Muslim Refugees, Catastrophes & Christ

Muslim Refugees, Catastrophes & Christ

Rasha was beyond excited as she skipped out of her house. She’d been dating Nazir for several months now and the more she was away from him, the more she longed to be with him.

She accelerated her pace as she saw the bus approaching the corner. From there it was just a short 15 minute ride to the shop where her beloved Nazir worked.

Ever since she and Nazir had met she had been praying for him. As a former Muslim who had found Jesus to be “the way, the truth and the life,” Rasha believed that Jesus would reveal Himself to Nazir just as He had to her. She thought back to how much her life had changed since accepting Jesus as the Son of God, who forgave her of her sins. Things were not easy, with her family shunning her and threatening to disown her now that she was a Christian.  But she had a peace that she could not explain.

The bus came to an abrupt and startling stop, jolting Rasha from her thoughts. Sirens were going off again, signaling the potential of falling bombs or mortars. She had grown accustomed to the sirens, but she knew there was always a real threat. The bus remained stopped for another several minutes before they began moving again.

As they rounded the corner, Rasha could see Nazir’s little shop. She jumped off the bus and jogged towards the spot where she would see the love of her life. She hoped she could talk again with him about Jesus.  

As Rasha approached the large glass picture window at the front of the shop, she could see Nazir inside. Her pulse quickened. Their eyes met. Smiles spread across their faces. And…

Boom!! Boom!! Boom!!

The concussion from the bombs threw Nazir across the room as the glass from the front window exploded into the shop. Rasha was gone. Those dark beautiful eyes that had always penetrated his soul were there just a moment before. But now a huge fireball marked the spot where she had stood.

Nazir screamed. Tears poured down his cheeks as he yelled Rasha’s name over and over. Shuffling through the shards of glass and debris that now littered his shop, he crawled out through the gaping hole that was just moments earlier a window, through which he and Rasha had smiled.

Rasha was nowhere to be seen. It was as if she had vanished into thin air. But then he noticed a strange smell. A burning smell. One that brought a sickening feeling to his stomach. And then he saw them. Black charred bodies that had been burned beyond recognition.  He collapsed. The sense of loss was too great to bear. How could someone he loved so much be gone forever?

How could humans hate humans this much?

How could Muslims kill Muslims?

Nothing made sense…



The above story is based on a real incident which happened to Nazir (name changed to protect his identity) in Damascus, Syria. The name “Rasha” and the moments leading up to her death are my imagination, but the explosion, her relationship with Nazir, his love for her, and the remaining facts are as reported to us by Nazir.  

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to travel to Greece by way of Albania. I was joined there with several other men who live in that part of the world, and we were engaged in what was to become a series of life altering meetings.

We had the opportunity and privilege to interview a number of refugees, including Nazir, who had fled from cities in Syria, Iran and Iraq, mostly because of the wars and conflicts there. Many of these former Muslims are now living in crowded refugee camps throughout Greece.

In addition to Nazir’s story above, below is a sampling of some of the comments of these refugees that will give you just a small glimpse into the catastrophes they fled that led to their new life in Christ:

  • As I made the decision to accept Christ, I realized that my Christian girlfriend gave her life so that I would know Jesus.
  • I heard a voice say, “I’m with you” while I was in the hospital but I knew the voice was not from the god of Islam because Allah does not speak with people.
  • After fleeing Aleppo, I began questioning Islam’s teachings.  If God created me, how could he tell me to kill people?
  • If you want to be a Muslim you must close your mind.
  • When ISIS came to Mosul they killed my brother, and Christians, and did awful things to girls, destroying everything.  
  • ISIS put me in jail twice: once for failing to pray and the second time for smoking.  The second time they placed a loaded and cocked gun to my head.
  • ISIS is still looking for me and would kill me if they found me.
  • As I was going home from work one day in Aleppo, a bomb exploded near me and I suffered injuries in my arms and legs.
  • Because of the war in Aleppo I fled to Turkey.  While there, I met a Christian who I fell in love with, even though I was a Muslim.  When I told my family that he wanted to marry me, they told me they would disown me and I would never be welcome to come home again.
  • While living in my home country of Iran, I met some Christians there and I became a Christian.  But because of my conversion, my life was threatened so I had to flee from Iran to Turkey. While there I met a Muslim girl who I was attracted to.  But she was from Syria and spoke Kurdish so I had to use a translator. After several months I asked her to marry me, but I could still not speak Kurdish with her.  I needed to be able to communicate with her so I had been praying about this. One night I went to bed, unable to speak Kurdish. The next morning I woke up and could speak Kurdish fluently.  When I met my girlfriend the next time, she thought I had been lying to her about my inability to speak Kurdish but I explained to her that it was Jesus who had given me the ability to speak her language.  I can still speak it fluently to this day.
  • We got married and 5 months later left Turkey, ending up in a refugee camp in Greece.  My wife miscarried our first baby and became deathly ill in the camp. One night, I was praying for my wife to be healed and a dark smoke filled our tent (which I believe was demonic).  As I continued to pray to God I saw a bright white light outside our tent and I heard a voice telling me that my wife was going to be fine in the morning. The next morning two women I had never seen before came to our tent and they said, “We have come from the hospital and are here to help. Where is Amanda?”  They prayed over my wife and took her to the hospital.
  • While I was crying in the hospital I saw visions of Jesus smiling at me and He told me I would be ok. I cried out to Jesus and asked Him to help me and I trusted Him.  Later, as I was sleeping, I saw Jesus in white clothes and He touched my forehead and healed me. When I woke up I walked out of the hospital fully healed and my life has changed forever now that Jesus is my Savior.

