Friends & Readers, Continue reading
Hi guys. Yesterday, I watched a documentary called “Harem,” a documentary about how women in the Harem of the Sultan in Istanbul rose up into power and prestige. (You can watch the documentary here). These women did this through sex and having the Sultans fall in love with them. It was an interesting documentary, but many things caught my ear: Muslims during this time could only use Christian women as concubines (not free Muslim women), and there were many other policies used to oppress women of the Christian faith.
While some of these women were lucky and lived a live of luxury because of seducing the sultans, many of these concubines were locked in the Harem area: torn away from their families and made prisoners of war, used purely for sex by the sultan.
It sounded all too relevant, as the Chibok girls and SO many others have been ripped from their loved ones and made into slaves (hopefully not for sex). These women are chosen and given value based purely upon their looks and their creed… which breaks my heart, because these are real people.
Women with names, pasts, homes, loved ones.
Women forced to do many things purely out of being in bondage.
Unfortunately, this kind of subjugation and persecution is nothing new, as shown in the documentary. But there is hope for today. As long as the names of these precious, kidnapped young men and women are remembered, their value, humanity, and story will never be forgotten. This is incredibly important.
Please pray with me over those currently in the same predicament as those concubines were, so long ago. May they know their value by looking to the true King, King Jesus. May they never give up hope for freedom, and may they be freed soon, so that the healing can begin.
“Dear Lord Jesus,
You see each and every girl locked away all over the world. We pray specifically over those women held captive by Muslim terrorists like Boko Haram. Lord Jesus, may Your Daughters in captivity learn and know their value in You, and that they are not valued only for their bodies. Please bring down Boko Haram, bring those men to know You, and show them how to respect women. Please free these girls soon, and help them all to heal.
It is in Your Name we pray,
Do you know Jesus?
As said before, Jesus cares for each and every woman: locked away, and free but locked away due to sin. He thinks they are—that all people are—worth dying for. Learn more about how Jesus died for you and me, here.
“Listen to the moaning of the prisoners.
Demonstrate your great power by saving those condemned to die.
12 O Lord, pay back our neighbors seven times
for the scorn they have hurled at you.
13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
will thank you forever and ever,
praising your greatness from generation to generation.”
(Psalm 79:11-13, NLT)
Last night was pretty emotional for me because of a couple of things. But I wanted to share one thing out of that that I hope moves other people as well.
I was going through the Bible, just flipping through. I was thanking Jesus for all He has done: taking God’s wrath upon Himself; humbly becoming man; and going to the rugged, splintering cross for our sin, so marred that people could not recognize Him.
And then, I came to Psalm 79. Verses 11-13 in my NKJV Bible immediately brought the Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu to mind. It was the prayer and cry of my heart for these girls: “Listen to their moaning, Jesus. Save them. They could be about to die.”
There are other verses like this one that can be prayed as well:
“God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”
(Psalm 68:6, NIV)
Just as Jesus came to “ransom captive Israel” (Isaiah 35:10; Jeremiah 31:11), He has come to set all people free, in the realest sense of the word (Luke 4:18). It is my “Christmas prayer” that Christ would “demonstrate His great power by saving those condemned to die” (Psalm 79:11). And I pray that you would consider saying this prayer, too, that:
- Jesus would hear the cries of those in captivity, especially the Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu, but all people in general.
- That He would move in a powerful way to save those who cry out to Him.
- That He would “lead out the prisoners with singing” (Psalm 68:6)
- That He would bring those oppressing people to justice.
- That all people everywhere would know Jesus and praise Him for all He has done.
Praying out scripture is powerful. Please join me this Christmas in pleading with Christ to move in tangible, visible ways for these precious young women. May we cherish the gift of freedom, and most importantly, pray for the spiritual salvation and freedom of these women, and of all people.
Merry Christmas, friends—thank you for your faithful prayers and support.
Learn more about Jesus, why He came to earth and about all He has done, here.
In October of 2018, Boko Haram threatened to kill Leah Sharibu if their requests for money were not answered. Boko Haram has now relinquished that threat, claiming that they will make Leah “a slave for life” (source).
