Tribute to Nabeel Qureshi

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Christian Apologist Nabeel Qureshi passed away on September 16th, 2017, at the age of 34.

I am very, very sad to report that Nabeel Qureshi, a Christian apologist and Ex-Muslim who came to Christ, passed away of stage 4 stomach cancer yesterday, Saturday, September 16th, 2017. He was 34 years old.

Nabeel was taught the Q’uran early on in his life. He was a Muslim apologist, until Christ placed a man named David Wood into his life.

As David and Nabeel discussed, argued over, and debated Islam and Christianity, Nabeel quickly realized that Islam did not stack up. Jesus also came to Nabeel in three seperate dreams, according to CBN News. He went on to write Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, No God But One: Allah or Jesus?, and Answering Jihad.

This amazing man of God shared his grim diagnosis of stage four stomach cancer on August 30th, 2016 on his Facebook page. All throughout his long battle with stomach cancer, Nabeel never gave up on Jesus– and firmly believed that Jesus was able to, and even at times believed He would, do a miracle and cure Nabeel. Fellow Christians and fans of Nabeel prayed hard for a miraculous healing here on Earth, but our merciful, loving God wanted to heal him another way, through death. He is now totally healed in the arms of Jesus.

While we are grieving, and we don’t understand, I firmly believe Jesus is GOOD. Tears pour from my eyes as I never ever wanted to write something like this, but like Nabeel, and ultimately like Jesus as He hung on that cross dying for our sin, I will trust the Sovereign Hand of God the Father, even now.

Would you please be praying for Michelle, Nabeel’s wife, and their daughter who is a toddler, Ayah?

Writing this post right now, I went to look at Nabeel’s YouTube vlogs chronicling his life and struggle with cancer. Christ Jesus– being SO good, SO merciful, and SO present and REAL– led me, through YouTube, to watch this video of Nabeel speaking at IPC Hebron Houston. It was on June 25th, 2017, one of the last times he ever spoke before a congregation. He spoke on exactly what my heart was experiencing as I grieved: the “Why, Jesus? Why would you allow this to happen?” questioning and struggling. It’s about under an hour long; please watch it if you can.

It made me laugh. It made me cry. A lot. But more than anything, it made me, truly now more than ever, want to live my God-given days on this Earth well— all to Jesus’ glory, and close by Jesus’ side.

Please pray for his family, as said before… and for the Muslims who believe this was brought on Nabeel as a curse from “allah” for leaving the Muslim faith. May they doubt their allah, and come to know the Loving, Daily Presence of Jesus.

It blesses me to know that we serve a great God, who both mourns with His children on Earth for their loss, but also is with His children in heaven, the very Believers people in Earth are mourning for (I hope that makes sense.).

The gift of Nabeel’s life has been both given and taken away by Jesus, for what seems like is too soon… But blessed be Jesus’ Name.

We love you, brother Nabeel. See you in Heaven. ❤



Do you know Jesus?

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
(1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV)

There is no doubt in my mind that many will seek to imitate the faith of my brother, Nabeel Qureshi. But Nabeel was not just a great man, or even a good man. To put it simply, Nabeel Qureshi was a man who sought the Truth– and found Him (John 14:6).

Are you looking for Truth? Do you think that the Truth is relative?

I implore you to read Nabeel Qureshi’s books– and uncover the very rational reasoning for why Jesus IS God, and for why the Gospel IS real. Learn more about this Jesus– and about why He did what He did for you and I– here.


 

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for the 34 years You gave to Nabeel– and for the gift Nabeel has been to all who have known and love him. Please hold them and show them Yourself, even in grieving his passing.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,

Amen.

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A New “Chibok Schoolgirls” Supherhero: The Power of Story

On September 6th, 2017, it was reported in an article by All Africa that Marvel created a new superhero. What makes this superhero so special? The female superhero is inspired by the Chibok girls!

Her name is Ngozi, and the comic she will be starring in as the first superhero in a real-life African country (Nigeria) will be called “Blessing In Disguise.” Her creator, a Nigerian-American bestselling writer named Nnedi Okorafor, stated that “it was an important decision” that she based the superhero on the Chibok girls. According to All Africa, Okorafor said, “They [the Chibok girls] were normal girls who suddenly had to deal with a huge change in their lives… and their story of perseverance is so powerful” (All Africa, “[Chibok girls]” mine).

