jesus and his love. And then pray that you might know, “Is this truth?”
As always, I love you, my Muslim friends. . .
Dear Muslim friends around the world,
I know you have been in Ramadan for several days but I never wished you a blessed Ramadan until now. I pray for you in these remaining days that you and your family would be blessed by God.
As you seek God in this special time, may He hear your prayers. . .and may you hear His amazing voice.
I pray you will see God in new, amazing ways. I pray you will understand His love for you – a love so great we can never fully comprehend it (Ephesians 3:16-19), a love that was proven through God sending His beloved Jesus as a sacrifice for your every sin (and mine). I pray you might even experience something Muslims all over the world are experiencing: a dream or vision of Isa – Jesus – the man in white. (Wow! I would like to have one of those too!)
God bless you, dear Muslim friends.
I love you.
Much more importantly, Jesus loves you and gave his life for you (John 3:16).
(Dear Muslim Friends, you are always welcome to read every post I make on this blog – it is primarily for you! So. . .read on if you like, but this post is specifically directed to my “Christian” friends who may not agree with or understand my last post.)
Dear Christian Readers,
Some of you may be confused about my last blog post (Am I Trying To Convert Muslims Into “Christians”?). Maybe I can clarify a little bit here.
If I am speaking to someone who self-identifies with being a “Christian,” I am not afraid or ashamed to be known as a “Christian” myself. But in my friendships and conversations with Muslims, I do not promote “Christianity.” I do not promote being or even becoming a “Christian.”
Let me explain before you think me a heretic! I realize that “Christian” is a Biblical word and thus an important word but. . .it is only used 3 times in the entire New Testament (Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, and I Peter 4:16). Because it is a word used in the Bible, maybe we need to simply define it or redefine it. However. . .
It is my firm opinion that redefining the word “Christian” is a very, very daunting task. Why? Because so many Muslims in the world today equate the word “Christian” with a lot of things that would shock and dismay us. In their minds, some Muslims still equate modern day “Christianity” with the atrocities of the Crusades. Some link “Christianity” to the U.S. military incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan (which many see as “Christianity” attacking Islam) or the killing of Osama bin Laden. Some equate “Christian” with “America” or the West.They think America is a “Christian” nation (my wife and I run into this all the time in the Middle East). They see Hollywood movies and even link “Christianity” to what they see there – violence, immorality, abortion, divorce, drunkenness, drug useage, swearing, lack of care or honor for the elderly, on and on.
Let me ask you, what is a Muslim to think when they see rap singers from Western countries spouting f-words in their lyrics and rapping about doing drugs, beating women, and killing people. . .but also wearing huge crosses? And what is a Muslim to think when they see a very famous American female singer singing sexually explicit lyrics, dancing provocatively, and wearing a cross. . .but not much else?
If you were a Muslim, wouldn’t you ask the questions, “Is that ‘Christianity’?” “Are those people ‘Christians’?”
Just from these few examples of real misunderstandings (and there are more), can you see how the word “Christianity” is not a positive word in the minds of so many Muslims? Can you see how we need to strive to learn how each other thinks about words?
Because of these misunderstandings, I prefer not to use or promote the words “Christian” or “Christianity” with my dear Muslim friends.
So. . .what do I promote?
I promote JESUS. I promote FOLLOWING Jesus. I promote being his DISCIPLE.This is what I believe he wanted.
Depending upon which translation you use, the word “disciple” is used in the New Testament between 230 and 260 times – obviously far more than the word “Christian”!
I share with my Muslim friends that Jesus is calling all of us (no matter what religious label you go by) to be his disciples – to follow him.
Following Jesus means we are willing to: do anything for him, say anything for him, go anywhere for him, suffer any loss for him. To be completely, unreservedly, devoted, dedicated followers of his. To give him undivided allegiance as our Savior and our King.
Our Muslim friends are absolutely right when they point out that the Bible does not specifically say that “Christianity is the true religion.” What it does say over and over and over however, is that JESUS is the true path – the bridge – to heaven. Jesus himself said he was the way, the truth, and the life. That no one could come to God except through him (The Gospel of John 14:6). That is what we should promote. Better yet, that is who we should promote!
So I promote being a disciple – a follower – of Jesus. If I must have a label to describe my faith, that is what I prefer.
Finally, let me say that no “religion” or religious rules can cleanse a person’s heart or change them from the inside out. No “religion” can take away all their sins or free them from their fear of the Day of Judgment and Hell.
But someone can. Jesus can.
Following Jesus can set a person free.
