Does Allah Love You? How Do You Know? (Part 2 – Sacrifice)

image

Dear Muslim friends,

Does Allah love you? How can you know for sure?

These are such important questions!

In my last blog post, I said this:

“Love is proven by how much one is willing to sacrifice for another.” This is true in human relationships and I believe that it is true of God as well.

My Muslim friends, in Islam, how do you know Allah really loves you? How has he demonstrated it? How has He proven it?

I believe so strongly that you know someone loves you by what they give – or give up – for you. And this is true of God as well:

John 3:16 - Bible verse of the day - DailyVerses.net

You know someone loves you by whether they help you when you are helpless. And this is true of God as well:

image

You know someone loves you by the price they are willing to pay for you. And this is true of God as well:

Redeemed: From What? With What? Now What?” (Sermon on 1 Peter 1:17-25, by  Pr. Charles Henrickson)

You know someone loves you when you do horrible things – sin – and still, they love you. And this is true of God as well:

Romans 5:7 One Will Hardly Die For A Righteous Man brown | Grace verses,  Romans 5, Romans

You know someone loves you when you have become enemies with someone and they sacrifice what is dearest to them to be reconciled to you. And this is true of God as well:

Romans 5:10 – CraigThompson.org

God loves you, my Muslim friends.

And He has proven it once and for all through what He was willing to sacrifice – Jesus.

Romans 5:10 | Word of god, Scripture, Cool words

Does Allah Love You? How Do You Know? (Part 1 – Mercy & Grace)

Ephesians 2:8-9 | One Accord Ministries

Dear Muslim Friends,

Does Allah love you?

Personally? Intimately?

How do you know?

Does Allah love you because you have done salat?

Zakat?

Performed hajj or umrah?

Practiced dawa?

Followed the sunnah?

If you have done these things to the best of your ability, can you be absolutely sure that Allah loves you?

My dear Muslim friends, may I share why I believe God loves me? (If you are still reading, I will assume the answer is “yes”).

It isn’t because I have kept all of God’s commands perfectly. Because I haven’t.

No, God’s love for me is not based on my goodness.

It is not based on my merit or achievement or performance or all my good works.

Titus 3:5 | Prayer devotional, Bible news, Affirmative prayer

God’s love for me – and you – is based on Him, not us. On His goodness, not ours.

It is simply called. . .grace.

Scripture Pictures from the Book of Ephesians | Amazing Facts

My Muslim friends, God loves you. Now. Today.

It doesn’t matter what you have done. . .or not done.

God proved His love for you once and for all when He sent Jesus.

Love is proven by how much one is willing to sacrifice for another.

And that is the subject of my next blog post as expressed by this incredible verse:

God truly loves you, my Muslim friends.

He proved it. . .once and for all!

Muslims: Can You Earn Allah’s Love? Christians: Can You Earn God’s Love?

21271274_1277520735690434_4219906966389156465_n.jpg sheen

Dear Muslim and Christian friends,

(I posted this in 2017, but everything I wrote then, I want to share with you now.)

A few nights ago, I was driving to a store and saw beautiful clouds from the sun slowly setting in the west. It moved me so much that I just stood outside the store for quite a while looking up into the sky. It brought a beautiful quietness to my soul.

As I looked at these beautiful colors, it brought to mind thoughts about God. . .and me. How great He is. . .and how I am not so great at all. I was feeling very badly about myself. I was struggling with something I have struggled with off and on for much of my life: performance based spirituality. What is that? It is the belief – consciously or subconsciously – that God truly loves us only when we are performing well spiritually. When we are:

praying enough
fasting
enough
giving
enough
reading our Holy Book
enough
– etc.
(add any number of other spiritual duties)

This performance based relationship with God creates two potential problems:

#1 – Pride – if I think I am doing well in this checklist of spiritual duties, I can become prideful;
#2 – Inferiority – if I don’t think I am doing well in this checklist of spiritual duties, I can feel inferior.

That night, I was feeling depressed. Not very spiritual. Not measuring up to God’s expectations. And sadly. . .wrongfully. . .I was feeling not very loved by God.

But then God spoke to my heart while watching that sunset, not in an audible way, but in a very real way nonetheless.

He spoke to me of who He is. About His love. About how I need to focus on His greatness, not on my weakness.

It was so amazing to hear His voice as He impressed these thoughts on my heart:

* God loves us because He is love, not because we are so lovable.
* God loves us because He is so good, not because we are so good.
* There is nothing in us that prompts His love for us. There is everything in Him that prompts His love for us.

As God spoke these simple truths to my heart once again, I simply basked in His rich, undeserved, extravagant love.

God’s love is:

A love not based on my performance. . .
or how much I pray or give.
A love not based on how much I read my holy book. . .
or how much good I do.

God’s love is a love based on just one thing:
Him.

It’s not about who I am or what I do or don’t do. God’s love is based totally on who He is.