Indeed, it is. To this date, 106 of the Chibok girls have either escaped or been rescued by the Nigerian government; 113 still remain. The story of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped sparked international outrage, and an outpouring of protest and prayer.

Now, almost three and a half years later, details about the freed Chibok girls’ experiences in bondage are coming out. One of the perhaps most shocking details is that the Chibok school girls kept diaries, that they passed around to each other to complete, in which they claim that their kidnapping was actually just a failed robbery. In these journals, stories of beatings, Koranic lessons, near-death experiences, and rampant abuse were told “in passable English and less-coherent Hausa,” according to Reuters. Though incredibly dark events transpired, the girls gave nicknames to their captors, keeping their spirits high.

Thinking about and praying for the Chibok girls, we are blessed beyond words to be seeing the fulfillment of God’s promises to free and restore these young women– and are amazed at how Jesus has, so compassionately, finally given the public world insight into what these girls went through.

This news– the news about the comic, and about the girls’ journals– highlights the beauty, and necessity, of telling our stories. It reminds one of those who went off and told their stories after Jesus had healed them– or of Nehemiah, in the Bible, and his chronicling of how God called him to restore the gates of Israel.

It is no secret that the Bible tells the stories of people; but only a few books of the Bible are told autobiographically, or as a memoir. At the start of the book, we find Nehemiah, a Cupbearer to the King of Persia, hearing about the destruction of Jerusalem’s gates, walls, and truly, people (Nehemiah 1). Nehemiah is so moved to sorrow over this news that he cries, fasts, and prays to God for days. After four months of being in prayer to God about what to do next, Nehemiah is able to speak with the King of Persia about his distress over Jerusalem and it’s walls– and, by the grace of God, is given permission to travel down to Jersualem. He is not only given permission to go down to Jerusalem to do this thing– he is given the letters from the King that are needed to supply him with resources, and the permission to pass through foreign countries to get to Judah!

As inspired and led by the Holy Spirit, Nehemiah told his story of how God used him to rebuild the walls– and restore Judah’s people (read the book of Nehemiah online to see just how.). More than this, the Holy Spirit gave the readers of this Old Testament book a biblical account of God’s love for Israel, passion for restoration, and complete faithfulness.

While the stories we tell of our own lives are not Holy Scripture by any means, they too can be testaments of Jesus’ work and movement in our lives… of how what once was dead can be made alive, and the beautiful lessons learned along the way.

As this comic is being made, and the lives of some of the Chibok girls are being restored, there are countless hundreds– maybe even thousands– in Northern Nigeria who still have no voice. Held captive by Boko Haram– and then, when physically free, held captive by the PTSD and trauma they have experienced– still have little to no voice to express the pain they have gone through. Children, even babies, continue to be used as bombs for Boko Haram; and women continue to escape captivity, only to find that they are pregnant with their captor’s child. Little boys are made into child soldiers; little girls are “married off,” suffering horrific sexual abuse. Even the freed Chibok girls are struggling with finding their voice; so much so that they are trying to kill themselves to protest what their words are afraid to convey.

BringBackOurGirls

 

They continue to be oppressed.
They continue to be silenced.

Friends, this is why this blog exists. To give voice to those in this insurgency who have no voice. Until they are able to tell their own stories, this blog will continue to tell them– with the prayer to Jesus that the stories and lives of these people intersect with His Story, the grandest story of them all: the Gospel.

The power of telling our own life stories– of how they intersect with Jesus and His transforming work in our lives– is great.

So, friends, as we read the Chibok girls’ stories as they spring up like flowers in the springtime, let us not forget to continue to tell the stories of those with no voice. For many, it is the difference between action and inaction— even life and death.

Tell your own story. Tell the stories of the voiceless. May they ring out as Francis J. Crosby wrote in the praise song, “Blessed Assurance”:

“This is my story; this is my song / praising my Savior, all the day long.”

For in Him, our true story is found. ❤


Do you know Jesus?

The entire Bible, from beginning to end, speaks of one main thing: The first and second coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ; and the Gospel: How Jesus died for our sins.

Perhaps you have never heard this true story, before.
Perhaps you have heard it until your ears have bled and your eyes have rolled with disdain.
Maybe you have heard it happily, but are unsure on if it is true– and what that could mean for you.

