Can Jesus bear our burden?

GOSPEL TRACT FOR MUSLIMS (prepared by Bibles for Mideast)

The book of Genesis in the Bible tells of Almighty God creating man out of dust in His image, after His likeness, and giving him life through the Word to be the overseer of His creation. He named him Adam, and through Adam, He created Eve.

God had a definite plan to glorify His name through humanity, and for that He needed them to be fully surrendered to Him.

To obey each and every law of God is total surrender. But Adam and Eve disobeyed, ate of the tree of which God commanded them not to eat. So they sinned.

Suppose you hire new help for your business or household. That person is obliged to obey your rules. Do you appreciate it if they do their own thing instead, and make friends with your enemies? You will fire them immediately and make sure they don’t get any support from your colleagues or friends.

If God were like us, He would have completely removed Adam and Eve from His creation, but He didn’t. Instead, He sent him out from the Garden as punishment, where they could no longer live in the ease of fellowship with Him.

“You will have to work hard and sweat to make the soil produce anything, until you go back to the soil from which you were formed. You were made from soil, and you will become soil again." (Gen. 3:19)

God also promised the Messiah, Jesus, who is the Word from God, Son of Mary, illustrious in the world and hereafter as the deliverer from sin.

The Qur’an says: “Lo! the likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam. He created him out of dust, then He said to him: ‘Be!’ and he was. (This is) the Truth from your Lord. (O Muhammad), so be not of those who doubt” (Qur’an 3:59-60).

How is Jesus ‘the likeness’ of Adam?

Adam was created as a faultless man, in God's likeness and image (Gen. 1:26; 5:1), and crowned with glory and honor (Ps. 8:5). The Prophet David says in the book of Zabur (Psalms): “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings, and crowned him with glory and honour. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.” (Psalms 8:4-8)

The Qur'an 2:34 says that God asked the angels to prostrate themselves before Adam. All fell prostrate except Iblis (Lucifer), who demurred through pride and so became Satan. Satan’s promptings enticed Adam and Eve to disobey God and eat the fruit of the forbidden tree.

When they sinned against God, they lost their glory and honor and became aware they were naked (Gen. 3:7). In other words, they lost their likeness to God and took on the ‘likeness of sin’. Adam, at 130 years of age, had a son “in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth” (Gen. 5:3). So Seth had to have been born with the likeness of sin.

The Prophet David says in Zabur: “Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalms 51:5).

The Injil (the New Testament of the Bible) states very clearly that “there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But a promised remedy follows immediately: “They are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus”.

In several places the Qur’an states: “No burdened soul can bear another’s burden” (35:18, 39:7, 53:38). That can only mean that only an unburdened soul can bear another’s burden.

Both the Bible and the Qur’an teach that Jesus was born faultless. “He [the Archangel Gabriel] said [to Mary]: I am only a messenger of your Lord, that I may bestow on you a faultless son” (Qur’an 19:19). The Hadith (the record of Mohammed’s words and actions) also teaches that all the children of Adam are touched by Satan at their birth, except Jesus, son of Mary.

The Bible says this about Jesus: “For it was fitting that we should have such a High Priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26).

 “Can any of you prove I am guilty of sinning?” Jesus once asked the Jews. “Am I not telling the truth? Then why don’t you believe me?  Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you don’t hear is that you don’t belong to God.” (John 8:46-7)

Yes! Jesus was faultless by birth and life. He can carry the weight of sin from each and every person in this world.

Jesus said in the New Testament: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The Prophet Yahya (John the Baptist) was born to be a witness to Jesus, declaring, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

In the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians we read: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). No doubt! Jesus took all our sins and died on the cross to give us eternal life. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins” (Eph. 1:7).

The letter to the Hebrews says it this way: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:1-2)

The Qur’an records Jesus as saying: “And (I come) confirming that which was before me of the Torah (the law of Moses), and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to God and obey me” (Qur’an 3:50).

“When Jesus came with clear proofs [of God’s sovereignty], he said: ‘I have come unto you with wisdom, and to make plain some of that concerning which you differ. So keep your duty to God, and obey me’ ” (Qur’an 43:63).

