No God But One: Book Review

(Disclaimer: I was given an advance copy of this book for review.)

One thing that struck me as I read this book was the compassion and profound insight simply stated. The whole discussion of the book is framed as one would expect to occur between friends who care deeply about each other. Since much of the book reflects the conclusion of faith that Nabeel Qureshi came to as a result of an ongoing dialogue with his debate partner, it should not surprise the reader that the format is somewhat similar to a debate where a question and counter question is posed in each of the dialogues on various topics related to Islam, such as the difference between Islamic law (Sharia) and the grace of God found in the Gospel of Christ.

While this may sound old hat to someone who grew up in the church, when a person discovers that the reality that God is love and all of the diverse implications of this, whether in the arena of theology proper (including the meaning of the trinity and how the doctrine of the trinity is the way of describing God that most honors the Creator) or in the area of an understanding of violence in the history of Islam and the Christian Church (When did Christians start fighting wars? years after they were first called Christians and the empire was converted en masse.)

It becomes very clear through the reading of this book that not only does Nabeel have a clear knowledge of the basic issues related to Islam and Christianity, their similarities and differences, but he also loves both Muslims and Christians. Even though some Muslims may misunderstand the motives for why a truth seeker would embrace Jesus and the church and even though some who grew up with Christian traditions may question whether this is truly possible, Nabeel manifests an irenic spirit throughout, and confesses that he has not always behaved as the best example of Christianity after having chosen to identify with the Lord Jesus.

People need to hear these sorts of questions: questions that are centered not so much on the historic truths of the Gospel, and the verifiable & life transforming factual truths of the crucifixion, the resurrection and Jesus’ claim to deity; rather Questions that are centered on the sincerity and depth of our understanding & obedience to those truths.

Are we willing to seek to truly understand the truth?
Are we willing to suffer for what is true?
How much are we willing to suffer?

The good news is a life and death issue. The Gospel cost Jesus’ His life and frees us from our deadness. When we see the extreme love of God, we will be awakened to delight in our Creator, as a maiden delights in her groom when she realizes that not only is He a noble person, but that he truly does delight in her.

May you be awakened to the First, the Ultimate, the Supreme Love of the Author of Life.

#NoGodButOne

Categories: Book Review, Good News, Islam, Suffering | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loss & Love

Why am I so afraid?
A loss of love is a terrifying thing.
Losing the ability to love is worse.
The pain of the process of loss is terrifying.

Where do old folks go when they leave the old folk’s home?
Do they go on to glory?
Or do they merely live on in stories?

Where does love go when I am left alone?
Does my Love cause my heart to groan?
Or does my heart merely turn into stone?

What happens to me when I die to self?
Do I fear less and love more?
Or am I near less and shove more?

Who am I and who are you?
How will I know your answer’s true?
Let us come apart and chat a while …
Before the nation comes apart and we march in single file into a dark inferno.

Categories: Peer support, Poem | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Process of Salvation

Jesus is Jesus, for the Lord is our Salvation.
Jesus is predicted throughout the Scriptures, for He our Predestination.
Jesus was conceived in the virgin Mary, for He is our New Creation.
Jesus was greeted by John in the womb, for He is the Father’s Salutation.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, for He would bring Regeneration.
Jesus and Mary were cared for by Joseph because He is our Adoption by our Father in Heaven.
Jesus was circumcised and later dedicated in the temple, for He is our Sanctification.
Jesus was worshipped by the Magi, for He is the Focus of our Adoration.

Jesus was immersed in water, so we would know Him as our Initiation.
Jesus overcame the temptations of the devil, He brought our Liberation.
Jesus called people to turn from sin, for He is our Correction.
Jesus announced the Kingdom of God, for He is the Lord of all hosts and our Invitation.
Jesus invites us to humble ourselves under His yoke so He can grant us honor, for He is our Instruction.
Jesus showed people the pattern of service before success, for He is our Vocation.
Jesus sent out the disciples on mission trips as He brought Redemption.
When Jesus led groups of His disciples up the mountain, we became His Congregation.
When Jesus raised the dead in Israel, He proved to be our Resurrection.