Whoever you are, and wherever you are at in life, the Gospel is the grandest, most true story ever toldbut it is not just a story. At it’s core, the reason for why this story is so powerful is that it is God’s Story for mankind.

If you know the Maker of this story, your life will change forever. But if you don’t know the Maker of this Story, it will stay just that– a story.

Meet the Maker of this Story– and realize what He has done for you, so that You can know Him, personally– here.



Pray with me…

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for the greatest story ever told– Your Word. 
Thank You for wanting to not only create us, but communicate with us; thank You for making a way for us to be with You, by dying on the cross for our sin.

Dear Jesus,
We thank You for the new comic coming out, having been inspired by the Chibok girls!!! Jesus, Your Word in Zephaniah 3:15-17 says, “The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ‘Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.‘” Jesus, thank You for doing this very thing in our midst, as 163 Chibok girls have escaped or been rescued!!! You have done amazing things, Jesus; we are filled with Joy (Psalm 126:3). 

But, dear Jesus,
There are still many, many people still missing. We pray that You would unleash Your power in their lives; we pray, most of all, that they would know You, personally. 
Please bring the Chibok girls– and so many others– back to their homes.
Please stop this evil that is Boko Haram, that is Jihad, and that ultimately, is our sinful nature mixed with satan’s schemes. 

Please heal those who are broken and wounded. Please bring Lugwa Sanda to You, dear Jesus, and show her that You are the only One worth living for.

Please avenge the helpless and destitute. 

But until You come back, Lord Jesus, please use us to be Your Hands, Your Feet, and Your heart to this dying, sick, broken, lost world. Please use us to heal, to restore, to bring justice, and to bring voices to the voiceless.

Give us Kingdom mindsets, that hallow and glorify Your Name.

Please come soon, Jesus.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,

Amen.”

Please pray for Lugwa Sanda.

*WARNING: TRIGGERS CONCERNING SUICIDE*

According to this article, a freed Chibok schoolgirl, Lugwa Sanda, has tried to commit suicide. She drank “a copious quantity of Jik, a concentrated liquid stain remover,” in protest to going to a school chosen by the Nigerian government for them to go to, owned by the former vice president, Atiku Abubukar.

Many of the young girls do not want to go to this school, because of the school’s location. It is located in Adamawa state, which has been the target of recent Boko Haram attacks. These young women are rightly afraid of being near Boko Haram again, and fear that they could be re-kidnapped.

This is obviously a huge trigger for these young women, who are still battling PTSD, among a plethora of mental, emotional, and spiritual health issues that have been inflicted upon them by their kidnapping on April 14th, 2014. Please pray with me, that these young women would find true healing in Jesus Christ– and especially for Lugwa Sanda, as she is in the hospital being treated for her suicide attempt as this post is being written.

“Dear Jesus,
We cannot imagine the amount of pain and fear that these young women are currently going through, but You can.
We pray, in Your Name, that You would hold Lugwa Sanda tight, right now. You are near to the brokenhearted and those whose spirits are crushed, Lord Jesus (Psalm 34:18); please be near to Lugwa Sanda, today, and show her Yourself.

Dear Jesus,
We pray that You would continue to heal and restore these young girls. We thank You for this.
In Jesus’ Name we pray,
Amen.”

Thank you for your prayers. Please keep praying for dear Lugwa. ❤



Do you know Jesus?

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
(Psalm 34:18, NIV)

Perhaps, because of whatever is going on in your life, you are crushed.
Your heart is broken. Your life is in shambles.
You may just want to… end it all.

But I am asking you this, friend: Please do not give up. Please.

I don’t want to feed you cliches, even Christian ones. “There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning” may honestly fill you with disdain. I don’t know.

What I do know is this: There will be pain in this life. But there is a God, who promises to be with you throughout all of it– and that He has already overcome all of the pain, trial and sorrow one could ever experience (John 16:33).

He Loves you. You are Loved. “He saves those who are crushed in spirit.” There is Hope to be found in a relationship with Jesus.

Learn more about, and meet Jesus, here.

**If you are feeling low, and need some prayer or just someone to talk to, please feel free to contact Annalee of ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY, here. YOU ARE LOVED!!!**


 

Urgent Prayer Request: Worldwide Floods

worldwide flooding

While many know of, or have experienced Hurricane Harvey, not much of the world knows about the Benue flood currently happening in Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria.

Nigeria_Benue_State_map

Benue State, Nigeria. More than 110,00 people have been displaced by this flood, which started August 27th, 2017.

In fact, according to this CNN report, six other places around the world are experiencing horrific monsoons and floods, killing thousands and displacing hundreds of thousands.

The amount of flooding, displacement and death from all over the world seems too vast to even comprehend, much less do anything about. But there is One who is Sovereignromans 8.28 over it all, working to bring about good for those who love Him: Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28).

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
(Hebrews 4:16, NIV)

Will you join me in coming before God’s throne of grace, and lifting up these people?

“Dear Lord Jesus,

There is so much flooding… You know this full well. It seems all too much for us to think about, Father God, but we know that You do not miss a single hair on any Believers’ heads.

Father God, we lift up those in Hurricane Harvey, in Texas, and also those who are experiencing flooding in the surrounding states. Dear Jesus, please show all people involved in this horrendous experience that You are Lord of All.

We lift up those in Benue state, Nigeria. Dear Jesus, please bring these people out of the floodwaters and give them all the comfort, safety, and security that they need. Please show us how we can donate to all of these disasters, and provide the comfort, safety, and security that they need. Please cause the floodwaters to go down, soon.

Dear Jesus, we pray for Bangladesh, where, so far, hundreds have passed away. Dear Jesus, please show the people of Bangladesh that You alone are God; please reveal Yourself mightily to the muslims, buddhists, and other nonbelievers that are in that region and area. Please use this evil and tragic thing for Your Glory and their good.

Father God, we lift up those in India. Please give those who trust in Your Name respite from the storms; please show those who do not know You that You can be their refuge in the storm. Please raise up humanitarian organizations to assist and aid those in deep distress!

Father God, we pray for your intervention in Sierra Leone‘s mudslide and flooding. You know every person who has suffered and died in this flooding; please bring Peace, Comfort, and even Joy to their hearts, amidst the pain.

Lord God, we also pray over the landslides in Nepal. Dear Jesus, we pray in Your Name that You would provide shelter for those crying out to You in the midst of their terror. Father God, please show us how we can love these people. Provide Your People in the lives of those in these places, to hug, hold, and uplift those who have lost everything. Please let their loving, compassionate care lead them into a Personal relationship with You.

Lord, we lift up Pakistan and the city of Karachi, where monsoon flooding has occurred. Jesus, we lift up the 27 people who have passed in Pakistan, as well as the approximately 593 others who have passed in flooding worldwide… we pray that these death tolls do not rise more, Lord Jesus. We ask, and beg in Your Name, that You would preserve the lives of these people, and would bring them to You.

Dear Jesus,
Please, protect those currently dealing with Hurricane Irma. Both in the Caribbeans and on the east coast of Florida and surrounding states, please give these people wisdom, guidance, and understanding; please help them to evacuate, before Irma hits, and help those who have already gone through Hurricane Irma. 

Lord Jesus, please help those suffering from Hurricane Katia in Mexico… please hold those who are losing their homes, and protect these people from death tolls.

Thank You for all of this, Lord Jesus.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,

Amen.”

Please click on the following links to donate to these places!

UPDATE: PLEASE PRAY OVER HURRICANE IRMA’S TARGETS– THE CARIBBEANS AND FLORIDA!
PLEASE ALSO PRAY FOR THOSE IN MEXICO, AS HURRICANE KATIA HITS!

 

Thank you for your prayers, donations and support!

Follow ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY on Twitter!

 

Documenting the Stories of Kidnappees outside the Chibok Girls’ Kidnapping

Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of Nigerian, Chadian, and other West African people have been kidnapped by Boko Haram. This is not surprising news– though it is heart-wrenching.

163 of the Chibok girls have been freed, and hundreds of other people who have been kidnapped have also been released (Praise Jesus!). But, there is a big difference in how the Chibok girls have been treated, versus how others who have been kidnapped have been treated.

It seems impossible to be able to give these “other” people the same care and treatment as the Chibok girls, due to the sheer lack of mental health counselors and doctors in Northern Nigeria. The fact that these people– these rape, trauma and abuse victims– are being thrown back out into the wild, crazy, and at times, heartless world without any attentiveness or care breaks my heart.

Many of these former kidnappees now face isolation, as their very own hometowns have marked them cursed; the children they have been forced into carrying from rape are called accursed, too.

