“Rejoice Always”: Hope, 4 Years On

Friends and Readers,

Thank you for spending your time today, reading this blog, and praying for the many people it advocates for.

For obvious reasons, today is a sad and solemn day. For those of you who do not know, as of today, it has been four years since the Chibok schoolgirls were kidnapped by Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram. 276 innocent young women were kidnapped and condemned for simply going to a school that was deemed “sinful” by Boko Haram (their name in Hausa, the local language in Northern Nigeria, means “Western Education is sinful.”)

Over these past four years, approximately 164 of the young women were either freed through negotiations, or made their way out themselves. This is a cause for beautiful celebration.

But, unfortunately, four years into their captivity, 112 still remain within the clutches of Boko Haram. A video was released, with many of the purported Chibok girls stating that “We are the Chibok girls. We are the ones you are crying about for us to come back. By the grace of Allah, we are never coming back.”1 Whether or not these young women mean what they say, it can look like the war on freeing and rescuing these young girls is bleak. But there is always room for Hope.

The Catholic archbishop of Canterbury met with Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, on March 11th, 2018.2 Amidst speaking about the herder-farmer conflict and how education tackles poverty, the archbishop urged Buhari to protect Christians undergoing persecution in Northern Nigeria, as well as pushing for the Nigerian government to free the Chibok girls (and Leah Sharibu, the only “Dapchi girl” still in Boko Haram captivity because she refused to renounce Christ). Some of the archbishop’s words concerning the Chibok girls stirred Hope in me, even now. He said:

“It’s so important that we pray for the peace and progress of Nigeria – and particularly for the liberating peace of Jesus to be with all those held in captivity.”2

The liberating peace of Jesus, even in captivity. The archbishop’s words reminded me of Philippians, when Paul the apostle—who is currently in prison for sharing the Gospel—tells the readers in the church of Philippi to “rejoice in the Lord,” and that “It is no trouble for me [Paul] to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you” (Philippians 3:1, NIV, brackets mine). In one of the worst possible situations to be in, Paul is not complaining, or venting, or worrying. No—He is rejoicing, seeing even the idea of prison as an opportunity to tell even his guards about the faith and hope found in Christ alone.

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.”
(Philippians 1:12-14, NIV)

There is no doubt—the Apostle Paul was sold out to Jesus, and, in faithfully serving Christ, was brought to experience Joy, no matter the situation (Philippians 1:25). But I think it is important to know that Joy does not always mean one has a smile on their face, skipping through tulips as if nothing is wrong. Paul  speaks of being cheered up by Timothy’s news regarding the people of the church in Philippi—which tells us that Paul needed to be cheered up, at times, and that he was cheered by hearing about his loved ones. Instead of Joy simply meaning happiness, it can be said that Joy is found in a growing and flourishing relationship with Jesus Christ, no matter the situation. It is because of this truth that Paul so confidently states in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all this [living in plenty and in want] through him who gives me strength.

All of this is well and good—but what does it have to do with the Chibok schoolgirls? Looking at their predicament, it can be all too easy to be flung into despair, and for good reason. How are we supposed to “rejoice always,” as Paul states, while still seeing the reality of the situation? We are to focus on the eternal, un-conquerable Hope found in Christ Jesus. Whether the Chibok girls in captivity or are free, Jesus Christ is alive, risen, and reigning; and, no matter how powerful Boko Haram (led by satan) is, Christ has the final word on the subject—always.hope jesus

This Hope is unshakable, and is the very reason for why this entire blog exists. So, even in the midst of such terror, heartbreak, and despair, let us remember that the liberating Peace of Jesus can be had at all times, even in captivity—if only we start looking to Christ, instead of looking down.

In solidarity,

Annalee Hoover, ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY


Do you know Jesus?

“Promise Maker, Promise Keeper, You finish what you begin.”
– “The Lord Our God” by Kristian Stanfill

In the beginning, Adam and Eve felt no shame (Genesis 2:25). But, as they sinned, they became filled with shame—and tried to cover themselves in fig leaves.