This news has come out after two humanitarian aides, Hauwa Leman and Saifura Ahmed, were killed by Boko Haram.
Leah has shown amazing dedication and loyalty to Jesus, with a boldness that is rare to see. Please pray with me, that she will be able to get out of Boko Haram’s captivity as soon as possible!
“Dear Lord Jesus,
NOTHING is impossible with You! We lift up dear Leah to You now, and thank You for keeping her alive and safe. We now pray for Leah’s freedom from Boko Haram, and for her testimony to bring You praise!
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Learn more about Leah here.
Having faith in Jesus is never wasted. Learn more about Jesus, and what He has done for us, here.
Almost four years ago, I was grieved like never before for the plight of 276 schoolgirls from Northern Nigeria.
In an online devotional, I came across women who were praying mightily and fervently for the release of these girls—and I have been praying ever since.
Over the past four years, much has changed. Nigeria has gotten a new president; the Nigerian government has fought Boko Haram with noticeable success. But, for 112 of the kidnapped Chibok girls, and their friends and families, little to nothing has changed. Continue reading
On May 21st, 2017, it was a joy to learn that one day earlier, the 82 Chibok schoolgirls who were freed from Boko Haram captivity were able to see their parents in a reunion, according to the Premium Times newspaper. Some news articles said that the 21 Chibok girls released in October of 2017 were also able to come to the reunion, which happened in Abuja.
To commemorate this joyous occasion, Annalee Hoover, the writer and steward of ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY, has written a poem about the occasion, called “Spin and Sway.” Enjoy! (Click on the image to enlarge it or download it, if you cannot read it in the post. Photo used courtesy of unsplash.com.)
She spins, and sways
To the music. Covered in brightly covered clothing,
She sings at the top of her lungs,
Lungs that have breathed air from horrific places
And yet, are now breathing this air.
The night she was taken,
Now not remembered–
At least, not in this moment.
She runs into his arms,
Knowing that his arms do not mean
Threat or consuming darkness,
A word she has not truly known
In a long while–
When surrounded by men & women
With crocodile smiles, flashing guns and ammunition
While proclaiming “peace.” Peace
As long as she did what they pleased.
That was no peace at all.
But now, she is standing tall
Moving to the rhythm of the song
And praising Christ above, Christ within
For being with her all the time.
There once was a time of darkness,
When all she could muster in a prayer was
There was a time where
Those all around
Called her “lost,”
Called her situation “hopeless,”
Called the image of her “desolate.”
Forgotten. Boxed in
By men who did not know her name
Nor cared about the sin and shame they inflicted upon her.
They wronged her.
Because the truth of the matter was,
Those people thought her to be expendable.
Of an object dressed like a human being.
They did not see that her blood indeed ran red
Or that her tears were just as salty as theirs.
No, she was to be used for their purposes
–Unbelievable. Yet true.
What happened is not forgotten.
From the Almighty, there will
Like incense rising (psalm 141:2), I have a prayer,
And it is this:
That those who do evil in the dark
Would be found out by the light.
That their hands, blood-red,
Would not be so caustically washed,
But that their sins
Would draw them to the pit–
A place of real repentance.
My prayer is this:
That every single girl
That every single boy
Included and not included
In this mess labeled “the chibok kidnapping”
Would be able to exchange black clothing and hijabs
For colorful clothing, too.
This is my prayer:
That each of the 113 young women
Still waiting to run
Into the arms of their loved ones
Chasing their haunting memories
Into the night wilderness
Where they belong.
Some are still not home.
But let’s not give up hope.
Because she is not
Her first name is not
Her nickname not “Lost.”
No. As evidenced by the jewelry on her necklace—a cross—
She has been rescued,
So, Lord Jesus,
Please walk with her every step of this way.
Every step of her swaying,
Every step of her dancing.
And every step
That seems too hard to take.
May her smile be like the moon,
Reflecting light from the S(o)n,
And may every step
She takes in your presence
(That is, EVERY step she takes),
Lead her straight to Your heart–
A true reason for
And dancing, indeed.
Do you know Jesus?
