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Signs and Wonders are Changing Lives

There was a panel discussion on one of the most well-known television shows in Egypt. The host, a Muslim woman, is known for her controversial topics of conversations that are watched by millions in the Middle East. On this particular program, her guests were Muslim and religious leaders. In the last centuries, Muslim leaders denied the fact that Muslims were converting into the Christian faith. “This is Christian propaganda,” they usually said. 

Today, however, there are millions of Muslims leaving Islam and converting to Christianity, with an abundance of hard evidence that can’t be denied any longer. Note that the subject of this discussion was not whether Muslims are turning to Christianity, but rather, “Why are they converting to Christianity?” Egyptian born and educated, Dr. Victor gave us this report and shared he was watching this show live on an Egyptian channel that is licensed by government authorities. The discussion was all about, “Why and what to do about it?” Many reasons were discussed. Eventually, one of the guests asked the hard question, “What about signs and wonders? We cannot deny that many Muslims have experienced the healing power of Jesus. In fact, it is recorded in the Qur’an.”

Dr. Victor shared, “We know that the Sharia law of Islam allows the killing of any Muslim who changes his/her religion. We have watched the news about many Muslim countries that regularly execute those who have turned their back on Islam; the executions were enforced by the high court of Islam. In the last several years, however, the Egyptian authorities refused to issue the death penalty in such cases declaring they are not called to carry out the death penalty. Instead, they put the responsibility on the Islamic high court.

The leaders of the Islamic high court found themselves in a dilemma, as the increasing number of converts made it hard for them to issue the death penalty in such numbers. So, their answer, in the end, had to be, “Let Allah punish them.” 

Millions still leave Islam for a variety of reasons, but the one that stands very firm is the undeniable fact of signs and wonders done in the Name of Jesus. 

Another phenomenon that is experienced in Egypt and throughout the Middle East are dreams and visions of Jesus. Muslims are open to dreams because of the precedent in the Qur’an. Mission Frontiers magazine reported that a survey of 600 Muslim converts to Christianity, 25 percent experienced a dream that led to their conversion.

In their dream or vision, they shared that Jesus was speaking Scripture to them that they had never heard before, or “a man in white” was physically appearing. This supernatural encounter brought them a great sense of peace, and they realize that Jesus Christ is truly God. 

PRAYER POINTS

  •  It is only in Christianity where the true, life-changing supernatural signs and wonders, dreams, and visions are happening to Muslims. Pray that they will experience a tremendous increase in the Biblical supernatural in their lives, revealing the power of Christ.
  • Pray for God’s revelation of Jesus to those who are deceived, or those who have any questions. Ask Him to reveal the price Jesus paid on the cross for their sins and give them the courage to leave Islam.

Persecution – It’s Real

For Christians living in democratic nations, intense religious persecution is rarely experienced. Yet 1 in 9 Christian believers in other nations are regularly suffering true religious persecution.

“It may be surprising, but Christian persecution around the world is one of the biggest human rights issues of this era.” This statement is made by the ministry of Open Doors, one of the many organizations who are exposing what is happening to our brothers and sisters in Christ and speaking out on behalf of Christians who are being persecuted for their faith in 2020. This is an issue we all need to know about so we can respond with our prayers.

Reliable reports say that more than 265 million Christians are vigorously persecuted, a 6% increase from the previous year. They represent people with real lives, families, jobs, churches — who every day make the dangerous choice to live for Jesus.

Even the secular world is commenting:

  • A report in Newsweek Magazine says that Christian persecution and genocide is worse now than at “any time in history.”
  • BBC news in Britain reports, “The persecution in parts of the world is ‘at near genocide levels’, according to a report ordered by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.”

Countries hostile to Christianity are in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Sexual violence and abuse is prevalent among women, and Christian men are physically tortured and imprisoned without cause. Each month an average of 105 churches are attacked, burned, or vandalized.

In the Arabian Peninsula, Muslim households quietly exploit Christian maids. In portions of Africa, raiding Islamic militias regularly attack women in Christian villages or abduct them for a life of sexual slavery. Christian women are trafficked as “brides” and continually experience physical violence by their persecutors. 

The Christians of Nigeria have courageously faced unbelievable persecution in recent years by Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen. Young girls have been abducted and taken to be wives of these terrorists. Villages are burned down and the residents murdered, or they had to flee for their lives. Yet very little is done by their government.

At age 14, Leah Sharibu in Nigeria was one of 110 female students at a Science and Technical College abducted in February 2018 by Boko Haram terrorists. Leah was the only girl who was not released because she refused to renounce her Christian faith. She said, “NO!” in the face of danger, captivity, and oppression. Forced into motherhood, she still stands strong and will not deny Christ. Leah will be 17 years of age on May 14. Her courage is remarkable, especially for a teenager. Will you join us in praying for her strength and perseverance to continue and for her release from captivity?