These men, women, and children– who have all experienced the evil of Boko Haram in some form or another– need to be heard. Their stories must be told.

It is for this reason that ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY is expanding it’s main focus to include not only the Chibok girls, but all people who have been kidnapped, as well as those who are currently in captivity.

While their names may have not been documented, as the Chibok girls’ names have, the names of the countless people who have been driven into bondage are known by Christ. This Truth is seen profoundly in Isaiah 49.

See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.
(Isaiah 49:16, NIV)

This is the Hope for those who feel that, as a part of the masses, they, and their pain, do not matter. May I also venture to say that it is the Hope for us, too?

These people are not forgotten. You are not forgotten. If today, you feel nameless, know that if you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, He has engraved you on the palms of His Hands. Your life– and  all of it’s brokenness– is always in His Mind.

And, just as Christ has brought back 163 Chibok girls– and countless others– from bondage, know that He is mighty to save you. He Loves you, and is working and moving on your behalf (Romans 8:28).

As ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY continues to try to document, support, and love those who have been ravaged by this insurgency, please pray for guidance in how to do so best. If you have any suggestions or ideas on how to do so well, PLEASE share!

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5, NIV). Now is a time of weeping– but it will not last forever. Until then, let us remember, love, and pray for those who have been ravaged.


Do you know Jesus?

Isaiah 49:16 speaks about us being engraved in the palms of the LORD. Nothing could prove this more than Jesus death on the cross.

As one nail was driven through each of Jesus’ Christ’s Hands, He was dying for the sins of the world. Learn more about the Savior who, in perfect Love, came to die for you and I– and why– here.



Please pray:

  • For the countless men, women, and children who have been held captive by Boko Haram.
  • For the “Chibok girls”– those 163 who have been freed, and those 113 who are still in captivity.
  • For those currently battling Boko Haram.
  • For those currently being displaced and attacked by Boko Haram.

 

Thank you for all of your prayers!

Finding Refuge: Why We Never Have to Be Afraid

On August 16th, 2017, an article came out that changed much of how people will view Boko Haram’s kidnapping of the Chibok school girls. It is now known that many of the Chibok school girls came together and helped document their time in captivity, together, in Koranic school books they were given by Boko Haram. In it, one humongous revelation was revealed: Boko Haram did not originally come to Chibok Secondary School to kidnap the Chibok girls, but they instead came to steal machine-making supplies (source). It was when they could not find these machine-making materials that they decided to kidnap the Chibok girls—making their kidnap, not a pre-meditated ploy created by a “brilliant” Boko Haram, but rather purely accidental (source).

During their three-year enslavement to Boko Haram, the Chibok girls had a “staunch belief that they would one day go home” (source). Apart from these revelations being proof that the Chibok girls never gave up Hope, it is also a shocking narrative about all of the horrific cruelty they went through. Those who did not convert to Islam were threatened with decapitation, while some of the girls were beaten.

There is one shocking story that sticks out. Naomi Adamu, one of the writers of the journals, claimed that one day, Boko Haram (BH) members brought out jerrycans, supposedly full of petrol, and told those who did not convert to Islam that they would be doused with the petrol and burned. When the girls became terrified, the BH members “cracked into laughter,” as the girls realized there was nothing but water in the jerrycans (source).

Even being faced with possible imminent death, decapitation threats, and murderous violence on a daily basis, it is awe-inspiring to see that so many of these Christian girls from Northern Nigeria did not flinch in their Hope, nor in their commitment to Jesus Christ. There is one thing to thoughtfully note about the story mentioned above: fear is truly a lie.

in the worst of timesThe Psalms speak about this concept of trusting the Lord, and not giving into fear, many times; one of those times is in Psalm 91.

 

 

 

 

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.”
(Psalm 91:4-13, NIV)

Whether one’s fears are legitimate and real, or irrational, Jesus doesn’t want us to be afraid of anything. But how can one, when faced with certain death, like the Chibok girls, come through the valley, fearless?