God, finding them in their sinful state, is grieved by their disobedience; yet, He covers them with something better than fig leaves: the skin of an animal. In this, God showed Adam and Eve that He was going to cover them and their sin, and that it was going to take the death of an innocent sacrifice to do so.

Fast-forward almost 4 thousand years3, and Jesus is on the scene. The perfect Son of God, God Himself, died the death we deserved—and God atoned for our sin better than we could ever do on our own through being “good enough” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

God has freely given all we need to be saved—God’s provision is Christ Jesus. Learn more about our need for a Savior, and how Christ fulfills this need, here.



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

  • The parents and loved ones of the Chibok schoolgirls. This is no doubt a horrific day for everyone involved; please pray that they would put their Hope and Trust in Jesus, through this time.
  • The Chibok girls who are free. Today may be triggering for them, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Please pray that they would be comforted and would have a Godly community of people around them, to help them.
  • The Chibok girls still in captivity. Let’s pray that they truly desire to be free, and would be able to get free, either through negotiations, or through escaping.
  • For renewed interest and focus on the Chibok schoolgirls. Let’s pray that the public sees what is going on, and urges the Nigerian government and all those in power to free the girls.

1 http://www.newsweek.com/were-never-coming-back-kidnapped-chibok-girls-say-boko-haram-video-781506

2 http://dailypost.ng/2018/04/12/archbishop-canterbury-reveals-told-buhari-london/

3 http://www.matthewmcgee.org/ottimlin.html and http://www.hebroots.com/lul7_8.html

 

 

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Chibok Girls’ Kidnapping: 4 Year Anniversary

 

final bring

“My name is Esther Joseph. My daughter has not yet come back. I am in sadness. I need your help. Help me to keep praying.”
(Esther Joseph, mother of one of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls)

Unfortunately, it is the eve of the Fourth Anniversary of the Chibok schoolgirls’ kidnapping, and 112 girls are still in captivity. For the freed Chibok girls and those still held captive alike, tomorrow will no doubt be incredibly hard for everyone involved.

To honor these precious young women, I wanted to bring to readers’ attention a few creations I have found on the web, created to honor and bring awareness to the Chibok girls, while also asking for continued prayer for their release. (None of these links were agreed upon being featured here; I have decided completely of my own volition to feature them, and am not being paid in any way to do so).

  • Open Doors South Africa, a nonprofit created to support Christians who are currently undergoing persecution with prayer and advocacy, created this video for the fourth anniversary of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping. In it, they record the people of Chibok, as well as interviewing a couple of the mothers of the Chibok girls. Watch the touching video on YouTube, here.
  • The New York times created an entire special on the Chibok schoolgirls who have been freed, called “Kidnapped as Schoolgirls by Boko Haram: Here they Are Now.” In it, many of the different, freed Chibok girls speak about their time out of Boko Haram captivity, and their lives now (they attend a university). Through and through, the special focuses on each girl: not as numbers, but as people, names and faces of those people Christ holds dear– all with some stunning photography. You can find the special here.
  • Lastly, the one schoolgirl from Dapchi, Nigeria who has not returned– all because she refused to renounce her faith in Jesus– has sent a message with one of the girls who were freed. According to Persecution.org, she told her mother not to worry, and promised that she will see her mother again– if not here, than in Heaven. Read her full message, here.

Again, none of these links were described for money; I simply felt they all honor and bring attention to the Chibok girls, as well as helping people to focus on them.

To learn more about Bring Back Our Girls and what the #BringBackOurGirls movement is doing for the 4-year anniversary, you can go to bringbackourgirls.ng, or go to the Bring Back Our Girls’ Facebook Page.

As always, thank you for reading– and let me know of any comments or concerns you have.

-Annalee, ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY

 

April 2018: Where are we in the war to free the Chibok Girls (and those like them)?

With April 14th, 2018, coming up soon, I have created a facts sheet of where the Chibok girls’ situation lies, as well as to encourage prayer for them this week. To share this information by print and/or digitally, view, share, and download this flyer.

