Looking Back at Prophecy: God is Faithful!

On May 14th, 1948, Israel—a land that had been conquered and ravaged after the Israelites’ diaspora—became a country once again.

The world was in shock. But for those who know the Bible, it was just another prophecy coming to pass: a prophecy found in Ezekiel 36 and 37, explaining that the nation of Israel would one day the Hebrews would return to the land and that Israel would be rebuilt (source). Though seemingly extraordinary, this event coming to pass was just another situation where God kept His Word.

In a sermon by Amir Tsarfati, another amazing thing was brought up that I wanted to highlight. Most Christians know the passage in Ezekiel that most call “The Valley of Dry Bones.” For those who do not, this passage of scripture is in Ezekiel 37; in it, Ezekiel is in a valley of dry bones, and God asks him, “Son of man, can these bones live?” Ezekiel replies, “Sovereign Lord, You alone know” (Ezekiel 37:1-3).

God tells Ezekiel to speak and prophesy over the dead bones, saying that He will bring them back to life (Ezekiel 37:4-6). Shockingly, the bones are resurrected; flesh is put back on them, and God gives them the breath of life. This can sound zombie-ish, I know– but God goes farther than making half-dead, zombie-like creatures. He literally brings them back fully from the dead as human people!

breath

Why do I say all of this? Because God promised to bring life where there was once death; but Amir Tsarfati pointed to one way in which this true as he spoke today, and it’s a way I had never thought of before; a way that blew my mind and strengthened my faith.

In the 1940’s, 6 million Jews were placed into Nazi concentration camps, made to do forced labor to death. Whoever didn’t die from the hard work and lack of nourishment was gassed or tortured, sometimes used in medical experiments. Many, if not all of these people, became literal skin and bones.

dachausurvivor2

Courtesy of Jewish Virtual Library

But there are many Jews in those camps who evaded death and Nazi Germany, and later make full recoveries. These were the Jews who came back to Israel in 1948—Jews in the Diaspora. Dry bones, brought back from the brink of death to life.

As I heard Tsarfati speak about this, it placed more faith in me. God took so many, just as Ezekiel prophesied THOUSANDS of years ago, from death, and brought them back to life. The life of those who were only dry bones, resurrected.

It reminds me: God will do what He says He will do. There’s no stopping Him, though it seems that He is being stopped right now.

look

So, look up, friend: Jesus is coming soon! His purposes win out in the end. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess Him as Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

He will bring out the captives, and give freedom to those in oppression (Isaiah 49:26-Isaiah 62).
Do you trust that He is capable?
Do you trust that He knows what is good and what is bad?
Do you trust that He will always keep His Word?

philippians

Christ can do anything, friend. And He has told us what He will do in His Word.

I encourage you to subscribe to Behold Israel with Amir Tsarfati, who loves speaking about eschatology and end-times. It will blow your mind and encourage your heart.

What promises has Christ made to you that you are holding on to, right now? Where has God been incredibly faithful to you?

The Chibok girls will not be held captive forever, of that I am confident. I am also confident that He has Leah Sharibu in the palm of His Mighty, Sovereign Hands. I can rest in His Might. Can you?
Let’s trust Him, and rest.


Do you know Jesus?

Anyone who takes a good look at Bible prophecy will see that the Bible can be trusted.

But there is one thing, one event, that is of the utmost importance when speaking about Bible Prophecy, and that is the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Learn more about Jesus, and why He can be fully trusted, here.


Please pray for…

  • The Chibok girls. Pray that they would know the Truth, and that they would be free.
  • Leah Sharibu. Pray that she would be protected and freed.
  • Those who are currently suffering. May they cling to Jesus and His Promises.
  • The families of these young women, men and children in captivity. Pray that they do not lose hope.

Thank you for your prayers!!

 

 

Encouraging Verses: Remember God’s Promises for You!

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
(Isaiah 55:11, KJV)

“Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23, KJV)

A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:20-21, KJV)

~ Remember and speak aloud Jesus’ promises for you! His Word will never be returned void; He is trustworthy. ~


Learn more about Jesus, the God who does not change, here.

