Bringing the Children to Jesus (Even the Children of Boko Haram Members)

I read this article, about how a man named Zannah Mustapha– a lawyer who is to credit for the negotiations leading to the release of 82 Chibok girls and 21 other girls, also held captive– is now allowing the children of widowed Boko Haram members into his school. In 2007, he started schooling for victims of Boko Haram; and, now, ironically and somewhat controversially, he is allowing the children of those who are to blame for these victim’s tragedies into school, as well.

According to the article, Mustapha agreed to teach the children the Koran, English, and Math, following the wishes of the children’s mothers. He also agreed to their religious rules of having to wear the hijab, and wear ankle-length dresses. “The irony of teaching the children of Boko Haram insurgents who with the very name of their group proclaim that ‘Western Education is Forbidden’ is not lost on him,” All Africa reports. Surprisingly enough, Boko Haram– or at least, the widows of Boko Haram– care about their children’s education.

While much can be said about this, it brings out the humanity of Boko Haram’s members, however warped and deluded it may be. At a basic human level, at least some of the members of Boko Haram care about their children.

Honestly, I don’t know what to think… except for the fact that this sliver of humanity within the barbarity of Boko Haram members shows that they, no matter how evil, are severely marred images of their Creator, the One, True God: YHWH. And as severely marred images of their Creator, they need to not only know what islam has taught them about Jesus, but they need to know the real Jesus: The One who died for their sins, and rose to life again– the One who now sits at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34).

The People of Nineveh

It can remind one of the Ninevites, who, at their time, were perhaps some of the most barbaric, evil, cruel people on the planet. They were enemies of Israel, and were known for their violence– they were so violent that I have heard that they impaled the heads of their conquered enemies on poles around the city, to celebrate their victory and superiority.

Because of their evil, Jonah did not want to give them the message of repentance. Instead, Jonah wanted God’s judgment to be reigned down on them– he wanted them to suffer as much as they had made others suffer, and probably for good reason. Jonah was so angry at God showing them mercy, in their repentance, that he wanted to die (Jonah 4:3). God rebuked Jonah for his anger– but he did not only rebuke him.

To teach Jonah a lesson about compassion, God allowed a plant to grow up and over Jonah, shielding him from the heat.

“So the Lord God prepared a plant and it grew up over Jonah, to be a shade over his head to spare him from discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about [the protection of] the plant. 7 But God prepared a worm when morning dawned the next day, and it attacked the plant and it withered. 8 When the sun came up God prepared a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he fainted and he wished to die, and said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.'”
(Jonah 4:6-8, AMP)

Obviously, Jonah cared about this plant, and was extremely happy that it had grown in his life. Through this tiny, unimportant plant, God showed Jonah just a sliver of the care God had for the people of the city of Nineveh (whom Jonah, at that point, did not even value as people because of their evil) (Jonah 4:9).

God’s Mercy did not stop at the Israelites; nor did it stop at people who were

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A child from Nigeria (This child is not [to ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY’s knowledge] a child of a Boko Haram member).

morally good. Scripture tells us that “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45, NIV). God, true to His Nature, desires ALL men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). Also true to His Nature, God cares for the children even of those who are evil– as evidenced by what He says to Jonah in Jonah 4:11, when He mentions the 120,000 children in the city “who do not know the difference between their right and left hand.”

Then the Lord said, ‘You [Jonah] had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. 11 Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 [innocent] persons, who do not know the difference between their right and left hand [and are not yet accountable for sin], as well as many [blameless] animals?'”
(Jonah 4:10-11, AMP, “[Jonah]” mine)

While Jonah only had in mind the depravity of the Ninevites– which I in no way want to lessen– God saw each person in Nineveh, even those who had no idea of the atrocities happening around them, being committed by their fathers and mothers, and He had both perfect Justice, and perfect compassion, for them all.

The grown adults of Nineveh– those who slaughtered innocent people– were indeed VERY worthy of the wrath God would have reigned down upon them, if they had not repented.

But when they actually heard Jonah’s message, they DID repent– they came to know the Living God, and turned away from their wickedness and violence!!! This is God’s desire for those who are wickedly evil, today.