Trusting in Jesus’ sacrifice can make a person clean on the inside. Forgiven. . .of every sin.
And that is why I don’t promote “Christianity.”
I. . .promote. . .JESUS. . .only JESUS!
Dear Muslim Readers,
Some of you may be asking the question, “Are you trying to convert Muslims into “Christians” through this blog?” (That is, “Are you trying to convert me?”)
Now that is a big question. No, that is a HUGE question and a very legitmate one!
Let me answer your question beginning with a question of my own:
What does the word “Christian” mean to you as a Muslim?
I know that to some Muslims around the world, the words “Christian” or “Christianity” can mean a lot of things. Things such as words from the list below:
* The Crusades
* American foreign policy
* Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
* And finally. . .American television preachers who blindly and unconditionally support Israel at the expense of the Palestinians.
If the list above comes to your mind when you hear the words “Christian” or “Christianity,” we have a lot of misunderstandings to clear up – a lot of misunderstandings. (Maybe we can’t clear up these misunderstandings. Maybe we have to use different terms.)
But. . .back to the original question: “Am I trying to convert Muslims into “Christians”? If you define “Christian” and “Christianity” by the list above, the answer is an emphatic and unequivocal “NO!”
What I do want for you – my Muslim reader – is what I want for everyone (I truly mean EVERYONE). I want every person walking on the earth to follow Jesus. Much more importantly, that is what Jesus wants. That is what he said over and over as he walked the earth:
I may get in trouble with some of my non-Muslim readers, but let me make a strong statement to you – my Muslim readers – here:
I don’t see anywhere in the words of Jesus in the Injeel – in the New Testament of the Bible – that you have to be or become a “Christian” to go to Heaven (Paradise). What I do see very clearly and very strongly in Jesus’ words is that you have to follow him. You have to give him your life – completely, unreservedly, wholeheartedly. You have to love him more than any person, goal, or dream.
You have to believe in him (his uniqueness) and his sacrifice for your sins (his work on your behalf).
“. . .unless you believe that I Am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24 in the Injeel)
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” (John 10:9 in the Injeel)
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 in the Injeel)
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26 in the Injeel)
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 in the Injeel)
I believe with all my heart that your relationship - or lack of relationship – with Jesus will determine your eternal destiny.
So no, I am not trying to convert you to a religion.
I just want for you what I want for myself. What I want for everyone.
I just want you to follow Jesus so you can be changed from the inside out by Jesus himself living in you instead from the outside in by trying to perfectly obey endless rules and rituals (something none of us can do).
I want you to follow Jesus and believe in his sacrifice so you can be forgiven of all your sins.
So you won’t have to fear Hellfire.
So you can live with Jesus forever in Heaven.
It’s not about conversion to a religion.
Not at all. That’s not what this blog is about. It’s not what I am about.
It’s about Jesus.
Just. . .following. . .Jesus.
On Palm Sunday, April 9 2017, twin suicide bombings took place in Egypt in two Coptic churches: St. George’s Church in Tanta, and Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria. At least 45 people were reported killed and 126 injured. ISIS claimed responsibility.
The night after these terrible attacks, a Coptic priest gave an incredible message to the killers:
* WE THANK YOU,
* WE LOVE YOU,
* WE PRAY FOR YOU.
Please watch and be moved by this display of love of Jesus for enemies. . . (Arabic with English subtitles)
Excerpts From: “A MESSAGE TO THOSE WHO KILL US”
by Fr. Boules George, St. Mark, Cairo, Egypt
(excerpts taken from Coptic Dad & Mom website – http://www.copticdadandmom.com/fr-boules-george/)
What will we say to them?
— WE THANK YOU —
The first thing we will say is “Thank you very, very much,” and you won’t believe us when we say it.
You know why we thank you? I’ll tell you. You won’t get it, but please believe us.
#1 – You gave us to die the same death as Christ – and this is the biggest honor we could have. Christ was crucified – and this is our faith. He died and was slaughtered – and this is our faith. You gave us, and you gave them to die.
#2 – We thank you because you shortened for us the journey. When someone is headed home to a particular city, he keeps looking at the time. “When will I get home? Are we there yet?” Can you imagine if in an instant he finds himself on a rocket ship straight to his destination? You shortened the journey! Thank you for shortening the journey.
#3 – We thank you because you gave to us to fulfill what Christ said to us: “Behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). We were lambs; our only weapons: our faith and the church we pray in. I carry no weapon in my hand. We are so grateful that you helped us fulfill this saying of Christ.
