Prayer for Buhari’s Salvation

“Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths… kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and women, old men and children.”
(Psalm 148:7, 11-12, NIV)

On August 27th, 2018, Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, promised that he will “spare nothing” in trying to get the Chibok girls, and Leah Sharibu, back to safety and freedom. This was all done as Leah Sharibu was recorded begging President Buhari to bring her freedom from Boko Haram– with three women kidnapped by the other faction of Boko Haram, under Abu Musab Albarnawi, doing the same thing.

It is no big secret that President Muhammadu Buhari is, like other leaders, under a lot of pressure. At the core of it all, Muhammadu Buhari and his cohorts in the Nigerian government are mere men. And as I read Psalm 148 this morning, I came to realize how important it is to pray for our leaders, no matter how lofty– especially when concerning their salvation and belief in Jesus, in the case of President Muhammadu Buhari.

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It is my prayer that Buhari comes to know Jesus, and that he would be included in the throng of people who worship Christ, as Psalm 148 exhorts. Would you pray alongside me for his salvation?


Do you know Jesus?

“In the LORD’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.” (Proverbs 21:1,  NIV)

Whether or not it looks like it, Jesus Christ is in control– and He alone is God. Learn more about Jesus, His sovereignty, and what it has to do with you, here.


Please pray for…

  • That Leah Sharibu would be set free soon, and that she would be used by Christ to bring all people to know Jesus.
  • That the remaining Chibok girls would be set free soon.
  • President Muhammadu Buhari, that he would come to know Christ.
  • Nigeria’s first lady, Aisha Buhari, that she would come to know Christ.
  • The family of Muhammadu and Aisha Buhari, for their salvation as well.
  • For the leaders in your life, that they would come to know Jesus and be blessed in a personal relationship with Him.

Thank you for your prayers!!!

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Satan’s Schemes: Reblogging “The MET Gala: Catholic Imagination” from BeautyBeyondBones

Today, the story of Nehemiah going up against opposition has been on my mind. Haven’t ever read Nehemiah? It is the story of a man who, after living in exile and being servant to Artexerxes, is called by God to go and rebuild the wall that was torn down in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1-2). Reading Nehemiah 4 and 6, we can see that Nehemiah’s opponents tried mocking him, ridiculing him, and even threatening him with being in trouble with those in power; in the same way, the enemy likes to do the same thing to us.

This post by fellow blogger, BeautyBeyondBones, brought this idea of ridicule and spiritual opposition to reality. The enemy, especially in these last days, wants to distract us, ridicule us, and mock Believers in our day to day lives, trying to steer us away from the narrow path Christ has for us to walk. For, “we are not ignorant of (satan’s) devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11, KJV)!

But more than anything, friends, my heart breaks as I realize that these popular, powerful, materially “rich” people do not know and have a relationship with the God who died for them: our Lord, Jesus Christ. As they make a mockery out of Jesus, they “forget” and refute that He went through the mockery and humiliation of the cross because He is the only way to the Father.

As they believe that their lives are better off without Him, they are sliding down a slippery, easily-ridden, broad slope, dare I say it: to hell. We must pray for them, their souls, and  their salvation!

If you are a seeker of Truth, I invite you to learn more about the One who is the Truth: Jesus Christ. You can do so by clicking on “Do You Know Jesus?” at the top of this blog page.

Thank you for reading!

One of the perks of living in NYC is that I’m literally in the cultural hub of the world. And I’m not saying that arrogantly, or with any snooty tone. 1,796 more words

via The MET Gala: Catholic Imagination — BeautyBeyondBones

What the Enemy Meant for Evil

Hi Friends & Readers,

While this may sound random and/or irrelevant to the Chibok girls, I felt today that Jesus wanted me to pray for Talinda Bennington, the wife of the late Chester Bennington, lead singer of the rock band called “Linkin Park.”

Talinda Bennington spoke a lot about her late husband’s passing, as well as about his mental and emotional health, at an event called Canadian Event Safety Summit, which was created in wake of Bennington’s passing. my knowledge, Chester did believe in “the next life,” but he never confessed to knowing Christ, and his wife Talinda has also not confessed Jesus. As Talinda Bennington is now dealing with, and grieving for, her husband Chester on a daily basis– while raising their three kids– I know that Christ hurts for her. If she has not already come to Him for Help, I know that He yearns for her to do so.