On April 14th, 2014, 276 women, ages 16-18, were kidnapped by Boko Haram, a muslim terrorist group. Four years later, here are the facts:

  • 164 of the young Chibok women have escaped or been freed.

57 of the Chibok girls were able to run away from Boko Haram members shortly after being kidnapped; afterward, one Chibok girl by the name of Amina Ali was found on May 17th, 2016. The Nigerian government and the International Red Cross freed 21 of the Chibok girls on October 13th, 2016, in exchange for four Boko Haram members (source). 82 more Chibok girls were freed on May 6th, 2017, in a negotiation by Mustapha Zanna, an ex-lawyer to the creator of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf (source). On January 3rd, 2018, Salomi Pogu, along with another kidnapped young woman (outside of the Chibok girls) Jamila Adams, was found by the Nigerian military, having escaped from Boko Haram with Jamila Adams.

  • 112-114 of the Chibok girls are still in captivity.

Counting up every instance of where the Chibok girls have publicly been freed, there is approximately 112-114 Chibok girls still left. Many women who claimed to be a part of the Chibok girls were seen in a video released in January of 2018, claiming that, concerning coming back home in freedom, “by the grace of Allah we are not coming back.” After much prayer and thought, ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY was continued, seeking to be faithful to Christ in this particular situation. While these young women may be telling the honest truth, there is also a big chance that they were coerced into believing these things. Whatever the truth is, Christ can still do a miracle here, freeing these girls.

  • The State of Chibok, Nigeria

In 2016, BBC reported the state of those in Chibok, Nigeria—many of whom are waiting for their daughters, kidnapped by Boko Haram, to come home. One father, given the name Daniel to protect his and his daughter’s identities, said he called her mobile phone after she had been kidnapped; the person on the other end of the line was a member of Boko Haram, who said that the phone number belonged to his wife (source).

Even in the face of such tragedy, many of these people still keep up hope. “’I gave birth to that baby,’ one mother said of her kidnapped daughter to BBC. ‘Even if she comes to me with a gun in her hand, let her kill me, but I will still welcome her.’”

Now, it has been said in some reports that Boko Haram still has an enclave in Northern Nigeria, contrary to the claims of the Nigerian government, who has said that Boko Haram has been defeated in the Northern region of Nigeria (source). Still today, no one can know the truth, for sure.

  • What has happened to the freed Chibok girls?

Many of these freed Chibok girls have bravely gone to the United States in pursuit of higher education, while the majority of others have been undergoing psycho and social therapy, having been able to go and see their families only on a few occasions.

One Chibok schoolgirl, faced with the possibility of going back to Chibok, tried killing herself (source). Fortunately, she did not pass away from her attempt, and was only injured badly.

These girls, so easily identified by numbers alone, are real young women; each with their own abilities, skills, interests, and dreams.

Not only this; but there are still hundreds of people out there, waiting for their loved ones—the Chibok girls—to come back home. Each day, they wait; they hope; and they pray.

 

As long as these girls are not with their families, we will pray for them, too. Please join us, this April 14th, for a day of prayer for, and awareness about, the Chibok girls.

Because they are not just OUR girls… they are His.

To share this information by print and/or digitally, view, share, and download this flyer.

As of late, I have read this article, where Amina Ali Nkeki stated that she is “not afraid of Boko Haram,” because “they are not her God.” This young woman is so fearless! This post is in tribute to her. Please pray that Amina Ali Nkeki, the first Chibok girl who was freed, would trust in Jesus– and would be further down the path of healing mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually than ever.


Do you know Jesus?

3000 years ago, God became a Man. And because He knew that we would never be able to save ourselves, He gave Himself so that we could be saved– not based on anything we did, but solely based on accepting what He did.

Learn more about this Man, and how you can be saved by Him, here.



