When Life Stops Making Sense

Since I last wrote a post, much has happened all over the world, and especially in West Africa. In the past week alone, many major tragedies have occurred.

In Cameroon: On the morning of December 29th, 2017, two women suicide bombers set out to do major, irreversible damage to a community of people. Upon seeing these two women, people of Kordo of the Kolofata subdivision in Cameroon cornered the women, causing them to set off their explosive devices prematurely. Only the two young women suicide bombers were killed. On the previous night, December 28th, 2017,  not very far away from Kordo, another attack occurred, killing one innocent person in the Mayo-Moskota subdivision, bordering Nigeria (source).

As if this was not enough, Moussa Ramat, the ex-mayor of Fotokol, Cameroon, was acquitted on charges of secretly helping Boko Haram. Ramat was a part of “several negotiations” with Boko Haram that led to the freedom of Boko Haram captives. Because there was little evidence linking Moussa Ramat to the charges that he was helping Boko Haram, he was deemed not guilty (source). This is all in view of recent news that a journalist from France was also freed from prison, acquitted on charges that he spoke to Boko Haram without passing on the information to the government. Only Jesus alone knows the full truth of these whole investigations (source).

In Nigeria: On Christmas Day, around 11 p.m., gunmen snuck into the Kamale community in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State. As people celebrated the birth of Christ, these assailants shot sporadically into the homes of those in the Kamale community, killing at least four people and injuring many others (source). The survivors climbed up nearby mountains and “scampered away,” one survivor, Micheal Zira, said (source).

In Molai, Nigeria, Boko Haram also attacked the Molai General Hospital (source). Shooting everywhere as they entered Molai, at least one woman and numerous young men assaulted those belonging to the hospital. Three people were burned to death. Two brand new jeeps were also stolen from the Hospital (source).

In the USA: A partner in a Law Firm, located in Long Beach, California, shot and killed two of his colleagues, before committing suicide himself. Employees in the entire law firm ran out as the gun shots sounded, screaming, “They’re shooting inside” (source).

In Colorado, on the morning of December 31st, 2017, one Colorado deputy was shot and killed, and six others were wounded, four being police men and two being civilians. The shooting happened after responding to a domestic violence call close to Denver. It is reported that it was an “ambush style” shooting (source). The officer who passed away was 29-year-old Zackari Parrish.

Egypt: Though not in West Africa, I found it important to report that, tragically, 9 Coptic Christians were killed in the city of Cairo, Egypt.

On Friday, December 29th, 2017, assailants reportedly a part of Boko Haram went into a store owned by a Coptic Christian, killing his two sons. Shortly after, the assailants tried to get into The Coptic Orthodox Church, in Mar Mina, a part of a small suburb within Cairo called Helwan. While the assailants intended to throw an explosive device into the church, they were unable to get through the line of security officers surrounding the church’s entrance. The shoot out killed one security officer and six worshippers, inside (source).

 

As I write this, I become aware of the fact that 22 people have died– and that those around them have been forever changed by their deaths.
Tens of hundreds of people have been suddenly, and violently, immersed into a state of grief so deep that they may consider death themselves.

In one moment, their loved one was alive. Worshiping Christ, or working, or celebrating Christmas with those around them… and then they were gone.

Many, many people, due to terrorism, have been plunged into a world that suddenly doesn’t make sense. For those who were innocently taken by terrorism, the words of one person, who knew one of the partners killed in the Law Firm shooting in Long Beach, California, sum it up quite well. “He certainly didn’t deserve this.

He certainly didn’t deserve this.

What are we to do, when suddenly, we are submerged into a life that no longer makes sense– a life that is filled with grief, loss, and pain?

What the Bible Says about Suffering

I understand that me, a young person safe within the confines of her own home, holding a laptop, free to worship Jesus– I have no idea of how it feels to lose someone I love so much to something as evil as terrorism. I have little to no room to preach to those who have been struck by such a dark and evil blow.
No cliche or common Christian saying can mend a heart so broken.

But the Bible speaks a lot about how we will suffer in this life, especially for Jesus, in passages such as Philippians 1:29 and 1 Peter 4. In 1 Peter 4, Peter writes this:

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, ‘If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’ 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”
(1 Peter 4:12-19, NIV)

The people Peter was writing to were overwhelmed by the trials and persecution they were going through. But Peter encourages them to rejoice.