As Jesus had his last Passover, He offered Himself as our Libation.
When Jesus laid down His Life on the cross, He became our Sure Foundation.
When the sun was darkened, the earth shook & the veil was torn, Jesus proved to be God’s Revelation.
Jesus’s body was laid in the tomb over the Sabbath, for He is our Restoration.
Jesus rose from the grave, for He is our Justification.
Jesus appeared to the missionaries, so He became our Proclamation.
Jesus ascended on high to sit at the right hand of the Father, He for is our Intercession.

When Jesus baptized the Church with the Spirit so we could preach with power from on High, thus He is our Vindication.
When Jesus joined foreigners to the family of Abraham, both Jew & Gentile,
we became a new and true and holy nation.
He will come again to judge the living at the dead, for the Lord is the Source of our ultimate Glorification.

Categories: Good News, Poem, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coming to the End of Myself, Again.

It’s too much, too, too much.
I long to fly to the desert and escape,
to hide in a cave, far, far away.
I dream of healing a heart that is broken, my own.
of hearing a Voice that touches my deepest wounds.

Broken legs, walk again.
Broken hands, serve again.
Broken mind, think again.
Broken heart, love again.

Chained tongue, speak, be free!
Chained ears, hear, listen!
Shackled mind, explore, discover!
Shackled heart, expand, express!

Closed eyes, see, gaze into glory!
Closed mind, ask, seek!
Closed fist, knock, open wide!
Closed door, open, let the King of Glory enter in!!

Do you see that crown of life?
It shall rest upon your head.
Do you see the Lamb upon the throne?
He is all and enough for you, risen from the dead!
Do you see the book of citizens who live?
The Lord will redeem you just as He said!!

If God is able to save the worst,
then He can save me.
If Jesus can love the least,
then He wlll also love you.
If the Lord can heal to the last,
then He defines eternity!
If the Father is calling,
then He will also listen to you.

Come & rest awhile in His arms.

Categories: Poem, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love and Hate

The Lord’s hatred is more loving that the most compassionate Buddhist or most devout Muslim.

Buddhism states that that the key to escaping the pit of suffering is to cease desire.

The Word of God says that the way to escape suffering is to desire the Lord Jesus more than your necessary food.

Often, compassion  is demonstrated by Buddhists by allowing people to die with dignity.

Jesus displayed the depth of His compassion by getting angry at death and raising the dead.

Mohammed demonstrated his devotion by calling for the execution of those who dishonored him.

Jesus displayed his devotion by calling for mercy on his executioners as he was shamed on the cross.

Mohammed demonstrated his love by gathering up to 10 wives at one time to himself, regardless of their marital status, age, etc.

Jesus showed his love by rebuking religious hypocrisy and forgiving the immoral woman who threw herself at his feet.

Human religions of every variety excuse sin.

Jesus judges sin and pardons sinners so that we might come to Him.

Jesus did not stay on the cross for us to gaze upon; He rose from the grave on the third day so that we might have power to transform societies into gatherings of saints who likewise hate sin and love one another.

O that I might hate sin more and live in God’s love more!!

Categories: Cross, Good News, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lord is my Inheritance.

There is a whole category of people who are called to Christ and have a passion for the nations & for the weak & marginal and have sought to go with a variety of service groups and who are repeatedly told no, don’t go, be quiet, just settle down young man.

The reality is that if I were to go to my field of focus, I would probably die in short order because I would of my zeal or I would be disregarded as a lunatic because I would lose all my sleep because the medicines that help me relax & sleep sometimes would be unavailable.

Instead I pray.

I dare say that often my prayer lacks impact that I am aware of. I tend to pick certain countries & prayer goals and remember them as reminded, so I make lists.

Is this unfocussed? No, usually the only times I have observed the impact are when I stop praying and problems happen.

In retrospect, I have however seen the Lord start movements in various peoples that I prayed for and the timing was impossibly too neat to correlate due to chance. God uses our prayers for movements. Over and over, I find that God works far more in my absence than in my presence. He is a big God, and he wants us to pray Big, foundation laying prayers.