Tonight, once again, I rejoice in His love.
A love that cannot be earned.
Only received.

—————————

PS – for me as a Christian – a follower of Jesus – I have amazing verses in the Bible that remind me of what I have written above. But I need to remind myself of them on a regular basis so I don’t fall back into performance based spirituality.

Here are just two of those verses. . .

bb0d2ef9af70e9732dc521934c7532aa--jesus-piece-blessed-quotes.jpg romans 8

Whether you call yourself a Muslim or a Christian, do you know this love?

Oh how I pray that you will!

Who Rules The Sea? Is It Allah Alone?

e6ee13b0d23cd070b6c66d421c88cfb9.jpg waves

Dear Muslim Friends,

Who rules the sea? Who alone has power over it?

Who tells a violent, dangerous, stormy sea to be still and. . .it happens.

Only Allah, right?

In the Zabur, Psalm 65:7, we read that God is the One who calms the raging oceans with their pounding waves. We read similar words in Psalm 89:8-9 (NKJV):

O Lord God of hosts, Who is mighty like You, O Lord? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. You rule the raging of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them.”

139834b1d6be894be088351e089a009f.jpg waves

Other verses in the Zabur speaks of God’s power over the sea such as Psalm 107:28-29, NLT:

“Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.”

b8cc4e054c47d51c88ced2a2b2409e1b.jpg waves

There is an amazing story in the Injil found in Matthew 8:23-27, NLT (but also found in Mark 4:35-41 and Luke 8:22-25):

“Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’

ptwlmq1443626627-e1443626988878.jpg waves

Jesus responded, ‘Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!’ Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. ‘Who is this man?’ they asked. ‘Even the winds and waves obey him!'”

6a00e5“Who is this man?”

This is one of the most important questions any human can ever ask: “Who is Jesus?”

Who rules the sea? Is it Allah alone?

Something to think about today, my dear Muslim friends.

As always, I love you. . .

Eid al Adha – As A Follower Of Jesus, It Makes Me Wonder!

free-eid-al-adha-mubarak-vector-card

Dear Muslim friends,

I am always intrigued by your “Feast of the Sacrifice” – Eid al-Adha. Like you, my Muslim friends, I am in awe of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son out of unlimited obedience to God. That is clearly worth remembering and having a celebration. . .every year!

As a follower of Jesus, Eid al Adha makes me wonder. . .to be curious or to marvel. . .how many people. . .like these Pakistanis on their way to Lahore, Pakistan. . .traveled long, hard distances to celebrate Eid with their loved ones?

slide_373114_4337866_free

Eid al-Adha makes me wonder. . .how many lambs, goats, cows, and camels. . .will be sacrificed across the Muslim world in these days?

slide_373114_4337906_free
slide_320969_3009756_free

Eid al-Adha makes me wonder. . .how many Muslim men like these at the Vasi Ullah mosque in Allahabad, India want to obey God as fully as Ibrahim did?

slide_373114_4337904_free

How many Muslim women like these in Ahmadabad, India. . .want to obey God as fully as Ibrahim did?

slide_373114_4337826_free

I wonder. . .how fully do I want to obey God?

Eid al-Adha makes me wonder. . .how many Muslims teach their children how to pray? Like this girl in Bali, Indonesia or this boy in Pristina, Kosovo?

slide_373114_4337876_free
slide_373114_4337910_free

I wonder. . .how well did I teach my sons to pray?

Eid al-Adha makes me wonder. . .how many Muslims around the world prayed with the intensity of this Kashmiri Muslim man in Srinagar, India?

slide_373114_4337782_free

I wonder. . .how much intensity did I pray with today?

Eid al-Adha makes me wonder about these words from the Qur’an about God rescuing Ibrahim’s son by providing a lamb in substitute for him: “And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice” (Qur’an, sura 37, ayah 107).

Similarly, as a follower of Jesus, Eid al-Adha always makes me wonder about these special words spoken about Isa al Masih – Jesus – in the Injeel:

John-1-29-web

It makes me wonder. . .to be curious, to marvel. . .how could this one man. . .from an obscure village in Palestine. . .be “the lamb of God”. . .that takes away the sin of the world? Amazing! It was through his sacrifice, for “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (the Book of Hebrews, chapter 9, verse 22).

What love! What a “momentous sacrifice” – for the nations – for each of us!

lamb-of-God_sinsofworld-717x420

This I try to remember and celebrate. . .today. . .and every day.

Eid al Adha – as a follower of Jesus, it makes me wonder!

———————————————————————–

Postscript:

Dear Muslim Friends,

I fully understand that Eid al-Adha is not about a substitutionary sacrifice for sins. Yes, I am fully aware that this concept is not in Islam. Nevertheless, I am filled with wonder and awe at how the Qur’an speaks of the ransom of a lamb to rescue Ibrahim’s son from certain death and how the Bible speaks of the ransom of Jesus as a lamb to rescue/redeem each of us from certain death – the punishment for our sins.