#4 – Thank you for helping us achieve our goal. You’re helping us, and you don’t even know it. I know you don’t understand, but I’m trying to explain it to you. There are people we visited at home to encourage them to come to church –three, four, five times. Still they won’t come. What you’re doing here – you’re bringing to church the people who never come. Believe me – it’s bringing to church the people who never come!
People who were living in sin and away from God, after the bombing of St. Peter’s Chapel in the Cathedral, they were saying, “You never know when your number’s up. Better take more care (in our spiritual lives).” All these vistations we do – you’re so much more effective. You’re filling up our churches! You’re filling our churches!
Can you see why we thank you? We’re not being deceptive. A priest holding a microphone can’t lie to you! I say to you: THANK YOU. Thank you for all you have done for us without even noticing.
— WE LOVE YOU —
The second part of the message we want to send to you is that we love you. And this, unfortunately, you won’t understand at all. Maybe you won’t believe us when we say we’re grateful. But this – you won’t even understand. Why won’t you understand it? Because this too is a teaching of our Christ. I want to explain to you about our Christ. I want to tell you about how wonderful He is.
See what Christ said: If you love those who love you, you have no profit or reward with me. Even thugs and thieves love those who love them. Any gang loves its members. Even the drug dealers all like each other and take care of each other. Right? But I want to tell you that “if you love those who love you, what reward have you? But I say to you, love your enemies” (Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:46, 44).
We Christians don’t have enemies. We don’t have enemies; others make enmity with us. The Christian doesn’t make enemies because we are commanded to love everyone. And so, we love you because this is the teaching of our God – that I’m to love you – no matter what you do to me.
I love you very much.
— WE PRAY FOR YOU —
And I want to say one last thing to you: we’re praying for you. Because the One who told us to love you told us to “bless those who curse you. . .and PRAY for those who spitefully use you” (Matthew 5:44). So my instructions from my loving God make it my duty to pray for you.
Concluding remarks by the priest addressed to the people of his church:
So what do you think? How about we make a commitment to pray for them? Pray that they know the God of love? Pray that they experience the love of God? Because if they knew that God is love and experienced His love, they could not do these things – never, never, never.
They are a wretched lot. And because they are wretched, we must pray for them. But when someone loves God, he won’t know except love.
We need to pray for them so they can sleep at night. A person who has all this inside them, how can he sleep comfortably?
Can you imagine? We are being slaughtered and the King of Peace gives us peace to sleep. And the one who slaughters, all night he can’t sleep.
Pray for them. Take it as a command. Take it as a duty. Take it as the application of Christ’s instructions.
We must ALL pray for them today that God opens their eyes and open their hearts to His love.
Because if they knew Him, they could NEVER do this.
God comfort us. God give us understanding. God give us JOY because Christ’s promise is truth. He said, “I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy NO ONE will take from you” (John 16:22).
To our God be the glory now and forever.
Dear Muslim and Christian friends,
Yesterday – around the world – countless millions of Christians remembered something called “Good Friday.” Good Friday is the day that Christians believe Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world. It was, the Bible teaches, a day of terrible suffering and tremendous love by Jesus – for you, for me, for all of us.
To my Muslim readers, I know full well that Islam teaches that Jesus did not die – that another (possibly Judas or Pilate or someone else) – took his place; that God took Jesus up to heaven and put his facial image on someone who actually did die on a cross. But for now, can we agree to disagree about that?
In this blog post, I just have to say something. Many things. To Jesus.
I have to thank him. Publicly. Effusively (expressing feelings of gratitude, pleasure, or approval in an unrestrained or heartfelt manner).
So my Muslim friends, even if you don’t agree with my position about the death of Jesus on that day 2,000 years ago, would you bear with me? Would you allow me to express my love for Jesus here?
A PUBLIC THANKS TO MY SAVIOR – JESUS:
YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO. . .BUT YOU DID
* You didn’t have to leave your place with God in heaven and all the glory you had there. . .but you did. (John 1:1-4; John 1:14)
* You didn’t have to come to planet earth – a place filled with sin and hatred and foul darkness. . .but you did. (John 1:9-10)
* You didn’t have to choose to be born in a place for animals – a dirty, smelly stable instead of the king’s palace you deserved. . .but you did. (Luke 2:1-7)
* You didn’t have to take the body of a human with all the weaknesses that we experience. . .but you did. (Philippians 2:5-7)
* You didn’t have to be born in little Bethlehem and live in obscurity in Nazareth instead of the fame you could have enjoyed living in Jerusalem. . .but you did. (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-6; John 1:46)
* You didn’t have to refuse to be king. . .but you did. (John 6:15)
* You didn’t have to serve people instead of being served. . .but you did. (Mark 10:45; Philippians 2:5-7)
* You didn’t have to spend time with people everyone else shunned and hated (tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers) – eating with them, loving them, teaching them, healing them. . .but you did. (Mark 2:13-17)
* You didn’t have to ride into Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday on a humble donkey instead of a white horse. . .but you did. (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:1-11)
* You didn’t have to let your friends betray you (Judas for 30 pieces of silver) and deny you (Peter three times). . .but you did. (Psalm 41:9; Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 26:14-16; Matthew 27:3-10; Luke 22:54-62)
* You didn’t have to sweat blood (a rare medical condition during extreme stress known as hematidrosis) as you faced carrying our sins. . .but you did. (Luke 22:44).
