He Wins the War: Hope for the Weary

Over a month ago– on February 5th, 2018—two people were burnt alive in Alau-Kofa village, which is in close proximity to Borno state’s capitol of Maiduguri. This horrific information has come just as the military has said that Boko Haram has been defeated1.

“Saying they have been completely defeated is pushing it too far,” Major General Nicholas Rogers has said concerning the fight against Boko Haram1.The government and military has said much, but things and events have said otherwise, to the anger of those fighting for the Chibok girls—and now, also for the Dapchi girls.

Just yesterday, March 13th, people at the center of the #BringBackOurGirls movement declared that the Nigerian government has 7 days to find and free the 110 “Dapchi” girls, or face “a lawsuit on the grounds of criminal negligence.”2 Obviously, the world is demanding the truth, and real action.

But what if those things never come? What if, for all our striving and demands, our actions and best laid plans, these girls are not freed in our time frame, and Boko Haram continues to at least look like they are definitely winning the war? These are hard, pressing times. Times where the Nigerian military does not want to perform aerial attacks, for fear of killing the very girls people are demanding they save. They are weary of trying to find and apprehend Abubukar Shekau, leader of one faction of Boko Haram, because he is using these precious people as human shields1.

Human. Shields.
Innocent young women and men, their lives put on the line so that these wicked people can live, and continue to do evil.

As I was thinking about this—about how horrific and unjust it all is—one thought came to mind: Jesus knows exactly what these people are going through.

You see, as far-fetched as it all sounds, Jesus was our human shield.

For sinful people who were indifferent or hateful towards Him, “…he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, NIV). Jesus took the blow we, evil sinners, deserved. He took upon Himself the wrath of God, so that we—the ones who have brought it on in the first place—could live3.

Jesus did all of this—only, He didn’t do it because He was forced to, as these innocent people are being made to. He did it of His own free will, choosing to completely obey His Heavenly Father.

I might get hate because of this; I know how racy it made be to compare a normal, everyday person to the leader of such an evil terrorist organization as Boko Haram. But answer me this: Is there such a thing as “big sins” and “small sins,”—that is, is there sins that are more damning than others?

Not just according to us, and not according to society—not even to Christian culture. But biblically?

There is one sin that can never be forgiven, and that is to reject Jesus Christ as one’s Personal Lord and Savior. But other than that, while sins that vary and differ based upon their consequences and who they hurt, I believe James 2:10 says, “If you have committed one sin you are guilty of all.” All sins are equally heinous, as John Piper has said4.

Bottom line: Jesus knows exactly how these hostages feel.
He knows exactly how every outraged mother, father, brother, son, daughter, and sister feels. How the incredibly frustrated, discouraged, angered members of Bring Back Our Girls feels.
He knows my discouragement—and yours, too.

He sees the bloodshed, the tears, the dirt and sin. He hears the cries, the screams; the silence of brokenness.

He hears your sighs, listens to every prayer. Yet, nothing has seemed to change—for the better, at least.

Friend, as everything seems to be getting worse, I have one final question for you: Do you trust the God, who took on the wrath and anger of God the Father upon Himself, to save and free you? Do you trust that He is good, and has good for you, even in this pain?

Look to Calvary, and know two things: Jesus Loves you. And He is in control.


As sin abounds, hearts continue to break, and demands are made in this sometimes hellacious world, I encourage you to look to Calvary amidst your much-needed prayers, demands, and actions. I encourage you to remember, no matter how it all ends up: satan may be “winning battles,” but Jesus has won the war.

He wins. May that carry you through. ❤

Do you know Jesus?

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.”
(Isaiah 53:4, NIV)

On all accounts—from how people viewed Jesus, to the actual pain and suffering God put upon Him, Jesus suffered the worst pain of any person, ever. But why?

Isaiah 53 goes on to say, “By His wounds, we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). “How?” You might ask?

These are two HUGE questions; and while I am only a human being, I would love to help you find and understand the answers. Read more about these questions, here.

