2014 April

MATERIALISM

Image: Creative Commons

Qatar was named the world’s wealthiest country by Forbes Magazine. While a Qatari’s primary possession was once a tent, the discovery of oil and the country’s new wealth has transformed that to a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Blackberry.  Foreign workers are drawn from all over the world on the basis of high earning potential. And this nouveau empire has built its foundation on the concept of luxury: Qatar has a large stake in Harrods; Volkswagen, which owns Audi and Lamborghini; Tiffany; and LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton bags and Dior perfume. Luxury is foundational even to tourism; fashion, hotels,…

PRAYING FOR AHMED & MARYAM & OTHERS LIKE THEM

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Read Ahmed & Maryam’s profile. God, change is hard. Thank you for Your promise that You never change (James 1:17). We cling to that when the world around us seems to change so rapidly. We pray for Ahmed and Maryam and others like them. We thank you for the legacy of hard work and community they’ve modeled to the next generations. However, life and culture as they knew it is quickly dying. As they age and face their humanity and death, free them from fear. You give us assurance of life forever through Jesus Christ. Open their hearts to this message….

ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK

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Sharing the Gospel with a Muslim is often disheartening because of the time it takes. While we hope for swift transformation, we invest in deep transformation, which generally takes a long time with few visible rewards. Muslims appear to move away from the Gospel before they move toward it. Often, those hearing the Gospel seem to retract and become more faithful to Islam instead of less so. They appear to reject the Truth of Jesus and cling more tightly to their religious faith and practices. They still engage in spiritual conversations, but in ways that look like one step forward,…

THE SHAHADA

Islam has five pillars, actions obligatory for believers. The first, shahada, means “to observe, witness, or testify.” Sometimes in Arabic the dual form is used for the twin actions of observing and then declaring that observation. The two acts in Islam are perceiving there is no god but God and testifying of God’s messenger. A single honest recitation of the shahada in Arabic is the only requirement to become a Muslim. We prefer to live in a God-honoring way because living is less scary than proclaiming. We quote St. Francis of Assisi’s “Preach the Gospel always; if necessary, use words.”…