How can one rejoice, when everyone around them is gone?

Christ does not call us to rejoice because of the suffering. That is insane. But He does call us to rejoice throughout the trial, because of the fact that we draw closer to Christ in the suffering, becoming partners with Christ in it (1 Peter 4:13). 

When No One is To Blame

There are people to blame in these tragedies. Boko Haram. Evil, greedy men with guns and bombs and other weapons. Some of our problems are even self-inflicted. But, what about when pain has no one person or thing to blame? While pondering such questions,  I happened upon an essay article written by David Weiss– a Christian man diagnosed with schizophrenia, who has undergone immense pain and suffering. His essay, “God of the Schizophrenic,” offered some insight: “Even when we cannot grasp the sources of our misfortunes, we can strive to learn the right lessons.”

“Pain is a powerful drug. It altered my perception and was an indelible part of my reality,” Weiss states. So many of those plunged into the world of grief, fear, and immense loss know what He is saying, all too well.

But his words about lessons is true:
We can get bitter, or get better.
We can turn away from Jesus, or run to Him, with all of our anger and questions and tears.

And perhaps, it is in running to Him, we will find something bigger than the answers we seek, as David Weiss did:

“I have finally met the God I had heard about but never truly experienced. A God who heals. A God who loves. …A God who manifests his genius by salvaging good from the evil in our lives.”

A Love that Never Fails

Let me ask you this: Is having every answer going to make you feel less bitter about your suffering? Does knowing the specifics and story of a crime scene make it less sad?
Right now, amidst the clamoring voices demanding change because of these tragedies– and rightly so– the deepest need of those suffering in a world that makes no sense is not having answers, but being Loved. Love that will never fail; Love that will save and restore them. Love that will comfort and hide away those in their distress.

As those around the world this week are suffering from these horrific tragedies, I pray that Jesus would surround them in a real way with His Comfort and Love, both supernaturally and through His People.

If you are not a Christian, please know that the only Love that will never fail is Jesus Christ’s Love. Come to Him during this time.

If you are a Christian, run to the One who promises to weep with you, comfort you, hide you away, and never leave your side, in the midst of the darkness.

You may (or may not) ever get any answers in this life. But His Love will see you through. And perhaps, that is all we really need. 

 

This blog post is in tribute to the 5 deputies wounded in Colorado’s recent shooting, which took place Sunday morning. One of those deputies, 29 year old Zackari Parrish, passed away in the shooting. Parrish is said to have been a Godly man, going to a church in Littleton.

Please pray for all those who have been affected, including the deceased deputy’s loved ones.



Do you know Jesus?

I understand how trite all of this might feel, as you go through so much pain that no one’s input could change it, one bit.

I don’t want to make your pain seem less than it is, at all. Instead, I want to point you to the One who knows it fully. David Weiss says in his essay on suffering through Schizophrenia, “If God isn’t up there in heaven watching and waiting for me to screw up—if instead he weeps when I weep and celebrates when I take just one step toward a new and better life—then who am I to judge others harshly?

Christianity differs from every other religion in this: That God descended into humanity, lived a completely perfect life, and died for the sins of those who rejected and killed him– for the sins of all mankind. No other religion offers complete salvation by mere faith in a God who loved us enough to meet us where we are at, in all of our pain and darkness, and be called Emmanuel: “God with us.”

If you are hurting today and seeking God, know that He wants to meet you where you are– and save you from going to hell.

Learn more about this amazing, Loving God, here.



“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”
(Hebrews 13:3, NIV)

Please pray for…

  • Those in Cairo, Egypt who are grieving and going through daily persecution for believing in and loving Jesus.
  • Those in Nigeria who are suffering from attacks made by Boko Haram.
  • Those in the USA who are suffering and oppressed from different acts of terrorism.
  • Those in Cameroon, who are also suffering from Boko Haram and muslim terrorist attacks of all kinds.
  • That those who are suffering, whether there is a clear culprit for it or not, would come to Jesus with it, and would receive His Love and Comfort. 

 

Thank you for your prayers. 

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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!

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.”

A Change: NEW VIDEO BLOG POST!