PRAYER POINTS

  • II Timothy 3:12 tells us that all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Yet we are told in Matthew 5:44 that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Only God’s grace can help us do this. Ask the Lord to pour out an abundance of grace upon our brothers and sisters who are persecuted and give them comfort and hope.
  • Prayer is powerful, necessary, and regularly requested by those who are persecuted or held captive. Ask God give strength and peace to His people who are suffering
  • Pray that God will bring conviction to the oppressors and bring them to salvation.

Battle of the Mind

Most Muslim men you see are moderate in their beliefs and behavior. As you pass them on the street, in a hospital, a restaurant, or your neighborhood, they are primarily concerned about the same daily issues non-Muslims are: earning a living, feeding their families, caring for their homes, and living day-to-day life. Yet, within, they are engaged in a battle of the mind.

The teachings of their faith and the beliefs of their Muslim community are that a man must exercise control and dominance to maintain respect. The battle they face is how to live out those traits that their Qur’an and their Muslim community is expecting of them.

Some Muslim men are secular and not religious, especially if they live in the West and are westernized. However, the average Muslim is challenged to adopt this mindset of dominance around three major concepts: (1) power, (2) honor, (3) revenge.

At its extreme, this belief in dominance is seen by the world in acts of terrorism. For the moderate Muslim man, the call to dominate is much more subtle. He is called to dominate his wife, his children, his home, and himself. 

Christians believe in and respect concepts such as forgiveness, mercy, love, and truth. Therefore, it is difficult for us to understand that Muslims do not share these concepts. Being truthful in the way we know it is simply not a part of their thinking or background. Truth is not relevant or essential. Thus, when a Muslim talks to you, he is not thinking in terms of what is the truth. His purpose is to outwit you. What he is saying to himself is, “Now if I say this, what will the other person say?” This disregard for truth will express itself in all aspects of Muslim life, from their personal business affairs to world politics.

What impresses them is power. Muslim men will use power to attain honor. And if by chance they fail and honor is taken from them, then they must take revenge. They will work unceasingly, no matter how long it takes, until they obtain it. This is the mindset that the Muslim man is challenged to uphold. His culture expects him to be motivated by a quest for power, for honor, and for revenge.

When he has failed to maintain power and honor, (which is a failure to dominate), then he experiences shame as a Muslim man.

Just as fear is the primary element that affects a Muslim woman’s thinking, so fear controls the Muslim man’s thinking. He fears what the Muslim community thinks of him and has a great fear of displeasing Allah.

Outsiders could interpret the control and dominance that a Muslim woman and her children live under as the Muslim man protecting his family. However, the truth is that he is protecting himself. He cannot lose honor.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray that genuine love for his wife and children will direct how a Muslim man cares for his family rather than the fear of man or Allah.
  • Ask God to set the Muslim men free from the spirits of fear, control and dominion and lead them to encounter with the true LOVE OF GOD.

Truth or Traditions

The Muslim world has retained the same traditions since the founding of the religion by Muhammad in the 7th Century. Thoughts and behaviors were followed continuously from generation to generation. Muslims were afraid ever to question their beliefs or what they had been taught from their holy books. Allah only reveals his will and not his character. They are told in the Qur’an, sura 16:93, “If Allah had willed, he could have made you [of] one religion, but He causes to stray whom he wills and guides whom he wills.” They receive no hope or peace from their holy books.  

A positive, uplifting Arabic Christian TV program called “Diwaniya: The Rest of the Story” reaches much of the Middle East. Viewed by Christians and Muslims, they can phone a program counselor for prayer and encouragement. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people were homebound, and after seeing the programs in April 2020, there was a 1,000% increase in responses. Also, as we are currently in the month of Ramadan, many Muslims have called in who are fearful, needing direction, and hope. Interestingly, more men have called for counsel and prayer than women.

As Muslims become more educated and now can reach the rest of the world through the Internet, their minds begin to question what they were taught. 

For instance, an article on April 28, 2020, by Raymond Ibrahim in the “Middle East Forum” shares: “Muslim advocacy for drinking camel urine is back in the news, this time in connection with the coronavirus, which is especially ironic if not deadly, as will be explained. An “Islamic medicine specialist” and director of a religious, scientific institution in Iran recently called on his countrymen to drink camel urine as the “best cure” for coronavirus and other ailments. Drinking camel urine and drinking Muhammad’s urine—are traced to the prophet’s own words, and are aspects of “Sharia-medicine.”

