Hey guys. Tonight’s post is going to be a little bit random in nature, but it’s been on my heart and mind lately. Continue reading
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
(Isaiah 55:11, KJV)
“Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23, KJV)
“A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:20-21, KJV)
~ Remember and speak aloud Jesus’ promises for you! His Word will never be returned void; He is trustworthy. ~
Learn more about Jesus, the God who does not change, here.
Please pray for…
- Those believers who need to know Jesus is for them. Perhaps this is you; may you be comforted by knowing that Christ is for you, not against you. (This is not saying that Jesus must do everything we want, or that He is a genie. But He Loves you– trust Him to do what His Word says He will do.)
- The families of the Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu. Find the girls’ names, here.
Thank you for your prayers!!!
On February 13th, 2018, a man by the name of Haruna Yahaya, aged 35, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for taking part in the Chibok school girl kidnapping. Yahaya, having a paralyzed arm and a deformed leg, confessed to being a part of the kidnapping; his lawyer, though, asked the judge for leniency, because Yahaya was “forcibly conscripted into the group and he acted under duress.”1 The judge did not agree to leniency, stating that Yahaya still could have chosen not to participate in the kidnapping of these women.1
Reading this article, I can’t help but suspect that Yahaya did act under duress— that he gave in to the pressure and fear around him, and chose to help take his fellow human beings captive. Perhaps I am wrong; perhaps he committed this crime in complete agreement with Boko Haram’s leaders, malice filling his heart. Maybe it was a bit of both; or maybe I shouldn’t even try to look at his motives. After all, only God can see a person’s heart (1 Kings 8:39).
But there are three things that I glean from this, that I feel are worth mentioning:
- How vulnerable all of us are to fear and to outside social pressure,
- That Jesus is fulfilling His Promise, in that those who have caused the Chibok girls suffering will get Justice for their actions; and that
- Perhaps this man is repentant (possibly shown by how he confessed to kidnapping the Chibok girls, and for maybe being under duress); and, because he might be truly repentant, he might now need mercy.
It brings to mind John 8:1-11, when an adulterous woman is brought before Jesus, and the Pharisees try to put Him in a trap. Instead, Jesus tells the Pharisees something very pointed: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7, NIV).
It is incredibly important to point out what Dave Miller of Apologetics Press says concerning this passage of scripture:
“this motley crew [speaking about the Pharisees]—with their notorious and repeatedly documented hard-heartedness—would not have been deterred if Jesus simply had conveyed the idea that, “Hey, give the poor woman a break, none of us is perfect, and we’ve all done things we’re not proud of.” These heartless scribes and Pharisees had the audacity to divert her case from the proper judicial proceedings and to humiliate her by forcibly hauling her into the presence of Jesus, thereby making her a public spectacle. …Paul was especially specific on the very point with which Jesus dealt: ‘You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery?’ (vs. 22). In other words, [Jesus was saying that] no person is qualified to call attention to another’s sin when that individual is in the ongoing practice of the same sin.”
(Dave Miller, “The Adulterous Woman,” Apologetics Press, words in brackets mine)
At the core, Jesus was not waving away this woman’s sin to show her mercy. He actually dealt quite lawfully with her, and showed her that she wasn’t to be condemned to death because her case, as mentioned by Dave Miller in “The Adulterous Woman,” lacked the necessary requirements for that to happen. Why bring this up? Because Jesus is a God of Law, Order, and Justice—after all, He (being part of the Trinity) created the Law of Moses to begin with.
As this woman is saved from death, Jesus tells her, “’Then neither do I condemn you… Go now and leave your life of sin’” (John 8:11). Lawfully, Jesus kept her from death—and then told her to completely leave behind the sin (adultery) that put her there in the first place. Jesus did not wave away this woman’s sin in order to show her mercy; He showed her mercy, lovingly telling her the Truth, while plainly seeing her sin.
It is Jesus’ heart for “genuine Justice,” as Christian Rapper Odd Thomas puts it in “The Size of Sin,” that introduced the need for Him to come to earth in the first place. But, in light of the need for true Justice, Jesus also came down to earth out of mercy.