“The Boko Haram terrorists are not professionals. They don’t know what we know. They just rush to the battle front to attack as sheep without shepherds and we kill them in numbers.”

On April 28th, 2017, these were the words of Major-General John Enenche, the Director of Defense Information, when speaking about Boko Haram. According to Enenche, the Nigerian military has employed new military tactics to fight the Boko Haram insurgency, and have been successful in it, so far. While he did not go into detail about what those tactics were, he denied the claim that Boko Haram is getting stronger. Instead, he explained that new tactics were “drawing enemy fire,” and that “the insurgents were being killed in scores,” according to the Nigerian Tribune.

As apart of the military’s tactics against Boko Haram, they have started doing daytime patrol over the Sambisa Forest, Boko Haram’s biggest stronghold; during one of these, the Nigerian military “sighted” an “artillery piece, which was concealed under a tree” (source). Sending down airstrikes, the military was able to destroy the piece of artillery, and maybe even kill members of Boko Haram in the process.

It is no surprise that a different tactic may, or may not, yield more desirable results. Because the wiles of the enemy (physical or otherwise) are prone to change at some points, it is important to be aware of their changing tactics, and to be ready to change one’s own tactics, accordingly.

A Call for Change

It is this idea of change that Christ impressed upon me, one day. As I thought about it, the idea sounded refreshing: creating a written voice-over blog post sounded like fun, a definite idea to consider.

That initial call for a change is what led me, Annalee Hoover, the steward of Isaiah 62 Prayer Ministry, to create a video post, now available on YouTube. But when I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to create a video, I wondered what it would be about.

The Story

To fully appreciate the video, I must tell the story of where it all came from.

When the Chibok schoolgirls were taken in April of 2014, I didn’t learn about their story until two weeks later. As I found out, I experienced some of the most heart-wrenching sadness I have ever experienced. What ensued what seeking Christ diligently in prayer. One day, as I was reading the Word and seeking Christ, He led me to read Isaiah, chapter 62.

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. …I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lordgive yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.”
(Isaiah 62:1, 6-7, NIV)

Reading through Isaiah 62, I knew what I had to do. I was going to 1) continue in prayer over and for the Chibok girls; 2) tell others about their story, and be their advocate (Proverbs 31:8); and 3) encourage others to pray about them, as well.

It is no secret that this is what ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY was created for. It will continue to go on this way. It has existed to tell others about what is happening in Northern Nigeria, so that others may knowledgeably pray for the Chibok girls, and for those stuck in the horrific nature of the Boko Haram insurgency. During the last 2 1/2 years, I have been utterly blessed to be able to steward this blog. The blog has documented, if not all of the news pertaining to this insurgency, then A LOT of it. In stewarding the blog, I have seen the soaring highs of Nigeria’s victories against Boko Haram, like the successful attack on the Sambisa Forest, Boko Haram’s stronghold; yet, I have also seen heart-rending lows, such as the use of 10 and 11 year old girls for suicide bombers. Through it all, though, I have seen one amazing thing: Christ’s faithfulness.

As I wondered what this video would be about, it hit me: Christ has been faithful, and has moved greatly! This MUST be celebrated.

Yet, at the same time, there is still much to do for the lives of the Chibok schoolgirls. 195 remain missing. Boko Haram continues to attack Nigeria sporadically, even in 2017. There is also much to be done, in the lives of those who are currently malnourished, living in a land far away from their Homes because of Boko Haram violence. Nothing can, or should, take these facts of life away.

But, in light of all that Jesus Christ has done, there is a reason for real Hope. You see, at the time of Isaiah 62 being written, Israel was about to be put into a monstrous exile. Israel would be attacked, and its inhabitants would be sent to a place far away from home. Yet, 70 some years later, the prophecy of Isaiah 62 was fulfilled: instead of “Deserted” and “Desolate,” Israel became “Hephzibah”: Once again inhabited, and “Delighted In” by their Maker.

While they are unlike Israel in that the Chibok girls, and those victims of the Boko Haram insurgency, have never done ANYTHING to deserve their captivity, a similar “impossibility” happened for Nigeria.

At one point, Boko Haram had taken over 11 towns and villages in Northern Nigeria; now, they have been reduced to sporadic attacks.
276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram from Chibok, Nigeria– and as of May 1st, 2017, 81 Chibok girls have been able to flee, be found, or be rescued through negotiation from Boko Haram, with just one of those girls miraculously being Asabe Goni.