Psalm 91 gives great insight into this. At the beginning of the Psalm, the writer gives a declaration: “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (Psalm 91:4). In a world where terror and turmoil are so prevalent, God—through the Psalmist—declares that, like a mother hen with her chicks, He longs to cover people with his feathers, and that it is underneath these feathers that people will find real refuge from the threats going on around them. Jesus, in the New Testament, said something similar: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37, NIV). The Truth is this: God, toward the Believer, is not a God of wrath or only of Mighty Power; He is a tender God, longing to lavish His Love upon and protect those who trust in Him alone. fear is a lie

The verses following right after verse 4 show us the outcome of coming to Christ, and trusting Him to be our Refuge. “You will not fear…it [pestilence] will not come near you” (Psalm 91:5-7, NIV). This is a second declaration: Because Christ, in His Tender, Loving-kindness is your Shield, you don’t ever have to be afraid of the things that are threatening to harm you. In trusting Jesus, all dread, worry, and fear is removed.

It is only this mighty, tender Love that Christ, God has for His People that removes all fear (1 John 4:18). As Jesus says in Matthew 23:37, this fear-crushing Love is always available to God’s People, but God will not force people to find refuge in Him. They must decide to do so for themselves.

There is a last declaration in Psalm 91: Those who do decide to run to Jesus for refuge from their fears WILL be victorious over whatever threatens them. As Romans 8:37 gallantly proclaims, “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who the truth1loved us.” While, heartbreakingly, for so many, the threat of imminent death for the sake of Jesus does become a reality, it is even in these moments that Christ can make one fearless. Jesus does not guarantee that every circumstance will come out perfectly or without loss… but He does promise that fear does not need to be a part of the equation, and that Perfect Peace and even Joy are attainable by trusting in Him.

In the worst of times, Perfect Peace, Joy, and Comfort is ours to take in Christ. And while we live in this fallen world, there is a greater Hope: that Jesus Christ will one day do away with everything that causes us trauma and turmoil, treading “on the lion and the cobra” (Psalm 91:13).

It is each of these journal entries– documenting pain, loss, and at times, fear—that proves how one can overcome by clinging to Christ’s Love, and never giving up Hope in Him.

satan will come and attack using fear; but, like the Chibok girls who have been rescued, Believers will have the victory in Christ Jesus. As these girls continue to heal, and as some of the other Chibok girls are still not home yet, may Christ be their Refuge and Strength: the One that makes them, in His Love, more than conquerors. “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4, NIV).


Do you know Jesus?

You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
(Psalm 91:13, NIV)

While this verse speaks of eventual victory for the One who trusts in Christ Jesus, it also prophetically speaks of the time when the Messiah, Jesus Christ, defeats satan for good—and, how He has already defeated satan, by dying on the cross for our sins.

As the musician David Crowder sings, “The cross meant to kill is my victory.” Without Jesus Christ, there is no true victory over sin and death. Learn more about who Jesus is, what He did, and how He gave all those who believe in Him true victory, here.



Please pray with me…

“Dear Lord Jesus,
We thank You for what You did on the cross at Calvary. Thank You for dying on the cross for our sin, so that we can have the Victory, Perfect Peace, Comfort, Joy, and everything else we have in You. Dear Jesus, we pray that You would watch over the Chibok girls that are still in captivity; please bring them to You, and give them the Hope that they will one day be freed, too.

Dear Jesus, please help their family and friends, as they struggle with waiting for their Loved Ones to come out of captivity. Please show them Your Faithfulness. May we run to You for refuge Jesus, and not be afraid, even when everything around us tells us to be.

Dear Jesus, please help the Nigerian army, and the Joint Civilian Task Force, as they continue to fight Boko Haram; give them no fear, and help them to come to know You fully. Please help those in traumatic, terrorist situations to trust in You.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,

Amen.”

Thank you for your prayers!!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

St. Philips’ Church Shooting

Injustice. It is everywhere, in the huge and in the small. Sunday morning, it visited a church in Southeast Nigeria.

Imagine. Your closely known brothers and sisters in Jesus meet with you like they do every Sunday, at your local church.

These are people that you hopefully do life with. People you worship Christ with. People who wrestle with the difficult things with you.
People you eat with, cry with, and laugh with. People you love.

And then– gunmen enter the building that houses the Church. Men, looking for one person, barge in, and kill these people. People you love. The sanctuary becomes a place of violence; a place of joy quickly becomes a place of bloodshed, a place where you lost those closest to you.

This Sunday morning, August 6th, 2017, St. Philips Catholic Church was attacked by men who are in the drug-trafficking business of southeast Nigeria. 11 churchgoers were killed when these men started shooting randomly inside the church, in pursuit of someone they thought was in the church building. He was not there (source).

