Donny's Ramblings

Ali, The Muslim

54 Comments

Awaiting my return flight to Sacramento at Orange County Airport in Southern California, I decided to eat at the Oasis Grill and Sky Lounge. My waiter was a man named Ali. I sat longer than normal, and as I prepared to leave Ali and I began to communicate.

“I have 3 hours until my flight departs,” I told him.

“I’m sure that passes the time,” he replied. As he made a hand gesture toward my laptop.

He asked where I was headed and where I was from, then let me know he is also a Northern California native. At one time he owned an Italian Restaurant, which he’d sold at his wife’s urging in order to move closer to their daughter who is a college student.

Then his eyes began to tear up as he told me that he’d lost his wife to cancer barely a week ago. I was surprised he was working, serving food to me as I awaited my flight.

“I have to keep my mind occupied. I want to stay away from home as much as I can. The house now has no soul,” he explained in his thick accent.

A few moments later and we were discussing God. Ali and his late wife are of Muslim faith. Muslim’s serve the God of Abraham , which happens to be the same God those of Christian faith serve as well, even though Muslim’s call him “Allah” (edit to add: read the comments to this article, as this sentence has prompted a bit of discussion). During a conversation about the departure of Ali’s wife of many many years, it was not the time to discuss theological differences.

“Can I share something with you?” I asked.

When he agreed I passed along some very simple, yet profound information I’d received from Wendy when I was in extreme emotional pain.

“Don’t be afraid of the grief, Ali. It is a beautiful part of human healing. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should or shouldn’t feel about the loss of someone you loved so deeply. Let the pain last as long as it needs to last, but don’t be afraid of it. Simply thinking of the fact that emotional pain is nothing to fear… well that really changed my perspective when I was hurting. I hope it does the same for you. Pain like this is beautifully human. You loved her.”

A visible change occurred in Ali’s face. He smiled a warm, genuine smile and took my hand in a firm-grip handshake. My eyes were now glistening with moisture just as his were. I have never lost a spouse to cancer, but I felt like I really loved this man who recently had.

And so does the God I serve.

“Thank you for those beautiful words, my friend,” he told me. And his eyes followed me until I disappeared around the corner, leaving the restaurant. I know, because I looked back at him as well.

There was no need to tell Ali that I’d be praying for him. I’m just going to do so. I spoke with him for a brief instant, but the human emotions he is experiencing are something each of us feel at times, and I felt a very strong empathy and love for that hurting soul.

My God, please comfort my new friend.

54 thoughts on “Ali, The Muslim

  1. Great story, Donny. Glad you shared it. It always encourages me to realize that we don’t serve a God who is somehow above having to suffer by virtue of his greatness, but a God who chose to willingly suffer for our sake. When we hurt, there is someone who knows because he really has been there. I think that’s just a glimpse into what it means to “know Christ in his sufferings.” I think it means that he also knows us in ours.

  2. Great story, Donny. Glad you shared it. It always encourages me to realize that we don’t serve a God who is somehow above having to suffer by virtue of his greatness, but a God who chose to willingly suffer for our sake. When we hurt, there is someone who knows because he really has been there. I think that’s just a glimpse into what it means to “know Christ in his sufferings.” I think it means that he also knows us in ours.

  3. That’s really cool how you were God’s hand that He used to touch a child of His that was hurting. It really personifies the verse from 2Cor. 1 about how we are able to comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

    But there is one thing. You state that Muslims and Christians worship the same God and that is simply not true. I would really encourage you to learn more about the attributes of the one the Muslims call Allah and compare them to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If you would like some pointers to material, let me know.

  4. That’s really cool how you were God’s hand that He used to touch a child of His that was hurting. It really personifies the verse from 2Cor. 1 about how we are able to comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

    But there is one thing. You state that Muslims and Christians worship the same God and that is simply not true. I would really encourage you to learn more about the attributes of the one the Muslims call Allah and compare them to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If you would like some pointers to material, let me know.

  5. beautiful…

    There aren’t usually any positive results of anything said to someone in emotional pain, so I usually just keep my big dumb mouth shut and let people know I am sorry, and am there for them. But you said something truly blessed to this man…

  6. beautiful…

    There aren’t usually any positive results of anything said to someone in emotional pain, so I usually just keep my big dumb mouth shut and let people know I am sorry, and am there for them. But you said something truly blessed to this man…

  7. Jim,

    My brother and I have many different memories from childhood. A few months ago the two of us were talking and he had perspectives on our parents that surprised me. He remembered things about them that I do not recall, and he had feelings about them that I can not identify with. I completely disagree with him in some areas, about our own flesh and blood parents. Simply because the two of us do not remember the same things (let’s say “attributes”) of our parents does not mean we have separate parents.

    Muslims write about attributes of Allah. Some of those attributes do not line up with what you and I perceive of the God we serve. Simply writing and believing “incorrect” attributes of God does not mean Muslims serve an entirely different God. Muslims descended from Abraham (his illegitimate son) and serve the same God Abraham served. They even believe in Jesus, although they do not believe he is God’s son. As I stated, I was not going to begin a theological discussion with a man in pain.

    Be he labeled Allah or God or Diós or… whatever… there is one creator, one God, who supersedes any name we use to label him. That God loves Ali.

  8. Jim,

    My brother and I have many different memories from childhood. A few months ago the two of us were talking and he had perspectives on our parents that surprised me. He remembered things about them that I do not recall, and he had feelings about them that I can not identify with. I completely disagree with him in some areas, about our own flesh and blood parents. Simply because the two of us do not remember the same things (let’s say “attributes”) of our parents does not mean we have separate parents.

    Muslims write about attributes of Allah. Some of those attributes do not line up with what you and I perceive of the God we serve. Simply writing and believing “incorrect” attributes of God does not mean Muslims serve an entirely different God. Muslims descended from Abraham (his illegitimate son) and serve the same God Abraham served. They even believe in Jesus, although they do not believe he is God’s son. As I stated, I was not going to begin a theological discussion with a man in pain.

    Be he labeled Allah or God or Diós or… whatever… there is one creator, one God, who supersedes any name we use to label him. That God loves Ali.

  9. Donny,

    Since you moderate your comments, it’s your choice whether to let this be posted or not. I won’t be offended if you don’t because I have no desire to hijack your blog for a theological discussion.

    I feel like it was certainly not the time to begin a theological discussion with Ali at that time. When someone is suffering, the Christlike thing to do is comfort them. I would hope that I would have the guts to minister to someone in that situation like you did.

    And God does love Ali. In my own life, I’ve been learning the depth of God’s love for every single one of His children. Whatever we believe, however we act. Whatever we’ve done. He loves us all with an intensity that is astounding.

    Out of that love, God revealed Himself to His children through various ways, the purest and perfect Way being Jesus Christ. If we choose to disregard what He says about Himself, can we really say we love Him? Sadly, I see so many people who call themselves ‘Christian’ that disregard much of what He has revealed as well.

