Please pray: Peace Between Israel & Palestine

Friends and followers,

Please be praying for the nation of Israel. There have been clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in recent days, which have killed one Palestinian, and injuring 9 others.

It is important to pray for the peace, not only of Israel (though that is expressly said in the Bible), but in Palestine and the surrounding countries as well. While this is prophesied about, it is a tragedy that so much warfare is going on. Yet, we know that Jesus is the One who will ultimately bring order and Peace to such chaos.

Please pray with me:

“Dear Lord Jesus,
You are the King of the World. We praise You and thank You that You are coming back one day. We pray now, in Your Name, that You would come soon—and bring all those who do not know You, to You, soon. We pray for Your Peace in the regions of Israel and Palestine, and especially in this situation with the Israelis and Palestinians.
Thank You, dear Jesus.
In Jesus’ Name we pray,
Amen.”

Learn more about Jesus, who He is, and what He has done, here.

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Prayer: The First Defense

On March 16th, an article was written concerning two things that have been very raw in global news: The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida, and the kidnap of both the Chibok schoolgirls and the Dapchi school girls, among many others.

The article compared the school violence that has happened in America to the school violence exhibited by Boko Haram.1

One comparison was striking: For the Chibok and Dapchi girls—among so many others—protect our girlsthe terror was from the “outside,” an ideology and a people thoroughly against the governments of Northern Nigeria and other nations. In the School shooting in Florida, it was a young man—a man “within society”—that shot and killed 17 people, including students and school staff.

In both cases, people were lured by satan and spurred on by an evil world to commit these heinous and heartbreaking acts. People who hated their society, and thought little to nothing about the precious lives of the people they have kidnapped and killed.

In so little words, there is both terror within, and terror outside.

Fighting the Battles

In both situations, the watching world has vowed this vow: “We won’t forget.”2 Many have meant this, and many have not—but if you might be a person who has forgotten these people, this post is not to shame or push you into some sort of agenda. Actually, I have to be honest: I am a person who forgets these things. I am a person who does not always remember to pray for these precious people; and at times, I am completely ignorant to the pain others are feeling all around me.

This idea of both terror within, and terror outside, reminds me of Numbers 22-25, where a sorcerer/man of divination named Balaam is paid by the king of an enemy of Israel—King Balak of Moab—to curse the wandering Israelites3. It is the story of the talking donkey, which many people have heard of (especially if you have grown up in the church).

After being stopped by the angel of the LORD, God told Balaam to only say what God wanted him to say (Numbers 22:35), and Balaam refused just to say whatever he wanted (Numbers 22:38). Guess what happened? No matter how King Balak pressured Balaam,

doctrine-of-baalam

King Balak getting angry with Balaam for refusing to curse Israel.

Balaam could only say what God wanted him to: all blessings, and no curses, toward Israel (Numbers 23-24). Just like that, any terror and desolation that could occur from the outside of Israel through Balaam’s curses became inert; God was protecting His People.

But what Balaam couldn’t achieve through cursing Israel by divination, he helped achieve through the Israelite’s own wrongdoing. In Numbers 25, the Israelite men started sleeping with the local Moabite women around them; this debauchery led to the Israelite men worshipping the sexual, false gods and goddesses of Moab. The idolatry committed by Israel caused God to be angry; subsequently, a plague was sent to kill the Israelites. This terror, caused from within, ended up killing 24,000 people, and was only stopped when the “ringleaders” of this sin were killed.

What does this have to do with the violence in Northern Nigeria and Florida? I am not trying to compare the school shooting in Florida with what happened to the Israelites; absolutely NO VICTIM of the Florida shooting is in any way at fault for the choices of one person.

What I am saying is this: there is evil all around us—evil that is subtle, insidious, eating away at the life Christ has for us—both through attacks from the enemy, and from our own inward struggles with sin.

At the end of the day, this evil opposition comes at us from all sides, in a plethora of different ways.

evil

 

Prayer: First Line of Defense

With these attacks going on around us— and with everything we thought we knew for sure being shaken—I want to ask you one question: what is the first thing you normally do when you are attacked, or when you see an attack happening?

Do you go to Facebook and social media, posting and tweeting? Do you put together a protest, writing on signs?

Do you simply turn away from it all, hoping that, if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind, and it will somehow resolve itself on its own?

All of these things are understandable; I’ve done all three. But I want to encourage you all to do one thing first: Pray to Jesus about it.

You’ll notice that I did not say “prayer” vaguely. I did this for a reason: The God of the Bible—the Godhead, three-in-one– is the only God in control, and able to change anything at all.

I can hear the scoffs and retorts. “Jesus? What is Jesus going to do? Time for prayers have ended, Annalee. We need action. We need results, now.”

