The Real Pain

‘While I was wallowing in self-pity, focused on myself, there was a whole world with literally billions of people who had no idea who God is, how amazing He is, and the wonders He has done for us. They are the ones who are really suffering. They don’t know His hope, His peace, and His love that transcends all understanding. They don’t know the message of the Gospel. After loving us with the most humble life and the most horrific death, Jesus told us, “As I have loved you, go and love one another.” How could I consider myself a follower of Jesus if I was not willing to live as He lived? To die as He died? To love the unloved and give hope to the hopeless?’

Nabeel Qureshi, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

This excerpt comes from the story of a remarkable young man named Nabeel Qureshi. Nabeel was raised in a loving and devout Muslim family. But in college he encountered a friend named David Wood, who patiently and lovingly challenged Nabeel’s Muslim faith over a period of years. After a time of intense questioning and research, Nabeel gave his life to following Jesus. His newborn passion for Christ led him to complete several degrees in Christian apologetics and to devote his energy to proclaiming the Christian gospel to a wide variety of audiences.

Nabeel went on to devote the next few years of his life to sharing the love and beauty of the story of Jesus with thousands of people. The devotion he showed us more than matched up to the words he wrote here, in his earlier reflections.

Last year Nabeel was diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer. After a short and vicious battle with stomach cancer, his love-filled labour here in this world came to an end. Nabeel went on to be with Christ on 16 September 2017.

Those of us familiar with his writings are still reeling from the impact of this news. In the midst of the turmoil, I want to point us back to these words and to the essence of the legacy that Nabeel leaves behind.

His short life is the picture of true and total faith that our world needs to see.

His short life is the picture of true and total faith that our world needs to see. He was not afraid to ask the daring and difficult questions about life and reality. He was not afraid of the fact that his honest pursuit of truth might lead to loss of or damage to some of his dearly held comforts and traditions. He was not afraid to enter into the suffering of people around him. He wasn’t afraid to be honest about the pain he saw in them, the same pain he saw in himself.

Above all, he was not afraid to lay himself completely on the line for his Saviour. Heart, soul, emotions, and comforts—he opened himself completely to the world as he suffered physical pain and kept continually pointing to Jesus.

Nabeel’s death is a deep tragedy. But he himself understood that it is not the main tragedy we need to focus on today. Nabeel points us to the true pain of this world—a world that is suffering without true hope. A world in need of both the healing words and the healing hands of the Saviour.

Let us hurt and mourn the loss of this dear brother. Let us pray for his parents, his sister, his wife, and his daughter. And in the midst of this pain, let us be more than ever reminded of the pain that weighed down his heart to carry the good news of Jesus to the end of the earth. Let us be burdened with love for those who need to hear the good news proclaimed and to see that good news incarnated in our deeds of love and mercy. Let us continue his labour of love, knowing that our days are short.

Confessions: 4

 

‘You forgave me! All my guilt is gone.’ Psalm 32:5 NLT

David said, ‘I confessed all my sins to You… And You forgave me! All my guilt is gone.’

Julie Ann Barnhill goes on: ‘If you’re tired of pretending you have it all together, it’s time to act… Secrets only hold power when they’re hidden. Once they’re revealed in the light of God’s love they lose their control.’ Exposing ourselves to others, sharing our hidden selves, can be a freeing experience. Because when others accept us for who we truly are, we experience God’s love for us—He’s willing to accept us, just as we are. But He’s not willing to accept that we should stay that way!

So, here are some things to consider before opening up to someone:

(1) If that person repeats things others have shared in confidence, guess who’s up next for discussion?

(2) Beware of someone who’s apt to offer unsolicited advice, then take offence when it’s ignored.

(3) Stay away from somebody who tries to “fix” you, and tells you not to worry about your secrets.

Instead, look for someone who: (a) has good sense and knows when to “back off” and/or move forward when you’re upset; (b) is up-front about their own struggles; (c) is quick to listen and slow to speak; (d) undergirds their words and counsel with Scriptural truths.

SoulFood: Lev 23:15–22, Acts 2:1–18

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2018

Today’s Readings

Leviticus 23:15–22 (Listen)

15 “You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. 16 You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the LORD. 17 You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as firstfruits to the LORD. 18 And you shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, and one bull from the herd and two rams. They shall be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD. 19 And you shall offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21 And you shall make a proclamation on the same day. You shall hold a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a statute forever in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.

22 “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.”

Acts 2:1–18 (Listen)

2:1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17   “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
  that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
  and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;
18   even on my male servants and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

Sun 20 May, 2018


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