With this in mind, I read through John 6, where Jesus says that He is the Bread of Life.

I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
(John 6:35, ESV)

Reading this, I think of how hungry this world is for Jesus. How thirsty it is for Him, His Presence, for His Salvation. Chester Bennington committed suicide; and while we may never know what exactly was going through his mind as he made this awful decision, Talinda Bennington spoke to many people about how Chester’s struggle with addiction and depression caused him a lot of shame. Perhaps he desperately wanted to be better, but did not have the power to truly overcome his addictions.

While Chester Bennington– and so many others– may not be physically bound and in captivity to the darkness and to evil, Chester was, in many ways, bound emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. As spoken about in this post, we, as Believers in Christ, not only have the duty, but the amazing honor, to tell others about Christ– the only One who can set them free.

It is obvious, in a very literal and serious sense, that Chester Bennington had his own share of demons. He, and all of us, had an enemy that loves to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10)– which is exactly what happened to Chester.

And now, the lives of the rest of his family, friends, and truly, everyone who loved him, have been destroyed, too.
Let that soak in for a second; take to heart the damage the enemy has done in the life of Chester Bennington, and so many other people.
It is real.
It is dark.
It is painful.

But even out of something so dark and painful as this, Christ can bring life and beauty.

It reminds one of Genesis 50. It tells an incredibly important part of Joseph’s story. Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, who told his own father he had died; after this, he is wrongly accused of raping a woman and spends two years in prison– spending thirteen years in slavery and in prison, in total.1

After all of his suffering, he interprets a dream of Pharoah that foretells a major famine happening in the lands of Egypt and Canaan, today’s countries of Lebanon, Syria, and Israel2 (Genesis 47:14). Joseph, greatly favored by the LORD, is made second in command because of this interpretation and foretelling– and gets ready for the seven year famine. Led by the LORD to collect enough food for the nation and the land of Canaan to get through the famine, Joseph reunites with his brothers, who have come to Egypt seeking food for their starving family in Canaan.

Here, Genesis 50 tells of the reuniting Joseph has with his brothers. When they find out that the second person in command in all of Egypt is the brother they sold into slavery and lied to their father about, they expect him to be vengeful. Yet, his reply to their apology is profound.

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
(Genesis 50:20, NKJV)

Christ used Joseph’s suffering to save hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people from starvation– including his family, who would later be the ancestors of the nation Israel. Like Joseph’s story, Jesus can even use the death of someone to bring others to Himself, the Bread of Life. And this is my prayer.

Because Jesus also says something very encouraging and profound, right after proclaiming that He is the Bread of Life, in verses 37 and 38: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” Those who come to Christ– no matter who they are, where they have been, or how ungodly they may have acted– will NEVER be “cast out,” rejected by Jesus. EVERYONE who comes to Jesus Christ will be saved. Simple as that.

So, as we pray for Talinda Bennington– and so many others who may not know Christ, and think that “knowing Him” is only for those whose lives and pasts aren’t “messy” or “dark”– let’s show all those around us the Love that Jesus has for them– and that Jesus will never cast them out, if they come to Him. For, He is mighty to save, and is the only One who can do so.

1 https://amazingbibletimeline.com/blog/q27_joseph_how_long_in_prison/
2 https://www.ancient.eu/canaan/



Do you know Jesus?

In a world where the name of Jesus is more common as a expletive than as a Name treated with reverence, many people believe they do not need Christ: either because they don’t believe they are sinners in need of a Savior, or because they feel that they have “gone too far” as a sinner, and could never possibly receive such a gift.

Both sides of this pendulum are dangerous lies. All have fallen short of God’s standard, as Romans 3:23 says. “Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins” (Romans 3:24, NLT).

There is no valid excuse. We all have a choice. Whether or not we believe we need Jesus, it is the Truth. Learn more about this Loving, Compassionate God– who wants you to come to Him, just as you are– here.


