Harem: The Women in Captivity

Hi guys. Yesterday, I watched a documentary called “Harem,” a documentary about how women in the Harem of the Sultan in Istanbul rose up into power and prestige. (You can watch the documentary here). These women did this through sex and having the Sultans fall in love with them. It was an interesting documentary, but many things caught my ear: Muslims during this time could only use Christian women as concubines (not free Muslim women), and there were many other policies used to oppress women of the Christian faith.

While some of these women were lucky and lived a live of luxury because of seducing the sultans, many of these concubines were locked in the Harem area: torn away from their families and made prisoners of war, used purely for sex by the sultan.

It sounded all too relevant, as the Chibok girls and SO many others have been ripped from their loved ones and made into slaves (hopefully not for sex). These women are chosen and given value based purely upon their looks and their creed… which breaks my heart, because these are real people.

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Women with names, pasts, homes, loved ones.
Women forced to do many things purely out of being in bondage.

Unfortunately, this kind of subjugation and persecution is nothing new, as shown in the documentary. But there is hope for today. As long as the names of these precious, kidnapped young men and women are remembered, their value, humanity, and story will never be forgotten. This is incredibly important.

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Please pray with me over those currently in the same predicament as those concubines were, so long ago. May they know their value by looking to the true King, King Jesus. May they never give up hope for freedom, and may they be freed soon, so that the healing can begin.

“Dear Lord Jesus,
You see each and every girl locked away all over the world. We pray specifically over those women held captive by Muslim terrorists like Boko Haram. Lord Jesus, may Your Daughters in captivity learn and know their value in You, and that they are not valued only for their bodies. Please bring down Boko Haram, bring those men to know You, and show them how to respect women. Please free these girls soon, and help them all to heal.
It is in Your Name we pray,
Amen.”


Do you know Jesus?

As said before, Jesus cares for each and every woman: locked away, and free but locked away due to sin. He thinks they are—that all people are—worth dying for. Learn more about how Jesus died for you and me, here.

Releasing the Stranglehold

I wrote this poem upon hearing the news that many of the men reportedly involved in Boko Haram have been sentenced to prison for 10 years– while 2 of the men have life sentences. I hope you enjoy.


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Religion strangles.
And no,
I am not speaking of
Karl Marx’s ideology,
of the affirmation that faith is false.

No,
what I am speaking of
is the religion that commands,
“DO! DO! DO!
or else.”

Whether a muslim,
a scientologist,
or even your regular church-going Chrisian,
anyone who believes
that their good or bad deeds
decide their fate is decieved.

“Jesus paid it all,
all to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it, white as snow.”
Do you believe this?

As I look at Boko Haram islamic terrorists
going to jail, going into physical bondage,
it becomes so real to me:
Trusting in Jesus
and
His work
is the only way to be free.

Not “doing,” but instead trusting.
the chains fall; the strangle no longer holds.
The Gospel, my friends,
is truth enough to break chains–
and as refreshing as our first breath
after those chains fall.

And now that you can breathe,
Rejoice.

© Annalee Hoover, 2019

 

“By Our Love”: Loving Muslims Affected by the New Zealand Terror Attacks

Dear Friends and Readers who Follow Christ,

Today has been an incredibly traumatic, life-altering day for many, many muslims in New Zealand, and all over the world. If you have not heard, two terror attacks in New Zealand mosques have taken place, killing at least 49 people and wounding 20 more (you can stay up to date on the event here).

Friends, this is the perfect time to love and be there for these dear, precious people. Islam is a hateful religion; but we ultimately know that we do not fight the people who believe it as much as we fight the ideology itself. These are people, just like you and I, and they are in deep, deep grief.

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A candlelight vigil is held in Melbourne. Note the empty prayer rugs, signifying the loss of those in the attacks. Photo Credit: Max Walden

Whether it would be praying for them, or reaching out in support on their behalf and presenting the Gospel, let’s think of the ways we can love these people in the darkest hour of their lives. As we do so, and as we are given opportunities to share the Gospel, they will know we are Christians by our Love and genuine care for them– and it will glorify our Loving, Gracious, Truth-filled Savior. In doing so, they will know Jesus’ Love– and hopefully give their lives to Him.LOVE

Right now, these people need love. May the way we conduct ourselves honor and please Jesus, who Loves all and wants all to come to Him.

Amen?

Your Friend in Christ,

Annalee


***YOU CAN DONATE TO THESE PEOPLE BY LEGITIMATE CROWDFUNDING SITES, WHICH YOU CAN FIND HERE.***


Do you know Jesus?

Jesus once said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Jesus wants to comfort those in distress– and comfort those who are distressed by their sin, by being their Savior. Learn more about Jesus, and what His action on the cross meant for you, here.


