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A Request and Our Thanks – Day 30

God’s love for the Muslim people is immeasurable! As Ramadan ends, thank you for standing with us in prayer during the past thirty days. We invite you to participate in a brief survey about our Ramadan prayer series.

Please click here to take a short survey.

OUR FINAL THOUGHT:
During the past month, our messages revealed that even the most radical of Muslims could be changed with the powerful, life-changing gospel of Christ.

We have attempted to separate the Muslim people from the deception of the teachings of Islam. Because of their religious beliefs based upon the Qur’an and the Hadith (sayings of Muhammad), they are a shame-based society that lacks freedom of expression, and they follow beliefs that causes suffering in their lives. Even if a Muslim is dangerous, they were not born evil; they have been taught the doctrines they believe in that cause them to act in that manner.

People can learn to make a separation in their minds between the Muslim people and the teachings of Islam. Only a tiny percentage of Muslims are radical. All the others can be described as secular, traditional, moderate, or orthodox who want to live a normal life, enjoy their families, and be pleasing to their god.

A person can love and respect Muslim people even if they reject the teachings of Islam. As we complete this series, it is important that we have an understanding of their beliefs and be ready to unveil or expose those that are contrary to the Word of God. But above all, we remember that Jesus loves them the same as He loves us, and He died for their sins.

During this month God has stirred the hearts of Christians throughout the nations to pray for Muslims to come into His kingdom. May God bind all of our prayers together before His throne, bringing an incredible harvest of souls coming to Christ around the world. To God be the glory!

THANK YOU!

Islam and the Jews – Day 29

Hatred is a strong, negative feeling, a deep emotion that is the opposite of God’s agape (Greek) love. Hatred toward another person or a people group sees the object of our hatred as immoral, dangerous, evil, or all of this together. 

We know that Saul (who became Apostle Paul) was a Christian-hating (Acts 9:1), Christ-persecuting (Acts 9:5) zealot ({Philippians 3:6; Galatians 1:14) before his conversion to the Lord. God reached the hatred in his heart with the truth of the gospel.

On Day 28, we shared about Dr. Mark A. Gabriel, who grew up in Egypt. Memorizing the Qur’an at an early age, he received a PH.D. in Islamic history and culture from Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Through reading the book of Matthew, he became a believer in Christ. He renounced Islam and after assassin attempts, fled Egypt and arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

Dr. Gabriel shared that it was natural for him to grow up with a great hatred toward the Jews, because that is the true attitude of Islam. He said, “It was an honor for me to prove to the people around me and even to myself that I was really against the Jews.” He felt it was his duty to visit the cemetery and curse the Jews because the Qur’an says that Allah and Allah’s people will curse the Jews until judgment day (Sura 2:159). Because he was faithful to what he believed, he took every opportunity to speak against them, to curse them, and to spit on their gravestones. Many times he talked about this in his sermons at the mosque and would command the people, “When you walk close to that cemetery, you must give Allah the joy of cursing the children of pigs and monkeys.”

Even though he had received Jesus as his Lord and Savior and left Islam, his attitude toward the Jews stayed the same for two years. One day in Johannesburg, he was taken to a Bible study led by a young lady, an “ex-Jew” (Messianic Jew), now a follower of Jesus. He was afraid because he expected all Jewish people to hate him because of his Muslim background. It was the first time in his life he had ever been introduced to a Jew. When he met her, he was shocked; she was friendly and hugged him. He was shaken up by her kindness. As he met the other people (Messianic Jews and a Jewish family), he couldn’t see any disrespect and hatred. The Lord was impacting him, as the Holy Spirit was teaching and bringing conviction.

At the end of the study, he asked to speak. He said, “Jesus’ most recent miracle happened here tonight. By this miracle, He united you and me to be brother and sister through His blood. No other power in the world can do this type of reconciliation between the Jews and Muslims.” God showed him there was no room for hatred toward other people. He realized he didn’t hate anymore (I John 2:10-11). 

Hatred for others has no place in our lives, whether we be Muslim, Jewish, or Christian!
*Adapted from: Mark A. Gabriel, Ph.D. – “Islam and the Jews”

Prayer

Jesus Christ, Himself is the great reconciler for all of us! Pray that all people will recognize that His love can prevail in all relationships, releasing forgiveness and healing of wounded hearts.