“The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”
(Psalm 145:9, NIV)
It is no secret that God is good. Whether you believe in Him or not, the fact that You are in existence right now, breathing in air that You did not create, confirms the fact of God’s goodness.
But what about Jesus? Who is He, and what makes Him so good? John 3:16 spells out Jesus’ Love for us, beautifully. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus was that one and only Son– not just given by the Father to the world, but “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!“
Because of this, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:6-11, NIV).
This Jesus was the perfect man; not only is He the perfect man, but He is God the Son: God in Human Flesh! Jesus willingly came to die for the sins of the world, so that everyone who takes in what He did would be saved.
Want to know more about Jesus? Meet Him by clicking here, on our “Do You Know Jesus” page.
Please pray for…
– Those who are not yet saved. Please pray for those in your life, and all around the world, who do not yet know Jesus! May He use you, ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY, and every other means He chooses to bring people’s hearts to Himself!
– Those who are freed! Please pray that Jesus would continue to heal these “Chibok girls,” now “Chibok young women,” who have been freed, and are undergoing counseling for their traumatic experiences.
– For the Chibok girls not yet free. Please pray that Jesus would open up the doors for them to become free, soon.
– The Nigerian military. Apparently, a coup may be starting within the Nigerian military against the government. They are in desperate need of supplies, training, and morale. Please pray that these men and women would come to know Christ, and would trust in Him as they continue to suffer– and that the suffering would stop, soon.
Thank you for your prayers!!! Let’s continue to celebrate the freed Chibok girls, and pray for those who are not yet free!
Letter from the writer: “The Process of Healing” and this post were meant to be one post, but upon writing the post, I was led to create two separate, smaller posts with similarities, yet with two different themes. If they seem to read the same, that is why. 🙂
On May 13th, email messages came into the inbox of ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY with shocking, yet unbelievably true, news: there are, indeed, at least four young women who do not want to leave Boko Haram captivity.
In this video, shared by Bring Back Our Girls and reported by SaharaTV, four of the reported Chibok schoolgirls, including one young woman named Maida Yakubu, explains that she does not want to leave Boko Haram captivity because “they [her parents] live in a town of unbelief,” and that she wants them to “accept Islam” (source). She says all of this while covered in a black hijab, holding a large gun.
There is chance that these are not Chibok schoolgirls; or that they are being made to say such things. But, if it is true, this news is crushing—especially for the parents of these young women, who have cried out to Christ for their safe release/return. To learn that their daughters do not even want to be free, and do not even want to see them, must be a shattering blow to their hearts.
BOUND AND BLIND
While these young girls did nothing sinful to be kidnapped and taken into captivity, this idea of young women refusing freedom and home reminds one of sin—and of the bonding, blinding effect it has on our lives, as it did in the life of Samson.
The biblical account of Samson can be found in the book of Judges. Samson was a man who had every bit of potential: He was born a Nazirite, which is a person who is dedicated to the LORD and does not cut their hair, drink wine or fermented drinks, nor do they touch anything unclean. Set apart to the LORD, Samson’s uncut hair made him a strong man—a man who frequently had the Spirit of the LORD fall upon him in power (Judges 13, 14:6).
Yet, for all of the potential Samson had, he wasted his life on sin—from getting even with those who wronged him by striking down thirty men (Judges 14:19-20), to lighting an entire community’s produce on fire in anger (Judges 15:3-5), Samson used the strength and potential Christ gave him in ways that were far from God-honoring.
One of the most volatile sins in his life, though, was his promiscuity and life-long sexual sin (Judges 16:1-3). In his infatuation with Delilah the Philistine (the Philistines were one of Israel’s greatest enemies), Samson told her the secret: that it was his hair that caused his strength (Judges 16:4-17). Delilah sold him out to the Philistines; they cut his hair, plucked out his eyes, and bound in chains (Judges 16:18-22).