Mehdi Sabili, affiliated with the Iranian regime, uploaded a video on his Instagram account, extolling the virtues of dromedary urine on April 19, 2020. The video, which has since gone viral, also depicted him drinking a glass of freshly procured camel urine and calling on fellow Iranians to do the same three times a day for three days (nine full glasses).

In an article by Clarion Project, Egyptian Dr. Zaghlul al-Naggar, a prominent Islamic thinker and Chairman of Egypt’s Committee of Scientific Notions in the Qur’an, spoke on the topic of medical science and Islam. Questioned about camel urine, his interviewer reminded the doctor that urine is where all the body’s toxins are carried out, asking, “so, shall we drink it for health?” Naggar responded with arrogance: “I am older than you and more learned than you: you are not going to teach me; I will teach generations of people like you.”

In June 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) said camel urine could be deadly and urged people to avoid drinking camel urine. Camel urine has been linked with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS), which is also known as Camel Flu.

One wise person simply stated, “When the light of education shines on Islam, their teachings fall apart.”  

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray that God will shine His light on all the traditions and false teachings they have learned in their holy books and while growing up in their culture. 
  • Those in deception need God’s revealed Truth. Ask God to implant in their hearts a strong desire for Truth in their innermost being.

A Line Has Been Crossed

Many are surprised, even shocked, to learn that a major US city is permitting the Muslim call to prayer (the adhan), to be broadcast publicly during the 30 Days of Ramadan. The Mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota allowed a Cedar-Riverside mosque to declare the adhan over a loudspeaker five times a day. This neighborhood has become one of the most densely populated areas of Islamic immigrants, mostly coming from Somalia and Ethiopia. Locals have called the city Little Mogadishu. Several other smaller communities have also permitted the adhan to be heard daily in Michigan and New Jersey.

In a first, during Ramada 2020, the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) began broadcasting Muslim prayers in Britain on its network as mosques remain closed because of the COVID-19 virus. One commentator said, “In today’s Britain, it is extraordinarily unlikely that the BBC will stop broadcasting the adhan, once the coronavirus pandemic is over. A cultural line has been crossed.”

Many mosques in European cities this year are also broadcasting the adhan, including mosques in Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Brussels, Stockholm, Hannover in Germany, and Oslo in Norway.

Just before dawn, the adhan is called out by a muezzin from the mosque. To each direction he cries, “Allah is greatest. I testify that there is no God but Allah. I testify that Muhammad is the prophet of Allah. Come to prayer.”  Traditionally it is heard from the minaret five times a day, summoning Muslims for obligatory prayer and can often be heard by all from several miles away. The fifth call will be late in the evening.

Many traditional churches have a history of the ringing of the church bells as a joyful noise to signify it is time for worshippers to gather for a church service. No declarations are expressed. 

The adhan prayer call is different than when the church bells ring. The Muslim call to prayer is like a mission statement. It is controversial because it declares over the city or community five times a day that the Muslim god, Allah is greater, that Mohammed is Allah’s prophet, and there is no God but Allah. 

Dr. Gavin Ashenden, a former Chaplain to the British Queen, resigned his position in 2017 in protest against a Qur’an reading that denied the divinity of Christ in a church in Glasgow, Scotland. Dr. Ashenden strongly observed that “the Muslim call to prayer is a dramatic piece of Islamic triumphalism. It proclaims Islam’s superiority over all other religions, and in so doing, casts Jesus in the role of a charlatan and a liar. The Muslim god, Allah, is unknowable and has no son. Jesus was, therefore, a fraud in claiming He and the Father are one.”

PRAYER POINTS

  • We proclaim into the atmosphere today: JESUS CHRIST IS LORD OF ALL. JESUS CHRIST IS LORD OF MY NATION! All false proclamations that do not declare Christ’s Lordship will fall to the ground and have no effect (based upon I Samuel 3:19)!
  • Lord God, we pray for Muslims in our nation and worldwide that their eyes will open spiritually, and they will receive the revelation that these rote prayers five times a day do not bring spiritual life or peace. Lord, draw them to Yourself, open their eyes to Truth, and reveal Jesus Christ is the true and living God.

Covenant or Contract?

Young girls will dream of love and marriage, thinking of the handsome man they will marry and the happy life they will have together.

For the Christian, marriage is a covenant, a promise that also involves God in the relationship.

It is clear that God not only approves of marriage between a man and woman, He promotes it as a part of His plan for His children. In Hebrews 13:4, God states that “Marriage is honorable.”

In Mark 10:6-8, Jesus teaches that “from the beginning of creation ‘God made them male and female.’” He then declared a beautiful truth of the marriage covenant, “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh.” 

