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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nahar's testimony

a believer from the Middle East sent me an email which was really meant for Mark Finley, so I replied and suggested he communicated with Hope TV. His story is so interesting and inspiring that I have accessed his testimony from Songs of Praise site:


Nahar's Testimony


Nahar is a real person and this is his testimony. We have changed his name to protect him. I have corresponded with him over several years and have been amazed as he grew in faith and knowledge. His courage is an inspiration and I pray that God will protect him from all harm. Be sure and hear the song we wrote for Nahar, Your Love Surrounds Me. - Elton, April 14, 2004.

Introduction and prayer, My life, I met Jesus, The Bible and the Quran, More about Jesus, Conclusion

Matthew 5:14 (Injeel)
The Lord Jesus said, "You are the Light that gives Light to the World!"

And in the Quran, Surah Al-Ahzab 46
"And as one who invites to Allah's Grace by His leave and as a Lamp spreading Light."

Dear God,
I thank You for Your love and daily strength! My God, I thank You for the unconditional and incomparable love You have for sinners like me. I am very grateful to You Lord God! Surely I didn't choose You for I can never ever do that. It's only because of your mercy my God. I ask You Holy God whoever reads and comes to know what You have done in my life to glorify Your name Lord God, not mine, and change their hearts O God to love. You more than anyone and more than anything else. I ask the same for myself also Lord. Make me live each day loving You and becoming more like Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! In the Lord Jesus Christ's name I ask You Lord God.
Amen.

I am no more than an ordinary man who has been spending life like knowing nothing. I also had so many unthinkable questions like almost everyone experiences in some part of their life. Why am I here? Where did I come from? Is there really a God and if so where is He? Why doesn't He talk?

I was born in a quite wealthy Muslim family in the village of Punjab, Pakistan. But when I was about three or four months old I was carried to Saudi Arabia by my father. The eldest of my grandparents have been working and staying there for a while. My father already had married before and my mom was the second wife of my father. From mom we are two brothers and two sisters, four in all. I am the youngest. When I was about 6 years of age my own mom passed away. It's really hard for children like me to have good future in life without the love and care of mom. My eldest and elder sister took very good care of me but even then I used to realise "if I had my own mom she would have hugged me and kissed me when I used to get good remarks in class". My sisters are still very loving to me I love them very much.

My father got married to a third wife not long after my mom died. In the beginning she used to be very good to us, but slowly, slowly she started to fight and argue and use a kind of language a mother is never supposed to say. My father always listened to her alone and still he does that. When I was about 15 or about to be 16, I came to know that Christians believe Jesus Christ is the son of God. I very much wondered why is it like that. I have been studying the Quran since I was around 12. I had studied it in Arabic and then got its translation to understand and to know what it really says in English. I could understand in Arabic but not very well so I got its English copy as I could understand English better. I have been studying in English medium school. When I started reading the Quran in translation, I also started reading other kinds of Islamic books like the Life of Prophet Mohammad, Hadiths, etc.

My father is not really good in Islam but used to be very strict with me. I have been Wahabi or Ahlae Hadiths like most of the Saudi Muslims are. Osama Bin Laden is also one of them. They believe that Hadiths, the sayings of Prophet Mohammad and the Quran are the only true guidance on earth and they have rules and all the other stuff in it. They are very extreme and I have been one also.

Slowly, slowly I started taking more interest in Islam as I had been learning that it's the only way to Heaven. If you do this you'll get so and so blessings in Heaven, and if you do that you'll get so and so blessings in Heaven. I became an extremist for the religion Islam.

Well, I believed what I had been doing and what I was doing was right, and if it is right I have to dig deeper and it has to prove it is what it says. I had read about the prophets in the Quran and Hadiths, but Jesus Christ was the only personality that really touched me more than any others. I did like Mohammad but the hunger and thirst I got for Jesus Christ was something different from Mohammad's!

I started searching for Jesus Christ more and more. I had a Catholic friend who used to study with me. I asked him one day if I could have his Bible. He was surprised and said "sorry Nahar, you cannot have it". I assured him no one would ever know, "it will remain between me and you". But my father came to know that I read the Bible and that it was in our home. He was very angry and he knew I have only one Christian friend. So he took me with my uncle to this friend's home and warned them saying "if you do this again and try to preach Christianity to a Muslim child, you'll have to suffer a lot and you know it. We will complain about it to Islamic Police (Mutawa) and you could be exiled from this country forever". I was a bit worried. I shouldn't have done this to my friend's family.

