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Daily devotional

Saturday October 27 - For the sake of the elect

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. - 2 Timothy 2:10 Scripture reading: 2 Timothy 2:8–13 Having assured Timothy that the proclamation of the Word of God could not be stopped, Paul mentioned his readiness to endure every hardship, so that the elect would become partakers of the salvation accomplished by Christ. Here is an important lesson in mission work. The elect will be saved, but they will be saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Earlier this month, we learned during our meditation on First Corinthians, that God ordained that people are saved through the preaching of the Gospel. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Chapter 10:17, states, “So, faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” The role that preaching the Good News plays in reaching the elect is inestimable. It enabled me to embark on a radio and literature ministry to the Arab world for 36 years. Most Arabic-speaking people are Muslims. Their sacred texts, the Qur’an, Hadith and Life of Muhammad, deny every fundamental truth of the Bible. Belief in the Holy Trinity is considered as idolatry; the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, His resurrection and ascension are denied. The sinfulness of man is regarded as a mere ignorance that can be overcome by obedience to the commands of Allah. It would have been impossible for me to persist in this work had I not believed in the doctrine of election. At the same time, I was convinced of the necessity of proclaiming the Word of God in order to bring in the elect from every part of the vast Arab world. Suggestions for prayer Pray for pastors, missionaries and church members, that they keep in mind both Divine sovereignty and human responsibility, as the Bible teaches! This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Friday October 26 - The Word of God is not bound

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! – 2 Timothy 2:8-9 Scripture reading: 2 Timothy 2:1–13 Second Timothy is Paul’s last Letter. He was in prison awaiting his execution. These words are his “Will and Testament” sent to his spiritual son Timothy, pastor of the Church in Ephesus. He reminded him of the essence of the Gospel message and exhorted him to train men who will hand down the faith to the following generations. To be a servant of Jesus Christ required a readiness to suffer and perhaps to die as a martyr (Greek for witness). While the Lord’s servants have often been chained throughout history, the Word of God has not and cannot be chained. No power on earth can thwart God’s eternal purposes. This is the verdict of the history of missions. A colleague, who had once served as a missionary in China, told me that his work came to an end with the victory of the Communists in 1949. At that time, it was estimated that the number of Christians in China was around one million. During the Cultural Revolution (1960–1970), thousands of Christians were imprisoned and many were martyred. Regardless of the severity of persecution, Christianity was not wiped out. Lately, the situation has changed drastically. House churches have sprung up in many parts of the country, theological schools have opened and the number of believers is estimated to be in the millions. What a testimony to Paul’s words: But the word of God is not bound! Western Christians are providing the Chinese Church with theological instruction to help believers grow in faith. Suggestions for prayer Praise the Lord for preserving the Church in China, for the courage of its leaders and for Western Christians who are helping with theological instruction. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Thursday October 25 - The Spirit of Wisdom

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him. – Ephesians 1:17 Scripture reading: Ephesians 1:15–23 Paul assured the believers in Ephesus that they had been chosen in Christ before the creation of the world. He prayed that God would give them the Spirit of wisdom. The Christian life is not one of passive existence, but of an active exercising of God’s gifts to become aware of Christ’s Lordship of history and His headship of the Church. The Ephesian Christians lived under difficult circumstances. Their witness against the idolatry and immorality of the worship of Artemis was not appreciated. They faced the Roman authorities’ hostility to the Gospel. They needed wisdom in the conduct of their lives. In the face of opposition, they had to hold fast to their faith and not lose heart, keeping in mind that Jesus Christ was seated at the right hand of the Father, in firm control of history’s march and the welfare of the Church. Christ rules His Church, “which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” In chapter 4, Paul would list various gifts that Christ apportions to church members; here he gives us the principle that must be observed: All authority in the Church belongs to Him and He delegates specific roles to different members of the Church. Details of the various church functions are listed in the Letters of Paul. Sadly, the growth of hierarchy in the Church became a hindrance to its life and mission. While the Reformation restored the Biblical teaching about the Church, the battle against hierarchical structures must continue! Suggestions for prayer Pray for the leadership of the Church, that they may adhere to the New Testament teachings about their role as servants of Jesus Christ, laboring for the welfare of the congregation. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Wednesday October 24 - Chosen before the foundation of the world