    So I do believe it is important to know Who we love and why we love Him. I’ll leave it at that unless you specifically indicate you want to continue the discussion.

  10. Donny,

    Since you moderate your comments, it’s your choice whether to let this be posted or not. I won’t be offended if you don’t because I have no desire to hijack your blog for a theological discussion.

    I feel like it was certainly not the time to begin a theological discussion with Ali at that time. When someone is suffering, the Christlike thing to do is comfort them. I would hope that I would have the guts to minister to someone in that situation like you did.

    And God does love Ali. In my own life, I’ve been learning the depth of God’s love for every single one of His children. Whatever we believe, however we act. Whatever we’ve done. He loves us all with an intensity that is astounding.

    Out of that love, God revealed Himself to His children through various ways, the purest and perfect Way being Jesus Christ. If we choose to disregard what He says about Himself, can we really say we love Him? Sadly, I see so many people who call themselves ‘Christian’ that disregard much of what He has revealed as well.

    So I do believe it is important to know Who we love and why we love Him. I’ll leave it at that unless you specifically indicate you want to continue the discussion.

  11. I’m very much open to discussion, Jim. I only moderate hateful comments posted by those from porn industry with the intention of causing trouble. Other than that most everything goes. 🙂

  12. I’m very much open to discussion, Jim. I only moderate hateful comments posted by those from porn industry with the intention of causing trouble. Other than that most everything goes. 🙂

  13. hello, this is a feel-good story, i’m sure ali was glad he had gotten the opportunity to meet you that day. On that note, I would recommend that you take the opportunity to further investigate Islam and learn about the oneness of God.

  14. hello, this is a feel-good story, i’m sure ali was glad he had gotten the opportunity to meet you that day. On that note, I would recommend that you take the opportunity to further investigate Islam and learn about the oneness of God.

  15. Coolguymuslim,

    Welcome! I’m browsing your blog right now. Thank you for commenting here.

  16. Coolguymuslim,

    Welcome! I’m browsing your blog right now. Thank you for commenting here.

  17. Cool, well here you go. (Sorry for the length)

    God’s deepest desire and reason for creating us was to have an intimate, personal relationship with each of us. Sin is so evil because it breaks that relationship, causing us to be seperated from God and leading us to hurt other people as we try to find some fulfillment in things other than God. Shortly after God created Adam and Eve, Satan tempted them to sin. They chose to disobey God’s command, breaking their relationship with Him. Ever since, God has been pursuing us, seeking reconciliation. The ultimate act of reconciliation is God becoming man to come to us and dieing on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. And Satan has been working to prevent it.

    God sent the Jewish people into slavery because of their choosing to worship idols rather than Him. Why should God care what people worship? Is He so insecure that He can tolerate no rival? Certainly not. God knows that behind every idol and false belief stands Satan, who desires to destroy us and prevent us from having the relationship with God He wants us to have. The effects of the Israelites misdirected worship were murder, greed, injustice, corruption of government, oppression of the poor, sexual perversions, hypocrisy and a host of other sins. And those are the same effects that come from our misdirected worship today, whether we worship a statue, money, sex, our theology, a church, a person, a list of rules or whatever. Anything we worship besides the true God as He’s revealed Himself through Jesus Christ will lead to our destruction. And because He loves us so much, God cares very intensely that we worship Him only.

  18. Cool, well here you go. (Sorry for the length)

    God’s deepest desire and reason for creating us was to have an intimate, personal relationship with each of us. Sin is so evil because it breaks that relationship, causing us to be seperated from God and leading us to hurt other people as we try to find some fulfillment in things other than God. Shortly after God created Adam and Eve, Satan tempted them to sin. They chose to disobey God’s command, breaking their relationship with Him. Ever since, God has been pursuing us, seeking reconciliation. The ultimate act of reconciliation is God becoming man to come to us and dieing on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. And Satan has been working to prevent it.

    God sent the Jewish people into slavery because of their choosing to worship idols rather than Him. Why should God care what people worship? Is He so insecure that He can tolerate no rival? Certainly not. God knows that behind every idol and false belief stands Satan, who desires to destroy us and prevent us from having the relationship with God He wants us to have. The effects of the Israelites misdirected worship were murder, greed, injustice, corruption of government, oppression of the poor, sexual perversions, hypocrisy and a host of other sins. And those are the same effects that come from our misdirected worship today, whether we worship a statue, money, sex, our theology, a church, a person, a list of rules or whatever. Anything we worship besides the true God as He’s revealed Himself through Jesus Christ will lead to our destruction. And because He loves us so much, God cares very intensely that we worship Him only.

  19. History tells us Jesus was a real man who was really killed on a cross. No one can deny these facts.

    Believing Jesus existed means nothing without the belief that He is who He said He is. The demons in hell believe and shudder(James 2:19), that doesn’t mean they have a relationship with God.

    Praise God that He crossed your paths. Even if it was only to show love to Ali and offer hope in his sorrow. You’re a good man Charlie Brown.

  20. History tells us Jesus was a real man who was really killed on a cross. No one can deny these facts.

    Believing Jesus existed means nothing without the belief that He is who He said He is. The demons in hell believe and shudder(James 2:19), that doesn’t mean they have a relationship with God.

    Praise God that He crossed your paths. Even if it was only to show love to Ali and offer hope in his sorrow. You’re a good man Charlie Brown.

  21. Ken,

    Be sure that I realize the importance of others believing in Jesus. The point I am trying to make is that so many of us get caught up in things that are flat out untrue about others. Those blinders often keep us from simply loving them.

    Many Christians believe Muslims serve a different God. For some, that belief results in a combative attitude. Rather than share our experiences of relationship with the God Abraham served, the God Issac served, the God Jacob served, the God Ishmael and Muslims serve, we instead argue. Does that make any sense? It doesn’t make sense to me. I feel that by sharing the amazing experiences of a real relationship, God shines into people’s lives. I don’t need to argue with Muslims about whether or not we serve the same God or separate Gods, and I don’t need to argue with fellow Christians about it in an effort to try to show them how “we’re right and they’re wrong”… I just need to talk to my Daddy and share my experiences with Daddy God to those who are interested in hearing about them.

    I say we stop arguing and start loving everyone. God is big enough and strong enough to get HIS message across if we simply love others and allow HIM to shine through in our lives. Didn’t he say that if He was lifted up he’d draw ALL men to him? How better to lift Him up than to stop arguing (especially when we’re arguing about the exact same thing put into different words) and start letting our love for Him show by doing what he told us to do: love our neighbors as ourselves.

    God is big enough that he doesn’t need me arguing for Him, that’s for sure.

  22. Ken,

    Be sure that I realize the importance of others believing in Jesus. The point I am trying to make is that so many of us get caught up in things that are flat out untrue about others. Those blinders often keep us from simply loving them.

