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Monday, January 19, 2009

An Encouraging Word

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:18-20 (New American Standard Bible)

I love it when lives are changed for Christ within a different culture. Unfortunately when it’s come to foreign missions I’ve heard mostly about the need and seldom about any positive results. But I recently read in December 13/20 issue of “World Magazine” a story about a Coptic Christian priest named Zakaria Botros who has taken to the airwaves of the Middle East and is bringing Christ to the Muslim world.

Brother Botros, an Egyptian, is 75 years old and began this ministry in an internet chat room where he engaged many Muslims concerning their faith. He was finding he was leading many of them to faith in Jesus Christ. His live radio program is broadcast in Arabic to an estimated 60,000,000 Muslims and in 2008 began to be translated into Turkish and Farsi to be aired in Iran. While he has an enormous following, he has many enemies. Jihadist groups have placed a $60,000,000 bounty on him to be paid for his death. Needless to say, Botros moves around a lot, keeping his locations mostly secret for his and his radio staff’s protection. He does a good job as during a live call in window one frustrated enemy said, “I want to kill you and I want to cut your neck but I cannot find you.”

With the world in the shape it’s in I sometimes wonder if the Gospel is having any effect. I am deeply encouraged when I hear stories like this. This story is just one of thousands of positive reports of Christ working around the world. It is an encouragement to myself that every nation, ethnic group and language will be represented in the New Kingdom, both those who have come to faith and those yet to do so. God is working around the world through Missions and courageous men and women who present the Good News of Jesus Christ to the nations. Brother Botros was asked what he feared. His reply was stunning; “Fear? My dictionary does not contain the word ‘fear.’ I believe in God and I believe that the epistle of Ephesians says we are created in Jesus Christ for a plan, which was engaged from the early beginning. No one can cut it, and when it is completed no one can continue it.”