What do you think? Isn’t it a must to obey Jesus by accepting him as Lord and Savior?

The children of Israel denied Jesus, even though they were the chosen people of God. So they lost eternity. Looking for a warrior king savior, they were blind to the truth that Jesus Christ was the very Messiah promised by their own prophets.

What about you? Accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. He is Christ, the Son of God and God in flesh.

Miraculously sending His Word, the Lord radically saves Islamic scholar and teacher

Report: Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast

Abu Omar (name changed for security reasons) had been for many years a religious scholar and highly-respected citizen of the Middle East. He taught and preached the Koran, the Hadith and Sharia law in mosques and Islamic schools.

While getting into his car after evening prayers in the mosque, he noticed a piece of paper stuck to his car window. He pulled it off, climbed into his vehicle, put on the light and began reading it. 

“The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23)

Furious, he crumpled it up. Then, taking the rifle he kept in his car, he stepped out to see if he could find the person who had left the tract. Seeing no one, he threw the paper out and drove away.

On the way home, he stopped in front of a shopping mall. A piece of paper flew towards him and stuck to his clothes: the same bible verse! Tearing it up, he stuffed it in the nearest waste bin.

After shopping, he came back to his car and as he opened the door, pieces of paper blew towards him from the garbage can—the same ones he had ripped up and thrown there. Enraged, he gathered them up and set them ablaze with his lighter.

As he drove home he felt something on his left shoulder. He pulled it off, and glanced to see a piece of burnt paper. He stopped the car to read it: “The wages of sin is death”. A terrible fear came to his mind. With other Muslims, Abu believed in two recording angels, one recording good deeds, and the other bad. He presumed ‘Atid’, the one recording all of his sins and bad deeds, sat on his left shoulder.

Suddenly he felt something on his right shoulder. There he found another scrap of burnt paper. Taking it off he read: “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” He also held the Islamic belief that another angel named ‘Raqib’ rested on his right shoulder recording his good deeds. In frightened wonderment, he placed the pieces of gospel tract in the dashboard.

Abu Omar could now barely sleep at night. He began pondering the biblical teachings on Jesus Christ. His habit had been to get up at dawn to go to the mosque for morning prayer.

While sleeping fitfully one night, Jesus appeared to him in a dream and said, “Stop being afraid! I am the first and the last: I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forever and always. And I hold the keys to Death and Hell.” (Rev 1:17-18)

Abu Omar saw his nail-pierced hands and knew he had to be Jesus.  He rose from the bed immediately and prostrated himself before Him. When he found the courage to raise his head, the Lord disappeared. He then heard the call for morning prayer from the mosque, but didn’t go.

He rushed to his car to retrieve the pieces of burnt paper from the dash board. On the back of one, he found a mobile number and calling it, connected with Pastor Steve of Bibles for Mideast.

Pastor Steve shared the gospel, and Abu Omar accepted Jesus as his own personal savior and Lord. The pastor later presented  him with a bible, and invited him to join in the 21 days fasting and prayer called by the Assembly of Loving God (ALG) Church. Abu also began preparing for baptism.

Pastor Steve’s secret underground house church of Bibles for Mideast is in an area highly hostile to Christianity.  Please hold all these believers in your prayers.

Carry and read the Bible as if it were a mobile: Pope Francis

March 5, 2017 (Reuters):  Pope Francis on Sunday called on people to carry and read the bible with as much dedication as they do their mobile phones.

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Speaking to pilgrims in a rain-soaked St. Peter’s Square, the 80-year-old pope asked: “What would happen if we treated the bible like we do our mobile phones?”

He continued: “If we turned around to retrieve it when we forgot it? If we carried it with us always, even a small pocket version? If we read God’s messages in the bible like we read messages on the mobile phone?”

Francis called the comparison “paradoxical” and said it was meant to be a source of reflection, adding that bible reading would help people resist daily temptations.

The pope poses regularly for 'selfies' with pilgrims who flock to his weekly audiences wielding smartphones, while his English- and Spanish-language Twitter handles have more than 23 million followers.