Please pray for (get the prayer sheet for this, here)…

  • The Chibok girls, and Leah Sharibu. Leah is the only girl from the Dapchi school kidnapping who is still not home– all because she refused to renounce Jesus. Please pray that she would be able to be free, soon.
  • The families and loved ones of the Chibok girls, and Leah Sharibu.
  • For increased awareness of the plight of the Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu, this week. As we approach April 14th, please pray that Jesus would put the Chibok girls in the world’s spotlight; pray that the Nigerian government would not give up trying to save these women.
  • Amina Ali Nkeki. Please pray that she would trust Jesus, and would be more healed than ever.

Thank you for your prayers. ❤

He Wins the War: Hope for the Weary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

He wins. May that carry you through. ❤


Do you know Jesus?

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

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

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

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


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

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

 

Thank you for your prayers!!!

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

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

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-cup-consumed-for-us

https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/are-all-sins-equal-before-god

 

The True Worth of a Woman, Part 2

On Thursday, March 1st, 2018, ten people—6 soldiers and 4 policemen—were found murdered by Boko Haram in the governmental headquarters of Rann, Nigeria, after suffering an attack perpetrated by Boko Haram. According to reports, two female humanitarian aid workers were kidnapped1 (though some reports say three2). Because of the warfare, MSF (Doctors Without Borders, aka Médecins Sans Frontières) decided to leave the location for the time being, until the attack had ceased and aid workers were not directly in harm’s way. Please keep these women, their families, and the families of those who passed away in this attack in your prayers.

The selflessness of these female aid workers is a virtue that all women could aspire to. Selfless and brave, these women were made the victims of this ferocious attack… and it brings up the question, “What does a noble woman truly look like?”

These women can reflect a part of that answer; but, to see a virtuous woman in her fullness, we can read Proverbs 31. I know, I know… for many women, this passage of scripture can bring them both awe and discouragement all at the same time. But, in this post, with already reading about and knowing that a woman’s true worth and identity is found in Jesus Christ, I thought it would be practical—and hopefully, encouraging!—for us to study how this woman “who fears the Lord” lives, and what she truly prioritizes (Proverbs 31:30). It’s a little lengthy, but I pray that whatever you do read of it will strengthen you.

The Proverbs 31 Woman

First off, I find it interesting that this description of “The Wife of Noble Character” is parked at the very end of Proverbs, a book known for its Godly wisdom. In Proverbs, “Lady Wisdom” is sought as incredibly valuable (Proverbs 8:11), and it is honestly so affirming that God’s Word speaks of what a wise, God-fearing woman looks like; Christ truly does care about who we are, not only as people, but specifically as women; and He cares about what we do to show who we are.

This being said, I also want to say one thing: Girls, we are going to fail at being “the Wife of Noble Character.” Big time. It’s easy for me to look at this passage and feel overwhelmed at how perfect this woman is, but honestly, our value is not found in if we are the wife of noble character or not. Our worth is placed in Jesus alone, His death, and His resurrection. As many other commentators have said, cannot be everything that this woman is simultaneously; rather, it is a goal, one that we will be growing toward (and shying away from) our entire lives.fail .jpg

Whoever you are, take a deep breath, and allow God’s Word to speak to you.

Proverbs 31:10-12

A woman of God—who knows Jesus Christ personally, and walks with Him daily—is an incredible blessing to any Godly man seeking a wife. This woman, who loves Jesus and is daily enjoying a personal relationship with Him, is described as having the full confidence of her husband, bringing him good, not evil, all the days of her life. Women, make Jesus—spending time with Him, walking in His ways, and being rooted in His Word—the foundation of your life. The more you know and understand Christ’s Love, and the more you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the better you will be at being wise, faithful, and loving towards those around you—including your husband (even if you don’t have one yet!).

Proverbs 31:13-15, 21, 27

She’s sacrificial. As an outpouring of Christ’s Love in her life, the wife of Noble Character makes caring for all those within her household—even at the sacrifice of getting up early to do so—a high priority. This woman’s mind, because of her relationship with Jesus, is on how she can best love the people around her— which is, in this context, her husband, children, and even her “female servants.” She is not up and running around because she has to be; at her core, she is showing sacrificial Love because she knows that that is how God, in Christ, Loves her.

