VLOG: Christian Apologetics in light of Islam (part 3 of 5)

The Holy Spirit has laid it upon my heart to share of conversations over the past near decade with dear friends from the Islamic faith regarding Christian doctrine. In this five part series, we will explore why Jesus had to die, if there is really only one God, which apostles should we follow, what the Christian church believes regarding other creeds and how does one decide what is right and what is ultimately wrong. May the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified and draw hearts to Himself for He alone is worthy.

 

You Think You Know Someone: When The Clouds Opened and Salvation Came

“ 7Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7 (NASB)

 

Last night, while speaking to the woman I respect and look-up to most in all the world, something was shared with me that instantly brought tears to my eyes and goose bumps to form in ninety-five degree Florida!

 

After two God-ordained encounters that day, one with a calls center woman in Colorado and another with my lifelong friend in North Africa, God led me to call this most cherished woman to my heart, who had loved and guided me from the day of my birth, to share of these events. Yet, as I shared my passion to see the Lord bring salvation to the Muslim people through dreams and visions (as He is already doing—and we have had the personal privilege of speaking with Muslims in two different Muslim countries where this has happened to them)—I was given a blessing that I could not have expected.

 

This woman praised the Lord for all that He had done and then asked me, “Have I ever shared with you the story of my conversion?” I stated that she had told me through the years that she had accepted Jesus when she was young. The elegant and stately woman paused and then began to share her heart’s story.

 

“I was eight years old. I was lying in a field and watching the clouds, when suddenly the clouds parted and I saw Jesus standing there. He was wearing a white robe and I remember His face. He looked right at me and extended His hand out towards me as He said, ‘Follow Me.’ I saw bright lights behind Him and there was music playing. It was at that moment that I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.”

 

Knowing this woman as a strong Christian believer who is solid in her doctrine, I was instantly in tears! I told her how amazing that was to hear and shared that I was covered in goose bumps! She continued.

 

“You know, Katie, as I have gotten older, memories have begun to fade; but that one is as clear as the day I saw Him.”

 

I told her that I was shocked and utterly thrilled to learn of this, but had never, ever heard this from her in all my life. She replied, “I will never forget the way that people would look at me when I would tell them about seeing Jesus. I got tired of the looks from others and just stopped sharing it.”

 

I was amazed to be reminded of the truth of the Holy Bible! What Jesus has done since the beginning of time, He is still in the business of doing! Jesus is personally showing up in the lives of those who desire to please God and radically changing their lives for His glory and their good (Romans 8:28)! If you have some extra time sometime, flip through these examples in Scripture of Jesus inserting Himself into creation both before and after His time of being wrapped in human flesh, to edify the believers and turn strangers to God into friends of God through personal revelation (Genesis 18:1-15, Exodus 3:1-22, Exodus 33:1-23, Exodus 34:1-35, Psalm 16:1-11, Psalm 49:1-20, Psalm 110:1-7, Isaiah 6:1-8, Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, John 4:1-54, John 20:1-31, Acts 2:1-47, Acts 7:1-60, Acts 9:1-31, Revelation 1:1-20, Revelation 19:1-16, Revelation 22:1-21).

 

8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” –Hebrews 13:8 (NASB)

 

I have always looked up to this most amazing woman of stouthearted faith. She has always given a solid, godly testimony with her life through all these years. I thank God for her (Philippians 1:3) and trust that God will use her story to edify others as well. May you be encouraged in the name of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ!

 

“ 12Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.14For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.” Hebrews 13:12-14 (NASB)

Cement Trees: Looking for the Authentic Church in a sea of “Amens”

On the freeway system, we often pass tall walls of barriers near housing developments. When traveling on a sea of asphalt, how nice it is to see a tree, even a cement one. Yet, something hit me the other day on a long road trip while I saw this very sight across four lanes of traffic. On one side of the road stood the tall retaining walls with etched oak trees and on the opposite side of the traffic, a vibrant orchard. Immediately, upon seeing the real trees, my heart was happy to see the real thing. The leaves moved in the wind and danced in the sunshine. Yet, the cement trees, were cold, rigid and without life.

 

As I continued to drive, the Lord began to point out to my heart how this is like much of the modern day Christian church. There has been a major problem that has plagued the modern Christian church for quite some time now. And, if we as believers in Jesus Christ are not willing to address this issue and come to grips with it, we will watch more and more artificial messages become erected behind pulpits, and worse, translated into modern translations of Biblical Christian doctrine.

 

Much like the view of real trees near housing developments, the modern Christian church is watching a staggering number of churches and even denominations walk away from sound doctrine, based on actual written words of the Holy Bible, and replacing it with a mantra that you are entitled to have your “best life now” and “name it and claim it”. The idea of suffering in the world of many Christian churches has become reserved for spiritual attacks. And if one dares to accept the burden, it is determined that one is still sick/troubled/experiencing great suffering because they simply did not believe or have enough faith. Yet, is this what the Holy Bible teaches? Let us hear the words of a great man of God, the Apostle Paul, who was used by God greatly to advance the message of hope, that is Jesus Christ, to all people.

 

7Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.10Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:5-10 (NASB)

 

Now, as the Apostle Paul demonstrated, it is right and good to ask for God to change our circumstances. It is great to ask for God to move heaven and earth to show His mighty power over the world, which He created. But…and here’s the big but…when God says no or God says wait…we have to see those answers as a gift from God too. How?

 

Because He has a much bigger picture of healing and redemption that He is writing…and it simply isn’t time for you/me/the affected individual to understand His ways.

 

“8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. 9 ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:8-11 (NASB)

 

Rather than preaching the word of God, which states the supremacy of God (Isaiah 6:1-8) and the unquenchable power of the Risen Christ (Hosea 6:2, Acts 2:24 & 1 Corinthians 15:3-4), a false gospel is preached that rather than serving God—God should serve us. And if God would not do things as we see fit (again, are we not the created ones (Psalm 139:14, Ephesians 2:10? How could we then speak so boldly to the One who created us with such disdain and contempt?) taking away the reality that at times, they are in fact growing seasons for our faith to grow deeper in the Lord Jesus as we wait upon His timing.

 

May we pray hard (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)—and praise Him even harder (Psalm 69:29-31)—for the battle is the Lord’s (Psalm 20:7) and He truly sees all details of every given situation in utmost love, compassion and sovereign authority over all (Jeremiah 29:11-13). May we call upon Him in all circumstances—even this very moment of reading this line—and apologize to Him for not coming to Him sooner…then praising Him for His goodness, His all knowing-power and His willingness to intervene in His perfect sovereignty into the lives of all humanity for our goodness and His glory. May Jesus Christ alone be praised!

 

11‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.12‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (HSCB)

The 3:16 Challenge

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)

 

What do all these people have in common: An AIDS orphan in Ndola, Zambia, a prostitute between clients in the Soy Cowboy district of Bangkok, Thailand, an abaya wearing divorcee raising a child by herself, a quiet art student in Chung Ching, China and a high schooler from Tampa, Florida?

 

Any guesses?

 

What about these people: A homosexual woman raising a child with her lesbian lover, a man who is the quarterback on his college football team, an illegal immigrant in hiding, a convicted murderer of a school shooting and a regular church attender?

 

Answer: Each and every person listed above needs to hear about the one and only Son of God, Jesus Christ.

 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NASB)

 

And until these people hear of Jesus Christ, how will they be able to accept Him – if they do not know Him?

 

“11 Now the Scripture says, everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame, 12 for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

 

14 But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things! 16 But all did not obey the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message? 17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.” Romans 10:11-17 (NASB)

 

We may look back at these lists and think, “Well, I can see how that person would be loved by God, but that one…that one doesn’t deserve God’s love and forgiveness! It just wouldn’t be right!” If we find ourselves struggling to come to grips with the reality that all people are invited to come seek forgiveness through the completed work of Jesus Christ, it’s time to have a serious soul check before God Almighty.

 

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 (HCSB)

 

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (NASB)

 

Ladies, let’s get honest here—the grace and eternal favor of God cannot be earned, manipulated, stolen, accumulated or statistically generated. It is not a matter of how “good” we may look to others or how detestable someone else’s life may look compared to our own; it all comes down to the rebellious nature of the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

 

“Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the LORD is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed.” 1 Samuel 2:3 (NASB)

  

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NASB)

 

 

When modern day slavery is at an all time high, when suicide rates of young ones has become a global epidemic, when the lost, broken and hurting feel that there is no way out of their lives of pain—MAY WE BE CROSS-EYED—and turn them to the cross of Jesus Christ. May we share with unabashed joy the hope, healing and new life offered to all who truly come and fall at the feet of Jesus Christ; who died upon a cross for all so that we may eternally live through accepting Him as the Lord of our lives (Acts 16:31)! 

 

I challenge each and everyone reading this article today, to take the 3:16 Challenge. What is it? You may be asking. Whenever the clock says 3:16, morning or evening, pray for the lost and hurting to come to a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. And not just pray for them, but ask God for the opportunities to reach these lost people. Because, ladies, it doesn’t matter how “good” life on earth may look for a given person, if they do not know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, hell and eternal punishment for the rebellion of each soul awaits (John 3:18). And you know what? God loves each one of us enough to offer freedom out of this place of eternal separation from God—through personal acceptance of the love and forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ for our own lives (1 John 4:9-10).

 

You see, when Jesus Christ died upon the cross of Calvary between two criminals, He cried out, “Father, please forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). And when Jesus Christ rose from the dead, just as He said He would (John 10:18) on the third day from being in the tomb (Matthew 28:6), the punishment for all rebellion of humanity against a righteous and holy God was satisfied (Isaiah 53:5). Therefore, we now know the name by which we can be saved from hell—Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God (Acts 4:12).

 

Check the time…is it 3:16? Let us pray with passion to the God who passionately loves all people from all backgrounds, all nations, all cultures and all twisted living. We do not earn the love of God–it is freely offered to all–now may we freely love those enough around us to share of God’s glorious plan of redemption, hope and healing for each complex situation and failed attempt at life….Jesus Christ proved that each and every heart was eternally valuable to Him through His death for our failings while He Himself was innocent of all sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). And now, it is our responsibility as the Church of Jesus Christ to pick up His passion for those He came to save–ALL (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

 

Dear Lord Jesus, please ignite Your Church to boldly proclaim Your name and Your message of hope, restoration and ultimate healing through You! May hearts be stirred, feet be moved and mouths be opened to share of this glorious news that You loved Your own creation so much that You gave Your own live to ransom us from the grip of condemnation and redeemed us to enjoy peace, purpose and eternal life with You! Give us Your eyes for those around our world and our cities who are in such desperate need of Your gospel of unconditional love for all people—for we all so desperately need Your forgiveness. Thank You for offering it so freely, without finding fault, for all who call upon Your name. You are the King of kings and the Lord of lords! We lift up Your name high, Jesus, and ask for Your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen!