SEIZE THE DAY
Time is one of God’s most precious gifts to us. We know that our days are numbered by our Maker (Psalm 39:4), that means He is not only in control of each one of them, but also that He wants us to redeem our time (Eph 5:16), to make the most of every opportunity (Col 4:5).
This call to use our time for God’s glory requires people with maturity, vision and understanding in order to make the best use of the time God has given us. There is a vital need to have prophetic, dynamic leaders among God’s people who can voice the challenge to go into action with focus and determination to meet the unique challenges of our time and setting. Such leaders are aware of the unique moment; once missed, one pays a high price.
In the Bible we come across several different words for ‘time’. Two of great significance to us are: Chronos, or clock time, and kairos, God’s chosen moment when He gives us the opportunity to serve. The men of Issachar are an example for leaders who understood the unique time, the kairos, opening up for them (1 Chr 12:32). The context of the verse shows that while Saul was still in power, it was David who had precious friends – people who were so loyal to their leader that they were willing to lay down their lives for him at any moment. In a way, they were almost waiting for his orders, to allow them to sacrifice their own comfort for his longing and passion (1 Chr 11:15-19).
This willingness of David’s army to follow him is reflected in the Gospels by Jesus’ disciples who worshipped Him with their full beings. Once they understood the significance of His message after His resurrection, they were willing to die for Him. Many of them did. 1 Chronicles 12:8 could almost be a song dedicated to King Jesus: “We are yours! We are with you! Success, success to you, for your God will help you!”
Can we people of today still get emotional, excited, thrilled about our Master? Or is this below our dignity? Does it make us uncomfortable, breaking cultural traditions to show devotion to Jesus? We have so much to learn from the men of Issachar. Let us apply this to the challenge of Islam across the African continent.
- Understanding the times: The challenge of Islam
➢ Huge numbers
▪ One out of every 5 people in the world is a Muslim
▪ There are more Muslims south of the Sahara than in the North African block
▪ Sub-Saharan Africa contains one-fifth of the world’s Muslims
“… Men of Issachar who understood the times and knew what Israel should do – 200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command…” 1 Chronicles 12:32 “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders, making the most of every opportunity.”
▪ Every year, millions of Qur’ans are printed in Saudi Arabia for distribution around the world
➢ Political power and influence
▪ The influence of Muslims in the media, in politics and certain professions is often much larger than what the percentage of Muslims in a particular country would suggest
▪ Mosques abound even in places where there are few Muslims
▪ Religious leaders in Islamic countries urge their governments to actively promote Islam all over the world with Sub-Saharan Africa having a high priority
▪ Muslims are instilled with a proud self-image: “You are the best of people…” (Qur’an 3:110)
These developments demand great watchfulness among God’s people in every country around the globe. Amid all this power and influence, however, the house of Islam is immensely troubled.
➢ Challenges Muslims face
▪ Conflict between traditional and modern adherents
▪ The sore wound of the Palestinian issue
▪ Anger and frustration with their own leadership AND the world’s superpowers
▪ New movements that demand a radical practice of Islamic laws
It seems that the world of Islam faces many rough roads ahead. As Christians we are aware of these challenges and need to react. Compassion must be at the forefront of our ministries as we recognize the struggles of the average Muslim. At the same time we must not ignore the spiritual void, bankruptcy and insecurity that countless followers of Muhammad face every day.
➢ Daily struggles and desires of Muslims
▪ Longing for forgiveness, instead of the revenge taught by their leaders
▪ Thirst for the truth, instead of the hypocrisy they see even in the most devoted believers
▪ Need for assurance about one’s eternal destiny, instead of the “insha-allah”, a dull appeal toward Allah’s will
▪ Personal encounter with the living God, instead of a distant slave master
- Knowing what to do – suggestions for reaching out
▪ Pray – specifically for people God puts on our heart
▪ Develop contacts – make them count for eternity
▪ Understand – a willingness and desire to learn more about your new friends
▪ Share your life – a love that becomes practical (1Thess 2:8)
▪ Sow the seed – do it generously and with faith
▪ Offer a choice – expose Islam and contrast its teaching with the Gospel truth
▪ Lead to a decision – trust the Holy Spirit to gently guide them to salvation
▪ Welcome home – a willingness to sacrificially open our homes to converts
- Allegiance as a body Reaching Muslims for Christ is a task that forces us to cooperate with each other. It cannot be the hobby or exclusive calling of a few “experts”. In fact, it is the “ordinary” follower of Christ who has the best opportunities to get alongside a Muslim man or woman and present Christ to them. Unless Muslim evangelism becomes a movement involving many, many ordinary believers, we will not see Muslims reached in large numbers. The time is ripe! The kairos to reach Muslims is now. What can still be done today may no longer be possible tomorrow. Let us SEIZE THE DAY and trust God to transform the lives of many Muslims, and indeed bring about a new day of salvation among Muslims all over the world. Looking forward to hearing from you: Life Challenge Assistance P.O. Box 50770 Nairobi – 00200 Kenya firstname.lastname@example.org