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Jan 24 2018

Journeying in the place of refuge

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!
Journeying in the place of refuge

In some important ways, the journey refugees take from a hostile homeland to a place of refuge illustrates the journey taken by Muslims who leave Islam to find refuge in Jesus’ arms. Paul describes the conversion process (for all of us) as a rescue: “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13-14).

Think of what this process of transference may entail – one king doesn’t willingly give up his possessions to another! There will be some degree of violence, painful separations, exchanging familiarity for the unknown, losing one’s bearings, dealing with trauma. The rescue may be swift and involve many helping hands, but what about the long slog of beginning anew as a baby learning new ways of thinking, speaking and being?

My heart is very tender for Muslim seekers and new believers from Muslim backgrounds. They’re often in the midst of battles we can’t see, and even the ones we can see, like estrangement from their families, are formidable. Undoubtedly some, looking for a better life, take the route of “immigration” into Jesus’ Kingdom before their situation becomes a refugee crisis. Even they can be traumatized, for example, by the thought of ISIL jihadists attacking Save the Children offices in Jalalabad, Afghanistan in the name of their religion.

Islam establishes antichrist mindsets and powerful strongholds that need to be dismantled and replaced with Kingdom mindsets where Jesus is the only stronghold. As God began to teach the newly delivered Israelites about trusting in Him as a refuge in the desert, they thought they preferred the meat pots of Egypt where they’d been enslaved and oppressed (Ex 16:3)!

There are many former Muslims journeying in the place of refuge. They need the encouragement of hands to hold along the way so they don’t have to journey alone. Let’s pray for them from Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:3-12, and look for opportunities to walk with them.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you.

In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way:

  • bearing fruit in every good work,
  • growing in the knowledge of God,
  • being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might
  • so that you may have great endurance and patience,
  • and giving joyful thanks to the Father,

who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light

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About Leslie
Leslie knows by faith and experience that our heavenly Father puts His prayers in our hearts and then listens to our hearts’ cry as we pray them back to Him. We hear God, and God hears us.
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