Praise Report: Christmas is made an official holiday in Iraq!

I am more than happy to announce that Christmas has become an official holiday in Iraq

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Christians in Iraq (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images, found in the article at FaithWire.com)

(source)! Christians in the majority Muslim population can now celebrate Christ’s birth!

In such a place where it can sometimes be difficult, and even deadly, to be a Christian, this is welcome progress! But it could also anger many Muslims who believe that Christians don’t deserve to live, much less celebrate their Savior.

satan is not happy about this, and I am sure he will do all he possibly can to rip away this amazing gift. Please pray with me, giving thanks to Jesus for this victory, and for protection over these brothers and sisters as they now celebrate Christ in the years ahead!

“Dear Lord Jesus,
We thank You for coming down to earth and humbling Yourself as a man, all so that we could be saved from our sin! We thank You that our brothers and sisters can now celebrate Your birth officially, as acknowledged by their government.
We pray now that they would be able to have Joy, Peace, and Safety as they celebrate Your birth now and in the days ahead.
May more Muslims come to faith in You because of this, Jesus!

In Jesus’ Name we pray,
Amen.”


Do you know Jesus?

Jesus came to earth, and died the most horrific death possible, so that you and I could come to know Him and be saved from going to hell. Learn more about Jesus, what He did, and what it matters, here.

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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

Christ’s Love through the Pain

“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
    your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.”
(Psalm 36:5-6, NLT)

It is unavoidable to talk about. This past weekend in Northern Nigeria has been filled with terror, and grief, and injustice.

On Sunday, two little girls– around 7 years old— were strapped to explosives, and walked into a busy market in the state of Borno, Nigeria (source). Detonating their explosives, they killed one other person, and injured 18 people.

“They got out of a rickshaw and walked right in front of me without showing the slightest sign of emotion,” one soldier told the Daily Mail (source). Not responding to anything he said, the girls walked into the crowd, straight-faced, before blowing up the explosives put upon their young frames.

These little girls were not the only bombers. On Friday, December 9th, two women walked into a market in the city of Madagali, Nigeria. Walking to the opposite sides of the crowded market, they also killed themselves– blowing themselves up while killing 45 people, and injuring 33 (source).

There is no way to ignore it; the terror, the grief, and the injustice is real to all those who have been affected by such bombings. It is real to everyone who ever witnessed the outrageous lack of reaction from the Nigerian government to such violence (which has only changed within the past year). While it is true that the Nigerian military has undergone noticeable change, and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is claiming that they are working “at slamming the final nail in the coffin of Boko Haram,” nothing changes the heartbreaking reality, that many families are still slamming nails into the coffins of their loved ones, 7 years into the insurgency. Continue reading

True Doctrine: Keeping the Truth of Christ in Christmas

Over the holiday season, there was much news to be had. #BringBackOurGirls protesters took to the streets of Abuja city, calling for residents and the president to both remember the Chibok girls and to advocate for their rescue/release. Though they were barricaded from entering Jonathan’s presidential villa, these protesters succeeded in making their voices heard early Christmas morning.

Continue reading

Joy Amidst the Pain: Meditating on the Real Reason for Christmas

This coming February, Nigerians will line up at the polls to vote for their next president– or to reinstate their current president, Goodluck Jonathan. The APC (All Progressives Congress) is making sure promises that if their candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, wins the election, there will be such change that 2014 will be their “last Christmas in bondage.” Problems such as lowering oil prices, the devaluation of the naira (the country’s form of currency), government and military corruption, and the Boko Haram’s terrorist insurgency have caused Nigerians to lose confidence in Nigeria’s social and government institutions. Amidst such major problems, it can be hard– almost impossible– to have a joyous Christmas in Nigeria, especially in Northern regions.

This Christmas, countless Nigerians are grieving their loved ones, suffering economic downturns, and living as displaced people in places such as Maiduguri, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger. Because of the government’s failure to serve their people, Nigerians are outraged and looking for any ounce of hope to get them through this depressing holiday season. Yet, among reports of worsening developments, there is a cause for joy: the true meaning of Christmas, Christ’s birth, expresses that God has become Immanuel, or “God with Us.” Continue reading