Need for Revival: Know Jesus, Know Peace

Especially at this time of the year, the world promotes “Peace on Earth.” From hearing “Silent Night” in commercials to viewing the warm, bright Christmas lights being hung up– usually in the days following Thanksgiving– all over the streets and buildings, the whole world advocates for a time of restoration, reconciliation, and peace.

But, if you have been on this earth for any amount of time, you realize that this is not the case. Actually, it is quite the opposite.

We want Peace so much because we know how chaos feels. And though the Nigerian public has put up a front, saying that there is more Peace than ever in Northern Nigeria, the truth is that Boko Haram perpetrated at least two more attacks in the past couple of weeks, causing the deaths of 50 and 60 people, respectively (source).

Not only are the attacks from Boko Haram resurgent; according to this report, approximately 235 people in Nigeria have been killed by Boko Haram in 2017, by the Bachama ethnic group, and by militias and indigenous groups causing wars between one another.

Simply put, in Nigeria– especially in Northern Nigeria– there is little to no “Peace on Earth.”

 

Over and over again, human beings have tried their best to be as righteous as they can be; aiming for true World Peace, but gravely missing the mark. We want reconciliation, wholeness, and healing. We don’t only want it; we need it. Desperately. But, age after age, we cannot do it ourselves.

Friend, this is the exact reason for why Jesus came.

A World at War

2,000 years ago, Jesus came into this world on what has been described by much of today’s culture as a perfect, silent, holy night. While this is somewhat true– in that it was definitely Holy, a day foretold by the prophets– I do not believe Jesus was born into a wonderful, peace-filled environment. In fact, the Bible describes it as something much different.

  • For one, Jesus’ birth happened in a stable, and there was no room for Mary, Joseph, or Jesus in an inn (Luke 2). He was not born into a world of luxury or possessions; immediately, he faced the elements.
  • Although this part of Christ’s birth is not usually told, and definitely not celebrated, Jesus’ birth caused a genocide of all male babies his age in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:13-18). Jesus’ earliest years were ones spent on the run, avoiding being murdered by the earthly king Herod, who felt threatened by the prophecy of “a King of the Jews.”

From the start, Jesus was not brought into a world of ease; he was brought into the world very much like those suffering horrific circumstances: on the run, amidst much despair, murder, and human war-mongering.

Think of it: Jesus’ whole life was to be spent as the ultimate sacrifice for humanity’s sin (1 John 2:2). He was ultimately born to save us from our sins. His entire earthly life and ministry was to end in a bloody, unbelievably and indescribably painful death. Because of this, Jesus knows– more than any other human– of the depth of sin, and the depth of the war that naturally ensues because of it.

But Jesus’ sacrifice is also apart of the reason He is known as the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Prophets, like Isaiah, foretold that the Messiah would cause there to be “Peace on Earth,” where “the lion [would] lay down with the lamb” (Isaiah 11:6).

Many cite this as the reason for why Jesus is not the Messiah. “If Jesus is the Messiah,” people ask, “then why is there still war?” What people fail to understand is that the Messiah was prophesied as coming two times, one time to save all of humanity and provide a way for them to know God the Father, and another to judge humanity and usher in His Kingdom of Peace (for more on this concept, I encourage you to watch this video).

The True Path to Peace

Though it has become somewhat of a cliche, it is still true: Know Jesus, Know Peace, no Jesus, no Peace. Jesus came to save those who believe on Him from God’s wrath, by being the sacrifice needed; without Him, peoples will be judged according to their own actions– and will always come up short (Romans 3:23).

 

The Peace the world needs can only come from knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (John 14:6). One cannot expect Peace and Reconciliation any other way than God’s way.

So, with this in mind, please pray for revival in Nigeria. Not just one of intense spiritual experiences, but one of coming back to adherence to the Bible, and of coming to know Jesus for the first time– or coming back to Him as their First Love, as Revelation 2:4 states.