The Bible is full of stories of our miracle working God, many as dramatic as the ones above.  Of course, in America, we see evidence of His miraculous work every time we look in the mirror, look out our window, look into the sky or see a new baby.  But how often do we see God working in ways like those experienced by these Muslim refugees? In my case, never. But that does not mean that God is silent.  To the contrary.

God promises to be found to those who earnestly seek Him.  The more than half-dozen individuals that we interviewed are all powerful testimonies of individuals who were calling out to God in their time of dire distress. They were diligently seeking God.  And God in miraculous ways showed Himself through Jesus. Their lives have been transformed for eternity. And these new believers are now reproducing themselves in the lives of dozens of other refugees within the camps scattered around Greece and beyond.  

As I was reading through Scripture this week, I came across this verse:

“He showed you these things so you would know that the Lord is God and there is no other. He let you hear his voice from heaven so he could instruct you. He let you see his great fire here on earth so he could speak to you from it.” (Deuteronomy 4:35-36)

Many of these refugees heard God’s voice in Jesus.  They witnessed “these things” in order that they would distinguish between Allah, the god of Islam, and the one true God, who not only created the universe, but also sent His Son Jesus to die for them (and you, and me).  When God showed Himself to be real to these refugees, they embraced Him completely. And every one of these refugees were promptly baptized, to present a public testimony of the fact that they left Islam and embraced Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

My good friend Nathan has aptly described what is occurring as a result of the war-torn conflicts throughout the middle east in this manner:  “From Catastrophe to Christ.”  He is planning a book by that name, as a sequel to his more recent book, that he co-authored with Joel Richardson:  The Mystery of Catastrophe.

While wars and violence are horrendous, and any person would seek to avoid, we can clearly see God’s sovereignty at work in a mighty way through these ongoing catastrophes. And each one of these refugees is eternally grateful for the catastrophe they experienced, for without it, they would likely have never met Christ.   

A Coup d’etat by Unelected Men in Black Robes

A Coup d’etat by Unelected Men in Black Robes

 

Our nation has been deeply divided for some time and that division is growing even deeper. Much of this division has occurred because our political leaders have untethered our laws, policies and regulations from the law of the land, our Constitution.  

But as bad as this rejection of our Constitution has been by Congress and the President, We the People have still possessed the ability to hold our politicians accountable to our founding document and principles, every two or four years.

But there remain two threats to the rule of law beyond the Executive and Congressional branches.  One obvious.  Another not so.

In many banana republics around the globe, cruel and unjust dictators are oftentimes deposed via a military coup d’etat — an armed overthrow of a government.  It’s interesting to look at the meaning of this French word.  According to Wikipedia, coup d’etat is sometimes translated as “blow of the state” or “hit of state” but the literal translation is “stroke of the state” — as in the wiping or stroke of a sword.

To date our nation has never faced a military coup d’etat.  This first threat, while a potential, has never been considered a likely one in our Constitutional Republic.  

A Judicial Coup d’etat

The second threat though, is not only a real one, but this week it was realized.  No shots were fired.  No swords were drawn.  But as the definition of coup d’etat makes clear, a “blow to the state” took place when unelected citizens in black robes thumbed their nose at the Constitution and law and figuratively arrested America’s duly elected President, placing legal handcuffs on the authority he clearly possesses.  

The Ninth Circuit Federal Appeals Court circumvented well established law and precedent that affirmed the authority of President Trump, in his position as Commander in Chief, to administer the immigration laws of our land.  One such law, the Immigration and Nationality Act, states in Section 1182(f):  

“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate” 

The net effect of the courts decision was that these three unelected judges wrestled the authority for the safety of our citizens from Trump with the stroke of a pen.  Sixty-three million citizens elected Donald Trump to protect our nation from a clear and present danger stemming from the loose and dangerous refugee immigration policies of the Obama Administration.  The danger posed by radical Islam has been unleashed time and time again in Europe and America over the last couple years.  But the court’s decision undermined a duly elected President and left him powerless, for all practical purposes.  At least for the time being. 