    Many Christians believe Muslims serve a different God. For some, that belief results in a combative attitude. Rather than share our experiences of relationship with the God Abraham served, the God Issac served, the God Jacob served, the God Ishmael and Muslims serve, we instead argue. Does that make any sense? It doesn’t make sense to me. I feel that by sharing the amazing experiences of a real relationship, God shines into people’s lives. I don’t need to argue with Muslims about whether or not we serve the same God or separate Gods, and I don’t need to argue with fellow Christians about it in an effort to try to show them how “we’re right and they’re wrong”… I just need to talk to my Daddy and share my experiences with Daddy God to those who are interested in hearing about them.

    I say we stop arguing and start loving everyone. God is big enough and strong enough to get HIS message across if we simply love others and allow HIM to shine through in our lives. Didn’t he say that if He was lifted up he’d draw ALL men to him? How better to lift Him up than to stop arguing (especially when we’re arguing about the exact same thing put into different words) and start letting our love for Him show by doing what he told us to do: love our neighbors as ourselves.

    God is big enough that he doesn’t need me arguing for Him, that’s for sure.

  23. Dear Donny,
    You were absolutely right about meeting Ali’s immediate need, while at the same time, perhaps providing a door of opportunity in the future to reach into his eternal need. Truly giving him a credible evidence of a genuine patient and loving faith, or at least planting seeds toward a future time where God can use this and other opportunities to touch his heart.
    Likewise, it would have been so wrong to tackle doctrinal issues that from my own “investigating” for this comment, reveals a thoroughly deep well of challenge and conflict on the issue of whether “the God” Allah of Islam is the same triune God of Orthodox Christianity.
    However, just to clarify perhaps some things here, which seem to be implied.
    Some definitions, meanings or origins of Allah were faced with interesting conflict even at the level of just trying to get a hold of the truth. Some said that Allah for the name of God is used by Muslims, Jews and Christians in that region of the world, while others described the name as used by Arabs in pre-Islamic times as pertaining to gods and in some origins, called the moon god, thus, the stars and moon symbols indicated on their flags, etc. Likewise, some attributes given are that it belongs to the one and only true god to be worshipped and that it is not begotten and has none begotten of it, declaring it to be truly monotheistic and that it is not plural, some of which of course, in some perspectives, conflict with our Christian faith, aka the trinity or the idea of a triune being.
    Apparently, to say that Allah is simply the name of God in “their” language, in as much as one would say the same of the god(s) of Buddhists such as Brahma, or Ram and Vishnu of the thousands of god of the Hindus, in their language, is incorrect, as in a complex way, the name along with all of its origins, attributes and consequent faith, is not the same.
    Certainly, since Arabs and Jews are family through Abraham, it would seem they serve the same God, but this of course, by virtue of many evidences, is not the case and in many instances are in conflict. To top it off, the many centuries long conflicts between the two, would undoubtedly show a big wedge and internal conflict with the same God if in fact they were the same, considering that He is supposed to be beneficent or graceful or merciful, etc. No more or less than the one that Islam has with itself in its varied brands of Islam and its own internal conflicts, within the “holiest and purest” of those who are radical to those of lesser or more conservative sects. Not to mention the humbling and disparage of women of this faith and the promise of virgins to the males in the afterlife to those who are willing to die for the faith, even while taking the lives of others, and even of their own faith – so much for Islam, whose root meaning is peaceful, in submission to God. Apparently, it is only so for the individual who follows his own interpretation of it and no one is innocent, since the innocent aren’t targeted?
    Likewise, another comparison which is more subtle but just as decisive, would be, say, that of the Jesus that the Jehovah’s Witnesses adhere to versus the one that we of Orthodox Christianity believe in.
    Therefore, the issue is much more complex and intricately diverse and challenging than simply accepting things at face value. Ultimately, loving people with the love of Christ regardless of their differences, whether it is faith, poverty, a prison rap sheet or sexual preference, while maintaining a solid stand for Christ, is what we are called to. Thus, it is important to also understand the differences looking through the grid of scripture and our Christian faith.

  24. Dear Donny,
    You were absolutely right about meeting Ali’s immediate need, while at the same time, perhaps providing a door of opportunity in the future to reach into his eternal need. Truly giving him a credible evidence of a genuine patient and loving faith, or at least planting seeds toward a future time where God can use this and other opportunities to touch his heart.
    Likewise, it would have been so wrong to tackle doctrinal issues that from my own “investigating” for this comment, reveals a thoroughly deep well of challenge and conflict on the issue of whether “the God” Allah of Islam is the same triune God of Orthodox Christianity.
    However, just to clarify perhaps some things here, which seem to be implied.
    Some definitions, meanings or origins of Allah were faced with interesting conflict even at the level of just trying to get a hold of the truth. Some said that Allah for the name of God is used by Muslims, Jews and Christians in that region of the world, while others described the name as used by Arabs in pre-Islamic times as pertaining to gods and in some origins, called the moon god, thus, the stars and moon symbols indicated on their flags, etc. Likewise, some attributes given are that it belongs to the one and only true god to be worshipped and that it is not begotten and has none begotten of it, declaring it to be truly monotheistic and that it is not plural, some of which of course, in some perspectives, conflict with our Christian faith, aka the trinity or the idea of a triune being.
    Apparently, to say that Allah is simply the name of God in “their” language, in as much as one would say the same of the god(s) of Buddhists such as Brahma, or Ram and Vishnu of the thousands of god of the Hindus, in their language, is incorrect, as in a complex way, the name along with all of its origins, attributes and consequent faith, is not the same.
    Certainly, since Arabs and Jews are family through Abraham, it would seem they serve the same God, but this of course, by virtue of many evidences, is not the case and in many instances are in conflict. To top it off, the many centuries long conflicts between the two, would undoubtedly show a big wedge and internal conflict with the same God if in fact they were the same, considering that He is supposed to be beneficent or graceful or merciful, etc. No more or less than the one that Islam has with itself in its varied brands of Islam and its own internal conflicts, within the “holiest and purest” of those who are radical to those of lesser or more conservative sects. Not to mention the humbling and disparage of women of this faith and the promise of virgins to the males in the afterlife to those who are willing to die for the faith, even while taking the lives of others, and even of their own faith – so much for Islam, whose root meaning is peaceful, in submission to God. Apparently, it is only so for the individual who follows his own interpretation of it and no one is innocent, since the innocent aren’t targeted?
    Likewise, another comparison which is more subtle but just as decisive, would be, say, that of the Jesus that the Jehovah’s Witnesses adhere to versus the one that we of Orthodox Christianity believe in.
    Therefore, the issue is much more complex and intricately diverse and challenging than simply accepting things at face value. Ultimately, loving people with the love of Christ regardless of their differences, whether it is faith, poverty, a prison rap sheet or sexual preference, while maintaining a solid stand for Christ, is what we are called to. Thus, it is important to also understand the differences looking through the grid of scripture and our Christian faith.

