The Key to Resilience

“They snapped our photos and told us not to return to school, but I came back because I want to learn,” said Maryam, when asked about returning back to her school after being abducted by Boko Haram as a part of the “Dapchi schoolgirl kidnapping.”1

According to Maryam, Boko Haram took pictures of each and every girl they abducted, threatening to show up at their school and kill them if they returned to school.1 After having their pictures taken, Boko Haram members unusually dropped off all but one girl in their town. (In other situations, such as the Chibok schoolgirl kidnapping, this happened to none of the girls.)

What these girls have gone through is complete and utter hell. But even on the “outside” of captivity, life proves incredibly tough for these women, and others who have escaped or been freed from Boko Haram. Amnesty International has reported that Nigerian troops have perpetrated “vile abuse” on the women they have helped liberate and rescue; some women have been reported trading sex for food, while it has been reported that other women have been insulted and called “Boko Haram wives.”2 This kind of treatment is abhorrent.

Yet, the remarkable thing about these young women is how they, though they are victims, choose not to bow down to fear, current trials, or past tragedy. While there is much to fear—Boko Haram’s threats to kill them if they return to school are real—many students are not letting it keep them from doing what it is they want to do.LEARN.jpg

Though they carry around mental, emotional, and physical wounds, these girls do not let their fears of the future or the pain of the past define them. They resiliently press on.

How to Go On

But that does not mean that these girls are immune to fear. It can be easy to see these girls as tough and unbreakable; and that kind of tenacity is definitely seen in these beautiful young women. However, it is important to note that they are still human. Many of the girls, coming back to the school they were abducted from, were nervous, staying together in groups as they walk around campus, as All Africa reports.

It is important to see how these girls have found the strength to do such fearless things. Many girls cling to Jesus; they also cling to each other.

And as I am writing this, one thing becomes clear:

They need Christ, and they need each other.

Isn’t it the same with us? In conquering any fear, the key is knowing that we are not alone in that fear. That we have God, who Loves and Protects us as Sovereign over all; and we have each other to rely upon. This is how Christ created us.

With such faith in Christ first of all, and with a supportive community second, no one can get in these girls’ way. As Maryam so powerfully said, “I want Western education to improve my future. I came back to this school because I don’t want to change my environment. I have already started school here and I want to finish here.”through.jpg

Through everything from Boko Haram captivity, to the oppression of evil soldiers and people in authority, the Love, Compassion, and Strength of Jesus Christ will see them through. May Christ deal with those who trample upon his precious creation; and may we find resilience and strength in Jesus and in each other, too.


Do you know Jesus?

God made us to know Him, and to know eachother. Unfortunately, when Adam and Eve both chose to partake of the fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the problem of sin entered this world.

Sin keeps us from knowing God, and from the true community we were meant to be a part of and enjoy. Yet, Jesus was the remedy to our sickness.

Learn more about Jesus, and how He came to fix this problem of sin, here.


Please pray for (you can find the prayer sheet for the blog post, here):

  • The Chibok & Dapchi Girls. As these girls continue to go through hell on earth, please pray that they would come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and would trust Him to heal and restore their lives. Find their names and pictures, here.
  • These people have gone through unspeakable, horrific things. Things that deserve Justice. May Christ bring them Justice both on earth and in the life to come.
  • The Nigerian military. The news that such revolting acts have been done by those in the Nigerian military shows that Justice needs to be served, and that the military must be changed!

Thank You for your prayers!!!

 

1 http://allafrica.com/stories/201805220171.html

2 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/05/23/charity-accuses-nigerian-troops-abusing-boko-haram-wives/

 

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A Prayer Guide for Christians Facing Islamist Extremists | From Voice of the Martyrs

An email came into my inbox this morning, regarding how we can all be praying for those facing Islamist Extremism like Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria. I thought the prayer guide that is attached would be very resourceful to those who want to know how to pray for the Chibok girls and those in Nigeria, as a whole!

You can find the prayer guide, here.

Enjoy, and thank you for all of your prayers!

Our First Love: Part II

In Part One of this post, we spoke about the end times, how Jesus will come back, what happens when He comes back, and, finally, why whether or not we have lost our First Love for Jesus matters.

I have realized that I have lost my First Love for Jesus… the fire that once burned in me to love Jesus Christ, and the Chibok girls He made, is now much less bright. This is important because of what Jesus warned the church in Ephesus about:

“Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
(Revelation 2:5, NIV)

Christ warns the church in Ephesus that their lampstand will be removed from its place—that, if they do not turn back to Him as their First Love, their effectiveness as a church will be removed.

Like the Church in Ephesus, our First Love for Jesus has a crucial impact on the effectiveness of our lives for Christ.

Any of us are just as susceptible to losing our First Love for Jesus. How can this Love be lost?