All of this points to Jesus Christ, being the God of the Impossible, able to do “impossible” things. This is the reason for, and content of, the video that has been released, today.

The Video

Though 6 1/2 minutes long, this video is meant to 1) celebrate all that Christ has done in the lives of the freed Chibok girls, refugees, and all others involved in the Boko Haram insurgency; and 2) to highlight the still very horrific ordeal many are going through, and the need for Christ to touch and move in the situations presented. (It has been separated into 5 parts, because of technical difficulties.) It is my heart to glorify Christ by proclaiming what He alone has done, while supporting and honoring the Chibok girls by keeping them close in people’s minds. Care to celebrate, and commemorate, with me?

If so, please watch, subscribe, and share the videos, presented below!

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAWklOcx8bkvCeIcImO-XJKoto5681y_c

While I have taken on a new tactic, the Nigerian military’s new tactics could mean life or death for them. May their newest tactics be led of the Lord! After all, it is Him alone who causes victory or defeat (Psalm 20:7).


Do you know Jesus?

“The God of the Impossible,” Jesus Christ, has done the absolutely Impossible: lived a sinless, perfect life, died, and rose again (1 Corinthians 15:3-5). But what did He do it all for? Why does Christ do such amazing things, like set people free and restore their lives?

Because it is who He is. While this might seem like a trite answer, it is true: Jesus, being a God who Loves this world, gave Himself up for it, because He wanted all of us to be with Him, for eternity.

But Christ did not just want “all of us” to know and be with Him for eternity; He wants you to know Him, and be with Him, for eternity. Because of His gift to mankind, all that merely accept Him can come to know Him personally, and will  be with Him forever, in heaven.

Learn more about Jesus Christ, this amazing “God of the Impossible,” here.



Please pray…

  • For the freedom of the Chibok schoolgirls. You can focus on one Chibok girl a week, if you would like, by going here.
  • That Christ would take care of the needs of every malnourished child and person in Northern Nigeria, and that there would be enough aid in the region to do this.
  • That the Nigerian military would continue to be successful in their fighting of Boko Haram, and that people would come to know Christ in the military.
  • That this video would be used mightily by Christ, not only to bring light to the Chibok schoolgirls, but also to bring many to come to know Him as their Lord and Savior.

Thank you for all of your prayers!
Please pray that I would continue to steward this blog in a way that honors and glorifies Jesus alone! Thank you.

“Where is God?”

Recently, members of the United Nations (UN) have visited the Lake Chad basin, considered the near center of four countries: Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger.

This dwindling basin is not only the geographical center of these 4 countries, but is in fact also the epicenter of the evil Boko Haram insurgency. Ravaged by the woes Boko Haram has caused, the injury of the state is severe: widespread famine, and millions of refugees have gone barely noticed worldwide up to this point, with only humanitarian aid and other nations’ responses helping to feed and provide basic needs to those involved in the crisis. But that is not all: Michele Sison, U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, has reported, upon coming back from her trip to the nightmarish place of the Lake Chad Basin, that women have seemingly suffered more than men from Boko Haram violence.

Women, in the toxic areas Boko Haram has attacked, are now widowed, sexually exploited, and financially empty. This extreme suffering does not only belong to female victims of Boko Haram, but also carries over to women who were apart of Boko Haram. Whether voluntarily or involuntarily in Boko Haram, these women have had more difficult times facing stigma from their home towns and villages, especially when desiring to get re-married, according to Sison’s report. While one can understand why any person would be both skeptical and careful of a “Boko Haram wife” being re-integrated into their lives, those women who were coerced into Boko Haram, have been met with shunning and threats, instead of compassion and support over what they have been through. I was treated as if I was also Boko Haram,” said one woman, in this report.

Women and children are slowly being degraded and killed– as well as those in combat against Boko Haram. On March 9th, it was reported that one soldier passed away in a battle against Boko Haram members, in Borno state (source). Two soldiers remain missing in the line of duty, and 18 were wounded while fighting.

The abuses against humanity in this area of the world could heartbreakingly go on and on. The noble get snuffed out; the vulnerable and precious become abused and wounded. In such a place as this, where is a Sovereign, Good God?