  25. Yay! We’re debating word usage! My geek glands are quivering with delight (OK, that came out all different shades of wrong).

    I agree with Daniel (as far as I could understand it…I feel like Peter reading Paul’s epistles) in that saying that “Allah” means God in their language misses the point. There is meaning attached to the name that we cannot just dismiss with the differences in language. Think on this: imagine a couple of people arguing in Qatar about whether “God” in America just means Allah in a different language.

    But what you did was awesome, Donny. All you did was plant seeds. Someone else may reap the harvest, but God doesn’t forget the planter.

  26. Yay! We’re debating word usage! My geek glands are quivering with delight (OK, that came out all different shades of wrong).

    I agree with Daniel (as far as I could understand it…I feel like Peter reading Paul’s epistles) in that saying that “Allah” means God in their language misses the point. There is meaning attached to the name that we cannot just dismiss with the differences in language. Think on this: imagine a couple of people arguing in Qatar about whether “God” in America just means Allah in a different language.

    But what you did was awesome, Donny. All you did was plant seeds. Someone else may reap the harvest, but God doesn’t forget the planter.

  27. Guys,

    The Muslims serve the God of Abraham, pure and simple. At no point did they all of a sudden say to themselves, “Let’s start serving a new God and throw out the God of our forefathers.”

    They may give Him attributes we as Christians do not believe, but they are speaking of the same God.

    By asserting this, I am in no way making any claims of salvation for any group of people. I’m simply saying that we are both talking about the same Creator.

    That being the case, those who decide to “witness” to Muslims have a bit easier job, don’t they? Instead of having to get a Muslim to believe in an entirely different God than the God his/her people have served for generations upon generations, all the witnessing individual would have to do is share the knowledge of amazing aspects of God the person may never have heard or considered before. Show them what a relationship with God looks like.

    Does that make sense?

  28. Guys,

    The Muslims serve the God of Abraham, pure and simple. At no point did they all of a sudden say to themselves, “Let’s start serving a new God and throw out the God of our forefathers.”

    They may give Him attributes we as Christians do not believe, but they are speaking of the same God.

    By asserting this, I am in no way making any claims of salvation for any group of people. I’m simply saying that we are both talking about the same Creator.

    That being the case, those who decide to “witness” to Muslims have a bit easier job, don’t they? Instead of having to get a Muslim to believe in an entirely different God than the God his/her people have served for generations upon generations, all the witnessing individual would have to do is share the knowledge of amazing aspects of God the person may never have heard or considered before. Show them what a relationship with God looks like.

    Does that make sense?

  29. Donny,

    I agree with you that the best way to witness to Muslims (or anybody else) is to simply tell about the loving relationship we have with our Heavenly Father. I disagree with you as to whether the Allah of Islam is the same as the God of Christianity. This is important because it influences how we relate to Muslims. I have seen a lot of people who have wrong perceptions of God which prevent them from experiencing the love He wants to give us. I see it in everyone; Muslims, atheists and even Christians to varying degrees. My perception of how much God loves every person has really been expanded lately. IIRC, you’ve written about your flawed view of God and how you had to work through that to really experience His love. I believe that none of us ever reach a full understanding of His love, we only get closer to the truth.

    Rather than go back and forth in a “did so/did not” fashion, why don’t we discuss why we believe what we believe. If you like, you could state why you believe Muslims worship the God of Abraham and we could go from there. Or I could state why I believe that is not the case to provide a starting point.

    Just in case you feel like you’ve already stated why, I went back up thread and pulled some statements you made that you might consider a starting point. They are:

    Muslims descended from Abraham (his illegitimate son) and serve the same God Abraham served. They even believe in Jesus, although they do not believe he is God’s son

    The Muslims serve the God of Abraham, pure and simple. At no point did they all of a sudden say to themselves, “Let’s start serving a new God and throw out the God of our forefathers.”

    If you would like me start from there, I can.

    Jim

  30. Donny,

    I agree with you that the best way to witness to Muslims (or anybody else) is to simply tell about the loving relationship we have with our Heavenly Father. I disagree with you as to whether the Allah of Islam is the same as the God of Christianity. This is important because it influences how we relate to Muslims. I have seen a lot of people who have wrong perceptions of God which prevent them from experiencing the love He wants to give us. I see it in everyone; Muslims, atheists and even Christians to varying degrees. My perception of how much God loves every person has really been expanded lately. IIRC, you’ve written about your flawed view of God and how you had to work through that to really experience His love. I believe that none of us ever reach a full understanding of His love, we only get closer to the truth.

    Rather than go back and forth in a “did so/did not” fashion, why don’t we discuss why we believe what we believe. If you like, you could state why you believe Muslims worship the God of Abraham and we could go from there. Or I could state why I believe that is not the case to provide a starting point.

    Just in case you feel like you’ve already stated why, I went back up thread and pulled some statements you made that you might consider a starting point. They are:

    Muslims descended from Abraham (his illegitimate son) and serve the same God Abraham served. They even believe in Jesus, although they do not believe he is God’s son

    The Muslims serve the God of Abraham, pure and simple. At no point did they all of a sudden say to themselves, “Let’s start serving a new God and throw out the God of our forefathers.”

    If you would like me start from there, I can.

    Jim

  31. Wow…interesting discussion. I would like to add that I am glad that you saw past Ali’s religion and ministered to him as someone who is loved by God. As for the “is Allah God” debate, well, um, I would like to say that all parties seem to be behaving in a respectful manner, and for that, I am refreshed. It did strike me as a little off that you said that I AM and Allah are the same. If we truly believe in the Trinity then it’s hard to say that any religion that denies Jesus worships God. Anyway, that misses the whole point of what you were trying to say in the first place. Donny, I just want to say that I appreciate you. I was struggling with dumb urges today and found you through xxx.church.com. Question, do you live near Sacramento?

  32. Wow…interesting discussion. I would like to add that I am glad that you saw past Ali’s religion and ministered to him as someone who is loved by God. As for the “is Allah God” debate, well, um, I would like to say that all parties seem to be behaving in a respectful manner, and for that, I am refreshed. It did strike me as a little off that you said that I AM and Allah are the same. If we truly believe in the Trinity then it’s hard to say that any religion that denies Jesus worships God. Anyway, that misses the whole point of what you were trying to say in the first place. Donny, I just want to say that I appreciate you. I was struggling with dumb urges today and found you through xxx.church.com. Question, do you live near Sacramento?