My father warned me and so did my uncle to pray five times a day as I used to pray and one time in mosque. I kept going and many times when there was no one in the mosque I used to cry and ask God to show me "who is this Jesus and who are you?". Often while the Imam (leader) of the prayer used to be praying in Arabic, as it's compulsory to pray in Arabic only, I did not give much attention to what he's saying. One day I was praying in the Mosque. It was Zuhar's prayer (Noon prayer about one). I wasn't thinking of Jesus Christ that time. I saw an image of a handsome person on the floor where we bow our heads in prayer. I was shocked. I never saw such a thing before. It was kind of an image on water. I heard in myself that this is Jesus Christ. This is the Lord!

I was worried what and how could that be as I have learned in the Quran that God is only one and Christians they take Jesus as the Son of God and also call Him God. This is the greatest sin which God can never forgive. I could not leave my prayer without completing it just for this reason, so I completed it and began thinking about it after that. My hunger to know about Jesus Christ grew more and more.

I did not have a Bible with me any more. One day I was passing with a friend through shops and I came to know an internet shop. I did not know anything about it at that time, but from my friend and studying about it, I made my e-mail address and started seeing web sites of different kinds. One day I was on the net on yahoo.com and there came a thought in my mind. Type "Who Is Jesus?". I did and got lots of web sites. I was amazed that I could search about Jesus Christ there.

One of the web sites which I selected was Campus Crusades For Christ International (http://ccci.org) and some others also. But this web site provided me very nice information about who Jesus is, and what was said in the Old Testament about Him, and how amazingly they are fulfilled in the New Testament.

I was very much amazed. I never knew how and why to accept Jesus Christ. I was very happy to visit this site. I kept coming to this web site often. Some of the other Christian web sites were blocked as you may know very well. One day I thought of giving Jesus a try and said the salvation prayer on their web site, and after that I also started thinking, "did I do the greatest sin? I will never ever get to heaven and so on".

I also had been seeing that same image of Jesus Christ often when I used to go in the Mosque to pray. One day I was walking toward a market using a short cut. It's a bit lonely area. Not many people cross through there. I was walking and been thinking and asking God if what I am doing is right and should I be Christian or Muslim. I heard a voice behind me saying "My son, you are on the right path". I was again amazed. These kinds of things I never had experience with.

But what all I had been going through I became more happier when I came to know the Holy Bible, which says many things.

For example, in Isaiah 30:21, Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it".

In Jeremiah 29:11-13 it says,
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart".

God has been faithful to me!

I had learned in the Quran that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were living in Paradise until they committed sin which also is the same in the Bible. But in the Quran I was told they were forgiven of their sins. I ask my Muslim friends "if they were forgiven of their sin, then why did God being so merciful and gracious make them leave heaven? Does it mean He did not forgive them?"

If according to the Quran, the Torah (Pentateuch), Zabur (Psalms) and Injeel (Gospels) are the Word of God, then how can they change? If they have changed as many Islamic scholars say, then who changed them and why? They will claim that the Bible has changed and they feel so happy in that, but to know the truth we need to be humble and seek. You need to ask yourself if everything you believe is really true. Where would I be if I did not search my Bible and ask God's guidance for my life? The God of the Bible replies like no other! That is reality!

We come to know in the Quran in Surah Yunus 10:64,
"Theirs are good tidings in the life of the world and in the Hereafter. There is no changing the Words of Allah that is the Supreme Triumph."

And in the same Quran, Surah Al-Baqara 2:106,
"Such of Our revelations as We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, we bring (in place) one better or the like thereof. Knowest thou not that Allah is Able to do all things?"

What does that mean? In fact it's exactly the opposite in the Bible.

In the Torah, Numbers 23:19, "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind."

And in Zabur (Psalms) 31:5, "Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth."

And in Injeel (the Gospel of John) 17:17, "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth."

Never did I find a single verse in the Bible saying that God lies or that He changes His verses and leads people astray.

In the Quran we are told to believe in all prophets and all the revealed Books of God which includes the Torah, Zabur, Injeel and even Daniel. If we do not believe in them, that they are the words of God, we are not Muslims. I have been praying this prayer before sleeping when I was Muslim. It can be read in Surah Al-Baqara 285.

Have we to believe in names only? Do we believe it in the same with the Quran? If we read the Quran we have to read the Bible also which can never change. Many measures and efforts have been taken to destroy the Bible from this earth but they have never been successful. That proves that God who revealed knows very well how to keep it protected. I challenge all the Muslims and every one who says that the Bible has changed to prove it to me with evidence. Hundreds of scientist have studied it and have confirmed its clarity and what has been written. This has been the first book to be printed ever and every year it reaches the highest scores all over the world.

