Remember September 11th – About the Muslims – Part 2

December 13, 2019 by  
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By Dianne E. Butts –

Continuing from last month, as we mark the tenth anniversary of the attack on America on September 11, 2001, here are two more Questions and Answers excerpted from Dear America: A Letter of Comfort and Hope to a Grieving Nation (still available on Amazon.com):

Q: Muslims say they worship the same God as Christians and Jews. Does the Allah of Islam differ from the God of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible? 

A: Yes. Here are three big differences:

1. Muslims believe Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus were prophets, but Mohammed was the final and greatest prophet. Islam lowers Jesus to just another prophet and just another man equal with Abraham, Moses, and the others. But Jesus was not just a prophet—Jesus was and is the Son of God!

2. Muslims believe each person is attended by two angels, one to record their sins and one to record their good deeds. The good deeds are weighed against the bad to determine a person’s eternity. But the Bible clearly teaches that even one sin brings about the consequence of death. No amount of good deeds can “undo” our sin. The only way to eternal life after sin is to accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

3. In the days following the Attack on America, I heard a Muslim gentleman call in to a radio talk show and explain that his religion is “The Third Great Religion.” He said the Jewish faith was the first great religion, Christianity was the second, and Islam is the third, implying that religion “evolves” and older religions become outdated and are replaced. Muslims believe their Koran is the holiest book and supersedes all previous revelations of God (meaning the Koran supersedes the Bible).

However, when Jesus hung dying on the cross…, his final words were “It is finished” (John 19:30). There is nothing left to be done or said or written.

Judaism sets the stage for Christianity. Christianity fulfills Judaism. There is no “Third Great Religion.” There isn’t even a “Second Great Religions.” There is only one true religion, and that is Judaism fulfilled in Christianity.

End of story. It is finished.

Q: Was the Attack on America part of the “End Times” Christians talk about? And why do Christians get so excited about those dreaded “End Times”? 

A: I don’t know if September 11 was specifically a part of the “End Times.” But in a sense, everything that occurs is leading us to and moving us toward that time.

The “End Times” refer to the final seven years of human history described in the Bible in books such as Daniel and Revelation. This will be the most dreadful time, “For then there will be great distress, unequaled form the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again” (Matthew 24:21). But Christians, as crazy as it sounds, get excited about the End Times for several reasons:

–  The End Times culminate with the return of Jesus Christ.

–  The End Times is the final battle between God and evil, and God wins!

–  Following the End Times, God “will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). That’s a lot to look forward to! But the only people who will enjoy this eternal peace in heaven with God are those who choose to trust him, love him, and follow him here in this life. Are you among us?

Remember September 11th – About the Muslims – Part 1

November 8, 2019 by  
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By Dianne E. Butts –

Next month will mark the tenth anniversary of the attack on America on September 11, 2001. In the days following September 11th, many of us were looking for answers. And we had a lot of questions.

We knew little about Muslims, what they believe, or the religion of Islam. I set out to find answers to some of my questions. And in the days following the attacks, as a writer what could I do but write? I ended up with my small book, titled Dear America: A Letter of Comfort and Hope to a Grieving Nation (still available on Amazon.com).

One chapter is a Q&A section. This month and next I’ll share some of those questions and answers.

Q: Everyone claims their religion is the true religion. How can we know what is true? 

A: The Bible actually proves itself. How? First God tells us what he is going to do, then he does it.

For example, in Ezekiel, God promised to restore Israel as a nation saying, “I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD” (Ezekiel 27:14, emphasis mine).

God tell us what he will do before he does it for two reasons: 1) so that we will know he is the one who did it, and 2) so when we see things going on around us, we won’t be afraid because we know God is at work bringing about his promises.

Another example is in Genesis 3:15 where God promised to send a man (the offspring of the woman) who would crush Satan. This promise was fulfilled when Jesus was born, died on the cross, and was resurrected from the dead destroying Satan’s death grip on us and paying the penalty of death for sin.

