- "We are your friends" says Israeli Prime Minister to Iranian people
- Indonesian President vows to do more for persecuted Christians
- Chinese President Xi Jinping steps up as global leader challenging US supremacy
- Trump and the future of NATO
- 100 000 Killed in Yemen conflict
- Pakistan Prime Minister defends religious minorities
- Trump to offer Putin sanction-nuclear deal
- Several thousand US troops arrive in Poland in show of strength against Russia
- US set for confrontation with China over South China Seas
- Swim Classes - the new front line for Muslim integration into Europe
- Christians remain the most persecuted group in the world
- Influential voice against Iranian hardliners dies
- China sends first freight train to London
- Islamic State claims deadly Istanbul nightclub attack
- 59 Killed in Baghdad as terrorists continue to target the city
The following series of devotions was written by a Muslim-background Christian missionary from Turkey, seeking to educate the Church about Islam. To visit his ministry website, click here.
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WEEK 8: God's Servant
“I have found David, My servant; with My holy oil I have anointed him, so that My hand shall be established with him; My arm also shall strengthen him.” (Psalm 89:20-21, ESV 2011)
God found, anointed and empowered the shepherd boy David to kill Goliath, to rule the nation of Israel and to pave the way for the Messiah. Although he made mistakes, David lived for God, worked for God, fought for God and left behind a great legacy and a great kingdom.
But was David merely an obedient servant who did what God said, or was he more than that? The answer is found in Acts 13:22 – David was not only a servant, but a man after God's heart who sought to do all of God's will. He was not merely obeying God, but passionately trying to fulfil God's desires. He was not merely a labourer, but a ‘man of God’. He did not just put in his labour, but gave his heart and all he had to see God's will done.
That is the kind of servant God looks for. If you work for a corporation, it will be enough if you put in your expertise and labour. But if you work for God, your expertise, labour and even your obedience will not be enough – first and foremost, you must give your heart as David did.
Lord, may You give me Your heart, passion and desires so that I may be a man after Your own heart.
Previous devotions below.
WEEK 7: Salt and Light
“You are the salt of the earth ... You are the light of the world...” (Matthew 5:13-14, ESV 2011)
In the way that salt is used to preserve and make food tastier, Jesus wanted His followers to act as ‘preserving’ and ‘flavouring’ agents in this constantly decaying and tasteless world. In the way that light chases away darkness and makes places pleasant and habitable, God meant for Christians to be light in this dark, corrupt and sinful world.
Since the days of Christ, God has used many Christians as salt and light in the world: working in the fields of democracy, healthcare and education, and fighting for the equality and freedom of all men. God used Christians like William Wilberforce to fight against the slave trade. He used Christians like George Muller to establish orphanages and care for abandoned children. He used Christians like Corrie Ten Boom to protect and shelter Jews from the Nazis during WWII. Today, God is using many Christians to shelter and provide for Syrian war victims.
What is your role in God's work? Where does God wants you to be salt and light?
Father God, use me as salt and light in this dark and bitter world. Use me to preserve what is good and pleasant and to fight against what is evil. Amen.
WEEK 6: A Fruitful Faith
“... make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge,knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness,godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1: 5-8, HCSB)
Faith is a gift from God and it is the primary need in our lives. However, we still need to work on adding other qualities (mentioned in the passage above) to our faith. We need to actively develop and make these things part of our lives, in order to be fruitful servants of Christ: goodness (“virtue” in some translations), knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection and love.
Often, these qualities are contrary to our nature, our culture and our default behavioural patterns. Thus, intentional work and prayer is required to make them part of who we are. Without these qualities, our faith and knowledge of Christ will remain theoretical, unable to produce fruit in our own lives and in our circles of influence.
As James wrote, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20), and faith without these other qualities is as fruitless as a dead and dry tree. In comparison, the man who adds to his faith these qualities is like a fruitful tree by streams of water bearing lots of fruit in season (Psalm 1: 1-3).
Father, thank You for blessing me with faith in Christ. Please help me also to add these qualities to my faith and my personality so that I my lead a fruitful life for You.
WEEK 5: Friends and Enemies
“You adulterers! Don’t you know that friendship with the world means hostility with God? So whoever wants to be a friend of this world is an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
According to a commentary on this verse, the word “adulterers” in this context refers to people who are unfaithful to God’s covenant. And this warning is applicable to everyone: one cannot embrace and promote the principles and values of this world and still be a friend of God – one is either a man of God or a man of this world. One cannot claim to be Christian and at the same time promote the things God hates. One is either God's enemy or God's friend based on his decision to favour the values of God or the values of the world.
Sadly, in our post-modern world, there are many nominal Christians who are pro-world and anti-Bible. They support the politically correct ideas of the world against the radical teachings of the Bible. Thus, no matter how much they claim to be Christian, they are the friends of this world and enemies of God. Only those who obey and promote the Bible's teachings and the values of God are friends of God and true Christians.