Both Justice and Mercy are borne out of Love. However we have gotten ourselves into sin—whether it would be through thoughtlessness, a genuine mistake, caving in under pressure, or planning it out with exact evil intent, the Gospel shows us that it is God’s desire to both look at the sin committed and bring it to Justice, and to—when one is repentant of their sin—show forgiveness, grace, and mercy to even the worst of sinners.
Whatever this man—and tens, if not hundreds of other men coerced/recruited into Boko Haram—intended to do, they still inflicted pain and created anguish for countless people, causing irrevocable harm. May Jesus show them what their actions have really wrought; and, with hearts that are truly repentant, may they come to Jesus, receiving the forgiveness and mercy only He can offer.
Do you know Jesus?
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.’”
(Jeremiah 17:9-10, NIV)
You may intend to be a “good” person, and you may even consider yourself to be very good, enlightened, and spiritual—but yet, you do not know Christ.
Listen: I am not here to call into question whether you are a good person or not. You may be a very wonderful, kind, loving, warm person, with noble motives and ideals!
But, unfortunately, one cannot know God simply by being a great person. God knows our hearts; and no matter how pure and spiritual we may seem, nothing we do will ever be enough to gain eternal life.
Jesus said that the true work of God is to believe in the one He has sent (John 6:29). It’s not about you! Learn more about who it is about—and what He did for you—here.
Prayer Requests (print out a copy of these “Prayer Points” here):
- Please pray for the Chibok girls; that each and every one would be able to come out of Boko Haram captivity, into a free and abundant life, with Jesus as their Lord and Savior (John 10:10)!
- Please pray, even for those who have caused so much evil and suffering. I know this can be one we wrestle with… especially in light of the school shooting that just occurred on February 14th. But I encourage you to be real with Jesus in that completely justified anger and pain.
- Pray that those who are facing worldly Justice would receive their punishment to the fullest extent of the law. Praise Jesus for the fact that He has set law enforcement over us (Romans 13:1)! More about how Christ has instituted law enforcement for our good in another post.
- Please pray for each person who has been so deeply affected by the recent school shootings. Pray that Christ shows Himself to people through it.
Thank you for your prayers!!!
In 2018, it’s sadly not surprising that young adults– especially in America, but also worldwide– believe that the Bible is literally a thing of the past. The Barna Group, a research company dedicated to research pertaining to faith and spirituality, created a study in which they compared different questions regarding the Bible, and Bible Literacy, over a six-year period. Many of the answers were, unfortunately, very telling.
For example, in Barna’s Research study on how often people read the Bible, 35% of Americans in 2016 said they read the Bible at least once a week, but this statistic also highlighted the fact that only a quarter of millennials could say they read the Bible once per week1. American adults were also asked if the Bible– among the options of the Koran, Book of Mormon, Torah, and “None” — was a book they considered to be Sacred Literature. While those in this survey were able to choose more than one option, the percentage who chose the Bible as their sole response, or part of their partial response, went down by 6% in 6 years. To the question, “the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches,” the percentage of those who “Agreed Strongly” decreased by 15% between 2011 and 2016; there was also a decrease of 8% in those who believe “the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life.”
As with much of Scientific studies, this data only proves and supports many of the things people already see on a daily basis. Many millennials have traded the idea of Absolute Truth for an “Everything Is True” mentality; people have forsaken the idea that there is one answer and one way for a “Vanilla Spirituality,” one example of 1 Timothy 4 coming true: “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.”2
Now, more than ever, Christians must guard themselves against the hundreds of different thoughts and beliefs thrown at them, even unbiblical beliefs within Christianity itself (1 John 4:1-6). At the same time, the human heart can tend to pride itself on “knowing the Truth,” even when it comes to having great knowledge of the Bible—turning Christians into arrogant, heartless, religious people, akin to the proud Pharisees Jesus was so angered by (Matthew 23). In our world, how can one stay away from both dangerous extremes?