  33. Hey Donny,
    This is hard, and I have to go to the simple statement you made: “They may give Him attributes we as Christians do not believe, but they are speaking of the same God.” Understand that in the following, if I say God, I mean it interchangeably with Allah.
    There’s got to be one right and one wrong, simply because Jesus created the gulf: “No one comes to the father but by me.” So either that’s true and Islam is proven to be a fraud or it’s not true and Islam is proven correct. They cannot both be true. In the same way, the Bible and the Quran cannot both be true. One is God-inspired, one is not. So when you say that they may give him attributes that we don’t, what you’re saying is that either they’ve got the accurate attributes and we don’t or they don’t and we do. It CANNOT be both because of what the Bible asserts.
    I’m sorry….you can’t break it down that far. There’s a reason the Bible is the Bible and the Quran is the Quran. They are not both God-inspired, and because they have such divergent texts (which, as you said, give different attributes), one of them is a work of human story-telling.

  34. Hey Donny,
    This is hard, and I have to go to the simple statement you made: “They may give Him attributes we as Christians do not believe, but they are speaking of the same God.” Understand that in the following, if I say God, I mean it interchangeably with Allah.
    There’s got to be one right and one wrong, simply because Jesus created the gulf: “No one comes to the father but by me.” So either that’s true and Islam is proven to be a fraud or it’s not true and Islam is proven correct. They cannot both be true. In the same way, the Bible and the Quran cannot both be true. One is God-inspired, one is not. So when you say that they may give him attributes that we don’t, what you’re saying is that either they’ve got the accurate attributes and we don’t or they don’t and we do. It CANNOT be both because of what the Bible asserts.
    I’m sorry….you can’t break it down that far. There’s a reason the Bible is the Bible and the Quran is the Quran. They are not both God-inspired, and because they have such divergent texts (which, as you said, give different attributes), one of them is a work of human story-telling.

  35. Jeff (comment #17):

    I am not saying whether or not their religious beliefs are correct. I am simply stating the God of Christianity and the God of Islam are both the same creator (the God of Abraham). The attributes of God and the deity of Jesus are a completely different discussion.

    As I stated in one of my comments above, I am not making a statement as to the salvation of Muslims.

    I am honestly having a hard time understanding why this can’t be comprehended.

  36. Jeff (comment #17):

    I am not saying whether or not their religious beliefs are correct. I am simply stating the God of Christianity and the God of Islam are both the same creator (the God of Abraham). The attributes of God and the deity of Jesus are a completely different discussion.

    As I stated in one of my comments above, I am not making a statement as to the salvation of Muslims.

    I am honestly having a hard time understanding why this can’t be comprehended.

  37. Supermannino, you wrote:

    “If we truly believe in the Trinity then it’s hard to say that any religion that denies Jesus worships God.”

    With that in mind, who would you say the Jews serve, since they do not believe Jesus is who he says he was?

  38. Supermannino, you wrote:

    “If we truly believe in the Trinity then it’s hard to say that any religion that denies Jesus worships God.”

    With that in mind, who would you say the Jews serve, since they do not believe Jesus is who he says he was?

  39. Dear gentlemen,
    I Don’t know if Donny wanted to go this far with the discussion as the very header on the MySpace bulletin I came here with, was to pray for Ali.

    Certainly the nature of this discourse has been peaceful, so for Supermannino and Coolguymuslim’s sakes, and for different reasons, I am glad.

    In doing some research, there are within Islam 99 predominant names given to Allah, with the hundredth, unmentionable depicting reverance, in as much as there are at times similar names given to the God or G-d of Israel in terms of attributes etc., such as the Lord is my salvation, or my shepherd, or my provider, etc. with Yahweh or similarly a name unmentionable. However it is the origins of Islam and Allah that pose the problem, but most certainly separate who Allah is from the G-d (as the Jews respectfully put it) of Israel.

    Beyond the idea that both Jews and Arabs worship the same God, because they are decended from Abraham, it is important to understand that Hagar and Ishmael were put out by Abraham before there was much of an identifiable race of Jews and an established faith. Hagar’s encounter with God in the desert certainly establishes that God speaks to whomever, and it was to encourage her that she should take care of her son and of course that he would become a nation of 12 tribes just as Israel. But there most definitely would be in her mind a slanted view of things, because her son, whom was the older of the two of Abraham’s sons, should have for all human intents and purposes been heir to Abraham’s legacy and fortune. But God, as with Jacob and Esau, as with Joseph’s sons with crossed arms of blessing by Jacob, where the younger was made greater than the older, against the traditions of heirarchy, and as with the virgin birth of Christ and Sarah’s pregnancy and birth of Isaac at her 80’s years of age, God always did the supernatural to make a point. Perhaps a real revelation about the problems of Jews and Arabs is that Abraham tried to help God do something He said He would do, which leaves for the decendents of Abraham, centuries long blood baths between the brothers, and a lesson for us, to let God accomplish His promises without our interferance. So today, Arabs want to annialate the Jews from the planet and take back essentially what was rightfully theirs in terms of Abraham’s lot.

    Equally, in the Garden of Eden, man gave up his authority to a moment of giving in to what Eve was deceived into, only to want to try all of these centuries to gain back what he lost, thus, sometimes a similar battle of the sexes, and unfortunately, sometimes bloody, but most of time, putting women down or “conquering” them superficially…though they are smarter than some of us so often…I mean we only use half our brain, they at least so often have both sides in use, though one more than the other…just a side joke consideration :o)

    Anyway, at best there is a progressive revelation of God’s salvation in scripture, with the forshadows pointing to Christ. It was therefore, rightfully said that since Christ is the way to the Father, that being the God of Israel, then, the idea that others would lead to Christ can’t seem too much like the “many roads that lead to heaven” scenario. However, as Paul would challenge those in Athens, the monument they had erected to the unknown god, Paul declared to them whom that God was. Unfortunately, in Islam, there is a similar idea put forth that a form of Allah is the unknown God that they should know.

    For all intents and purposes, the rigers and legalism’s of any religion outside of the free and liberating faith in Christ, even “Christian” (quotes for what they call themselves) religions, has people following another Jesus or God, other than the one we know has saved us, thus, the reason Islam is brutal to its own and other people as well as the Crusades toward Jews, etc. Paul said let them (all other teachings)be anathema or annialated, because of how it detours people from the Truth that sets them free only to destroy them by the cunning of Satan who poses as an Angel of Light to deceive the many.

    Anyway, I’ve said way too much here and definitely for all who hold to faith in Christ, keep Ali in your prayers as Donny asks, and as he is the soul that should come to a saving knowledge of the love of God in Christ our Lord. Many of Islam are indeed coming to know Christ supernaturally while others want to know…why, because they are seeing the love from true followers of Christ…it is certainly one thing missing in their faith.

  40. Dear gentlemen,
    I Don’t know if Donny wanted to go this far with the discussion as the very header on the MySpace bulletin I came here with, was to pray for Ali.

    Certainly the nature of this discourse has been peaceful, so for Supermannino and Coolguymuslim’s sakes, and for different reasons, I am glad.