The God of Both Justice & Mercy

I, in no way, want to lessen the atrocities of Boko Haram. Their acts are nothing short of abhorrent, and those who do not come to know Jesus will be liable to God’s punishment– Hell (2 Thessalonians 1:8-10). God is a God of Justice– and Jesus will bring Justice when He comes back again, as 2 Thessalonians 1 describes.

But He is also a God of Mercy. Should the kids of Boko Haram members be learning the same volatile Koran that their parents have? Absolutely not… but, as difficult as it is to say, that is why we must keep the men, women, and children of Boko Haram in our prayers.

Jesus is the only Way to the Father that so many millions of Muslims are struggling to find and know. Jesus is the One their hearts are waiting and looking for when they try to

Casually_dressed_little_girls_imitating_the_dreaded_terrorist_group_boko_haram.jpg

This heartbreaking picture is one of two young girls from Jos, Nigeria, imitating Boko Haram. These girls (at least to the knowledge of ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY) are not actual children of Boko Haram’s members.

keep the tenants of islam. And the children, even of such evil as Boko Haram members, need to know the Gospel– and be saved by knowing Jesus personally, by Grace, through Faith.

Only Love for these people, shown in the form of prayer and sharing the Gospel with them, will change anything. This Love is audacious– scandalous, even.
Will you dare to show this kind of Love– the Love of Jesus?



God’s Love is reckless. Jesus proved it.

Learn more about the God who Loves you– Loves you enough to die for you, so that you might know Him– here.



Please pray with me…

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for Loving us enough to step down out of heaven. Thank You for Loving us enough to step down out of perfect union with the Father, and taking all of our sin and the wrath of God upon Yourself. Thank You for forgiving such sinners, as us.

Dear Jesus,
We pray now, in Your Name, that You would please bring these children that are being taught the Koran, to You. Through whatever means needed, Please, Father God, draw these young children to You– as well as their mothers and fathers. We pray for repentance, Lord Jesus; we pray that Boko Haram would become nothing, because the members of Boko Haram have come to know You, instead.

Jesus, at the same time, thank You for bringing Justice for all of our sin when You died on that cross. Please redeem and free those who have been crippled by Boko Haram. Help us to love those who have been displaced, abused and mistreated horrifically by Boko Haram.

Lastly, Lord Jesus,
We ask that You would remember Your Promise concerning the Chibok girls.

“The nations will see your vindication,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.
3 You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
4 No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
and your land Beulah;
for the Lord will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
5 As a young man marries a young woman,
so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.”
(Isaiah 62:2-5, NIV)

Lord Jesus, You gave this promise to me (Annalee) when I sought You concerning the Chibok girls. Now, three and a half years later, so much as happened– more than I could have ever believed or imagined. You have set so many girls free! Dear Jesus, we pray, we ask boldly in Your Name, that the 113 Chibok girls remaining would be found/would escape the clutches of Boko Haram. You have done amazing things; please do all that You have promised. Let us not forget. May each one be free.

Thank You for this, Lord Jesus.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,
Amen.”

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Please pray.

After reading this very heartbreaking, nightmarish article on how young, innocent lives have been forever traumatized by Boko Haram, it is hard to not be mad at Christ for not “zapping” (as if He ever did such a thing), and killing those who are responsible for such heartache and misery.

Hearts scream out for Justice. Peace. An end to the suffering.
Will you please join in prayer?

“Dear Lord Jesus,
I don’t know what to write here, Jesus. There are no words.
No words but what comes wailing out, as one reads this article: “Justice! Jesus, bring Justice!”

That is my prayer.
My broken, face-turned-down prayer to You.

Dear Sweet Jesus,
Please, bring these people to know You… to know who You really are.
Please bring beauty out of ashes for these people.
Weeping into dancing.

Dear Jesus,
May those who have gone through trauma not try to cover it.
May they lift their stories to You, so that You might restore what satan, the world, and our sinful selves have tried to take away.

May all people involved in this… and I say it with honest rage towards those I am praying for… but may even the members of Boko Haram who have done this, come to know You.

No one, not even them, are outside of Your Love.

