BREAKING: LEAH SHARIBU SPEAKS

Leah Sharibu is reportedly alive, well, and begging the Nigerian government to save her from captivity to Boko Haram! You can read more, as well as hear the audio short of her speaking, here.

Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, promises that “nothing’ll be spared in bringing the Chibok girls home.” In the mean time, let’s pray hard for her, and for the Chibok girls!

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“Dear Lord King Jesus,
You are in control; only You and You alone know where Leah is, and how she is truly faring.
Dear Jesus, we pray in Your Name that You would expedite the freedom of Leah Sharibu. Please show her Yourself even right now, and do the miraculous for her and her loved ones and family.
We trust in You, Jesus, and thank You that You have taken care of her so far. Please continue to take care of her as her freedom draws near! Please continue to fill her family and friends with Hope, Strength, and Comfort.

Please, Lord God, deliver the rest of these precious young women to freedom. Thank You, Lord Jesus!
Come soon!
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen!”

JESUS IS IN CONTROL!!! May Leah be safely rescued/freed, soon!!!

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Gratitude for Freedom

Hi friends,

Have you ever been blown away by how richly Christ has blessed you? Today, as well as this whole weekend, being Memorial Day and all, I have been convicted: I am not thankful enough for the things, and people, Jesus has put in my life.

As I wrote earlier, I actually, sadly enough, had to google what Memorial Day celebrates. I knew it had something to do with the military, but I was not fully aware of how it is a day to give thanks for those who have given their lives for the United States of America. Continue reading

Focused Prayer: The Captive Chibok School Girls

Hi Friends and Readers of ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY,

If you have read this post, you will know that one reporter, Ahmed Salkida, has reported that only 15 of the 112 still-captive Chibok girls are still alive.

Such a prospect fills me with grief; and it is during times such as these that I ask you all to please join me in prayer that focuses on these young women. Whether there are actually 15, or there are 112, I ask that we focus upon their freedom– that we would pray for a breakthrough for these young women (I ask that we would include Leah Sharibu, of the #DapchiGirls, as well).

Will you join me? You can go here to look at the girls’ names and pictures as you pray, if you would like. Please let me know of anything you find/discover in prayer; please also let me know of any comments, concerns, or prayer requests you have!

Things start changing when the church starts praying. Let’s lift up these precious young women to Christ, shall we?

“Indeed, when the women are not free, the society cannot claim to be free.”
–Dare Babarinsa



Do you know Jesus?

Learn more about this God who died to set us free– and what He has freed Believers from– here.


Please pray with me (find a prayer journaling sheet, here)…

Dear Lord Jesus,
We thank You, and praise You, that You have won the war on sin, guilt, shame, and death by Your sacrifice on the cross. We thank You for every Chibok Girl, both freed and still held captive. We pray, in Your glorious, amazing Name Lord Jesus, that You would show Your Power, Goodness, and Wisdom in each of these girls’ midst. Please bring Truth, Power, and Breakthrough that only You can, Lord Jesus. May each of these young women be freed. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen!”

DAPCHI GIRLS FREED!!!

As of this morning (3/21/2018), the Nigerian government reported that at least 104 of the 110 kidnapped school girls from Dapchi, Nigeria were FREED by Boko Haram, who dropped them off in the middle of their town early Wednesday morning!!!

The Nigerian government reported that no negotiations were made with the Nigerian government, and that the girls, and one boy who somehow was in the mix of girls, were released with a warning to not “…take your girls to that school again if you don’t want us to kidnap them again.” More on this to come!

Praise Jesus for this amazing development!!!

Dear Lord Jesus,
We praise You and we thank You for working in the lives of these girls, and for setting them free! Thank You for always working in our lives, even when it seems like something is hopeless. We rejoice in You, Jesus, and in these beautiful girls! We pray now that you would bring the rest of the Chibok girls– and the few Dapchi girls remaining– back home.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,

Amen! 🙂

Wait for the Beauty

Hey friends. I hope you all are doing well! Today, as you might already know, is Saint Patrick’s Day.

Oddly enough, I didn’t know it was Saint Patrick’s Day until I came to my computer to start writing this blog, and saw the Google Doodle for today. As I clicked on the Google Doodle, I found information on Saint Patrick that many people do not know—information with a striking similarity to that of the Chibok girls.

As you all probably know, the Chibok school girls were kidnapped from their boarding school during the time that they were going to take their exams. These teenage girls, anywhere from probably 15-18 years of age, had their physical freedom taken away from them; 112 still remain in captivity, today.