Please pray for (you can get prayer sheets, here):

  • Wisdom for the Nigerian government, as they work on freeing the “Chibok” and “Dapchi” girls. President Buhari wants to negotiate with Boko Haram for the girls’ release; please pray that he would turn to Christ, and would be led of Him.
  • The “Chibok girls.” Pray that Christ brings them home soon.
  • The “Dapchi girls.” Pray that the government listens to activists, and works to bring them home, soon, too.
  • Those praying and protesting for these girls’ release; that they, we, would trust in Jesus alone, and would allow Him to strengthen us.
  • That Boko Haram would be crushed, and all “human shields” set free.


Thank you for your prayers!!!

1 https://www.news24.com/Africa/News/boko-haram-kills-two-as-military-says-group-defeated-20180205

2 http://www.africanews.com/2018/03/14/nigerian-gov-t-given-7-days-to-bring-back-chibok-dapchi-girls-or-face-charges//





Keep Fighting the Good Fight!

On Friday, January 19th, it was reported that 5 people were killed by Boko Haram, early Friday morning in Kaya village of Madagali in Adamawa state. Late Thursday night and into Friday morning, Boko Haram insurgents drove into Kaya Village, forcibly entered two homes, and killed four people, three of which were brothers. They killed another man, as he tried to rescue those who were killed.1

According to reports, insurgents looted a village clinic for medical supplies, then left the town.3 Townspeople ran for their lives; after the rampage was done, both the Nigerian military and local hunters hunted down some of the Boko Haram insurgents.

Unfortunately, contrary to what the Nigerian military has been broadcasting to the outside world, stories such as these are very prevalent in Adamawa, Maiduguri, and those places closest to Boko Haram’s hideout, the Sambisa Forest. “The recent attacks indicate the group is still able to carry out major attacks and has not been defeated despite the successes achieved by Nigerian soldiers in the war,” House Representative Adamu Kamale said on the subject. He went on to say that the terrorism in Madagali is “seriously underreported” to President Buhari, and that “The truth remains that the group is still very active in our areas.”2

These statements do not come without apparent evidence. The village of Pallam was attacked and looted as houses were set on fire, on Monday, January 15th, killing 3 people. 9 others were killed in Ngala, Borno state; and ten innocent people were killed in a suicide bombing in Maiduguri on Wednesday, January 17th, with approximately 12 others wounded.2

While Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, has claimed total victory over Boko Haram and has conceded that some suicide bombings will occur, the consistency of these attacks brings to question: What does “victorious” actually look like? Is there such a thing as being “victorious enough?” When it comes to people’s lives, the answer is always, “No.”

Because we can never obtain perfection in this life, there will always be a fight to fight. No matter how far we have come– and let us never forget how far we have come– there is always new ground to be gained. It reminds one of Joshua, conquering the Promised Land.

fight to fight

As evidenced by the reports spoken of, above, it does no good to be denial about the fact that we must fight in this life. Did you know that God promised Israel, in Genesis 15:18 and Joshua 1:4, the land from the Nile in Egypt to Lebanon (north to south), and everything from the Mediterrean Sea to the Euphrates River (west to east)? That is today’s current land of Israel, plus The West Bank, Gaza, all of Jordan, some of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and some of Egypt and Syria! Though God promised ALL of this land to Israel, Israel only ended up claiming a small fraction of the land God promised them.4

It’s easy to shake our heads in disbelief at this. All of this land was completely Israel’s for the taking. But isn’t this what so many Christians do, in so many ways?

  • In John 10, Jesus says this about what He has given Believers:
    • “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10, emphasis mine).
  • And in John 14, Jesus promises to give Believers the gift of Peace:
    • “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27, NIV).
  • Not only this, but the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle John, calls us “More Than Conquerors”:
    • “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37, KJV, emphasis mine).

