I. RECEIVING CHRIST
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"Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6: 2b); “O God, you are my God. Early will I seek you. My soul thirsts for you. My flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water” (Psalm 63: 1).
You read through the material presented in this website. You reflected carefully upon it. You have read a gospel and perhaps some of the other books of the Holy Bible. You are convinced of the authenticity of the gospel message of Christ our Lord and Savior. You love Jesus the Christ. You feel that a wonderful thing is happening within you: Christ is born in your heart, and that “Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4: 19b); “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3: 17a). You want to be in communion with Christ, and unite with him. You want to receive Christ as your Savior and Lord, and to commit to walk with him in this age and into eternity. You feel you need internal regeneration and new spiritual birth. You admit your need for forgiveness of your sins, and want to turn away from it in true repentance. You want to appropriate the gift of the atonement of Christ for yourself. Then, let us pray:
My beloved Lord Jesus Christ: thank you for declaring yourself to me, and guiding me to your light. Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to convert my heart, and form you within me. I admit my sinfulness and need for your forgiveness, internal renewal, and a new beginning and life in you, my Christ. I believe you have suffered and died to atone for my sins. By the grace of the Holy Spirit I am turning away from my sins. I invite you to dwell in my heart and life. O Lord, remove the darkness of my heart; light my path; show me your way; and protect me from the evil one. Give me strength every day to stay on your path. I place my full trust in you as the Lord and Savior of my life. I surrender my life to your will. I want to grow in fellowship with you.
I renounce Satan and all his works. I renounce Islam, its false prophet Muhammad, and all his teachings. I renounce the Qur’an, the Satanic-human book of Islam, that teaches hate, violence, polygamy and a carnal paradise. I unite myself to you, my Christ. I believe in you as my king and God. I worship the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity, one in essence and undivided.
“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10: 13); “He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5: 12-13).
In addition, it is essential to say and memorize the Nicene Creed.
Other important prayers are:
1. The Lord’s prayer:
Our Father Who are in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
In Christ Jesus, our Lord.
For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever. Amen.
2. The divine Shepherd (Psalm 23):
The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.
3. The Jesus prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
4. A prayer from the persecuted:
“Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will” (Mark 14: 36).
5. Psalm 63: 1-8:
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
Lord, take me where you want me to go.
Let me meet whom you want me to meet.
Tell me what you want me to say.
And keep me out of your way.
II. STEPTS TO TAKE AFTER RECEIVING CHRIST
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Now Christ has begun the process of healing your spirit and making your person whole. Your life journey in fellowship with Christ has begun. You need to talk to the Orthodox priest of the local church. Describe to him what you are going through, and inform him that you want to join the church in order to become a member of the body of Christ. After a brief introductory period of catechism, the priest will baptize you, will anoint you that you may receive the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and will administer to you your first holy Eucharist.
In order to deepen, and grow in, your relationship with Christ, you need to:
1. Communicate with him regularly through:
i. Prayers. As you pray you talk to God, and he talks back to your heart. One popular prayer is the Jesus prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Keep repeating it in your mind to protect you from negative thoughts. Ask the Lord daily for strength to stay on his pathway in the center of his will for your life.
ii. Bible reading and study. When you read the Holy Bible with reverence and faith after prayers, God speaks to you through what you read.
2. Let others know about your new faith in Christ: “Therefore, whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10: 32-33).
3. Participate in the liturgical life of the church through worship, sacraments, fasts, feasts, fellowship, and service.
4. Project the righteous glorious image of Christ in your new life by loving and caring for others, and by shunning sins: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5: 14-16); “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in inequity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a, 13). Christ has said about his second coming in judgment: “Then the King (Christ) will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. Then the righteous will answer Him saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25: 34-40).
5. Share your new faith with others as opportunities are provided by the Holy Spirit: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28: 19a). Share the light of Christ within you with your friends and neighbors because you love them and care about their eternal destiny: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22: 39b).
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Do not be discouraged by the difficulties and persecutions you will face in this world for following Christ: “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16: 33b); "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10: 16); “The time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me” (John 16: 2b-3); “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14: 22b); “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16: 24-25); “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7: 13-14); "All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3: 12); “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5: 11-12); “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10: 28).
Your relationship with Christ is deep and strong. Therefore, these persecutions will serve only to strengthen your faith: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 35, 37-39). The disciples of Christ counted suffering for Christ as a great honor (Acts 5: 41; 2 Corinthians 12: 10). In fact, Christian martyrs went rejoicing to their death. They looked at it in the light of eternity. "If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us" (2 Timothy 2: 12).
Because you have placed your trust in him, Christ is with you and will always see you through the hard times: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands” (Isaiah 49: 15-16a); “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart. And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalms 34: 7, 17-19); “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8: 28). "... Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning" (Psalm 30: 5). In fact, Christ identifies himself with his people in their persecutions and feels their pain. Christ regards the persecution directed to one of his disciples as directed to him personally. Christ said to Paul/Saul who was persecuting Christians before his conversion: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 9: 4b-5).
Christ experienced temptation and suffering personally for our salvation: “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2: 18). The Holy Spirit of the living God, who dwells in you, knows intimately your suffering for your faith in Christ, and imparts strength within you: “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” (Matthew 10: 19-20).
The New Testament (Injil) was written by people who were suffering from persecutions to people who were under the threat of persecution because of their faith in Christ. However, it is filled with hope, joy, and victory. It is free from the bitterness and despair that plague the human experience in this age: “Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6: 13-18); “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18; Romans 8: 18).
2. Nominal Christians
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Do not be discouraged by nominal Christians who do not project the glorious image of Christ in their lives. These are Christian by name, not by life and practice. They do not follow the teachings of Christ, and they do not live a Christian life: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7: 21); “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6: 9-10).
3. Different Christian Traditions
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Do not be discouraged by the fact that there are three major Christian traditions: Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant. This is an expression of human diversity. It is not surprising that a faith that has about 2.2 billion adherents would develop different traditions over two millennia. Disagreements are inherent in human nature. There are differences between these traditions. We are not attempting to belittle the importance of these differences. However, it is important to stress the fact that all Christian traditions, including the many conservative Protestant denominations, share the same core doctrines of the Christian faith, such as the inspiration of the Holy Bible, the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth of Christ, the miracles of Christ, the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, the second coming of Christ in glory and power, the work of the Holy Spirit, salvation, the resurrection of the dead, and God’s judgment. What unites different Christian traditions is far greater, and much more crucial and decisive, than what divides them.
4. Islamic Politics of Some Clergymen
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Do not be discouraged because a few Christian clerics may occasionally court the Islamic government, and Islamic institutions and clerics, or may sometimes make what appears to be misleading or vague statements about Islam. No one is infallible. No one is immune from error. Look at it as political maneuvering for good neighborly relations or for self interest, not as Christian truth.