Well, contrary to what many people commonly think about St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland was actually not Irish at all—in fact, he was British. But, at the age of 16, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders, where he lived for six years. As History.com puts it, “During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian.”1

When one strips away the mythology and fame of Saint Patrick, he was simply a young man who was ripped away from his family, undergoing extreme hardship in a land he had never been in, before. But, it seems that this seemingly barren, horrible part of his life served a huge purpose. History.com goes on to say that “It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.” According to St. Patrick’s writings, St. Patrick stated that God gave him two visions: one to leave Ireland after being there for 6 years, and then, later, one to return to Ireland to do Catholic missional work there as a priest.1

This man, having lived through much terror, heartbreak, and confusion, was used by Christ to bring the Gospel to the mainly pagan nation of Ireland (many say that it was St. Patrick who used a three-leaf clover to describe and explain the trinity to those He shared the Gospel with—something we as people still hang on to today as a “good-luck” charm). Christ exchanged even the worst of St. Patrick’s ashes for beauty: sharing the Gospel, and seeing people become saved.

There are both striking and obvious similarities between the life of St. Patrick and the countless number of people who are taken captive every single day (including, of course, the Chibok girls). These innocent people do not deserve what has happened to them; the great suffering they have undergone seems to be too much to bear.

But, even throughout all the suffering and heartache, could it be that this pain has a purpose?

And do we believe that Jesus can, somehow, in His own ways and timing, exchange our ashes for beauty?

This was the idea I was thinking of when sitting in church this past Wednesday, during a midweek service. I jotted down some notes from the sermon, here they are:

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“’I [God] will trade your ashes for beauty.’

You’re not the only one waiting for beauty.

I will bring good out of this—trust Me.”

 

Friends, what is the pain, the heartache, the hardship that you or your loved ones PAIN PURPOSEare facing, right now? I can’t help but imagine the pain, frustration, fear, despair, and helplessness these kidnapped young women and their families feel, being kept apart, and not knowing where the ones they love most are.

Joseph suffered through it. And today, on St. Patrick’s Day, I have learned that St. Patrick, too, was stolen like property.

But, through it all, Jesus was faithful. And as the watching world looks upon the Chibok girls, it is my confident Hope that Jesus is (and will be) faithful in His every promise concerning these beautiful young women.

Christ did bring beauty from ashes. And this is what He yearns to do, for you.

So, this is my encouragement for you, friend: wait for the beauty. Ask Jesus to fill you afresh with the Holy Spirit, whose fruit includes patience; ask Him to help you to “wait upon Him.” There are a huge number of blessings and promises concerning waiting on Jesus’ work in your life . I exhort you to read, receive, and cling to them like the air you breathe.

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Promises in the Waiting (copyright Annalee Hoover 2017)

Most of all, ask Him to fill you with Joy in His Presence, as you realize He is always with you; ask Him to show you the beauty that is already all around you, and rooted in who He is.

Jesus will come through, my friend. Rest in this promise, and wait for the beauty.

“He’ll bind up the broken-hearted/
Oh He will, yes He will/
He’ll set captives free from darkness, Oh He will, oh He will/
He’ll breathe hope into the hopeless, help a restless soul be still/
Oh-ohh, oh-ohh, He will, He will.”2

(“Oh He Will,” by Ellie Holcomb: Watch the video, here)

wait beauty

This post is dedicated to those who were kidnapped in Oyo state, Nigeria. Please pray for their soon return.


Do you know Jesus?

Jesus has done all that is needed for us to have eternal life with Him, enjoying and celebrating a personal, transforming relationship with Jesus. Learn more about this amazing, Joy-bringing God, and how you can have a personal relationship with Him, here.


Please pray for (get your prayer sheet here):

  • The soon return of the Chibok school girls. May there be a breakthrough, and a pouring out of these people from Boko Haram captivity.
  • The soon return of the Dapchi girls. May they not be forgotten!!!
  • The family members and loved ones of these women.
  • Those currently in sex and human trafficking; that they would be freed, in Jesus’ Name!
  • Jesus to comfort and show Himself faithful to these people, who are watching and waiting for Him. Pray they would trust Him and His timing.

 Thank you for your prayers!!!

1 https://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day/who-was-saint-patrick

2 https://genius.com/Ellie-holcomb-he-will-lyrics

 

People Set Free!!!

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…
(Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV)

I am happy to report that on February 10th, 2017, two professors and one person who was a driver for the University of Maiduguri were released from Boko Haram captivity, as well as ten women who were taken captive by Boko Haram in July of 2017!!!

I can only imagine it… the taste of freedom, breathing the air with free lungs– looking up at the sun and moon and knowing that you– at least, not physically– are no longer in a place of darkness and fear.

It is always beautiful, good news to hear that someone has been set free. It is a sigh of relief, a smile on the face; sweet tears streaming down the cheeks, and a heart bursting with Joy.

Friends, on the eve of Valentine’s Day 2018, this is what happened to me. Weighed down with a seemingly unexplained heaviness, full of anger and a pride that said “I deserve God’s Love and Acceptance because I’m doing x, y, and z,” I went to a Bible study from Lysa TerKeurst about how Jesus is the Water of Life. About how He decided to go into “enemy terrority”– as God, becoming human flesh, and then as a Jew, heading into Samaria (the land of the Jew’s enemies, the Samaritans), just so that He could tell one woman that He was the One her heart had been waiting for (John 4). How did I come out of this Bible study? Filled with the sense that Jesus, just as He spoke to this unloved woman, wanted to speak to me.

I realized things about myself that were hidden deep— things I had not thought about or let myself feel for years. Through tears, cries, and a profound leading of the Holy Spirit, the lies that had caused my heart to grow cold with fear and legalism were replaced with Truth: that I am not under Jesus’ wrath. That the deep pain my own sin caused years ago was nailed to the cross at Calvary. That I am free.

And so I write this today, looking at the physical freedom these people have– and am truly blessed to know that our God delights in setting people free. 

As the wonderful Lysa Terkeurst has said, “[Jesus] is a God who knows women, and who knows trauma.” And as I look at this blog, I see this as a Truth that has been proven time and time again! He is our Rescuer, a God of Order, compassionately passionate about each and every person who has ever lived. And He reaches out to each and every one of us.

As we celebrate the fact that 13 people were set free from the violent, bounding, fearful captivity of Boko Haram– and the dead religious system it belongs to, let us not also forget those who still need to become free: the remaining 112 young women, held captive for simply going to school. 

It has been reported that these Chibok girls are being negotiated for, and this shred of seemingly solid, trusty news fills my heart with a ray of Hope– a ray of Hope that not all is lost, that maybe not everything (like the video from Boko Haram) is what it seems, and most of all, that Jesus– this God who sets people free– is above it all. I have no idea of what He’s doing, or how He’s doing it. All I know is that HE IS. 

And no matter what happens– through the Joy, or through the pain– I know who He is, and I trust Him; and that is all I need to know.

I leave you with this question: Where are you in your relationship with Jesus? Where have you kept the Lord out of, for way too long? He will shed His Light upon it. But it is not to shame you; it is to free you. Invite Him in, today; rest in the Truth that you are set free.

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This blog post is dedicated to the 17 people senselessly killed by a mass school shooter in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, in Parkland, Florida on February 14th, 2018. May Jesus be with these people and guide the country forward.



Do you know Jesus?

Around 2,000 years ago, Jesus stepped down from a perfect, painless existence in heaven, enjoying unhindered fellowship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, to live in a sin-filled, wicked world, and to die in the most excruciating way possible. The crazy part of all of this? Jesus, God in human flesh, did it FREELY– He had all of the freedom in the world, and yet He CHOSE to die, under the wrath and punishment of God, and bearing every mistake and sin we have ever made (1 Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:6; Hebrews 10:8-9).

For you. For me. Personally.

So that we would never have to.

Because He Loves you

Learn more about this wonderful God, His Love for you, and what it all means, here.


Prayer Requests (print out a “Prayer Points” sheet here):

  • Praise Jesus for the AMAZING work He is doing– the work that we can see, and the work that we can’t see!
  • Please pray for all of the Chibok girls; that Jesus would help those who are still reeling from being taken out of captivity, and for those who are still in captivity.
  • That Jesus would FREE those who are stuck in darkness– that all those in Northeast Nigeria, including even Boko Haram, would come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
  • That those affected by the evil mass shooting that occurred on February 14th, 2018 would come to know Jesus Christ through it– and that Jesus would lead our leaders to make wise decisions to protect people from a tragedy like this.

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
(Colossians 1:13-14, NLT)

Thank you for your prayers!!!

“When ‘grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ,’ a long awaited revolution of the heart began to set religious captives free. Fearful bondage motivated by guilt was replaced with a fresh motivation to follow Him in truth simply out of a deep devotion and delight. Rather than focusing on the accomplishments of the flesh, He spoke of the heart.”
(The Grace Awakening by Charles R. Swindoll, Chapter 1: Grace: It’s Really Amazing!)

In this day and age, human trafficking is not something that only happens in far-off, “crooked third world countries” (as if the US was any less crooked). With stories such as this one coming out yesterday, talking about a woman in Texas who was drugged, kidnapped, and shackled to a bed so that she could be a cleaning slave, reality becomes painfully obvious: human trafficking is prevalent everywhere.

Today, as January– Human Trafficking Prevention & Awareness Month– is coming to an end, I encourage you to 1) Realize and receive God’s grace and freedom for your lives; and 2) pray for those still in physical bondage, like the woman in Texas. Most importantly, please pray against people’s spiritual bondage, to dead, works-based religion. To help give you ways to pray, you can pray for some of the top countries with Human Trafficking problems: Thailand, Spain, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Guatemala, among many others.

To learn more about how you can help end Human Trafficking, visit “The U COUNT Campaign”‘s website.


Do you know Jesus?

Romans 6:16 says, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” Whether or not you believe that you are a slave to something, the Truth is that Jesus died to set us free.
Learn more about Jesus– and what He came to free you from– here.