Please pray for…

  • Talinda Bennington, Chester Bennington’s wife. Pray for her salvation; for her to be able to come to know Christ personally, and deeply. Pray this knowing Christ will change her entire life.
  • Each of Chester’s children. Please pray that his children would come to know Christ, and that Jesus would walk with them through the process of grief and emotional healing after their father’s death.
    • Lila Bennington
    • Lily Bennington (twins with Lila Bennington)
    • Isaiah Bennington
    • Jaime Bennington (his first born son)
    • Draven Sebastian Bennington
    • Tyler Lee Bennington
  • The rest of Chester’s loved ones.

A great, evil darkness is controlling many of these people’s lives, especially Chester’s fellow musician-friends. Please pray that the darkness surrounding them would be flooded with light as those who know Christ love and share the Gospel with these lost people.

Thank you for your prayers!!!

January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month: Spotlight on The “U COUNT” Campaign

Hi friends,
Today I learned much in church, and because of both its importance and its relevance, I would be remiss if I did not mention it on this blog!

Today, I learned that January is Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month, and January 11th was National Human Trafficking Day (something I wish I would have known earlier!).UCOUNT post Human trafficking is not only a tragedy and a horror; it is something that deeply grieves and angers the heart of God. Proverbs 22:22-23 says, “Don’t rob the poor just because you can, or exploit the needy in court. 23 For the Lord is their defender. He will ruin anyone who ruins them” (NIV).

If Jesus’ heart is so against oppressing people and exploiting the vulnerable, those who do such things– in “small” ways and in “big” ways– will be held accountable for their actions before Christ, saved or not (source). To fight this blight on humanity, a nonprofit named “The U COUNT Campaign,” started by a group of Christians in 2007, was started– to remove men, women and children from human trafficking, and to help them thrive as free people in their societies.
Now, eleven years later, “The U COUNT Campaign” (“U COUNT”) has worked as partners with many international and US Domestic projects and initiatives to bring Human Trafficking to an end.

Centered in Northern Colorado, “U COUNT” has many different projects going on, such as A Face to Reframe, Street’s Hope, Free Our Girls, and Sarah’s Home.

Internationally, “U COUNT” has built safe houses and “reintegration apartments” to help men, women and children who have been sucked into Human Trafficking to leave Human Trafficking. As these men and women– both within the US and outside of it– reintegrate into society, “U COUNT” also gives victims a viable means to survive without turning back to Human Trafficking (you can learn more about their international partnerships here.)

Using the “Marketplace,” men, women and children are taught to sew and create jewelry. When they are done with different projects, “U COUNT” sells those products via a direct trade model, both online and in person through events in the form of pop-up shops. These products are also sold at Timberline Church’s bookstore in Fort

People Dont Buy People

A “U COUNT” shirt reads “People Don’t Buy People: Fighting Human Trafficking” bought during “The U COUNT Campaign’s” spotlight weekend at Timberline Church, January 28th/29th, 2018. (c) Andrea Hoover

Collins, Colorado.

Most of all, the Gospel is preached in these many avenues of aid for trafficked people, to show them the Freedom found in knowing Jesus Christ personally! As for money, 100% of donations go to these various projects, because private donors pay for “U COUNT”‘s operational costs. Please consider buying from “U COUNT”‘s marketplace, or donating to this amazing campaign against human trafficking!

As said before, abuse of any kind, especially the kind of sexual degradation and trauma that occurs in most of human trafficking, is grievous to Christ’s heart. As a blog committed to praying for the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls, as well as all victims of Boko Haram, Please be praying for everyone involved in human trafficking– including and especially the Chibok girls, and those victims of captivity and bondage (find specific ways you can pray for human trafficking at “U COUNT”‘s prayer page.)

What people who propagate human trafficking do is insidious and evil, in every way; and I in no way want to lessen what SO many innocent people have been through.
Yet, Jesus desires to see all men come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)– even people as evil as those oppressing others. As you pray for Justice to be served, please pray for their salvation, as well, if you can; and if these people become saved, please pray that they would completely repent of all of their actions. For, “‘…vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

Thank you for reading, supporting, and praying. You are all very loved and appreciated!