While I am not trying to advocate for “Name It and Claim It” Prosperity Theology, this fact about Israel’s history begs me to question: Are we claiming Jesus’ promises, and walking in a truly victorious life, like Jesus has given us for the taking? Too often, Christians– like me– choose to live a life of fear, of being worldly and bound to sin, or of being bound by the law. So much of the time, life can also feel so heavy that victory or progress seems impossible; but, friend, just as defeat and compromise is not what God wanted for the Israelites, this is not what Jesus wants for us! He wants to meet us exactly where we are at, comfort and free us of our bondage, and then help us to grow in our faith in Him, as HE– not us– fights (and wins!) our battles, if we only trust in Him  to do so.

This side of heaven, there will always be a fight. While Christ has already won the war, He calls us to trust in Him, rest in Him, and obey Him, as He continues to fight the battles we face. Not only does Jesus ask us to trust in Him; He asks us to do our fighting, not by flesh and blood, but in the spiritual realm, through prayer. As 1 Peter 4:7 says, “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”

We are in the fight of our lives: A fight for Hope, a Fight for Justice, and a Fight for Christian Unity– but supremely, we are in a fight for Love, to see lost souls come to eternal salvation in Jesus. Our spiritual armor, and our alert prayers, are indispensable tools for this fight.

As seen in the current happenings of Norther Nigeria, there is still an enemy– and the fight isn’t over. As we battle this war between darkness and light, between lies and truth, between satan’s reign and God’s will being done on Earth as it is in Heaven, may we look to Him who encourages us: Never back down, never give in to the enemy, and never give up. After all, as the lyrics of “Lions” by Skillet say, “before we face the fight, we know whose going to win.”

Watch the lyric video of “Lions” by Skillet, here!: https://youtu.be/DzjfNI2XEBs

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NIV, emphasis mine)

This is in tribute to the 5 people who died from Boko Haram’s attacks. 


1 https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/256055-boko-haram-attacks-adamawa-town-kills-five.html;  https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/01/boko-haram-kills-five-adamawa-state/

2 https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/256055-boko-haram-attacks-adamawa-town-kills-five.html

3 https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/01/boko-haram-kills-five-adamawa-state/


Do you know Jesus?

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
(Exodus 14:14)

With Jesus, you never, ever have to be afraid. While we face many battles and struggles in this life, it is Jesus Christ who won the ultimate war over sin and death, giving us the only way to be saved from eternal separation from Him (hell).

Because Jesus did all that was needed to save us, we truly can rest, and let Jesus’ fighting be enough for us. Learn more about this ultimate war on sin and death, and how Jesus reigns victorious over it, here!

Please pray for…

  • The families of those killed in this wicked, horrible violence. Pray that they come to know Jesus through it, and are strengthened, comforted, and healed by Him!
  • The Nigerian military. Please pray that ALL of them do come to know Jesus, through this war– and that they would not give up fighting against Boko Haram.
  • Local hunters. Like the Nigerian military, these people (possibly apart of the Civilian Joint Task Force) are fighting and serving to abolish Boko Haram, and to defend their respective cities, towns, and villages. Please pray that these people would come to know Jesus, as well; and that they would fight, not out of evil intent or bitterness, but with a pure desire to see Peace and to protect their loved ones.
  • President Muhammadu Buhari. Please pray that He would come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, and that He is moved by Jesus to pursue the end of Boko Haram, and the healing of its victims.
  • Boko Haram members. That their eyes would be uncovered, and that they would realize the false religion that they are apart of. Pray Jesus would meet with them in real, lasting way.

Thank you for your prayers!!!




The Battle plans of the Enemy (And How We Can Avoid Them)

In (late) observance of Veteran’s Day, I was led to write about the “schemes of the enemy”– otherwise known as satan’s battle plans. Enjoy– and stay close to our Loving Jesus!


Do you remember, or have you heard about, the Jonestown Massacre that happened in 1978? Without over-spiritualizing the concept of satan’s devices and plans– and without making it something that merely puts fear into people, rather than soberness, encouragement and power– I read a deeply disturbing article about a survivor of Jim Jones’ cult. This event was something that really struck my heart with its heaviness.

