Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fasting During Ramadan

Today marks the beginning of Ramadan. For the next 30 or so days, Muslims will fast all things pleasurable during the daylight hours. As soon as the sun sets, then all is permissible again until it rises the next day. The main items that the Muslims I work with here are talking about are food and cigarettes as access to "pleasurable" things are pretty limited here.

I've felt convicted to follow the 30 day fast as well for two reasons. First, I'm really starting to sense some major life changes after this time in Iraq. So, I'll be praying during my fasting time for direction and confirmation. I also look forward to taking another step closer in intimacy with God as this will not be easy and will produce more reliance on Him. Fasting is one very important spiritual discipline that Christians unfortunately have for a large part lost. I for one have definitely learned and experienced its many benefits to my Christian walk and look forward to looking back on this experience down the road to see where God takes me.

Second, I see it as a witnessing tool to be able to relate to Muslims. One that I work with was blown away that me and Mimi are waiting until marriage for sex. He said I was the first Christian he has met that is living what Christians say they believe. As sad as the truth of that statement is, it has opened the door of respect to allow me to have spiritual conversations with him. When I told him that I was planning on doing the Ramadan fast, he said I couldn't do it because I'm not Muslim, meaning that I would not have Allah's help so no way I could do it. I replied that Christ will give me the strength to do it being He is calling me to do it. I look forward to giving Christ glory throughout this time.


Debbie said...

Good for you, your fasting will be a great witness to the Muslims you are working with. Thanks for the personal comment about Camp Victory at Right Truth.

I'm very concerned about Iran and from what I hear, the US may be planning something very soon. We can't keep letting them get away with aiding our enemies and killing innocent Americans, Iraqis. Their involvement in Syria, Lebanon, Hezbollah, and more are all dangerous for the US and for Israel.

Shannon W. said...

bro, I love that your Muslim friend will be able to see Christ's strength in you to make the fast every day! I will be praying that he gets a visit from 'Isa' telling him that He will give your friend strength too, if he but just asks!

it never ceases to amaze me how Islam is NOT the antithesis of Christianity, ie not being the complete opposite. It is rather close and just another example of how Satan tries to just bump us off the path of truth a little. Isa is a prophet and a holy man and a healer to the Muslims. And if your friend and others can see that Isa is also a Strengthener and Comforter, it will open them to the idea that He is also Savior and King! And if they come to confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9), then I shall enjoy Arabic coffee with them every day for eternity.

I can picture it now: me a WASP (which I'm not necessarily proud of) and an Arab sitting in one of the many beautiful, exciting markets in the New Jerusalem in Heaven, sipping on delicious strong Arabic coffee, listening to bagpipes, and taking in the sights and sounds as angels walk arm-in-arm with humans through the bazaar. We will worship God together as we talk about how thankful we are that Christ died for us, purchasing our entry into Eternal Life! It's gonna be so much fun!

Cajun Tiger said...

As always you give such great word pictures!

Islam has lots of similarities to Christianity and Judaism b/c for the first half of his "ministry" Mohammed got a lot of his ideas from them. That all stopped when the Jews in a village near Medina refused to help him attack Mecca. Then he turned on them as well and slaughtered the whole town.

nicole said...

that is so awesome and inspiring, shane. please keep us posted.