To learn more about “U COUNT,” watch this video: https://vimeo.com/196495293


Do you know Jesus?

Countless people all over the world are in bondage. But, every person, whether physically a slave or a free man, is a slave to sin (Romans 6). Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” But, the end of Romans 3:23 says, “…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.No matter where you are, where you have been, or what you have done, God does not expect you to “get your act together” and then come to Him. Jesus wants you to come to Him, however you are.

You cannot earn your salvation, contrary to what the religions of the world say. Only Jesus Christ can save you from your sins. Stop relentlessly striving for something God offers you for free. Repent, and turn to God for forgiveness, today (Acts 3:19).

To learn more about Jesus, and His amazing gift of Salvation, Grace, Forgiveness, and Freedom, click here!

 

The Benue Crisis | Unity in a Fractured World

boy-african-africa-child-47080.jpeg

“Conflict within, conflict without.” These are the words that best describe the state of affairs in Benue State, Nigeria. Though not brought up on this blog before, the volatile conditions in Benue State, which dub it “The Benue Crisis,” are not conditions to be overlooked.

 

What is the Benue Crisis?

In 2011, Fulani Herdsmen—a nomadic people group, known for being pastoralists— started grazing in areas where indigenous peoples, such as the Igbos and Idomas (located in Benue) lived. In what started a war between the two peoples, the people of Benue complained that Fulani Herdsmen coming to their land caused damage to their crops and worsened the health of their drinking water1. While this issue is only the tip of the iceberg (there is fierce ethnic and religious divides between the two peoples, as well2), it was this issue that broke the camel’s back. Enraged after Benue rejected grazing land for the Herdsmen3, Fulani Herdsmen killed 73 people at the beginning of this year in Benue, while rioting and committing arson in their towns and villages. Approximately 40,000 people have been displaced from the violence, and this crisis has made the Fulani Herdsmen Nigeria’s new biggest internal security threat.4

Reading of the sudden surge of violence, I’m filled with a sense of sadness. Nigeria has already been ripped to pieces by Boko Haram; the last thing it needs is fighting between fellow Nigerians, which breaks up whatever little amount of Unity there is. Yet, as I reflected on this news, it reminded me of another horrible thing, quite similar (but worse than) disunity within a nation: disunity and dissension within the body of Christ.

When the Church Hurts

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” King David wrote in Psalm 133:1. The Bible is chalk full of scripture on the importance of Peace and Unity within the Church body, worldwide, as a whole—and it is obvious from Scripture that such unity leads to Love, growth, and a strengthened Church. Yet, for reasons rooted both in the flesh and in the powers of darkness, the worldwide Church is more fractured than ever, filled with “backbiters” and all kinds of evil.

This kind of evil is especially sad. People expect this kind of behavior from the world around them, since it does not know Christ. But dissension and anger in the Church, along with gossiping and other sins, can catch a person off-guard and severely wound one’s heart and soul. When someone is hurt by sin in a place where they are supposed to be genuinely loved, it can cause one to turn on the Church—and Jesus– forever.

And honestly, who would blame them? When Jesus’ church looks and acts just like the world around it, providing no real love or shelter for those who are in desperate need of it (all of us), it makes sense for a person to leave. But, while it is easy to leave broken relationships and try to find another church to belong to— be it another local church, the world-wide Church, or turning on Christ entirely—it is obviously not Jesus’ desire. So, how is the Christian supposed to navigate hurt or disagreement when such things take place?

Peace Through Christ

First, we must start with the foundation: Peace with God. Ephesians 2 reads:

“8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”
(Ephesians 2:8-16, NIV)

In context, Paul the Apostle was telling the church in Ephesus that those who were once separated by ethnicity and religious background (for, Jews were taught to stay away from Gentiles, and even Gentile converts to Judaism couldn’t come as close in the temple as Jews5) were now one in Jesus Christ. Think of it—wait, we don’t have to, because it’s Truth! – people of every ethnicity, socio-economic status, skin color, culture, political stance, and even religious upbringing, upon believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, become ONE! Parts of ONE Body, baptized by ONE baptism, looking at ONE Hope—Jesus Christ Himself (Ephesians 4:4-6). This Truth changes everything.

