Our theme for this month: “Life on this side of the cross”
Our Bible verse for today: “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Pray for Muslims”
Today is April 23, 2020. At sundown tonight the annual Muslim observance of Ramadan begins. Ramadan is a month-long time of prayer and fasting for Muslims. It takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and it commemorates the anniversary of Muhammad’s first revelation, which led to the writing of the Koran. Ramadan begins with the sighting of the crescent moon and continues for twenty-nine to thirty-one days, or until the sighting of the next crescent moon. During Ramadan observant Muslims abstain from food, drink, tobacco, and sexual relations during daylight hours. Each day they have a large pre-dawn meal, and then a large nighttime meal, but nothing in-between.
There are approximately 1.8 billion Muslims in the world today, making Islam the second largest religious group on the planet (Christianity is the first with approximately 2.8 billion adherents).
In John 14:6 Jesus made an extraordinarily exclusive statement when He declared that He is the only way to heaven. If those words of Jesus are true (and I have no doubt that they are), that must mean that every other faith system, including Islam, is false. If those words of Jesus are true then that must mean that contrary to popular belief, all faiths do not lead to the same destination. Also contrary to popular belief, you cannot be a good enough person in order to earn your way into heaven. You cannot give enough money to charity, or perform enough religious rituals, or light enough candles, or do any other thing that will adequately prepare you to go to heaven. Jesus said very clearly and emphatically that it is faith in Him for the forgiveness of your sins or you don’t get there.
Over these next four weeks observant Muslims around the world will be fervently praying to a god who doesn’t exist, and performing arduous religious rituals that will accomplish nothing. I encourage you to pray for them. The One True God is at work in the Muslim world. We often hear reports from missionaries about Muslims being led to faith in Christ. At Oak Hill Baptist Church we even have a personal relationship with a missionary family serving faithfully in a large Muslim-majority country, and we routinely receive reports from them about how their work there is proving to be very successful for the cause of Christ.
I encourage you to make Ramadan a time when you pray for the salvation of Muslims. Pray also for Christians, like our missionary family, who are diligently serving in Islamic countries around the world.