I know that, at least for me, my First Love for Christ wanes when I lose sight of the gift of salvation He has given me. When I feel or think as though I need to rely on my own works to save me, any service I am led to do for Christ loses its fervor, and feels more like a burden. Without keeping in mind that Jesus does not need me, but rather has given me all I need to spend eternity with Him, any form of ministry or good works becomes merely being busy and legalistic—loveless.

This is not the only way to lose your First Love for Christ. Have you become a person who knows everything there is to know about Christ, but have lost your fervor for Him in the process? Are you seeking and worshipping other people or things instead of Him? Anything from idolatry to apathy can cause us the light that once burned within us for Christ to be nearly extinguished. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to search our hearts and ask Jesus the question, “How did I get to this place? What has caused my First Love to burn out?” As you ask these questions, I am sure that He will make your heart’s condition—and the reason for it—clear.

Consider, Repent, Repeat

No matter how you got to losing your First Love for Christ, Revelation 2:5 also speaks of how to return back. This is what it says:

  1. “Consider how far you have fallen!” Revelation 2:5 speaks about remembering where you once were with Christ. Do you remember the precious closeness you once had with Him? The sweetness and profoundness of realizing that He died for you, spurring a deep gratefulness and profound zealousness in your heart? Think back—consider—how it was when you had your First Love with Jesus, and all of the things you did as a byproduct of that sweet Love.

 

  1. “Repent.” It is not enough to merely remembering your First Love with Jesus… you must make the choice, no matter how you might feel, to repent—“turn around”—and stop walking the way you have been walking. Has your heart been worshipping someone or something else than Christ? Put that idolatry away forever. Whatever is keeping you from burning with zeal for Jesus needs to be done completely away with.
    If you feel as though the things you need to put down are too significant, remember the significant sacrifice Jesus Christ made for you, on the cross.
    Pray that Jesus would help you to put down whatever keeps you from Him; He will be faithful to honor and help you in your request! Asking for help from trusted, Godly Christians of the same gender can also help you to find victory over what you’re dealing with, as well.

 

  1. “Do the things you did at first.” This part of Revelation 2:5 highlights acting upon the choice of repentance you have made. While we all fail and fall short from time to time, our choices to repent should be followed by practical steps toward Jesus and away from our sin. As David Jeremiah wisely says in his commentary of this passage, “Feelings follow actions, not vice versa. Where the will goes, the heart follows.”1 Think about it: Does a person fall more in love with their significant other just by saying they love them, but never actually going back and doing things that spur on that Love (in a date, for example)? No! Similarly, many people think that repentance will come only when we feel a different way; but, throughout the Word, Jesus connects loving Him—something anyone can say—to the action of obeying Him (John 14:15). No matter how you feel, when you do the things you did at first, you will return to your First Love.

As a new Believer—or a Believer who has once again remembered and turned back to their First Love—the fervency, zeal, and close Love with Jesus is something that nothing can be compared to. And so, I ask you: Where are you at with Jesus? How can you return back to your First Love? After all, no matter how mature you are in your Christian walk, we all need to return in some way, shape, or form to simply loving Jesus. I encourage you today to return back to that simple, beautiful, transformative Love; for there is truly nothing like it.

1 Jeremiah, David. Jeremiah Study Bible: What It Says. What It Means. What It Means for You.Worthy Publishers, 2013.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Do you know Jesus?

The Love of God is a beautiful, beautiful thing. It is precious to know and understand something so simple, and yet so profound: Jesus Loves me, and He proved it by His death on the cross, and resurrection.

If you are wondering today about your worth, or if you feel as if no one loves you, I hope and pray that you would look to the cross, and reflect upon the One who hung on it, for you and for me. Learn more about the amazing, reckless Love of Jesus, here.


Please pray for (you can find the prayer sheet for this post, here):

  • The Chibok girls, and Leah Sharibu. You can find their names and pictures, here.
  • The worldwide Church. We need to pray for revival in these last days!
  • For the church in Nigeria. Please pray that a biblical revival would occur!

Thank you for all your prayers!!! May our Love for Jesus grow, and may He come back, soon.

Precious Time: Making Time for Jesus in a World of To-Do’s

Hi guys!

Today, I was listening to a really challenging sermon, on the biblical book of Haggai. It is a book within the Old Testament, and is considered part of the “minor prophets” books in the Bible.

For those of you who have never read this book in the Bible—it is, after all, a book that I think gets missed a lot—this is the jist of it (as helped by this website): after the Israelites were exiled to a foreign land because of their idolatry, Nehemiah and others were called to return back to Jerusalem, to start building up its walls. Fast forward many years, and many of the exiled Israelites were back in Jerusalem, rebuilding their lives. But there is one problem: no one seems interested in rebuilding the Holy Temple in Jerusalem—or, they are not as interested in rebuilding the Temple as they are interested in carrying out their own agendas above God’s. God speaks through the prophet Haggai, showing the Israelites that they were wrong in their list of priorities. They agree, making the rebuilding of the Temple—God’s Work—the priority. Continue reading

Yesterday was Leah Sharibu’s 15th Birthday.