For those of you who may not know about the Jonestown Massacre, a deranged, yet incredibly Charismatic man named Jim Jones led a mass following of some 1400 people in a cult which was called “The Peoples Temple Christian Church.” As the cult turned more and more sinister, he led his faithful following to an isolated existence in the rainforest of Guyana, a country in Southern America. He called the isolated compound, “Jonestown.”

jonestown massacre

As Jim Jones, who was reportedly secretly addicted to amphetamines, continued to lead his cult, he would stage “suicide rehearsals,” telling the people of the compound that “they” (the outside world/American government) were coming to torture and kill Jones’ followers “because [his followers] had chosen the ‘socialist track'” (source). Deceiving and terrorizing the people using even the Bible, Jones coerced his followers into “revolutionary suicide,” by having them drink cyanide-laced kool-aid (an event which created the casual, insensitive phrase, “Don’t drink the kool-aid”). Jones went through with the the mass suicide on November 18th, 1978, when at last someone– Californian congressman Leo Ryan– came to investigate claims that Jones’ followers were held against their will at the compound (source). 900 people, including 276 children, were killed; Congressman Leo Ryan was murdered by those close to Jones, as well (source).

In her book, “Jonestown Lullaby,” Teri Buford O’shea describes her experience within the cult in a collection of photographs and poems. (The Atlantic had a chilling interview with O’shea about her experiences, which I encourage you to read if you want to study more of the Jonestown Massacre.) Reading this article, it dawned on me how incredulous, somber, and diabolically evil Jones’ actions were– and how the enemy works in such a similar way to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).

When the Enemy Attacks

The apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthians 2:11, said, “…we are not unaware of [the devil’s] schemes,” and Ephesians 6:11 tells us to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (more about the armor of God in this post.) It is important to understand his battle plans, so that Believers do not fall prey. But, what are the enemy’s devices?

Here are some to think about:

  • satan deceives. This is his primary tactic; in fact, Jesus Himself said that “he is the father of lies,” and that lying is his natural way of speaking (John 8:44). Just like Jim Jones, satan deceives people into thinking that they know the truth, when actually, they are believing a lie that could lead them to hell (if they don’t repent and make Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior).
  • satan perverts. In the words of Harold S. Martin, satan constantly “battles for the soul of the sinner and the life of the saint.” satan even uses, twists, and perverts good creation, including the Bible– the Word of God itself– to propagate his own evil plans. We can see him doing this in the life of Jesus, when Jesus was tempted for forty days in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11).
  • satan distracts us. More than ever, we live in a world full of distractions– distractions that can easily lead us away from Christ.
    Mark 4 describes a person that, upon hearing the Gospel, is distracted and taken away by the cares of this life. On a daily basis, satan distracts us from pursuing Jesus and His Kingdom using the same cares of this life: worries about finances, popular thoughts and philosophies, partying, and anything else he can use against us.
  • satan tempts. Just as Jim Jones lured people into the Peoples Temple cult using false promises of a utopia where everyone was equal, satan uses our desires (even good and natural desires!) to tempt us to sin. This is especially true of sexual immorality (having sex outside of God’s plan for marriage between one man, and one woman), but can be true of anything in our lives. After all, I have heard something be said to the effect of sin being “fulfilling God-created desires outside of God’s perfect will and plan for them.”
  • satan accuses. satan has a similar strategy: having led the Believer into temptation, he immediately turns around, heaping guilt and condemnation upon the sinner. satan would LOVE to have Believers continuously falling into temptation, and wallowing in guilt and condemnation for it. But we, as Believers, are not under false guilt and condemnation (Romans 8:1)!
  • satan manipulates & degrades. Using deceit, Jim Jones manipulated his followers into believing that everyone outside of their cult was out to get them. In doing so, he degraded and enslaved his followers to himself. satan would love to do the same, and does all of the time.
  • satan puts evil thoughts in our minds. Speaking lies into our ears, satan is behind many, if not most of the evil thoughts that can come into our minds. I want to be careful here, and say that we have our own sinful nature– not every sinful, wrong, evil, dark thought or action we have is straight from satan himself. However, he can definitely be a driving force behind such things, as Harold S. Martin writes here.
  • satan intimidates us. Jim Jones caused his listeners to become so afraid that many saw no other way out than the suicide he was commanding of them.
    No matter who you are, we are all susceptible to fear at differing degrees. Again, filling our minds with doubt and lies, satan loves to discredit God’s promises to fight for and take care of us. Ultimately, satan wants us bound up and wound up in fear and worry, clinging to fear instead of Christ.
  • satan divides us. Many militias have used the age-old tactic to divide and conquer its enemies. satan absolutely hates those who trust in and follow Jesus, and as such, he spends much of his time trying to divide and pit Christians against one another– and watches in glee as we do it to ourselves.
    He divides us using envy, deceit, gossip, bitterness, unrighteous anger, and especially unforgiveness. The Apostle Paul writes about this in Hebrews: “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many” (Hebrews 12:15, NLT).
    The dividing effects of these sinful actions are why it is SO important to obey God’s Word on loving one another. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
  • satan isolates us. Division and isolation go hand in hand. Like Jim Jones did when he took 1400 of his followers to a compound in Guyana, away from the rest of the world, satan wants us isolated from other Believers. At the core, a person who is isolated from others– especially isolated from other Believers– is easy for satan to destroy, and that is why he employs this strategy. Biblical, Godly community is something ALL Believers need; without it, we are very susceptible to being successfully attacked  by the enemy of our souls.