Yet, Samson’s life was not a complete waste. As his hair grew back, he regained his strength; and, in the Philistine’s celebration of Dagon, their false god, Samson pushed over pillars supporting the building they were all in (Judges 16:29-30). “Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived” (Judges 16:30b). Killing the Philistines’ leaders and many more, Israel won a victory over the Philistines. Still, this painful life shows that the enemy indeed means to kill, steal, and destroy through sin, which binds one—and usually blinds one to the fact that they are bound.
Again, these four young women have done NOTHING wrong to be in the captivity they are in at the moment. But the fact that they have been so brainwashed as to believe that they are in a good place, when they are obviously still bound, is a cause for deep sorrow, and earnest prayer. “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:16-17).
Do you know Jesus?
“It is the Sovereign LORD who helps me. Who will condemn me? They will all wear out like a garment; the moths will eat them up.”
(Isaiah 50:9, NIV)
The weight of sin is incredibly heavy—it produces death, physically and spiritually (Romans 6:23). And while no one can escape their physical death, there is a death, the second, spiritual death that one can escape.
But how? There is no way a person can live a totally sinless life. Instead, God Himself came down to Earth, to do exactly what nobody else could do: pay the wages of sin, for those who take on the free gift of eternity.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Take on God’s eternal gift—paid by Himself, Christ Jesus—today. Read more here.
Please pray for:
– These four Chibok schoolgirls; for Maida Yakubu, who spoke in the video.
– For the remaining Chibok schoolgirls, that they would all want to be free.
– For the Nigerian government, as they continue to collaborate with the International Red Cross, and the Swiss Government, to free the remaining girls.
– For the Nigerian military, who is suffering losses, according to this article.
“The Boko Haram terrorists are not professionals. They don’t know what we know. They just rush to the battle front to attack as sheep without shepherds and we kill them in numbers.”
On April 28th, 2017, these were the words of Major-General John Enenche, the Director of Defense Information, when speaking about Boko Haram. According to Enenche, the Nigerian military has employed new military tactics to fight the Boko Haram insurgency, and have been successful in it, so far. While he did not go into detail about what those tactics were, he denied the claim that Boko Haram is getting stronger. Instead, he explained that new tactics were “drawing enemy fire,” and that “the insurgents were being killed in scores,” according to the Nigerian Tribune.
As apart of the military’s tactics against Boko Haram, they have started doing daytime patrol over the Sambisa Forest, Boko Haram’s biggest stronghold; during one of these, the Nigerian military “sighted” an “artillery piece, which was concealed under a tree” (source). Sending down airstrikes, the military was able to destroy the piece of artillery, and maybe even kill members of Boko Haram in the process.
It is no surprise that a different tactic may, or may not, yield more desirable results. Because the wiles of the enemy (physical or otherwise) are prone to change at some points, it is important to be aware of their changing tactics, and to be ready to change one’s own tactics, accordingly.
A Call for Change
It is this idea of change that Christ impressed upon me, one day. As I thought about it, the idea sounded refreshing: creating a written voice-over blog post sounded like fun, a definite idea to consider.
That initial call for a change is what led me, Annalee Hoover, the steward of Isaiah 62 Prayer Ministry, to create a video post, now available on YouTube. But when I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to create a video, I wondered what it would be about.
To fully appreciate the video, I must tell the story of where it all came from.
When the Chibok schoolgirls were taken in April of 2014, I didn’t learn about their story until two weeks later. As I found out, I experienced some of the most heart-wrenching sadness I have ever experienced. What ensued what seeking Christ diligently in prayer. One day, as I was reading the Word and seeking Christ, He led me to read Isaiah, chapter 62.
“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. …I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.”
(Isaiah 62:1, 6-7, NIV)
Reading through Isaiah 62, I knew what I had to do. I was going to 1) continue in prayer over and for the Chibok girls; 2) tell others about their story, and be their advocate (Proverbs 31:8); and 3) encourage others to pray about them, as well.