    In doing some research, there are within Islam 99 predominant names given to Allah, with the hundredth, unmentionable depicting reverance, in as much as there are at times similar names given to the God or G-d of Israel in terms of attributes etc., such as the Lord is my salvation, or my shepherd, or my provider, etc. with Yahweh or similarly a name unmentionable. However it is the origins of Islam and Allah that pose the problem, but most certainly separate who Allah is from the G-d (as the Jews respectfully put it) of Israel.

    Beyond the idea that both Jews and Arabs worship the same God, because they are decended from Abraham, it is important to understand that Hagar and Ishmael were put out by Abraham before there was much of an identifiable race of Jews and an established faith. Hagar’s encounter with God in the desert certainly establishes that God speaks to whomever, and it was to encourage her that she should take care of her son and of course that he would become a nation of 12 tribes just as Israel. But there most definitely would be in her mind a slanted view of things, because her son, whom was the older of the two of Abraham’s sons, should have for all human intents and purposes been heir to Abraham’s legacy and fortune. But God, as with Jacob and Esau, as with Joseph’s sons with crossed arms of blessing by Jacob, where the younger was made greater than the older, against the traditions of heirarchy, and as with the virgin birth of Christ and Sarah’s pregnancy and birth of Isaac at her 80’s years of age, God always did the supernatural to make a point. Perhaps a real revelation about the problems of Jews and Arabs is that Abraham tried to help God do something He said He would do, which leaves for the decendents of Abraham, centuries long blood baths between the brothers, and a lesson for us, to let God accomplish His promises without our interferance. So today, Arabs want to annialate the Jews from the planet and take back essentially what was rightfully theirs in terms of Abraham’s lot.

    Equally, in the Garden of Eden, man gave up his authority to a moment of giving in to what Eve was deceived into, only to want to try all of these centuries to gain back what he lost, thus, sometimes a similar battle of the sexes, and unfortunately, sometimes bloody, but most of time, putting women down or “conquering” them superficially…though they are smarter than some of us so often…I mean we only use half our brain, they at least so often have both sides in use, though one more than the other…just a side joke consideration :o)

    Anyway, at best there is a progressive revelation of God’s salvation in scripture, with the forshadows pointing to Christ. It was therefore, rightfully said that since Christ is the way to the Father, that being the God of Israel, then, the idea that others would lead to Christ can’t seem too much like the “many roads that lead to heaven” scenario. However, as Paul would challenge those in Athens, the monument they had erected to the unknown god, Paul declared to them whom that God was. Unfortunately, in Islam, there is a similar idea put forth that a form of Allah is the unknown God that they should know.

    For all intents and purposes, the rigers and legalism’s of any religion outside of the free and liberating faith in Christ, even “Christian” (quotes for what they call themselves) religions, has people following another Jesus or God, other than the one we know has saved us, thus, the reason Islam is brutal to its own and other people as well as the Crusades toward Jews, etc. Paul said let them (all other teachings)be anathema or annialated, because of how it detours people from the Truth that sets them free only to destroy them by the cunning of Satan who poses as an Angel of Light to deceive the many.

    Anyway, I’ve said way too much here and definitely for all who hold to faith in Christ, keep Ali in your prayers as Donny asks, and as he is the soul that should come to a saving knowledge of the love of God in Christ our Lord. Many of Islam are indeed coming to know Christ supernaturally while others want to know…why, because they are seeing the love from true followers of Christ…it is certainly one thing missing in their faith.

  41. Maybe Muslims started out serving the God of Abraham. Maybe along the way, through the years, the teaching of their ancestors has evolved into worship of a god they didn’t start out worshiping.

    Maybe, somewhere, the teaching skewed off center by a tenth of a degree and through the centuries, that 1/10 of a degree has become a full 90 degrees or even 180 degrees.

    Maybe Muslims would see how far away from the God of Abraham they are if they read God’s Word.

    All I know is that Allah of the Quran is not Yaweh of the Bible.

    I’ll leave it at that ’cause I’m definitely dealing with brains bigger than mine in here. God bless you all and God bless Ali. May he respond to the Holy Spirit’a call on his life.

  42. Maybe Muslims started out serving the God of Abraham. Maybe along the way, through the years, the teaching of their ancestors has evolved into worship of a god they didn’t start out worshiping.

    Maybe, somewhere, the teaching skewed off center by a tenth of a degree and through the centuries, that 1/10 of a degree has become a full 90 degrees or even 180 degrees.

    Maybe Muslims would see how far away from the God of Abraham they are if they read God’s Word.

    All I know is that Allah of the Quran is not Yaweh of the Bible.

    I’ll leave it at that ’cause I’m definitely dealing with brains bigger than mine in here. God bless you all and God bless Ali. May he respond to the Holy Spirit’a call on his life.

  43. Hey Donny (#18…I like what you did there….),
    OK, I think I see where the issue is. Let me see if I can clarify why I still don’t think that the situation is as boil-down-able as you’re meaning.
    I don’t dispute that both faiths start at the God of Abraham, but as you’ve even said, the attributes given to that God are different for each faith. So let me name off three differences in attributes:

    -Followers of Christ say that God has a son who became man (Jesus), where followers of Islam say that Jesus was a prophet but NOT the only begotten son of God.
    -Followers of Islam say that Muhammed is Allah’s prophet, where followers of Christ say that the law and prophets that had been passed down in the Hebrew faith are God’s prophets.
    -Followers of Christ say that God’s blessed people followed the family line of Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 17), where followers of Islam say that God’s blessing follower the family line of Ishmael.

    These three statements point out three distinctly different historical attributes given to either God or Allah. They also point to attributes that are 100% at odds with each other. But either side says, “These are attributes of my God, the same God that Abraham believed in.” So even though I agree that each have the same foundation, the foundation alone cannot does not mean that what is built upon it is the same. It’s like saying that a church and a porn shop have something in common because they both use the same amounts of concrete and rebar to build the foundation. Those businesses are not the same, no matter what similarity they had at the start. They are two different businesses because of what they became after the foundation. In the same way, the two faiths worship two different Gods, no matter what similarity they had at the start.

    …I wrote all this, then I started thinking, “Wait…I think Donny agrees with all of this. I’m breaking down something that doesn’t need to be broken down. I think I’m missing the point.” So, what is your point, bringing up that the each start with the God of Abraham. If it’s to point out what we have in common, I contend above that that benefit is negligible at best. Maybe there’s another point, but I’m not seeing it right now.

  44. Hey Donny (#18…I like what you did there….),
    OK, I think I see where the issue is. Let me see if I can clarify why I still don’t think that the situation is as boil-down-able as you’re meaning.
    I don’t dispute that both faiths start at the God of Abraham, but as you’ve even said, the attributes given to that God are different for each faith. So let me name off three differences in attributes:

    -Followers of Christ say that God has a son who became man (Jesus), where followers of Islam say that Jesus was a prophet but NOT the only begotten son of God.
    -Followers of Islam say that Muhammed is Allah’s prophet, where followers of Christ say that the law and prophets that had been passed down in the Hebrew faith are God’s prophets.
    -Followers of Christ say that God’s blessed people followed the family line of Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 17), where followers of Islam say that God’s blessing follower the family line of Ishmael.