Thank You, Jesus.

In Your Name I pray,
Amen.”

 

Please continue to pray for these people as you feel led. Thank you.

 

“Walk Humbly with Their God”: Pursuing Christ in Justice, Mercy, and Humility

In the middle of a dusty, bare land, Nigerian troops of the 7 Division Strike Group Team B have found something unconscionable.

In Jadda, a town in Northern Nigeria, a “pit” has been found containing countless human bodies, used as if it were a receptacle for common trash, by Boko Haram.

It is not an open grave, so that those who have lost their loved ones to Boko Haram can recover, and lay, their loved ones’ dead bodies to rest; no. Instead, it is a pit with a small opening, big enough only to “dispose of” the precious bodies of people who were known and loved by someone. To the living– to their mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters– their bodies are lost, never to be recovered.

It is stories like this that make a person sick to their stomach over the injustice of it all. If there is a “Loving God,” where is He, when things like this happen?  Where is the Justice? Looking at such desolate news stories, it is hard to believe that God is moving; and, for some, that He is even real.

Yet, Christ is here. And He wants to move in and through these circumstances, for His Glory, to those whose blood “cries out from the ground” to Him (Genesis 4:10). And while Christ can do this however He so wills, He loves using people– especially His people, Believers– to accomplish His Purposes.

Because of this, it becomes crucial that Bible-Believing Christians seek to “Act justly, love Mercy, and walk humbly with their God” (Micah 6:8).

Act Justly

In Micah 6, Christ (through Micah) is proclaiming very heavy charges against the Israelites, His Chosen People.

“Stand up, plead my case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say. 2 “Hear, you mountains, the Lord’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the Lord has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel. 3 “My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me. 4 I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam. …6 With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
(Micah 6:1-4, 6-7, NIV)

Micah 6 goes on to tell of the different injustices the Israelites were doing: from stealing (v. 10), to creating dishonest weight scales (v. 11), and lying (v. 12), the Israelites had succumbed to dealing treacherously with one another in pursuit of ill-gotten gain.

While many today see these things as “little sins,” such as white lies, stealing something of little value from a store, or over-charging for something one knows costs less, they are just as big as murder to Christ (Micah 7:2). These “little,” “justified” sins the Israelites committed seemed harmless enough; but, over time, they led to evil, mass corruption: “The faithful have been swept from the land; not one upright person remains. Everyone lies in wait to shed blood; they hunt each other with nets. 3 Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire—they all conspire together” (Micah 7:2-3, NIV).

It is in this context that Jesus lays out what pleases Him: it is not overly complicated, taxing, or burdensome– and it isn’t “…thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil” (Micah 6:6-7). He wants His Chosen People to act fairly and honestly. By failing to obey God in this, the Israelites idolized greed and pride, and failed to pursue Justice for others.

Love Mercy

 

While the Israelites failed to show Justice in their own dealings, they completely forgot about the needs of others, causing them to become heartless. In refusing to submit to God, who is Love, they rejected any thought of sacrificial Love for others.

It is one thing to “act justly,” and it is another to “love Mercy.” Mercy, by definition, is to show Love, or kindness, to those who can offer nothing back. This is especially true of those who don’t deserve mercy, whatsoever. Christ, who is God, modeled Mercy perfectly, as is described in Romans 5: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NIV). When we held nothing of value to Christ– even hating Him, and nailing Him to the cross with our sin– He was more than merciful to us. He, who did not deserve any punishment whatsoever, took on our punishment. There is no truer form of Mercy.

In Luke 7, Jesus highlights Mercy well. “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47, NIV). Mercy, just like Justice, is not shown so that one is forgiven; it is shown in light of Christ’s Kindness, and accepting His forgiveness. Believers, in light of being so forgiven, are able to show this same Mercy to others; so that, when walking with Christ, one is not only able to “act justly,” but to also Love those who don’t.