The Bible is Precious
“How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands” (Psalm 119:9-10, NLT). Whether the person who wrote Psalm 119 was King David, Ezra, or Daniel, the person writing these words no doubt was faced with a real philosophical question: “How can a young person stay pure?” That is, how is a person, in such a world as this, remain untainted by sin, even the sins of legalism and Heresy? Psalm 119:9 makes it very simple: “By obeying [God’s] Word.” God’s Word is precious, because it erases the black tar of humanity’s changing, fallible thinking, replacing lies with Truth.
Yet, there is a caveat to this: God’s Word can only do this transforming work in a person’s life when they view God’s Word as precious. If one does not view the Bible (and the Bible alone!) as precious and worthy to be obeyed with all of ourselves, they remain blinded. 2 Corinthians 4:4 states this truth better than I: “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” God’s Word will never return void (Isaiah 55:11)—but if a person refuses to receive what it says with Faith, they remain blind to it’s Truth, and therefore, it’s life-changing power.
The Bible is God-Breathed
2 Corinthians 4:4 sheds light on the key to receiving God’s Word: The Help and Guidance of the Holy Spirit. Since “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV), it only makes sense that a person needs the Spirit of God to understand what He has breathed! Think of it, friends: The God of the Universe wants to speak to you! The fact that God has already made Himself known through the Bible is a precious gift in and of itself; and one receives it when they receive the One who created it! It is impossible to read and understand the Bible, God’s Wisdom, at a soul-level, without personally knowing the God who reveals it to us (1 Corinthians 10:9-11).
This is where many Christians can remove priority on the Bible, though. Attempting to “experience Jesus,” many can seek an exciting/profound personal revelation—or, at times, merely an ethereal experience—instead of conforming to what God has already revealed in the Bible. This is not to say that the Holy Spirit cannot speak to us individually, but that whatever He says MUST be in line with what the Bible says! There is no greater revelation than the one that is Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22. Only those who see the Bible as a precious, precious gift, and search it for confirmation on what the Holy Spirit might be saying, can steer clear of false spirits masquerading as “greater revelation.”
Jesus is the Word
All of this might seem complicated. But, when it comes down to it, a person will 1) Only regard the Bible as Precious and 2) Have the Holy Spirit when they receive The One who is the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” John 1:1 says. “He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:1-3, NIV). There are many today who do read the Bible, yet do not have their hearts, souls, and lives changed by it’s Words. This is because they refuse the One who says it! If John 1 is correct, and if this scripture, as well, is God-breathed (God-inspired), Jesus Christ is God—and He is the Word made manifest as a Human. This is where the Bible becomes more than just Sacred Literature; through the Holy Spirit, it is able to speak to the Reader like nothing and no one else. When one reads the Bible and listens to it, they are listening to God speaking directly to them. So many people—myself included! —will wait and wait until they get a profound, extra-biblical revelation from Christ on whether or not they should do something. While anticipating Jesus’ answer through the Holy Spirit is not wrong, the Bible is clear. Even if the Bible doesn’t explicitly give you an answer on something, its Words will still not return void. In times of uncertainty, ask Jesus to illuminate His Word to you, and give you the Wisdom and Guidance you need. He is willing to provide you that guidance—and what it comes to His Word, He already has!
It is true that a nation is blessed when the triune God, YHWH, is their God (Psalm 33:12). Aching, lonely, sin-ridden hearts all over the world are looking for something to save them out of the darkness, chaos, and emptiness they feel. Now, more than ever, we must pray that people read and believe the Bible—but even more so, put their faith the great, amazing God who inspired hundreds of men, over thousands of years, to write it. Let’s pray that those who are Bible illiterate would read its Words, and believe fully on its Loving Author. After all, it is a book of History, Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy, and every other noble academic pursuit; but it is SO much more, to the One who believes on Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It becomes a love letter, the very Words of Life itself. In the words of some beautiful person, “The Bible is the only book where the Author is in Love with the reader.”
Do you know Jesus?
