I had the huge privilege of meeting a young woman from Algeria who is a new Christian. Her family is Muslim, and she is the first Christian in it. I don’t know whether this was ‘co-incidence’ or part of God’s plan, but four days later, in a different country, I met a young woman from Morocco who is a Muslim. Both of them have married men from other countries and have left their own culture to live away from the land of their birth.
At the age of twenty-one I married and immediately left my own country to go and live overseas. I know now that this provided the opportunity for me to meet people of real faith in Jesus and I was able to hear and understand the gospel. I left behind my family’s way of thinking and was ‘the first to hope in Christ’.
The Muslim lady is living in York and told me that her friend has converted from Islam and is now a Christian. As a result, the Muslim lady has been to church three times. She spent two hours talking to the leader of a church. So new is she to Christian culture that she didn’t know the title we give to the leader of an Anglican church.
She volunteered two pieces of information about why Muslims believe different things from Christians about Jesus. They don’t believe God has a son, and they don’t believe that Jesus is dead, but that he went up in the sky. As I shared what we Christians believe about Jesus, she told me something so exciting, and yet so challenging. She said “I have noticed that all the the Christians I’ve met seem to have more peace than Muslims”.
I shared with her that Christians also get troubled by such things as all the bad news in the world, but Jesus has told us to bring all our burdens to Him and let Him carry them for us. I gave her my personal testimony of coming to faith at the age of thirty and the reality of what Jesus has done in my life.
In my Bible reading plan I have just come to Ephesians Chapter 1, and realised that whole chapter is as up-to-date as the latest news report we read on our iPads or phones. So many people are like the apostle Paul and the early converts in the Church. They are ‘the first to hope in Christ’. Maybe they have been born into a pagan culture and they have met missionaries who brought them the good news of Jesus. But so often today, like me, they have been exposed to living in a different culture and their family traditions have been challenged and found to be false. They have chosen to put their faith in Jesus, asked Him to forgive all their sins, and committed themselves to follow Him for the rest of their life.
Prayer: Loving, heavenly Father, we thank You for revealing Your Son to us and sending Your Holy Spirit to live within us. We thank You for those who introduced us to Jesus as Saviour, Redeemer and Lord. We thank You that You have adopted us and we are now beloved sons and daughters with every blessing in Jesus. Amen.
"So that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
Ephesians 1:12-14, ESV
Liz Griffin lived for 20 years as an expatriate in South Africa, Bahrain and Japan, as her husband Paul worked for an international oil company. Paul and Liz became involved with Ellel Ministries in 1991 as part of the ministry team and joined the full-time team at Ellel Grange in 1995. Paul and Liz teach and minister to those seeking healing in their lives and together have written two books, 'Anger - How Do You Handle It' and 'Hope and Healing For The Abused'.
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