In The Beginning

To answer such a question, one first should ask, “Where was a Sovereign, Good God in the beginning?” In the account of the beginning– that is, in Genesis 1– the Bible describes a very profound image of God.

“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
(Genesis 1:2, NIV)

The earth, made of particles of matter, was, as Elliot’s Commentary for English Readers’ puts it, “a shapeless and empty waste” (source). The Commentary goes on: “It expresses here the state of primæval matter immediately after creation, when as yet there was no cohesion between the separate particles.” In this formless, empty waste that was earth, the Bible does not reveal that God was distant, or “apart” from the earth, as Deism teaches. Instead, the Bible describes God has “hovering” over the waters: very near, and very involved with and in His creation.Where is a Good, Sovereign God

Fast forward to Genesis 3, and one gets yet another view of this Sovereign, Good God, interacting with the pinnacle of His Creation, humanity. In Genesis 3:1-9, the relationship between God and man is first seen as whole and unbroken. But, then, a huge breaking happens. “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8, NIV)This verse presents two very real things: that one, God enjoyed His Creation, maybe even walking with Adam and Eve in the garden; and two, that it was not God who caused this fracturing in fellowship, but Adam and Eve. Given freewill, and choosing to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve blatantly disobeying God’s command. Adam and Eve, in eating from this tree, displayed their decision to try to live a whole, unbroken life, without God, the source of Life Himself. While God foreknew that this action would take place, it was still humanity’s decision, humanity’s lack of trust in God being God, that caused sin, and death, to enter the world.

 

God, in Pursuit

Still, even through all of humankind’s sin, rebellion, and trying to “kick God out” of their lives, God– a Good, Sovereign God– did not leave mankind to rot in the stew of it’s own sin and death, mistakes and consequences. Instead, this Good, Sovereign God Pursued and Loved humanity relentlessly (as seen throughout the Old Testament). Still, a fracture– or truly, a gaping canyon– existed between God and humanity. Some might ask, “Why can’t a Good, Sovereign God just forget the debt of sin? Why can’t He just forgive?” Because God is a Good God, He is a Fair God; “He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (2 Peter 3:9). The wage for sin is death (Romans 6:23), and as the Ultimate Judge, He cannot, by His very Nature, wink at sin and turn a blind eye. He must be Fair, and there must be Justice, yet, He knew that nothing mankind can do– not even dying for their sins, themselves– could reconcile them to Him. As a Good, Loving, Sovereign God, He willingly stepped into this role, paying for the entire sin debt of mankind– though He owed none of it. But He did not stay dead: not even death could hold Him. He rose again, on the third day, claiming victory over satan’s power, and over the sin and death that separated Him from humanity.

This gift, made outside of humanity’s ability (or rather, disability) to “earn” it, is completely free. It can lead to the question of, “Why?! Why would a Good, Sovereign God suffer in our place?!” The answer is simple: He Loves us. God is not just a Righteous, Sovereign God; He is a God who Loves us, both personally and passionately. Jesus Christ, who died just as much for the sins of one person as He did the entirety of mankind– and rose again, claiming victory over death– is the Savior of those who freely take on this good, good gift.

 

The Receiver’s Role

As the receivers of this good gift, Christ, who is God Himself, has called those who Restoringbelieve Him, for who He is to be, “ministers of Reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). God is the One who came to earth, to die for the sins of mankind in an act of complete reconciliation; Jesus made the ONLY  way to “get right” with the Father.

Christ is bringing what is dead and fractured, to life, through the reconciliation He completed on the cross.

And so, a new “Creation” takes place (2 Corinthians 5:17). Just as God was “hovering over the waters” of an empty, formless world, creating beauty, form, and meaning in His creation of the Earth, He is now creating beauty, form, and meaning in the hearts of those who are responsible for the fracture– using Believers as His vessels to complete this task.

One can easily ask, when looking at the Lake Chad Basin– and for good reason– “Where is a Good, Sovereign God in such hell on earth?”
But He is where He has always been: Creating new life out of chaos, and redeeming what is broken. The real question is, will you join Him? 🔹



Do you know Jesus?

It is a seemingly trite, cliche question. “No,” you may laugh; “I’ve never met the guy.”