Please pray for…

  • Those believers who need to know Jesus is for them. Perhaps this is you; may you be comforted by knowing that Christ is for you, not against you. (This is not saying that Jesus must do everything we want, or that He is a genie. But He Loves you– trust Him to do what His Word says He will do.)
  • The families of the Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu. Find the girls’ names, here.

Thank you for your prayers!!!

Part 2 of 2: Staying Near the River of Living Water

Find part one of this message here!

If I am honest, I a lot of the time do not run straight to Jesus to fill me up– and a lot of the time, I foolishly blame Him for the lack of fulfillment I feel in those other “cisterns.” It’s hard, because many different desires we have are Godly, and God-given; yet, they can become our “all in all” so quickly. What causes us to turn from Christ so quickly (or come to Him last)? Continue reading

He Will Provide

Twenty-one. Twenty-one people, no longer on this earth. It was reported Monday that because of Boko Haram violence, twenty-one people lost their lives1. Whether shot, or blown up by a landmine, these are people who will never see the light of day on earth, ever again. Continue reading

The Resurrection & The Life

Today, early this morning, Reverend Billy Graham passed away to be with Jesus, the One who he had preached about for forty plus years.
As we pray for his family, loved ones, and those who are grieving Him– and anyone else today– I just wanted to say this: Jesus is so good. Because, as I was reading in my devotional today, I read about how Jesus says of Himself, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life– the One who believes in Me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25-26, NIV). If you’d like, you can read this incredibly beautiful passage of scripture in John 11 here.

I read about how diagnoses, divorces, pain, and even death do not have the final word– only Jesus does.

About how, even if we don’t see any fruit from the anguished prayers we’ve been praying for days, months, and years on this side of heaven, that we can still trust Jesus to be faithful to His Promises. 

That idea is scary, and heart-wrenching. That everything we have labored for may never actually be seen by us; and that Jesus could answer those prayers in the way we desperately hope He wouldn’t of. 

It is hard to look at Jesus Christ and say, “Jesus, I trust that You are Good,” in times like these. It seems insane, even.

But in these incredibly hard moments, we can cling to Truth: Jesus IS the Resurrection, and the Life. And because of His sacrifice on the cross for our sins that put Him there, those who believe on Him and His sacrifice “will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in [Him] will never die.” Jesus will continue to be faithful to His Promises to you, even if nothing looks like it. You can trust Him, even with your eternal soul, just as the Reverend Billy Graham– and millions both before and after Him– have. Do so, today.

This post is in tribute to the God who saved, led, and used Billy Graham in such a powerful way, to bring others to Himself. May He continue to raise up people to bring others to Him!

 

Jesus, at the end of what He says in John 11:26, asks Martha, “Do you believe this?” I pose this question to you, today. Read more about this faithful God– this God who gives eternal life, and never breaks His Promises to us, and why He died on the cross for you– here.

 

Christ’s Love through the Pain

“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
    your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.”
(Psalm 36:5-6, NLT)

It is unavoidable to talk about. This past weekend in Northern Nigeria has been filled with terror, and grief, and injustice.

On Sunday, two little girls– around 7 years old— were strapped to explosives, and walked into a busy market in the state of Borno, Nigeria (source). Detonating their explosives, they killed one other person, and injured 18 people.

“They got out of a rickshaw and walked right in front of me without showing the slightest sign of emotion,” one soldier told the Daily Mail (source). Not responding to anything he said, the girls walked into the crowd, straight-faced, before blowing up the explosives put upon their young frames.

These little girls were not the only bombers. On Friday, December 9th, two women walked into a market in the city of Madagali, Nigeria. Walking to the opposite sides of the crowded market, they also killed themselves– blowing themselves up while killing 45 people, and injuring 33 (source).

