On Envy & Bitterness

Proverbs 13:12 wisely says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Oh, how true this is, in so many ways. I think we all know the feeling of wanting something so much—and then having it removed from our grasp, held just inches away from us as we strive and stretch for it with all of our might. As we stare at this Hope we have had, just outside of our reach, our hearts adopt a feeling of deep, deep grief. It threatens to consume us whole; and we seemingly cannot help but nurse the ache within us.

So much of this is unfortunately true for the Chibok girls, and those like them—people who have had their freedom, happiness, and lives as free men ripped away from them.  The Humanitarian Aid Group “Doctors Without Borders” had to leave the area in Rann, Nigeria, because of Boko Haram terrorism, temporarily leaving desperate families in the region without aid.1 It has been two weeks since the Dapchi girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram2; meanwhile, the Chibok girls who have been found/freed are facing extreme stigma and obstacles to reintegrating into society3. These young women represent thousands of other people kidnapped and harmed by Boko Haram: people who are being failed by their own government, and people who are being mercilessly kicked while they are down.

Is there no respite for these people? Is there no Justice, no relief, no refuge for these victims of such brazen crimes?

It’s easy, under these circumstances, to fall into hatred, resentment, and bitterness about the failures of those around these people. Having a hope deferred is something that is not foreign to me. I know full well that, out of having a Hope deferred, resentment and even envy can rise up within my own heart towards those who seem to have the very thing I feel I need—and I would venture to say that this is a common, human problem (at least, I hope it is!).

Though, no matter how common or understandable this phenomenon of resentment & envy may be, it does not take away the truth that it is evil and sinful. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” (v. 4). While jealousy and envy are not the same thing, they go hand in hand. Jealousy, wrath, and anger are three very harmful things (Proverbs 27:4). Envy is the result of idolatry in our hearts; it’s for this reason that God forbids us to “covet” in the ten commandments (Exodus 20:17).

What’s more, we believe that if we hang on to resentment, we are holding whatever/whomever has caused us pain hostage until “they pay up.” This is a lie that only keeps us in a place of bitter pain—and causes much more bitter pain for others. “Hurt people hurt people,” as the old adage says.

How to Overcome It

We all get it. Jealousy and envy are bad, and incredibly damaging to our souls, lives, relationships, and most importantly, our relationship with God. But, as Proverbs 27 expresses, it can seem unescapable and consuming. How can one fully honor and obey Christ, even when everything within them screams no?!

Truthfully, the lie of envy and resentment usually (if not always) says, “God is not good,” and, at times concerning envy, “He is holding out on me.” These two lies are the source of all anger, resentment, and envy. But, when we come and surrender to Christ, He is the One who changes our desires where necessary, and helps us through.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7, NIV)

I admit that I just said about Christ helping us through sounds very trite. Yet, it is nonetheless true. When we feel alone, it is Christ who says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5-6) [source]. When we feel we are in lack of something, it is in turning to Jesus that we are reminded, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing (Psalm 23:1, NIV).

When we come to Christ with our resentment– with how we honestly feel that He is holding out on us– Jesus breaks down this lie– and free us from the resentment, anger, and disappointment we may poignantly feel. It is Jesus’ Will not that we stay locked up in a bitter, envious, angry darkness that “rots the bones,” as Proverbs 14:30 says; but that we come to the Light, to Him for healing. It is there that we will receive His counsel, His rebuke where necessary, and His comforting strength that points to our idolatry and heals the deeper, harmful lie we have been holding on to in our heart of hearts. It is this place that Jesus wants to heal and bring restoration to—even if the only way for it to ever come up is to recognize our intense bitterness.

It’s true. This world is full of evil; and, as such, hurt and broken people can become very bitter and resentful toward whatever has caused them their pain, even becoming bitter toward life itself.

The people, especially the women, of Northern Nigeria, have a lot to resent and become bitter over. They have seemingly been left alone, unaided, shamed and stigmatized for something that was never their fault to begin with.

But we all know that nursing bitterness and envy only creates a vicious cycle of violence and decay, in every sense of the word. So, may these women, in their desperation and pain, come to Jesus for healing only He can provide. May we all.

Do you know Jesus?

God said to Joshua in Joshua 1:5, “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”

Do you want God to be with you—to never leave or forsake you? It’s true that God is omnipotent; and therefore, He is always with us. But it is a different matter to know Jesus personally—and to know that He will never, ever leave you, no matter what.