If the leaves of the tree in the Revelation of Jesus given to John are for the healing of the nations, then we must plead for that salve to be applied for the salvation of the souls of societies.

Praying requires a whole different category of action, it elevates us to the heavenlies, for we read the divine counsel in the Word and render judgments according to Psalms 2:8: the Son will have the inheritance that is His! HE shall possess the earth. HE is waiting for us to ask. He knows exactly what He plans to do and He is always on the right side of history.

Politicians will fail us.
Disasters are unpredictable.
The devil is dangerous.
The nations are too large for us to reach them in our own power.

But every time we kneel in prayer and cry out for help, God hears and acts. Every time we stand on His promises, the Lord proves His faithfulness. Every time we sit in His presence and ask for the nations, the Lord God sends forth His angel armies to intervene. Every time we fall flat on our faces and humble ourselves before the King of the Universe, the Lord God Almighty rejoices over us with singing and stands in the gaps that we cannot fill.

We cannot fill the gaps for we are sinners,
I am the worst
But He is perfect
We fail. He is faultless.
The Lord will succeed in every intervention He begins.

Our actions, our giving, our prayers, our sacrifices all must flow from our lives guided by the Word of God for them to be effective.
This is why years in prayer are often needed to accomplish what may take a season of actual service.
Then, when the doors close behind us after our work is finished, then the Lord Spirit goes to work most earnestly, with greater freedom than we could ever have.
This is the story of China.
This is the story of Iran.
This is the story of all who are bathed in prayer,
This is the story of all who are bathed in the Spirit.

This is why statistics lie about the future.
Statistics are based on what man sees.
Faith is about what God has promised.
Hope is the certainty that God will keep His promises.
Love is behaving according to this confidence that God is love.

Categories: Missions, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trusting in One not Myself

I want to trust that I am honest, but I too often break my word.

I want to trust , but when all is broken, I begin to hurt.

I want to trust, but when I hurt, I fear.

I want to trust, but when I fear, I feel alone.

I want to trust, but when I am alone, I lust for companionship.

I want to trust, but when I yearn for intimacy, I start to groan.

I want to trust, but when I groan, I start to whine.

I want to trust, but I come to the end of myself, I look beyond the dirt.

That’s where I stop, I trust in the One who left the earth:

I must simply admit that I am only Mert.

Categories: Humility, Poem | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Work & Ways of Jesus.

Jesus gently, faithfully, sov’reignly helps:
drawing us unto Himself.

Jesus gladly, lovingly, graciously saves,
lifting us out of the waves.

Jesus freely, powerfully, joyfully heals
as long as His name is revealed.

Jesus rose again yesterday and always lives:
this is the life that He gives.

Categories: Poem | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Encounter

i see a person alone
waiting
i approach to share a thought
listening
for them to express their deepest need
in all honesty
i hear a hint of pure love
in this new friendship
they enter into dialogue
or leave when they are ready
we learn a little bit from life
we are not parted though we leave the space
we found a meeting a brand new face
every conversation a bit of spice.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

C.S. Lewis on Poetry

The Psalms are poems, and poems intended to be sung: not doctrinal treatises, nor even sermons. Their chief formal characteristic, the most obvious element of pattern, is … the practice of saying the same thing twice in different words. A perfect example is … ‘He shall make thy righteousness as clear as the light; and thy just dealing as the noonday’ (Psalm 37:6). If we have any taste for poetry we will enjoy this feature of the Psalms. Even those Christians who cannot enjoy it will respect it; for Our Lord, soaked in the poetic tradition of His country, delighted to use it. ‘For with whatever judgment you judge, you shall be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you again …’ (Matthew 7:2)

It seems to me appropriate, almost inevitable, that when that great Imagination which in the beginning, for [His] own delight and for the delight of men and angels and (in their proper mode) of beasts, had invented and formed the whole world, submitted to express [Himself] in human speech, that speech should sometimes be poetry. For poetry too is a little incarnation, giving body to what had been before invisible and inaudible.

— Reflections on the Psalms.

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