There is no way to ignore it; the terror, the grief, and the injustice is real to all those who have been affected by such bombings. It is real to everyone who ever witnessed the outrageous lack of reaction from the Nigerian government to such violence (which has only changed within the past year). While it is true that the Nigerian military has undergone noticeable change, and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is claiming that they are working “at slamming the final nail in the coffin of Boko Haram,” nothing changes the heartbreaking reality, that many families are still slamming nails into the coffins of their loved ones, 7 years into the insurgency. Continue reading

“Married Off”: Holding onto an Unshakable Hope

The news is dire. According to this report, published on November 3rd, the Nigerian school girls who were abducted have been married off, and are now in their “marital homes.” Boko Haram’s leader, Abubukar Shekau, announced this in one of the terrorist group’s videos, and mocked any effort to try to find and free them.

What kind of response are we to have to this news? Are we to believe it? Are we to believe that the leader of the Boko Haram’s words are more trustworthy than the promises of God? This is indeed a tough place to be in– a place that says any and all hope is dashed, that all efforts to keep up morale are futile. Yet, in this time of extreme discouragement, waiting and hoping upon the Lord is still not a lost cause. As the Psalmist writes:

“Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.”
(Psalm 43:5, NIV)

This scripture speaks of holding onto hope. But how can one keep hoping and waiting upon the Lord in such discouraging circumstances? To keep up hope, one must place their hope in the one who is unchanging. Laying our belief on the rock of God’s Word instead of on the shifting sand of circumstance ensures that our hope will not waiver or be removed, as is relayed in the parable of the man who built his home on the rock:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25, NIV)

Because this man knew God’s Word and believed it to be true, he built his life on it, and his life’s hope, peace, love and joy were therefore unshakable. When we put our hopes into Christ’s words, we can also be unshakable in our hope.

“But AnnaLee,” you may ask, “How can you still believe they’ll be free if it’s been reported that the girls have already been married off?” Is it just wishful thinking?

I know how these promises sound. At this point, it may even seem insane. Yet, my hope for the release/escape of these girls is unbroken. God has promised it; therefore, He will come through on His promises.

From a purely rational standpoint, their escape or release is also not entirely impossible, either. In the case of this news actually being true (for we do not know the truth without question, as news concerning the girls has been so varied and ever-changing), one can still believe in their rescue because “with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, NIV). When God promised the release of these girls all those months ago, never did He say that it would happen according to our time or in our ways. He did not promise that it’d be plastered on a headline or announced during the evening news. He did, however, promise that each and every girl would be saved, freed– and that their identities would not be formed by this tragedy, but by them belonging to Christ. Albeit it might be seriously difficult to believe, these girls can still be rescued or freed from their “marital homes,” and not all is lost. In light of these promises founded in God’s Word, my faith– our faith, truly– remains unshaken, and our hope untarnished.

Because when God says something, He means it. I now leave you with this encouraging benediction:

“Blessed [are they] who [have] believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to [them]!”
(Luke 1:45, NIV)


Please be praying for these girls, whether they be in their own “marital homes” or are still in camps. Pray that their faith in the Lord would only grow to be stronger, and that the Lord would use them in mighty ways to bring their captors and/or husbands to the saving knowledge of Christ as their Lord ans Savior.

Pray also for members of the Boko Haram (BH), that the Lord would continue to soften their hearts and minds as they keep these girls in captivity, and that the heart of Shekau would be radically changed by the Love of Christ.

Pray for the girls’ families, most of whom have lost hope of ever seeing their daughters, sisters, and friends again; pray that these heartbroken men and women would hold onto this unshakable hope as well.

Pray that these girls, no matter where they are, would be freed soon, and that if they are in their marital homes, their husbands would be so affected by our sisters’ witnesses that they would come to know Christ through their wives, and would set these beautiful women free.

Do not lose hope, brothers and sisters! The Lord is near, and His promises ring true. For all these reasons, we pray.

Dear readers, be blessed.

UPDATE: After reading this heartbreaking story, it has been pressed upon my heart that these young girls would be prayed for– not only for their release and salvation, but for their healing and restoration after having obtained months of sexual abuse. Please pray that, if given the chance, these girls would look to Christ, and would not harm or abort their children, if they do have them. Pray that these young women choose life for their children, and that their hearts would be open to the healing work Christ wants to do in and through them.

