Devoted... to God?

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In Romans 1010:2ff, Paul writes of his fellow

Jews "I can assure you that they are deeply devoted to God; but their devotion is not based on true knowledge. They have not known the way in which God puts people right with himself, and instead, they have tried to set up their own way;"

What is true for many Jews is true also for many Muslims who sometimes, in their zeal for God as they understand him, do and say things that are certainly not consistent with the character and purposes of God as revealed in Christ. But let us not be too swift or harsh in our judgement. History shows that 'Christendom' has also acted in ways contrary to the character of God.

The history of Christian - Muslim encounter is also not a happy one and has been marked by misunderstanding, hatred, violence, exploitation and war. It is no wonder that now, with the power of oil wealth, the Islamic world sometimes takes the offensive. (To understand it is not to condone it!) The current tensions and conflicts between the Muslim and Western (dare I say 'Christian') world is therefore a complex mixture of strands. There are issues of belief but there are also matters of culture, of history, of distrust and of course, the 'falleness' of human nature (an issue which neither Islam nor many westerners take very seriously!)

Several of the GRN Centres are located in strongly Islamic environments such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Others such as Nigeria, are in places where there are strong Islamic elements. There are Muslims in most of the countries where we work. In addition, our tapes and illustrated materials have gone into many Muslim lands where we do not have a permanent presence. Recently recording has been done in several Middle Eastern languages.

This month as many people focus their prayers on the Muslim world, let us join them. Pray for our colleagues in those places. Pray for peace and tolerance. Pray that the Gospel will go forward in power and bring a great harvest. Pray for those who have turned to Christ from Islam. Pray that recordings made will be well used and bring many to Christ and strengthen the faith of others. Pray that the light of God's love will shine in dark places.

God loves the people of the Muslim world as indeed he loves all his creation. Pray that God's love will shine through us also, even to those who respond with hatred and anger. This is the way of Christ.

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