It is no secret that this is what ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY was created for. It will continue to go on this way. It has existed to tell others about what is happening in Northern Nigeria, so that others may knowledgeably pray for the Chibok girls, and for those stuck in the horrific nature of the Boko Haram insurgency. During the last 2 1/2 years, I have been utterly blessed to be able to steward this blog. The blog has documented, if not all of the news pertaining to this insurgency, then A LOT of it. In stewarding the blog, I have seen the soaring highs of Nigeria’s victories against Boko Haram, like the successful attack on the Sambisa Forest, Boko Haram’s stronghold; yet, I have also seen heart-rending lows, such as the use of 10 and 11 year old girls for suicide bombers. Through it all, though, I have seen one amazing thing: Christ’s faithfulness.
As I wondered what this video would be about, it hit me: Christ has been faithful, and has moved greatly! This MUST be celebrated.
Yet, at the same time, there is still much to do for the lives of the Chibok schoolgirls. 195 remain missing. Boko Haram continues to attack Nigeria sporadically, even in 2017. There is also much to be done, in the lives of those who are currently malnourished, living in a land far away from their Homes because of Boko Haram violence. Nothing can, or should, take these facts of life away.
But, in light of all that Jesus Christ has done, there is a reason for real Hope. You see, at the time of Isaiah 62 being written, Israel was about to be put into a monstrous exile. Israel would be attacked, and its inhabitants would be sent to a place far away from home. Yet, 70 some years later, the prophecy of Isaiah 62 was fulfilled: instead of “Deserted” and “Desolate,” Israel became “Hephzibah”: Once again inhabited, and “Delighted In” by their Maker.
While they are unlike Israel in that the Chibok girls, and those victims of the Boko Haram insurgency, have never done ANYTHING to deserve their captivity, a similar “impossibility” happened for Nigeria.
At one point, Boko Haram had taken over 11 towns and villages in Northern Nigeria; now, they have been reduced to sporadic attacks.
276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram from Chibok, Nigeria– and as of May 1st, 2017, 81 Chibok girls have been able to flee, be found, or be rescued through negotiation from Boko Haram, with just one of those girls miraculously being Asabe Goni.
All of this points to Jesus Christ, being the God of the Impossible, able to do “impossible” things. This is the reason for, and content of, the video that has been released, today.
Though 6 1/2 minutes long, this video is meant to 1) celebrate all that Christ has done in the lives of the freed Chibok girls, refugees, and all others involved in the Boko Haram insurgency; and 2) to highlight the still very horrific ordeal many are going through, and the need for Christ to touch and move in the situations presented. (It has been separated into 5 parts, because of technical difficulties.) It is my heart to glorify Christ by proclaiming what He alone has done, while supporting and honoring the Chibok girls by keeping them close in people’s minds. Care to celebrate, and commemorate, with me?
If so, please watch, subscribe, and share the videos, presented below!
While I have taken on a new tactic, the Nigerian military’s new tactics could mean life or death for them. May their newest tactics be led of the Lord! After all, it is Him alone who causes victory or defeat (Psalm 20:7).
Do you know Jesus?
“The God of the Impossible,” Jesus Christ, has done the absolutely Impossible: lived a sinless, perfect life, died, and rose again (1 Corinthians 15:3-5). But what did He do it all for? Why does Christ do such amazing things, like set people free and restore their lives?
Because it is who He is. While this might seem like a trite answer, it is true: Jesus, being a God who Loves this world, gave Himself up for it, because He wanted all of us to be with Him, for eternity.
But Christ did not just want “all of us” to know and be with Him for eternity; He wants you to know Him, and be with Him, for eternity. Because of His gift to mankind, all that merely accept Him can come to know Him personally, and will be with Him forever, in heaven.
Learn more about Jesus Christ, this amazing “God of the Impossible,” here.
- For the freedom of the Chibok schoolgirls. You can focus on one Chibok girl a week, if you would like, by going here.
- That Christ would take care of the needs of every malnourished child and person in Northern Nigeria, and that there would be enough aid in the region to do this.
- That the Nigerian military would continue to be successful in their fighting of Boko Haram, and that people would come to know Christ in the military.
- That this video would be used mightily by Christ, not only to bring light to the Chibok schoolgirls, but also to bring many to come to know Him as their Lord and Savior.
Thank you for all of your prayers!
Please pray that I would continue to steward this blog in a way that honors and glorifies Jesus alone! Thank you.
