Coming to Know Christ at Ramadan

One pastor once said that to truly give Jesus’ way, it takes spiritual discernment to know what the real underlying need is. So it is with what is happening in this season of Ramadan, currently being heavily observed in the unstable region of Northern Nigeria. This article, by the Premium Times, says that the Yobe State government has been giving out food to muslims observing Ramadan, a time of fasting, where one does not eat the whole entire day, but is able to eat after the sun goes down (source).

In a statement made by Ali Abubukar, the chair of the state’s committee on Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement of Boko Haram victims, Abubukar said that “The supply will bring succour and alleviate the dire need of the people, which is food” (source). While Abubukar is correct in that physical hunger is a real, dire need for those in Northern Nigeria, the truth is, those celebrating Ramadan have an even deeper, more dire, spiritual hunger: a hunger for the Truth– the Truth that is only found in Jesus Christ.

During the time of Ramadan (about a month), many muslims will fast from food and will fight against their own sins, such as swearing and lying. They do this to spend more time in intense prayer, commanded to attend five different prayer times per day. Many times, the Qur’an is read before their meal time in the evening. This time is meant to spur on more religious devotion for muslims, and while it may do just that, Ramadan (or IT TAKES THEM FARTHER AWAY FROM HIManyone’s own works), apart from Christ, does not get anyone closer to the real, Living God.

In fact, it takes them farther away from Him– or from finding Him, rather. 

Obedience, Not Sacrifice

This idea– of giving sacrifice, i.e., doing religious works instead of obeying Christ, the Living God, is found in the story of Samuel 15. In the story, King Samuel was commanded by God to kill ALL of the Amalekites, including women and children, as well as every animal belonging to them.

While this seems like a horrible, heartless order, it can be understood when one realizes how evil the Amalekites actually were. Since the time the Israelites had become a people group, liberated from Egypt, the Amalekites– known by many as “The Plunderers”– attacked those Israelites that were “lagging behind,” which were most likely the women and children (source). They attacked the Israelites many times, mercilessly causing much pain and anguish for many people. With this in mind, Christ commanding that the Amalekites be annihilated was for good reason.

But, sadly, King Saul did not completely obey Christ concerning some of His most important instructions– and disobeyed Christ completely, in Samuel 13:5-14, when he burnt sacrifices Samuel was meant to burn. In Samuel 15, Saul did not annihilate all of the Amalekites; instead, he only killed “everything that was despised and weak” (1 Samuel 15:9).

This major sin not only caused more years of pain for Israel, but it cost King Saul his kingdom. Full of pride, King Saul tried to justify his sin; but in the end, he knew he was wrong, and almost flippantly asked Samuel to forgive his sin, so that he could go back and worship the LORD (1 Samuel 15:25). But by then, it was too late. His kingdom was obeyingripped away from him, all because he chose to disobey, justifying it with sacrifice.

Relationship, Not Regulation

But Ramadan is all about obedience, one might say. Sure, it is, but one of the main things that can be learned from this passage in Samuel 15 is that God is not some dead or distant Deity that can be appeased with some sacrifice. He is a relational God, a God who is indeed Living– and wants His children to obey Him. It was Jesus Himself who said,

“If you love me, keep my commands.”
(John 14:15, NIV)

The fact that Christ wants us to obey Him, as one obeys a Loving Father, shows His Followers that they are not just following a dead religion– one only of sacrifice and works– but are following a very Real and Living God; one of Love, desiring a Personal Relationship with all people, as evidenced by what John described Jesus doing in John 1:10-13).

Faith, Not Works

This is not to say that Christians fasting and praying are a bad practice– in fact, they are wonderful for drawing near to Christ (Matthew 6). But let one thing be clear: People are not saved by obedience to Christ; they are saved by Grace, through Faith, not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). All one must do to be saved is to believe in Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross for their sin, receiving His gift of salvation, and entering into the personal relationship that He offers. This God is real: salvation2unfathomably more real than any god that demands mere obedience and a set of works-based self-righteousness to approach them with for salvation, or even a chance at salvation.

This Ramadan, one thing is true: God does not want mere obedience, or a set of rules and standards to be met, as is found in islam. He wants a real, personal relationship with those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. As believers in this amazing God, let us pray that those practicing Ramadan in Northern Nigeria, and all other religions, would find Christ, and that He would “succour and alleviate the dire need of the people,” which is truly the need of Him.

If you are a muslim– or are any sort of religion/belief system, but have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, the Only One who can save you from your sins– come to Him today. Let Him set you free, as you draw close to Him: not by your own works, but by His Work for you, on the cross.

It is Jesus whom we truly hunger and thirst after, even if we do not realize it. Let’s come to Him, as we are, today. 🔹 



Do you know Jesus?

“Who is this Jesus?” one might ask. Some see Him as a revered Prophet; some see Him as a fool, the butt of all their jokes. But I encourage you, whether you know personally or not, to ask yourself that question.

Jesus asked His Disciples this question about Himself.