The Whole of the Bible is this: That God Loves you, gave Himself for you, and wants you to know Him and be saved by Him. To the lonely, it speaks of Jesus never leaving you (Hebrews 13:5); to the proud, it whispers that only those who know their poverty and need for God will inherit His Kingdom (Matthew 5:3; Psalm 34:18). To all, it says that Jesus Christ is the Only Way, Truth, and Life; no one gets to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).
Whoever you are, Jesus is calling for you to come to Him.
Come to Him, and learn more about His Love for you and His Good News to you, here.
Please pray for…
- The Worldwide Church, especially the Church within the United States and other “poster-modern” societies. In a day and time where “everything goes,” pray that the Church would stand for the values of the Bible, even when under pressure.
- College campuses. So many lost, aching, dying souls fill these campuses, looking for purpose and meaning. Pray that Jesus would use fellow college students, professors, and college ministries to show these people the Good News of Jesus Christ!
- That people would not only read the Bible, but love and cherish it. Pray that these beautiful people would come to realize and value the Sacredness of the Bible and would be Bereans (Acts 17:10-15)—comparing everything they hear of and experience with what the Bible has to say.
- That people all over the world would come to know Jesus! Please pray—even in your own life—that Jesus would cause Believers to know the Gospel, and that those same Believers (you and me!) would share the Gospel with all those around us!
If you’re like me, you like writing down prayers. You can now print out a printable version of these prayer requests, with room to journal-pray, here!
Time is short—Jesus is coming back soon, and people NEED to know the Truth! Please pray that those who know nothing of Christ would come to meet Him in amazing ways!!!
Thank you for your prayers!!!
2 I Timothy 4:3-4, New Living Translation
Four men, arrested and held under the Nigerian military’s control, kneel under the hot, scorching heat of the Northern Nigerian sun. As Boko Haram commanders, caught by the Nigerian military, these four men seem relatively normal. Dressed in “civilian’s clothes,” these men are not touting black flags, rifles, or military wear. Shackled, and side to side, these men are seen for who they really are. Without their frightening front, they seem much less terrifying, and much more mortal. Running into shortages of food, ammo, and fuel, these seemingly horrific men have been reduced somewhat to their cowardly reality: going to such measures as to recruit young men to smuggle them fuel, Boko Haram has been lessening in power, though not without lashing out.
There have been a series of five attacks by Boko Haram on Maiduguri, and their effect has been nothing less than horrific. Killing at least 9 people total, these suicide attacks have happened close to refugee camps, with one holding approximately 16,000 refugees, filled with people who have ran away from their villages, in an attempt to be saved from Boko Haram. One cannot fathom the fear they must feel, knowing that Boko Haram has now “found” them out, and tried to come into their only earthly place of safety.
But, in the chaos of it all, one Truth remains. As described by Amos, one of the fathers of the 21 Chibok girls rescued, “‘”Those selected to be released were done so practically at random. They were called and asked to form a line, and after a number of them were counted, it was stopped, …Fortunately for her (his daughter, Comfort Amos), she was among those released. They were told that the total of girls to be released was 21 and that by the grace of God, the rest would be released later“‘” (source). In all of the “chance,” Christ was present.
In all of the unknown, “chance” things that might have happened, Christ was not only present– He was Sovereign. As Psalm 37 joyfully proclaims, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives” (Isaiah 37:23, NLT). If this is true, then does that mean that Christ cares about, and delights in, even the darkest details? And if God is Love, why do such horrible things, like the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping, happen in the first place?
While no human can have the full, complete answer to this question, this topic is very much one of the themes of the book of the Bible, Job. 42 chapters long, this epic, true account of one man’s life is centered on God’s Sovereignty, even in the face of suffering. While Christ, many times, does not directly cause something evil to happen, He does, sometimes, let bad things happen– even letting mankind make it’s own decisions–if those decisions are evil, or not.
The book of Job opens with a description of Job: “There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil” (Job 1:1). Not only was Job “a man of complete integrity,” but verse 2 says, “He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area” (Job 1:3). The father of seven sons and three daughters, Job regularly interceded for, and purified, his children, “For Job said to himself, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts'” (Job 1:5, NLT).
