Abu Da'ud

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A good response to God‘s calling

God calls each Christian to work with Him in His purposes, whether in vocational ministry or not. If you feel God calling you to something but you don’t know the details of the call, please consider making your life easier by unreservedly saying yes to God. Do it before you fully know what He wants – it sounds something like, “I’ll obey you, Lord, no matter what. Whatever it is, I will obey quickly, cheerfully and completely.”

God rules over all, and if you sincerely want His will, He eventually removes all ifs, ands and buts from your life. However, the removal can come through a disciplining process.

Rather than go through too much of that, our best option is to get to fully know the love that our heavenly father has for us. Doing so will teach us that love and God’s character. Then we can boldly and affirmatively answer God’s call, knowing He is with us. He will provide answers and details about the call as we go.

Keywords: Discipleship, calling, obedience, submission to God

From one MBB to another

Hello, brother or sister MBB. Some advice and a few thoughts to encourage you to keep going:

When you want to know how much God loves you, look mainly to the Bible and ask God to reveal His loving nature to you. If you look only to people in the church, you run the risk of allowing their treatment of you negatively influence your view of God. God is completely good and is fully for you. In the church, you can have both good and bad experiences. While many will treat you well, please remember that those that don’t are, like you, still growing. Keep loving them and forgive them as you’ve been forgiven.

The main thing to focus on is loving God and following Him. While it may seem strange and unfamiliar, you are a member of His family. Your relationship with Him is deeply personal, and He calls you His friend. That is not a distant friend, but one in His innermost circle — all because of Jesus Christ.

About those things that you have suffered and lost, in a strange way those things are a gift. It is very difficult to know Him fully when holding on to our lives to protect them. Persecution and loss, as you well know, causes us to either let go and seek Him or cling even more tightly to our lives. The latter leads to falling away from God — a bad choice. It is much better to keep going, face the pain and seek Him even more. In my life, and in the lives of the many MBBs I have talked with, growth in Him accelerates in the tough times. Amazingly, we all noticed something else — a deep sense of God’s presence and His peace. Peace may not have been there every second, but the best way I can describe it is that we all had a prevailing peace. Keep going — it is so worth it to get to know Him better.

There’s something to be aware of and look for — joy. Joy isn’t ordinary happiness. It is way beyond that. God promises us joy when we are in His presence. Joy is the secure knowledge and contentment that comes from being loved unconditionally by God in Christ. That joy is there even in the midst of suffering, and remains in good times. Keep looking to God, expecting His help and His inexplicable joy.

Keep looking up to where your help comes from. He will help you. He will bring you through, and the enemy cannot defeat you. Even if the enemy kills you through people, you go to heaven. You will be there because you followed the only way to get there — Jesus Christ, our Lord.

It’s strange that the thought of dying can comfort, but it can if I, or you, view it as a good thing. We get to be with God. Death is seen by many to be awful, the worst that can happen. For Christians, even the worst is good (though we are not to seek our own deaths). Knowing that makes even the worst situations easier to deal with. It makes it easier to keep going.

Keywords: MBB, encouragement, persecution, joy, worth it, heaven

Which leaders are we willing to miss?

Discipleship often leads to more people coming into the kingdom of Christ. This increase requires selecting leaders. People commonly select leaders using filters such as prior relevant experience, number of followers, and education. Though these filters have value, using them alone can lead to missing some very good people.

The common filters mentioned above would have, at the beginning of their dealings with God in the Bible, ruled out as leaders: Abraham; Moses; Joseph; David; the eleven good disciples; Paul; and Jesus. Without them as leaders we have no father of faith, no Israel, no Law, no reason to write the New Testament, no salvation, and no way to recognize God. Though extreme examples, choosing God’s way matters.

There have to be better filters than the common ones, or at least other ones that will not exclude God’s chosen ones. This is especially true in contexts where there are few Christians – contexts in which there is little to no opportunity to gain experience, followers or education.

A way to select leaders in a Muslim context is to rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit. I discuss this further in Discipling Muslim Background Believers. Following the Holy Spirit is not always easy, and you may make mistakes. However, you will not miss those He selects to the extent that you follow Him.

Will we choose those He selects or take the safe, common path of backing only those who already seem successful? If we choose the latter, are we willing to miss the leaders that God selects and the blessing that comes with them?

Keywords: Muslim background believer, discipleship, leadership, selection, Holy Spirit

A majority of new and persecuted MBBs fail to properly take care of themselves

When persecution starts for MBBs, their lives are often severely disrupted by many things, including being rejected by family, friends, and community. They may also lose jobs, opportunities for education, and may even be under the threat of torture or threat of death.

The negative effects, including stress, from the above are made worse by MBBs not taking care of themselves. In my book, Discipling Muslim Background Believers, I recommend that MBBs take care of themselves by properly (if possible):

  • eating
  • sleeping
  • exercising
  • employing wise routines and disciplines, including spiritual disciplines
  • interacting with people
  • reading the Bible (more than your routine amount)
  • praying and fellowshipping with God (more than your routine amount)
  • getting outside into beautiful spaces
  • fulfilling your responsibilities
  • making plans

These things are covered more fully in the book.

Keywords: MBB discipleship, persecution, taking care of yourself

The Arab World in Seven Charts – A BBC Article

An interesting and easily digested snapshot of some statistics regarding the Arab world in seven charts.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-48703377

Keywords: Turning away, demographics