In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will. – Ephesians 1:4b-5 Scripture reading: Ephesians 1:1-14 Luke informs us in Acts 19:10, that Paul came to Ephesus and spent two years preaching the Gospel, “so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.” “Asia,” in this text, referred to Asia Minor where Ephesus was situated near the Mediterranean Sea. The city was a large commercial and political centre; the Temple of the goddess Artemis attracted many people from the area to her worship. Paul sent this letter to Ephesus and to the churches around it. We learn about them in chapters 2 and 3 of the Book of Revelation. This letter has important lessons for the church, especially in areas of the world where believers suffer persecution. The opening words are a wonderful doxology praising God the Father for choosing believers before the foundation of the world. It is a very powerful teaching that assures Christians that they were the objects of God’s electing love, before their birth! What a comforting thought! Christians are adopted through Jesus Christ, Who redeemed them by shedding His blood for the forgiveness of their sins. To become aware of God’s plan and receive this unbelievable gift, requires the preaching of the Gospel. “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“ (Eph. 1:13,14). Suggestions for prayer Pray for expressions of gratitude to rise from us to our Triune God for His wonderful loving election; may our lives exhibit this thankfulness. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Tuesday October 23 - No other Gospel

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. - Galatians 1:8 Scripture reading: Galatians 1:1–9 Paul had gone to the region of Galatia, located now in northwestern Turkey, to preach the Gospel. The Lord blessed his ministry and a Church was born based on the proclamation of salvation by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. After Paul’s departure, some false teachers came to the Galatian churches claiming that Paul’s work was unfinished and that church members still needed to observe the requirements of the Mosaic Law. When the news of these “Judaizers” reached Paul, he was greatly displeased since the very heart of the Gospel was denied. This led the Apostle to write a very strong condemnation of the heretical teachers. There is only one Gospel and it cannot be amended or revised, not even by an angel from heaven! The teachings of the Old Testament and of the Lord Jesus Christ clearly testified that the justification of the sinner was a gift of God; it cannot be earned or merited by man’s so-called “good works.” Unfortunately, throughout the history of the Church, the pure Gospel of Christ was distorted. God raised Reformers like Savonarola, John Huss and Wycliffe, who called the Church to reaffirm the Biblical Gospel. In October of 2017, we celebrated the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation that was launched by Martin Luther. As we contemplate the state of the Church, we see the need for another Reformation that would reaffirm the supreme and final authority of the Bible and God’s sovereign grace in the salvation of sinful men and women. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God would raise Reformers who would boldly proclaim the “Whole Counsel of God” as Paul did in his missionary career! This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Monday October 22 - Removing the veil

Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. – 2 Corinthians 3:15-16 Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 3:7-18  The Bible has played an important role in the mission of the Church. When Paul began his missionary work, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, known as the Septuagint, had been in existence for at least two hundred years. It was used in the synagogues of the Jews in the Dispersion. In Palestine, the Hebrew text was employed, while the preaching was done in Aramaic, the language of the Jews, after their return from the Babylonian Captivity. Paul’s preached to the Jews that the promises of God in the Old Testament, about the Messiah, had been fulfilled in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Some believed Paul’s preaching and became the nucleus of the Church in the Mediterranean world. Others refused to receive the Good News and became persecutors of Christians. In Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthian Church, he wrote about the veil that lay over the hearts of the Jews who had refused the offer of salvation. He mentioned this principle, “When one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” God in His mercy ordained the exposition of the Gospel as a means for lifting that veil. Even though Jews looked at the cross as a stumbling block and the Gentiles, as nonsense, yet, as Paul wrote in his First Letter: “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach, to save those who believe.” Suggestions for prayer Plead with the Lord of the Harvest to lift the veil over the hearts of people everywhere through the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Sunday October 21 - Holding fast to the Word

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 In our devotional for October 8, we meditated on Paul’s message to the wise men of Athens. Near the end of his speech, he referred to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. They were shocked upon hearing of the resurrection of the dead. That contradicted their philosophy; immortality of the soul was acceptable, but not the resurrection of the body! There were members of the Corinthian Church who entertained doubts about this Christian belief. So, Paul had to remind them of the basic tenets of the Christian faith that he had proclaimed upon his arrival at their city and of the necessity of holding fast to these truths. The Apostle wrote: "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures." As a theologian once put it, “The Gospel is not simply that Christ died, but that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” He meant to emphasize that the historical fact about the death of Christ, as interpreted by God, formed the very essence of the Christian message. It is necessary to hold fast to this truth since the uniqueness of the Christian faith is questioned by some Western theologians, who propagate the notion of the equal validity of all religious faiths. They deny the need for the redemptive work of Christ, as expounded in the Bible. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God would help us to remain “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Saturday October 20 - The message, not the method