The Power and Joy of Worship – Day 28

One of the joys of being a follower of Jesus is singing praises to the Lord. The book of Psalms has many references to praising Him with our whole heart. For example, the Psalmist declares, “As for me, I shall sing of Your strength; yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, for You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress” (Psalm 59:16). Throughout the Word of God, vocal praise and worship is a vital part of the life of a Christian.

Most every Christian worship service begins with songs of declaring who God is and expressing our love for Him. We may assume this is true in Islam, but it is not.

Dr. Mark A. Gabriel has a powerful testimony of his life growing up in Egypt. Memorizing the Qur’an at an early age, he holds a PH.D. in Islamic history and culture from Al-Azhar University in Cairo. In a July 2004 Charisma Magazine article, he shared that even with all his religious training in Islam, after the first reading the book of Matthew, he chose to follow the Lord and accepted Jesus as his God and Savior. When he renounced Islam, Muslims in Egypt attempted to assassinate him several times. The last attempt was by his own father, who tried to shoot him with his handgun to restore his honor and wash away his shame with his son’s blood. Mark fled Egypt, and after crossing mountains, deserts, jungles, and rivers, he arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Dr. Gabriel discussed experiencing worship of Jesus in his life. In Johannesburg, he began fellowshipping with an English-speaking congregation, despite the difficulty of not knowing the language. He said, “For me, the most beautiful part of the service was praising and singing before the Lord. One of the first songs that deeply touched me was ‘How Great Thou Art.’ Through it, I could appreciate this great God of ours who created the universe and then humbled Himself for me and everyone else.”

Thinking about the Islamic songs he learned in his youth, he shared they would sing “Muslims We Are” when they gathered to begin a day at school, declaring they were accepting death, refusing surrender, and by the sword, they defeated the enemy. He went on to say, “They don’t understand anything different because of sin.” Dr. Gabriel expressed that the problem for the Muslim people is sin (Romans 5:12) and because of that, “the way of peace they do not know” (Romans, chapter 3).

Many young Iranian Muslims go to schools in Europe for their education and, while there, learn about Jesus and receive Him as Lord. When they attend a church where their language, Farsi, is spoken, the worship begins. For the first time in their lives, they see the words of the songs of love for Jesus, and they begin to sing praises to Him. Imagine! They have never experienced anything like that before. It is incredible to see the expression of joy on their faces as they corporately worship their Savior, the One who has given them the true way of peace!

Prayer

Our God is worthy of praise, and multitudes of Muslims will desire to praise Jesus if they have an understanding of His love for them. Pray they will receive a divine revelation of that love and respond with their whole hearts.

A Personal Vision of Light – Day 27

n Day 21, we read the true story of Cemil and Isil, Muslims in Turkey. In that first part, Isil, the wife, had an encounter with Jesus Christ, and then about six months later, her husband Cemil also had an encounter with Christ. In a way that opened their spiritual eyes, Christ knew exactly when and how to reveal Himself to each of them individually.

Christ appeared to Cemil in a bright light. Cemil said he could not see his face, but he knew it was Jesus. Cemil shared, “I was not afraid but very astonished. Jesus was standing very close to me. He asked, ‘What are you looking for?’ I replied, ‘The truth.’ 

Then Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light.’ He then came even closer to me and put His hand on the top of my head. I felt an energy coming out of His hand going straight through me. My whole body started to shake under the power coming from Him. My wife came into the room. She saw me shaking so badly and called my name, crying, ‘What’s the matter? What’s happening?’ Jesus then told me not to be afraid and to tell Isil not to be afraid.

The shaking stopped, and I told Isil not to fear, that I was seeing Jesus, and we were talking. She replied in shock, ‘If you are talking to Jesus, ask if Him if He heard me when I prayed at the church six months ago and ask Him what I prayed about.’

Before I could speak, Christ answered, ‘I heard.’ He then told me what she had prayed, and I started telling her all that He told me. I was still seeing Jesus, but I heard Isil crying, and she said, ‘You really are talking to Him because I never told you what I had prayed about.’ Then she said, ‘Ask Him what we should do.’”

Christ answered, “Repent, and I will show you the way.” And then He was gone. I looked at my wife, and she was on her knees crying. I was also crying. We did just what He said and repented from our sins. I held my wife’s hands, and we repented together. We said, “We believe in You, Jesus. Thank You for coming into our lives.”