Ransom: What an incredible word.

Ransom: “The price paid to free/rescue/deliver/release a helpless person from captivity or punishment.”

Ransom: It speaks of great, great love.

God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began.” (from the first letter of Peter, chapter 1, verses 18-20, NLT. Peter was an original follower of Jesus and a crucified martyr for him).

I pray with all my heart that you would think and pray about the ransom of Jesus to completely wash away your sin and shame – and then to receive it as the free gift of love, grace, and mercy that it is.

wp-1513343066156.jpg ransom redeem

28004473414_240ff0df4e_c.jpg ransom redeem

Dear Muslim Friends: You Say, “Subhanallah!” and We Say, “Glory to God!”

Dear Muslim friends,

One of the things that I love about you is how you give praise to God using the word, “Subhanallah.”

I know that word speaks about God being perfect and free of error. But it can also be an expression of thanks to Him and awe for what He has done – including His beautiful creation:

“Praise to God for making this beautiful sunrise, flower, ocean, desert, forest, sunset, star, galaxy, and beyond!”

As Muslims and Christians, we have some different views about who God is and about who Jesus is. There’s no doubt about that, and they are very, very important differences that we should think about and talk about (especially our views of how God says we can get to Paradise – the Bible speaks to this in Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16).

But we also have some things that we agree about concerning who God is and what He has done.

And one of the things we agree about is this: let us always thank God for the beautiful creation that He has made for us to enjoy. His creation expresses some of the beauty and perfection of who He is.

You say, “Subhanallah!”

We say, “Glory to God!”

Let’s keep talking about who God is. Who Jesus is.

I love you my Muslim friends!

“Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
Psalm 90:2, NIV

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”
Jeremiah 32:17, NIV

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”
‭‭John‬ ‭1:1-4‬, ‭NIV‬‬

Ypsilanti MI, Rolling Hills Park
Video by Brent
July 26, 2020

#Subhanallah #MuslimsAndChristians #ILoveMuslims

Eid Mubarak, My Muslim Friends

98004073_2787930507982775_316818958374141952_n.jpg Eid lamp

Dear Muslim friends around the world,

When I see this beautiful lamp, I think of the words of Jesus:

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (The Injil, John 8:12)

What a promise for our spiritual and emotional well being – a promise for the whole world!

May you see the light of Jesus on this Eid-ul-Fitr!

100683037_2787935371315622_2800021319226228736_n.jpg Light of the world

Muslims & Christians Distributing Food Together During the Pandemic in Hamtramck, Michigan

What a wonderful time distributing food to Muslim people in Hamtramck, Michigan during the corona virus pandemic – May 1, 2020!

Here is our video:

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”
(1 John 3:17-18, NLT)

As a “Christian” (I prefer the term, “follower of Jesus”), it was a real joy to meet new Muslim friends and work together in giving out food to immigrant people from Bangladesh.

Hamtramck has been hit by the corona virus and people needed help!

“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”
(James 2:14-17, NLT)

All glory to God:
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness.”
(Psalm 115:1, NLT)

2697.jpg not to us but to your name be glory

#MuslimsAndChristiansWorkingTogether #FoodDistributionInHamtramckMichigan

Dear Muslim Friends, May You See Jesus Tonight on “Laylat al-Qadr” (the Night of Power)

unnamed.jpg night of power

Dear Muslim friends around the world,

I know that tonight is regarded by many as “Laylat al-Qadr” (the Night of Power) – the spiritual peak of Ramadan. It marks the night when Allah is believed to have sent the Qur’an down from the seventh heaven.

I also know it is a night when you believe that:

prayers are more powerful;
• sins are forgiven (Bukhari 1.2.34);
• the blessings and mercy of God are more abundant.

Some believe that worship on Laylat al-Qadr is more valuable than a thousand months of regular worship (83 years!) based on Surah 97 in the Qur’an.

My Muslim friends, one thing you may not have heard is that Jesus often reveals Himself in dreams and visions to Muslim people on the Night of Power. Many have said they saw a “man in white” and they somehow knew it was Jesus because they had never experienced such love.

Oh, how I pray this for each of you – whether on this night, or another!

Jesus loves you, dear Muslim people around the world – and so do I!

John 3:16

To My Muslim Friends Around The World: Ramadan Kareem! Ramadan Mubarak!

94639338_2719810304794796_7892215647231279104_n.jpg ramadan kareem

To all my Muslim friends around the world, my wife and I are praying for you!

We pray that you would be blessed by God this month – that He would be generous to you with more and more revelation of who He is, and who Jesus is.

We pray for you to have dreams and visions of Jesus.

We pray for your safety and your family’s safety as well.

God bless you.

We love you!

95278020_2719810324794794_7433851776714932224_n.jpg ramadan mubarak