“‘But what about you?’ he (Jesus) asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’
Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’
Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it'”
(Matthew 16:15-18, NIV, “(Jesus)” mine)

Peter replied that Jesus is the Messiah– The Leader or Savior of the Jews and Gentiles alike (Romans 10:12), and He was right. Read more about, and meet with, this promised Messiah, here.


Please pray for…

Those currently practicing islam. Pray that even now, especially in the wake of the various islamic terrorist attacks happening all over the world, that muslims would come to know Jesus Christ.

That Ramadan would be a time where many muslims become saved. It is a time of heightened spiritual awareness; please pray that Jesus would call to these people during Ramadan, and that they would come to Him. ❤

That Christians would not be afraid of loving and telling others about the Gospel, worldwide, but especially in places with many muslims, such as Northern Nigeria and the Middle East.

That those experiencing hunger and thirst in Northern Nigeria would be fed– and would come to know Jesus, the Bread of Life, in the process.

There are still 113 Chibok girls left to be freed, as Ramadan has started. Please pray for these young women, that they would be de-brainwashed or de-radicalized, and would be freed physically– but also in every sense of the word.

Thank you so much for your prayers. To all Americans, have a Happy Memorial Day Weekend! 🙂

“Raising Up Kings”: The Importance of Godly Establishment

Nigeria has been the home of both much establishment and much destruction in the last few weeks. While not more than a month ago, Nigeria was experiencing exciting victories over Boko Haram, Nigeria’s war on terror has seemingly took a disparaging turn. The damage has been heartbreaking: in the past two weeks alone, over 200 men, women, and children have been killed in acts of terror. Yet, it is in the face of such sorrowful, grievous events that a call for action and resolve was not only made, but acted upon. This action resulted in monumental change in the leadership that will be fighting against– and, prayerfully, ending– the Boko Haram insurgency. In what might be called one of Buhari’s boldest acts as President so far, the president fired every service chief officer that served under Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan.

While this complete turnover of power was not completely unexpected, the change confirmed one important Truth: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others” (Daniel 2:20-21a). If this were not an example of one reign ending and another being established, a person would be incredibly hard-pressed to find one. Fortunately, there are many examples– two prime examples– of this Truth all throughout God’s Word. One example, in particular, comes to mind: King David, and His being established, as King of Israel. 

Establishing King David
David’s story of being crowned and anointed king is one full of tumultuous ups and downs, to say the least. Anointed as Israel’s King by Samuel in Samuel 16, it took 5 perilous years for God’s choosing to become a reality in Israel. Tracked and hunted down by King Saul (the king of Israel at the time), David was constantly running for his life– and, profoundly, clinging to the Love, mercy, power, and promises of Jesus through it all. In the end, the LORD’s purposes stood: In 2 Samuel 5, David was finally crowned king, much to his, and Israel’s, joy and relief.
Jesus’ establishment of David as king– and the blessings that came with it– did not stop there, though. After being crowned king by Israel, King David had matters of business that he tended to, almost immediately. In Samuel 5:6-25, the newly crowned King David went out to war to conquer both Jerusalem and the Philistines, all while having his mighty men around him. God granted King David favor in both battles; before long, Jerusalem was famously known as “the City of David” (2 Samuel 5:9).

The “Secret” to Success
Many may wonder, “Why was King David so successful, and so favored?” There is much to glean from both Samuel 5 and 1 Chronicles 11 concerning this question. In 1 Chronicles 11, Chiefs of David’s mighty men (and the mighty men themselves) are described as “…men, who gave him strong support in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the Lord concerning Israel” (1 Chronicles 11:10). Desperate and broken in their own ways, the men David was surrounded by were not all “chosen” by David; in fact, Jesus drew these men to David in times of his greatest need, and were later trained in warfare by David (as told in 1 Samuel 22:1-2). The account of David’s Mighty Men speaks of more than just the importance of having a great leader; it speaks of the importance of having Godly, God-given, great community.

As Proverbs 13:20 dictates, the men David was surrounded by affected his reign– and his life– incredibly. Yet, while the “Mighty Men” in David’s life helped in his success, God’s anointing of– and personal relationship with– David was the real reason David succeeded as He did. It was not David’s skill nor the amount of men David had behind him in war; it was David’s close relationship with Jesus that guaranteed victory. David affirmed this himself in Psalm 20:

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
(Psalm 20:7)

Known as “a man after God’s own Heart” (Acts 13:22), David, though sinful, was a man who truly loved and honored the LORD; and, therefore, lived honoring and glorifying Jesus (Psalm 18:1; Psalm 86:12). This love relationship with Jesus brought David the Lord’s favor, mercy, and comfort, even in David’s failures (Psalm 3:3). The mere fact that God chose David as King, and promised to bless his offspring and family line, guaranteed a success no one could take away. Yet, this relationship was about more than God’s blessings, whether here or hereafter. Knowing Jesus personally did more than give David victory and blessing; it was his victory and blessing. This profound, breathtaking Truth is what David meant when He said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1). Having the Lord on his side– more than that, knowing Jesus on a real, intimate level– gave David all He could ever want or need. “And David became greater and greater, for the Lord of hosts was with him” (1 Chronicles 11:9).