Learn more about Jesus—this God who wants to have a personal relationship with you, personally—here.

Please pray for (print out a Prayer sheet, here)…

  • The Dapchi girls. Just like the Chibok girls, these 110 young women were kidnapped two weeks ago from Dapchi, Nigeria. Please pray for them to be rescued and freed, soon.
  • The Chibok girls. Please pray for their soon return!
  • For the Chibok girls, and other girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, struggling to be reintegrated back into society. Pray that walls would be broken, and that Jesus would bring these young women to Himself, and that they would experience liberation.
  • That “Doctors without Borders” would be able to return to Northern Nigeria, especially Rann, to continue to give humanitarian aid to those who are desperate.
  • That those who resent others in their lives would find freedom in forgiveness, as they bring it to Christ.
  • Reflect: Where are you harboring envy, jealousy, or resentment? Submit to Jesus and ask Him to heal those parts of your life, today.

Thank you for your prayers

1 https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/03/03/590550649/aid-group-pulls-out-of-nigerian-town-following-deadly-suspected-boko-haram-attac

2 https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/03/photos-dapchi-escapees/

3 https://qz.com/1220746/boko-harams-kidnapped-girls-turn-accused-on-returning-home-in-nigeria/



Changes Are a Comin’

Hey friends!

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
(Matthew 6:5-15, NKJV)

“It’s not about the eloquent words– but about the prayer itself.”

This is something Jesus has been teaching me, as of late– especially regarding this blog. A few days ago, as I sat with Him in the quiet, my focus concerning this blog was re-oriented; and with it, Jesus gave me some great ideas to initiate here on ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY.

He led me to focus more on this blog’s purpose, in the beginning, and to really go after it (as taken from the blog’s “About” page):
1) To continue to pray for the girls’ safe release from these Boko Haram camps,
2) To continue to be updated/ update others on the state of this situation, the church of Nigeria, and Nigeria as a whole,
and 3) To, as Isaiah 62:6-7 states, advocate for the Chibok girls, as well as to encourage world-wide prayer for the state of Nigeria, the Church of Nigeria, and all of Nigeria’s kidnappees so that other believers may “have no rest, and give the Lord no rest until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the Earth.”

Because of this, I have decided I wanted to start these things:

  1. More prayer-focused resources for you, the reader. Instead of just writing about the Chibok girls, Northern Nigeria, Boko Haram, displaced peoples, those fighting Boko Haram, etc., I want to help you, the reader, have a more precise, straightforward, practical aid in praying for all the topics mentioned above. Part of this includes “Prayer Points” with each post: printable PDFs or Word Documents regarding the different prayer requests brought up in each blog post, so that you can be aided in praying for the things mentioned, as you are led. This could also include different resource pages, as well as updating and improving current resource pages (like The Names & Pictures). These printable “prayer points” could be done weekly, but I am not sure about that yet, as things like that can easily become legalistic for me.
  2. More posts just focused on the Chibok girls and their situation. News about them can be written about more frequently, like the fact that many Chibok girls are now going to school! I would like to write more about them explicitly, and ask prayer for them in a more detailed manner.
  3. I have edited/polished the “Do You Know Jesus?” Page. I wanted to keep this more up to date, reading as excellently as possible (and prayerfully, by the power of the Holy Spirit, bringing people to Jesus!).
  4. I have decided that I want the month of March to be especially dedicated to praying for the Chibok girls. More details about this, soon.
  5. I want to further encourage prayer for the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls specifically, so I will be posting a page/post on a group of Chibok girls readers can pray for, weekly.
  6. To let my local community know more about the Chibok schoolgirls, and to encourage prayer and advocacy for them, I may try to put together an art show for the art I have created that surrounds them. We will see; I would need lots of help, but I want to make good on this! 🙂
    contact final

    A portion of a piece of art I have created, Untitled, concerning the Chibok girls, and stating Bible Verses Christ has given me about their release.

    7. may change the blog’s overall theme! I am not 100% on this yet, but it’s an idea.


What do you guys think of these changes? Readers, I need your help!!! Do you have any other ideas for this blog? Any compliments/constructive criticism about it?? I’d love to hear from you!

As always, thank you for your prayers, and for reading what my silly heart and mind have to say! I love and appreciate you all! 🙂

Praying for Vegas: Vengeance is the Lord’s

praying for las vegas

Many of you have already heard about the horrific shooting that occurred on Sunday night, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
For those of you who have not, on Sunday night, a man shot at a crowd of 22,000 people who were attending a Country Music Festival from his hotel window. 59 people and counting passed away, while over 520 were injured according to the New York Times.