In a Christian wedding, the man and the woman stand together as equals and apart from their families. There is no dowry negotiated for the bride. At their wedding ceremony, the bride and groom `make a vow to be loyal, to love, honor, and cherish one another. It is a sacred covenant between the two before God.

Is a marriage ceremony the same in for a Muslim couple?

For a Muslim couple the marriage is different. In Islam, marriage is a contract that is much different than a Christian marriage covenant. For a woman to pick a mate in a gender-segregated, Sharia-ruled society is nearly impossible. Dating does not take place and in most families, she always has to be concerned with her reputation and honor. Above all, she must protect her virginity, which is the very focus of Muslim society. Although some families may allow their daughter to say “yes” or “no” to their choice, she does not pick the marriage partner. They are told never to question the way the marriage partner is chosen because “it is Allah’s law.”

The Sharia wedding is a legal and financial contract between one man and one woman, but not a covenant with God. The marriage contract is signed at the bride’s home. She waits in a separate room while the groom, her father, and the male relatives sit with the government official who performs marriages. The contract is then taken to the bride for her signature. It is essentially a document granting intercourse rights to the male and giving him control over his wife. For the husband to give a vow of loyalty to the wife is not expected or required. She is now considered his possession.  

Love between them may be a factor, but that is not the consideration for their relationship. As they enter their marriage, she realizes that if her husband is not satisfied with her, she has no rights. According to Sharia, Qur’an sura 4:3 declares he can have up to four wives. In sura 66:5 she is told she does not have any right to divorce her husband. However, he can divorce her simply by a spoken pronouncement. If he divorces her, he will have legal custody of their children. Her life is one of uncertainty, with no assurance of her future.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Every Muslim woman is loved by God. Ask the Lord to give them an understanding of their value as a woman, providing opportunities for her to learn that she is fully accepted through Jesus Christ.
  • During this time of Ramadan, she is more sensitive to spiritual things. Pray she will be drawn to the Internet or an outside source to read the New Testament in her native language where she can fully meet the God of love!

Bringing Their Baggage…

Every year Muslims are leaving their home country and becoming a part of a Western nation. This can be challenging as they bring their religious customs with them, ways that were accepted back home but not acceptable where they are now living.

Nonie Darwish is an amazing woman who lived for the first 30 years of her life in a Middle Eastern nation. In her testimony, “Cruel and Usual Punishment” she shared, “I was a bird in a cage; a second-class citizen who had to watch what I even said to my close friend. Under Islamic law I had to live in a gender-segregated environment and always be aware that the legal and society penalty for ‘sin’ could end my life.”

She continued, “This is what it is like to live as a woman under Sharia law. Sharia (the body of Islamic law) is different from law in the West, because it deals with all aspects of day-to-day life, including politics, economics, banking, business law, contract law, marriage, divorce, child rearing and custody, sexuality, sin, crime and social issues. Among other thing, it (sharia) allows a woman seen without a headdress to be flogged, punish rape victims, and calls for beheading for adultery. I never questioned or challenged it —or dared to ever think about its validity.”

Nonie related that in the fall of 2007 she was part of a panel discussion called “Islam and Democracy: Companions or Competitors?” at Mount San Antonio College in Southern California. She said that what happened later is something we need to be aware of and understand, and to ignore this would be at the peril of our democracy.

One of the panelists, the head of the Muslim student organization, fiercely defended Shari. After the discussion Nonie asked him, “If Sharia is the perfect system that every Muslim should follow, why are you living in America and not in a Muslim Sharia state such as Iran or Saudi Arabia?” His answer was that not one Muslim country applied Sharia as it should and that is why he was in America.

Nonie stated, “In the heated discussion that followed, another student who believed that Muslim countries failed to bring about the true Sharia state, actually believed that perhaps the United States could be the first country to apply Sharia the proper way, the way it was intended by Allah. Many of the students echoed that belief, and some even expressed a desire to demand the enforcement of Sharia in America.”

This is important to understand: Many Muslims desire to not only correct and perfect Sharia in their country of origin, they gradually want to expand their perfected Sharia-driven society and impose it upon the rest of the world.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Muslims have a zeal that is wrongly directed toward severe control under Sharia instead of liberty given to us by God. Pray their eyes will be opened to the truth of the freedom we have in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Pray for Christians to have a desire to understand Islam and the beliefs of Muslims. The church needs to cover ever nation in prayer so sharia law does not dominate the world.
  • Ask God to continue to free Muslims from the bondage of sharia law.

“Cruel and Usual Punishment” Published by Thomas Nelson – Copyright 2008

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