God honors those who call out to Him in desperation and sincerity, who long to know the Truth. God told the prophet, Jeremiah, “Call to Me, and I will answer you” (Jeremiah 33:3). This same invitation is extended to all today.

 * Adapted from Cemil and Isil Akbulut – 5 Amazing Muslims touched by GOD

Prayer

Lord, our world is deceived by sin. We pray as Muslims all over the world are seeking, that they will cry out to you in sincere longing and desperation for truth. We ask You to reveal Yourself to each of them personally and glorify Your name, just as You did with Cemil and Isil.

God Has Not Forgotten the Muslim People – Day 26

The country of Iran has an international reputation, and it is not good. According to the US Department of State, Iran is one of four nations designated a “State Sponsor of Terrorism.” Westerners who receive from secular news sources think of Iran with nuclear bombs, threats to “wipe Israel off the map,” and charges of “Death to America.”

A Fox News report shared that inside Iran, young Iranians are generally well-educated and more modern and moderate than their parents’ generation. They have grown frustrated by the political and economic constraints that have kept them from achieving success and by Islamic fundamentalism that places so many restrictions on their lives. The government uses psychological warfare to oppress people through fear and isolation. They have seen their government arrest people with false charges, and when they protested, many were shot and killed by their authorities. Persians living in Iran are saying they are living in a prison – that Iran is a living coffin!

God loves the people of Iran and has not forgotten them. In the past 20-30 years, Christian television is being broadcast by satellite in the Farsi language to a potential 130 million Farsi-speaking people in Iran and nearby nations.

An example of this is a TV satellite network begun by Dr. Hormoz Shariat, born into a Muslim family in Iran. After the Islamic Revolution in 1979, he became a follower of Jesus Christ while attending a university in the United States. In 2001 he followed the Lord’s leading and founded Iran Alive Ministries, and now, through 24/7 television, they reach millions of lost and broken people of Iran.

Dr. Shariat shared, “My passion for Muslims stems, in part, because of the murder of my brother, Hamraz, who was arrested in Iran at the age of 16 on a minor political charge. After two years in jail, he was executed by a firing squad. God showed me the best way to respond to this tragedy was to dedicate my life to loving Muslims and sharing the Gospel with as many of them as possible.”

Iran is trying to contain the spread of Christianity but is not succeeding. Dr. Shariat declared, “We are seeing the Islamic nation of Iran turning away from Islam and embracing Christianity. Jesus came to set captives free. We see Him doing this as Iranian Muslims are being set free from the dark and enslaving spirit of Islam into the light of the Gospel. As we continue to send the Good News into Iran, we believe it will be the first Islamic nation to turn to Christ!”

Prayer

As we are nearing the end of Ramadan, we think of the multitudes of Muslims who have not yet heard the gospel of Christ. Pray the dissatisfaction in their hearts will lead them to Christian outreach through television, radio, the internet, and other resources, bringing understanding and a harvest of souls for Jesus.

Against All Odds – Day 25

Around the world, more than 340 million Christians live in places where they experience high levels of persecution and discrimination simply for following Jesus. A “World Watch List” report by Open Doors reveals these high levels affect 1 in 8 believers worldwide. Churches are destroyed; Christians are killed for their faith; and believers are detained without a trial, arrested, sentenced, or imprisoned. Iran is 8th out of the 50 most dangerous countries in which to live as a Christian.

In Iran (biblical Persia), the official religious statistics of the 85 million people who live in this western Asia nation show 89% are Shi’ite Muslim, 10% are Sunni Muslims, and the remaining 1% are Christian or other religion.

In 1979, the Shah (king) of Iran was overthrown, and the nation came under religious Islamic law. Converts of Muslims to Christianity, according to Iran’s Islamic law, can face the death penalty.

At the time of the Islamic Revolution, there were less than 500 Muslim background believers in Iran. That was then, but Iran is rapidly changing. Against all odds, the Iranian youth are becoming increasingly distant from Islam, which is a great concern for the Iranian government. According to insiders, mosques are nearly empty of men praying.

The Iranian Islamic government implemented a two-fold plan to stop the spread of Christianity in the country, and it has failed on both fronts. First, they allocated millions of dollars for Islamic propaganda across the country. Secondly, they included a crackdown campaign focused on newly converted followers of Jesus to place fear in those interested in becoming Christians.

