Bringing the Children to Jesus (Even the Children of Boko Haram Members)

I read this article, about how a man named Zannah Mustapha– a lawyer who is to credit for the negotiations leading to the release of 82 Chibok girls and 21 other girls, also held captive– is now allowing the children of widowed Boko Haram members into his school. In 2007, he started schooling for victims of Boko Haram; and, now, ironically and somewhat controversially, he is allowing the children of those who are to blame for these victim’s tragedies into school, as well.

According to the article, Mustapha agreed to teach the children the Koran, English, and Math, following the wishes of the children’s mothers. He also agreed to their religious rules of having to wear the hijab, and wear ankle-length dresses. “The irony of teaching the children of Boko Haram insurgents who with the very name of their group proclaim that ‘Western Education is Forbidden’ is not lost on him,” All Africa reports. Surprisingly enough, Boko Haram– or at least, the widows of Boko Haram– care about their children’s education.

While much can be said about this, it brings out the humanity of Boko Haram’s members, however warped and deluded it may be. At a basic human level, at least some of the members of Boko Haram care about their children.

Honestly, I don’t know what to think… except for the fact that this sliver of humanity within the barbarity of Boko Haram members shows that they, no matter how evil, are severely marred images of their Creator, the One, True God: YHWH. And as severely marred images of their Creator, they need to not only know what islam has taught them about Jesus, but they need to know the real Jesus: The One who died for their sins, and rose to life again– the One who now sits at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34).

The People of Nineveh

It can remind one of the Ninevites, who, at their time, were perhaps some of the most barbaric, evil, cruel people on the planet. They were enemies of Israel, and were known for their violence– they were so violent that I have heard that they impaled the heads of their conquered enemies on poles around the city, to celebrate their victory and superiority.

Because of their evil, Jonah did not want to give them the message of repentance. Instead, Jonah wanted God’s judgment to be reigned down on them– he wanted them to suffer as much as they had made others suffer, and probably for good reason. Jonah was so angry at God showing them mercy, in their repentance, that he wanted to die (Jonah 4:3). God rebuked Jonah for his anger– but he did not only rebuke him.

To teach Jonah a lesson about compassion, God allowed a plant to grow up and over Jonah, shielding him from the heat.

“So the Lord God prepared a plant and it grew up over Jonah, to be a shade over his head to spare him from discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about [the protection of] the plant. 7 But God prepared a worm when morning dawned the next day, and it attacked the plant and it withered. 8 When the sun came up God prepared a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he fainted and he wished to die, and said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.'”
(Jonah 4:6-8, AMP)

Obviously, Jonah cared about this plant, and was extremely happy that it had grown in his life. Through this tiny, unimportant plant, God showed Jonah just a sliver of the care God had for the people of the city of Nineveh (whom Jonah, at that point, did not even value as people because of their evil) (Jonah 4:9).

God’s Mercy did not stop at the Israelites; nor did it stop at people who were

africa-2143814_960_720

A child from Nigeria (This child is not [to ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY’s knowledge] a child of a Boko Haram member).

morally good. Scripture tells us that “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45, NIV). God, true to His Nature, desires ALL men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). Also true to His Nature, God cares for the children even of those who are evil– as evidenced by what He says to Jonah in Jonah 4:11, when He mentions the 120,000 children in the city “who do not know the difference between their right and left hand.”

Then the Lord said, ‘You [Jonah] had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. 11 Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 [innocent] persons, who do not know the difference between their right and left hand [and are not yet accountable for sin], as well as many [blameless] animals?'”
(Jonah 4:10-11, AMP, “[Jonah]” mine)

While Jonah only had in mind the depravity of the Ninevites– which I in no way want to lessen– God saw each person in Nineveh, even those who had no idea of the atrocities happening around them, being committed by their fathers and mothers, and He had both perfect Justice, and perfect compassion, for them all.

The grown adults of Nineveh– those who slaughtered innocent people– were indeed VERY worthy of the wrath God would have reigned down upon them, if they had not repented.