Francis last year called the internet, social media and text messages “a gift of God” if used wisely.

“It is not technology which determines whether or not communication is authentic, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal,” he said.

But in 2015 Francis told a young girl he was embarrassed to admit that he did not know how to use computers and was an overall “disaster” with technology. He has also said smartphones should be banned from the family dinner table and children should not have computers in their rooms.

The pope spoke during his last public appearance this week. He and top members of the Roman Curia, or its central bureaucracy, will begin their annual Lenten retreat later on Sunday that will run through Friday.

Testimony of Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast, a former Muslim

At the request of many, Pastor Paul tells his story

I was born into an ancient, prominent and orthodox Muslim family in South Asia, the fourth child of a retired higher secondary school principal. Besides being a former principal, my father was an Islamic scholar and President of the Jama’ath (parish of the mosque) Committee.

More than 4000 Muslim families lived in our area, and some Hindus in the suburbs. As far as I know there were no Christians at all not even in the schools where I studied.

The mosque we attended is around 1,000 years old. My ancestors spread the religion of Islam in that area and established the mosque very close to our ancestral home. My grandfather founded the present mosque. The land, revenue and auxiliary records of the mosque were kept in my father’s name well into my boyhood. 

I was brought up to love and highly regard my family as well as Islamic teachings and practices. I did my religious education before regular schooling. No bad habits existed in our family life. As a young man, I even wrote and published a book on the Qur’an.

I went to a Christian institution for my college education, so the vast majority of my classmates were Christian. As the only Muslim, I at first had difficulty mingling with others there, but gradually became close and intimate with many.

This, however, led me into evil associations and wretched habits. I started smoking, began to use drugs and alcohol and became known as rowdy in the city. Damaging reports and ugly pictures concerning me began to appear in the newspapers. As a result, my parents, brothers, sisters and dear ones became greatly concerned.  It began to look like I’d have to discontinue my education.

By that time I’d become addicted to drugs and alcohol. My body began to shiver and I became very tense if I did not use drugs at the habitual times. I was even on the police watch list. When I had money in my pocket, I had lots of friends, ready for any adventure. But when my parents cut off the money they’d been giving me regularly, those ‘friends’ became my sworn enemies. I lost my peace of mind.

At this juncture, some missionary students gathered enough courage to come and talk to me. They claimed that Jesus is the Son of God, and was crucified for all humanity. He rose from the dead and He is the King of Peace, they told me. They further claimed that if one believes in Him and confesses all sins, he will become a new person.

I could not even imagine that Prophet Isa (Jesus) could be the son of God, or that he was crucified and rose from the dead. So I in turn exhorted them to reach heaven by believing in Islam, which I told them is the true religion. I had heated arguments with them on many occasions. They could only find fault with my wretched life, but could not prevail over my arguments or prove my ideas wrong.

But without losing heart, one day they brought some gospel tracts.  They were based on the bible which I considered forbidden, for it is abrogated. [Most Muslims believe the teachings of Mohammed override, or abrogate, earlier Christian and Jewish scriptures—Ed]

Hence I went into a rage. The thought that the advice I had given them earlier regarding Islam had made no impact on them only increased my anger. I tore the tracts into pieces. With despicable words I threw the pieces into their faces and threatened to destroy them if they continued misleading others.

It was a serious matter that students of the priesthood were publicly insulted and persecuted, especially within the walls of a Christian institution. It looked almost certain that I would be expelled from the college. I could also expect trouble from many other directions.

The next day I went to the college armed with weapons and intent on using them. When I entered the class, the missionary students ran up to me and embraced me with love and joy. They surprised me by expressing regret for having caused me mental distress. Had the college been run by my religion and I found myself in the place of those missionaries, I know my reactions would have been very different. I was so touched by their love, kindness and gentle nature. The Holy Spirit, which reminds us about sin, righteousness and judgment, began to work upon me.

That night I found a piece of paper in a text book in my room. On it was written, “The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came to the world to save sinners, for whom I am the foremost” (1 Tim 1:15). On the reverse side of the paper I read, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23). I did not know they were verses from the bible. But I was overcome.