President Muhammadu Buhari, though muslim, has been “established by God” (Romans 13:1) to rule over Nigeria. While this may be for reasons yet unknown, we know that it is ultimately for God’s purposes; “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). While this may remain a difficult situation, one thing is clear: President Muhammadu Buhari is simply a man– a man who is completely separated from God, in his sin. Because of this, whether Buhari chooses a wise, sound committee or not is irrelevant; He must know Christ. The future of the nation– more importantly, the future of his soul– depends on it.


Do you know Jesus?

“He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
(Psalm 103:9-12, NIV)

There’s no doubt about it: David loved God with all of his heart (Psalm 73:25-26). But as much as David loved God, it could not compare with God’s Love for him. God’s Love for David was perfect– though David lived under the Mosaic Covenant Law, God was “the lifter of [David’s] head,” faithful to “bend down his ear” to listen to David’s prayer (Psalm 3:3; 116:2).

Yet, while David’s reign was blessed and ordained by God, there was One far greater who would come. David himself prophesied of this in Psalm 110:1, NIV:

“The LORD says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” 

While God’s Love is perfect, so is His sense of justice. Because of this, God’s “coming King,” called the “Messiah” by Israel’s prophets, would come to die for the sins of mankind, and would usher in a new kingdom– “the Kingdom of God.” Through Him, a new covenant would be made– and God would “forgive [His People’s] wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). In the ultimate show of God’s Perfect Justice and Love, this man would die for mankind, reconciling those who believed on Him to God, forever (Genesis 3:15c).

This Messiah-King has come, and his name is Jesus Christ. Meet Him– and understand our need for Him– here.



As believers, we are called to make “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks… for all men, for kings and all who are in authority” (2 Timothy 2:1-2, NIV). In light of this, may we pray for our leaders, wherever we may live.

Pray, of course, for Muhammadu Buhari. Pray that the Lord would strip him of all that keeps him from Jesus; pray that he would be desperate to know God, and Jesus, personally. Pray that the Lord would reveal Himself to him, and would move powerfully. Pray that He would come to know who Jesus is in a personal, Saving relationship; pray that when and as he finds Jesus, he would not be afraid to profess Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior. Pray that, as Jesus works in and through him, he would lead the country to know Christ, and would be used by Jesus greatly in all he does.

Pray for his family: his wife, Aisha Buhari, and his children. Pray that as they go through life, they would come to know Jesus personally– that they would be surrounded by those who love Jesus, and who would be faithful to love and share the gospel with them. Pray that they would not be afraid to confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior, either.

Pray that Muhammadu Buhari would be surrounded by men and women who believe in and know Jesus as Lord and Savior. Pray these men and women would be quick to sharing the gospel with Buhari; may not a second be lost in taking opportunities to show Buhari the love, grace, and gospel of Christ Jesus.

Pray for Buhari’s new cabinet, especially. “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers” (Proverbs 11:14). Pray these advisors would know Christ– and pray that, as they would know Him, they would honor Him as Lord and Savior in all their conduct and counsel. May they “Live such good lives among [him, the pagan(s)] that… [he] may see [their] good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (2 Peter 2:12). Pray that they would glorify God for all to see.

Pray for the men and women Buhari is now leading. Pray that there would be a revival within the Church in Nigeria; pray that those who voted for and believe(d) in Buhari for change would, instead, believe and put all their hope in Christ. Pray that, as this revival touches all believers in Nigeria, they would reach out to their Nigerian, muslim neighbors (all neighbors, truly)– and would share Jesus’ Love, goodness, and grace with all those who do not know Christ’s love and salvation personally.

Pray for the Nigerian military. Pray that they would break the strongholds of Boko Haram. Pray that they would smite Boko Haram’s terrorist attacks; pray that, in and under Christ, they would have victory.

Pray for those who are currently under captivity; pray that they would know Christ as their Lord and Savior, being spiritually freed from the bondage of sin. Pray that they would be physically freed, soon.

Pray that, in this nation, “…every knee [would] bow to [Christ], and every tongue [would] confess to God” (Romans 14:11). May they know Him as God and King– for, when Christ is made King of our lives, true salvation is found.

Nigeria’s True Savior

After six long weeks of delay, a champion was finally announced. Widespread, fanatical responses were had all over Nigeria: in the streets, women and men joyously celebrated the victory of their new president, “elaborately sweeping the dust” ahead of them to welcome his “flamboyantly” robed dignitaries (source). Women, in brightly colored hijabs, proclaimed his praises in an united, sing-song voice; people partaking in the celebration cried out, “Only ‘him’!” and “When ‘he’ is elected, Nigeria will go better” (source, “him” and “he” mine). Over a period of 48 hours, he became one of the most beloved, admired, revered men in all of Nigeria. And, remarkably, in only one day, his election marked a historic turn of events– surely, a great sign of growth– for democracy in the country. He seems hopeful, vigilant, and resolute in his promises. His name is Mohammadu Buhari. Continue reading