Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Christian I am, Malay I am too. Interesting Email Banter.

Hi Beloveds,

I just received an interesting email from a Muslim Brother. He posted it up as a comment on my first blog entry. I hope this email will be helpful for any Muslims, or for that matter any others who happen to bump into this blog. Below, i've posted both the email sent by this Brother and also my reply. I'm sure you will be blessed by reading this entry. : )

Shalom Shalom.

Emmanuel.

Zaharan's Email-------------------------------

Hi, I'm a Malaysian Muslim. I have no wish to judge you. At the risk of being thought of as putting my foot in your door, let me raise a few questions. One, almost everybody seems to be anonymous here. Is this because you are afraid of being persecuted, ostracized or oppressed by some people? This anonymity may make some people wonder if you are a poseur, a non-Malay Christian pretending to be a Malay planted here for some secret agenda.

Even if you are a Malay and a Christian why belabor it and wear it on your shirt sleeve while at the same time hiding behind anonymity? A bit clashing, if not overcooked, don't you think? I apologize if I sound judgmental there.

Before becoming a Christian have you done any window-shopping and looking at catalogs of various beliefs like Buddhism, Hinduism, Atheism, Rationalism, Islam itself deeply enough and then decide to buy product A and not B or C? Have you studied comparative religions?

I'm not trying to throw a spanner into your mindset but just to share a common interest, assuming we do share a common interest - religions.

Coming a bit closer to your case, have you read any books touching on the subject of Islam-Christianity such as Ahmad Deedat, the story about Khatijah's cousin who was a Christian when he "anointed" Muhammad, the case about how Islam accepts Christianity but Christianity rejects Islam? I'm not defending or attacking either religion or any other for that matter. My standpoint is always one of impartiality when discussing inter-religious matters. My faith in Islam is a personal thing and it is not a standpoint in order to judge others. I don't believe religions more so God for that matter needs defending like he is your kid sister or can be "attacked" as God by definition is beyond such presumptuous human activities.

Finally I hope you can see this uninvited discussion of mine as an interesting and stimulating view that can only add rigor and vigor to whatever choices you make.

Thank you for your indulgence.

My reply------------------

Shalom Brother,

Hmmm, first question is, who's being anonymous? Emmanuel's my baptism name. Are you referring to the other people who have left comments? I've no control over that Bro. If you have read all my entries, i have not made any attacks on any religions. With my very first entry, any mention about Islam was always my personal experience and possibly not representing all Muslims. I respect every man for his beliefs but i am also here to share the Good News. Also to think that i'm a non-Malay Christian being planted and pretending to be a Malay Christian for some "secret agenda" is a bit far fetched for me lah. Think you've been reading too many spy novels. I'm as straight up as that. I just like to share what i've learnt and insights that God has revealed to me and to share it with whoever is interested.

In reference to your 2nd paragraph... I am proud to tell the world that now i need a Saviour and His name is Yeshua, "YHVH is Salvation". I am proud to say that I am weak and His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I am proud to say that no matter how much good deeds i do, it will never measure up to what He has done for me. And now I am righteous before God Almighty because He has given me the GIFT of Righteousness. It is really not blaring my horn but HIS. Back to anonymity again... Told ya, my baptism name is Emmanuel, "GOD is with us". Clashing... overcook... if you're here NOT to judge me, then i believe you have some really strong and harsh vocabulary for somebody who's not out to judge me.

3rd paragraph... Yes, i've done the "window shopping" bit. In fact, that was a very interesting phase of my journey Home. After doing so, i realized that what i believe in now is NOT religion. It is LIFE itself. Jesus said in John 14:6,
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

I now no longer fall into the category of religion. Religion is following a set of Laws, then being judged based on your deeds on Earth and ensuring there's enough points for me to obtain favour with God so that He can allow me to go to Heaven. But what i have now is undeserved, unmerited favour with my Father because of what He has done for me. Jesus, who's Jewish name is Yeshua, IS a Gift from my Abba Father.

The word "Gift" by definition in the Oxford dictionary is: "a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present."

So, GOD (YHVH) never did want us to do anything for Him but just believe in Him that He IS our Salvation and He has done it through Yeshua. Yeshua completed His mission for His Father, who is now my Father. How? Too simple for any man who is a student of religion to understand... By being punished brutally, then dying on the cross for our Sins and then conquering Satan and death itself and rising victoriously on the 3rd day. For who's benefit? For me.