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. – 1 Corinthians 2:2 Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 2:1–5 The Corinthian Church needed to learn this fundamental truth: the integrity of the message is extremely important. Some members of the church wanted the message to be constructed in accordance with the standards of Greek culture. Paul, however, reminded them that the Gospel should be proclaimed without embellishment or alteration. “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” Paul’s emphasis on the message, “Jesus Christ and him crucified,” is crucial today. Believing in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, as an atonement for our sins, reveals the power and wisdom of God in planning our redemption and by enabling us to believe the Good News. This Biblical truth must be maintained at all costs as we are surrounded by theories which are radically opposed to the authority of the Word of God and to sound doctrine as summarized in the Nicene Creed. To succumb to such views, would nullify the power and effectiveness of Christian missions. This happens often when men teach unbiblical theories in missions. Suggestions for prayer Pray fervently for all those commissioned by the Lord to proclaim the Gospel, to do their work boldly, fully convinced that their labors will not be in vain. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Friday October 19 - The wisdom of God

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach, to save those who believe. – 1 Corinthians 1:21 Scripture reading: I Corinthians 1:18-31 Paul spent eighteen months in Corinth preaching the Gospel and organizing the Church. He wrote his First Letter to deal with several problems that had been disturbing the health and unity of the congregation there. The Corinthians were not as sophisticated as the Athenians; still, they were attracted by “form” rather than “substance.” They had not grown spiritually since they leveled several criticisms at Paul and his preaching. Paul had to remind them that God, in His sovereignty, had ordained the preaching of the Gospel as the means of salvation. The phrase “what we preach” is a translation of the Greek, “Kerugmatos,” a specific word that refers to the content of Paul’s preaching. In other words, every message proclaimed from a pulpit must conform to the Biblical Gospel. Paul took notice of the Greek’s love of wisdom. But Greek wisdom was the very antithesis of God’s wisdom since they regarded the message of a crucified and risen Saviour as utter foolishness. It didn’t matter that the Greeks described Paul’s preaching as foolishness; he did not accommodate his message to make it acceptable to his audience. Throughout all his missionary career, Paul was convinced that the Gospel of Christ “is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (NKJ). The Church hasn’t always proclaimed and defended this Biblical faith. In our days, several denominations have surrendered to the “wisdom” of man. We need another Reformation like the one launched by Martin Luther 500 years ago. Suggestions for prayer Plead with the Lord to grant our ministers and missionaries to boldly proclaim the “whole counsel of God” as Paul did in his ministry. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Thursday October 18 - The word of the cross

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – I Corinthians 1:18 Scripture reading: I Corinthians 1:18-31 The 19th century is known as the Great Century of Missions. My family was impacted by the Presbyterian missionaries from Britain and the USA when they began their work around Antioch, Syria. My father was the grandson of the local Orthodox priest in Seleucia. Thanks to the presence and teaching of the missionaries, he converted to Protestantism. After serving in the Ottoman Army during WWI, he was tutored by the missionaries and served as pastor in two cities of the area. Growing up in a Protestant home, I became aware of the ways the early missionaries accomplished their work. My father’s library was lined with Bible Commentaries, books on Systematic Theology and Church History. All had been translated into Arabic by the pioneer missionaries whose greatest accomplishment and gift to us was the translation of the Bible into Arabic, our native language. To this day, this translation is known as the “Smith-Van Dyck” version of 1860! National pastors were equipped to proclaim the “Word of the Cross.” Notwithstanding the obstacles they encountered in their work, their message brought men and women to a saving faith in the Lord, as it was accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit. The phrase, “the word of the Cross” summarized the essence of Christianity as a faith based on the redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ, by His death on the Cross, His victory over death, His Resurrection and Ascension into glory, seated at the right hand of God to make intercession for His own. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to grant His messengers steadfastness in their proclamation of the Word of the Cross. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Wednesday October 17 - A living sacrifice

