A Change: NEW VIDEO BLOG POST!

“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.

The Story

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 Lordgive 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.

The Video

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!

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAWklOcx8bkvCeIcImO-XJKoto5681y_c

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.



Please pray…

  • 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.

Prayer for Day 3 of GLOBAL WEEK OF ACTION: #3YearsTooLong #NoMoreExcuses #BringBackHisGirls #BringBackOurGirls

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.

Dear Jesus,
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,

Amen.”

Thank you for your prayers! To be involved in the daily events occurring in honor of the Global Week of Action, please click here.
Be blessed!

Fighters for Freedom

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.

I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” 

(Genesis 7:22-24, NLT)

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. 

Father God,

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. 

Father God, 

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. 

Father God, 

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. 

Father God, 

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!

BREAKING NEWS: ANOTHER CHIBOK GIRL HAS BEEN FOUND!!!!!

Another Chibok girl has breathed the air of freedom!!!

On January 5th, 2016, Rakiya Abubakar Gali was found, with a six month old baby.
Sources say Rakiya was found, as 1,000 suspects were detained for questioning, following the raid on the Sambisa Forest that the Nigerian military conducted in December.

She was quoted looking “serious and morose,” holding her child. While the reason is unclear, she will be “released to the state government” after she goes under medical exams (source).

While people are unsure about Rakiya’s condition, or what she has gone through, Christ knows exactly what is going on– and where the state of her heart, is.

Let us pray for Rakiya. That she would turn to Christ for help and healing, now that she  has been found. ❤



Do you know Jesus?

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NLT)

Rendered “The God of All Comfort” in the New International Version of verse 3, Christ is not only seen as The Almighty God, Maker of Heaven and Earth; He is the Father who is sensitive and tender-hearted toward the people and creation He created.

But, humanity was not tender-hearted towards Him. From the garden, on, mankind was bent on hurting themselves, and separating themselves from God, because of their sin.

Yet, Christ so Loved the world, that He couldn’t bear to see mankind hopelessly separated from Him. And so, He Himself died for the sins of many.

Jesus Christ is passionate, not just about all of humanity, but about you, personally– so much so, that He died for you to be brought into right, close standing with Him.
Meet this Compassionate, Tender-hearted God, here.


Let’s pray for Rakiya, her family, and the rest of her school mates, here.

“Dear Father God,
Thank You for Rakiya Abubukar Gali. Thank You for choosing her to come into existence, here, and now.
Father God, through all of the pain, thank You for being faithful to Rakiya, and for taking her through the incredibly deep, dark valley that she has gone through.

Father God,
We now pray that Rakiya would want, and realize, her need for You.
Please bring her heart to know You– and show her that You truly are “The God of All Comfort” in her life.
Please, Father God,
Counsel Your Daughter– Hold her under the shadow of Your Wings, Father God. We pray for total healing and restoration– let Your Love shine in, to all of her hurting and weak spots.

At the same time, Lord Jesus,

Please help her family to both celebrate her freedom, and Love her through this life-long road of restoration. More than this, Father God,
Please send out Your Church, to Love Rakiya, no matter what she believes, or where she is at.
Please help us around the world to continue to do so, in prayer.
Father God, we know that there are many other young women to rescue, as apart of the Chibok girls, and thousands more who are not apart of that specific kidnapping. Please bring them to freedom, as well, we pray.
Thank You for that, Jesus.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.”

Thank you for all of your prayers and support!!! May Jesus bless you, with a close relationship with Him! ❤

Set Free at Christmas Time!

This Christmas,
Isaiah 62 Prayer Ministry would like to highlight both the joyous successes that Christ has given, as well as to remember the people still struggling in Northern Nigeria.

President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo take a picture with the 21 freed Chibok girls.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo take a formal picture with the 21 Chibok girls freed on October 13th, 2016. The 21 girls are Mary Usman Bulama, Jummai John, Blessing Abana, Lugwa Sanda, Comfort Habila, Maryam Basheer, Comfort Amos, Glory Mainta, Saratu Emannuel, Deborah Ja’afaru, Rahab Ibrahim, Helen Musa, Maryamu Lawan, Rebecca Ibrahim, Asabe Goni, Deborah Andrawus, Agnes Gapani, Saratu Markus, Glory Dama, Pindah Nuhu, and Rebecca Mallam.

Over three years ago, the town of Maiduguri had a strict curfew, causing markets and businesses to be abandoned, and citizens hidden in their homes, for fear of attacks from Boko Haram. Cities were being relentlessly attacked.

Two years ago, 219 young women, ages 16-18, were held captive, away from their parents, family, and loved ones. Tears over the inaction of the Nigerian government in the situation dampened the Christmas spirit. Suicide bombers were the tragic norm.

But while some of these things are still being worked out, there has been incredible change. In an article written by Thomson Reuters, Northern Nigerians in the city of Maiduguri are celebrating Christmas, again– the night air now filled with the hustle and bustle of outdoor markets, until the late night curfew of 10 pm.