This is not just some radical theology, or a truth-filled ideal. This is real. But how does it affect us, personally, on a day to day basis?

As Steven J. Cole so wisely asserts, “Being at peace with God is the foundation for peace with others.”5 To look for peace between people, one must first look to the cross.

Did someone gossip or lie about you? Look to the cross.
Did someone not invite you to a function you thought you’d be invited to? Look to the cross.
Has a difference in opinions or personal convictions (over a MINOR issue of faith) made you hard-hearted and divisive toward a fellow brother or sister? Look to the cross.
Has someone done something inconceivable to you, and you don’t know if you’re ever going to be able to forgive them? Look to the cross.

Listen: Jesus is the One who initiated reconciliation with you. He reached out first.
Not because of what you have done—but because of Who. He. Is.

So, my friend, my family in Christ: forgive. (Matthew 18:21-22)
Do not count someone’s sin against them, forever. (1 Corinthians 13:5)
In the midst of differences in opinion over non-essentials, give room for grace—and love them anyway. (Romans 14:1-4)
And– if safe and wise to do so– let the Power of Jesus’ Love and Forgiveness, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, allow you to reconcile.

Let me be clear. I am not condoning that a person in a harmful or unsafe situation should stay in that situation— not all forgiveness leads to the complete restoration of a relationship.

But I am saying this: We, as Believers in Christ, belong to each other. As people heading to Heaven, we will know each other, forever. And truly Loving each other—getting through our hurts and disagreements, and still Loving each other after it all– is going to be the boldest, realest witness to Christ that the world will ever see. Hatred is not a political problem or even a religious problem, at least in the ordinary way religion is viewed. Hatred is a heart problem—and only Jesus can change hearts.

In a world where division and hatred is the norm, the world needs this witness now, more than ever. The Salvation, Love, and Peace of Christ is the ONLY true solution to such division as the Benue Crisis. Let’s pray that together, as the Church is strengthened in Love, that the Gospel would be shared—and that even more hearts would be changed: For He Himself is our Peace.

 

This post is dedicated to Deputy Heath Gumm, who was killed by a gunshot wound after responding to an assault-in-progress in Adams County, Colorado. It is dedicated to every peace officer dedicated to protecting society as a whole. Thank you, Deputy Gumm; thank you, America’s Peace Officers.


Do you know Jesus?

It’s one of the first lessons people come to understand as children: Hatred and violence are undeniable parts of our world. No matter where a person grows up, they soon learn the hard truth that this world is tough, and people are mean.

While people fight for love and peace, they have never gained the final victory over it. But Jesus Christ has. For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death” (Ephesians 2:14-16). This passage is speaking about Peace between ethnically born Jews, and “Gentiles”—everyone who isn’t a Jew. In giving us Peace with God, Christ Himself has brought Peace to ALL people by His death on the Cross.

Jesus Christ gave us Peace with God. Removing the need to perfectly obey the law, we are given Peace with God instead through Jesus’ death on the cross. This is the true and lasting Peace that we need—and one day, Christ will come back to reign over the Earth, “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:7). Learn about this God-Man, who offers us lasting Peace with God and with one another, here.


Please pray…

  • For any fractures within the Church. From hurt in the local church body to disdain and hatred between some denominations of Christianity, pray for Love and Unity, as Christ did (John 17:20-24). Reflect on your life—is there anyone you need to make Peace with? Make that Peace today.
  • That Believers all over the world—both in Benue, and those as missionaries in Northern Nigeria—would extend the Gospel, Grace, Love, and Peace of God to both Fulani Herdsmen, and the indigenous people within the nation. Pray that these ministries would be built up, strengthened in knowledge of the Word and in Love, and given all they need to shine brightly during this dark time!
  • That those in the Benue Crisis would seek God, and in doing so, would come to know Christ. “…God intended that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).