Father God, give me reverence and fear for You. Bless me with an undiluted commitment to You and all Your principles and values. May I be faithful to You and your Word.
WEEK 4: Faith without works is dead
“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:19-20)
It is practical faith that gives life, not theoretical faith. If your faith in God is only a theory, it is good for nothing. True faith is practical and fruitful. If you are only a spectator Christian – scared or unwilling to take a step forward, to make a stand for what you believe, to take risks, to be politically incorrect – then, I am sorry to say, your theoretical Christianity is fruitless and your faith useless.
True faith demands action. Be bold! Take a step forward! Stand up for what you believe! Otherwise, do not even call yourself a Christian. Only those who stand up for what they believe can influence and change the world. Only those who take risks and step forward in faith can be the salt and the light in this dark and suffering world. Only those who are willing to fight spiritual battles can win victories. All the rest will go down in history as ‘theoretical Christians’.
Jesus, help me to be a practical Christian, not theoretical. Help me, Jesus, to be bold and to stand up for Your truth. Help me to step forward and do what You called me to do. Amen.
WEEK 3: Perseverance
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation.” (James 1:12, NKJV)
Temptations, trials and persecutions are guaranteed parts of Christian life. As Paul said, “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:16). In other words, Christianity is not a game, nor a club for lazy ‘happy clappers’. It is tough, it is difficult, and it requires perseverance and faith even in the shadow of death.
When God calls you do to something, there will surely come various kinds of temptations, trials and even persecution on your way. God will allow such hardships to come against you to test you. All men and women of God face them. Jesus had to persevere hardships and, ultimately, death on the cross, in order to fulfil God's plan. For many years, the apostle Paul persevered despite all kinds of hardships and persecution while doing God's will. Christian history is filled with men and women of God who suffered all kinds of hardship and who persevered instead of giving up.
If you want to serve God and do what He has called you to do, you have to choose this life of perseverance and determination, enduring all temptation and hardships.
Jesus, help us to keep our eyes on You so that we may fulfil Your plans. Help us to serve You with determination and perseverance as You did. Amen.
WEEK 2: Abraham's Friend
“…’Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’—and he was called a friend of God.” (James 2:23, ESV)
Abraham's life was marked with his friendship with God. His was not just a religion but a radical trust in God. His journey started in Genesis 12 as he stepped into the unknown in obedience to God. For the rest of his life, he always depended on God for protection, guidance and provision. Although he was a wealthy man, he was also a broken man before God. He was a stranger in strange countries, unable to protect himself and unable to have his own children. Although he had many workers, he did not seem to have many friends. Even his wife could not fully share and support his faith and obedience to God (Genesis 18:10-15). His extraordinary faith and obedience to God made this strange and broken man even more of a stranger. However, in the midst of all, God became his friend (Isaiah 41:8). So much so that God would visit Abraham and discuss His plans with him (Genesis 18). As a faithful friend, God sustained, protected and guided him throughout the years.
Your faith and obedience to God might make you unpopular, strange and lonely. In those times, remember who called you, and who sustains and guides you. God is your eternal friend. Trust in Him and pour out your heart to Him.
WEEK 1: Always Reliable
We live in an extremely unreliable world. It is the expected norm that no person or institution is actually reliable. Friends and family fail us, companies we work for desert us, governments we elected betray us, churches we supported hurt us. We ourselves betray, abandon and fail others around us. As time goes by, people, governments, demographies and even climates change, making our world even more unreliable.
But there is One who has always been reliable, who has kept all His promises and never deserted those who put their trust in him: Jesus, the only truly righteous and reliable person who ever lived in our unreliable world.
13 years ago, on December 6, I decided to leave Islam and follow Jesus. Since then, I have gone through a lot of rejection, persecution and trials. As I was following Jesus, I experienced both the favour and the wrath of people. At times, I was an obedient follower of Jesus, at other times I disobeyed Him. But He never abandoned me, never turned His back on me. He kept all His promises, even when I did not keep mine. He became my best and most reliable friend. Similarly, throughout the history Jesus kept all His promises and never abandoned His people.
Taste and see that Jesus is good, that His love and faithfulness endure forever (Psalm 34:8; 100:5). He is always a reliable refuge and stronghold for His people (Nahum 1:7; Joel 3:16).
For the previous series of devotions by a Zambian missionary, CLICK HERE.
For the previous series of devotions by Romanian believers, CLICK HERE.
For the previous series of devotions by Chinese mission workers, CLICK HERE.
For the previous series of devotions by Dr Daniel Shayesteh, CLICK HERE.
For the previous series of devotions by Werner Groenewald, CLICK HERE.
For the series of devotions by Bill Drake, worship leader for Operation Mobilisation, CLICK HERE.