This shooting is the deadliest in US history. But just a week ago, Brunette Chapel Church of Christ suffered a shooting in Antioch, Tennessee, caused by the gunman wanting to seek vengeance for the Charleston, South Carolina shooting that happened in 2015.

It reminds me of the passage found in Luke 21.

And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won’t follow immediately.” Then he added, “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven.”
(Luke 21:9-11, NLT)

The fact that the Bible is clear about increasing violence– and violent people, as seen in 2 Timothy 3– does not make its reality any easier to bear.

The “dog-eat-dog,” “eye-for-an-eye” vengeful attitude of this world is not new; in fact, the idea of getting vengeance is as old as sin nature, itself.
In the Old Testament, this idea of justice is found in Exodus 21:23-27, where any injury is told to be recompensed by inflicting the same injury onto the criminal who committed the crime.

“But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”
(Exodus 21:23-25, NASB)

Isn’t this how all of us think, in our sinful flesh?
And, if I may suggest it ever so carefully, it is the way we feel about any personal or social injustice we experience.

Especially ones like these– where the victims were innocent, and the perpetrators calculated their attacks in a cold-blooded, evil way. What are we to do, when our hearts become nothing short of smashed to pieces, and we are forced to live with the baggage that such trauma brings?

This is the state that mankind was in after the Fall of Genesis 3; and this is the state of affairs Jesus stepped into. Mankind dealing ruthlessly with one another, getting both mad and “even” with those who wronged them.

What did Jesus say to His Followers?
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
(Matthew 5:38-42, NIV)

What is Jesus saying here? Is Jesus commanding His followers to be wimpy doormats, wearing contrived smiles as they are deeply hurt by others? Not so. The Amplified Version of the Bible gives a little more insight:

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth [punishment that fits the offense].’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person [who insults you or violates your rights]; but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other toward him also [simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise]. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also [for the Lord repays the offender]. And whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.”
(Matthew 5:38-42, AMP)

Jesus was not talking about letting oneself stay in a dangerous, abusive situation, all in the name of Forgiveness and Peace. Jesus is commanding, as God Himself (as He is not saying “Thus saith the Lord,” but rather, “I say to you”), that His Disciples be ones that leave the vengeance and retaliation to Him.

Please listen. I am not at all trying to diminish the demonic, terrifying event that forever changed thousands of lives Sunday night. I am not trying to say that, because Jesus asks His followers to forgive and put vengeance in His Hands, that the church, school, club, and festival shootings in America, as well as the violence going on in Northern Nigeria, are somehow less heinous. These are not “small offenses.” That would be nothing short of insanely inconsiderate. The blood has spurted. The tears have flowed. And millions, even billions of people on this earth are going through all sorts of trauma that is not their fault.

But instead of trying to get even, I pray that we would look to the cross.
A place where the most innocent, perfect man’s blood, spurted (John 19:34).
Where cold-blooded, evil men, blinded by their own self-righteous pride, planned to kill this most innocent of men (Matthew 26:3-4).
Where the sins of you and I fell upon Him (Isaiah 53:5)–
And where Christ did not recant, or come down off the cross, like He could have (Matthew 26:53).

Instead, “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots” (Luke 23:34, NIV).

I don’t think Jesus asks us to somehow lessen or justify the hurt we have gone through, in order to forgive and let go. That would not be true forgiveness.

Jesus looked EVERYTHING that was done to Him, in the eye, and chose, in obedience to His Heavenly Father, to forgive.

The pain and heartbreak is overwhelming right now. I can’t help but look at the blood being spilled in Northern Nigeria, where little girls are being used as sex slaves and human bombs, without being outraged… and I can’t look at the pictures of the carnage in Las Vegas, or Charleston, or Florida, or Antioch in Tennessee without crying, knowing that these people now must live with what they have experienced.

But, followers, vengeance is the LORD’s. We are not to retaliate, even against the most heinous abuses. We are to lay our arms down, and do our fighting in prayer– prayer for the victims, and, if I may be so bold, for the perpetrator, as well (Ephesians 6:12; Luke 6:28).

I get it. Everything within us wants the man who shot these people to burn in hell, as we do those who have perpetrated such evil and violence in Nigeria, for good reason.

But, I pray, in all of this, that we would choose to turn in our pain, not to violence, but to Jesus.