 

Sources & References:
 1https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bscl0pZPfr0
2https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xkpBEX7cCM
3http://dailypost.ng/2016/03/28/crisis-benue-state-rejects-grazing-land-for-fulani-herdsmen/
4https://qz.com/1178371/benue-killing-nigerias-fulani-herdsmen-attacks-have-over-surpassed-boko-haram/
5https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-17-reconciled-relationships-ephesians-214-18
6Ephesians 2:16

Spiritual Armor: Protecting Oneself for the Fight

In the past two blog posts, “The Noble Soldier” and “The Army with the Afterlife in Mind,”  I have been discussing the concept of how the military here on earth– especially the militaries fighting ISIS and radical islamic terrorism– are very much like “The Lord’s Army,” all Christ Followers who are seeking to glorify Christ and fight evil, darkness, sin, and oppression by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

But through writing these posts, one thing came to the forefront of my mind: with what does the Christian soldier fight with, in the battle against darkness? I felt it important to 1) address the reality and importance of the enemy’s schemes in our lives, and 2) express what the Bible says about how we fight back.

The Christian Life: A Battleground

Many Christians today, especially in the West, see their discipleship to Christ as something they do on Sundays, or whenever they meet for church. Because Christianity can be, as of now, openly practiced in the United States of America, many Christians do not take their walk with Christ seriously. They see their walks in this life as more of a playground, instead of a battleground. (This is not, of course, stating that to have fun and enjoy life is sinful, or unwise– everything has been given to us by Jesus for our enjoyment, 1 Timothy 6:17).

But, nothing could be further from the truth. Without using scare tactics to freak out Christians about the enemy, the truth is that there is an enemy of our souls.battleground

Here is what the Bible says about the enemy of our souls, satan.

Knowing Our Enemy

It is important to note that not everything bad that happens in our lives is directly from satan’s scheming; much of the time, it is also our sin and it’s consequences, or the result of living in a broken world, one riddled by sin (1 Peter 4:15; Romans 8:19-23).

But, every good soldier must have a good understanding of the enemy they are fighting. The Bible says:

  • He (satan) fell from his place in heaven because of pride, wanting to be God (Isaiah 14:12-15).
  • He can come deceitfully, under the guise even of an “angel of light”
    • And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
  • He comes to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10)
    • The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John  10:10)
  • He tempts humanity, even Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11)
  • He incites humanity.
    • “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.” (1 Chronicles 21)
  • He is “The Accuser of the Brethren,” accusing us night and day, bringing false guilt and condemnation. (Revelation 12:7-10)
  • He prowls around, like a lion (not as a lion), looking to see whom He can deceive and destroy.
    • Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Think about that last point. satan prowls around– not as the Lion (as in the Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ), but like a lion, a false and cowardly imitation of Christ. Cowardly as he is, satan prowls around, looking for someone to devour.
The definition of “devour” is “to consume destructively.” This definition provides a wake-up call for Believers: You have an enemy that, though he cannot touch your salvation, wants to destroy your life, your testimony to Christ, and your walk with Christ.

With such a formidable enemy ready to attack us, what can the Christian do to defend themselves, as well as to attack the enemy?

Ephesians 6 is full of scripture about spiritual warfare, but James 4:7 uncovers one powerful way a Christian can cause satan to literally run away.

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

It’s simple, yet it involves us humbling ourselves before Christ, and doing His Will (therefore rejecting the devil). When we do this, the enemy has no other choice than submit to Christto flee from us!

Fighting The Enemy

It is in this humble submission to our Loving Jesus that Ephesians 6 encourages us to stand firm and strong against the enemy.

Ephesians 6 starts out this way: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise— ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth‘” (Ephesians 6:1-3). What is the common thread here? Submission! In submitting to those who are higher up and/or leading you, your relationship and spiritual life flourishes. 