More than this, Christian congregations have more than just re-commenced fellowshipping: they have taken to the streets, celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ in the “predominantly muslim city” (source). In a city where Christians used to cower in fear under the oppression of Boko Haram, Christ has brought freedom and victory– to the point of His People being able to sing out His Praises, without fear. Continue reading

God is in Control: Going through Pain as a part of Christ’s Plan

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. 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.”‘ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 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 Names & Pictures

To Readers, and Fellow Partners in Prayer,

The picture, below, has been the “banner image” of this blog for almost as long as this blog has been in existence.

numbered chibok girls FINISHED

Banner photo. Because #27, Amina Ali, has been freed, these are 59 of the 218 Chibok School girls, still in captivity, as of August 18th, 2016. Their names are listed, below. (Some numbers are bolded for better visibility.)

The picture features names and pictures of 60 of the missing Chibok schoolgirls.

I wanted to take some time to focus on each of the Chibok girls who have been kidnapped– those named and pictured, and those who have not been, yet are remembered in the hearts of their Loved Ones. Below are the names of the 60 Chibok schoolgirls, listed correspondingly to each number seen in the picture shown above. (While I hate “labeling” these young women with numbers, I only do so, so that you, the reader, can read their names.) I have posted their names below, as well as 15 more names of girls not pictured in the banner, but pictured, and named, here.

Please be advised that some of the names may have minor misspellings. I have tried to copy them down as correctly as possible. Here are their names:

  1. Eugena Samuel               21. Maryamu Wayi                                        41. Fzi Manna
  2. Eugena Mutah                22. Margaret Watsai                                     42. Esther Joshu
  3. Eugena Abigi                   23. Malmuna Urean                                      43. Glory Ali
  4. Kauna Lalel                      24. Maryamu Tafuya                                    44. Patience Jacob
  5. Lydia Skemph                 25. Maryamu Lewan                                     45. Ruhila Yahonna
  6. Ruranda Irkiba                26. Majua M. Mina                                        46. Margret Shettima
  7. Ama Nrima                       27. Amina Ali (FREED ON 5/17/2016!)      47. Lydia Emmar
  8. Maryane Abubukar        28. Manatu Stephen                                     48. Ruth Lewan
  9. Rhoda Peter                      29. Na’omi Bitrus                                         49. Rhoda John
  10. Rfutu Galang                    30. Naomi Adamu                                         50. Rebeca Joseph
  11. Esther Ayuba                    31.Gloria Dama                                              51. Rejoice Sanki
  12. Saraya Amora                   32. Haratu Nuhu                                           52. Esther Usman
  13. Grace Paul                         33. Filo Dauda                                                53. Mutha Babu
  14. Kadisa Yolubu                  34. Majera ba                                                  54. Docas Yakubu
  15. Yogara Joshua                  35. Fatima Igbi                                               55. Baraya Musah
  16. Solomi Titus                     36. Nguba Buba                                              56. Comfort Habila
  17. Na’omi Luka                     37. Tabitha Thomas                                      57. Ana Abuja
  18. Comfort Amon                 38. Kayma Battal                                          58. Glory Yaga
  19. Fatimta Lewan                  39. Hauwa Abdu                                          59. Rosa Daniel
  20. Maryamu Yakabu            40. Gloria Mainta                                         60. Naomi Zakaria

I challenge you, to pray individually for these young women, as the Spirit leads. This is not a legalistic charge, but rather, an encouragement to spend more time with Jesus, praying as the Holy Spirit guides.

On April 14th, 2016, footage was released of 15 of the Chibok girls, purportedly filmed in December of 2015 (source). One of them is Naomi Zakaria. This young woman is the last in the banner picture, above. The rest of these girls are pictured, and named, here (originally found in this article):

15 chibok girls!!

The 15 girls. (ALL photo credit of the 15 girls goes to CNN, and originally, Boko Haram: http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/19/africa/nigeria-chibok-girl-escape/)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finally, CAN (the Christian Association of Nigeria) published 178 names of the Chibok girls– approximately 139 of which are not already listed, here, in this blog post. I listed them in this printable, easy-to-view, online Google Docs document. 129 are said to be Christian. At least 15, in the entire listing of names, are muslim. I tried my best to make sure that none of the names were already mentioned, but many of these precious young women have dual names– so, please keep that in mind, as you view, and use, this document.

While the majority of these young women are Christian, there are still many who are muslim, who need to see, and know Christ. Please be praying, not only for the Chibok girls’ physical freedom, but their spiritual freedom, as well.

In all, please feel free to use both the numbered picture resource, above, this slideshow, and this document to spur on prayer for these 214 young girls.

At the end of the day, there are still many more of these young girls still captive– at least 4, if none of these names are dual names. While these 4 young girls may not be widely pictured, or named, they are still Loved by Christ (Isaiah 49:16).

Please continue to pray for the Chibok schoolgirls– and the countless, but not nameless, young men, women, and children who have been held captive by Boko Haram.

Thank you!

“‘I will say to the north, “Give them up!”
    and to the south, “Do not hold them back.”
Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.'”
(Isaiah 43:6-7, NIV)