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. – Romans 12:1 Scripture reading: Romans 12:1-2 Paul followed this pattern in his Letters to the Churches. After expounding the Gospel, he turned to its application in the life of the believers. While justification by faith in Jesus Christ is a once-for-all event, sanctification, that is the practice of the faith and the working out of God-centered living, is a life-long process. Paul followed the order of the Great Commission, as given by the risen Christ prior to His Ascension: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19,20). It wasn’t only Paul that mentioned the importance of the Christian’s walk during his earthly pilgrimage. The same emphasis exists in the New Testament Letters of Hebrews, James, I and II Peter, I, II, and III, John and Jude. Followers of world religions have objections to Christian beliefs, but are impressed by the Christian life. Having grown up in the Middle East where Muslims who regarded Christians as unbelievers, still couldn’t help but admire the life of their Christian neighbors. One of their sayings was, “A Christian doesn’t lie.” My father used to relay this anecdote that Muslims, who had plans to travel, used to “deposit” some of their money for safe-keeping at the home of missionaries whose conduct in life exemplified honesty and integrity! Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord will enable us to manifest the Christian Mind in all our dealings with others! This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Tuesday October 16 - The future salvation of Israel

I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And in this way all Israel will be saved. – Romans 11:25b–26a Scripture reading: Romans 11:25–36 During the last 2000 years, there have been few Jewish conversions to the Gospel. The 19th century did have two noteworthy exceptions; Alfred Edersheim, the author of The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, and the composer Felix Mendelssohn who has enriched us with his Oratorios Elijah, St. Paul and the Reformation Symphony. Paul warned us not to forecast the future of Israel by simply focusing on the past. “I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And in this way all Israel will be saved” (11:25, 26a). Some Bible commentators interpret “all Israel will be saved” as referring to the “elect” in general and not to the Jews. But we should not forget that Paul was dealing with the Fall and Ultimate Salvation of the Jews. His teaching about election is found in Romans 8 and in Ephesians 1. Would the Apostle have burst into this doxology, if he were not thinking of Israel? “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor?’ ‘Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’  For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (11:33–36). Suggestions for prayer Plead with the Lord of the Harvest to hasten the day when this prophecy would come to pass! This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Monday October 15 - Faith comes from hearing

For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So, faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. – Romans 10:16b-17 Scripture reading: Romans 10:9-17 Confessing Jesus as Lord and believing in His resurrection are both necessary for salvation. But how does one obtain the faith to do this? The Holy Spirit is the Author of faith and He uses the preaching of the Word of Christ to create that faith. During the early years of the Church, the believers possessed the Hebrew text of the Old Testament and its Greek translation, the Septuagint. By the middle of the second century, the Canon (official list) of the New Testament was fixed. Now the books of the OT and the NT formed the Bible. For centuries, it was in manuscript form. Thanks to Gutenberg’s invention of moveable type and the Reformation’s emphasis on the translation of the Bible, the laity could read Scripture in their native languages. A great gift of the Modern Missionary Enterprise to the peoples of Asia and Africa has been the translation of the Bible into their local languages. In some instances, missionaries had to provide the alphabet for many nations before they could engage in their translation work. Having the printed copy of the Word of God does not dispense with the preaching of the Gospel. The greatest periods in Church history were marked by powerful Biblical preaching. For example, the Patriarch of Constantinople (349–407), John Chrysostom, was known as the Golden-mouth for his eloquent and bold preaching. Among many noteworthy preachers of the 18th Century, George Whitefield (1714–1770) greatly influenced the Church in both Britain and America. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord will equip His ministers with boldness as they proclaim His Word, thus walking in the footsteps of those men who preceded them in this calling. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Sunday October 14 - Paul's great anguish

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. – Romans 10:9-10 Scripture reading: Romans 10:1-13 In Romans 1, Paul wrote: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also the Greek.” In his missionary journeys, Paul first went to the synagogues, to proclaim the Good News of the coming of the Messiah. Some Jews welcomed the message, but many opposed it vehemently. Having finished the exposition of the Gospel in Chapter 8, he devoted Chapters 9 to 11, to a discussion of both the failure of Israel and their ultimate salvation. First, he expressed his anguish over their hardheartedness. In Chapter ten, he explained the reason for their negative attitude: “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.” Anyone attempting to win God’s favor, by his own efforts, is rejecting the Gospel of grace. Quoting Deuteronomy 30:12-24, where Moses had emphasized that God had not kept His plan of salvation hidden, Paul applied them to the situation at hand, by stating: “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). This functions as a concise Confession of Faith. It implies a public profession of faith, coupled with a hearty belief in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Suggestions for prayer Nowadays, we seldom hear about Missions to the Jewish people. Plead with the Lord to call the Church to assume this responsibility This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Saturday October 13 - The Christian hope