All the sins and violations I had committed since childhood began to appear before me as if on a screen. I recognized all my iniquities, big and small. Each one of them seemed to transform into a blister on my body. The blisters burst open and became sores. The flesh and bones, from where pus began to flow out, became very hot and began to melt. Worms were competing to get at the marrow of the bones. The pain was unbearable. The stench could not be described. I was being pulled into a bottomless pit. There was nobody to save me.

“God, save me!” I cried out.

Then a man, holy, white and bright, descended from heaven and touched me. I understood it was Jesus. For a moment I closed my eyes with heavenly joy, for His touch cooled my body and mind. When I opened my eyes, all the blisters and sores had disappeared. It was as if I’d been washed with perfumed ointment. But Jesus, who came in bright and spotless, was now infected with blisters and sores. Pus and discharge was flowing out of them and worms and maggots roamed freely on his body. He now appeared as an abominable, foul-smelling creature.

 “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our inequities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Christ had taken on himself all my afflictions. I should have been condemned to death for all my sins.  But I saw Christ taking on all my sins and being crucified in my place, for my sake.

Earlier I had never believed that Christ had been crucified. I used to ask how our sins could be washed away by his death, even if he was crucified. But now I was convinced how and for what Christ died.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

I saw Jesus break the tomb and rise up from the dead, glorious and resplendent. I fell at his feet crying, “My Lord and my God!”

I do not know whether this experience was a dream, a revelation or a vision. I wasn’t a believer in anything like this. But it transformed me into a Christian.  It enabled me to throw away the old man and become new. I received joy and peace, the like of which I had never known before.

I shared my conversion of mind and my new joy that same night to my parents. Although they listened, they tried to dissuade me, saying this was only a trick played by Iblis (Satan).  But I was convinced that the loving God had saved me through His only Son, and that I would inherit eternal life.

I was baptized in water as soon as I accepted Him as my personal Savior. The Lord also baptized me with the Holy Spirit and granted me the gifts of the Spirit.

But mine has by no means been an easy path. Some of the community I formerly belonged to felt that my accepting Jesus Christ was an act of betrayal and they tried to take revenge. Someone once sprinkled sulfuric acid on me.

One day, I was narrating my Christian experiences to some of my friends near the mosque. Suddenly one of my cousins stabbed me, splitting my lower jaw. Everyone thought I might die. But God saved me and made me a witness again at that place.

My cousin began planning another way to kill me, and try to make it look like a suicide.  While tying a noose for me to the top of a tree, a gust of wind knocked the branch he was on to the ground. We found him there near death, and I instinctively wished he would die. But Jesus ordered me to love and nurse him as He had loved me when I was His enemy. He was taken to the hospital and was in plaster for more than six months. When he recovered, he accepted Jesus as his Savior.

When yet another person became a Christian, the Jama’ath (mosque) authorities chained me, shaved my head, and locked me in an underground cellar. When I tried to escape, they sprayed me with acid. I was beaten up several times and even lost a few teeth. I considered these experiences as lucky tips in the name of Jesus and as a symbol of my spiritual fervor.

The Lord visited a few more people who had caused me trouble, and most of them have come to believe in Jesus.

I have two sons and one daughter. A terrorist group once sent a division out to destroy my entire family. Their commander managed to make my children consume poison, and all three were taken to hospital in critical condition. My daughter remained in a coma for close to 30 days. Her remarkable recovery so resembled a resurrection from the dead that the man who had wanted to kill them became a follower of Jesus Christ. He has dedicated himself to working as a missionary and winning many souls unto His fold.

Pastor Paul in one of his demolished churches

Pastor Paul in one of his demolished churches

Another time, I and one of my assistant pastors were severely beaten in a village by a mob of radicals who also burned down our prayer hall. God alone has saved me, over and over.

Recently our Lord enabled me to overcome a murder attempt. Someone ran their motorcycle into me intentionally, trying to make it look like an accident. While I was in the hospital recovering, my wife and children faced murder threats at home as well, but God preserved us all miraculously.

