While traveling in Southeast Asia I was seated on the plane next to Miriam, a woman dressed in full Muslim apparel. Only her face and hands were exposed. She told me she was on her way to Mecca in Saudi Arabia!
I was curious to learn more. She explained that every Muslim must make a pilgrimage to Mecca one time during their life if they are financially able. She told me she had saved and sacrificed for years to make this momentous trip. Her clothes and her bags were new. She was traveling with 100 happy and excited Muslims. They expected to be gone 40 days during which they would walk around the “Holy Kaaba” seven times and visit many holy places.
Then she asked me an interesting question. “You are from the United States. Are you a Christian or a Catholic?”
I said, “I was raised Roman Catholic but at age 27 I began studying the Bible for the first time. I then surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I am no longer Catholic. However, Catholics do consider themselves Christian because their faith is centered on Jesus Christ.”
She said, “Please, can you explain to me the difference?”
I said, “Bible believing Christians have their faith based on the Bible alone.
The Roman Catholic Church has a three-fold foundation for their faith: The Bible, the authority of the Pope and bishops and the sacred traditions of the church.*
I explained how Christ changed my life after I had surrendered my life to Him. I knew all my sins were forgiven. I knew I was now going to heaven. I knew God’s Holy Spirit was now indwelling me because I immediately began experiencing the fruit of the Holy Spirit: the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (as promised in Galatians 5:22-23). My life was so changed that even my husband and friends noticed a difference. That was many years ago and the peace and joy have remained even until now.
She continued to ask questions until our plane landed. I told her I had a booklet I’d like to give her. “It will explain the Christian life in your native language!” She was eager to receive it! I felt we had bonded during that trip. When we said goodbye we hugged and she let me take a photo of her. What a precious experience!
“Lord God, guide and lead dear Miriam into Your truth. She is seeking Your ways. Please open her eyes and draw her to Jesus. I pray in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.”
- Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68
- Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
[* from Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1995, page 34]
- “My Friend” – Lyrics by D.J. Higgins; music by Kathleen:
[This life is temporary. This life is short. When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever. Where will the “real you” live? Will you live for all eternity separated from God? Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven? Learn more so you can make your most important decision: http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/ and www.godlife.com
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