And as we focus on praying for Peace, please ask Jesus to search your own heart, and for Him to show you where there is a lack of relational Peace, be it with Him or with others.
Ultimately, let us praise Jesus for granting us His Grace and Peace, through the Cross, the Ultimate Act of Reconciliation– and for the Peace He will one day bring.



Do you know Jesus?

A common greeting in the New Testament is “Grace and Peace to You.” It expresses that only by Grace, through Faith, are we able to receive salvation– and the Peace beyond understanding it brings. Are you resting in Jesus’ Grace and Peace, today?

Meet the God who– in perfect Love for you– came down to Earth, to bring you His free gift of Salvation and Peace, here.


Please pray for…

  • The salvation of those in Nigeria– especially those in Northern Nigeria, which is mostly muslim and indigenous in their religion.
  • For Peace. With Jesus as their King, please pray that Peace would begin to form and shape whole communities, as Christ calls all to reconciliation with Himself, and with others.
  • For Peace in your life and mine, personally. That we and others would know Jesus– and that we would live out bringing His Peace to others in every part of our lives.
  • For last, but not least, the Chibok girls– those found in the very midst of the warfare. Please pray for breakthrough for the 113 still missing– and the 163 who are still healing from their trauma. Please pray that Jesus would save, help, and protect them all, this holiday season.

 

Thank You for your prayers– Grace & Peace to you!

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The Army with the Afterlife in Mind

I read this news report, heralding the news from Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, that “the fight against Boko Haram insurgents is coming to an end.” In the report, Abubukar states “the outcome of our offensive operations showed that the fight against Boko Haram is gradually coming to an end; this, however does not mean that we should rest on our oars.” Such an amazing report can only enlighten the soul; whether or not it is completely true, the fact that significant progress is made is something to celebrate.

This celebration comes amidst recounting the horrors of Boko Haram, and all that the citizens of Northern Nigeria have been through. The New York Times did an article focusing on 18 girls who were kidnapped, and subsequently made to go on suicide missions.

As each of these young women shared their stories, it became real: the heaviness of the suicide belts on their hips; the false promises of heaven for pushing a detonator; and the IMMENSE amounts of courage– and honestly, grace from God– that it took to turn themselves in instead of following Boko Haram’s orders.

For one girl, her little brother was also made to go on a suicide mission. He was too young at the time to understand what really was going on. He was driven away on a motorbike with Boko Haram’s members; she said he never came back. Instead, the men who drove off with him came back cheering at their “success” (source).

Whether or not Sadique Abubakar’s statement is true only time and events will tell; many are already going against his words, citing many suicide bombings in the last several months including three that made headlines. But amidst this immense loss, the chief of Air Staff’s words come like a refreshing breeze in a hot, hot desert. It is a Hope for weary soldiers, continually fighting the good fight against evil and oppression.

In the same vein of thinking, Christians, especially those continuing to experience hard trials, have the Hope that one day, the pain they are going through will be over with, either upon passing away, or upon the time of Jesus’ return. Think about it: whatever you, as a Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ, are going through, right now; whatever is the content of your pain, your sighs, and your suffering; you not only have the promise that Jesus will be with you, in and through it. You also have the sure promise that one day, “every tear will be wiped away” (Revelation 21:2-4).

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'”
(Revelation 21:3-4, NIV)

 

All Christians know that their time in heaven will be like paradise; and the day His Kingdom comes is closer now, more than ever (2 Timothy 3). It’s anticipation that fills us with the urgency to tell other people about Christ.

Revelation 21 describes Heaven amazingly. Obviously, Heaven is absolutely gorgeous, something that we can only imagine until Jesus allows us to see it ourselves after death or upon His return. In all, the New Jerusalem– heaven on earth– is 1,400 miles wide, high, and long. But it’s grandeur not the only thing that makes Heaven so beautiful.