Christianity sees massive gains, especially with the young. Iranian Christian leader Mike Ansari reported a “pandemic of hope” revival has been taking place in the country. Ansari runs Mohabat TV, a popular Christian satellite channel in Iran. He revealed that their station is recording 10 times more online salvations than in the previous year. That is an astounding 1,000% increase in people coming to Christ during the past year.

A former Muslim who broadcasts Christian programming into Iran in their language makes this statement, “Iran will be a Christian country,” based upon Jeremiah 49:38. Further insight will be shared in our next post.

Prayer:

In Iran, Muslims are disillusioned with the Islamic faith and are responding to Jesus in unprecedented ways. Ask God to give them the courage to take a stand for Christ and protect them from any evil planned against their lives.

Islam’s Holiest Night – Day 24

Laylat Al Qadr, known as the “Night of Power,” is the holiest night of the year for Muslims. It commemorates the night that Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelations of the Qur’an. Many Muslims pray all night, and believe angels will shower down blessings and peace if they remain awake. It is a time when Muslims are open to dreams and visions as they seek guidance and revelation for the coming year.


Most Islamic scholars believe the Night of Power falls on one of the odd-numbered nights of the final ten days of Ramadan. Typically it is celebrated on the 27th day, which will fall on May 8, 2021.


The Night of Power, as described in Sura 97: “is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand; Peace! This until the rise of morn!”


Worship for Muslims on the Night of Power becomes an obligation in order to receive a reward – how different from those of us who are honored to worship our God – not in order to receive a reward, but simply because He alone is worthy of all worship, honor an praise. Take time out today to worship God – lift His name on high and thank Him for His abundant blessings.


Prayer:
Pray Muslims will long for the true and living God, hunger for His truth, and have dreams and visions in the days ahead of Jesus Christ as the living Son of God!

Bought by the King – Day 23

We continue the testimony of an Arab Palestinian woman who tells her story with keen insight into the Muslim culture. 

“When I went to Jordan to introduce my daughter to my father, he planned to kill me because being divorced and with a child, I brought shame to the family.

A woman from the U.S. Immigration Department reached out and arranged for me to return to family in New York, but my father and my ex-husband plotted and took my daughter from me. They forced me into another Muslim marriage to a cruel man in Connecticut who abused and beat me. I became pregnant on our wedding night, and we had twins. One day he said in Arabic, ‘I am going to kill you.’ He became violent, broke my nose, tore my clothes, and shot a gun in the air.

The police came and an officer told me, ‘You need to leave before you die!’

I heard a voice say, ‘Leave the darkness for the light. Leave the darkness for the light.’ Because of that voice, I had the strength to take my children and leave. I did not know the culture, though, and my children and I became homeless, living on the streets.

One day in a shop I met a woman who was very loving and kind. She hired me as a cook, and we built a friendship. I was puzzled and wondered, Why does she love as she does? She and her husband took us into their home and then helped me find my own place.

When I finally asked her about her love, she told me about Jesus. I interrupted and told her the Qur’an is the truth and Mohammad is the final prophet.

She said, ‘If you believe in Jesus, He will make your life better.’ For two years, she told me about Jesus, but because of my background, I could not believe that God had a son, yet I wanted this love she had.

I was unhappy, though I was making money. I needed truth. I said, ‘Jesus, if You are the Son of God, come down and show me.’

 That moment, the room began to change, and Jesus was standing in front of me. I heard His voice, and it was the same voice that told me to leave the darkness for the Light. He then said in Arabic, ‘I am the Truth, the Life, and the Way, and no one comes to the Father except by Me. I am Jesus, the One you denied. I came to save you, to make you a happy person. You don’t have to do anything; know that I love you.’

Suddenly Jesus made sense to me. He said, “You are My daughter.” A new heavenly language was coming from my tongue. I saw multitudes of people of every color and race in the spirit, and I could hear the sounds of every language and tongue, millions worshiping God.”

She had been through so much and tried to follow the Qur’an, but it was Jesus who, at age 29, gave her love, freedom, healing, and security, setting her free.

*Adapted from testimony in 5 Amazing Muslims touched by GOD

Prayer

Pray that the millions of Muslim women who are being abused, used, and sold in slavery will encounter the freedom and love that Jesus has for them. 

Sold to the Bedouins – Day 22

Asked to share her testimony, a young, Arab Palestinian girl discussed her life growing up that gives us insight into the Muslim culture. For her protection, we do not share her name.


