Night of Power

Night of Power

The room is darkened, only lit by the warm glow of candlelight. There are soft, rich rugs, and large comfortable pillows scattered about. And all around the room, people, with eyes closed, simply praying.

It’s Laylat al Qadr, known as the Night of Decree, or Night of Power. It’s the 27th day of Ramadan, and Muslims all over the world will stay up late into the night, asking God to hear them, forgive them, and reveal himself to them like they believe he did their prophet Muhammad.

night of prayerBut on this night, the dark room lit by candlelight is not filled with Muslims. This is a Christian congregation, and they are praying for 6 hours, until Midnight, for Muslims around the world. This is Savannah Christian Church, in Savannah, GA, and they set this time aside every year to pray for the 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world.

It is said that no one can know when Laylat al Qadr takes place, only that it is sometime during the last 10 days of Ramadan. Muhammad said that prayers and good deeds done on this night were worth the reward of 1,000 months worth of worship to Allah. That’s more than 83 years worth of continuous worship. This they hope will earn them much rewrd with Allah, and a lot of good to balance out the bad on the mizan (weighing scale). They also believe that Allah will make decisions about everyone’s future on that night. So the very devout Muslims will spend the last 10 days of Ramadan in earnest prayers, asking Allah to hear and forgive them. Traditionally though it is celebrated by the majority of Muslims on the 27th day of Ramadan.

Laylat al Qadr begins Monday evening. As we join in prayer today and tomorrow, with churches like Savannah Christian, we want to use a lot of scripture, in order to break down spiritual strongholds and trust God to do some miraculous things!

Ask God to build His church throughout Asia and the Middle East. Build it solid and don’t let Satan prevail against it. Matthew 16:18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means rock), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.
Pray that many Muslims will turn to the Lord so their veil will be removed. II Corinthians 3:16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Ask God to turn them from darkness to light. Acts 26:18 open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.
Ask God to bind up the spiritual forces that hold so many captive in Islam. Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ask God to rescue 1.5 Billion people from spiritual slavery. Colossians 1:13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves
Pray that many Muslims read the scriptures and see Wonderful things. Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law.
Ask God to reveal to them their sins and their need for a Savior. I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Ask God for a “Road to Damascus” moment for Muslims ALL OVER the world. May Jesus reveal himself to them and lead them to believers who can show them truth. Acts 9:3-6 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”

Terrorism’s Top Ten, excerpt from The Mind of Terror

Terrorism’s Top Ten

by Tass Saada

 

Across the Western media, ISIS (Islamic State) captures the big headlines on most days. But it is far from being the only player on the terrorist field.

To get a fuller picture, check this list drawn from Forbes magazine’s “The World’s 10 Richest Terrorist Organizations”—money being a key indicator of any group’s ability to impose its will. As you will quickly see, these are not just ragtag groups of outlaws running around in the shadows. These are sizable business operations.

Here is the countdown:

 

  1. Boko Haram (translation: “Western Education Is Sin”), now rebranded as the Islamic State’s West African Province. Annual turnover: $50 million. Source: kidnapping and ransom, fees and taxes, bank robberies, looting. Goal: To set up Sharia law across all of Nigeria (which is roughly half Muslim, half Christian), thereby defeating secular/Western influences.

 

  1. Real IRA, a split-off from the Irish Republican Army (IRA) that signed a peace agreement with the U.K. in 1998. Annual turnover: $50 million. Source: smuggling, illegal trade, donations. Goal: Keep using terror to get the British out of Northern Ireland altogether.

 

  1. Al-Shabaab (“The Youth”). Annual turnover: $70 million. Source: ransom from kidnapping/pirating of ships; donations. Goal: To drive all foreigners (including African Union troops) out of Somalia so it can establish an Islamic caliphate.

 

  1. Lashkar-e-Taiba (“Army of the Righteous). Annual turnover: $100 million. Source: donations. Goal: To force India to return all of Jammu-Kashmir state back to Pakistani (Muslim) governance . . . and then to overthrow the Indian government.

 

  1. Al-Qaeda (“The Foundation” or “The Base”). Also, branches such as “Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb” (northern Africa), “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” (Saudi Arabia, Yemen). Annual turnover: $150 million. Sources: Saudi donations, kidnapping and ransom, drug trafficking. Goal: a unified Islamic front against the West.

 

  1. Taliban (“Students”). Annual turnover: $400 million. Sources: “protection and support” fees from every stage of the opium trade (source of heroin); donations. Goal: an Islamic theocracy in Afghanistan, with strict Sharia law in place.

 

  1. Hezbollah (“Party of Allah”). Annual turnover $500 million. Sources: aid mainly from its Shiite friend, Iran; also, drug smuggling. Two goals: to “liberate” Jerusalem and all Palestine, and to turn Lebanon into a Shiite state.

 

  1. FARC (“Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia”). Annual turnover: $600 million. Sources: drug processing and trafficking (half the world’s cocaine); kidnapping and ransom; mining of minerals, particularly gold. Goal: to overthrow capitalism in Colombia and replace it with a Marxist-socialist government.