This man– this righteous, holy man– loses everyone and everything. His livestock, his servants, and his children are all taken and/or killed, either by other people, or by natural disaster, and he loses his health, becoming covered from head to toe with painful blisters (Job 1:6-19; 2:7-8). If one person could be put on a billboard for seemingly suffering unjustly, it would be Job.
Ultimately, though, these trials could never compare to Christ’s suffering. More righteous than Job, Jesus Christ was completely sinless– yet was “…the Lamb who was slaughtered” (Revelation 13:8). Not only does Jesus grieve the loss of His loved ones, like John the Baptist (Matthew 14:13); He grieves temporarily losing His oneness with the Father, as He took on mankind’s sin (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46). Mocked, beaten, and bruised, Jesus Christ dies the most horrific, unjust death in the history of all mankind.
But, God the Father was not absent, or unfair, from the scene of these horrifically painful things. Rather, God the Father was completely in control; and, when the suffering was over, His will had been done: in Job’s suffering, both Job and his friends, who thought they knew how God operated, experienced a deeper, more real understanding of God’s Sovereignty. At the end of the book of Job, Job stands before God, after God shows Himself to Job and humbles him. Job’s words, though few, are incredibly profound:
“‘I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, “Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?” Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 ‘You said, “Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.”‘ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.'”
(Job 42:1-6, NIV)
Job, now clearly seeing the Unsearchable, Amazing Goodness of Christ, becomes blessed once again: He gains twice as many livestock as before, and he has 10 more children– “Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers” (Job 42:15). Most of all, they learned that, though Christ’s ways are infinitely higher than mankind’s, He is eternally, and ultimately, good.
On a much grander scale, Christ’s suffering was also apart of God’s plan: “from the beginning of the world,”Christ died, and rose again, for the forgiveness of all sin to those who believe (Revelations 13:8b). From the beginning of the world, Christ was going to be the sacrifice to save us from our sin. While this is an amazing, and, if one confesses, confusing prospect, the one thing it obviously shows is that, while many people would say otherwise, suffering is, at times, the will of God– and He is ultimately good, above it all.
Surely, Job and those in his life– could not understand why these tragic events were taking place. Even Job’s wife, during the suffering, advised him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). All seemed out of control, cruel, senseless, and random.
Those who loved Jesus, as He hung on that cross, no doubt, were filled with extreme grief, frustration, and confusion. Their Messiah, their God, their Friend, was dying a death He never deserved, yet foretold many times (such as in Mark 8:31-33). In the middle of this pain, they could have never seen a Good, Loving God’s plan being laid out; but, as Christ says in John 12:24, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives.” Though death, suffering, and pain, came salvation and eternal life for billions of Believers.
So it is, with suffering, today. Though Boko Haram seems wild, they, just like the four men under the Nigerian military’s control, are under Christ’s control, whether they believe it or not.
No one can fathom the kind of pain that Nigerian refugees, the loved ones of the Chibok girls, and those hurt by suicide attacks are going through. One can’t see the redemption that is in store, when there is so much grief. While this redemption and insight may not “make everything okay,” knowing that Christ– the All-Knowing, All-Seeing God, who is everywhere at once, and who gave Himself up for us in Love—is Sovereign over all, gives us hope. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV). Through it all, Jesus’ Sovereign, Good Hands will make every broken thing beautiful. Stand on that promise.
Do you know Jesus?
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.“
(Romans 8:28-30, NIV)
Romans 8:28 is a passage of Scripture that has given hope and comfort to Believers in Christ for centuries. Through suffering, Christians have clung to this promise: that though it hurts now, Christ will turn “everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
But what about the next two verses? God knew His people in advance… that is a really complex, heavy, mind-blowing thing to read, much less believe.
But, when Christ died for the sins of mankind, as according to God’s plan before the beginning, He still chose to submit to the Father’s will, no matter how fatal, or painful, it might be, modeling how humanity also has a choice. And so, there is a Truth found: that while God knows His people in advanced, they still have the freewill to either refuse or accept Him, as Lord and Savior.