Proverbs 31:16-19, 24, 26

She’s wise and hardworking. Notice how this Wife of Noble Character is not strictly a “stay at home mom”; while this is definitely a role she plays, she also has incredibly important roles outside of the house. Contrary to what many Christian leaders have said about women basically being second-class citizens (citing Genesis 2:18, which I expanded upon, here), 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 supports the idea that, in Christ, women are different from—but not inferior to—men. The woman found in Proverbs 31, knowing that she and those around her are all equal in Christ, uses her God-given brain, hands, and talents to make wise, resourceful business decisions.

More than this, this wife of noble character doesn’t just use her talents for her own profit; she uses all that she is to bring glory to God. This can be seen, perhaps most obviously, in verse 20.

“She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” (Proverbs 31:20, NIV)

She’s generous. This woman, again filled with the Love of God and daily walking in a personal relationship with Him, values those that society marginalizes. As a woman within the historical context of Ancient Israel, women themselves were usually marginalized and limited3. With this fact in mind, the idea of this woman, who is both business-savvy and generous toward the poor and needy, is one that was very against the “mainstream” culture of the day. Though society limited women greatly—and still does, today—God sees women as made in His Image, just as capable as men in Christ to be lovingly generous to all those around, especially the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:25

She’s full of Life. This one can be hard to read, especially for those of you who have suffered for what seems like forever, in whatever situation you are in. But instead of having this verse discourage you, I want to encourage with its Truth: that, in Christ alone, there is always Hope.

Perhaps, at this point, you are hanging on by a thread. Everything and everyone has been stripped from you; you can’t seem to get your bearings on where you are at right now, much less look forward to the future. Your way feels dark. Your past haunts you. You are heavy with grief and an endless amount of questions.

Sister, despite what everything around you is saying, I want to encourage you to cling to the truth– the Hope– of Scripture. This verse does not say that the wife of noble SHE LAUGHS.jpgcharacter has a wonderful life; the Bible tells it like it is. Yet, it describes this woman as “clothed with strength and dignity,” and “being able to laugh at the days to come.” What is the source of this woman’s strength, dignity, and joyful outlook on life?

The fact that God has never, and will never, leave her. And that, no matter what has happened, what is happening, or what will occur, He Loves her, and is completely in charge of every day of her life.

The Worth of a Godly Woman

This noble woman is not merely beautiful on the outside (though her beauty is of at least some interest to her– Proverbs 31:22). She is a woman saved by Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection; a woman grounded in the Love of Jesus—a precious treasure, beautiful inside and out, always becoming more like Christ as she follows Him, day by day.

Women are a reflection of who God is—proving that He is a God who Loves true beauty; a God who is concerned with the intimate details of His childrens’ lives; a God who is compassionate, empathetic, and nurturing, always providing for those He Loves. As you look at the women around you, today (including yourself, if you are a woman), praise Jesus for them. See their true worth, in His eyes.

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
(Proverbs 31:28-31, NIV)


Do you know Jesus?

The woman of noble character did not become noble by merely doing everything she is described doing; she did not come to God, all cleaned up because of her own efforts. Instead, she only needed to come as she was, allowing Christ to change her, from the inside out.

Learn more about this God—who Loves us as we are, and does not leave us that way—here.


Please pray for (get your prayer sheet, here)…

  • Women in Northern Nigeria. Pray that these beautiful people would come to know Christ, and that much would be done to improve their situation.
  • “The Dapchi girls.” 110 young women were kidnapped February 19th, 2018; please pray that they come home, soon.
  • “The Chibok girls.” Please pray that the 112 young women still missing would be freed, soon.
  • For the salvation of all people. Only when Christ is the Lord and Savior of a person’s life, will all women be seen and treated with real dignity, respect, and love.

 

How have you treated women? Is it with God-given dignity and love (This includes yourself if you are a woman)? In what ways do you need to grow to be more like Christ—and the wife of noble character? Ask Jesus to cleanse your heart of any sin, and allow Him to work and move in your life in powerful ways.