This week is the GLOBAL WEEK OF ACTION, created by the Bring Back Our Girls movement to commemorate the kidnapping of 276 Chibok schoolgirls, three years ago, as of April 14th, 2014.
Today is Day 3 of the Week of Action, and Isaiah 62 Prayer Ministry will pray each day of the Global Week of Action, for the Global Week of Action and for the Chibok Girls.
Please pray with us:
“Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for bring the God who gives life, and who restores.
While we know that this horrific tragedy was not of your doing, but the doing of sinful mankind,
we know that You can and will use even this event to bring beauty from ashes.
This is what we pray for today: that You would protect each Chibok schoolgirl that continues to be missing and held captive by Boko Haram. Please protect every captive, according to Your Goodness, Grace, and Mercy.
Please give those participating in events as apart of the Bring Back Our Girls’ Global Week of Action Strength, and please let them come to see and know You, as apart of this week’s events.
As we commemorate this horrible occurrence, we look for Your Hope and Deliverance, Lord Jesus, for NOTHING is impossible with You!
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Thank you for your prayers! To be involved in the daily events occurring in honor of the Global Week of Action, please click here.
Nigeria has been hurting, as of late. On Wednesday, January 25th, Boko Haram militants overtook a military camp in the program “Operation Lafiya Dole,” the counter-insurgency effort created by the Nigerian army. Three soldiers were killed, while arms and ammunition were stolen.
As all of this took place, a new interview came out, from Thomson Reuters, interviewing the mother of a Boko Haram soldier. The interview was both insightful and heartbreaking, as the mother of this Boko Haram member shared her story. The woman, named Falta, is the mother of a BH member named Mamman Nur. As the mastermind of the U.N. Headquarters bombing in Abuja, which took place in 2011, Mamman is reportedly responsible for the death of at least 23 people.
In the interview, Falta, who calls herself “an old woman,” reports that she was forced to live in the Sambisa Forest with Mamman, his three wives, and his children, claiming that she had no one else to take care of her (source). She also stated that while she continually “tried to talk her son out of joining Boko Haram,” he became more and more involved (source). Taken back out of the enclave by the Nigerian military after a 2015 raid of the Sambisa Forest, Falta is still reportedly in a government safe house, not having any other caretaker.
This interview is difficult to read, because it sheds light on the fact that these murderous, cowardly, evil militants have families who love and care for them. But that is not the only reason. Falta’s remarks describing her stay in the Sambisa Forest, a place known for its Boko Haram hideout– and therefore, it’s symbolic darkness and oppression– were disturbing. In the interview, Falta said that “life in Sambisa was quite comfortable” (source). Complete with their own house, in which Falta had her own room, the enclave also had its own supply vans to deliver food and clothing to those within it, as well as its own doctor, nurses and hospital “to tend to the ill” (source). Surrounded by her grandchildren, Falta described a life that seemed to be pretty luxurious for living in a terrorist camp.
For all of its comfort, the fact that it is still an evil place is what makes her entire testimony disturbing. And yet, this apparent dark oasis in Northeastern Nigeria is not only captivating in that many of its captives have actual physical bondage on; but in that, over time, many captives who stay there run the risk of getting comfortable, and making it their “new normal.” This can be seen in the case of over 100 Chibok schoolgirls, whom reportedly “do not want to go back” (source). If this horrific report is true, these Chibok school girls have been both psychologically and spiritually brainwashed into staying captive to their “husbands.”
In reality, while many are not bound by physical chains or physical, evil people, they lie spiritually imprisoned. The worst part of all? They do not see their chains for the horrendous evil that they are. Heartbreakingly, people stay enslaved all of their lives: to lies, to addictions, and ultimately, to the bondage of sin and death.
Even the Apostle Paul spoke about this carnal trap in Romans 7.
In probably one of the most relatable, down to earth passages of Scripture, the Apostle Paul becomes honest about his struggle with sin. But while so much of the world likes their bondage, He, knowing the true freedom found in Christ, sees and knows the sin in his life for what it is: slavery (Romans 7:23).