To my readers and fellow bloggers:

It fills my heart with sadness, to report that Leah Sharibu— the young lady who is still in the clutches of Boko Haram, all because she refused to convert to Islam– had her 15th birthday yesterday, still removed from her family, loved ones, and church family.

This little girl is facing unmentionable things, all because of her love for Jesus.

“Hardworking and quiet” was how many described her; “Soft and melodic” is how her pastor described her voice, as she was known for being apart of the church choir in her hometown. Her mother has acquired many medical issues because of Leah’s extended captivity.

Please, please, please, lift up Leah with me, today. Please pray that her freedom will come soon, and that Christ would give back to her everything she has had stolen from her. May she be freed soon, so that those who love her most can delight in her presence with them, again.


Do you know Jesus?

Jesus came to set men free. Learn about this God who came to liberate us, and how He did so, here.

When God Says “Not Yet”

Do you ever ask God, “Please show me what you’re doing in all of this?”

Yeah. That has been me, lately.

It’s not been without cause. Recently, Ahmed Salkida reported that more of the Chibok schoolgirls are alive than what was first thought; yet, little to no news has been shown about their whereabouts. And I’m not the only one craving more information on the girls; the president of the Nigerian senate, Mr. Bukola Saraki, wants regular updates on the rescue efforts of the Chibok girls, simply so that speculations like the ones journalist Ahmed Salkida is making.1

It’s hard to be in the dark about things that you care so much about.

But, that is precisely where one needs to trust Jesus.

“Everything in this world requires patience and prayer,” said Bashir Wasai, a leader in Northern Nigeria, when speaking about the remaining Chibok girls in this video (at 2:07). He is exactly right.

prayer.jpg

I have no idea what Jesus is doing, here. I’m starving to see, to understand, and to know.

And while I do that, I pray knowing who Jesus is; knowing that He knows, cares, and is actively involved in this situation, though no one outside of it may see it, yet. I know that He hears my cry, and cares for my request.

Jesus will make all things clear; but, for now, we must wait—trust Him in all of the details. It is in this place where we will learn to love and trust Him, more.

When we pray for Christ to move, it is a prayer that opens our eyes and keeps us sensitive to where Christ has already been leading.

spirit living god

“When You come in the room When You do what only You can do It changes us, it changes What we see and what we seek You’re changing everything.” (Spirit of the Living God, Meredith Andrews)

Please pray with me that Christ would make what is happening in the Chibok girls’ situation, clear. He is faithful, a Promise-Maker and Promise-Keeper!

This post is in tribute to the countless mothers and fathers of those kidnapped by Boko Haram. May Jesus save and comfort their souls.


Do you know Jesus?

3,000 years ago, a man stepped on the scene who was, and is, like no other. He gathered good friends, disciples, and went around healing the sick and preaching the coming of the Kingdom of God. His name is Jesus.

At the time, the people who saw and knew Jesus thought He would set up His kingdom on earth in their presence; they thought He came to give freedom from the oppression of Rome. But He didn’t.

Instead, He died on the cross for the people’s sins—yours and mine. This didn’t make sense to anyone; yet, it was what God, Jesus, had planned to do, all along.

Jesus once told His disciples, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand” (John 13:7, NIV). Later on, after His death and resurrection, they finally did understand. Jesus is not a God who can be fit into our boxes of presuppositions and our own logic; He is beyond our reasoning (though to believe in Him is not unreasonable!). Learn more about Him, and who He is, here.


Please pray for (you can find the prayer sheet for this post, here)…

  • Jesus to show the public what is truly going on in the Chibok girls’ situation.
  • That the remaining Chibok girls are not hurt/harmed in any way, and that they come home soon. You can find their names and pictures, here.
  • That Leah Sharibu, part of the “Dapchi Girls,” would also be freed, soon.
  • That the family members of these girls would not lose Hope, but would be renewed in Hope.

Thank you for your prayers!!!

1 http://saharareporters.com/2018/04/16/chibok-girls-saraki-wants-regular-update-rescue-efforts-avoid-speculations

Update: More Chibok Girls Alive, Says Salkida

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how journalist Ahmed Salkida claimed that only 15 Chibok schoolgirls were still alive.

It is with much joy and relief that I now report that his figures were wrong! According to Salkida himself, at least 15 other Chibok schoolgirls are alive—though Salkida said 5 of them were “permanently embedded in the doctrines and teaching programmes of the sect” and wished not to return home.

The new reports from Salkida are dark; but I am filled with a mixture of joy and hope, in knowing that not even this journalist can see and report the truth of what Jesus is doing.

Let’s continue to ask Christ to do what only He can do! May there be even more Chibok girls, and may they have hearts that yearn to come home!

Meet the God who Loves these young ladies, and is in control, here.