Day 29: Do not be afraid
By Gary Fallesen, president, Climbing For Christ
Gary and Elaine visiting Capitol Hill.
My wife Elaine and I were part of an event last summer on Capitol Hill, where we visited the offices of U.S. Congressmen and Senators to urge the repeal globally of blasphemy laws.
Blasphemy is a scary word.
In Pakistan, a Shiite Muslim was sentenced to death earlier this month for committing blasphemy in posts on social media. The New York Times reported that it was “the first time anyone has been given the death penalty for blasphemy on social media in Pakistan.
“Blasphemy remains a highly contentious issue in Pakistan, where mere allegations of the offense can lead to violence and killings by vigilante mobs,” The New York Times story said. “Critics contend that the country’s blasphemy law has been used to settle personal disputes and has worsened interfaith relations.”
The Shiite man was arrested and accused of having blasphemous content on his mobile phone.
News like this sometimes gives us pause, considering what we do. But I hope it is only a pause. I pray that bad news will never STOP us from delivering the Good News.
We touched upon it earlier in Project Prayer: Ramadan 2017, but I want to again discuss fear. Or F.E.A.R. – False Evidence Appearing Real.
The enemy – our real opposition in the war to win souls for Jesus (“we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil,” Ephesians 6:12) – wants us to cower in fear. He wants us to run from our call to GO. He wants us to hold our tongue rather than proclaim the One who is the true God of heaven and earth.
The evil one will whisper many lies in our ears, telling us we shouldn’t or can’t share about Jesus in the Muslim world. It’s a scare tactic.
We hear about ISIS, the Taliban, al-Qaidia, Boko Haram, the Moro National Liberation Front, Al-Shabab, and the Muslim Brotherhood. We see acts of terrorism.
“Today, fear is the spirit of this age: Fear of terrorism! Fear of Muslims! Fear of the future!” we are told by the guidebook 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World. “Islamophobia is an accusation thrown at anyone who criticizes Islam and Islamic regimes.”
Pray for the Spirit of God to overcome any fear you may have and empower you to show His love to our Muslim friends and neighbors – across the street and across the world.
“After the attacks in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, a young Christian in America took a step of courage despite his anger and fear,” 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World recounted. “He began a conversation with a Muslim colleague, which led to a friendship, which in turn led to sharing the Gospel of Christ. This is what Jesus calls us to as His followers.”
We have started conversations with many Muslims in many nations. These have led to many friendships and, in turn, to sharing the Gospel. We are answering the call and asking you to do so, too.
During the Capitol Hill event, Congressman Randy Hultgren (R, Illinois) said: “Our challenges are real. But they’re not new.”
He spoke about visiting the Coliseum in Rome and being reminded how Christians were used as human torches to light the streets, and also killed for sport.
That was nearly 2,000 years ago. If we wait until the world becomes a safer place, we’ll never complete the Great Commission. God is waiting for us to get GO-ing.
“Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)