But when they actually heard Jonah’s message, they DID repent– they came to know the Living God, and turned away from their wickedness and violence!!! This is God’s desire for those who are wickedly evil, today.

The God of Both Justice & Mercy

I, in no way, want to lessen the atrocities of Boko Haram. Their acts are nothing short of abhorrent, and those who do not come to know Jesus will be liable to God’s punishment– Hell (2 Thessalonians 1:8-10). God is a God of Justice– and Jesus will bring Justice when He comes back again, as 2 Thessalonians 1 describes.

But He is also a God of Mercy. Should the kids of Boko Haram members be learning the same volatile Koran that their parents have? Absolutely not… but, as difficult as it is to say, that is why we must keep the men, women, and children of Boko Haram in our prayers.

Jesus is the only Way to the Father that so many millions of Muslims are struggling to find and know. Jesus is the One their hearts are waiting and looking for when they try to

Casually_dressed_little_girls_imitating_the_dreaded_terrorist_group_boko_haram.jpg

This heartbreaking picture is one of two young girls from Jos, Nigeria, imitating Boko Haram. These girls (at least to the knowledge of ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY) are not actual children of Boko Haram’s members.

keep the tenants of islam. And the children, even of such evil as Boko Haram members, need to know the Gospel– and be saved by knowing Jesus personally, by Grace, through Faith.

Only Love for these people, shown in the form of prayer and sharing the Gospel with them, will change anything. This Love is audacious– scandalous, even.
Will you dare to show this kind of Love– the Love of Jesus?



God’s Love is reckless. Jesus proved it.

Learn more about the God who Loves you– Loves you enough to die for you, so that you might know Him– here.



Please pray with me…

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for Loving us enough to step down out of heaven. Thank You for Loving us enough to step down out of perfect union with the Father, and taking all of our sin and the wrath of God upon Yourself. Thank You for forgiving such sinners, as us.

Dear Jesus,
We pray now, in Your Name, that You would please bring these children that are being taught the Koran, to You. Through whatever means needed, Please, Father God, draw these young children to You– as well as their mothers and fathers. We pray for repentance, Lord Jesus; we pray that Boko Haram would become nothing, because the members of Boko Haram have come to know You, instead.

Jesus, at the same time, thank You for bringing Justice for all of our sin when You died on that cross. Please redeem and free those who have been crippled by Boko Haram. Help us to love those who have been displaced, abused and mistreated horrifically by Boko Haram.

Lastly, Lord Jesus,
We ask that You would remember Your Promise concerning the Chibok girls.

“The nations will see your vindication,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.
3 You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
4 No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
and your land Beulah;
for the Lord will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
5 As a young man marries a young woman,
so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.”
(Isaiah 62:2-5, NIV)

Lord Jesus, You gave this promise to me (Annalee) when I sought You concerning the Chibok girls. Now, three and a half years later, so much as happened– more than I could have ever believed or imagined. You have set so many girls free! Dear Jesus, we pray, we ask boldly in Your Name, that the 113 Chibok girls remaining would be found/would escape the clutches of Boko Haram. You have done amazing things; please do all that You have promised. Let us not forget. May each one be free.

Thank You for this, Lord Jesus.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,
Amen.”

Advertisements

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.

 

Free to Dance: The Importance of Sharing the Gospel

On the Sunday morning of October 16th, 2016, 21 of the original kidnapped school girls from Chibok, Nigeria, celebrated their freedom during a church service in the capital of Abuja.

Surrounded by their loved ones, clad in beautifully vibrant outfits, the 21 Chibok school girls were filmed dancing and singing for joy (the video can be seen here). Living in a state that one never could have dreamed of, this scene of the girls, dancing with a spring in their step, was no doubt a little bit of Heaven seen on Earth.