“Walking humbly with your God” seems to be an amazing concept. But, what does walking humbly with our God look like? Paul describes how the walk of a Believer looks, as one who “walks in the Spirit,” in Galatians 5.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
(Galatians 5:16-18, NIV)

This whole “walk” is different from religion. Religion is man’s attempt at “reaching” God; but when one comes to know Christ as their Lord and Savior, they are given free salvation, from the only One who can give it. Based simply on believing in what Christ has done, this free gift of salvation, “not by works, so that no one can boast,” frees one up to have a personal, Love-based relationship with God (Ephesians 2:8-9). This is where “walking in the Spirit” comes in.

Upon receiving Christ as one’s Personal Lord and Savior, the Word of God Himself says a supernatural transaction takes place: “…he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us” (2 Corinthians 1:22). Receiving the very Spirit of God, the Believer is equipped to walk with Jesus Himself– which transcends what any man-made religion can do. Perhaps one of the most precious things about having the Holy Spirit within is being able to hear, and be guided by, Jesus’ still, small Voice (1 Kings 19:12).

Being prompted, or “nudged,” by the Holy Spirit, is not a crazy phenomenon. Jesus Christ, God the Son in the Holy Trinity, showed humanity what it is to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with [our] God,” as He “walked” with God the Father while on Earth. When we listen to, and act upon, the sound of Jesus’ Voice, He will show us what it looks like to “act justly, love mercy, and walk with [Him]” as well.

More than this, Jesus works in us, and through us, to accomplish this very thing.

In this world, as it only gets colder, darker, and more unjust, we have Hope: “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world” (1 John 4:17). The people of this world– specifically in such a desolate place as Jadda, Nigeria, needs Justice, Mercy, and, most of all, the Great Love of Jesus Christ.

Let us enter the darkness, radiating His Just, Merciful, Humble Light.



Do you know Jesus?

“…we live like Jesus here in this world.”

(1 John 4:17, NLT)

Religion has, for ages, encouraged morality. This is no more true than the religiousness of the Jewish religious leaders, known as Scribes and Pharisees, who made it the point of their lives to do “right,” even down to tithing (giving the church/synogogue) a tenth of their herbs and spices.

But, Jesus once said “…that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20, NIV). No matter how “good” one is, one cannot “exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees”– meaning that, at its core, no one, not even the most “religious” or “spiritual,” can enter heaven. No; it would take One much more to reconcile mankind and God.

It would take God Himself, Jesus Christ, to become our righteousness. Meet the God who gave it all to prove that God is Love, and God is Just, here.


Praise Jesus for… How He is moving to bring Boko Haram members to Justice, to heal and help victims of Boko Haram, and rescue the countless men, women and children who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram.

 Please pray for…

The Boko Haram Insurgency. That it would be brought to Justice.
Those affected by the Boko Haram Insurgency. That they would receive Justice.
Those Kidnapped by the Boko Haram Insurgency, especially the Chibok girls. That they would be found, and brought to Justice, too.
That every party would come to know Jesus, His Grace, and His Mercy. We are all in need of Him.

As Amos 5:24 says, “…let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream,” in Jesus’ Name! Amen.

They Matter: Justice for the Trafficked

“Jesus loves the little children;
all the little children of the world.
Red, brown, yellow,
black and white;
they are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
(–“Jesus Loves the Little Children” by George Frederick Root & Clare Herbert Woolston)

Imagine having to fend for yourself at the age of 9. Traumatized by the violence happening in your own neighborhood, you flee from your hometown without your parents– who, like many, have been mercilessly shot or beheaded by the Boko Haram in front of your eyes [1]. You escape with nothing more than the clothes on your back, and maybe some food for the trip, if you are lucky. You escape with your aunt and cousins; like the many others around you, flee on foot, running and walking for what seems like hours on end in temperatures that normally reach around 100 degrees fahrenheit [2].  Continue reading

The Baga Massacre: A Voice for the Voiceless

As of today, January 21st, 18 days have passed since the town of Baga, Nigeria was razed, where 2,000 of it’s innocent men, women, and children were mercilessly massacred. As Boko Haram’s bloodiest raid to date, most of its victims were women, children, and the elderly who could not escape the terrorists’ rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles. As people ran, swam, and hid for their lives, thousands upon thousands drowned in nearby Lake Chad, where the body count was so high that soldiers stopped counting.

Continue reading