Best Current News

Islamic Shame and the Woke Culture

In the book Honor and Shame, Roland Muller discusses three basic emotional responses to Adam and Eve’s original sin in the Garden of Eden: guilt, shame, and fear. After they sinned, they felt guilty because they had broken God’s command. They felt shame – they knew they were naked, and so they covered themselves. And they felt fear – they hid themselves from God.

Cultures and worldviews have been shaped by one or more of these emotional responses. Some cultures primarily operate with one clear worldview; others may be a mixture of all three. Most Western culture is primarily based on guilt/innocence – we clearly understand the concepts of right and wrong. Guilt/innocence-based cultures are typically individualistic. We believe individuals are responsible for themselves and their behavior.

A different worldview shaped Islam. In fact, the shame/honor basis of Islam can be traced to the Bedouin honor codes. Unlike the individual responsibility of those from a Western mindset, shame/honor-based cultures are attached to groups – families, tribes, nations, etc. Shameful deeds affect the entire group, and as such, they are hidden, and if they cannot hide them, then the shameful deed demands revenge. In this culture, the importance of the group outweighs the importance of an individual. If a person shames the family, and the family is unable to hide the shameful deed, the mindset says that the family must avenge. Islam is conformity to the point of submission.

Interestingly, the “woke” culture of today’s social media is quite successful in operating within the parameters of a shame-based culture. Freedom of speech and facts have little effect on public opinion once the social media overlords have determined the woke position. Countless people have been publicly shamed for simply daring to express an opinion contrary to the group thought. Often this public shaming has led to the loss of jobs and, in a couple of cases, even the loss of life. Much like Islam, “wokeness” also insists on conformity to the point of submission. 

Understanding this difference in worldview helps Western Christians understand and reach out to Muslims. But perhaps it will also help us understand and learn how to reach the “woke” generation, which is now threatening to reshape our own culture. 

Prayer Point:

Lord, the sense of guilt, shame, and fear are strongholds in the lives of those who are followers of Islam, and they need the teaching of the truth of the Word of God to bring deliverance. We pray that You will reveal to the hearts of Muslims that by becoming a follower of Jesus they can receive the emotional freedom and liberty that will be life changing.

We Take Up the Rod of Heaven’s Authority:

Based upon Psalm 32:7, we declare that through Christ, You will be the hiding place of Muslims who come to Jesus, You will protect them from trouble and surround them with songs of deliverance, bringing the emotional freedom they long for.

Expansionists: Russia and Islam

In a recent article, called “Islam is the Only Winner in the Ukraine War,” Daniel Greenfield stated, “Wars are wonderful distractions. Especially wars that don’t involve us and in which our only stake is a hashtag and a position. But unless we start thinking seriously about the future, we won’t just lose, we will cease to exist.”

As the world’s attention has been drawn to Russia and Ukraine, another aggressive world power continues to rapidly expand its reach, however unlike Russia this world power is not limited to a specific geographical area which makes its expansion less noticeable. Who is this world power? Islam – self-described as a religion, but more accurately defined as a totalitarian, political system.

To compare, Russia has population of roughly 146 million people and is declining. Islam, however, boasts a population of approximately 1.9 billion and is growing. Even within Russia, the Muslim population is growing with a birthrate of 2.5 children for Muslims compared to a birth rate of 1.5 for other Russians. In developed countries, the replacement rate is 2.1 children per woman in order to maintain a stable population. 

Islam’s expansionist nature has existed since its inception through jihad (war), migration and high birth rates. The Pew Research Center reports that by 2050, the Muslim population in Europe will more than double depending on migration rates. Even if migration was halted the Muslim population would still rise due to high birth rates among Muslims in Europe. The Pew Research groups predicts by 2050, 29.7% of the world’s population will be Muslim, an increase from the current figure of 23.5%.

As we focus on these numbers remember Matthew 9:38, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.”

Prayer Point:

Lord, You are the Lord of the harvest of souls and it is Your harvest field. We pray that You will send out workers to preach the truth to every Muslim with the message that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God who will give them salvation from their sins and the gift of eternal life.

 We Take Up the Rod of Heaven’s Authority:

We declare during this Ramadan season that the Muslim people will fully recognize their spiritual hunger, and have a strong desire, even a craving for the truth of the Word of God.

Why It Matters Now

Since 2012, Best Current News has presented articles and graphics along with suggested prayer points during the Islamic month of Ramadan. Because the month is based on the lunar calendar, the dates change each year by approximately 11 days. This year Ramadan begins on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

After over two years of worldwide turmoil marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the ensuing lockdowns, supply shortages, inflation, war, and an obvious and concerning moral decline in our nations, you may wonder if Islam still matters. We believe that within the next 30 days, you will realize that although Islam has not been in the headlines, it is still making significant advances in the world and is a topic that needs the continued prayer of Christians.

Many people are overwhelmed with the issues in their own lives. Our e-mail inboxes overflow with a constant barrage of bad news, and the thought of one more e-mail to read can seem onerous. Because the number of emails received can be overwhelming, this year we are streamlining our Ramadan series. Instead of sending daily information, for the next 30-days we will be sending an e-mail 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). We invite you to join with us as we present current updates and pertinent information to give you a renewed basis for prayer.

Our prayer for this first day of Ramadan, 2022:

Prayer Point:

John 6:44 declares that “No one can come to Jesus unless the Father who sent Jesus draws him …”  Father, we ask during this Ramadan season that you look at the hearts of every Muslim around the world and draw them to the Lord Jesus Christ.

We Take Up the Rod of Heaven’s Authority:

The power of the Word of God is greater than any stronghold over the life of an unbeliever. This day we declare that the truth of God’s love, joy, peace, goodness, and faithfulness is being stirred and desired in the hearts of Muslims around the world, calling them to true salvation in Christ.

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!

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