Please pray for (find the prayer sheet here)…

  • Those who are in deep grief over these terror attacks.
  • The perpetrators– that justice would be done, and that they would be incredibly humbled and brought to Jesus.
  • The Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu.
  • Jesus to come back soon.

Thank you for your prayers. 

Update on Strasbourg, France Shooting

It turns out that the shootingin Strasbourg, France was perpetrated by a jihadist muslim, who yelled “Allahu Akbar” as he shot and killed 2 people. One person was left brain dead, and twelve people were wounded—6 seriously (source). Continue reading

The God Who is For You

But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.’”
(Isaiah 43:1-2, NIV)

Sometimes, one can’t help but feel both helpless and hopeless. In such a world where the weak get pummeled and marginalized, one can’t help but feel defeated.

No one seems to care about their condition; and many who do seem to care are only “caring” to see what could be in it for them. Even when society yearns to dish out justice, it can take years to do. Such a thing is happening now, as the International Criminal Court has been going through their preliminary investigation—the first in a sequence of many, many steps toward true Justice for those suffering in Northern Nigeria. According to Forbes, this investigation has been going on for over seven year­s—all the while, the victims of both Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen wait for the justice and closure they obviously deserve. In the face of such deferment, it becomes more than easy for the heart to grow sick and discouraged (Proverbs 13:12).

All the while, Boko Haram is still up and running—now, many reports have said that they are actually administering territories and imposing taxes in different areas of Yobe in Borno State. In a time where the innocent people of Northern Nigeria should be gaining victory and ground over Boko Haram, they still remain harassed and oppressed, feeling hopeless about their situation.

In the midst of such pain, oppression, and deferment of hope, it’s easy to think that it is somehow related to God’s wrath in our lives. Reading Psalms 5-6, we find the Psalmist, David, in very similar straits. In the beginnings of both Psalm 5 and 6, David pours out his heart to God.

“Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament. Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
(Psalm 5:1-3, NIV)

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave?”
(Psalm 6:1-5, NIV)

One thing that is beautiful about the Bible is this: Is does not lie, or candy-coat, human suffering. David, as he writes these Psalms, is probably in incredibly dire straits; and he does not keep what is weighing on him from God. Even in his suffering, David knew that he could go to God for anything and everything he was suffering.

As David speaks of his suffering—both his emotional cries for help, and the bodily suffering he is going through in Psalm 6—he seems to turn and look to God. In Psalm 5, as the verses progress, David—as has been discussed many times on this blog as of late—remembers the truth of who God really is. With this meditation in mind, King David comes out victorious, even in his worst days, every single time.

Why?

Because David, looking at who God is and all He had done for David, knows without a doubt that Christ is for Him, not against Him—no matter what happens, just as Romans 8 says.

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us.”
(Romans 8:31, NLT)

We can see David’s confidence in God’s Love as he continues speaking in Psalms 5 and 6:

Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”
(Psalm 5:12, NIV)

Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.
(Psalm 6:8-10, NIV)

This is the key to coming out of any situation strong: not evaluating our lives and relationship with Christ with our feelings, but rather standing upon the Truth of scripture, and allowing Christ to give us His perspective on our situations.

No matter how alone you may feel, God has not ran away from you in your time of need. I want to pay specia attention to those who feel this way, today, and I want to fill your heart and mind with an encouraging, biblical truth, that will stand even when everything else in your life says otherwise: No matter how painful, or how distant God seems, lean upon the truth of scripture: God yearns to meet with us, wherever we are at, and fill us with the Love and Truth that only He can give us.

It is a matter of either believing or disbelieving in these things that changes one’s whole perspective.

Whether that would be conviction, comfort, rebuke, or reassurance, Jesus wants us to pour out our hearts to Him—and to trust Him with our lives, no matter the situation. It is this precious, intimate fellowship we can have with Jesus that makes such times worth it all.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, know that no matter how dark the way is around you, your Good Shepherd has not gone anywhere– and He is for you, not against you.

Our God is a helper to the helpless, a God who humbles and destroys those who are against Him and His people (Psalm 72:12). He is a God who is near to His children who are “going through it”; He will not leave or forsake those going through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 43; Psalm 23:4).

May the God who is sovereign over the lack of justice in Northern Nigeria be the helper of those innocent people who call out to Him for the safety, justice, and closure they need. He is good; He will never let those who trust in Him be brought to shame.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
(Romans 8:28, ESV)brave.JPG


Do you know Jesus?

I know that many of those who are reading today can scoff at the idea of Jesus being there for them. For many people, this is an area wrought with bad memories of feeling desolated and alone, crying out to a God who never seemed to “pick up the phone” when they called out to Him.

I understand that memories like this can feel like a knife in the back. But, being very careful not to downplay the suffering you have experienced, I want to interject with a compassionate, yet challenging truth for you to believe: God proved His perfect, unfailing Love for us when Jesus died on the cross for our sin.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
(1 John 4:10, NIV)

The immense pain and anguish Jesus Christ went through was done so that you, whoever you are, would have the only way to personally know God, Himself. Learn more about the truth concerning this God who truly does love you, here.


Please pray for (you can find the prayer sheet here)…

  • Those in Northern Nigeria who are still awaiting Justice to be done. Pray that they would put their ultimate Hope in Christ and Christ alone. Pray that Justice would be done, soon.
  • The Chibok girls—both found and freed, and not found/freed. Please pray that they, and even their captors, would come to know Christ, as well. You can find some of their names and pictures, here.
  • Those currently being oppressed by Boko Haram in Borno State. Pray that the Nigerian military would be able to stifle them once and for all.

Thank you for your prayers!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tribute to Nabeel Qureshi

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Christian Apologist Nabeel Qureshi passed away on September 16th, 2017, at the age of 34.

I am very, very sad to report that Nabeel Qureshi, a Christian apologist and Ex-Muslim who came to Christ, passed away of stage 4 stomach cancer yesterday, Saturday, September 16th, 2017. He was 34 years old.

Nabeel was taught the Q’uran early on in his life. He was a Muslim apologist, until Christ placed a man named David Wood into his life.

As David and Nabeel discussed, argued over, and debated Islam and Christianity, Nabeel quickly realized that Islam did not stack up. Jesus also came to Nabeel in three seperate dreams, according to CBN News. He went on to write Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, No God But One: Allah or Jesus?, and Answering Jihad.

This amazing man of God shared his grim diagnosis of stage four stomach cancer on August 30th, 2016 on his Facebook page. All throughout his long battle with stomach cancer, Nabeel never gave up on Jesus– and firmly believed that Jesus was able to, and even at times believed He would, do a miracle and cure Nabeel. Fellow Christians and fans of Nabeel prayed hard for a miraculous healing here on Earth, but our merciful, loving God wanted to heal him another way, through death. He is now totally healed in the arms of Jesus.

While we are grieving, and we don’t understand, I firmly believe Jesus is GOOD. Tears pour from my eyes as I never ever wanted to write something like this, but like Nabeel, and ultimately like Jesus as He hung on that cross dying for our sin, I will trust the Sovereign Hand of God the Father, even now.

Would you please be praying for Michelle, Nabeel’s wife, and their daughter who is a toddler, Ayah?

Writing this post right now, I went to look at Nabeel’s YouTube vlogs chronicling his life and struggle with cancer. Christ Jesus– being SO good, SO merciful, and SO present and REAL– led me, through YouTube, to watch this video of Nabeel speaking at IPC Hebron Houston. It was on June 25th, 2017, one of the last times he ever spoke before a congregation. He spoke on exactly what my heart was experiencing as I grieved: the “Why, Jesus? Why would you allow this to happen?” questioning and struggling. It’s about under an hour long; please watch it if you can.

It made me laugh. It made me cry. A lot. But more than anything, it made me, truly now more than ever, want to live my God-given days on this Earth well— all to Jesus’ glory, and close by Jesus’ side.

Please pray for his family, as said before… and for the Muslims who believe this was brought on Nabeel as a curse from “allah” for leaving the Muslim faith. May they doubt their allah, and come to know the Loving, Daily Presence of Jesus.

It blesses me to know that we serve a great God, who both mourns with His children on Earth for their loss, but also is with His children in heaven, the very Believers people in Earth are mourning for (I hope that makes sense.).

The gift of Nabeel’s life has been both given and taken away by Jesus, for what seems like is too soon… But blessed be Jesus’ Name.

We love you, brother Nabeel. See you in Heaven. ❤



Do you know Jesus?

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
(1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV)

There is no doubt in my mind that many will seek to imitate the faith of my brother, Nabeel Qureshi. But Nabeel was not just a great man, or even a good man. To put it simply, Nabeel Qureshi was a man who sought the Truth– and found Him (John 14:6).

Are you looking for Truth? Do you think that the Truth is relative?

I implore you to read Nabeel Qureshi’s books– and uncover the very rational reasoning for why Jesus IS God, and for why the Gospel IS real. Learn more about this Jesus– and about why He did what He did for you and I– here.


 

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for the 34 years You gave to Nabeel– and for the gift Nabeel has been to all who have known and love him. Please hold them and show them Yourself, even in grieving his passing.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,

Amen.

IMPORTANT NEWS! Maryam: The Story of Redemption & Restoration

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin. In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
(Luke 15:9-10, NIV)

Jesus has a passion for every single person (John 3:16). He desires that all of them come to know Him as their Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:9). Christ’s deep Love is for each and every individual person, no matter who they are, what they have been through, or what they have done.

Over two years ago, 276 young women were kidnapped, in the dead of night, by Boko Haram. Though it sparked a worldwide campaign, called #BringBackOurGirls, it has not been until recent months that 24 young women were freed/escaped Boko Haram captivity. This is one of the amazing, precious young women, dearly loved by Jesus, to be freed.

But, while there is rejoicing over her physical release, there is even greater rejoicing, in heaven, over those who have been spiritually freed.

Please pray for Maryam, that she would know Christ, and would be completely and totally freed, by knowing Christ as her Lord and Savior.

Christ does not just care about numbers; in fact, Christ does not look at the outer shell, at all. He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). He Loves You, personally, and passionately.

To learn more about the God who Loves YOU personally, please click here.


Important News:

It has been announced, with great, amazing, unspeakable joy, that one more Chibok schoolgirl has been freed!

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Maryam Ali Maiyanga, and her 10-month-old, Ali, after being freed from Boko Haram captivity (source).

Maryam Ali Maiyanga has been found, and freed, by the Nigerian government, on Saturday, November 5th, 2016!

Troops found Maryam, and her 10 month-old son, Ali, as they were screened after escaping Boko Haram’s stronghold in the Sambisa Forest, in Pulka, Borno State with help from the Nigerian military. Though the Chibok girls were the most high-profile case of Boko Haram’s kidnappings, Boko Haram has kidnapped hundreds– maybe even thousands– of men, women, and children from their homes, keeping them under lock and guard for years. Many, seemingly including Maryam, are either already muslim, or have converted to Islam in Boko Haram captivity– which may be out of fear, or brainwashing.

Maryam’s 10-month-old son, Ali, was claimed to have been fathered by a Boko Haram commander, whom she was either “married off” to, or coerced into having sex with. The child looks well, and will no doubt receive medical care, along with Maryam, from the Nigerian government.

Some of facts may seem horrific… but, while the trauma caused by these events remains, Maryam is physically freeand that is a cause for celebration.

While this is an amazing, joyous event, “there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10, NIV). If there is rejoicing over this young woman’s physical freedom, think of the rejoicing over her spiritual freedom, as she comes to Christ!

Jesus has freed many, both physically and spiritually, from the clutches of Boko Haram, and islam. Jesus is in the business of redemption, and restoration!!! Praise Him!!!

There is still much to be done. This young girl, along with countless others, still has much healing to experience. But, let’s praise Jesus for all He has done, is doing, and will do, in the hearts of captives, refugees, Boko Haram members, and the Nigerian military.

Please pray  that Maryam would come to know Jesus, and receive true healing!



Please join me in prayer:

Dear Jesus,

I praise You, that each and every person on this Earth, right now, matters deeply to you– not to mention those who have passed away, and those who you know are still to be born (Psalm 116:15; 139).

Jesus, we thank You for Your amazing, amazing Love. Thank You for looking at all of us, and declaring us worthy to die for, so that we might be with you, forever.

Dear Jesus, You know Maryam Ali Maiyanga . You saw her, being formed in her mother’s womb, before she was even born. You foresaw every day of her life.

You knew she would be kidnapped, taken, from her family, her loved ones, and her home, to experience the immense bondage perpetrated by Boko Haram.
But Jesus, we know that You are bigger than even the most wicked, deplorable evil. We know that Your Love, shown to us in Yourself on the cross, can break into even the hardest, evil, darkest heart– or the most wounded, broken, confused of hearts– and bring them to truly know You.

Dear Jesus, I pray in Your Name that You would release Maryam from any and all bondage that she is left in. Dear Jesus, please show Maryam that true freedom is found in YOU– and that she only needs to accept Your free gift of Salvation to experience true healing, breakthrough, and a personal relationship with You, God Himself.

Jesus, we pray over the army commander that fathered Maryam’s child. If he is still alive, and wherever he is, please break through his heart, and show him what truly pleasing you looks like: loving you, and loving others. I pray for new, eternal life even for this man, and for all members of Boko Haram.

Jesus, I also pray over Maryam’s son, Ali. 
Dear Jesus, I pray that, though this little boy was born under horrific circumstances, You would restore and redeem his life, to bring you glory and praise. Please bring this young, little guy to you, and show him, and everyone around, that he is not only identified by his past or even this tragic state of affairs– or even by the fact that his father’s blood flows through his veins– but that his identity lies in and by YOU, and the fact that we are all COMPLETELY new creations in You, with Your blood flowing through our spiritual veins, when we accept You into our lives and hearts, as Lord and Savior.

Please, dear Jesus, show Yourself in this situation to Maryam, and to everyone, around her. I thank You for this, Father God. 

In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.

Please continue praying for Maryam, her family, and her story. Please also pray for the Nigerian military, and for their continued success!

Thank you!