ALL people, Believers and Non-Believers alike, will stand before God one day, to be judged for what they do and do not do (2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 2:6). Only Believers will enter into heaven– those who have accepted Christ’s payment for their sin, on their behalf. And no one, at the end of their lives, will be able to tell God that they did not receive an opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, taking away their sin and granting them eternal life (Romans 1:20). It will all come down to if they knew and accepted Christ, or rejected Him.
If you have not yet received Christ as your Lord and Savior, “For God says, ‘At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.’ Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation“ (2 Corinthians 6:2, NLT).
Learn more about, and accept Jesus’ free gift today, here.
Please pray for…
– The 22 (now 23!) Chibok girls who have been freed from the clutches of Boko Haram. Please pray that they would seek and know Jesus, and that their loved ones would also reach out to Christ for the wisdom, understanding, and truly, all they need to love their newly freed loved ones.
– For the 196 Chibok Girls, who are still in captivity. Please pray that, even in captivity, they would seek Jesus, and would be freed spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically from their bondage to Boko Haram.
– The Refugees who have been terrified by recent suicide bombings. Please pray that they would seek Christ, as their true Refuge.
– The Nigerian military. Please pray that they would seek Christ, for the wisdom, guidance, and resources they need, both spiritually and physically, to defeat Boko Haram.
– Boko Haram. Please pray for it’s members– that those who are Christian captives in their midst would be used powerfully by Christ, to call these men, women, and children, to Himself.
Thank you for your prayers. “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture” (Psalm 37:3, NIV).
The year of 2015 was one of many new beginnings for the country of Nigeria. Some of the biggest ones were:
- The election of Muhammadu Buhari as president of Nigeria. In March of 2015, after delaying election day by six weeks due to national security and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) preparedness worries, General Buhari won out against Goodluck Jonathan, the president at the time. At the time of his election, men and women alike celebrated the victory, ushering Buhari in with the sounds of shouts, songs, and chants proclaiming, “Change! Change!” and “Sai (Only) Buhari!”
- Other positive changes abounded, too: the Nigerian army, along with the Multinational Joint Task Force, routed– and ruined– Boko Haram’s caliphate, pushing them into smaller territories of land, and degrading the insurgency’s offense to sporadic, soft-target suicide bombings (source).
- Slum-like IDP camps, stuffed with displaced peoples from the insurgency in 2014, were investigated for human trafficking offenses; and, displaced peoples from many settlements in the foreign surrounding countries were encouraged to make their trek back home in the fall of 2015 (source).
In President Buhari’s live media chat on December 30th, 2015, many of these things, along with corruption and the economy, were all discussed, but there was one subject whose lack of information– truly, lack of change– was cause for disappointment.
For every victory stated above, there is still one incredibly important cause that saw little to no physical developments in the year of 2015.
Over one year and 250 days later, 219 schoolgirls from Chibok, Nigeria– 219 individual hearts, minds, and souls– remain missing.
When asked about the girls’ well being, the answer is solemn.
“No credible information.” 
In all 365 days of the year 2015, the public has not seen or heard any truly verified updates regarding the girls. Yet, there is hope.
Countless towns in Northeastern Nigeria are full of men, women and children with empty hands, bruised bodies, and busted, broken hearts. In recent months, approximately 130 towns in Northern Nigeria have been under Boko Haram’s seige, with nearly 1.5 million men and women having been forced to flee (source). While millions have fled Boko Haram, inumberable amounts of people have been forced to stay in these seized towns, due to illness, age, or mere lack of opportunity. Trapped by the intense violence found in their towns, these men and women, paralyzed by fear, undergo the traumatic experiences of being kidnapped, “converted” to Islam and forced into marriage or warfare, with execution as their alternative. Suffering the heartbreak of knowing they will most likely never see their loved ones again, they live, scared and oppressed, learning the ways of an evil worldview– both men and women being trained to kill and be killed in the name of allah. Continue reading