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. – Romans 8:24-25 Scripture reading: Romans 8:18–25 Recently, I translated the story of a young Egyptian Muslim who was converted to the Christian faith through the testimony of a Christian girlfriend at school. She found peace with God that she could not find in the Allah of Islam. As soon as her parents discovered her conversion, her ordeal began. She was dragged to the police authorities where she was interrogated and beaten. As she refused to return to Islam, she was thrown out of her home! Eventually, she managed to leave Egypt and lead a new life. Her experience has been duplicated many times throughout history. It illustrates what Paul teaches as he reached the end of his exposition of the Gospel. He referred to the sufferings of this age, balancing them with the glories that will be revealed at the return of Jesus Christ. It is in this sense that we understand: “For in this hope we were saved.” The full benefits of our salvation will be realized in the future; in the meantime, we must wait patiently for that Day. Any attempt to deny that the fullness of the Kingdom of God awaits the Second Advent leads to the secularization of the Gospel. In the past century, several Protestant Churches succumbed to this temptation by adopting the “Social Gospel.” It caused divisions among these churches. It was disastrous in the mission fields, as I experienced in Syria. Mission schools promoted a secularized “gospel” which led to the weakening of the young Protestant Churches! Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord of the Church to enable ministers and church leaders “to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Friday October 12 - The righteousness of God

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. – Romans 3:21,22a Scripture reading: Romans 3:21–31 Unlike the rest of world religions, Christianity is a redemptive faith. This means that in Adam’s Fall, all of humanity became incapable of rescuing itself from the bondage of sin. It’s important to remember that the Judaism of Paul’s days did not reflect the faith of the Old Testament Prophets. During the 400 years between Malachi and John the Baptist, a legalistic form of Judaism developed. A person could be put right with God by doing the demands of the Law. Over against this “Rabbinical Judaism,” Paul explained: “but now, the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law … the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. … For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God…. And are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” The legalism of Judaism is like the belief of Muslims. Having confessed their faith in Allah and in Muhammad as his prophet, Muslims must accomplish various duties to gain a place in Paradise. This deprives them of assurance about their eternal state. Fear surrounds their life journey! Now that Muslims have moved in great numbers to the West, Christians have a responsibility to share the Biblical Gospel with their Muslim neighbors. While Muslims reject all the basic teachings of the Scriptures, yet, “the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes;” this includes Muslims and Jews as well! Suggestions for prayer  Plead with the Lord of the Harvest to grant us boldness in our witness to our non-Christian neighbors. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Thursday October 11 - Unashamed of the Gospel

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also the Greek. – Romans 1:16 Scripture reading: Romans 1:16-17 When Paul was in Athens, he presented the Gospel of the crucified and risen Lord to everyone he encountered. Some, who were followers of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, looked down on him, claiming he was uttering nonsense! As he began expounding the Gospel to the Church in Rome, he was fully aware of the negative attitude of many Jewish and Gentile people in the city. So he set forth, in the clearest manner, his absolute confidence in the message entrusted to him by God. Unlike the vain speculations of Athens’s philosophers, Paul pointed to the fact that the Gospel he proclaimed served as a means for the salvation of everyone who believed, both Jews and Greeks. This was manifested in a changed life that centered on the love of God and of fellow human beings. Even though the Jews had received the Promise of the coming Messiah and could read about it in their Scriptures, yet, they were disappointed in Him because He didn’t liberate them from Rome. As to the Gentiles, often called Greeks, since the educated ones knew Greek as well as Latin, they considered the Gospel message as “foolishness,” as it contradicted their views of man’s basic needs. The Gospel provides the diagnosis and the cure for mankind’s sinfulness. It explains how to obtain a right relationship with God. As Paul put it, “For in it a righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to equip His ministers and missionaries with boldness and clarity to proclaim the saving message of the Gospel. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Wednesday October 10 – The Gospel of God