But, for the Believer, there is incredible Hope. While the believer still struggles with sin, they are completely set free from the old law, and from the eternal condemnation humanity’s sin creates.
Meanwhile, the world, because it is blinded to the Gospel of Christ, has no choice but to continue on living within their chains (2 Corinthians 4:4). The Holy Spirit convicts them of their sin, and it’s bondage-creating nature; but not until they choose to know and accept Christ are their eyes opened. “But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” (2 Corinthians 3:16, NLT).
Isaiah 62 Prayer Ministry wrote in this article about how Jesus, through the Gospel, literally frees people spiritually. The chains of the Believer are gone; they have been set free (Romans 6:18), and are now able to know God, and obey His commands– not because they have to, but out of a genuine heart of praise.
There are many who have even this freedom in Christ, spiritually– the freedom to be victorious over the sin in their lives, by obeying and submitting to Him– and yet, they use their freedom to find new chains to wear: pleasing people instead of Christ, and spending their lives living in the same prison cells of sin, addiction, anger, unforgiveness, and lust. There are those on the other hand, who also wear new chains– chains of unbelief when it comes to Grace; legalism; and self-condemnation. Many people deal with both types of bondage. Both of these “groups” of people have the chance to leave this bondage, but either won’t, out of rebellion and pride– or don’t even understand how bound they really are.
This is not what Christ wants for anyone, and that definitely includes Believers. Instead, Christ calls His Children to be “Freedom Fighters,” men, women, and children who walk in the glorious freedom from both sin and legalism. Christ desires His Followers to walk in the Light (1 John 1:7). This cannot be done if Christ Followers refuse to step into the Light of Christ, either because of sin, or dead religion.
Like William Wilberforce, the famed abilitionist from the 1700-1800s, Believers must become painfully aware of bondage and oppression; but, to do this, they first must see their own chains, and let Christ set them free.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1, NIV)
There are hundreds of captives in the Sambisa Forest, who have gotten comfortable, or scared, and do not want to live outside– even if it means they never see their loved ones, or breathe the air of freedom, ever again. Just like so many in the Sambisa Forest, many do not see their need for freedom– or are simply afraid to give Christ, the One who will free them, control.
But, it is for freedom that Christ has set Believers free. So, whether it would be fighting Boko Haram, or fighting any other type of spiritual bondage, may Believers give Christ the control– and let Him make them more and more into the Fighters for Freedom He has called them to be. 🔹
Do you know Jesus?
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”
(Romans 8:1, NIV)
Dead religion– the rituals, rules, and the mentality that one must “earn their way to heaven” by doing “good deeds” is a sad, broken way of life.
In the Old Testament, every rule, and every ritual, pointed to The Messiah– they were shadows of the real thing, to put it one way (Colossians 2:17).
How silly would it be, if a person kept loving someone’s shadow when the actual person is standing in front of them? Yet, this is how many treat Jesus.
The Truth is, those who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are not under the “law of Sin and Death ” anymore… They are under the law of the Spirit, completely free from condemnation to have a personal relationship with the God who gave it all to have them (Romans 8:1-2; Romans 5:8).
The time is up for shadows. Meet the “real thing,” the God who sets us free, here.
Please pray with me…
“Dear Father God,
Thank You for the Nigerian military, and all that You have done through them to defeat Boko Haram. We know it is not without sacrifice. Please hold the family members of the soldiers killed in the line of duty.
Thank You for showing us all what is happening in Northern Nigeria, and how there are many people who, for some reason or another, are wanting to stay in captivity.
We pray, in the Mighty Name of Jesus, that You would open the eyes of the blind and unbelieving, who are staying imprisoned without even knowing about it. Please open their eyes to their condition, and bring them to know You.
We pray for the Believers in these camps, who also do not want to leave. In the Name of Jesus, please open their eyes to the freedom that awaits them. Please open up the way for them, so that they can become free, soon, too.
We pray in general for those Believers who may be physically free, but are still in some sort of bondage. Show us all where You want to free us; and may we submit to You, and Your will in our lives.
Please free the captives, and continue to lead us to You.
In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”
Thank you for your continued prayers!