 

Thank you for your prayers!

1 https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/261172-rann-finally-police-speak-boko-haram-attack-disclose-death-toll.html

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/03/boko-haram-attack-halts-aid-in-remote-nigerian-town/

http://religion.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199340378.001.0001/acrefore-9780199340378-e-45#

 

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST: 100 MORE GIRLS KIDNAPPED.

It has happened. Again.

It was reported by numerous news agencies that a huge number of young girls– approximately 100 of them– were kidnapped by the terrorist group, Boko Haram, on February 19th, 2018, from Government Girls Science Technical College in Yobe State. Most, if not all of the girls were from a place called Dapchi village.1

Honestly, I am angry. Because, once again, the Nigerian government said that they had rescued 48 of these young women. They didn’t.2 I am honesty fuming, and so, so disappointed, at so much.

I have to remind myself that, horrifically, this has been happening for a LONG, long time. To hundreds of men, women, and children.

But don’t you ever just get tired of this happening, again and again???
All I can do is ask God why. And, “When will this stop?” It’s really hard to not become jaded, right now.

But in this time of anger, heartbreak, and extreme discouragement, I am reminded that my Jesus cares. That, just like in John 11:33, when Lazarus dies, Jesus is “deeply moved in spirit and troubled.”

Let me give you some background. In John 11, Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, becomes deathly sick. Instead of running to Lazarus, or healing him with a word, Jesus waits. Four days. 

In this span of time, Lazarus dies– and there seems to be no Hope for the situation. He is dead. He is gone.

By this time, Jesus comes upon the scene. Mary and Martha are in the thick, dark blackness of grief; Martha runs to Jesus in honest anguish and disappointment.‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask’” (John 11:21).

Holding on to faith, Martha pours herself out to Jesus. “‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. …I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world’” (John 11:21, 27, NIV).

Mary, in her grief, does not turn from Jesus. Instead, she runs to Him.

After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. ‘The Teacher is here,’ she said, ‘and is asking for you.’ When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.”
(John 11:28-31, NIV)

In her grief and questioning why, Mary cries out to Him. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” she says, knowing that Jesus is the only One who can help her in her grief. And as Jesus looks around at the death and grief surrounding Him, the greek for verse 33 is very telling. According to Lysa TerKeurst, “Embrimaomai,” the word used to describe Jesus’ response, “refers to anger, outrage, and emotional indignation.”3

Jesus was not just moved to sad tears—though He was (John 11:34). He was moved to extreme emotional aggravation and anger. Not in a sinful sense; but in the sense that He hated what was going on.

I believe Jesus is filled with a similar anger and outrage, looking at the situation in Northern Nigeria—where countless people have been abducted, coerced, and brutalized under being “led by allah.” I believe that it breaks His heart, and makes Him sigh in sorrow.

In Exodus 5, when Moses initially asked Pharoah to let God’s people, the Israelites, go free, things got a lot worse before they got better. Pharoah refused, commanding the Israelites to work even harder. A lot of pain, anguish, and patience was needed before they were actually able to be free.

And so it seems with this. Things are getting worse before they get better. Mary and Martha couldn’t understand it at the time; but, just as Jesus waited four days—until Lazarus was already dead—so that He could show everyone His Glory, He has a purpose for allowing even an event so sick as this one to take place.

And even now, He is my Hope.

Everyone, please pray for these 100 kidnapped young women. May their story not be so tragic and evil as the Chibok girls’ abduction has been—and may their families never, ever lose the Hope that is only found in Jesus. Please, Jesus, bring these young women home soon.



Do you know Jesus?

At this point, Jesus Christ is the only One who can save. These girls, their families, and the world at large—there is no one who can save like He can.

Learn more about this God-in-Human-Flesh, the One who Loves you and wants to save and help even you, here.