    These three statements point out three distinctly different historical attributes given to either God or Allah. They also point to attributes that are 100% at odds with each other. But either side says, “These are attributes of my God, the same God that Abraham believed in.” So even though I agree that each have the same foundation, the foundation alone cannot does not mean that what is built upon it is the same. It’s like saying that a church and a porn shop have something in common because they both use the same amounts of concrete and rebar to build the foundation. Those businesses are not the same, no matter what similarity they had at the start. They are two different businesses because of what they became after the foundation. In the same way, the two faiths worship two different Gods, no matter what similarity they had at the start.

    …I wrote all this, then I started thinking, “Wait…I think Donny agrees with all of this. I’m breaking down something that doesn’t need to be broken down. I think I’m missing the point.” So, what is your point, bringing up that the each start with the God of Abraham. If it’s to point out what we have in common, I contend above that that benefit is negligible at best. Maybe there’s another point, but I’m not seeing it right now.

  45. I’m far from a religious scholar, but doesn’t the Bible say that “God is all things to all people.”

  46. I’m far from a religious scholar, but doesn’t the Bible say that “God is all things to all people.”

  47. At Jeff in comment #22:

    We’re both speaking the same language now.

    This whole thing started because of a sentence I used in my post in which I stated “The Muslims serve the God of Abraham…”

    That’s all I meant by that. The sentence after that statement was this one:

    “During a conversation about the departure of Ali’s wife of many many years, it was not the time to discuss theological differences.”

    The rest of this resulted from comments on that first sentence, and has been a slight bit frustrating because I am of the opinion that so much bickering in the world can be avoided if all of us, Muslim and Christian, remember to just communicate like we would if we were brothers (Christian and Muslim).

    Let me elaborate:

    Just a few months ago my brother and I were sitting around discussing our childhood. I was completely blown away at some of his perspectives of our parents during our younger years. He seriously believed some of the things that were coming out of his mouth, yet I don’t remember any of the things he claimed happened. It was like he was talking about different people than the parents I knew. I didn’t bother correcting him, because it was evident he was convinced these memories were true.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I hated Christians, but I never hated my parents. The negatives I associate with Christianity were the result of actions of people from my parents’ churches. My brother, however, was bitter toward Mom and Dad for many things he attributed to them. I remember it being OTHER people, he remembers it being THEM.

    One of us is completely wrong, and if you ask me, it’s HIM. He’d say the same thing about ME, however.

    In the case of the Muslims, looking at it from a logical perspective I cannot blame them for the way they feel about God. I have no doubts Ishmael felt like an unwanted outcast when Abraham’s favor followed his younger, “legitimate” siblings. He must have been bitter, don’t you think? Things must have snowballed to the place where all his memories of God were skewed by the hatred and bitterness. To cope with it, who can blame him for beginning to believe that God had actually passed on the “first born” favor to HIM, rather than those hated brothers? He passed his opinions on to his children, who passed it on to their children who… you get the picture.

    So now we have a group of people who know no better.

    So many Christians fail to realize we have the same “parents”, but like the case with Daniel and I, one of us has our perspectives wrong. At some point I’ll tell my brother about the loving parents I remember, and tell him where the negative feelings I had were rooted. Perhaps he’ll begin remembering things the same way I do, and get rid of some of his bitterness toward Mom and Dad.

    Likewise, it would be so much easier to speak with Muslims from the perspective of realization that we both worship the same God, and that we’d like to give them our perspective of his grace and plan. It won’t be enough for most of them, no doubt, but it would sure make it easier if all they have to accept is a “perspective shift”, rather than the acceptance of an entirely different Creator.

    Know what I mean?

  48. At Jeff in comment #22:

    We’re both speaking the same language now.

    This whole thing started because of a sentence I used in my post in which I stated “The Muslims serve the God of Abraham…”

    That’s all I meant by that. The sentence after that statement was this one:

    “During a conversation about the departure of Ali’s wife of many many years, it was not the time to discuss theological differences.”

    The rest of this resulted from comments on that first sentence, and has been a slight bit frustrating because I am of the opinion that so much bickering in the world can be avoided if all of us, Muslim and Christian, remember to just communicate like we would if we were brothers (Christian and Muslim).

    Let me elaborate:

    Just a few months ago my brother and I were sitting around discussing our childhood. I was completely blown away at some of his perspectives of our parents during our younger years. He seriously believed some of the things that were coming out of his mouth, yet I don’t remember any of the things he claimed happened. It was like he was talking about different people than the parents I knew. I didn’t bother correcting him, because it was evident he was convinced these memories were true.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I hated Christians, but I never hated my parents. The negatives I associate with Christianity were the result of actions of people from my parents’ churches. My brother, however, was bitter toward Mom and Dad for many things he attributed to them. I remember it being OTHER people, he remembers it being THEM.

    One of us is completely wrong, and if you ask me, it’s HIM. He’d say the same thing about ME, however.

    In the case of the Muslims, looking at it from a logical perspective I cannot blame them for the way they feel about God. I have no doubts Ishmael felt like an unwanted outcast when Abraham’s favor followed his younger, “legitimate” siblings. He must have been bitter, don’t you think? Things must have snowballed to the place where all his memories of God were skewed by the hatred and bitterness. To cope with it, who can blame him for beginning to believe that God had actually passed on the “first born” favor to HIM, rather than those hated brothers? He passed his opinions on to his children, who passed it on to their children who… you get the picture.

    So now we have a group of people who know no better.

    So many Christians fail to realize we have the same “parents”, but like the case with Daniel and I, one of us has our perspectives wrong. At some point I’ll tell my brother about the loving parents I remember, and tell him where the negative feelings I had were rooted. Perhaps he’ll begin remembering things the same way I do, and get rid of some of his bitterness toward Mom and Dad.

    Likewise, it would be so much easier to speak with Muslims from the perspective of realization that we both worship the same God, and that we’d like to give them our perspective of his grace and plan. It won’t be enough for most of them, no doubt, but it would sure make it easier if all they have to accept is a “perspective shift”, rather than the acceptance of an entirely different Creator.

    Know what I mean?

  49. I felt the discussions in this post deserved their own “article”:

    Allah Vs God

  50. I felt the discussions in this post deserved their own “article”:

    Allah Vs God

  51. Thanks for the response, Donny.

    I’ve abandoned all attempts to apply logic to this argument and instead tell you that I think that there seem to be two things at war here, things that I wish didn’t ever have to be at war.

