Hundreds, maybe even thousands of young men have been arrested wrongly by the Nigerian military, accused of having links to/being involved in Boko Haram. Not only this, but hundreds, maybe even thousands, of young men and women have been kidnapped by Boko Haram, held tightly and oppressed. Leah Sharibu has spent 221 days in Boko Haram captivity, with no end in sight to her bondage. Continue reading
I read this article, about how a man named Zannah Mustapha– a lawyer who is to credit for the negotiations leading to the release of 82 Chibok girls and 21 other girls, also held captive– is now allowing the children of widowed Boko Haram members into his school. In 2007, he started schooling for victims of Boko Haram; and, now, ironically and somewhat controversially, he is allowing the children of those who are to blame for these victim’s tragedies into school, as well.
According to the article, Mustapha agreed to teach the children the Koran, English, and Math, following the wishes of the children’s mothers. He also agreed to their religious rules of having to wear the hijab, and wear ankle-length dresses. “The irony of teaching the children of Boko Haram insurgents who with the very name of their group proclaim that ‘Western Education is Forbidden’ is not lost on him,” All Africa reports. Surprisingly enough, Boko Haram– or at least, the widows of Boko Haram– care about their children’s education.
While much can be said about this, it brings out the humanity of Boko Haram’s members, however warped and deluded it may be. At a basic human level, at least some of the members of Boko Haram care about their children.
Honestly, I don’t know what to think… except for the fact that this sliver of humanity within the barbarity of Boko Haram members shows that they, no matter how evil, are severely marred images of their Creator, the One, True God: YHWH. And as severely marred images of their Creator, they need to not only know what islam has taught them about Jesus, but they need to know the real Jesus: The One who died for their sins, and rose to life again– the One who now sits at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34).
The People of Nineveh
It can remind one of the Ninevites, who, at their time, were perhaps some of the most barbaric, evil, cruel people on the planet. They were enemies of Israel, and were known for their violence– they were so violent that I have heard that they impaled the heads of their conquered enemies on poles around the city, to celebrate their victory and superiority.
Because of their evil, Jonah did not want to give them the message of repentance. Instead, Jonah wanted God’s judgment to be reigned down on them– he wanted them to suffer as much as they had made others suffer, and probably for good reason. Jonah was so angry at God showing them mercy, in their repentance, that he wanted to die (Jonah 4:3). God rebuked Jonah for his anger– but he did not only rebuke him.
To teach Jonah a lesson about compassion, God allowed a plant to grow up and over Jonah, shielding him from the heat.
“So the Lord God prepared a plant and it grew up over Jonah, to be a shade over his head to spare him from discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about [the protection of] the plant. 7 But God prepared a worm when morning dawned the next day, and it attacked the plant and it withered. 8 When the sun came up God prepared a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he fainted and he wished to die, and said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.'”
(Jonah 4:6-8, AMP)
Obviously, Jonah cared about this plant, and was extremely happy that it had grown in his life. Through this tiny, unimportant plant, God showed Jonah just a sliver of the care God had for the people of the city of Nineveh (whom Jonah, at that point, did not even value as people because of their evil) (Jonah 4:9).
God’s Mercy did not stop at the Israelites; nor did it stop at people who were
morally good. Scripture tells us that “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45, NIV). God, true to His Nature, desires ALL men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). Also true to His Nature, God cares for the children even of those who are evil– as evidenced by what He says to Jonah in Jonah 4:11, when He mentions the 120,000 children in the city “who do not know the difference between their right and left hand.”
“Then the Lord said, ‘You [Jonah] had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. 11 Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 [innocent] persons, who do not know the difference between their right and left hand [and are not yet accountable for sin], as well as many [blameless] animals?'”
(Jonah 4:10-11, AMP, “[Jonah]” mine)
While Jonah only had in mind the depravity of the Ninevites– which I in no way want to lessen– God saw each person in Nineveh, even those who had no idea of the atrocities happening around them, being committed by their fathers and mothers, and He had both perfect Justice, and perfect compassion, for them all.
The grown adults of Nineveh– those who slaughtered innocent people– were indeed VERY worthy of the wrath God would have reigned down upon them, if they had not repented.
But when they actually heard Jonah’s message, they DID repent– they came to know the Living God, and turned away from their wickedness and violence!!! This is God’s desire for those who are wickedly evil, today.