She writes, “When the Six Day War broke out in Israel on June 6, 1967, my mother was pregnant with me and a cousin moved her from Gaza to Bethlehem. A few days after I was born she died and no one knew where my father was, so I was placed in a Jewish orphanage even though I was a Palestinian child. I was treated well in the orphanage but the wars continued and one day as I was sent to the well for water a bomb came and destroyed the orphanage and everyone within. I was now all alone in the world. A Israeli soldier found me wandering around crying and helped me. Later I was given to an Arab man who sold me to a dirty Bedouin man. I was taken to a large group people in a caravan. A woman covered my head and said, ‘you are a Muslim now’ and taught me the prayers and ways of the Muslim people. I traveled in the Bedouin caravan and lived the Bedouin lifestyle. Even though it was dirty and difficult, I belonged.


One day fighting broke out and along with 50 other children we were put on a bus and taken to Jordan to an orphanage owned by one of King Hussein’s relatives. It was a much better place. We had running water, took baths and had food and clothes. It felt like we were royalty. Learning Islam from the Bedouins, in Jordan I continued to live my Muslim life. I was taught that Muhammad was God and I would obediently do all the Qur’an required.


When I became a teenager I was notified that my father had been found and that he lived in Jordan. I was taken to him. Sadly, my father never accepted me as his child and I became his slave.


At age 15, a marriage was arranged and I was given to a man from New York. After five years of marriage, I had a daughter and my husband convinced me to take her to Jordan to meet my family. He then arranged a divorce from me. My father was going to kill me because being divorced with a child, I brought shame to the family.”


Sadly, many Muslim women around the world face similar hardships in life and according to the Qur’an, this is acceptable. Fortunately, it is not the end of her story; good news is ahead!
*Adapted from testimony in 5 Amazing Muslims touched by GOD

Prayer
Muslims are taught that the majority of those who will be in hell are women. The women of Islam do not have hope for a good life, here or at death. Pray for them, that the love of God will be revealed to them in a powerful way.

Jesus Appears to a Radical Muslim

Cemil Akbulut* was born and raised in Turkey, a nation with nearly 80 million people. Many people do not realize the seven churches of the book of Revelation were in Turkey, yet today the population is 99.2% Muslim.
Raised by his brother, Cemil was indoctrinated into Islam as he went with him to pray five times a day at the mosque. Their house was full of Islamic religious books. As he grew, he became involved in Islamic cults made up of radical Islamic Shari’a believers. By the age of 26, he was a very committed Muslim and worked translating Islamic books from Saudi Arabia into Turkish.

Isil, a young Muslim woman in England, went to Turkey to visit, and while there, she met Cemil. Their relationship grew; soon, Cemil and Isil were married and lived in Istanbul. He became very radical in his beliefs. His work translating the Islamic books became very frustrating because of various people and issues. Isil also joined the cult that Cemil was now leading.


One night Isil shared with her husband that she saw a vision of Jesus and experienced His power going right through her body. Immediately she knew that it was Jesus. She asked Cemil to take her to a church, which was strange since she knew he was a very zealous Islamic teacher. Cemil said, “since we were just newlyweds, I could not refuse her. As my wife sat praying silently in the church, I was very disturbed. I was an Islamic leader, and here we were in a church, and my wife was praying. What on earth was happening?” The couple returned home that night and did not talk about what they had experienced.  


Six months later, during Ramadan, Cemil said he felt like their lives were a disaster. The translating work was stressful, and one night he began throwing books around. Isil tried to calm him down, but he left the room, not wanting to hurt her. Cemil went into the bedroom, and he said, “Suddenly I saw a bright light and a man was standing in front of me. I knew it was Jesus!” Jesus was appearing to me though I never believed in him. He asked me what I was looking for, and I replied, ‘The truth.” Jesus then lovingly told Cemil, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” 


It was the month of Ramadan, and Christ appeared to Cemil as he was looking for the truth! Many Muslims around the world today are looking for truth that is found only in Jesus! Tomorrow we will see how Christ continued to reveal himself to Cemil and Isil!
 * Cemil and Isil Akbulut – 5 Amazing Muslims touched by GOD

 Prayer

Jesus appears to Cemil during the month of Ramadan. Pray today that Christ will appear to many Muslims in dreams and visions during this time, revealing that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

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