    Theology vs. People

    Yeah…I don’t know why there’s some kind of trigger that goes off in my mind when something seems “off” theologically. It’s weird. It does. But, my heart resonates at your story about Ali. Sometimes I feel at war with my own theological thoughts and my desire to model Christ’s love to the world. Bottom line: you showed God’s love to a man who is hurting. Awesome. I’m just a random kid on a blog trying to analyze an act of love. Pretty dumb, I know. The theology of your statement about God and Allah might have rubbed me a weird way, but I don’t want to be THAT GUY who always seems to miss the forest for the trees when it comes to acts of love. Those guys were Pharisees. And, I don’t want to be like them. Keep loving. Keep looking for common ground. That’s the way to reach the world.

    God blessed Abraham so that “the nations will be blessed.” I don’t think God meant that they could only be blessed through conversion. And, if that’s the case, then that means that we do serve a God who wants to bless people who call Him by a different name. So…let’s do that…

  52. Thanks for the response, Donny.

    I’ve abandoned all attempts to apply logic to this argument and instead tell you that I think that there seem to be two things at war here, things that I wish didn’t ever have to be at war.

    Theology vs. People

    Yeah…I don’t know why there’s some kind of trigger that goes off in my mind when something seems “off” theologically. It’s weird. It does. But, my heart resonates at your story about Ali. Sometimes I feel at war with my own theological thoughts and my desire to model Christ’s love to the world. Bottom line: you showed God’s love to a man who is hurting. Awesome. I’m just a random kid on a blog trying to analyze an act of love. Pretty dumb, I know. The theology of your statement about God and Allah might have rubbed me a weird way, but I don’t want to be THAT GUY who always seems to miss the forest for the trees when it comes to acts of love. Those guys were Pharisees. And, I don’t want to be like them. Keep loving. Keep looking for common ground. That’s the way to reach the world.

    God blessed Abraham so that “the nations will be blessed.” I don’t think God meant that they could only be blessed through conversion. And, if that’s the case, then that means that we do serve a God who wants to bless people who call Him by a different name. So…let’s do that…

  53. Some key points to “salve your wounds”
    Point 1 Donny is right in seeing the simple common ground before the “fork in the road” in the lines coming from Abraham.
    Point 2 Abraham (the Father of many nations) was neither Jew nor Muslim, and certainly not Christian.
    Point 3 There are many differences in how each group perceives God, but from a Christian standpoint, there are more denominations among Protestants (of which I am one) than there are Abraham religions, and there has to be points that some of us are still missing.
    Point 4 No one had any exposure to the true nature of God until the time of the Transfiguration when Jesus was standing in the river Jordan and the Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove and God spoke down from the heavens, “This is my beloved Son, and I am truly pleased with him.”(Matthew 3-16, NLT) And you know that know one understood what they were seeing then, as we only see it with the blessing of 20/20 hindsight afforded us by the Holy Bible.
    Point 5 Christianity is about relationships. As a salesman by trade, it is important for me in my work to establish familiarity very quickly as a sale is on the line. The same thing applies to witnessing, when the time is right, as there is nothing more “on the line” than someone’s soul who has not received Christ (but I am in whole-hearted agreement with Donny’s spiritual wisdom at the moment with Ali).
    BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: When Paul preached in Athens, (Acts, Chapter 17) he was distressed by all of the idols he saw there. He debated with Jews, God-fearing Gentiles, and Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. And when he got to the part of Jesus’ death and resurrection, they took him to the Council of Philosophers, where he really BROKE IT DOWN, or as we say in the south, “Shelled down the corn.” He starts with the COMMON GROUND in verse 22, again from the NLT:
    22 So Paul, standing before the council,[a] addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, 23 for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.
    24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26 From one man[b] he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
    27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your[c] own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.
    30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. 31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”
    Point 6 It can be very intimidating for anyone who hasn’t received Christ for us to come up to them with “all of the tiny nuances that we have learned in our own Christian walks”, or our “studies of other religions in an attempt to spice up our witnessing”, when mainly what we really need to impart to the world is God’s majesty and sovereignty over our lives, recognition of our sinful nature and the undeserved favor of God through Christ Jesus, which is grace.
    All of the rhetoric that we get in the habit of, while it is enjoyable, only serves our own spiritual growth and understanding, and I fear that sometimes we spend too much time in the classroom when we should be “out there” loving one another as Jesus commanded. May God bless you and keep you as you continue to walk in his will.
    I have enjoyed myself here and feel blessed to call you Brothers in Christ.
    In Christ’s Love, Grace, and Peace,
    Kevin

  54. Some key points to “salve your wounds”
    Point 1 Donny is right in seeing the simple common ground before the “fork in the road” in the lines coming from Abraham.
    Point 2 Abraham (the Father of many nations) was neither Jew nor Muslim, and certainly not Christian.
    Point 3 There are many differences in how each group perceives God, but from a Christian standpoint, there are more denominations among Protestants (of which I am one) than there are Abraham religions, and there has to be points that some of us are still missing.
    Point 4 No one had any exposure to the true nature of God until the time of the Transfiguration when Jesus was standing in the river Jordan and the Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove and God spoke down from the heavens, “This is my beloved Son, and I am truly pleased with him.”(Matthew 3-16, NLT) And you know that know one understood what they were seeing then, as we only see it with the blessing of 20/20 hindsight afforded us by the Holy Bible.
    Point 5 Christianity is about relationships. As a salesman by trade, it is important for me in my work to establish familiarity very quickly as a sale is on the line. The same thing applies to witnessing, when the time is right, as there is nothing more “on the line” than someone’s soul who has not received Christ (but I am in whole-hearted agreement with Donny’s spiritual wisdom at the moment with Ali).
    BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: When Paul preached in Athens, (Acts, Chapter 17) he was distressed by all of the idols he saw there. He debated with Jews, God-fearing Gentiles, and Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. And when he got to the part of Jesus’ death and resurrection, they took him to the Council of Philosophers, where he really BROKE IT DOWN, or as we say in the south, “Shelled down the corn.” He starts with the COMMON GROUND in verse 22, again from the NLT:
    22 So Paul, standing before the council,[a] addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, 23 for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.
    24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26 From one man[b] he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
    27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your[c] own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.
    30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. 31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”
    Point 6 It can be very intimidating for anyone who hasn’t received Christ for us to come up to them with “all of the tiny nuances that we have learned in our own Christian walks”, or our “studies of other religions in an attempt to spice up our witnessing”, when mainly what we really need to impart to the world is God’s majesty and sovereignty over our lives, recognition of our sinful nature and the undeserved favor of God through Christ Jesus, which is grace.
    All of the rhetoric that we get in the habit of, while it is enjoyable, only serves our own spiritual growth and understanding, and I fear that sometimes we spend too much time in the classroom when we should be “out there” loving one another as Jesus commanded. May God bless you and keep you as you continue to walk in his will.
    I have enjoyed myself here and feel blessed to call you Brothers in Christ.
    In Christ’s Love, Grace, and Peace,
    Kevin

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