Here is an excerpt from Paul. Paul a persecutor of the Jews, who was previously known as Saul a Jew, who killed and murdered Jews for the Roman Empire. Remembering now that Yeshua was a Rabbi during His ministry. So, obviously Saul was out to kill Yeshua too. But see how GOD can even use a persecutor of His people to do mighty things for Him. Saul had a direct encounter with Yeshua, the Light of the World, which literally blinded him but afterwhich his life was tranformed and made him God's vessel of His good news. Here is that defining moment in the book of Acts chapter 9:1-15,

1And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him,
Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
7And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
8And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
9And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
10And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
11And the Lord said unto him,
Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
12And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
13Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
15But the Lord said unto him,
Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

After this moment, Saul became a mighty vessel for the Lord. And he preached the Good News everywhere he went. One of the most powerful messages that Paul preached was this, Jesus is THE Gift from GOD. Here we see in the book of Romans chapter 5:15-21, Paul talks about Jesus is our Gift from GOD and because of that we have righteousness before GOD, eternal life and His grace reigning through our lives. Lets take a read here, Romans 5:15-21,

15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of
the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might
grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

We can also see in v.20 that with the law, surely offence will abound. So, how? Well, when there's sin, GOD's grace SUPER abounds!

The Greek manuscript for v.20 for these words, "...did much more abound" is:

ὑπερπερισσεύω

huperperisseuō
hoop-er-per-is-syoo'-o
to super abound: - abound much more, exceeding.

Therefore, i am rest assured that no matter how i falter in this life on earth, His Grace will Super Abound to Save me. I'm sure this will be a point of contention because some will say that we can go "havoc" and still go to Heaven. I'm sure with the Love of GOD in our hearts and Spirit, He will also keep us in check and not go "havoc". It is so comforting to know that my Abba has given me so much. And for what? Because when He made us, He made us in His image and on the day He made us He was well pleased. Only after He made man did He say creation was "VERY GOOD". Prior to creating man, everything was just "good". Read through Genesis 1:1-31.

So, GOD has only intentions of GOOD in our lives. He loves me, you, so, so, much. Can you receive that Love? Besides all this Love that i'm getting from my Daddy God... I get a huge bonus! I get to go to Heaven!

I am also assured of a place in Heaven because of what He has done for me. Jesus says here in John 14:1-4,
1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
2 In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
4 And where I go you know, and the way you know."

So, about throwing spanners in my mindset, how about knowing that i have a Nut called Jesus that's really holding my life together and being blessed every moment by my Daddy GOD. Just an interesting trivia for you... If you do have any friends who are pilots and have gone through some kind of helicopter training, they will know that there is this 1 NUT that's holding the main propeller blades together. Without this nut, you'll probably not get a flying helicopter. Guess what this nut's name?... It's called the Jesus Nut. Haha! Funny right? It's ok for me to laugh at this 'cos it's a good illustration of who He is to me. Just Google "Jesus nut" and you'll probably get a lot of information about it.
Jesus was truly a nut case if you read the gospels. He shouted at the high priests of His day and called them hypocrites!
Ate with all the unsavoury characters of His day, tax collectors, prostitutes etc.
His rag tag team of preachers were a bunch of smelly, uncouth fishermen, but by the Grace of GOD, they became powerful ministers of His Word.
Finally, He willingly gave up Himself to be punished in our place. Jesus was NOT murdered. He WILLINGLY gave Himself.

So, i do have a Nut for a Saviour.

Yes, coming back to this email...

Paragraph 5... Yes i have read Ahmed Deedat's rhetorics about Christianity. Very famous man indeed. Famous in the Islamic comparitive study circuit. However, any scholar would know that to get an objective view of anything, we have to look at the situation from both sides of the story. Have you, Zaharan, personally read any books on Christianity written by Christians? Have you personally picked up a copy of the Bible and read it for yourself? Any good judge in court would always look at both the defence evidence and also the prosecuting evidence. I'm sure you will be a very good judge coming from such a scholarly background and a student of comparitive religion. I'm not sure how you see that Christianity rejects Islam. Within the Bible, no where does it state that it rejects Islam. GOD gave Jesus so that we all can come back to Him, clean, spotless and blameless.
You speak of not attacking any religions, beliefs, and also impartiality, yet you mention Christianity rejects Islam. I'm not quite sure of your intentions Brother.
I am also very sure, just as you are, that GOD needs no defending. He's the best defender there ever will be!
I am just here to blow His horn. I am here to Worship Him, Glorify Him, Sing Praises to Him and say that HE IS my GOD, HE is also my Abba.