God’s Presence is Paradise

But there is perhaps one special, beautiful thing that makes heaven, heaven. Many people focus on the presence of angels in heaven, imagining heaven to be a place of white, fluffy clouds, and angels playing melodious harps. But it is SO much more than this! Heaven will be re-created, as well as Earth– and Believers will be given a new, resurrected body, as Jesus dwells with them (Revelation 21:3).

revelation 21.2-4 true

What does this all mean? Ponder the importance of having a sun, a moon, and, for the Believer, a place of worship. Sure, we can worship anywhere we want as Believers; but the place of worship is where one meets with God. These verses are saying that in Heaven, God’s Presence with His Children is all we need. So it is, here; but God will dwell with His People, and God’s glory will be made most manifest, like never before. It is the magnitude of God’s Presence that makes Heaven, Heaven.

 

The Kingdom of Heaven is Near

In a mysterious way, that I admit I do not still quite understand, we are to ask Jesus to bring His Kingdom and Rule to earth (Matthew 6:10). The mind-blowing part: He does this through us! We, Believers in Jesus Christ, are able to experience the Presence of God in this moment– and are being used by Jesus to bring His Kingdom– “The Kingdom of Heaven”– to earth, starting now.

Jesus is with us, now; and, one day, we will live in the Presence of God, void of sin, pain, and death (Revelations 21:27). We will be given resurrected bodies, just like Jesus, and will live in a new Heaven on a new Earth (1 Corinthians 15).

We can be told these things, over and over again. But do they actually shape the way we live on a daily basis? 
Does the fact that all sin, and its consequences, will be banished away, give us realchange the way we live Hope and Comfort?
Does the fact that we will be given new, resurrected bodies, and a new Heaven and earth, make us look at the world around us, differently?
Does the fact that we will be with Jesus, in unhindered fellowship, give you Peace about your future?
And lastly, does the fact that time is running out– and that Heaven is real– give you an urgency about bringing others to Jesus?

With all of these beautiful promises of God in mind, we must live our lives with a sense of urgency, leading as many people as possible to know Jesus, and to enter into His Rest. The struggle is almost over; for those who believe in Jesus, this is a huge relief. But, for those who do not know Jesus, there is a sense of mockery and/or dread in their hearts…

Just as the soldiers fighting in Nigeria, Niger and Chad are fighting the war on terrorism, so are the people of God fighting evil. As we await the end of this war on evil, and struggle almost overanticipate a time of true Peace and complete Newness, we have a sure Hope: “the war is over soon.” Not only this, but we have a Commander who will see us through– one who has already secured the victory! On that day when this world and everything in it passes away, may we have lived in the power of the Holy Spirit in such a way that our Great, Loving Commander says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).



“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”
(Acts 1:9-12, NIV)

“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”
(Acts 7:55, NIV)

So many people today ask the question, “How can I get to heaven?”
Doing good things comes to mind; attending a place of worship, reading holy texts, and generally “being a good person” is usually the world’s answer to such a question.

But if this were true, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross– and His resurrection three days later, followed by His ascension to heaven– is entirely useless.

The Truth is, nothing we can do– no matter how “good” or “moral” it may be– can “get us to heaven.” Believing in Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior, is the ONLY way.

Find out more about Jesus, and why His death and resurrection were completely needed, here.



Please pray for…

  • For the Chibok school girls. As 113 of them are in physical bondage, and countless others are reeling from the PTSD and trauma they have experienced, that they would run to, and come to know Jesus– and that He would set them free.
  • The militaries of Niger, Nigeria, Chad, and Benin, as well as the rest of the world’s armies fighting terrorism and evil. Please pray that these men and women would come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and would not only be in an earthly army, but in the LORD’s army.
  • Those Christians, especially missionaries and those traveling to share the Gospel, for strength, that they might put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6; this will be spoken about in future posts.). That they would continue to fight evil on all fronts.
  • For those who are being persecuted. “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3). Please pray that Jesus continues to keep them strong in His Love, and that they would not turn away from Him!
  • For ourselves; those around us that are going through deep personal trial and anguish, that Jesus would bring them His Hope, Comfort, and most importantly, that His Presence in their lives would make them strong in Him.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support. Jesus bless you all.

 

Sharing Christ: The Path to True Peace

They have done it again.
Again, Boko Haram has pillaged, stolen, and de-stabilized.