Diving into Ephesians 6:10, submitting to Christ and to those He has placed over your life, Paul discusses the many different ways a Believer can stay strong against the enemy’s attacks, discussed below (I am using this Bible Study guide as my main resource for this portion of the Blogpost.):

  • The belt of Truth (Ephesians 6:14)
    • The belt of truth keeps one’s sword-carrier and the rest of their armor intact (source). Without Truth, the rest of a person’s spiritual armor is in grave danger of falling off!
    • Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one gets to the Father, except through me” (John 14:6). Without Jesus as the Truth, everything else in a person’s life is in danger.
  • The breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14)
    • The breastplate protected one’s abdomen and vital organs. Without righteousness, the enemy can go straight for the heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. — causing catastrophic damage in the spiritual life of a person. 
    • 1 Corinthians 1:30 states, “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” Jesus Christ is, for the Believer, Righteousness. Without Him, we have no life, and are subject to death, much like a person who has wounded his vital organs.
  • “Feet Fitted with the Readiness that Comes from the Gospel of Peace” (Ephesians 6:15)
    • The feet are some of the most delicate parts of the body, especially when it comes to their undersides/the sole of the foot. In the middle of the battle, one needs shoes that provide protection from debris, and allow the fighter to focus on the battle at hand. 
    • When we are focused on Jesus, and on sharing His Gospel with those around us, we are given a firm foundation, ready to fight and protected from the many distractions of life.
  • The Shield of Faith (Ephesians 6:16)
    • The Shield of Faith is not just something one puts on; one needs to wield their shield of faith, especially as the enemy shoots his fiery darts of discouragement, doubt, fear, and temptation. Believing Jesus’ promises can help us “curve” these fiery darts!
    • Psalm 3:3 proclaims that Jesus is our Shield: “But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. It has been said that it does not matter how much faith you have, as much as it matters where you put that faith in. Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me” (John 14:1). Trusting in Jesus as our Shield and Promise-Keeper keeps us safe from satan’s attacks.
  • The Helmet of Salvation (Ephesians 6:17)
    • The helmet can mean life or death for those in the middle of warfare, as the brain is the most vital organ of the body. When one keeps Jesus’ sacrifice at the forefront of their minds, it protects their minds from distractions and discouragements (source).
    • Jesus is our Savior, the One who has saved us! Keeping our eyes and thoughts on Jesus protects us from the evil one.
  • The Sword of the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17)
    • The Sword of the Word of God, held by the belt of Truth, is the way to fight back against the enemy of our souls.
    • Think about it: the more we know the Word of God, the more we know the promises of God; the more we are focused on Jesus and spreading His Gospel; and the more we are rooted in the Truth, that Jesus is our Righteousness! Learning how to yield the Sword of God is crucial to our spiritual health. More than this, Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1).
  • The Cloak of Zeal (Isaiah 59:17)
    • While not mentioned in Ephesians 6, the cloak of zeal is mentioned in Isaiah 59:17, which says, “He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.” Our zeal and passion for Jesus can keep us from even the worst of outside conditions, just as cloak protected one against the outside elements. Like a coat, today, zeal keeps a soldier performing at their peak.
    • Our zeal must be based on right knowledge; many people have zeal today, but it is based in something evil or sinful. It was Jesus’ zeal to obey the Father and be the propitiation for our sins that saved us; when we base our zeal on Jesus and sharing His Gospel, no one can put that flame out!

Make no joke; our enemy is a formidable one. But, with submitting to Christ; putting on Jesus as our Righteousness and Truth; resting in His Salvation and Gospel; and growing in Faith in Him and zeal for Him, nothing the enemy does can keep us from walking in Christ’s victory.

christ's victory

As important to our spiritual walk as the clothes a soldier wears on a daily basis, I pray that we would put on our spiritual armor. May we walk close to Jesus, our Commander, in the midst of this fight. For, unlike an earthly commander, Jesus is with us– always.



Do you know Jesus?

Are you wounded, today?
Has the fight of life you are in seemingly decimated you?
Even when we are too weak to stand, Jesus is right there, ready and waiting to lift us up, and strengthen us, just as David said in Psalm 3: “But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high” (Psalm 3:3).

In these times, we can call to Jesus for Refuge, and rest under His Loving Care (1 Peter 5:7). Because Jesus is not just our military Commander, barking out orders; He is our Loving Father, deeply interested in every detail of our lives (Psalm 37:23).

Learn about this Powerful, Loving, God– Jesus Christ– and just how much He Loves you, here.