The prophecies made in the Bible are being fulfilled in our very day. These are some of the most amazing things and confirm who is the author of this book. The very creator of this world knows what is going to happen tomorrow and the coming days. He does not predict it like a psychic but knows it!

These are a few things that confirm the importance of this amazing book in the world, the Holy Bible, the very word of God, which can never change and can never return back in waste. Start reading it with a humble and without critical mind. If you seek to read it to prove it's wrong, it will not help you much. :)

It's amazing to know what the Quran and Hadiths say about the Lord Jesus Christ! Read below. And also what the Holy Bible also says about it!

Surah Al-i'Imran 45
Behold! The angels said "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus the son of Mary held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.

(Injeel) John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God!

Why is Jesus Christ called the Glad Tidings, Word Of God, Held nearest to Allah, but nothing is mentioned about Mohammad as such?

Surah Maryam
He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord that I may bestow on thee a faultless son.

Why a faultless son?

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith, Hadith 4.506, narrated by Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "When any human being is born, Satan touches him at both sides of the body with his two fingers, except Jesus, the son of Mary, whom Satan tried to touch but failed, for he touched the placenta-cover instead."

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith, Hadith 4.641
Narrated by Said bin Al Musaiyab:
Abu Huraira said, "I heard Allah's Apostle saying, 'There is none born among the off-spring of Adam, but Satan touches it. A child therefore, cries loudly at the time of birth because of the touch of Satan, except Mary and her child."

Why was Jesus Christ faultless and without sin, whereas Mohammad was touched by Satan according to his sayings above and lead a sinful life. Many times in the Quran he's reminded of repenting his sins. Every Muslim who reads the Quran with understanding knows it very well.

The Quran also says Jesus Christ did miracles and did many other things which note except God can do. Why did God allow Him to do these things which only He did? Things like giving life to death, and creating birds, and healing the sick, and telling the thoughts of people and what they have in their homes. Why?

Why did Mohammad never do that? Despite many people of his time asking for miracles he refused. But one miracle is recorded in the Quran that he parted the Moon in two. What benefit did it bring to humanity? Did it save their souls?

Before Jesus Christ was born, angels were sent to announce the noble birth of a faultless son through the Virgin Mary. But Mohammad being the greatest of Prophets in Islam does not have that much privilege?

If God really was able to make a virgin give birth, then why would it be difficult for Him to call Him His Son?

God says in the Quran through an angel to Mary,
Surah Maryam 15
Peace on him the day be was born, and the day he dieth and the day he shall be raised alive!

Then the Lord Jesus Christ says the same thing when He come to the world.

Surah Maryam 33
Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!

Why is nothing similar said for Mohammad?

Mary the mother of Jesus Christ is mentioned 34 times. In fact there is a whole surah called by her name and Mohammad's mother is never mentioned once in the Quran. Why?

Surah Maryam 21
He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained.

Revelation and mercy to all mankind not till Mohammad but after also. Why? Why is it ordained? What kind of mercy is Jesus Christ to the world? The Quran does not answer that. Muslims will have to read the Injeel (Gospel) to find about it. Read the Gospel!

In the Injeel (Gospel), Mark 10:46-47, one blind man cries out to the Lord Jesus Christ saying:
A blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

Also in the New Testament:
Jude 1:21
Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

1 Peter 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

The Lord Jesus Christ is not the mercy that was meant for people of His time or of His area. God made Him Mercy for ALL MANKIND EVEN AFTER MOHAMMAD.

Not only in the New Testament we come to know that Jesus Christ died and took our sins, but also the Quran agrees to it.

Surah Al-i'Imran 55
Behold! Allah said: "O Jesus! I will cause you to die and then raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject Faith to the Day of Resurrection; then shall ye all return unto Me and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute".

This is what it says in Arabic but it's very sad to know that mostly all the Quranic translators mistranslate it. Due to this and many verses in Quran another very big sect which is called Ahmadi or Qadiyani in Islam was formed and they believe Jesus Christ was killed and was made alive, then taken to heaven!