On Wednesday, June 7th, Boko Haram razed parts of Maiduguri, killing “at least 14 people,” according to VOA News’ news article. In the attack, gunned Boko Haram members and suicide bombers attacked the innocent men and women of Maiduguri. It is the first attack made by Boko Haram in 18 months, almost 6 months after President Buhari claimed that the group is “technically defeated.”

Abubukar Shekau, the leader of a faction of Boko Haram, had shocking words for those watching the video Boko Haram published not long after.

“We are hale and hearty, contrary to claims that we have been killed… God has enriched us with the arms and ammunition on display, and we shall deploy such weapons we seized against you… There is no dialogue between us, only fire for fire.”
(source, VOA News)

These people believe that God has given them victory. And they have killed again.

 

As if this violence were not enough, a horrific mass shooting on republican representatives was had yesterday, on June 14th, 2017. The shooting, happening in Alexandria, Virginia, has left Congressman Steve Scalise in critical condition.

 

The violence in Northeast Nigeria causes one to ask… who is God to those who believe these things? Who is God to a muslim?

To muslims, God is almighty, but far off. While one can know His Will, they cannot evercannot know him truly know Him, Himself (source). This fact, in and of itself, is a thing to be deeply pitied for those who believe in “allah.” But when one thinks about it, everyone who does not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ does not know God, and cannot ever know God apart from Christ. 

Jesus is the One who taught that to hate someone in one’s heart is to kill them; and, sadly, the horrific shooting had in Virginia has displayed just how angry and violent a person can be. People’s need to know Christ is, now more than ever, a very heavy, relevant, real subject.

Every person reading this, including even those publishing it, knows at least one person who does not know Christ. While the islamic religion is a very false, sad one in that it keeps people from knowing God personally, the idea that many people– not just those with hijabs on– are being kept from knowing God by faulty religion, sin, and/or simply their own unbelief is cause for much sorrow, too.

The only real solution to this violence has always been, and will always be, Jesus Christ. People NEED to know Him. And for people to know Him, He must be shared by those who already know Him.

It was the apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, who wrote in Romans, “How, then, can already know himthey call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them” (Romans 10:14)? We are the Light of the world; a city on a hill cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14-16).

When a person shares Christ, they are sharing the ONLY way to Peace with God the Father, through Christ: the only way to true Peace.

Amidst the violence happening, in both Northeast Nigeria, America (and the rest of the world, for that matter), who is Christ putting on your heart to reach out to with the Gospel? Let the Holy Spirit do His Work in and through you, and reach out to that person, today. After all, no one knows when it may be too late.



Do you know Jesus?

2,000 years ago, Jesus stepped on the scene of a very lost and broken people.
Crippled by the law, and lost, without a hope in the world as the Apostle Paul says (Ephesians 2:12), mankind needed a Savior from the mess they had gotten themselves into.

Jesus was, still is, and will forever be, that Savior. Read more about Him, and meet Him today. Click here.


Please pray with me…

“Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for the ability to know You. Thank You that You did it all, so that we might live, and know You personally.
Dear Jesus, we pray that you would fortify Northern Nigeria, and keep it from harm– both physically and spiritually. We ask that You would please bring Your Good News to those in Norther Nigeria who have never heard it, and are in bondage to false religion, sin, and unbelief.
Please fortify the soldiers in Northern Nigeria as well; they can only truly win life’s battles with You, dear Jesus. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7). We pray this over the soldiers in Nigeria, and all over the world, Father God.

Dear Lord Jesus,
Please defeat the members of Boko Haram– not so that they would die in their sin, but so that they would be humbled and come to know You, the One, True Living God.

Dear Jesus, we also pray over America. Father God, America, Nigeria, and the entire world needs to come back to You. Please forgive us for our sin and turning away from You; we now ask that You would give us another chance, and that there would be mass revival! Send us out, Father God. Help us to be Loving and Brave as we share You with our neighbors.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.”