Please pray for…

  • The Chibok girls; as of today, there are 113 of them still in captivity. Please pray for a breakthrough in their hearts, minds and lives!
  • Those who are on the physical front lines, including soldiers, aid workers, and members of vigilante groups, especially in Nigeria. Please pray that they would all come to know Jesus, and would fight under His ultimate Lead and Protection.
  • Those who are on the spiritual front lines, including missionaries, clergymen, and every Christian involved in the daily fight against evil (which is all of us, in some form or fashion!). Please pray for protection, wisdom, guidance, discernment, and boldness as they fight the good fight of faith.
  • The members of Boko Haram, deeply influenced by evil and falsehood. Please pray that Jesus would bring even these men to trust in Him, and would turn their lives around for His Glory, just like Saul (also known as Paul) (Acts 9).
  • For the continued protection and sustaining of those who are caught in this evil crossfire.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support!

International Day of the Girl: Freedom

Today, October 11th, 2017, is International Day of the Girl.

The “goal” or major concept for this year’s International Day of the Girl? Freedom.

The YouTube channel “Global Goals” put up a video called “Freedom- International Day of the Girl,” including beautiful young girls dancing to a power-anthem by Beyonce.

The video says, “Girls around the world are fighting for their freedom everyday.” It then challenges watchers to share it on social media, and then answer the question, “What does #Freedomforgirls mean for you?”

#Freedomforgirls means that one day, when Jesus comes back to this earth, all forms of oppression and violence– every single reason for a tear, a sigh, a yearning–
will end. Girls who put their trust in Jesus (and boys too) will be free of whatever burdened their hearts, before.

#Freedomforgirls means what I spoke about recently. That there are 113 young adult women still waiting to be freed from the bondage of Boko Haram. There are countless others in bondage outside of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping, too.

And #Freedomforgirls means that, one day, in Jesus’ timing, these girls WILL be freed from the islamic oppression of Boko Haram.

“I break chains all by myself,” Beyonce declares. While I can appreciate her passion, I would have to disagree.

Because we are not the ones who ultimately break our chains. Jesus is.

And so, today, on International Day of the Girl, I ask that we all pray and share the news of the 113 young women still in bondage… because they are not ultimately OUR girls; they are HIS.

The BringBackOurGirls movement will resume their protests and marches from the Unity Fountain to the State House in the capital city of Abuja, Nigeria, starting tomorrow, October 12th, 2017, to demand that:
1) Demand the release of the 113 Chibok Girls
2) Comfort the parents of the 113 girls
3) Provide the public with information concerning the state of the 113 Chibok girls
4) Invite the families of those kidnapped in the “Borno-Adamawa road kidnap,” and the “soldiers- NNPC-University of Maiduguri lecturers” for a meeting to learn what happened to their loved ones
and 5) to set up structured systems of reporting on each case, the management of IDPs, and Justice for those in the counter-insurgency war.

Please pray with me that their demands to the government would be favored!


Dear Lord Jesus,
This world has become (and honestly, always has been) very dog-eat-dog. Violence and intimidation are praised; confidence in oneself is exalted above having confidence in You.

Dear Jesus,
We are flowers quickly fading; but we pray, in Your Name, that You would be our confidence. We pray that You would be the One to set little girls, young women, and even those who are elderly and taken advantage of, Freedom and Justice. 

Jesus,
Thank You for perfectly Loving, Protecting, and Supporting those whom You made in the beginning, “Women.” Many shirts today, in stores, declare that “The future is Female.” But this is just not true. Jesus, in Your Name, please turn these precious men and women to You… because the future is full of YOUR reign, and YOUR Kingdom.
Dear Jesus,
Please free the Chibok girls. Please free those who are still stuck in oppression. Please strengthen, enliven and support the women who trust in You.

Dear Jesus,
As members of the BringBackOurGirls campaign march and rally around the State House of Nigeria, we pray that You would see their desires and demands to the government, and that You would soften the hearts of the government, so that their desires can be met.

We thank You for this, Jesus.
In Jesus’ Name we pray,
Amen.”


Learn about the man who came to die for the sins of all mankind– the only One who can break our chains– here.