Today, it was not just St. Philips Catholic Church in Ozubulu, Anambra state that suffered damage. It was not torn down architecture; it was a group of people, united in Christ– the true meaning of “the Church”– that passed away, and are now in the presence of their Lord and Savior.

In Hebrews 10:24-25, Jesus gives, through the writer of Hebrews, a very encouragingsnippet command– not one to be dreaded, or merely “checked off a list,” but joyfully done.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
(Hebrews 10:24-25, NIV)

Today, the concept of church is too often seen as a corporation, or somewhere one goes to only on special holidays. But Christ had a very different design for the worldwide Church: it is His bride, and it is meant to be a safe place– a place where much of the process of discipleship and sanctification takes place, as Christ-followers seek to do life together, pursuing Christ all the more.

Though this is not always what happens, it is the goal. Like the early church of Antioch in Acts 11, the church is not just a building or a money-making system… it is a group of Believers in Christ, the One, True, Living God, living lives of Love and generosity to bless those around them (Galatians 6:10). During the famine in Jerusalem, the church of Antioch– the first church of gentile believers– generously gave of their own money to help the church in Judea, after a church member in Antioch named Agabus prophesied that there would be a famine in Jerusalem (you can read more about it here). Christ’s Love had so welled up in their hearts that their entire lives were changed; it was no longer about what one could gain from the church, but how one could generously give to those in need in the Church.

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In this, two beautiful truths are found: We, as Christians, need consistent time with one another; and that the church is not supposed to look like the world, but the Church is supposed to love the world, as Christ did.

It is with all of this in mind, and an extremely heavy heart, that I write about what happened in Southeast Nigeria, Sunday. A group of men and women who believed in Christ were killed on Sunday, together. And it is with care, yet firm encouragement, that I write to my brothers and sisters in Christ: Do not forsake the fellowship of the saints.

You may have been scarred by the church.
You may have never been in a church where you felt like you belonged, and were loved.
You may be of the persuasion that you can walk this walk, alone, without a church body to love and help you (and visa versa).

But friends, I am here to tell you the Truth of the matter: I do not want to disregard the fact that you may have been hurt or jaded by your church experiences. But though you may be extremely scarred, and though you may have been tossed aside by some in the Church, you cannot walk this walk alone. You need deep fellowship with Christ, and with other Christians.snippet three

For where two or three gather together in My name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20, NIV). Brothers and sisters in Jesus, we need each other. I pray, as I pray for these brothers and sisters in Southeast Nigeria, that you– and everyone else reading– would come to know Christ, and would come to know the joy of being in fellowship with one another.

As this body of believers is suffering the deep loss of their loved ones, may they be our loved ones too. Our Jesus never promised a life without the pain of injustice (John 16:33)– but he did promise us fellowship with Himself, and command that we do life with the people He has given us. May we receive His gift of other believers, gladly; and may we pray for, and mourn with, those in Southeast Nigeria who have lost these loved ones.

“…so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. …Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
(Romans 12:5, 15, NIV)



Do you know Jesus?

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33, NIV)

Perhaps one of the most beautiful things in this life is relationships with other human beings; but, without a doubt, the most wonderful thing in this life is having a personal relationship with God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

You may be thinking, “A person can have a relationship with God, without having Jesus in the picture.” But, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”
(John 14:6. NIV).

Jesus came to earth, as God-in-human-flesh, to provide sinful mankind with the one way to know God the Father personally. Learn more about Jesus, and why He came to earth to fulfill this mission, by going here.


Please pray with me…

“Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for the people You have put in our lives, near and far from us. Thank You for the Church at large. Thank You for Loving us, and helping us to love others.

Dear Jesus,
We pray in Your Name over all things that have happened in Southeast Nigeria, at St. Philip’s Catholic Church. Please hold the members of this church body close to Your Heart; please comfort them, and guide them as they grieve.

We pray for an end to the violence and destruction in Nigeria– and know that it can only come through all people coming to know You. Without You, Jesus, there is no Peace– please help us to share Your Gospel, and please bring us all closer to You.

Thank You for each person who knows You, Lord– please bring back the Chibok girls, as well as the thousands of others who are still in captivity. Please move mightily in their midst.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.”

Thank you for your prayers!!!