Because, only He, this Mighty, Compassionate God, can render true justice– and heal the wounds.

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
(Romans 12:19, NIV)

“[Jesus] did not recant; [He] didn’t take it back.” — “Loved My Heart to Death, by Shane & Shane. Watch the music video here.

This blogpost is in tribute to every person who passed away in the Las Vegas Mass Shooting. Our prayers, love, and support are with them and all of their loved ones. To support the victims of this shooting, please donate to this GoFundMe Page (not at all affiliated or set up by ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY.)

Do you know Jesus?

When talking about the wrath of God, many people today would say, “How could a Loving God dish out wrath on humankind?”
But, in light of such horrific events as this mass shooting, or, in the horrific event of Boko Haram kidnapping and abusing young women, it becomes clear that the wages of sin– even the smallest of sins– is death (Romans 6:23).

Jesus didn’t begrudgingly go to the cross, to pay for your sin. Hebrews 12:2 says that, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame…”.

But the joy was NOT hanging on that cross; we, those who are able to have a personal relationship with Jesus, God Himself, were that Joy.

Jesus didn’t have to die for your sins, and take on the just wrath of God the Father– but He did it, willingly. That is how much He Loves you.

Learn more about the One and Only True God, wrapped in Human flesh, who is crazy about you, here.

Please pray with me…

“Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for forgiving us. When we were against You, You were So Loving to us that You died the worst death possible, and took on the wrath of God that we deserved. Jesus, we pray over ourselves. Each and every heart that is hurting, to some to degree, as they have watched the violence, injustice, and sorrow unfold: Jesus, You see it all, every tear, every sigh, every scream. 
We pray over these people, who have lost their beloved friends, husbands, wives, lovers, sisters, brothers, mothers, and fathers. We pray over each survivor of this attack. Lord Jesus, please comfort these hearts with the fact that true Justice belongs to You– and that You are near to them, in this time (Psalm 34:18). 

Dear Jesus,
We want this man to pay, and pay eternally. We want those who have done such incredulous things to pay heartily for what they have done. Thank You, Jesus, for giving us the emotion of anger– but it becomes sin so quickly, Lord Jesus. Jesus, we know that You do not want us to retaliate, or let this anger become something sinful. Help us to take our pain to You, and to not let it burn over into sin, our own lives and the lives of others.

Lord Jesus, we pray against anyone who somehow wants to commit similar actions as these men have. We pray against the demonic powers and principalities in this world that drive such evil and violence in these last days. Dear Jesus, please help us to be faithful Peacemakers in a world that loves violence. Help us to be real, and to offer real, lasting Hope to others that can only be found in You.

Dear Jesus, we pray against the corruption going on in Nigeria. In Your Name, we pray that You would bring perpetrators to the ground, and humble them. May the perpetrators of all of these crimes come to You, Jesus. 

Please come back, soon.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,

Being Truly Blessed: Uncovering the Lies of the Prosperity Gospel in Nigeria

Many in this world– dare I include Christians– believe that one is more blessed when they have more influence, material goods, money, and power. If this is true, then those currently suffering a lack of their basic necessities must lack Christ, right?

Wrong. While sin can end in bad circumstances, as I look at “prosperity doctrine” churches, especially ones in which health and wealth are equated with “more faith,” my heart is broken. Why? Because those who believe in and follow these doctrines are not grasping the fact that Jesus had no health, wealth and prosperity on this Earth. In fact, Jesus is described in Isaiah 53 in this way:

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. …He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
(Isaiah 53:3,7,9, NIV)

Yes, it is true that “by His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5); and yes, Jesus took on the wrath of God for our sin, so that we would not have to. And don’t get me wrong; to be prosperous and happy in this life is not necessarily bad, in and of itself (1 Timothy 6:17).

But why does the fact that Jesus healed us of our sin problem, bearing our sin and shame, automatically turn into a feeling of entitlement over material possessions and earthly prosperity? At the heart of it all, Jesus gave the standard for those who would be apart of His Kingdom, in the Sermon on the Mount.

Just like us, the disciples had their own idea of what it would be like to follow Jesus: Jesus would set up his physical, earthly reign on the earth, and bring justice to all Israel. They thought Jesus would appoint men– themselves, the 12 disciples– to rule in high positions, in this earthly kingdom. This can be seen in Matthew 20, when the mother of James and John asked Jesus to put her sons in the highest ranking positions in the land, right next to Him. The disciples expected fame, money, and power for following Jesus, up until the point of the Sermon on the Mount.

