Tag Archives: forgiveness

Guaranteed Forgiveness?

Zafar just bought a ticket to return back home for a three-month visit last week. He is the mullah of the unofficial mosque in a local bazaar. He is very friendly and sells nuts & fruit. When I first met him a year and a half ago, he politely but adamantly refused to accept a calendar decorated with Scriptures. He has a good reputation and his kiosk is always busy with customers. The one slow day is Monday.

This Monday I called him and told him that I’d like to take him out for tea as a goodbye before he leaves. When I got there, his coworker took over and he led me to a halal cafe. We enjoyed the lagman, bread and tea. After eating, I asked him, “How do you receive forgiveness in Islam?” He told me that if a sinner comes to God and sincerely asks for forgiveness, he will receive it.

“Always? Guaranteed?” I asked.

He mentioned four sins that were unforgivable, including marriage infidelity and disrespecting your parents. I had just memorized James 2:10, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” This was a great opportunity to use it.

Then, I shared how the Injil guarantees forgiveness for true believers of Isa (Acts 10:42-43). He listened carefully as I described Jesus as “The One Sent Down From Above” (i.e. Son of Man), whose perfect origins meant He could be the Perfect, Holy Sacrifice. I told the story of the paralytic in Mark 2 and how Jesus used that to demonstrate His power to heal and forgive.

Shortly afterward, Zafar had to leave. I gave him some small gifts for his family, but most importantly, he took the Magdalena DVD in his language. As I was taking the metro home from that lunch, Zafar tried to call me 5 times to say, “Thanks.”

I wish I could say that he fell down in tears & repentance and wept as Jesus came into his life, but he didn’t (yet). And looking back on it, there a number of things that he said that I should have followed up on but I didn’t. Most obviously was the question of whether there is any hope for people who commit the unforgivable sins. I often wonder why I only think of these points after a conversation has ended. Does that ever happen to you?

It has taken me a year and a half, and many prayers, to get to this point with Zafar. I have chickened out at times when I could have pushed the relationship along, but I didn’t. All I know is that Zafar is returning home – hopefully carrying the DVD – and hopefully with a better understanding of who I believe Jesus to be. Please take a minute right now to pray for Zafar.

Photo courtesy of http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A2%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%B6%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B8

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How Long Does it Take for a Muslim to Come to Christ?

Often we think that it takes years for a Muslim to hear and come to Christ, but this isn’t always the case. We are finding open hearts in Moscow more and more often, as this story of Kutman illustrates:

Two believing ladies first met Kutman, a Central Asian man, who was working at a bank in Moscow. Then they asked me to meet him. It was a little awkward as there was no context for us to get together, but the following week I had tea with this banker at a café. He warmed up after a little while.

Knowing that I might never see him again, I plunged into the Gospel. It was clear he had never heard it before. We read John 3, and I asked him, “How many types of people are there?”

“Two,” he replied, “forgiven and judged.”

Later I wished I had asked him the question, “Which one are you?,” but I think he understood it. We left, with the polite promise to see each other again. I was wondering if he really wanted to meet anymore. The very next day he called me and eagerly asked, “When can we get together?”

Pray for Kutman as he hears truth. Pray that he will understand his need for forgiveness and respond.


Night of Power – Prayers for Forgiveness

We prayed that she would have a vision or dream . . . and she did . . .

 

Tonight is a special night for Muslims around the world. It’s called the “Night of Power.” Dedicated Muslims will stay up all night, praying for a dream, a vision or the appearance of an angel who will assure them of forgiveness of their sins or grant another request. Take a minute today to pray that many Muslims around the world will have a dream or vision — of Jesus. Pray that they will come to understand that true forgiveness is found only through the blood of Jesus Christ shed for us on the cross, in payment for our sins.

In Tajikistan, Appai Zebo looked forward to the Night of Power. As a devout Muslim, she had been fasting during the day all throughout Ramadan. Tonight, with her husband, she would pray throughout the night, seeking a vision from an angel which would assure her of her forgiveness of her sins. She desperately sought for that assurance.

That night she and her husband lay on their prayer mats on the floor, their hands extended in prayer. Zebo was tired from her day’s work but she faithfully tried to stay awake. When she dozed, her husband nudged her back to prayer.

Exhaustion finally overtook her, and she dozed. During this time, she had a dream. She saw a wide river and a friend was standing near it, calling her to come. She walked toward her friend, and the friend linked arms with her and walked toward the river. She felt tremendous peace and joy. Then her husband nudged her awake.

In the following days, Zebo couldn’t forget the dream but she didn’t know what it meant. She went to her friend and asked, “Do you know what this dream means?” The woman promised to pray about it and returned.

Later, she returned to Zebo and said, “Jesus said He is the Living Water (John 6:35). Whoever drinks of Him will not be thirsty.”

“So you were leading me towards Him?” asked Zebo.

“Perhaps,” replied the friend.

Zebo pondered this dream for many days, although she never publicly professed to believe Jesus’ words. Pray that as she prays tonight, she will remember this dream. Pray that through her rituals and religious seeking, she will seek Truth. Pray that Truth will be revealed to her, and that she will believe.


Blocked from Entering

One day I went by the mosque up at Prospect Mira with my husband and children. I loved that the closer I came to the mosque, the more I felt as if I were in Central Asia. Women were dressed in their brightly colored, native dresses. Men gathered around tables of “naan” (Central Asian round bread) and Muslim hats, scarves and prayer mats. It was like a mini Central Asian bazaar right in Moscow. I was happy to be mingling with these dear people.

Then we approached the mosque. A tall, metal fence surrounded it. My husband and his male friend walked through the gate, not noticing that my friend and I stopped cold. A large picture adorned the entrance to the gate, which featured a woman covered from head to toe in a long skirt, long-sleeved shirt and head scarf – the required dress for any female to enter the mosque. (Click on the pic for a larger view. Maybe you can spot the sign at the gate.)

I was wearing a long skirt and a long-sleeved shirt, but since I didn’t have the proper headscarf, I was left behind. Staring at the metal gates, I felt unworthy and as if they were staring in disapproval at me. My friend and I decided to prayerwalk around the exterior of the mosque instead, and as we did so, I felt so grateful that we have a God that doesn’t require us to come before Him in our own perfection before He will listen to us. We come as we are – sinners in need of a Saviour – and He not only accepts us as we are but He also cleanses us and gives us the righteousness of Jesus.


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