The God of Both Justice & Mercy
I, in no way, want to lessen the atrocities of Boko Haram. Their acts are nothing short of abhorrent, and those who do not come to know Jesus will be liable to God’s punishment– Hell (2 Thessalonians 1:8-10). God is a God of Justice– and Jesus will bring Justice when He comes back again, as 2 Thessalonians 1 describes.
But He is also a God of Mercy. Should the kids of Boko Haram members be learning the same volatile Koran that their parents have? Absolutely not… but, as difficult as it is to say, that is why we must keep the men, women, and children of Boko Haram in our prayers.
Jesus is the only Way to the Father that so many millions of Muslims are struggling to find and know. Jesus is the One their hearts are waiting and looking for when they try to
keep the tenants of islam. And the children, even of such evil as Boko Haram members, need to know the Gospel– and be saved by knowing Jesus personally, by Grace, through Faith.
Only Love for these people, shown in the form of prayer and sharing the Gospel with them, will change anything. This Love is audacious– scandalous, even.
Will you dare to show this kind of Love– the Love of Jesus?
God’s Love is reckless. Jesus proved it.
Learn more about the God who Loves you– Loves you enough to die for you, so that you might know Him– here.
Please pray with me…
Thank You for Loving us enough to step down out of heaven. Thank You for Loving us enough to step down out of perfect union with the Father, and taking all of our sin and the wrath of God upon Yourself. Thank You for forgiving such sinners, as us.
We pray now, in Your Name, that You would please bring these children that are being taught the Koran, to You. Through whatever means needed, Please, Father God, draw these young children to You– as well as their mothers and fathers. We pray for repentance, Lord Jesus; we pray that Boko Haram would become nothing, because the members of Boko Haram have come to know You, instead.
Jesus, at the same time, thank You for bringing Justice for all of our sin when You died on that cross. Please redeem and free those who have been crippled by Boko Haram. Help us to love those who have been displaced, abused and mistreated horrifically by Boko Haram.
Lastly, Lord Jesus,
We ask that You would remember Your Promise concerning the Chibok girls.
“The nations will see your vindication,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.
3 You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
4 No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
and your land Beulah;
for the Lord will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
5 As a young man marries a young woman,
so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.”
(Isaiah 62:2-5, NIV)
Lord Jesus, You gave this promise to me (Annalee) when I sought You concerning the Chibok girls. Now, three and a half years later, so much as happened– more than I could have ever believed or imagined. You have set so many girls free! Dear Jesus, we pray, we ask boldly in Your Name, that the 113 Chibok girls remaining would be found/would escape the clutches of Boko Haram. You have done amazing things; please do all that You have promised. Let us not forget. May each one be free.
Thank You for this, Lord Jesus.
In Jesus’ Name we pray,
Prayer Update: 7/28/2016
“so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
(Isaiah 55:11, NIV)
I am incredibly happy to announce that Christ has shown a visible answer to this urgent prayer request– if not fully, then in part.
The UN has announced that, “In a cross-border humanitarian operation, a total of 31 metric tonnes of food and some non-food items” have been delivered to approximately 15,000 internally displaced people, in the town of Banki, Nigeria. Banki, located on the border of Cameroun and Northern Nigeria, was captured by Boko Haram in September of 2014.
In light of this, Christ not only answered prayers about bringing food relief to Northern Nigeria, but He also has visibly answered countless prayers for the freeing of towns, in Northern Nigeria. Just like the food fed to these malnourished men, women, and children, Christ’s Word went out in answering these prayers!!!
As written in this blog post, please continuing praying, not only for physical bread to be had for these people, but that Jesus, the Bread of Life, would be received by these men, women, and precious children. Pray for revival, not only in Northern Nigeria, but in every land thirsty for Jesus!
Jesus hears you!!! Take heart, and continuing praying!! ❤ 🙂
7/20/2016: Dear Readers,
I have become aware of an urgent prayer request.
As of July 19th, 2016, UNICEF has shared that “close to a quarter million children in Northern Nigeria are malnourished” (source), and are severely in need of humanitarian aid.
In places that have only been newly freed by the Nigerian military, and vigilantes, UNICEF and other humanitarian aid organizations, have just realized, and been able to report such figures of malnutrition to the public. In their report, UNICEF has claimed that “Some 134 children on average will die every day from causes linked to acute malnutrition if the response is not scaled up quickly” (source).