Please pray for (print out a “Prayer Points” sheet here)…

  • These 100 young women. Already, two women were found dead. Please pray that the rest of these young women would be saved, and that this evil, pain, and suffering would STOP in Jesus’ Name.
  • The 112 Chibok girls who are still in Boko Haram captivity. That they would not lose Hope, and would desire to be free. May they come home so, so soon.
  • The families and loved ones of these girls, as well as everyone in Chibok, Nigeria, and Dapchi, Nigeria. Please pray over every person that this evil is affecting.
  • Pray that Jesus would bring about saving people, both now and eternally, even through this tragic event.

Please spread this news, as well as the story of the Chibok schoolgirls. These girls CANNOT be forgotten; MAY JESUS BRING THEM OUT OF BONDAGE, SOON!!!

1 https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/02/22/boko-haram-kidnaps-more-nigerian-students/362197002/

2 https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Nigeria-100-Girls-Kidnapped-by-Boko-Haram-Still-Missing-20180222-0037.html

3 TerKeurst, Lysa. Finding I Am: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart. LifeWay Press, 2016.

 

Changes Are a Comin’

Hey friends!

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
(Matthew 6:5-15, NKJV)

“It’s not about the eloquent words– but about the prayer itself.”

This is something Jesus has been teaching me, as of late– especially regarding this blog. A few days ago, as I sat with Him in the quiet, my focus concerning this blog was re-oriented; and with it, Jesus gave me some great ideas to initiate here on ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY.

He led me to focus more on this blog’s purpose, in the beginning, and to really go after it (as taken from the blog’s “About” page):
1) To continue to pray for the girls’ safe release from these Boko Haram camps,
2) To continue to be updated/ update others on the state of this situation, the church of Nigeria, and Nigeria as a whole,
and 3) To, as Isaiah 62:6-7 states, advocate for the Chibok girls, as well as to encourage world-wide prayer for the state of Nigeria, the Church of Nigeria, and all of Nigeria’s kidnappees so that other believers may “have no rest, and give the Lord no rest until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the Earth.”

Because of this, I have decided I wanted to start these things:

  1. More prayer-focused resources for you, the reader. Instead of just writing about the Chibok girls, Northern Nigeria, Boko Haram, displaced peoples, those fighting Boko Haram, etc., I want to help you, the reader, have a more precise, straightforward, practical aid in praying for all the topics mentioned above. Part of this includes “Prayer Points” with each post: printable PDFs or Word Documents regarding the different prayer requests brought up in each blog post, so that you can be aided in praying for the things mentioned, as you are led. This could also include different resource pages, as well as updating and improving current resource pages (like The Names & Pictures). These printable “prayer points” could be done weekly, but I am not sure about that yet, as things like that can easily become legalistic for me.
  2. More posts just focused on the Chibok girls and their situation. News about them can be written about more frequently, like the fact that many Chibok girls are now going to school! I would like to write more about them explicitly, and ask prayer for them in a more detailed manner.
  3. I have edited/polished the “Do You Know Jesus?” Page. I wanted to keep this more up to date, reading as excellently as possible (and prayerfully, by the power of the Holy Spirit, bringing people to Jesus!).
  4. I have decided that I want the month of March to be especially dedicated to praying for the Chibok girls. More details about this, soon.
  5. I want to further encourage prayer for the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls specifically, so I will be posting a page/post on a group of Chibok girls readers can pray for, weekly.
  6. To let my local community know more about the Chibok schoolgirls, and to encourage prayer and advocacy for them, I may try to put together an art show for the art I have created that surrounds them. We will see; I would need lots of help, but I want to make good on this! 🙂
    contact final

    A portion of a piece of art I have created, Untitled, concerning the Chibok girls, and stating Bible Verses Christ has given me about their release.

    7. may change the blog’s overall theme! I am not 100% on this yet, but it’s an idea.

 

What do you guys think of these changes? Readers, I need your help!!! Do you have any other ideas for this blog? Any compliments/constructive criticism about it?? I’d love to hear from you!

As always, thank you for your prayers, and for reading what my silly heart and mind have to say! I love and appreciate you all! 🙂