Finally Brother, i hope with your permission, i can pray for your Shalom Peace, Abundant Blessings in your life, Supernatural Health coupled with a long fulfilling life. Amen.

Shalom, GOD bless,
Emmanuel

9 comments:

PepperLady said...

Hi brother,
I have been reading your blog. I found it on Google. I am very interested in the conversions of Malays into Christianity. I myself am a Chinese and a Presbyterian Christian. My blog is at pepperody.blogspot.com . I truly am amazed at your bible knowledge. Press on brother.
Mel

Anonymous said...

Hello, i'm one of the readers of your blog. And I find this particular entry really intriguing. Christianity has never made any sense to others cos of the concept of "trinity" & other things and that would probably why they don't understand why u chose Jesus instead. It was never a set of rules to follow & how many good deeds that you've done in order to gain entry to heaven; which most people fail to see. It's about knowing & having an intimate relationship with our creator. May others be challenged & blessed by this entry as well...

Anonymous said...

I came to know of a Malaysian Malay Christian about a few days ago. Surprisingly,she said she came to know abt Nabi Isa in her religious classes that got her interested to know more about this prophet.It was the teaching, the miracles etc which was different from the prophet that she was taught about.Her grandpa encouraged the family to learn english. After her granpa's passing,she went to Australia to further her education.There,she made friends with the non muslims.She was wondering why her non muslim friends were very happy.She never met anyone as happy as them.When she came back to Malaysia,she went on to learn about this Nabi Isa.It was actually the source of her friends' happiness.Her family knows of her conversion & doesn't take it too well.Though she can't go to church,they have a group that meets up regularly.She doesnt want her photos to be taken & is reluctant to say anything other than how she put her life in the hands of Nabi Isa,due to persecution if extremists knew about her.She has been an "underground" Christian for 6 years now.Its great to know that the Malay Christians in Singapore can worship openly.And so do the African Cape Malays & the Philippino Malays as well.I hope one day,the Malay Christians in Malaysia can do the same.

God Bless

PepperLady said...

Dear Brother Emmanuel,
I'vebeen checking your blog often. Hoping to read more about what you think and your life journey. Do blog more ya?
God bless,
Mel

HWfHD Team said...

Dear sir,

We thank GOD for your wonderful testimony, brother !

We would like to specially invite you to check out our blogsite:
hiswordforhisday.blogspot.com

Thanks and GOD bless you and yours,
The HWfHD Team

Anonymous said...

Emmanuel,

I guess Zaharan's opinion is truly a case of one's perception is not another's reality.

Whilst I may not be well read, I express my uneasiness on Zaharan's oxymoronic content. A discourse does not have to be deragatory, does it?

And I agree that "It's about knowing & having an intimate relationship with our creator." If only Zaharan could discuss instead of impose.

"For you, yours & for me, mine."

With ongoing notions of "my faith is better than yours", no wonder the war will never end. Haiz.

- Faridah, your Muslim sister

Grace said...

I happen to stumble upon your blog which was mentioned by a commentor in Malaysia Today.

And I am truly amazed by your faith, brother. I pray that God will grant you with His almighty grace as u live daily in His light.

God Bless you, Emmanuel.

Anonymous said...

hi brother,
came to knw yr blog thru a commenter fr malaysia today. very interesting & inspiring blog indeed... guess u must been prosecuted & riducule most of the time... just boz u r an ex-muslim turn christian...
nonetheless... count it all joy when u r prosecuted bcoz of yr faith in JC... and keep the faith!
God bless u.
Win

Anonymous said...

Pastor Prince rock! he is one of my favorate preacher... tho i never attend any of NCC services, (i'm not singaporean) but i do order teaching resources from his ministry every now & then...and recieved his daily devotional thru e-mail...no wonder yr "beloved" sound so familiar...lol..

anyway... what i would like to say is: u r truly a testimony of God's saving grace...