The aid must be “scaled up quickly,” but sadly, UNICEF has not received even half of what it initially needed in funds for the Boko Haram insurgency. What’s more, UNICEF has said that 2 million Northern Nigerians are incapable of being reached by aid, because of such poor infrastructure.
Humans might not be able to reach them, but make no mistake: here, even now, no one is outside of Christ’s ability to save.
Will you please pray with me, for each of these unique, precious children, and their families?
“Dear Father God,
I thank You for hearing every prayer Your children speak, think, and express to You (Psalm 116:1).
Father God, I just want to thank You, and praise You, for releasing thousands, upon thousands, of men, women, and children from Boko Haram captivity, and placing them in the freedom, that they have needed, longed for, and prayed for, for countless hours, days, and months. Dear Father God, thank You for hearing our prayers over these precious people! Forgive me, for not celebrating these beautiful victories, more.
Father God, I thank You for everything You have, are, and will be doing. Dear Father God, when hearing that over a quarter million children, whom You have formed in the womb of their mothers, are dying– or close to dying– because of malnutrition, my heart breaks, Father God.
Father God, You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to save us, who were once spiritually dead. Not only did You save us– You continually make us new, as we feed upon You, Jesus, the Bread of Life (John 6:35).
Father God, You know our fragile frames; You know how much we need You, in every way (Psalm 103:14). we now come to You, and ask that, in Jesus’ Name, You would draw these men and women to You, the Bread of Life– and would not only feed their souls, but also their fragile bodies, supernaturally.
Father God, I pray for increased humanitarian aid and resources. Not only this, but I pray, Lord Jesus, that You would supernaturally feed those who are unable to be reached by human contact; and that, Father God, You would do this for Your Glory, and Your Glory alone– let all people know that You have saved, and fed, these people, so that Your Name may be glorified. May others know You as their Lord and Savior, Father God, because of all You have done!
I praise You for this, Father God. In Jesus’ Name I pray this. Amen!”
Please pray for these newly freed people– that they would receive bread, and most importantly, the Bread of Life, Jesus!
If you would like to donate to UNICEF, you can do so, here.
Jesus bless all of you!
Do you know Jesus?
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
(Matthew 11:28, ESV)
When Jesus said these words, two thousand years ago, He knew just the kind of “heavy laden” life those who were listening, lived.
Those who surrounded Christ were most likely Jewish men and women following the Mosaic Covenant– a covenant, or promise, outlining how the Israelites were to come to, and have a relationship with, YHWH. Because mankind sinned against God in the beginning, God created the Mosaic Covenant for how the Israelites, and any who wanted to follow YHWH, were to atone for their sins, and be acceptable to God.
This included a set of rules and regulations that had to be rigorously kept, as well as a set of strict laws concerning how to atone for one’s sin, when one did sin. The thing is, these people did sin against Christ, again and again. As Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”. These people were constantly trying to keep the law, but could never fulfill– or fully atone for– their sin (Hebrews 10:1-4).
Something more had to be done. Then, like no one else, God Himself came to save mankind– from their own sin, and from a heavy-laden life of religion.
Learn more about this amazing God of true rest, here.
“Jesus loves the little children;
all the little children of the world.
Red, brown, yellow,
black and white;
they are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
(–“Jesus Loves the Little Children” by George Frederick Root & Clare Herbert Woolston)
Imagine having to fend for yourself at the age of 9. Traumatized by the violence happening in your own neighborhood, you flee from your hometown without your parents– who, like many, have been mercilessly shot or beheaded by the Boko Haram in front of your eyes . You escape with nothing more than the clothes on your back, and maybe some food for the trip, if you are lucky. You escape with your aunt and cousins; like the many others around you, flee on foot, running and walking for what seems like hours on end in temperatures that normally reach around 100 degrees fahrenheit . Continue reading
There are countless children and teenagers being forced into the Sharia-law enforcing Boko Haram. On December 25th, it was reported that one 13 year old girl was forced into Boko Haram by her father, who was also apart of the terrorist group. Being apart of this group did not spare her from deadly violence, though; members asked the girl– and eventually forced her– to be a suicide bomber with two other young girls in the city of Kano, Nigeria. Leaving her suicide vest behind in the taxi she rode, this young girl narrowly escaped certain death, being injured in the leg by the blast caused by the two other suicide bombers.