Jun 20 2018
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!
I was prompted to write about avoiding pitfalls when an experienced minister stated, “There are so many pitfalls for ill-informed Christians when they try to engage with Muslims.” Now that Ramadan 2018 is over, there are many opportunities for Christians to engage with Muslims. So how do we avoid the pitfalls?
Pitfall: a hidden or unsuspected danger or difficulty; a likely mistake or problem in a situation.
“In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls, but those who would preserve their life stay far from them” Pr 22:5 (NIV). Most other versions use “thorns” rather than “pitfalls”, and many versions say, “he who guards himself [or his soul]” will stay far from them. Are you one who would guard your soul? Read and pray.
IGNORANCE ABOUT ISLAM A testimony: “I spoke with a young man from a team that’s been reaching out to Muslims in their area. One of his team of young people had been strongly tempted to become a Muslim after talking to imams. He spoke about the peaceful understanding of Islam they had received from speaking to Muslims and wanted to know if Islam had ever attracted me. I took him through the biography and teachings of Muhammad to point out some of the more shockingly evil things about Muhammad, who is the foundation of Islam. He was greatly relieved to speak with me.”
- Christians to be so grounded and versed in God’s word, truth and love that they can’t be shaken by lies (Ps 16:7-8, Jn 10:14, 27)
- Teams who reach out to Muslims to be well-trained, equipped and accountable
- The Lord to supernaturally expose Islam’s lies and reveal His truth to non-believers so they have opportunity to choose Jesus
MISPERCEIVING THE SPIRITUAL NATURE OF THE BATTLE An observation by an experienced minister:
“Missionaries to Muslims have constant pressure over many trials and little fruit. Circumstances overwhelm them and they keep thinking that to succeed they need to try new things, often a waste of time. They don’t realize their problems are rooted in the spirit realm, so they don’t rely on prayer.”
- Revelation that the battle is against spiritual powers, not people or circumstances (Eph 6:10-18)
- Faith to trust that the battle is the Lord’s (1 Sa 17:47; 2 Sa 5:18-19, 22-25; 2 Chr 20:15)
- Training and understanding to use spiritual weapons effectively (2 Co 10:3-5)
- Commitment to Bible study (Ps 19:7-11) and prayer (Ac 12:5-11, 2 Thess 3:1-3)
MINIMIZING THE NATURE OF WAR Insight from a missions leader (Dick Brogden, Live/Dead Joy, p.89): “We want to go to war without having to fight. We seek to conquer enemy territory without engaging the enemy. We rush to battle hoping we won’t have to strike too many blows or receive any in return. We have such a sissified view of spiritual struggle…War always means wounds, blood and death. There is no letup in the conflict, and there is no cease-fire in this most demanding of all campaigns – the super-exaltation of Jesus among every people.”
- Missionaries, intercessors and supporters to count the cost and commit to allowing God to complete His work through us (Lk 14:25-33, Eph 2:10, 2 Ti 4:6-8)
- Willingness to “share in suffering [or hardship] as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Ti 2:3, Heb 12:4-13)
- All believers, in the face of intensifying battle, to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Eph 6:1).
- Our eyes to be fixed on Jesus, both our loving Savior and our exalted King (Ps 46:10, Heb 12:1-2)
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