Saturday, February 2, 2019

Help - I Need Wisdom!

“For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6

I was studying the Bible bi-weekly with a secular Muslim woman for eight months at her request. However, it appeared she was primarily interested in comparing religions, not thirsting for God. I agonized what I should do. Should I continue or stop? How do I go about it?

Aliya had IVF done. Later she called me what she should do with the frozen eggs. How should I respond?

Once we invited a family over for supper. It appeared that my mp3 player went missing. I had noticed the teenager playing with it. Should I talk to him about it or not?

Hawa disclosed her sexual abuse perpetrated by a family member. I knew both of them. What should I do? How should the conversation be approached?

Farahea was determined to leave her country and her family secretively without their knowing. What words of wisdom could I give her?

Farzana has a severe case of hoarding and received an eviction notice from management. If I sorted through her belongings would it really help her? How does one deal with a hoarder being evicted?

Hussein ran out of money and needed a place to stay. Should we open our home to him?

Mohammed seems too inquisitive about which other Muslims I know. How do I respond to his questions which make me feel like he might be a spy for the mosque?

Would it be appropriate to take a photo of Amal? Would her husband be upset? What do I do with the secret she told me?

Fatima relayed a dream she had. Was there spiritual interpretation to it or should it be dismissed?

Nobody should embark in Muslim ministry without a thirst for wisdom, understanding and insight. It is easy to make mistakes, have regrets, cause damage or hurt people. Wisdom is needed for: implementing boundaries in relationships, gift giving, loaning money, what to cook for Muslim guests, wear, say, or do at cultural events, how to counsel Muslims with problems, what to do when lied to, whether to let a Muslim guest say their prayers in our home, for living in dangerous environments, evacuation possibilities, for verbal and written sensitive communication when security is an issue, how to stay ministry focused, what to do with prophetic words received, and how to best answer Muslims' theological questions and objections.  The list could go on and on. Everyone needs wisdom but the person involved with Muslims or believers especially needs an abundance of it because we are faced with new cultural dynamics or spiritually desperate situations. Sometimes there is no one around to consult. There is no manual to check out. Praise God we can inquire of the Holy Spirit. He has promised to give wisdom to us generously. Years earlier I relied on analyzing situations more than receiving wisdom from God. Analyzing too much can become a bondage in our lives.

Proverbs 2:1-7 instructs me with phrases like: tune your ears to wisdom – concentrate on understanding – cry out for insight – search for them. God has not disappointed me. Needing wisdom is at the top of my prayer list.

Dear heavenly Father, I’d be completely lost without your promise of receiving wisdom. What a gift you give me. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Come Upon Us, Holy Spirit

“…What authority and power this man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey him, and they flee at his command!” Luke 4:36b
I’ve always been fascinated with real spiritual authority. What is it exactly?It doesn’t have much to do with speaking inside a church, possessing a degree or denominational credential, being ordained, being a particular gender or age, having a religious title, or being an author or missionary. Sometimes we confuse ecclesiastical authority with spiritual authority but they are not synonymous. One thing is for certain. When we are engaged in ministry to Muslim women we need spiritual authority or not much will happen. Spiritual authority comes from God Himself. He has sent you and me on a mission. If we know that we have been called and sent by God He validates us and has given us His authority to be demonstrated through us. We can walk in spiritual authority when we are drinking tea with a Muslim woman in her living room or visiting her in the hospital. We are not just doing our own ‘personal ministry’. No, we are fulfilling God’s assignment. What will spiritual authority look like for us Christian women reaching out to Muslim women? How will we know if we ‘have it’?

First of all we will be experiencing the indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit and producing beautiful fruit. Our lives will be holy and clean. But have you also experienced the Holy Spirit come upon you and received power or boldness(Acts 1:8) which has resulted in your tongue being released to witness about Jesus? It is mysterious and surprises me every time it happens. If you have not experienced that liberty and boldness ask the Holy Spirit to come upon you when you are with your Muslim friend. We will be amazed that we will say certain things which normally we would be shy about. We might even say something prophetic. Most of the time we would be concerned about offending a Muslim woman if we would talk openly about who Jesus is and the cross and resurrection. Usually we just want to come over as ‘nice’ and not cause conflict. We will suddenly feel the urge to pray confidently and in faith for a Muslim woman about her need. Wow! We wonder how we could just ‘let go’ in prayer. And the prayer was not generic but in Jesus’ name. We may sense God wants to heal a lady or bring about a deliverance from a bondage or an oppression from demonic powers or to ask God for our friend to be able to conceive and we find ourselves praying directly into that – boldly. How is that possible? Something from somewhere came upon us and something inside of us came out of our mouths. That ‘something’(really Someone) is the authority of Jesus rising forth. We did not do anything to make that happen. We are awed because it’s just not us. Our Muslim friend is impacted. We are changed forever. Good-bye to the ordinary predictable Christian walk. Welcome to the wonder and awe of all that God allows us to experience as we partner with Him.

Holy Spirit, Come. We need You. Empower us to reach our Muslim friends with Your truth and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.