A third example is the birth of Jesus Christ being foretold in Isaiah 9 and his death being described in great detail in Isaiah 53. But here’s the kicker—the prophet Isaiah lived and wrote more than 700 years before the birth of Christ!

Only the True God can foretell these things and then see them through to completion.

Q: Who are the Muslims? 

A: Muslims are the descendants of Ishmael and those who follow the religion of Islam.

God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham promising him several things: a son and countless descendants, that he would be the father of many nations, he would be given a land (the “Promised Land,” Israel), and God would bless all the people of the earth through him.

When Abraham and his wife, Sarah, remained childless, Sarah, according to ancient customs, gave Abraham her maidservant to bear him an heir. Hagar bore him Ishmael.

However, Ishmael was not the son of the promise. Later, Sarah bore Abraham a son, Isaac, and God made it clear that Isaac, the son with Abraham’s wife, was the son of the promise (see Genesis 17:18-21). Abraham’s descendants through Isaac are the Jews, God’s chosen people.

The Muslims, however, believe they are God’s chosen people descended through Ishmael, and cite their own book, the Koran. Can you now see why there is such a great conflict between these two peoples?

Q: Where did the religion of Islam come from?

A: Around 570 AD, Mohammed was born near the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. When he was 40, Mohammed claims he had a vision of the archangel Gabriel in a cave near Mecca. Mohammed wrote down the instructions he received and these writing form the basis of the Koran (also spelled Quran).

The word “Islam” means “submission,” indicating submission to Allah, the Muslim’s word for God.

Whatever Mohammed saw and received, though, was not from the True God if it does not lead followers to the True God—and Jesus Christ is God come “in the flesh.”

Independence Day Brings Echoing Strains of Taps

September 19, 2019 by  
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By Dianne E. Butts –

The Fourth of July brings many images to mind as we celebrate our independence and the founding of our beloved country. The rocket’s red glare. Bombs bursting in air. Or today’s edition of those images: fireworks.

American flags fluttering from houses. Parades. Veterans. Everything patriotic. God and country.

Not far from our thoughts are many, many veterans who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. If we are still and listen carefully, we can hear echoing through time or our thoughts or a not too distant cemetery, the familiar strains of “Taps.”

A lone bugler stands over a funeral and puffs out the song perfectly. Military personnel stand at attention. A flag is draped over the casket. Hands cover hearts. A tear comes to every eye.

We’ve all heard it. We may even sing along the familiar tune and the first few words: Day is done. Gone the sun…

But beyond that, do you know the words? Did you know there are actually several verses to “Taps”? Here are the surprisingly comforting words to this familiar “funeral song”:

“Taps”

Day is done, gone the sun,

From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;

All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

 

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,

May the soldier or sailor, God keep.

On the land or the deep, Safe in sleep.

 

Fading light, dims the sight,

And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.

From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.

 

Thanks and praise, for our days,

‘Neath the sun, ‘neath the stars, ‘neath the sky;

As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

 

Sun has set, shadows come,

Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds.

Always true to the promise that they made.

 

While the light fades from sight,

And the stars gleaming rays softly send,

To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.

 

(As found on http://www.countrygoldusa.com/taps.asp, May 28, 2007.)

“Battle with the Birds”

August 9, 2019 by  
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By Dianne E. Butts –

A family of birds is trying to build a nest underneath our second-story deck. We’ve had nests built there before. We wouldn’t mind it so much if the birds were better house guests. But their, eh-hem, “droppings” run down the windows of the basement-level family room and mud and sticks litter the porch. And they are not quiet neighbors.

All this meant my husband took on the challenge this year of discouraging them from build a nest underneath our deck. Turns out, just knocking their nest down once or twice was not going to be near enough to discourage them from building there.

My husband has been knocking their nest-building down and sweeping it off our porch, several times a day for at least a week. Every time he does, he gets scolded by that Father bird.