Expecting this kind of prosperity, the 12 disciples must have been completely shocked when they heard what Jesus said during the Beatitudes.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”
(Matthew 5:3-10, NIV)

The end of the Sermon on the Mount says, “the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as the teachers of the law” (Matthew 7:28-29, NIV). I can only imagine the shock and amazement of the disciples and the people listening.

Instead of cursing others as the Pentateuch and Talmud described, Jesus was blessing (“Sermon on the Mount,” Jen Wilkin). Instead of praising the religious leaders and their lifestyle, Jesus blessed those who knew they had no righteousness in and of themselves, and needed a Savior: those “poor in spirit.” Instead of creating an earthly reign in His first coming, where His disciples would be given earthly power and blessing, Jesus revealed that those who are without self-righteousness, grieved over their sin, seeking out God, and wanting His Will– not their own– would have the Kingdom of Heaven. Not to mention being persecuted for righteousness’ (Jesus’) sake!

This idea of prosperity on Earth reminds me of a lot of the church doctrine in southern Nigeria, today. (To be fair, I have never been to Nigeria; I only know what I observe from news articles and church advertisements seen online.) In fact, it reminds me of the whole world, and the way it works: the better you look, the more fame and power you have= the better you must be blessed by God. I have even heard someone say that “God has left Africa,” because of how corrupt the state of affairs are, there.

But here, Jesus is saying something precious to His disciples. Blessed are those who know they need me. Blessed are those who submit themselves to My Will for their lives, though it may very well cause pain. Blessed are those persecuted because they love and follow me, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus blesses all people (Matthew 5:45). But what Jesus is saying here, is that in reality, those who are truly blessed are the cast out, the ugly, the needy, and the broken.
Blessed are the underdogs. (Luke 18:35-43)
Blessed are those who are saddened by their sin. (Luke 18:12-14)
Blessed are those who are desperate for Jesus to intervene. (Matthew 5:9-10)

Why? Because these are the people who run to Jesus, and are blessed by the Salvation, Fellowship, Comfort, Joy, Purpose, and Transformation that only He can give.

In reality, Jesus has given us far more than anything this world can give: Eternal Life.

Friends, Jesus has NOT left Africa.
As millions of children have been orphaned,
As countless men, women and children have been left homeless,
and as numerous soldiers, militia men, and vigilantes fight a weary, seemingly never-ending battle against Boko Haram,
Jesus has NOT abandoned those who have called upon His Name.

And friend, even if you are in a horrific situation, He has not left or abandoned you, either.

As we watch the world continually get worse and worse, let us remember this truth: that Jesus’ blessing doesn’t just come from the fair-weather, prosperous times in life.
Perhaps, the greatest blessing of all comes when we are down on our knees, seeking Him desperately. May we find Him in both places.

Do you know Jesus?

He was despised and rejected—
    a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
    He was despised, and we did not care.
(Isaiah 53:3, New Living Translation)

It is true: many people have become Christians because they believed their lives would grow extremely prosperous, in an earthly kind of way.

Perhaps you are a person who doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ. Looking at the western church today, it would be hard to look at the words of Isaiah 53:3 and believe that this is what Jesus Christ is truly described as. The church today is chalk full of hypocrites, and I will be the first to admit that at many times, I have not been a person who rightly represents Jesus Christ.

But, if you do not believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I challenge you: Look past the church at large; look past the hypocrites. Go straight to the source of Real Truth– The Bible. I suggest starting in the book of John.

If you have never known Jesus, or heard about why He is so important, read more, here.

Please pray with me…
“Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for continuing to Love us, despite the fact that we so often miss the mark. Forgive us for trying to seek pleasure and money as the fulfillment that only You can provide. Forgive us for so often feeling entitled to having things go our way, when in reality, You have blessed us with far more than anything we could want on Earth.

Dear Jesus,
Please help us to be grateful for every good and beautiful thing You bring our way.
Please bless those who are seeking You with more of You; change our desires to Yours, dear Jesus.
Please help us to thoroughly enjoy everything You have put in our lives, but don’t let them become idols.

Dear Lord Jesus,
We pray for those in Northern Nigeria who are struggling greatly. Please, bring these people to know You. Please do not let them believe these lies, and remind & strengthen them with the Fact that You are WITH those who call upon You, always.

Let us draw near to You, dear Jesus.
In Jesus’ Name we pray,

Thank you for your prayers. ❤

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! 🙂

“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.

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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