But, regarding any attack in this life, Ephesians 6:12 declares, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (NIV).

And in terms of personal attacks happening in our everyday lives, God’s Word tells us to “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7, NIV).

Honestly? I’m horrible at this whole “praying first” thing. Most of the time, I think that writing a blog post, or sending a tweet or even just a text instead is more productive than immediately going to the God of all Creation in prayer over these attacks. But, when one person goes in prayer to Christ, the One and only true God, about these things, more is done than anything we mere humans could ever do.

Praying to Jesus. This is the number one thing that will heal and protect, not only our morebroken children, but our broken world. So, may we protest. May we write blog and social media posts advocating for these precious people. May we be an active part of these people’s miracles.

But first, may we spend time with Jesus in prayer and worship. It is then that we will be strengthened and led to do all the beautiful things He has for us to do.


Do you know Jesus?

People today think that Christians are crazy for believing that a person can have a real, genuine, personal relationship with God. This is probably most evident in the words of Joy Behar recently, who publicly mocked Christians when she said, “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. …that’s called mental illness, if I’m not mistaken.”

But, no matter what the world thinks about it, Jesus Christ is risen and reigning—and He longs to have a personal, saving relationship with each and every person ever made, if only they will accept Him as Savior and God over their lives.

Jesus cares DEEPLY for you. He has spoken, in His Word, about what it takes to know Him. Read more about His Good News, here.



Please pray for (print out a prayer sheet here)…

  • Joy Behar. This is random, but please pray that she would come to know Jesus even after her remarks on The View. Pray for the many, many people who agree with her sentiments.
  • The Dapchi girls. Please pray that they would come home, soon.
  • The Chibok girls. Pray that the 112 left in captivity would desire home, and would be able to come home. You can find a link to many of their names, here.
  • Those involved in and affected by the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Pray that these broken, hurt people would come to know Jesus.

Thank you for your prayers.  these kids be protected by Christ through prayer, and Christ-led action.

1 http://keranews.org/post/beset-school-violence-us-and-nigeria-consider-each-others-experience

2 The video featuring Anderson Cooper in this article: https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/15/us/florida-shooting-victims-school/index.html

3 https://www.gotquestions.org/Balak-in-the-Bible.html

 

Keep Fighting the Good Fight!

On Friday, January 19th, it was reported that 5 people were killed by Boko Haram, early Friday morning in Kaya village of Madagali in Adamawa state. Late Thursday night and into Friday morning, Boko Haram insurgents drove into Kaya Village, forcibly entered two homes, and killed four people, three of which were brothers. They killed another man, as he tried to rescue those who were killed.1

According to reports, insurgents looted a village clinic for medical supplies, then left the town.3 Townspeople ran for their lives; after the rampage was done, both the Nigerian military and local hunters hunted down some of the Boko Haram insurgents.

Unfortunately, contrary to what the Nigerian military has been broadcasting to the outside world, stories such as these are very prevalent in Adamawa, Maiduguri, and those places closest to Boko Haram’s hideout, the Sambisa Forest. “The recent attacks indicate the group is still able to carry out major attacks and has not been defeated despite the successes achieved by Nigerian soldiers in the war,” House Representative Adamu Kamale said on the subject. He went on to say that the terrorism in Madagali is “seriously underreported” to President Buhari, and that “The truth remains that the group is still very active in our areas.”2

These statements do not come without apparent evidence. The village of Pallam was attacked and looted as houses were set on fire, on Monday, January 15th, killing 3 people. 9 others were killed in Ngala, Borno state; and ten innocent people were killed in a suicide bombing in Maiduguri on Wednesday, January 17th, with approximately 12 others wounded.2

While Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, has claimed total victory over Boko Haram and has conceded that some suicide bombings will occur, the consistency of these attacks brings to question: What does “victorious” actually look like? Is there such a thing as being “victorious enough?” When it comes to people’s lives, the answer is always, “No.”

Because we can never obtain perfection in this life, there will always be a fight to fight. No matter how far we have come– and let us never forget how far we have come– there is always new ground to be gained. It reminds one of Joshua, conquering the Promised Land.

fight to fight

As evidenced by the reports spoken of, above, it does no good to be denial about the fact that we must fight in this life. Did you know that God promised Israel, in Genesis 15:18 and Joshua 1:4, the land from the Nile in Egypt to Lebanon (north to south), and everything from the Mediterrean Sea to the Euphrates River (west to east)? That is today’s current land of Israel, plus The West Bank, Gaza, all of Jordan, some of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and some of Egypt and Syria! Though God promised ALL of this land to Israel, Israel only ended up claiming a small fraction of the land God promised them.4

It’s easy to shake our heads in disbelief at this. All of this land was completely Israel’s for the taking. But isn’t this what so many Christians do, in so many ways?