I must mention that my parents, brothers and sisters were all devout Muslims. Most of the seniors are Hajjis (men who have made a pilgrimage to Mecca) and Hajjummas (women who have done so). Having let Jesus Christ into my life, I was ex-communicated and for quite some time was not allowed to have any contacts with my parents and extended family.

I and my wife felt sad about this, and brought it to the Lord in our prayers. Gradually, I began to re-establish links with my people through letters and telephone calls. Finally, a day came when they had accepted the fact that I worship Jesus Christ, visited my place and stayed with us and our children. I spoke to them about the love of God. We have maintained good contacts since then.

Two days before his death, my father had a vision of Jesus with the marks left by the nails on His hands and feet, and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. My mother too became a believer shortly before she died.

My deep desire is to take the gospel to the unreached, especially to the world of Islam, and win them to the salvation of Jesus Christ.

Interesting facts about the Bible

╬    Total chapters in the Bible — 1189
╬    Chapters in the Old Testament — 929
╬    Chapters in the New Testament — 260
╬    Longest chapter — Psalms 119
╬    Shortest chapter — Psalm 117
╬    Center chapter — Psalm 118
╬    Chapters before Psalm 118 — 594
╬    Chapters after Psalm 118 — 594
╬    Adding the chapters up: a total of 1188 (594+594) + 1 (the center chapter, Ps. 118) = 1189
╬    Center verse — Psalm 118:8
╬    Psalm 118:8 — It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man
╬    Most comforting chapters — Psalm 23, John 14
╬    Love chapter — 1 Corinthians 13
╬    Faith chapter — Hebrews 11
╬    New Testament Formation — Acts 2
╬    Alike chapters — 2 Kings 19 and Isaiah 37
╬    Longest verse — Esther 8:9
╬    Shortest verse — John 11:35
╬    Most Precious verse — John 3:16
╬    Saddest verse — Mark 15:34
╬    Grandest verse — Romans 8:11
╬    The garden verse — Num 11:5
╬    The metal verse — Ezek 22:19
╬    Word ‘God’ occurs — 4,370 times
╬    Word ‘Jehovah’ [Yahweh] occurs — 6,855 times
╬    Word ‘Lord’ occurs — 7,736 times
╬    Longest word — Maher-shalal-hash-baz (Isaiah 8:1)
╬    The greatest Word — JESUS
╬    The Bible gives all glory and honor to the Heavenly Father.  Jesus Christ (Yeshua, Messiah) is hidden in the Old Testament and revealed in the New Testament.
╬    The 66 books of the Bible were written by the Holy Spirit through some 50 different authors over a period of about 1,600 years (1,500 BC to about 100 years AD).
╬    The system of chapters was introduced in AD 1227 by Cardinal Hugo de S Caro, while the verse notations were added in 1551 by Robertus Stephanus, after the advent of printing. 
╬    The first translation of the English Bible was initiated by John Wycliffe and completed by John Purvey in 1380.
╬    A Bible in the University of Gottingen is written on 2,470 palm leaves.
╬    The Bible devotes some 500 verses to prayer, less than 500 to faith, but over 2,000 deal with money and possessions.
╬    The Bible can be read aloud in 70 hours.
╬    There are 8,674 different Hebrew words in most versions of the Bible, 5,624 different Greek words, and 12,143 different English words
╬    According to statistics from Wycliffe International, the International Bible Society and  Gideons International, the number of new Bibles sold, given away, or otherwise distributed in the USA alone is approximately 168,000 each day.
╬    Gabriel and Michael are the only angels mentioned by name in the Bible.
╬    The word ‘baptize’ and variations of it appear 77 times in the Bible. 
╬    The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the Book of Revelation are considered to represent Conquest, Slaughter, Famine, and Death.
╬    There are 49 different foods mentioned in the Bible.
╬    Almonds and pistachios are the only nuts mentioned in the Bible.
╬    Salt is mentioned more than 30 times in the Bible
╬    Seven suicides are recorded in the Bible.
╬    Voltaire, French philosopher and atheist, was convinced he would live to see the destruction of the Bible and its removal from the face of the earth. Instead, after his death, the Bible Society bought the house in which he was born and it remains one of the biggest sales centers of the Bible.