There have been many world-changers; some even claim that Jesus was a world-changer. Yet, there is no one like Him: He did not only change the world, He changed, and broken down the dividing wall, that kept mankind from Himself.

Jesus is not still hanging on the cross. He rose again, victorious!

Jesus is God.
He is alive, well (Acts 1:9-12), and where He always has been, ever since the garden (Genesis 3:8): passionately, and personally, pursuing you.

Come to the One who beckons, and calls your Name for you to come to truly know Him, here.


Please pray with me…

Dear Lord Jesus,
We thank You, dear  Jesus, for paying the price we could never pay, to receive something freely that we don’t deserve.
Thank You, dear Jesus, for bringing us into a personal, saving relationship with You… not based on “good works,” but based on Your Grace and Goodness, toward us.
It is with Your Grace, and Your Goodness, in mind, that we come to Your throne room, now.

Dear Jesus,
I praise You, and thank You, for each and every person You have made, currently living in Borno state, and specifically in the Lake Chad Basin… dear Jesus, we cannot imagine their suffering, and if anyone praying can, Lord Jesus, we know that we can only live through such things with You by our side.
Please, Lord Jesus, make Your Presence known– through Your Holy Spirit, through other people, through the world around us, and, importantly, through the Revelation of Your Word, the Bible. Please, dear Lord Jesus, make Your Presence known to those suffering in internally displaced people’s camps, in Boko Haram’s fortresses and camps, and in the desolate villages, harmed and wounded by Boko Haram, and by other evil, perverted men and women. Please bring even those perverted, evil men and women to come to know You.

Dear Jesus,
We pray that as people recognize Your Presence, that many would come to know You, and would come to be healed of their brokenness. There is much wrong with this world, Dear Jesus, and You are the only cure… our only Hope.
Please make Yourself very Present in the lives of those reading. I pray they would realize their need for You, and would run to You for the Salvation, Forgiveness, Healing, Love, Grace, and Mercy that only You provide. 
Please save all those reading, and bring them to the Light of Your Passionate Love for them. May they know You as their Lord and Savior– following You all the days of their lives, and realizing that nothing they do is from themselves, but only done by Your Grace.

Dear Jesus,
We pray, in Your Name (John 14:13), that those who are currently starving would receive the physical food they need, as well as the Food that only You can provide. Please take care of their physical needs in general, and as they look to whomever gave it, may all the Praise, Glory, and Thanks truly go to You.

Dear Jesus,
Please, we pray in Your Name, bring back the Chibok girls, soon… and please bring back home the wounded soldiers, and civilians in Vigilante Groups, who have been fighting to eradicate Nigeria of Boko Haram. Please, bring these men and women in Nigeria to You, including the President of Nigeria. Thank You, Jesus.

In Jesus’ Name we pray all of this. Amen!”

Thank you for your prayers!!! Jesus is Good, and He is in Control. BE BLESSED! 🙂

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

Not Against Flesh and Blood: Praying for Boko Haram Members

On the evening of Tuesday, November 8th, 2016, bomb blasts went off in the Golori area, near Mamanti, in Maiduguri, Nigeria. These bombs were attached to two men: members of the terrorist group, Boko Haram. Whether by force or choice, these people were killed instantly by the blast, killing two others with them, and injuring six (source).

While Maiduguri, and Northeastern Nigeria, for that matter, has seen a definite decrease in suicide bombings as of late, the fact that they are still going on– even if they only come to injure one other person– shows that the deceptive ideology of Boko Haram, and, heartbreakingly, of muslims everywhere, is far from being extinguished.

These men, women, and children either make the choice, or are coerced into such self-and-mass destruction. They are usually viewed by non-Boko Haram (BH) members as evil, contemptible, and worthy of their fate. While these people have torn apart the lives of countless innocent people around them, and are extremely evil, it is very important for discerning Believers to also see their true state. These sad, cowardly, disgusting individuals, at their core, are being pitifully– and fatally– deceived by the enemy, by the world, and by themselves. The amount of spiritual deception, darkness, and desperation these people are under is cause for immense, fervent prayer.

Judgment & Mercy

The statement made above is not to be said lightly, without remembering the absolute chaos and murder they have committed. “Don’t these people deserve what they have been ‘dishing out’?” many would ask. Yes, they completely do; that is the Just answer. But, when seen from Christ’s point of view, it becomes clearly evident that while these people need firm judgment, Christ actually longs to give them Mercy.