Ultimately, using these devices, and others like them, satan wants us bound; believing lies; steeped in sin; and hopeless beyond repair. In short, he wants us dead. Dead in our sin, dead physically, and deadened in our relationship with God.

The slaughter, much like the mass suicide (murder) of the innocent but gravely misled Peoples’ Temple followers, is heartwrenching. But, we are not defenseless.

Good, Good Leader

Jesus has given us spiritual armor, armor that protects us from the wiles of the enemy– you can read about those in this post. But, reflecting on the Jonestown Massacre, there is one beautiful, comforting truth to remember: in the Jonestown Massacre, those misled followers of Jim Jones had a deranged, selfish, evil “shepherd” to guide them to their deaths.

But it is not so, with us, Believers in Jesus. As said before here, Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11). He comes that we might have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10); and when we submit to Him, He leads us into verdant pastures, and by quiet streams, along right paths for His Namesake (Psalm 23:2-3).

The Truth? Jesus and satan are NOT equal in nature or power. Jesus is God; satan is not, no matter how hard he tries to be. satan needs Jesus’ permission to do what he wants in the life of the Believer; and Jesus does not allow anything to happen that He cannot turn around for His Glory, and our Good.

Our God is for us. He is not a lie; all through the darkness, He is in control.

So, be sober and vigilant. But, do not be afraid. For Jesus has said, “… ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you'” (Hebrews 13:5).

And for Jesus, our Good, Good Leader, that promise never has been– nor will it ever be– broken.
We can trust our Leader, guys, no matter what the enemy says or does. And our Leader wins in the end. 

May that be a comfort, and an amazing encouragement of victory, for all of us.

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
(Romans 8:37, NLT)

Do you know Jesus?

Therefore Jesus said again, Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.’
(John 10:7-9, NIV)

Jesus is not only good shepherd or leader; He is the Good Shepherd. And He alone is the way to actually know God the Father.

So, let me ask you this: Do you, you yourself, personally know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Learn more about Jesus Christ– and why He must be your Lord and Savior, for you to know God the Father– here.

Please pray for…

  • Believers all around the world who are currently undergoing spiritual warfare. Please pray that they would be sober and vigilant, and would know the enemy’s schemes against them.
  • Unity in the church. Please pray against the backbiting, the envy, unrighteous anger, gossip, and all other malice. We need each other! Pray this especially over your local fellowship.
  • For those who are fighting in physical war zones… that both their enemy and our army would know Jesus.
  • For, last but definitely not least, the Chibok girls who have not been found. Please pray that the Nigerian military, and anyone else, would be able to free them through negotiations, or however Jesus decides.


Thank you for your prayers and support!