Sunday, March 19, 2017


“…Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!....John 14:11b

Each dawn I was awakened by the adhan in Somalia. The muezzin's loud voice frightened me. He sounded angry as he called people to pray. I know that some Christians feel that the adhan sounds melodic but that was not the case for me in Somalia. Some of my initial impressions of God were formed from those bellowing adhan. It took decades to realize that their influence formed confusion in me about God.

One of the biggest surprises to me over the years in ministry among Muslims has been to observe the confusion in the minds of many Muslims about Allah and Satan. Many have not understood who Satan is, where he comes from, and how he works. Sometimes I ask Muslim women, “What does God do and what does Satan do?” Their answers have been revealing! There is little understanding of the Kingdom of heaven and the Kingdom of earth, the Kingdom of light and the Kingdom of darkness or the Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Satan. Some are confused whether Allah created evil since he created all things. Many conclude that involvement in  folk Islamic activities or paranormal practices are legitimate because  "all power is from Allah".  Some Muslim friends play tapes of the Qur’an at home to banish the presence of Satan and jinn. At times they feel Satan is more present than Allah. Maryam, a Jesus follower, still believes after twenty years of following Jesus, that Satan is all knowing, all powerful, and present everywhere and can read our thoughts. Confusion really shows up when Muslims start talking about how Allah punishes, sends bad luck, gets angry quickly, tests, and gives the dreaded “examination.” It is not often I hear that God loves to forgive, heal, comfort, restore, rebuild, reconcile, transform, and redeem. There is fear of Allah and fear of Satan. Some think Allah tempts them...and Satan tempts them.  Allah deceives people....and Satan deceives people. While most profess with their mouths that Allah is great their hearts often reveal that fear of jinn and Satan are actually greater.

Muslims will declare that "Allah is nearer to man than his jugular vein." His will can be known but he is personally unknowable.  Habiba pointed to the vein in her arm and stated, “Satan is right here”; meaning in her blood. She was surprised when I told her that Satan is not in my veins or my blood. He is outside of me. He tempts me and tells me to do bad things but he is outside of me. Jesus lives in me, not Satan. They can not both live in me.  Ahmed remarked, "There are two voices I hear in my head all the time; Allah and Satan. They are having a competition who has more power." He was at a loss who would win. I told him, "God will win." (He already has!) All kinds of baffling opinions can be made about Allah and Satan.

It is important to teach clearly from the Bible about God and Satan. Satan has always been determined to make us confused about God. It is by knowing Jesus that we can know God. Sometimes we Christians can be confused, too, about the ways of God and Satan. Is it Satan blocking or hindering something or is it God? It is not just Muslims who may be confused.

Dear heavenly Father, You are not a God of confusion. Hallelujah! In Jesus’ name, Amen.