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God. – Romans 1:1 Scripture reading: Romans 1:1-17  We began our meditations with texts from Matthew and the Book of Acts. Today, we begin with Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Paul addressed this letter to a church he had yet to visit. It was organized by people who had visited Jerusalem and witnessed the events on Pentecost. Upon returning home, they shared with their respective communities their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, having been baptized as members of His Church. Unlike the other letters which addressed certain doctrinal and ethical problems, this letter can best be described as “The Catechism of the Christian Church.” It sets forth in a systematic way, an exposition of the Gospel. This is Paul’s theme throughout the letter, as we notice from his salutation: “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans has played a special role in the life of the Church. It functions as a key to the understanding of the Bible. The rediscovery of its teachings contributed to the revival of the Christian faith. It was through his study of Romans, that Martin Luther found peace with God and launched the Reformation, five hundred years ago! Suggestions for prayer Plead with the Lord to work mightily among us, that we may take to heart, the vital lessons from this Epistle. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Tuesday October 9 - Many are my people

For I have many in this city who are my people. – Acts 18:10b Scripture reading: Acts 18:5-11 Leaving Athens, Paul came to the port city of Corinth where he met Aquila and Priscilla and joined them in the business of tent-making. He first went to the synagogue of the Jews and proclaimed the Gospel. The majority did not welcome his message, but the ruler of the synagogue believed and his entire household. Many of the Gentile population believed and were baptized. The Lord encouraged Paul in a vision, telling him: “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”  The Lord’s comforting words remind us of the doctrine of election that is summarized in Lord’s Day 21, of the Heidelberg Catechism: “What do you believe concerning ‘the holy catholic church? I believe that the Son of God through his Spirit and Word, out of the entire human race, from the beginning of the world to its end, gathers, protects, and preserves for himself a community chosen for eternal life and united in true faith. And of this community I am and always will be a living member.” My belief in election, enabled me to persevere during thirty-six years of broadcasting the Gospel to the Arabic-speaking world. Most of the audience were Muslims, “immunized” by their sacred texts, against the reception of the Christian message. Some believed, since they had been among the elect, known to God from eternity! Suggestions for prayer Missionaries laboring in difficult areas need our prayers that God would remind them their labors will not be in vain! This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Monday October 8 – Times of ignorance

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. - Acts 17:30 Scripture reading: Acts 17:22–34 Paul arrives at Athens, the Capital of the intellectuals, which had produced famous philosophers including Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Those philosophers had dazzled the ancient world with their wisdom. And yet, Athens was filled with idols, one even erected “To the unknown god.” Paul proclaimed the Gospel to the cultural elite by stressing the fact that the Creator did not need the works of men’s hands, since He was Himself the author of life, as even some of their prophets had said. Paul explained that in the past God had allowed Greeks and other nations to live in “the times of ignorance,” since He had not given them His special revelation that was given to the Jews. But now, in this New Testament Age, God’s universal Good News is broadcast everywhere. With this fact in mind, Paul added, “but now he commands all people everywhere to repent because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this, he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” The audience was shocked upon hearing of the resurrection of the dead. That contradicted their philosophy; immortality of the soul was acceptable, but not the resurrection of the body! Paul left the assembly, “some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.” Suggestions for prayer Pray that ministers and missionaries would not be ashamed of the Gospel when they face modern sophisticated unbelievers or followers of other religions! This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Sunday October 7 – He was baptized for His family

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” – Acts 16:31 Scripture reading: Acts 16:25-34 Most Reformed Christians confess the Biblical doctrine of the Covenant, which includes parents and their children. Reformed Baptists and other Evangelicals have different views of the covenant and claim that only adults who confess their faith in Jesus Christ, may be baptized. Acts and the Epistles witness that when adults confessed their faith, they were baptized as well as the members of their household. The former believe their practice of infant baptism is proved in this text and in I Corinthians 1, where Paul mentions, along with the two adults he had baptized, Crispus and Gaius, that he baptized the household of Stephanas. We are not told exactly what they sang. Could it have been Psalm 67? It is likely; since it manifests the desire of God’s people to see “all nations” come to a saving knowledge of the true God. In one hymnbook, this Psalm is sung to the tune of “Missionary Hymn.” “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.  Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Let all the peoples praise, O God; let all the peoples praise you! The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him.” Suggestions for prayer “Shall we, whose souls are lighted with wisdom from on high? Shall we to men benighted, The Lamp of life deny? Salvation! Oh salvation! The joyful sound proclaim, till earth’s remotest nation, has learned Messiah’s name.” – Reginald Heber This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Saturday October 6 - The Macedonian Call

