In December 2001, Sheikh Ahmad al Qataani, a leading Saudi cleric, appeared on a live interview on Al-Jazeera satellite television to confirm that Muslims were turning to Jesus in alarming numbers. “Every hour 667 Muslims become Christians,” Al Qataani stated. “Every day 16,000 Muslims become His followers, and every year 6 million Muslims decide to follow Jesus.”
Just check out this link: Leaving Islam
Amazing! Glory to God! This trend continues throughout nations in the Middle East, in southeast Asia, in North Africa, and a great harvest of souls continues to be reaped in China.
As one of the greatest examples, the nation of Iran, perhaps the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism, despite a crackdown on Christians in the land formerly known as Persia, is experiencing explosive growth and harvest. The growth of house churches and secret meetings is staggering. A few short years ago there were reports of 300,000 believers meeting in secret in Iran, but today it is estimated that there are more than 3,000,000 believers in Iran (at last count and growing daily). There is widespread disenchantment with Islam because in Islam there is no love, and no assurance of salvation, but following Jesus means we are assured we can spend all of eternity with Him in paradise.
What about America? Why aren’t we seeing a move of God and a great harvest like that here? I believe it is because the accountability factor is greater. To whom much is given much is required (Luke 12:48). The nations who are experiencing great signs and wonders, and an unprecedented harvest of souls as in the aforementioned examples, are those who have not been given as much but yet are experiencing great persecution. Meanwhile in America we are drawing back and not walking in the all the light we’ve been given.
True disciples don’t draw back during times of persecution, but the compelling love and reality of Jesus Christ keeps them moving forward. In America our materialism keeps us at ease. We must understand, however, that comfort and convenience are not the marks of true disciples and moves of God we see in Scripture, and what we are seeing in other nations. There is a price to pay.
Some might ask, “What then do we do—try and receive persecution?” The Bible tells us that the godly shall suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). If you live right, persecution will come. Our problem is we try to make a good showing in the flesh so that we won’t suffer persecution that comes through the cross of Christ (Gal. 6:12). If more believers in the church in America would simply live godly lives and preach and live the cross, trust me, persecution would manifest.
Listen to the wise words of evangelist Maria-Woodworth Etter, who walked in great power and whose ministry manifested phenomenal signs and wonders right here in America more than a century ago.
The mistake many of us make is to let the persecutions, and threatening and rage, and the powers of this world scare us and frighten us. We are not prepared to suffer. We don’t trust God and go to Him to vindicate His work for us. We too often draw back or compromise and “use wisdom” of the wrong kind, and are just as well satisfied when the power of God is not manifested so much, and the nice, quiet, imminently respectable modern Christians are not offended. We should be praying and looking for God to work more and manifest His power more, to draw back is not pleasing to God, and therefore, the marvels and miracles, the manifestations of His presence and power are to a great degree, lacking. Let us go forward. Meet the conditions. Come at peace with all the brethren with love for God and man. Come with the desire that Jesus may be glorified. Meet together in one accord.
What a word of wisdom for the hour we live in.
The conditions are repentance and prayer, a love for the brethren and all mankind and a desire to see Jesus glorified. Many American believers know they are not living right, not obeying God in fullness, drawing back from a truly consecrated walk, and so their conscience is unclean and defiled. They have no confidence and assurance before God and therefore cannot walk and act in faith. As a result, many prayers go unanswered.
Are You Pleasing God?
Enoch of old had this testimony that he pleased God (see Heb. 11:5). Paul also made this his life’s quest. “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him” (2 Cor. 5:9, NKJV). Jesus did everything to please the Father (John 8:29). Without faith we cannot please Him (Heb. 11:6), but without obedience we cannot have faith.
My little children, let us love not in word and speech, but in action and truth.
By this we know that we are of the truth, and shall reassure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, then we have confidence before God. And whatever we ask, we will receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another as He commanded us (1 John 3:18-23).
As we walk in love and obedience to the light and knowledge we’ve been given, we will have a clean and undefiled conscience. It is then that our confidence and assurance before God will be strengthened. Our faith will then take hold of God and we will begin to see answers to our prayers. His power will flow in you and through you. He will infuse you with fresh courage and boldness, and you will bear witness with signs following of the unmistakable evidence of the resurrection and reality of Jesus Christ. Fear and conviction will fall on the unbelievers.
“Meet the conditions,” says the Lord, “and you will see the increased manifestation of My power.”