Joyce and I are on our way to South Africa. We are blessed to stay with some friends in the UK that are Muslims. Christina and I knew each other in High School and have not seen each other in 30 years, and then she married a Saudi Arabian Sheik 8 years ago. They have a daughter named Sirina who is 6 and is adorable. Divine providence allowed us to connect this year, and to be here for a few days to love and be loved. There simply was no other agenda but to build relationally and love one another. In the brief time we have had together, we have been able to share many things. We have talked about Jesus, (Isa), and God, (Allah), and the common ground we have.
Their Holy Book the Q'uran mentions Jesus as a prophet 110 times. Though they do not acknowledge Him as the Son of God, they do acknowledge that we must follow His ways, so we talked much about following His ways. I was so amazed at how much we can grow together this way, and that Muslims are not our enemy like the media sadly portrays, but truly can be our friends towards doing good to those around us, and around them. It is from this premise that we can believe the power of God to get all of us on the journey towards living as Christ to the world and agents of God for doing good to others.
I have watched in recent years how much religion really kills. We talked about Jihad and the Crusaders who allowed religion to turn to hatred. Religious Christians can be brutal towards one another and to others. When you see the tears and compassion of my Muslim friends for the injustices in the world, it is touching and we actually found more in common with them then we do the religious right, and the religious self righteousness that is a stench to the throne of grace. James 1:27 says that pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. From this premise, we can work with all of God's creation who desire to pursue God's view of religion together by doing good to those who need it the most.
I look at our self serving western Christian practices that have been infiltrated with mammon, ego, and glory stealers, and I realize that I have much more in common with those that may not share my faith, but share my desire to be set apart to touch the poor and bring glory to God. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life to our heavenly Father. Can we get others on the journey and trust the Holy Spirit to transform lives as we work together for the good of mankind? I think we can, and I am so thankful that religious agendas, and mindsets, continue to diminish while His love increases in our hearts. In freedom we can bring His light and His truth to those who will receive the Jesus in us.
My friends embraced us and the Jesus in us, and we have found a language called love that will continue to bring us closer to one another, and closer to God. We appreciate your prayers as we leave today for South Africa, and also Zimbabwe for the next 3 weeks. We love all of you and thank God for your lives, and your friendship... Go and find those who you can touch today in the midst of your differences and watch the miracle living God in each of you to impact others forever, and for His glory alone.....