 

  1. Hamas. Annual turnover: $1 billion. Sources: taxes and fees; strong-armed businesses (everything from banks to fish farms); financial aid and donations (especially from the wealthy Gulf state of Qatar as well as Iran). Goal: to dislodge Israel so that a Palestinian state can stretch from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. Most infamous for: rocket attacks into southern Israel

 

  1. Islamic State (acronyms “ISIS” in English, “DAESH” in Arabic) and as many as 35 affiliates. Annual turnover, according to Forbes: $2 billion. Sources: oil sales; kidnapping and ransom; collection of taxes and “protection” monies; bank robberies and looting. Goal: to destabilize current Middle East governments, erase the boundary lines of the current map (drawn mainly by the British after World War I), and set up a whole new caliphate across the region that implements serious Islam.

 

Likenesses and Differences

As can be quickly seen, eight of the best-financed terrorist groups carry some kind of tie to Islam. But it would be a mistake to think that all Muslims think and act alike. With nearly 1.8 billion followers of Allah around the world, stretching from Morocco to Indonesia and even beyond, they are certainly not uniform—any more than the 2.3 billion followers of Christ are. Both faiths are fractured into multiple streams, and both have a wide range of devotional fervor or lack thereof.

The biggest segments of Islam—“denominations,” if you will—are the Sunnis (more than 80 percent) and the Shiites (less than 20 percent). But they are not evenly spread out. Shiites are the majority in countries such as Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and Bahrain, plus have large populations in Lebanon, Pakistan, and India. Sunnis dominate just about everywhere else: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, the Palestinian territories, the Gulf states of Qatar (where my family still lives), and the UAE (United Arab Emirates). You can’t say one country is “all this” or “all that,” any more than you can flatly declare that “England is Protestant” or “Mexico is Catholic.”

This Islamic split is nothing recent. It goes all the way back to a power struggle following the death of Muhammad in A.D. 632. To this day, 40 percent of Sunnis don’t think Shiites are proper Muslims. Shiites aren’t terribly fond of Sunnis, either.

 

Tricky Politics

What really muddies the water is when a ruler from a minority somehow rises to power in a given nation. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, for example, is an Alawite (“follower of Ali”), a branch of the Shiite sect. But the Syrian population is three-fourths Sunni, while Alawites are only 12 percent. No wonder the country imploded into civil war in 2011.

An opposite example: Saddam Hussein was a Sunni Muslim running all of Iraq, which is two-thirds Shiite (not to mention another 10 percent Kurdish). Yet he managed to rule with an iron fist. Since his capture and death at the end of 2006, Shiite presidents have been in control—and struggling not to polarize the minority Sunnis.

ISIS is a Sunni organization through-and-through. Shiites have no place in their vision of the future; in fact, they are marked for death. ISIS views itself as the real defender of the Sunni people, unlike most politicians, whom they say can’t be counted on.

You may also have heard the terms Salafi or Wahhabi, name for a movement within the Sunni world that emphasizes purity of religion, a literal reading of the Qur’an, and strict adherence to its rules. Salafists are especially active in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE. (The name Wahhabi means the same people, but is considered a slur.) ISIS is definitely within the Salafi stream of Sunni Islam.

 

Mind of TerrorThere may have been a time when comfortable Westerners living in North America and Europe could pretend the world had two categories: “safe” places and “unsafe” places. Certain cities and countries would be all right for vacationing, while others would not. That myth was forever shattered on 9/11, when terror came to New York’s financial district and Washington’s military headquarters. The only reasonable conclusion since then has been that the entire globe contains no place to hide. The question “Is it safe?” doesn’t apply anymore.

Our world has a major challenge on its hands. The need for thoughtfulness and godly response has never been greater.

 

Excerpt taken from The Mind of Terror, Chapter 1, No Place To Hide

It All Started With A Broken Family … And A Promise

Once Upon A Time …

We often make a crucial mistake when reading the account of Abraham and his family in the book of Genesis. When we read the story, we see Abraham and Sarah, Abraham and Hagar, Sarah and Hagar or Isaac and Ishmael. Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say, we see Abraham vs. Sarah, Abraham vs. Hagar, Sarah vs. Hagar and Isaac vs. Ishmael.

This story doesn’t feel like a children’s fairy tale with a happy ending. We see battle lines being drawn. We see a broken family. We see wrongs that need to be righted. And, depending on our perspective, those wrongs might look different for each of us. We want to take events that occurred over 4,000 years ago and apply them to current events in order to decide an outcome that aligns with our world view.

However, we make God very small-minded if we think He gave us Genesis as a way to judge who was right and who was wrong.

arrowInstead, everything in Genesis, as well as the remainder of the old testament, is a giant arrow that points straight to this world’s need for the Messiah. God repeatedly told Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that through their seed, all the nations would be blessed. (Genesis 22:18, 26:4 and 28:14) And then, to make sure we don’t miss His point, He follows up with us in Galatians 3:16.

Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. (For further study, read Galatians 3:13-16 and verse 29.)

This is where the fairy tale gets its happy ending. This story is not about what things went wrong, and what was broken, but how God made things right. The story is not so much about Abraham and his descendants, but rather, just one descendant. The only one that ever mattered. Jesus, The Messiah.

Often, when considering the Middle East conflict, we as believers take our notions of right and wrong in Genesis, and filter our opinions through that.  But this is exactly why Hope for Ishmael chooses to not be political in our support of efforts in the Holy Land. Genesis was not just about a broken family, but a Promise. A Promise for the whole world …

John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.