* You didn’t have to let them tie your hands and arrest you (since you were only bound by your love for God and for us). . .but you did. (Matthew 27:2; Mark 15:1)
* You didn’t have to go through a night of cruel, illegal, and unjust trials (3 Jewish, 3 Roman) on that Good Friday morning. . .but you did. (Matthew 26:57-27:26; Mark 14:53-15:20; Luke 22:54-23:25: John 18:12-19:13)
* You didn’t have to let them blindfold you and spit on you and strike you and mock you and pull out part of your beard. . .but you did. (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 26:67-68; Mark 14:65 and 15:19; Luke 22:63-65)
* You didn’t have to answer the high priest’s question – “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” but you did. (Mark 14:55-64).
* You didn’t have to announce to the world on that night exactly who you were (you were not lying, you were not confused, and you were not blaspheming). . .but you did. (Matthew 26:62-66)
* You did not have to remain silent before false accusations of the Jewish leaders in the presence of the Roman governor Pilate. . .but you did. (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12-14; Mark 15:3-4)
* You didn’t have to let the Roman soldiers scourge you (with a whip of leather straps with bits of bone and iron and glass designed to rip the flesh open, exposing muscles and bone from the shoulders down to the thighs). . .but you did. (Isaiah 53:5; John 19:1-2; 1 Peter 2:24)
* You didn’t have to let the soldiers mock you by placing a crown of thorns on your head and a purple robe on your torn back. . .but you did. (Matthew 27:27-29; Mark 15:16-20)
* You didn’t have to let the soldiers beat your face so much that it was severely disfigured. . .but you did. (Isaiah 52:13-14)
* You didn’t have to carry the heavy crossbar of your cross (that we deserved to carry) on your shredded, bloody back. . .but you did. (John 19:17)
* You didn’t have to allow Roman soldiers to pound iron nails into your wrists and feet. . .but you did. (Psalm 22:16; Isaiah 53:5; Zechariah 12:10; John 20:25)
* You didn’t have to refuse the sedative/anesthetic on the cross because you wanted to face death fully aware. . .but you did. (Matthew 27:34; Mark 15:23)
* You didn’t have to suffer the other horrible pains of crucifixion for 6 hours (dislocated shoulders, elbows, and wrists; exhaustion; infection; fever; severe dehydration; blood loss; hyperventilation; collapsing lungs; cardiorespiratory failure; and finally slow suffocation and cardiac rupture – a “broken heart”). . .but you did. (Psalm 22:14, 15, 17; John 19:34)
* You didn’t have to pray for forgiveness for those who did all these cruel, horrible things to you. . .but you did. (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34)
* You didn’t have to endure the vicious verbal attacks – mocking, insults, sarcasm – from people and religious leaders who watched you die. . .but you did. (Psalm 22:7-8; Matthew 27:39-43; Mark 15:29-31; Luke 23:35, 37; John 19:24)
* You didn’t have to endure the worst pain of all – abandonment, desertion by God – while you carried our sins. . .but you did. (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34)
* You didn’t have to go through so many terrible sufferings and finally die in my place, for my sins – for the unspeakable sins of all of humanity. . .but you did. (Isaiah 53:5-6, 8, 10-11)
* You didn’t have to love me – love all of us - with this kind of tremendous love. . .but you did.
Thank you. For all eternity, thank you.
You didn’t have to. . .but you did.
Dear Muslim and Christian friends,
Alhamdulillah! (Thank God!)
Below are ayahs (verses) from the Zabur (Psalms) which encourage us to thank God at all times. He is worthy of our praise!
Dear Muslim and Christian friends,
The Zabur (the Psalms of King Dawood and others) has so many encouraging ayahs (verses) to help all of us when our hearts are sad, lonely, and fearful. Here are some which I hope will bless you today – in Arabic and English for a change!