We have an odd board jutting across the bottom of the deck at an angle. I guess Mr. and Mrs. Bird think this is the perfect platform to put their nest on. Tucked up high, next to the house. A nicely protected location. After knocking it down numerous times, we finally found a garden gnome to set in its place. Problem solved, right? Nope. The Birds just moved down the board and started building again in the next open slot. Just as high, now not against the house, but apparently the second best location.

I raided the shed and we ended up setting all my little fake garden friends (a frog, squirrel, angel, two gophers (one with sunglasses), a rabbit) and several plastic pots along the rest of the board. The Birds keep building on top of the frog. Beside the gnome. Around the newspaper I wadded and stuffed up there to take up the space.

Persistent little creatures, aren’t they?!

I’ll admit it. At first I felt sorry for the Birds. Would they find another place to build and raise their young? I don’t feel sorry so much for them anymore. They have the whole wide world to build their nest in. Why are they so darned insistent in building it under our deck?

I put a nice, solid basket in the backyard aspen tree. It fits perfectly between branches. I put some of their nestings in it. A perfect place for a bird nest if you ask me. But no, they don’t go near it.

I keep wondering isn’t Mrs. Bird getting desperate to lay her eggs? How long can they keep putting off finding a place to build their nest where it will remain intact? Seems like she’d start nagging Mr. Bird by now about finding another location.

But persistent Mr. Bird just keeps building. So here we are still knocking down their efforts several times a day.

Mr. Bird is determined to build Mrs. Bird their dream home under our deck. My husband is just as determined that he will not. I’m betting on my husband to win the battle.

Isn’t it nice to know we have a Father Who is every bit as persistent in pursuing us?

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26, NIV)

Practicing Speaking for Christ

July 2, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Dianne E. Butts-

In a recent online discussion, Christians asked how should we respond to people suffering like those in Japan after the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power incident? Many said we should “just listen” in compassionate silence. Others said we should not quote Scripture. Why? Because we only offer weak platitudes.

Are those our only two options: silence or platitudes?

It seems to me Christians have become far too practiced in silence.

This topic has really become personal to me since the flare ups of war in the Middle East and the natural disasters in Japan. Some may disagree, but I can’t help but think the Lord’s return isn’t far off. We may have precious little time left and I want to make the biggest impact possible for the Kingdom of Christ and bring as many people as possible into Christ’s Kingdom in the time I have left on this earth. Are you with me? Then how are we going to accomplish it?

We start, of course, with prayer: that God will place people in our paths and place us in situations where we can make a difference for Him. But what’s next? Well, we’re going to have to speak up and talk to those people. I’m all for the popular thought by Saint Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” But there comes a time when we need to use words: to challenge wrong thoughts about God, to explain how to accept Christ. It is here, I think, many Christians are terribly unpracticed.

So, I’ve decided it’s time to practice.

After deciding that, there I was the other day visiting with people after a meeting and one man starts speaking his opinion of Christianity. It’s not the first time. I remember a similar conversation when we first met a few years ago. The other day he said a lot of the Christian values the United States has are actually from Rome, like “majority rule.” I told him, “‘Majority rule’ is not a ‘Christian value.’ I’ve never heard that called a ‘Christian value’ before.” He went silent for a while, changed the subject, spoke to others who were there. But before we left he turned back to me and said he still remembered that conversation we had a few years ago and what I said then. I do remember he had pushed me far enough that I started spouting back. (And you have to push me pretty far to get me there!) But what did I say?!

So I said to him, “Uh oh. What did I say?”

He reminded me in that conversation, when he said something about Christians, I said, “I don’t know any Christians who think like that. And I know a lot of Christians.” Then he said something else and I said, “I don’t know any Christians who believe that.” And he said something again and I said, “I don’t know any Christians who act like that.”

He said, “You made me realize I’ve been putting Christians in a box and I shouldn’t because some of them aren’t like what I thought.”

I had no idea I’d spoken up in a good way, let alone said something that made a difference to him, that challenged his thinking, that made him rethink what his understanding of Christian is.

Since then, I’ve only felt bolder about speak up more often. Lord knows, I need the practice.

“But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:19, NIV).

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