Friday, November 27, 2015

Victory - Part Four

“And they defeated him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of their testimony. And they were not afraid to die.” Revelation 12:11

Imagine defeating Satan. Is that really possible? Our personal salvation story, no matter how imperfect the presentation is, has power to it but the story of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, has even more power. Huge power!

Yousef listened to the story of the cross for the first time. Shocked, he asked me, “Joy, who on earth would have made up a story like that?” “God did,” I replied. The majority of Muslims have never actually heard the story nor understand the meaning of it. The symbol of the cross is repugnant to many of them. When Bushra was a little girl in Morocco she often walked past a church with a cross on it. She would throw stones at the church because she was taught to hate the cross but she did not know why. Later in life, when she heard the story, she embraced the cross with reverence and acceptance. Omar, from Saudi Arabia, was visiting in our home when we pointed out the cross on the church across the street. He pulled back in horror when his eyes noticed it. But when we told him the story he was dumbfounded.

Satan does not want the story of the cross to be heard by anyone. When we declare it he is defeated. There is nothing more powerful in heaven or earth than the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. As we need to know how to share our own story, likewise we need to know a few tips on how to share the story of the Lamb of God with Muslims.

l. Know the contents of the salvation story. What is it about? Where is it found? Who is the Savior? A Savior from what? Where do you and your Muslim friend fit in? They might not read the Bible because of fear or being illiterate. If so, you will need to tell them the story. Keep it simple and brief.

2. Feel comfortable sharing the story of the Savior in segments, like you might with your own story. A little bit now, a little bit later, over and over. Always check to see if they understand certain words or concepts. Remember you are telling a story, not making a sales transaction. Leave the results to God.

3. Hey, let's not be mousy in sharing. They might not agree but they do admire bold and confident people. The Holy Spirit empowers us to witness. It is not as important to know a lot about the Qur’an or Islam as to know our Savior and the Bible well. Expect a reaction. If there is no reaction, good or bad, that probably means the story was not understood. Just keep trying. Do not give up.

4. Stay focused when sharing the story of the Lamb of God. Satan will for sure attempt to bring distractions. You will know how much your Muslim friend can digest at one sitting. You can pick up the story again at another time where you left off. You will need to repeat the story many times. Rarely is it understood in one hearing.

I love to tell the story of Jesus. Enjoy every opportunity to do so. When our story and the story of our Savior are weaved together it will prove to be dynamite.

Dear heavenly Father, please help me to know how to put the salvation story together. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Victory - Part Three

“And they defeated him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of their testimony. And they were not afraid to die.” Revelation 12:11

Satan, our enemy, is defeated by two powerful weapons. Believe it or not those weapons are stories: the salvation story of our Savior, the Lamb of God, and our own story. Stories are extremely powerful and influential. No one argues with a story. Usually people do not forget stories either. Many Christians actually never share their stories except at the time of baptism. That is most unfortunate. If we keep silent and not share those two stories we will be the ones defeated and Satan will win the victory. Let’s look first at sharing our own story.

Susan came up to me after a meeting and told me she could not share a story because she had not been rebellious like me – she had just been raised in a religious environment. I was amazed that she thought she did not have a story to share with Muslims. Since she had been raised in religious traditions she would be able to identify with devout Muslims easily. And she could tell them that religion is not able to make one right with God. Everyone who has been born again by the Spirit of God has a life-giving story. You do, too. We just need to understand how to tell our stories to our Muslim friend. Here are some tips:

1. Know what the contents of your salvation story are. There is a beginning to it and it progresses. What were you saved from? Who saved you from that? How did that happen? What changes followed? What is God doing in your life right now?

2. We can share our story in segments. We are not sharing an obituary that gives an overview of an entire lifetime only selecting the impressive or good things and is heard in one sitting. We can share a little bit of our story now and a little bit later.

3. Be transparent and vulnerable.  Illustrate personally what sin is all about, not just give theological doctrinal truths. I intentionally share my sin about lying, cheating, times of jealousy, and rebelliousness and the need for a Savior.

4. Stay focused when you share your story. There will be distractions when the listener can lead you off on useless rabbit trails or the baby starts crying and your story gets shut down. You will know by the listener’s body language when you have said enough or she shows discomfort. Do not worry. You can pick it up next time where you left off. I repeat my story many times with one person.

I have found it useful to ask my Muslim friend when she became a Muslim and how that happened. Her answer will lead into an opportunity to share your story, no matter how insignificant you think it may be. She will listen eagerly because she loves hearing stories. Enjoy telling your story. It will be new information to her that one is not born a Christian but chooses to follow Jesus.  Satan is defeated by our story telling, no matter how imperfect that may be, and we will gain the victory in the battle over truth.

Dear heavenly Father, please help me to know how to put my story together. In Jesus’ name, Amen.