The Cost of Freedom

The girls’ freedom was not without cost. Freed, in a deal brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss Government, reportedly cost the Swiss Government millions of dollars, while more reports have claimed that the girls were freed in exchange for four Boko Haram militants. While the exact deal has not yet been confirmed, one knows they were freed, at an incredibly high price.
With 197 young women still in captivity, and at least 83 still held by the faction of Boko Haram these 21 Chibok girls were freed from, freedom still seems far away, though it has now become a possible reality, to the watching world.

Little by little, the promising words of Isaiah 62, are being realized, in the lives of those affected by the Chibok kidnapping. While Isaiah 62, in its original context, was written for the nation of Israel, Christ used the passage for Isaiah 62 Ministry, to quite clearly express the Hope, Joy, Freedom, and Redemption these girls were to experience– even in the midst of the darkness, that was the first weeks after their kidnapping. “The nations will see your righteousness,” it reads,

    World leaders will be blinded by your glory.
And you will be given a new name
    by the Lord’s own mouth.
The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see—
    a splendid crown in the hand of God.
Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City”
    or “The Desolate Land.”
Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” [Hephzibah],
    and “The Bride of God,” [Beulah],
for the Lord delights in you
    and will claim you as his bride.
Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem,
    just as a young man commits himself to his bride.
Then God will rejoice over you
    as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.
(Isaiah 62:2-5, NLT, emphasis mine)

It is clear to see that, little by little, this joyous redemption is occurring, for the Chibok girls and their families, in huge ways.


Staying In Bondage

But, amidst the celebration, there is still a huge amount of young women actually unwilling to leave Boko Haram. As reported, in this article, over 100 of the Chibok schoolgirls do not want to be freed, either out of the fear that they will be stigmatized and harassed by those in their hometowns, or because they have been radicalized by Boko Haram, after being made into their wives.

To hear that these young girls may want to remain in captivity breaks the hearts of those who have waited, and are still waiting, for their release. Yet, it is the sad truth: whether it would be fear, or believing the enemy’s lies, these precious young women are choosing to stay bound, whether they realize it, or not.

In reality, this is very much how many people live their lives. Bound by the enemy, some people refuse to get free, and to receive the freedom that Christ freely gives them. Some may not even realize that they are believing a lie; others may know that they are in bondage, but remain helpless, just the same.

The Wonder of the Gospel

This is the pressing reason of why it is so important to have Christ, and His Gospel, shared. The Gospel is not some cliche, religious word, nor is it just “apart” of Christian faith culture. Instead, the Gospel, which means “good news” in Greek, is THE most important news anyone could hear.

The word “Gospel,” and the Good News of Christ found within it, has been so used in American and Christian culture that it has seemingly lost its power and true meaning– sometimes, sadly, even to those who believe and practice it. But the word “Gospel” itself is derived from the word “euangelos,” meaning “messenger,” “one who brought a message of victory…” (source). The Bible confirms the power of this glorious message in Romans 1:16. “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.”

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Source: BibleScreen.com

Many people would say they know this message of salvation pretty well: that as the all-famous verse, John 3:16, expresses, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” While this verse is very well-known, even to those who don’t believe it, it’s awe and wonder should never be lost.

Slaves to Sin

The Apostle Paul, when explaining the reality of Jesus’ Good News to those in Rome, compared coming to know Christ to being ransomed, as a slave.

21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. …15 Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you.”
(Romans 5:21; 6:15-17, NLT, emphasis mine)

At one time, before one knew Christ, they were held captive by the “law of sin and death”– bound by the sin, that Adam and Eve committed, and to the death of separation from God, that sin created. While mankind tried to become free, through the keeping of the Law of Moses (John 7:19), no amount of obedience and works is enough to break this bondage to sin and death.