We know from the Bible that we are sinners and away from the Lord. Jesus Christ is the only provision for us to reconcile us with the Lord, because He was sinless and became sin for our sake. Our sins were transferred to Him as Quran also agrees on transferring of sins. We read in the story of Abel and Cain the first children of Adam. Here's their conversation recorded in the Quran:

Surah Al-Maida 27-29
Recite to them the truth of the story of the two sons of Adam. Behold! They each presented a sacrifice (to Allah): it was accepted from one but not from the other. Said the latter: "Be sure I will slay thee." "Surely" said the former "Allah doth accept of the sacrifice of those who are righteous. "If thou dost stretch thy hand against me to slay me it is not for me to stretch my hand against thee to slay thee: for I do fear Allah the Cherisher of the worlds. "For me I intend to let thee draw on thyself my sin as well as thine for thou wilt be among the companions of the fire and that is the reward of those who do wrong."

Here we come to know the transferring of sins mentioned in Quran. And Jesus the name itself means one who will save from sin. Also in Quranic terms it means the same.

Jesus Christ bore our sins and became sin for us. Here's what the New Testament says:

In Injeel (Gospel), Matthew 1:21
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

To many other people He said "your sins are forgiven" indicating He wants them to be saved from sins! He bore their sins!

2 Corinthians 5:21
God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

Many people have found God's mercy in the Lord Christ and have been changed forever, and one of them is me. Many look for the miracles, authority, Truth and only truth in the wrong places and I also have been doing so, until I met Him, the only one who not only knows the way to God but Himself is The Way. In Jesus' very words:

John 14:6
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him."

Mohammad and Muslims have been praying every day many times in their much-devoted prayers for guidance and amazingly the last and greatest of lslam's Prophet kept praying for it till his death.

Surah Al Fateha 3.
O our God Guide us to the Straight path.

Was Mohammad on the straight path? Is Islam the straight path? I encourage all Muslims to ask him or herself is it really true what they are doing to get to heaven?

I do not believe heaven is a place with a price tag on it, which can be bought by our deeds, but only through His Mercy and grace. Many times in the Quran we come to know that Heaven is the place for whomsoever God wills. Here is one:

Surah An-Nur 14
Were it not for the grace and mercy of Allah on you in this world and the hereafter a grievous penalty (In Hell) would have seized you in that ye rushed glibly into this affair.

Surah At-Taub 111
Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their good for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise)

What do we understand of it?

Surah Al-Maida 35O
Ye who believe! do your duty to Allah seek the means of approach unto Him

I pray God will give hunger in each of us more each day and we will turn to Him for our Spiritual food and our salvation! I have used many Quranic verses to show my Muslim brothers and sisters to know what it actually says for us to do! There are many other Quranic verses that can help a lot to do more research on the living story of God, and to know Him personally. It is made so simple like never before. Come to Him with a humble heart. Seek His Face and find yourself in His arms! I have a few interesting links for you to go to. I encourage you to share them with your friends and most of all use them for yourself.

http://www.whoisjesus-really.org
http://www.discovergod.org
http://www.gospelcom.net
http://www.fathersloveletter.com

Yes, if you have any prayer request or any questions or just want to share anything I am always there with God's will to reply to you and do what I can for you. We become a new creation in Christ. It was written long ago, but today it is still true! How our minds and our thoughts change because the One who created us knows how to fill that missing gap and to reinstall our spiritual life in the Lord Jesus Christ who is the only Way to Him! So Brothers and sisters, open your hearts and minds to accept His amazing Love. Allow the Lord Jesus Christ into your life and see what happens next. The greatest adventure in the Universe begins. Whenever I have been in trouble He has been there and comforted me like no one ever could. He has shown me that He's alive forever and He loves us very much. Many times I have just been thinking of something and it happens because He knows our hearts and our desires and gives us what is best for us. I praise and thank God for sending His Son the Lord Jesus Christ to die for me and for all of us, and making the marvelous and glorious bridge to reach Him! Just give him a try.

My E-mail is:
amorsoldier@yahoo.com

Anyone can write to me. I love everyone and pray that God will pour more love in my life and make me love everyone, love more as He did and does. I want to see people as God sees them.

To God Be All Glory!
With His Love,
Nahar







Web songsofpraise.org

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Challenge and Opportunity of Discoveries 08 on Cable

A large number of members are staying home and watching the meetings on cable. So whats wrong? Well, the evangelistic planning was based on the church being the downlink site where members and visitors would view the broadcast.

In hindsight, if the cable providers had assured us that they would have been able to carry the broadcast, then I would have proposed cell group type evangelism, or argued against purchasing the satellite dish, simply subscribe to cable for the period of the series.

So we are caught in the middle of the stream with the current pulling in two different directions. There is an opportunity here somewhere. But the innovative capacity of the church may limit any creativity at this time.

We cant just soldier on blindly, something has to be done.