October 1, 2013
Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." Acts 16:30-31
Abdi Ali Hamzah was a member of Islam who became Pastor Jamal, a Christian missionary.
As a witness to the Savior, Pastor Jamal traveled around Iraq, distributing food to those in need. As he went, he shared the Savior's story of salvation. That was the way it was until July of 2011 when Pastor Jamal was arrested. The evangelist was held for 14 months before any charge was placed against him. Finally, the authorities decided to put him on trial for having been an Iranian spy.
The supporters of Pastor Jamal said the charge was bogus. They maintain the preacher was in jail because he converted from Islam and was inviting other Muslims to follow him into Christianity.
To shorten the story, Pastor Jamal was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. That might well have been the end of the story for the preacher. After all, other Christians have gone into Iraqi jails and never come out alive.
Thankfully, and by God's grace, there is a "rest of the story."
In telling you the rest of the story, I am pleased to share that something most amazing, something almost miraculous has happened. Although Christians are seldom, if ever, pardoned in that Islamic nation, today, because of an amnesty order given by President Barzani, Pastor Jamal is a free man.
But there's more. Pastor Jamal says that while he was in prison the Holy Spirit was alive and active. Like St. Paul who shared the Savior's story of salvation in the jail at Philippi, Pastor Jamal told Iraqi prisoners about how Jesus, God's perfect Son, came into this world and gave His life so anyone who believes on Him as Savior is forgiven and saved.
That message didn't fall on deaf ears. During the 21 months Pastor Jamal was in prison, the Holy Spirit placed saving faith into the hearts of 28 previously lost souls. What a wondrous thing the Lord has done. It is cause for rejoicing on earth, even as it is in heaven.
Still, there is one more idea that I would like to place before our Daily Devotioners.
I would like you to remember that the same Lord who can use a prisoner's preaching in an Iraqi jail to win souls for Him can do the same with you. Our situation and circumstance may be different than that of Pastor Jamal, but the needs of the lost remain the same.
To accomplish His purposes, the Lord needs willing hearts and ready voices to tell the lost that God's Son has come into this world to save you. Come with me to Bethlehem, stand at Calvary, and look into the Savior's empty tomb. See the Savior's sacrifice and know that through Him you can be forgiven and saved.
If we are willing to do as God asks, the Comforter will join other lost souls to the 28 who were saved through the message proclaimed by the preacher who had a willing heart and ready voice.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I am saved because the Holy Spirit used someone to tell me of the news of the Savior's sacrifice. Now may I tell others what Jesus has done. In His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries