Being Honest with God

Today, to be honest, I am hurting. I am in pain. I am angry. I am grieved.

“Indifference is no reaction at all.” Today, that quote stood out at church. Studying the story of Jonah, Jonah 1:1 says, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.'” What was Jonah’s response? Anger.

“But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.”
(Jonah 1:3, NIV)

Jonah had a reason for his anger. The people of Nineveh were evil– the embodiment of evil, in fact– so much so that “it’s wickedness has come up before [God]” (Jonah 1:1). Jonah’s anger turned into something toxic, as the Pastor commented today (read Chapters 3-4 to see his anger take a turn for the worst). But it brought up the concept of being “real” with God. Of coming to Him with everything– even when “everything” includes screaming at him, and/or crying out in pain.

Honesty with Christ

There are still 113 Chibok girls who are not free. While news reports could be wrong, many say that some of these 113 Chibok girls have said they do not want to come home. This hurts. To know that 113 young women may be so brainwashed, that freedom for

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Rejoice Sanki, one of the 113 Chibok girls who need to be freed.

them looks worse than their bondage, breaks my heart. I pray that it isn’t true… that what keeps these young women from freedom and healing is not their own will.

But it could be true. And it is okay to come to Christ with this pain, anger, frustration, and longing for these remaining Chibok girls to become free.

In fact, in the Psalms, King David regularly cried out to Christ.

 

 

“Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. 10 My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak. 11 Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors and an object of dread to my closest friends— those who see me on the street flee from me. 12 I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. 13 For I hear many whispering, ‘Terror on every side!’ They conspire against me and plot to take my life.”
(Psalm 31:9-13, NIV)

Not too many have felt what King David felt. Theologians and Bible Readers alike speculate that this Psalm was written as David was narrowly escaping assassination attempts by Israel’s king at the time, King Saul (source). “In distress,” King David was overcome by sorrow and grief, and did not hold back in crying out to Christ about his situation. But he did not stay there.

From Pain to Praise

While crying out to Jesus about his struggles and anguish, King David drew close to Christ; and, it was in this honest encounter recorded in Psalm 31, that King David’s heart, mind, and perspective were transformed by the Lord. This can be seen in verse 14, as King David’s tone changes.

But I trust in you, LordI say, ‘You are my God.’ …Praise be to the Lord, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege. 22 In my alarm I said, ‘I am cut off from your sight!’
Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. 23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people! The Lord preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. 24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
(Psalm 31:14, 21-24)

It is obvious that as King David ran to Christ for help, he found it. While we do not know if his circumstances really changed for the better, this is the Hope for all people who put their trust in Jesus; He will never let them be put to shame for seeking Him.

There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5, NIV). And, when it comes down to the honest truth, even when that joy doesn’t come, the Comfort and Joy of coming to Christ in the pain is our Strength.

113 Chibok girls still remain in bondage. This horrific Truth is cause for much pain, but approaching Christ in this pain makes all the difference. In our pain, may He hear our prayers, and may these precious young women come home soon.

This post is dedicated to the 113 young Chibok girls who are still not freed, as well as those in Mosul, which is modern-day Nineveh.



Do you know Jesus?

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
(Psalm 34:18, NIV)

Some people may see Jesus as some distant, feeling-less deity– yet, as one Pastor has said, He is anything but.

He can be grieved. Jesus said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” (Matthew 23:37, NIV)

He wept. “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35, NIV)

He sings with Joy. “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV)

He cares deeply for every detail of the Believer’s life.The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives” (Psalm 37:23, NIV)

Jesus is not some distant deity, or a made-up man. He is real, alive, and He deeply loves you. Learn more about who Jesus is, and why He came to earth, here.


Please pray…

For the remaining 113 Chibok girls who are still in bondage. Please pray that what has been said about the remaining girls is not true.

Please pray that if the news reports are true, that Jesus would reach and save these young women. 

Please pray for those in Mosul, Iraq. Iraqi soldiers are trying to push out ISIS. Please pray that they would have Christ’s favor, and that members of ISIS would be defeated– so that they can come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Please pray for Annalee, the writer of ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY. Pray that I would continue to be effective in this ministry, by the power of the Holy Spirit– and that I would be faithful in my service to the Lord, even when it hurts. Thank you.

Thank you for your prayers!!!

Lament, and Hope (Reblog: Permission to Feel)

It has been 3+ years since 276 young girls have been free. On the eve of July 4th, ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY wanted to remember and lament the bondage of the Chibok girls. 

But, ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY also wanted to offer this thought: it is okay to lament the three years that have been stolen from the 163 young Chibok girls freed, and the 3+ years and counting that 113 Chibok girls still are experiencing of bondage. 

But there is Hope in Jesus. In Joel 2:25-27, Jesus promises to restore.

This is the Hope for the Chibok girls.

Maryam Ali, and her son, both found by the Nigerian Military on November 6th, 2016.

That He will repay, and is repaying, what the enemy has stolen. As we pray for the Chibok girls this week, may we keep this Hope in mind. ❤ 
Read the post from BeautyBeyondBones that inspired this post: https://beautybeyondbones.com/2017/07/03/permission-to-feel/.

Happy Fourth of July, All. 

Hope in Suffering

In Northern Nigeria, it is no surprise that millions, left in ravaged places, displaced and penniless by Boko Haram, are starving. Hundreds of young children are daily being called either moderately or severely acutely malnourished, and their parents are given different resources to help stave off death for their young children.

However, the fact that this malnutrition is leading to widespread illness is somewhat surprising, because it hasn’t been so explored– until now. In this article by Science Magazine, the correlation between starvation and illness for those in Northern Nigeria was written about extensively. As heartbreaking the statistics might be, it is true: those who are acutely malnourished are “nine times as likely to die of an infectious disease” than those who are not malnourished (source).

Overall, this is understandable: those without any nutrients in their bodies cannot prevent infection or illness nearly as well, nor can they fight through an illness once they get one. This sad fact has been to blame for huge outbreaks of malaria (in the rainy seasons), as well as measles, polio, and other harmful illness (source). As “Food, water, and sanitation are scarce or nonexistent,” the article comments, “…The camps and slums provide a perfect breeding ground for disease.”

 

But starvation, and the disease that can ensue, are not the only reason for instability in the people of Northern Nigeria. Boko Haram continues to attack, using ten year olds as suicide bombers in major towns and cities. Just this past week, two different Boko Haram factions attacked two military bases in Gulumba and Wajirko Village; out of adequate weaponry, the Nigerian army from the Wajirko base had to retreat, and the base was set on fire. Five Nigerian soldiers were injured in the Gulumba attack, while four Nigerian soldiers remain missing. These attacks are not just on those in the Nigerian military: The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese in Maiduguri has reported that at least 500 Catholics have been killed, with 144,000 Catholics displaced or running to Cameroon (source).

 

These major instabilities, both health-wise and in attacks by Boko Haram, hold one thing in common: When one is weak– or when one does not have the right weaponry– it is much easier to attack and overtake someone. In the same way, a person “unarmed” or “unfed” spiritually is an easy target for the world, the enemy, and a person’s own sin nature to attack than for one who is spiritually “well-fed” and “well-armed.”

A man without hope, like a person without food, water, or adequate weaponry, is easy to crush. Yet, it can seem almost impossible to have any sort of Hope in such a condition that Job– or those in Nigeria– find themselves in. The question quickly becomes: in whom or what is my Hope?

 

It’s not difficult, when everything is going smoothly, to answer, “Jesus!”, but it is in the hardest times of a person’s life that this question is most important.

In Matthew 21, Jesus comes riding into the town of Jerusalem, riding on a donkey and a colt (Matthew 21:1-11). This is something many Christians celebrate as “Palm Sunday,” the Sunday before Jesus’ Death and Resurrection. At the time, the Jews in Jerusalem who had come for the Passover heard of Jesus’ entering Jerusalem on a donkey and colt, fulfilling the prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9. To celebrate this “Israelite King” and His entrance, they laid down palm branches, imitating the way Old Testament Israelites treated their Kings, as seen in 2 Kings 9:13 when Jehu was made King (source).

There is no doubt that these Israelites were excited: From what they were shouting, they knew Jesus was fulfilling prophecy, becoming the King they had always needed (whether or not they fully knew it).

“The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’
‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’
‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!'”
(Matthew 21:9, NIV)

The Israelites, in this very spiritually high time in their lives, dreamed of Jesus being the Messiah that they were waiting for. But, the Messiah that He came to be was not at all what they had expected.

Instead of being a Messiah that would save the Jews from the physical oppression of Rome, He was a Messiah whose Kingdom was not on Earth (at least, not yet), but in the hearts of the men who believed on Him (John 18:36; Luke 17:21). When the Jews realized that Jesus was not the Messiah and King they were waiting for– when Jesus’ identity and His purpose in their lives, and therefore, their present circumstances, no longer made sense to them– the Hope they had in Him was vanquished. Evilly angered by not getting their way, they yelled not a week later, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21).

Yet, Jesus the Christ was coming for a lot more than to save the Jews from physical oppression; instead, He came to save all of humanity from the oppression of sin and death, by dying on a cross that both the Jews and Gentiles nailed Him to. Jesus was doing something much bigger than anything these Israelites could fathom– and, instead of trusting in Him alone for their Hope, they were putting their Hope in if Jesus was going to do what they wanted or not

Jesus did come to save; He saved in a better way than any person could ever think of. David was correct when he put his full trust in Christ alone: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2, KJV). In a time of great need, David put His trust in God alone, no matter what that meant for Him. This is what Christ calls for us to do.

 

Because it is Christ alone who can fill a person with the Bread of Life and Living Water. It is Christ alone who is the Word (John 1:1-3), our weapon against the enemy (Ephesians 6:17). Without Hope, a person will quickly find themselves defeated. If one’s Hope is in good circumstances, or even in believing that God will do what one wants, that Hope has the good possibility of being swept away.

But if Christ alone is a person’s Hope, that Hope can NEVER be snatched away from them.

In this incredibly complex situation, where thousands, if not millions of displaced peoples are dying from illness and disease, or where Nigerian soldiers and Catholic clergy & laypeople are still being attacked by Boko Haram left and right, it is imperative that one puts their Trust, Hope, and Joy in Jesus alone.

Because, 11 of Jesus’ disciples– all of them, except for Judas– put their Trust, Hope, and Joy in this man who had rolled away the stone from Lazarus’ tomb, raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38-44). But Jesus did not stop there; He gave His own life (even when His disciples couldn’t understand it), sacrificing it on Calvary, that whomever might believe in Him will not perish (John 3:16).

Through the sorrow and confusion of the Messiah’s actions, there was ultimately Life. Peace. Joy. No matter how circumstances seemed, Jesus’ Will was done– and what a glorious, ultimate Will it was.

It is the same now. May the people of Nigeria put their full Hope, Trust, and Joy in Jesus the Christ– because, in Him, though there is Pain, it will not be wasted. 🔹 


Do you know Jesus?

 “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26, NIV)

Many people know that Jesus died on a cross; but they do not know why He died on the cross. Similarly, they know that Easter, at least for many people, is known as Resurrection Sunday, the day Jesus rose again from the grave; but they fail to see it’s significance.

If we’re honest, a lot of Christians fail to see it’s significance, too. But without Jesus’ Resurrection, the whole of Christianity would be in vain.

Every Passover, as recorded in Numbers 28, the people of Israel were to celebrate their exodus out of Egypt by sacrificing two young steer, one ram, seven 1-year old lambs, and one goat (Numbers 28:16-25). These sacrifices were ultimately to celebrate an amazing fact: in Exodus 12, during the exodus of the egyptians each Israelite who painted the blood of a Lamb on their doorposts were not visited with the plague of death that the Egyptians suffered (Exodus 12:1-12). See more about this amazing holiday, here.

Moreover, the Messiah was sinless– a spotless lamb, to be the sin-offering for the world (in Judaism, ritual cleanliness was related to spiritual cleanliness, as seen in Leviticus). But what is the significance of Christ rising again?

To do away with sin’s power, the spiritual separation– death– it caused, one needed to not only be a “perfect” man: they had to have power over life and death, death being unable to conquer them.

This is what Jesus did. Meet this Messiah– and understand how and why He came to save you– here.



Please pray with us:

“Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for being the spotless Lamb that saved us from our sin! May we celebrate this, not only on Easter, but everyday!

Dear Lord Jesus,
We pray over those who are currently going through the horrific experiences of starvation and illness. Dear Lord Jesus,
We pray in Your Name that You would send aid workers into these suffering places, as well as the Nigerian government, to feed these hungry and fragile people.
Dear Jesus, 
More than anything,
We pray that these people would be fed the Gospel– that they would have the Hope, Trust, and Joy only found in You, as they lean on You as their Lord and Savior. Please feed these people, both spiritually and physically, Lord Jesus!

Dear Lord Jesus,
We also pray for those who are losing their loved ones to Boko Haram. 
Dear Jesus, as so many grieve, either their co-soldiers, or their brothers and sisters in the Faith, 
We pray that they would find comfort, rest, and Hope in the fact that Your Tomb was empty on that third day: That those who believe on You will live, though they die, and we will see them again.

We pray over all of this suffering, dear Jesus, and over the Chibok Girls: Please bring them home, in Your Timing, and do Your Ultimate, Glorious Will in all of our lives,
Even if it hurts, and we do not understand.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,
Amen!”

Thank You for your prayers!

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

This week, Bring Back Our Girls is having a Global Week of Action, where they are commemorating the third anniversary of the Chibok Schoolgirls Kidnapping, which happened on April 14th, 2017. They are demanding during this week that there would be #NoExcuses, and that the Chibok Girls would be found, freed, and brought back home.

As apart of this Global Week of Action, ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY has decided to pray each day for the Chibok girls; ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY also wanted to highlight the different events going on in Nigeria and around the world for these girls.

Today, the Bring Back Our Girls movement will be marching (as they will be every day), and also had a Workshop on Missing Person’s Register at 10 AM in Yar-Adua Center in Nigeria. To see more of what is planned for this week, feel free to visit the Bring Back Our Girls’ website!

In light of all of this, let’s pray.

“Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for being present with us, wherever we are,  however we are, and whenever we are. You are “Emmanuel”: “God With Us.” Thank You for this amazing privilege!

Dear Jesus,
We pray over the Chibok school girls; we thank You, that they are all alive (source), and that You are still working in their lives. 
Dear Jesus, 
We pray in Your Name that these Chibok school girls would be filled with Your Joy, Hope, and Peace, as they come to know You– and that this Joy, Hope and Peace would not be able to be stolen from them.
Please protect these things in Your Name, Lord Jesus, 
and please, give their families, loved ones, and all who care about them this same Peace, Hope, and Joy, as they look to You to save and deliver the Chibok girls.
We trust You, Lord Jesus.
We ask in Your Name, along with the Bring Back Our Girls’ protesters, that they would be brought soon, and alive.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.”

Thank You for your prayers– May Jesus bless you! 🙂

Urgent Prayer Update: Bread of Life

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)

Praise Jesus!!!!

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.

“Hope for the Future”: Keep Your Eyes on Jesus (A Letter)

In April of 2014, 276 girls ages 16-18 were stolen from their boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria.
Although the majority of the young women remain missing, 57 managed to escape. Three of them, along with one girl who fortunately, was not kidnapped, but saw the kidnapping and school fire’s aftermath, spoke with Abigail Pesta of Cosmopolitan Magazine concerning their stories. All four of these girls are Christian; and, although their experiences concerning Boko Haram and the Chibok Girls kidnapping are traumatic (to say the least), one of them, Mercy, has chosen to forgive their members, saying, “I pray to God to forgive them and cure their hearts… I do not want revenge.” By Jesus’ grace, these four brave young women are now studying at a Christian boarding school in Canyonville, Oregon.

When praying about this blog post’s topic, Jesus led me to write a letter of encouragement to my fellow sisters. Using God’s Word to exhort these brave young women, I pray it would encourage them to “keep their minds stayed” on Jesus. You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3, NLT). I pray that it would keep all of our minds on Christ, and that it would bring close all those who are far away from Him.

Continue reading

Many Sorrows: Suffering in Light of the Cross

The city of Maiduguri never saw it coming. Even if they did, the city had little to nothing to stop or prevent it from occurring. Friday, July 31st at 6:30 AM, a bomb blast in Maiduguri caused the whole city to shake and stir with panic. Being set off at the densely populated Gamboru marketplace, the suicide bombing killed 8 people, while injuring countless others.

Said to be a woman, this suicide bomber was not suspicious in the slightest; yet, the effect she had on those around her will forever haunt her survivors. For people in Maiduguri (and Northern Nigeria in general), no place is safe anymore. What once used to be a place no one feared going to– and in fact, needed– has now become a place of trauma and horror for everyone who has ever walked its roads. Bloodied or not, the trauma Nigerians have suffered is both painfully real– and much more than skin deep.

The thought that something so horribly devastating could happen within a few seconds seems unfathomable. But, it is surprisingly true for many, if not all, horrific, life-changing experiences: what happens in only a few moments amounts to a lifetime of pain, grief, and sorrow. And while, in many cases, the perpetrator is the only one who suffers from their mistakes, the much more common (and incredibly unjust) reality of it all is that victims are the ones who suffer most. Innocent people are caught in the crossfire– and are forced to live with the repercussions for the rest of their lives. In many ways, this could have been what Jesus meant when He told His disciples that “In this life, you will have tribulation” (John 16:33); though Jesus’ warning is honest, the question still remains: when real tribulation hits, how do we cope? Continue reading