With the stakes growing ever higher, and the willingness by the left to embrace whatever tactic they can devise to block Republicans from governing, rest assured that nothing will be left off the table.  Whether it’s the riots and violence in the streets as I wrote about earlier this week, the abuse of long established rules in Congress, or the seizing of authority by the judicial branch that it does not possess, there will be no end to the intimidation, abuses, and other nefarious activities by Democrats and their allies.  

And it will only grow worse as unelected and unaccountable men in black establish their superior rule… from the bench.

Refugee Resettlement: Here’s What No One is Saying

Refugee Resettlement: Here’s What No One is Saying

This week, with the talk of many in our nation focusing on Trump’s latest Executive Order, which temporarily halts refugee resettlement, liberals and their funded activists are up in arms and taking to the streets.  Even some Republicans are raising concerns over both the content of the EO’s and the way in which they were implemented.

However, lost in all the turmoil is one aspect of our nation’s refugee program that is seldom discussed but should be of great concern to anyone who has ever worked through a budget, whether in your family or business.  Here’s one thing we can all agree on.  If your budget doesn’t have a surplus or at least balance, then you look closely at the line items of your spending, with an eye towards either reducing your expenses and/or increasing your revenue.  

So I thought it might be helpful to understand the fiscal impact of our refugee resettlement program on our nation’s budget.  As we look at that cost, we should remember the points made in my previous article about The National Debt.  Specifically, our nation’s spending is creating over a half-trillion dollar deficit every year.  Additionally, in another of my articles, $10 Trillion New Debt, we are projected to average nearly a trillion dollars in deficits every year over the next decade.  

Given these alarming multi-trillion dollar deficits, it’s safe to say that America has no excess funds to allocate.  PERIOD.  This fact should be weighing heavy on the minds of our political leaders.  But the truth is that you never, ever, hear them speaking of the fiscal impact of the 85,000 refugees that were brought into our country last year; or the 50,000 that Trump’s policies would continue to bring in annually.  

The Fiscal Impact

There are several reports that I’ve studied about the cost of the refugee program. But the report from Center for Immigration Studies is in my view the most complete, and the excerpted facts below reveal the disturbing fiscal impact of our nation’s refugee program:

America’s Generosity

America has a long tradition of caring about those beyond our own shores.  Whether it’s sacrificing our own young men and women to bring freedoms to some distant land, or offering aid and relief to those less fortunate than us in remote areas of the world, our actions reveal our heart.  And ours is a generous one.

But there is a fundamental principle of charity or generosity, and it is that one can only give from what one has.  In order to give, one must possess.  And to possess, one must be fiscally wise, if not conservative.  For too long America has not only been fiscally liberal, but worse, we have been irresponsible and foolish.  We have feigned generosity to those less fortunate, both here and abroad.  But that “generosity” has come at the expense of enslaving our children, grandchildren and future generations with an indebtedness beyond a level ever known to any prior society throughout history.

Consider for just a moment the example of a family of great wealth.  The resources the parents own and manage are significant.  But despite their assets and current income, their outflow far exceeds their inflow.  But to subsidize their obsessive spending, they begin to mortgage their assets, rather than scrutinizing their spending.  This continues over the course of many years.  Soon, the amount of indebtedness surpasses their own income, future income and even the value of their assets themselves.  What was once presented as a tremendous opportunity to pass on a legacy of wealth and good to their children has become a matter of horror and great indebtedness.  And why?  Because the leaders of this family were unwilling to face the reality that their spending spree over the course of many years completely depleted their resources and enslaved those they loved the most.

America is like the family above.  And those “parents” are our political leaders as well as those of us who continue to give those same leaders the reins of our nation, election cycle after election cycle.  On this one issue, refugee resettlement, what is meant for good by many, is in fact contributing to a reckless cycle, year after year, of mounting more and more debt, to the point that someday it will all come crumbling down.  And those refugees that we intended to help will be enslaved along with our own children, to an indebtedness that will burden their lives in such a drastic and oppressive manner.  

Were Americans of all political persuasion thinking through this matter logically and without their political biases, these numbers would cause our populace to take to the streets to demand our political leaders put our fiscal house back in order.  But I don’t expect such sanity to prevail, given the highly fractured and partisan age we live in along with the apathetic attitude of citizens.

But at least now YOU know that there is another aspect to the refugee crisis that no one is mentioning.  And it’s greater than the humanitarian aspect, or at least it should be, given our own fiscal crisis that few are willing to confront.  

The only question now is will you care?  Will you demand of your elected officials that they rein in our spending, both in the refugee resettlement program and across all areas of our government?  And will you share these facts with others?