This pain is unbearable without Christ. Please pray that they’d look to Him for the restoration and healing they so need.

Freedom for Chibok: In the Lord’s Hands

PRAISE/ PRAYER REPORT:
It’s been reported that the 219 girls who are still missing have been married off. Pray that these girls would be found and brought back home, no matter what the headlines say! The Lord is working here.

It’s also been reported that as of November 16th, 2014, vigilante groups working alongside the Nigerian military have taken back the town of Chibok! Read more about it here. Continue to pray for the Nigerian military, the vigilante groups, and every man, woman and child involved in this warfare. Our prayers are being heard!
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16b, NIV)


On November 13th, 2014, the town of Chibok, Nigeria– the very same town these 219 kidnapped girls call their home– came under attack and was seized by the Boko Haram. What seems to be a very dire, hopeless situation, I challenge with a somewhat audacious hope, knowing that the Lord our God is a God who 1) is completely unfathomable in all His ways, and 2) is a God who means what He says, and says what He means.
All throughout scripture, it’s been shown that those in captivity are not forgotten by the Lord, but are actually very near and dear to His heart. Though we may forget them, He does not, and is mighty to act on their behalf.

When the Israelites were brought into exile by the Babylonians in 607-586 B.C., the entire world saw Israel and looked upon it as “Desolate” (Isaiah 62:4). The whole of Israel seemed to be abandoned by God, and was put to shame in the eyes of other nations. Despite all of this, the Lord was still at work, and was mighty to release Israel from their captivity in His timing, by His choosing. Though the circumstances differ between the Israelites and those in Northern Nigeria (Israel’s captivity was punishment for their sin; I would never even dare to say that the reasoning for Chibok’s captivity is the same), the same profound truth remains: The moments Jesus seemed to be most absent were the moments Jesus was the most near.

I understand that this information does not, and cannot, even begin to fully or truly comfort those who have lost all they know.
I understand that this information cannot dress every wound or heal the hearts affected by such horrible circumstances.
But I also understand that the Lord is with the men, women, and children of every town taken over by the Boko Haram, and that nothing– truly, nothing— can shock our God when it comes to the Boko Haram’s activities.

We cannot forget that though the Boko Haram has seemingly taken over various towns all over Northern Nigeria, these villages and towns are ultimately in the Mighty Hands of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not only are they in His hands, they are engraved in this hands.

 But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast 
and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; 
your walls are ever before me.”
Isaiah 49:14-16, NIV

Because these people and their lives are in the Sovereign hands of the Lord, hope can remain unshaken, and promises can continue to be looked forward to.


In light of all this, pray for all of our hurting brothers and sisters in Chibok. Pray that they would cry out to Christ and feel His overwhelming peace and nearness during such violent times, as is stated in Philippians:

 “…The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:5b-7, ESV

Pray that as this peace would indeed guard their hearts and minds infallibly as they continue to trust in Him. Pray for those who don’t know Christ in these captured towns, that the Holy Spirit would move in tremendous ways in and through His people to preach the Gospel, so that “in Christ Jesus [they] who once were far away [would be] brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13, NIV). This time is a time of tremendous, heart-crushing pain and trial, but it is also a huge opportunity to love people in their most broken states, showing them the love of Christ and the truth of the Gospel in the process– pray that many opportunities would come to share Jesus with others– and that words “may be given [Christians in Nigeria] so that [they] will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19, NIV). Pray that the Lord’s hand would be upon these girls, and that they’d be protected against any and all harm that is being perpetrated by these terrorists. Pray that the young girls who know Christ would be used by Him to bring their kidnappers to faith in Christ Jesus. 

Outside of these young men, women and children being taken care of and knowing the Lord, pray for the Nigerian military and the vigilante groups coming against the Boko Haram as they try to take back these cities; pray that they’d know Jesus, and that as they know Him, their morale would be strengthened to fight this fight with bravery, honor, and compassion for those who’ve been kidnapped. Pray that the corrupt, fickle nature of the Nigerian government would be brought to justice, and that as it’s brought to justice, these girls would be found alive and unharmed. Pray for justice for these broken families; that the Lord’s hand would move swiftly and powerfully on their behalf to take back their captured communities. 