Thank you for your prayers!!! Please continue to pray for the Chibok girls, that they would be found, as there are 113 young women left in captivity.

 

Prayer for Day 3 of GLOBAL WEEK OF ACTION: #3YearsTooLong #NoMoreExcuses #BringBackHisGirls

This week, Bring Back Our Girls is having a Global Week of Action, where they are commemorating the third anniversary of the Chibok Schoolgirls Kidnapping, which happened on April 14th, 2017. They are demanding during this week that there would be #NoExcuses, and that the Chibok Girls would be found, freed, and brought back home.

As apart of this Global Week of Action, ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY has decided to pray each day for the Chibok girls; ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY also wanted to highlight the different events going on in Nigeria and around the world for these girls.

Today, the Bring Back Our Girls movement will be marching (as they will be every day), and also had a Workshop on Missing Person’s Register at 10 AM in Yar-Adua Center in Nigeria. To see more of what is planned for this week, feel free to visit the Bring Back Our Girls’ website!

In light of all of this, let’s pray.

“Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for being present with us, wherever we are,  however we are, and whenever we are. You are “Emmanuel”: “God With Us.” Thank You for this amazing privilege!

Dear Jesus,
We pray over the Chibok school girls; we thank You, that they are all alive (source), and that You are still working in their lives. 
Dear Jesus, 
We pray in Your Name that these Chibok school girls would be filled with Your Joy, Hope, and Peace, as they come to know You– and that this Joy, Hope and Peace would not be able to be stolen from them.
Please protect these things in Your Name, Lord Jesus, 
and please, give their families, loved ones, and all who care about them this same Peace, Hope, and Joy, as they look to You to save and deliver the Chibok girls.
We trust You, Lord Jesus.
We ask in Your Name, along with the Bring Back Our Girls’ protesters, that they would be brought soon, and alive.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.”

Thank You for your prayers– May Jesus bless you! 🙂

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.

Continue reading

He Owns the Dust: Aware and Strong in Christ

Just as the dust settled, it was flung back up again by the hurried, panicked, quick steps of those who ran for their lives from Boko Haram’s latest attacks. Gathering what and whom they could, they ran from the violence as the insurgency shot at Nigerian militia. Like an ominous mass of demonic monsters, Boko Haram came in droves, shocking the people with their huge numbers, coming to take back what was once so evilly theirs. As the terrorists ascended, they brought with them the very things the Nigerian townspeople were trying to do away with, to forget: panic, incredulous fear, and the deep, haunting emotional trauma that scarred their hearts and minds. Just as victory was imminent, and freedom and relief were becoming a reality, Boko Haram’s vicious attacks upon the Nigerian people expressed one disheartening, somber truth: that though a severely heavy, horrible darkness has been lifted from them, the fight against such a malicious enemy and ideology is never truly over. Continue reading

Two is Better than One: The Courage to Forgive in Christ Alone

Edit: During the writing of this post, the Lord revealed one thing to me: while I was faithful in writing about many different prayer needs in Nigeria, Africa, and the people of it, I’ve been silent– both online and, sadly, in real life– on the many CRAZY, SIMPLY AWE-INSPIRING things Christ has done over the past year or so, especially in the last few months!!! Here I’ve been, praying for the freedom of the Chibok girls and the many other captives of the Boko Haram, but I haven’t spent time REJOICING in the fact that nearly 700 WOMEN AND GIRLS HAVE BEEN RESCUED BY THE NIGERIAN MILITARY FROM BOKO HARAM!!! This freedom is beautiful– more beautiful than one could express with words, though I pray the Lord gives me the words to sufficiently express it. Take some time today to PRAISE JESUS FOR THE AMAZING WAYS HE HAS ANSWERED PRAYER!!! Praise Him! Hallelujah!


The fights, long-held grievances and under-the-breath comments erupted into a riot like a domestic natural gas explosion. While the community seemed fine enough on the surface, just as natural gas has little to no visible qualities, one could sense the tension in the air: in the hot, arid heat of April, the scent– and sense– of violence could be noticeably felt and smelt. Continue reading