Ransomed by Jesus Christ

But at the right time, “when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6, NIV). Knowing that mankind could not pay its sin debt– even through the grandest of good works or the most detailed keeping of the Law– Christ, God in human form, came down and paid our sin debt for those who believe. In effect, He set all who believe on Him free, from the wages of sin and death– bought and ransomed by God (Romans 6:23; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

Believers were bought with a price– no longer slaves to sin, and free to do as Christ commands us to. But isn’t that just more drudging, joyless slavery? One can ask. This is the beautiful Truth: No. Instead of “slaving” for salvation– lost, and floundering to be saved by one’s own efforts, those who believe on Christ become the very children of God: “Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir” (Galatians 4:7, NLT).

From Slave to Child

What does this mean? It means that a Believer is saved, no matter what they do or don’t do; and, as children of a Loving Father, they can choose to obey their Living Father’s commands, not out of obligation, but out of knowing that His way is best. As His heirs, Believers are given all that Christ has (Ephesians 3:8); the best of which is an unbreakable, eternal, personal, Love relationship with the God who loved us first (1 John 4:19).

For the price of the blood of Christ, Believers have been forever set free, to live in Relationship with Him. This Gospel News is not only some Good News; it is the Only News that can truly set people free. With this in mind, Believers are equipped with the very news that can liberate those still floundering, lost, and enslaved. This freeing News must be shared.

As the world celebrates the freedom of the now 22 Chibok girls, let us also keep those, who have yet to be freed, in prayer. That they, and those in Believer’s lives, would be freed, both physically, and spiritually. After all, only Jesus can break the chains of bondage, and help us to freely dance, just like the Chibok girls. 🔹



Do you know Jesus?

“We love each other because he loved us first.”
(1 John 4:19, NLT)

“What other king leaves a throne? What other king leaves his glory to die?” A popular, profound, worship song asks, as the music plays (hear it here).

This worship song does not ask something easy; nor does it ask, for the sake of finding an answer. Jesus Christ, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).

Why would one, who has done nothing wrong, come to die for the sins of people who rejected Him?
The answer is simple, yet amazing: Because He so loved the world.
On a much more personal level, He died, not just for all of mankind, but for you. You, whoever you are, before you were ever born, were considered worth dying for, by the God who knew and foresaw you, even then.

 Philippians 2 goes on: “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11, ESV).

Meet the Lord of lords, who left His throne, and died for you, here.


Please pray with me…

“Dear Father God,

You amaze us with Your power, Father. You are beautiful, O Lord, King Jesus. Thank You for hearing our prayers, and for acting upon those prayers, in any way you see fit.

We praise You, that it is Your Heart, that people would be freed, healed, and restored. We praise You, that You know how to best free, heal, and restore people, even if it doesn’t look the way we would sometimes like it to.

Father God, we are so thankful, that you have FREED these 22 young women from CAPTIVITY and BONDAGE!!! You are a GOOD, GOOD FATHER, Father God! We stay in awe of You, Father, and are so thankful for the fact that You are our Savior.

Father God, we just lift these 22 young girls up to You, now. Father God, please continue to make Yourself very real in these young women’s lives… please continue to free them, spiritually, mentally, and physically, of all they have been through. We know that ultimately, this trauma will stay with them for the rest of their lives, and we pray that You would help them at every turn, to grow, heal, and change, always becoming closer to You. Let this tragedy be turned around for Your Glory, and their good, in their lives.

Father God, we also pray for the Chibok girls that are still captive. For whatever reason, Father God, please bring these young women to You– please work and move powerfully, on their behalf, so that they might trust in You, and that even the members of Boko Haram would turn and repent to You. Please save these young girls, spiritually, and physically, however You Will.

Father God, please help the worldwide church– but more specifically, the churches in Northern Nigeria– to continue to point these young girls to You, and to the healing, comfort, and restoration that You provide. Father, please give Your People the resources they need to love, edify, uplift, and just “do life” with these young women.

Please continue to use the people of this world– Believer or not– to set these people free. Let them ALL come to know that You are the author of Salvation, the Giver of Life, and the Lover of our Souls.

In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

Thank you for your continued prayers and support! Please comment or contact me with any prayer requests you may have, or if you need a listening ear. Jesus Loves You! ❤