“‘Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 ‘For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,’ declares the Lord GOD. ‘Therefore, repent and live‘” (Ezekiel 18:31-32, NASB). In the midst of fair and upright judgment against the Israelites, God’s cry for their repentance is clear: while they deserved the wrath coming upon them, Christ’s heart for them was to be saved by turning away from their evil ways, and turning towards Him. These profoundly urgent words are the very Words of God, and show His very heart for mankind, even today.

Praying for Boko Haram Members

How are Believers even to begin praying for enemies like Boko Haram, when they have done so much damage, and continue, almost hellbound, in their ways? It is vital that one recognizes the spiritual warfare going on, spurring BH members on in their violence. Ephesians 6 is very clear about the warfare happening for every soul: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:10-12, NIV).

With this in mind, the best fighting is truly done on our knees, in prayer for BH members. Here are some key prayer points to consider, when praying for Boko Haram members. Whether some are common sense or are points you may have not considered yet, it is always good to be reminded of such things.

  1. For the terrorists of Boko Haram to become saved. While this point may seem redundant, it is all too important to leave out.Again, this is not written lightly, or without realizing the complete and utter horror these men have caused. The members of Boko Haram definitely deserve God’s complete wrath, including going to hell.
    But, biblically speaking– and this is said with the utmost care– we are all deserving of God’s wrath, no matter how “good” or “bad” one is. Ephesians 2:1-5 addresses this hard-to-swallow truth.As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
    (Ephesians 2:1-5, NIV)At one time, all Believers– even the most zealous, “good,” law-abiding Believers– deserved the wrath of God, including going to hell. No matter how “good” one is in their own eyes, they need Christ as their Lord and Savior; there is no other way. At the core, the members of BH have never experienced the Love of God, His Forgiveness, or the Freedom He brings. Despite their evil, without being saved, these people– these souls– have no chance at a future spent with the One, True, God of the Universe, who Loves them perfectly and dearly.

    Which brings up a second important aspect of praying for BH Members:

  2. For the BH terrorists (and truly, terrorists all over the world) to realize how much Jesus, the One, True, Living God, LOVES them. 1 John 4:10 declares God’s Love for people, perfectly:

    “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
    (1 John 4:10, NIV)

    It’s incredibly important to realize that Christ was pursuing us, His people, long before His people ever started desiring and accepting, much less pursuing, Him. This throws the concept of works-based religion, including Islam, out of the window. Religion tells the adherent to “do,” so that God might accept them as “Holy” or “Righteous” enough; but, “For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8, NIV). When Christ died, He did everything needed for Believers to come to God, being completely saved by grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8). There is nothing one must do– or cannot do, for that matter– to gain this salvation. All they must do is accept the gift of what Jesus did on the cross.Experiencing, and realizing, the Love, Grace, and Goodness of God, and accepting Him as Lord and Savior, is the only thing that can truly transform people, even BH members.

  3. For Christians in and around Northern Nigeria to stand for Christ, and to be a light in the darkness.

    For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they 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? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!‘”
    (Romans 10:12-15, NIV)

    Christ has called us “the light of the world,” “a town on a hill,” and a “light” that must be put on a stand (Matthew 5:14-16). In such spiritual darkness as the kind that has been fueling Boko Haram, Christians have the One, True, Living God living within them, and can fight back against the darkness through prayer, outreach, and bringing people to Christ. Without being overly focused on spiritual warfare, whenever one tries to be a light in the darkness, there is inevitably “pushback.” The terror, complete desolation, and isolation so many Christian Nigerians are facing (especially those who are refugees) are leaving them vulnerable to any attack, be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Now, more than ever, those who are Christ’s “soldiers” must put on their spiritual armor, and gather together against the enemy.This is no more true than for those who are closest to BH members: BH captives. Just as Christ, through Paul, brought a guard to Himself while Paul was in prison (Acts 16:22-35), encamped in captivity, with BH members as their guards, Christian Nigerians may be given opportunities by Christ to show their faith in Christ. They are able to testify of Jesus’ Power, Love, Grace, and Mercy– things that some BH members may have never heard of before. Even in suffering, our brothers and sisters can be a bright light, empowered by the Holy Spirit to clash with the darkness around them.

