Jan 16 2019
God named Ishmael ‘God hears’ before he was born. Years later, God heard Ishmael’s cry when he was perishing in the wilderness and opened his mother’s eyes to see a spring of water from which she gave him drink – and he lived!
Islam claims Ishmael as a spiritual forefather. Today’s
Muslims are in the wilderness perishing and crying out for living water. Let the Church pray to the Father to reveal the well of living water, Jesus, so they might live!
That kind of love
Once in a group of international intercessors, I was asked to lead in a prayer for Muslim women, “because you have a real love for them.” I would have been glad to do so, but I happened to have with me someone whose love for Muslims made me feel inadequate – a former Ismaili Muslim who had been praying for 30 years for her family and her people to know Jesus’ love. She felt unqualified to lead out in prayer in this group, but the group was not concerned with leadership credentials. Rather, everyone wanted to hear God’s heart, and her tears shed over three decades qualified her to speak for Him.
I am sensing the need to enter 2019 acknowledging our deep need for more love. Only our love for God will help us persevere through and overcome the challenges ahead; only His love operating through us will keep us from seeing our mission to Muslims as works projects, and enable others to experience us as authentic ambassadors of Christ through whom God is making His appeal for reconciliation (2 Co 5:16-20). That’s how the “greatest commandment” works (Mt 22:36-40).
We know of Jesus’ command to love one another, the very proof that we are His authentic disciples (Jn 13:34-35). We know many other Scripture passages that extol the superior virtue of love (e.g. 1 Co 13; 1 Jn 4:7-21). We need the perfection of love within us for a lifestyle demonstration that we do not fear punishment. Fear of God’s punishment is a torment for Muslims.
“Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others…For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died” (2 Co 5:11, 14). “Compel” means “to force or oblige someone to do something” or “bring about by force or pressure.” Christ’s love is the force or pressure that obliges us to pour out to others the love we receive from Him (1 Jn 3:16-18, 4:11-12).
I’m thinking of a newly famous Saudi teen who has just exchanged a severe form of bondage for a softer, more seductive one. Rahaf Mohammed fled her conservative Muslim family in a radically Muslim nation to embrace atheism and independence in secular humanist Canada. “Today I can proudly say that I am capable of making all [my own] decisions [travel, education, career and spouse],” she said in a press conference at COSTI Immigrant Services, Toronto, Jan 15/19. Many Muslims are embracing Western freedoms and choosing atheism. Some Muslim converts are returning to Islam because they haven’t been welcomed by a loving church.
What can we offer either group, except the debt of love? “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Ro 13:8). Jesus’ followers are truly free, but we are not free from being compelled by Christ’s love to love. Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments (ESV). The Passion Translation elaborates: “Loving Me empowers you to obey My commands.”
Let’s examine ourselves. Do we have enough love? I don’t! Let’s ask God for more of His love to live in and through us, and trust Him to supply our lack.
- Pray from Ephesians 3:14-19, first for yourself and then for the church.
- Declare that Jesus’ sacrifice of love is sufficientfor the entire Muslim world (Jn 3:16-17).
- Use Ephesians 3:20 to honor His name as holy.
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