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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sh Br: 34

Shiite Muslims – a people God is pursuing to be Jesus’ Bride

shbride@rightbox.com

Dear Friend of His Shiite Bride,

Remember: Ashura continues through this Saturday, Jan. 19. Thank you for praying and fasting with us during this important time.

Then Moses said, "If you don't go with us personally, don't let us move a step from this place. If you don't go with us, how will anyone ever know we have found favor with you? How else will they know we are special and distinct from all other people on earth?" And the Lord replied to Moses, "I will indeed do what you have asked, for you have found favor with me, and you are my friend." Ex. 33:15-17 NLT

Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. Joshua 1:3 NKJV


Many of us who follow Jesus among Shiites need God's favor right now! Will you pray that God goes personally with us this week? Pray that He answers you and us on the Shiites' behalf because we have found favor with Him and He calls you and us His friends. Pray that God gives us the land we set our feet on this week. Pray that we receive the inheritance He has promised among Shiites.

Specifically, pray for these followers of Jesus loving God among Shiites this week:

  • One family plans to move to a Shiite village soon. They need a miracle from God to have His favor there even before they get to meet the Shiite leaders of the village. Pray for them as they prepare their resume this week.
  • A Shiite follower of Jesus is giving candy and little notebooks with scripture verses to Shiite children this Friday and Saturday. She will talk with the children about Jesus, and plans to pray with their mothers.
  • Four young men and their two local guides need special permission from government authorities and Shiite religious authorities to enter sensitive, conservative areas where Shiites are gathering this week for Ashura.
  • A family has been waiting for over 8 months for some important paperwork to go through. Pray that their residency and work permit gets approved this week so they can continue working among Shiites.
  • A little boy needs God's favor to be Jesus' salt and light with his Shiite friends at school.
  • A young woman needs God's continued favor with her Shiite "family of peace." They want to get her a job teaching at a Shiite school, but there are many logistics still to work out.
  • A family is asking for God's power to continue their leadership position joining Him among Shiites.
  • Several men need favor when they pray and talk with Shiite seekers of God at shrines and mosques this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

May these followers of Jesus and others like them have God's favor this week as they join God among Shiites. May many Shiite families hear the Shepherd's voice and enter His sheepfold during Ashura!

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3 comments:

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Anonymous said...

A fascinating blog. Truly haunting Adhan. Amazing pictures. I have never heard of Shi'is who follow Christ of Christianity although I do know many Muslims revere the Savior as a Prophet (particularly Sufis). What does a Shi'i follower of Christ do about the Muslim side of their heritage? Muhammad, 'Ali, Fatima, the Imams, the Qur'an? What is the recommended approach to this for a Shi'i who embraces Christ?

ShBride said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your questions. Let me try to answer them one at a
time:

> What does a Shi'i follower of Christ do about the Muslim side of their heritage? Muhammad, 'Ali, Fatima, the Imams, the Qur'an?

The Shia are a very diverse group of people coming from a wide range of cultures, while embracing an even wider scope of ideology and personal belief. So while your question is a good one, it would be presumptuous to give a single or simple answer to what, in reality, is a response unique to each person.

What we can say is that just as a European, Asian, African or Latin believer walks out their faith in the context of their culture, so the Shia who have understood the mercy of God in Jesus seek to walk out their faith in the context of their community & culture.

What this means practically is that they seek to honor their family, their community and their national heritage of faith. In Europe and America, there is a national heritage of faith. While perhaps only a minority embrace the full religious form of that faith personally, they all live in light of its historic ideals and morals. The same is true of the Shia. Many do not embrace the full religious form, while some do. Those who have come to know the mercy of God in Jesus will walk that out differently, depending on their background.

Sadly, some Shia who have embraced the Gospel are misunderstood and forced out of their community. More often though, some Shia believers, often reflecting the values and views of those who brought them the message of the Gospel, feel the need to leave their family & community OR they adopt ways, language and an identity that provokes their community to reject them. We believe this does not need to be.

This takes us to your second question:

> What is the recommended approach to this for a Shi'i who embraces Christ?

The Gospel makes it clear that it is not the place for one person to determine how another should walk out their faith. The meaning of Christ as Lord is that through Jesus each believer is in relationship with God and is guided by God.

The Gospel is clear in teaching that each believer, to the extent it depends on him/her, is to live in peace with their community. So we have seen many Shia who embrace Christ who honor Imam Ali, Saida Fatima, Imam Hussein and Imam Hassan as models or ideals of devotion in the worship of God and in the service of the community of faith.

Much like the idealized lives of the saints of Christian history, "Ahl al-Beit" or "Family of the Household" are an inspiration to Shia to follow through in faith despite persecution and opposition. However, as much as historical people and prophets inspire, it is our observation that those historic figures do not replace the power and presence of the One who is the Living Lord and
reality in their lives.

In case you got lost in my explanation, simply put, the answer to your questions is:

Give your complete allegiance and worship to God through Jesus, while honoring your heritage, and to the extent it depends on you, live in peace with all men.

May each of us be salt and light to our community!