And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” – Acts 16:9 Scripture reading: Acts 16:6-10 In yesterday’s devotions, we read about Paul and Barnabas reporting to the church in Antioch about how God had opened “a door of faith to the Gentiles.” The Church had to decide whether Gentile converts must observe the Mosaic Law. The matter was settled at the Council of Jerusalem. The following letter was sent to the Church in Antioch: “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements:  that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell” (Acts: 15:28,29). Now Paul was ready to begin his Second Missionary Journey. For a time, Paul and his companions worked in Western Asia; but the Holy Spirit led them to Troas, where Paul had the vision of a Macedonian appealing for help. “And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” Paul, Silas, and Timothy crossed over to Macedonia, stopping at Philippi. The missionary team met with a group of women gathered for worship on the Sabbath. Paul presented the message, resulting in the conversion of Lydia, a merchant from Thyatira. She prevailed on Paul and his friends to stay at her home. Both she and her household were baptized, thus becoming the nucleus of the Christian Church in Philippi! Suggestions for prayer The presence of migrants in the West is a “Macedonian Call” for the Church. The Lord is calling us to help them, both materially and spiritually! This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Friday October 5 - World missions

The Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. – Acts 13:2b-3 Scripture reading: Acts 13:1-3 On Pentecost, the converts to Christianity were mostly Jews from the Dispersion. They returned home and announced the Good News among their communities. In Antioch, a major cosmopolitan centre for more than 300 years, it was natural for Christians to share the Gospel with their Gentile neighbors. Both Barnabas and Saul were familiar with Greek and Hebrew and the Old Testament Scriptures. The Holy Spirit instructed the Church to commission them “for the work to which He had called them.” The call comes from God; the Church confirms the call by ordaining and sending Paul and Barnabas out as missionaries. Leaders at the church in Antioch, after fasting and praying, “laid their hands on them and sent them off.” That marked the beginning of the First Missionary Journey, recorded in Chapters 13 and 14 of Acts. Saul and Barnabas labored first on the island of Cyprus and continued their mission in the mainland of Asia Minor. “From Attalia, they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles (Acts 14:26,27). In Paul’s days, the mission field was mostly situated within the Roman Empire; Roman roads and Roman Peace facilitated travel. Nowadays, the entire world has become our mission field! Where freedom is curtailed, we transcend the obstacle, through the Internet. Suggestions for prayer Missionaries laboring in many parts of the world face many obstacles; ask the Lord to protect them and enable them to continue in their service of the One Who has “All authority in heaven and on earth.” This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Thursday October 4 – Ananias and the persecutor

And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized. – Acts 9:18 Scripture reading: Acts 9:17-19 The conversion of Saul of Tarsus is one of the most dramatic stories of the New Testament. Luke tells us that this zealous young man couldn’t tolerate the followers of the Messiah. He consented to the murder of Stephen. When he met the glorified Messiah on the Damascus Road, he was ordered to go to a Christian disciple in Damascus, the very one he had planned to harm! Luke has supplied us with vivid details of the encounter. I would like to draw attention to a phenomenon that played a major role in the rapid growth of the Christian Church: the existence of Christian communities with no information about how the Gospel got to them. This applies to Damascus. Paul went to Ananias' home; his sight was restored and he was baptized. This implies the prior existence of the Church. It must have been that some of the 3,000 who were converted in Jerusalem on Pentecost, belonged to the Jewish community in Damascus. Their conversion experience enabled them to go back to their homes and tell the marvelous account of the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies in the life and person of Jesus Christ.  Their testimony was spontaneous and joyful; it led to the conversion of Ananias and several others. In our reflections on similar accounts in Acts, the existence of Christian communities like the one in Damascus will be noted. Behind all of them, we must consider two major facts: the Jewish Dispersion and the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek. Suggestions for prayer Let us pray that all members of the Church may reclaim the spontaneity that marked the witness of the Early Church. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Wednesday October 3 – Repent and be baptized