  • In John 10, Jesus says this about what He has given Believers:
    • “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10, emphasis mine).
  • And in John 14, Jesus promises to give Believers the gift of Peace:
    • “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27, NIV).
  • Not only this, but the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle John, calls us “More Than Conquerors”:
    • “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37, KJV, emphasis mine).

While I am not trying to advocate for “Name It and Claim It” Prosperity Theology, this fact about Israel’s history begs me to question: Are we claiming Jesus’ promises, and walking in a truly victorious life, like Jesus has given us for the taking? Too often, Christians– like me– choose to live a life of fear, of being worldly and bound to sin, or of being bound by the law. So much of the time, life can also feel so heavy that victory or progress seems impossible; but, friend, just as defeat and compromise is not what God wanted for the Israelites, this is not what Jesus wants for us! He wants to meet us exactly where we are at, comfort and free us of our bondage, and then help us to grow in our faith in Him, as HE– not us– fights (and wins!) our battles, if we only trust in Him  to do so.

This side of heaven, there will always be a fight. While Christ has already won the war, He calls us to trust in Him, rest in Him, and obey Him, as He continues to fight the battles we face. Not only does Jesus ask us to trust in Him; He asks us to do our fighting, not by flesh and blood, but in the spiritual realm, through prayer. As 1 Peter 4:7 says, “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”

We are in the fight of our lives: A fight for Hope, a Fight for Justice, and a Fight for Christian Unity– but supremely, we are in a fight for Love, to see lost souls come to eternal salvation in Jesus. Our spiritual armor, and our alert prayers, are indispensable tools for this fight.

As seen in the current happenings of Norther Nigeria, there is still an enemy– and the fight isn’t over. As we battle this war between darkness and light, between lies and truth, between satan’s reign and God’s will being done on Earth as it is in Heaven, may we look to Him who encourages us: Never back down, never give in to the enemy, and never give up. After all, as the lyrics of “Lions” by Skillet say, “before we face the fight, we know whose going to win.”

Watch the lyric video of “Lions” by Skillet, here!: https://youtu.be/DzjfNI2XEBs

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NIV, emphasis mine)

This is in tribute to the 5 people who died from Boko Haram’s attacks. 

 

1 https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/256055-boko-haram-attacks-adamawa-town-kills-five.html;  https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/01/boko-haram-kills-five-adamawa-state/

2 https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/256055-boko-haram-attacks-adamawa-town-kills-five.html

3 https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/01/boko-haram-kills-five-adamawa-state/

https://www.gotquestions.org/Israel-land.html


Do you know Jesus?

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
(Exodus 14:14)

With Jesus, you never, ever have to be afraid. While we face many battles and struggles in this life, it is Jesus Christ who won the ultimate war over sin and death, giving us the only way to be saved from eternal separation from Him (hell).

Because Jesus did all that was needed to save us, we truly can rest, and let Jesus’ fighting be enough for us. Learn more about this ultimate war on sin and death, and how Jesus reigns victorious over it, here!


Please pray for…

  • The families of those killed in this wicked, horrible violence. Pray that they come to know Jesus through it, and are strengthened, comforted, and healed by Him!
  • The Nigerian military. Please pray that ALL of them do come to know Jesus, through this war– and that they would not give up fighting against Boko Haram.
  • Local hunters. Like the Nigerian military, these people (possibly apart of the Civilian Joint Task Force) are fighting and serving to abolish Boko Haram, and to defend their respective cities, towns, and villages. Please pray that these people would come to know Jesus, as well; and that they would fight, not out of evil intent or bitterness, but with a pure desire to see Peace and to protect their loved ones.
  • President Muhammadu Buhari. Please pray that He would come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, and that He is moved by Jesus to pursue the end of Boko Haram, and the healing of its victims.
  • Boko Haram members. That their eyes would be uncovered, and that they would realize the false religion that they are apart of. Pray Jesus would meet with them in real, lasting way.

Thank you for your prayers!!!

 

 

 

Hope for the Fractured: Unity for Nigeria

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
(Proverbs 13:12, NIV)

“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined… How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! …It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”
(Matthew 12:25; Psalm 133:1, 3, NIV)

The people of Nigeria– all people, for that matter– were not born to be senselessly, irredeemably fractured. The sight of a broken person, physical or otherwise, either stirs up two things: compassion, if they are an innocent victim of what fractured them, or condescension, if they got themselves into their fractured state. In the case of Nigeria, and especially Northern Nigeria, there is a mix of both. And while there might be confusion and debate surrounding the exact cause(s) of Nigeria’s wounds, one fact is undeniably plain: Nigeria is a nation that is, in many ways, pitted against itself– and in certain danger of falling.

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