  4. In all, for the Holy Spirit to move these people to come to know Jesus.

    Passages like Revelation 19, John 14, and John 16 clearly describe who the Holy Spirit is, and what He does. “…Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus‘” (Revelation 19:10, NIV). John 14 describes the Holy Spirit as the God who “teaches everything and helps [us] to remember everything that Jesus said,” while John 16 says He will convict the world of sin, and lead Believers into all Truth, telling them what He has heard (from the Father, as read in John 16:8, 13). He will tell us what is yet to come; and, most importantly, will “glorify me [Jesus] because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you” (John 16:14).
    Knowing the importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives, it becomes clear that without being empowered by Jesus, we can do nothing of eternal significance (John 15). This is completely true when sharing the Gospel. Paul says, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6, NIV). While Believers may plant the seed in a BH member’s heart, only the Holy Spirit can lead that person to a Saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit would be stirring in their hearts and minds, as we speak!

 

Conclusion

There are countless things that need to be prayed for, when it comes to Boko Haram, including its destruction. But, as we look at the individual, darkened souls that make up Boko Haram, their need for Salvation and Transformation becomes clear. Whatever it takes– be it their physical surrender, or even their deaths– may these men, women, and children come to realize their need for Christ, and accept His gift of Salvation, readily.



Do you know Jesus?

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.‘”
(John 8:12, NIV)

It goes without question, that this entire world is incredibly dark. Whether or not terrorists are ravaging the world you live in, there is always a spiritual battle going on, for the souls of those who don’t know Christ (Ephesians 6:12).

For centuries, men had been living in darkness, trying to follow the rules and regulations set forth by God, through Moses, perfectly. Through all of our trying, we only become all the more cold in the process, as seen by the Pharisees (Matthew 23). But these rules and regulations were not evil in and of themselves; rather, they were a shadow of the One to come, who would fulfill them all. In the end, the Law shed light on the fact that mankind needed One to do what they could not: obey the law perfectly, and save them from the sin they had committed.

Think about the properties and power of sunlight. Jesus, being God Himself, claimed to be “the Light of the world”– and promised that those who followed Him would not only have light to shine on their life path, but the light to feed, save, guide, heal, and warm them.

Jesus, the Light of the World, has come on the scene. Learn more about, and accept the Only Light of the World, here.


Please be praying with me…

Dear Father God,
We praise You, and we thank You, for who You are.
Thank You for coming down from heaven, into our dark world, and for considering us of so much value that You would die for our sins.

Father God,
We pray over the men, women, and children both held captive by, and actively in, Boko Haram. Even now, Father God, we pray that Your Gospel and Your Salvation would come to the souls of those in Boko Haram. Your Love is Stronger than even the worst hate or sin; Father, we pray that they would accept Your Salvation, and would become free to love You, and love others.

Father God,
We know they don’t deserve it– none of us truly do. But, King Jesus, we pray that You would let these people experience how much You Love them. Through their hardened, darkened hearts and minds, please shine the Light of Your Love, and transform them as only You can do. We pray that they would accept Your Forgiveness, and would be humbled to accept Your Gospel.

Father,
We also pray for our brothers and sisters in Northern Nigeria. We cannot fathom the hurt, the pain, and the terror they must feel. But Father God, we surround them, and come around them, and ask that You would strengthen Your people. Please be their Strength, their Refuge, and their Comfort. Please help them to stand, Oh Father God, together, against the enemy, and please give them opportunities to show even the horrible members of Boko Haram Your Love, in whatever form You will. Please give them the Boldness to do so. Thank You, Father God.

Father God,
Please pour Your Spirit out afresh on Your People in this country, and on all of Your People, all around the world. Please stir the hearts of those in Boko Haram, and show them their deep-seated need to know, and be saved, by You.
Holy Spirit, please help all of us to plant the seeds of Your Gospel– and trust that ultimately, YOU will make them to grow, not us.

Father God,
Please continue to hold, and help, those who have been so wounded by Boko Haram. As refugees, victims, and captives, please bring them spiritual freedom, in You, and show them that You alone are all they need.

We thank You for all of this, Father God!

In Jesus’ Name I pray,

Amen.