In a place where there has been so much death, so much pain, and so much hopelessness, pray that the churches in Northern Nigeria would be fortified, upheld and strengthened by the Lord.

Pray that these young girls would know that they matter– that they haven’t been forgotten by the Lord, that salvation is near, and that their heartbreaking circumstances are held (and engraved!) in the Lord’s hands.

Because truly, no matter what happens, there is no better a place to be.

Quick Post: Rest.

Tonight, looking at news updates on the ceasefire deal announced Friday (and the violence that has continued on since then, jeopardizing the deal), I became tired. Weary. Frustrated. Skeptical. Worried.

What are we, as believers in the words and promises of God, to do when everything around us seems to ask why God is so fickle?– or, on a more sickening, cynical, unbelieving level, why God is so cruel?

I’ve had a longer, more polished post drawn up for a few days now, and I’ve been struggling with finishing it. It’s called, “6 Months Later: A Reason For Hope.”

I know what my reason for hope is. I know where– and who in– my hope is found. Yet, the words don’t seem to come. And the thoughts of worry, of doubt, of inadequacy, of fear, linger and creep in, making my heart flutter, haunting the words I mean to say and trying to silence me.

But you know what? I refuse to let the enemy kill my joy. I refuse to let him take over what should be a blessing and an encouragement, making it stressful and tiring.
Tonight, in the midst of the utter chaos that surrounds these abducted girls,
In the midst of the pain that comes with knowing that these beautiful young girls and women need to spend one more night away from their families and loved ones,
In the midst of the weariness that comes with not knowing when this pain will end,

I will trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6).
I will go into His temple. I will meditate on His love for me (Psalm 48:9).
I will meditate on how he’s lifted me out of every miry pit I’ve ever fallen into– or dug myself, inviting in (Psalm 40:2).
I will think on these things. And, in the midst of such love, such peace, such grace,
I will believe with all my heart that He is never slow or careless when it comes to fulfilling His promises (2 Peter 3:9).
I will praise my God, whose love is unfailing (Psalm 36:5-7; Psalm 56:9-13).

Lord Jesus, I praise you for releasing the 50 some girls that have escaped from the Boko Haram so far.
I praise you for strengthening them according to your steadfast love.
I love you and thank you for providing these girls with people to share their stories with. For providing them with just enough food and water to survive. With just enough strength and determination to reach a refuge. For always being their refuge, even among their pain and suffering.
I thank you for choosing me. For choosing me, for choosing this young child, to hear your heart for these girls. To hear your voice speak these bold promises, full of love and redemption and hope, over such a hopeless situation. Forgive me for being unfaithful in doing what you’ve called me to do– to devote myself to prayer for these girls, and to proclaim these promises to others as well, asking them to join in prayer and support for the abducted girls, for Norther Nigeria, and for Nigeria as a whole. I praise you for being faithful even when I am unfaithful. And I thank you for keeping your watchful eye on these beautiful girls, showing them such favor as to start negotiations, strengthening the Nigerian army to fight against the darkness that holds them, and to cause your people to cry out to you for them.

You are strong and mighty to save.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV)

Your promises for these girls ring true, everywhere in your word.

“Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.” (Proverbs 11:21, NIV)

I can rely upon Your Word and Your Promises.

“Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89, NIV)
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, NIV)

Tonight, I will rest in the fact that He is God. Period.
That, no matter what, He is good. Loving. Beautiful.
That redemption and salvation are coming, and it will be glorious.

Tonight, let’s praise, hope, and rest in our God, praying that He grants us the blessing of seeing these girls free soon. Pray for their continued protection; pray for their favor under the rule of the Boko Haram. Continue to pray for the BH leader, Shekau: that He would believe in Christ Jesus and know Christ’s peace that surpasses every understanding there is. Pray that the people of Nigeria would run back to the Lord. That they’d find rest in the shadow of His wings as they trust in Him as their Lord and Savior (Psalm 56:13).

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians 4:2, NIV)

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3, ESV)