For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself. – Acts 2:39 Scripture reading: Acts 2:37–41 Peter’s sermon quoted Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ and culminated with the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, to inaugurate the New Testament Age. The hearers,  “were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’  And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.'”  Christian missions include the command to “repent,” a basic condition for entry into the Church. Since those who heard Peter’s message were adults, their baptism followed their confession.  But Peter didn’t stop; he declared that the “Promise” (the Gospel) was for them, their children and for all people who were included in God’s eternal plan of salvation. This fact encourages and sustains missionaries in their work, realizing that their labors will not be in vain! Reading Acts and the Epistles, we discover the way God works in missions. One missionary plants the seed of the Word and later another one builds upon it. Finally, God gives the increase as He sovereignly determines. And the phenomenal growth of the New Testament Church is the witness to His mighty acts at the very beginning of the church’s life. Early in the fourth century, the number of Christians in the Roman Empire had become substantial. Paganism was declining, while the followers of Jesus Christ showed by word and deed, the renewing power of the faith. Suggestions for prayer Pray for your missionaries asking the Lord to grant them patience and hope. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany hasserved as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Tuesday October 2 – The promise of the Spirit

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. – Acts 1:8 Scripture reading: Acts 1:6-9 After our Lord’s resurrection, He appeared to His disciples to teach them the proper way of interpreting the Old Testament. “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem’”  (Luke 24:45–47). However, they were not to begin their mission until they were endowed with power from the Holy Spirit. This was to instruct the Church that missionary endeavor depends on the blessing of the Holy Spirit.  This teaching is explained in Lord’s Day 21, Q & A 54, of the Heidelberg Catechism:  “What do you believe concerning ‘the holy catholic church’?  I believe that the Son of God through his Spirit and Word, out of the entire human race, from the beginning of the world to its end, gathers, protects, and preserves for himself a community chosen for eternal life and united in true faith. And of this community I am and always will be a living member.’”  The Belgic Confession emphasizes the universality of the Church in Article 27: “This holy Church is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place or to certain persons, but is spread and dispersed over the whole world; and yet is joined and united with heart and will, by the power of faith, in one and the same spirit.” Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to bless all missionaries who are spreading the Gospel, sharing with converts the riches of the Biblical faith, as summarized in the Reformed confessional standards. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...

Daily devotional

Monday October 1 - Introduction

During this month, we will be studying “Christian Missions” as they are described in the New Testament. In his Gospel, John tells us of God’s love for the world, manifested in sending His Only-begotten Son to save whoever would believe in Him. When Christ had accomplished His redemptive work, He gave the disciples “The Great Commission.” As missions expert Rodney Stark put it in his book The Triumph of Christianity, while it was given in the “imperative,” in the early church, it functioned in the “indicative." In other words, Christians spontaneously shared the Good News with their neighbors. This explains how the number of Christians climbed from 3,000 on Pentecost, to 6 million by 300 AD and to 30 million by 350 AD. The Third Millennium has ushered in the Age of Globalization. Millions of people from Asia and Africa have settled in the West, the majority from a non-Christian background. The “Mission Field” is now next door. We have unprecedented opportunities to spread the Christian faith, by word and deed, through personal contact and the Internet. It is my hope and prayer, that these meditations will re-acquaint us with Biblical principles of missions, guarding us against certain questionable approaches that promise numerical success at the expense of sound doctrine. The goal of Christian missions should be the organization of churches that confess Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior. THE GREAT COMMISSION Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. – Matthew 28:19 Scripture reading: Matthew 28:16-20 Our devotions for this month deal with Christian Missions. The Lord Jesus Christ prefaced the Great Commission with these words: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”  These words assure the Church that, notwithstanding the obstacles that would arise in the way of the Gospel, Christ’s omnipotence guarantees the success of the missionary enterprise. The goal is to “make disciples of all nations,” which implies instructing converts with the basics of the Christian faith. During the Apostolic Age, the Apostles and their assistants expounded the Messianic passages of the Old Testament that were fulfilled in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. This tradition is of great importance for us today, since not all Christian missionary work reflects a faithful adherence to the Great Commission. Some teach that baptism, followed by membership in the church, is not necessary. Others, add a political dimension to the Gospel, such as the realization of “Social Justice” in the here-and-now. However, a careful reading of the Book of Acts reveals that the Gospel proclaimed, “repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21b). The Greek word for repentance is “metanoia,” i.e. a change of mind, resulting in submission to the authority of the Bible.  The Internet has become a wonderful tool to spread the Gospel worldwide. This is especially important for Muslims who live in lands that prohibit missionaries. We praise the Lord for this new avenue of service. Suggestions for prayer Pray for Christian missionaries that they may be faithful to the Gospel, realizing that they represent Jesus Christ Whose sovereignty is universal and Whose plan for the gathering of the elect, will be accomplished.  This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”...