Thankful For You

Friends,
When I started this blog, over 3 years ago, I never would have imagined the journey Jesus would take me on.

I also wouldn’t have imagined the beautiful people I have met along the way. You all know who you are. ūüôā

I just wanted to say a quick, but honest “Thank You,” and I wanted to sit and really thank Jesus for¬†each and every¬†person He has blessed me with– including the 276 Chibok girls who were, and still are, the reason for this blog in the first place.

3 years ago, Jesus simply led me to all of this, through a community of women praying for each other (you can read more about that story, here). Jesus opened my eyes to a group of women in Northern Nigeria who were in the spotlight at that time, known as “the Chibok girls.” Though I have never met these young women, they have become an amazing part of my life; Jesus has given me a Love for them that I could not have ever gained on my own.

And you. Through your constant support, comments, and prayers, mountains have moved. Chains have been broken. Eyes and hearts have been opened, including mine. And I can honestly say that I am BEYOND blessed to know each and every one of the people who read this blog, and who pray for everything spoken of, as much as one can.

So, Jesus, Thank You.
And Friends, Thank you!

Let’s storm the heavens to see what Jesus wants to do next in freeing, healing, and restoring these young women, their families, and other victims back to life through a relationship with Himself!
Here’s to all Jesus is going to do– and has already done. ‚̧

 

Thank you, friends, for your continued support and prayer!!! It is moving mountains, and bringing me wonderful encouragement, joy, and comfort.

 

I love you all!

“The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”
(Psalm 126:3, NIV)

With Love, in Christ,

Annalee Hoover
ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY


Do you know Jesus?

Let’s thank Jesus, most of all, for us even being able to actually¬†know¬†Him.
If you do not currently know Jesus personally, as Your Lord and Savior, I invite you to learn more about, and meet Him, here.

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God is in Control: Going through Pain as a part of Christ’s Plan

Four men, arrested and held under the Nigerian military’s control, kneel under the hot, scorching heat of the Northern Nigerian sun. As Boko Haram commanders, caught by the Nigerian military, these four men seem relatively normal. Dressed in “civilian’s clothes,” these men are not touting black flags, rifles, or military wear. Shackled, and side to side, these men are seen for who they really are. Without their frightening front, they seem much less terrifying, and much more mortal. Running into shortages of food, ammo, and fuel, these seemingly horrific men have been reduced somewhat to their cowardly reality: going to such measures as to recruit young men to smuggle them fuel, Boko Haram has been lessening in power, though not without lashing out.

There have been a series of five attacks by Boko Haram on Maiduguri, and their effect has been nothing less than horrific. Killing at least 9 people total, these suicide attacks have happened close to refugee camps, with one holding approximately 16,000 refugees, filled with people who have ran away from their villages, in an attempt to be saved from Boko Haram. One cannot fathom the fear they must feel, knowing that Boko Haram has now “found” them out, and tried to come into their only earthly place of safety.

But, in the chaos of it all, one Truth remains. As described by Amos, one of the fathers of the 21 Chibok girls rescued, “‘”Those selected to be released were done so practically at random. They were called and asked to form a line, and after a number of them were counted, it was stopped, …Fortunately for her (his daughter, Comfort Amos), she was among those released. They were told that the total of girls to be released was 21 and that by the grace of God, the rest would be released later“‘” (source). In all of the “chance,” Christ was present.

In all of the unknown, “chance” things that might have happened, Christ was not only present– He was Sovereign. As Psalm 37 joyfully proclaims, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
¬†¬†¬†¬†He delights in every detail of their lives” (Isaiah 37:23, NLT). If this is true, then does that mean that Christ cares about, and delights in, even the darkest details? And if God is Love, why do such horrible things, like the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping, happen in the first place?

 

While no human can have the full, complete answer to this question, this topic is very much one of the themes of the book of the Bible, Job. 42 chapters long, this epic, true account of one man’s life is centered on God’s Sovereignty, even in the face of suffering. While Christ, many times, does not directly cause something evil to happen, He does, sometimes, let bad things happen– even letting mankind make it’s own decisions–if those decisions are evil, or not.

The book of Job opens with a description of Job: “There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless‚ÄĒa man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil” (Job 1:1). Not only was Job “a man of complete integrity,” but verse 2 says, “He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area” (Job 1:3). The father of seven sons and three daughters, Job regularly interceded for, and purified, his children, “For Job said to himself, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts'” (Job 1:5, NLT).

This man– this righteous, holy man– loses everyone and everything. His livestock, his servants, and his children are all taken and/or killed, either by other people, or by natural disaster, and he loses his health, becoming covered from head to toe with painful blisters (Job 1:6-19; 2:7-8). If one person could be put on a billboard for seemingly suffering unjustly, it would be Job.

 

 

Ultimately, though, these trials could never compare to Christ’s suffering. More righteous than Job, Jesus Christ was completely sinless– yet was “…the Lamb who was slaughtered” (Revelation 13:8). Not only does Jesus grieve the loss of His loved ones, like John the Baptist (Matthew 14:13); He grieves temporarily losing His oneness with the Father, as He took on mankind’s sin (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46). Mocked, beaten, and bruised, Jesus Christ dies the most horrific, unjust death in the history of all mankind.

But, God the Father was not absent, or unfair, from the scene of these horrifically painful things. Rather, God the Father was completely in control; and, when the suffering was over, His will had been done: in Job’s suffering, both Job and his friends, who thought they knew how God operated, ¬†experienced a deeper, more real understanding of God’s Sovereignty. At the end of the book of Job, Job stands before God, after God shows Himself to Job and humbles him. Job’s words, though few, are incredibly profound:

“‘I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.¬†3¬†You asked, “Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?” Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.¬†4 ‘You said, “Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.”‘¬†5¬†My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.¬†6¬†Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.'”
(Job 42:1-6, NIV)

 

Job, now clearly seeing the Unsearchable, Amazing Goodness of Christ, becomes blessed once again: He gains twice as many livestock as before, and he has 10 more children– “Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job‚Äôs daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers” (Job 42:15). ¬†Most of all, they learned that, though Christ’s ways are infinitely higher than mankind’s, He is eternally, and ultimately,¬†good.

On a much grander scale, Christ’s suffering was also apart of God’s plan: “from the beginning of the world,”Christ died, and rose again, for the forgiveness of all sin to those who believe (Revelations 13:8b).¬†From the beginning of the world, Christ was going to be the sacrifice to save us from our sin.¬†While this is an amazing, and, if one confesses, confusing prospect, the one thing it obviously shows is that, while many people would say otherwise, suffering is, at times, the will of God– and He is ultimately good, above it all.

 

Surely, Job and those in his life– could not understand why these tragic events were taking place. Even Job’s wife, during the suffering, advised him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). All seemed out of control, cruel, senseless, and random.

Those who loved Jesus, as He hung on that cross, no doubt, were filled with extreme grief, frustration, and confusion. Their Messiah, their God, their Friend, was dying a death He never deserved, yet foretold many times (such as in Mark 8:31-33). In the middle of this pain, they could have never seen a Good, Loving God’s plan being laid out; but, as Christ says in John 12:24, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives.” Though death, suffering, and pain, came salvation and eternal life for billions of Believers.

So it is, with suffering, today. Though Boko Haram seems wild, they, just like the four men under the Nigerian military’s control, are under Christ’s control, whether they believe it or not.

No one can fathom the kind of pain that Nigerian refugees, the loved ones of the Chibok girls, and those hurt by suicide attacks are going through. One can’t see the redemption that is in store, when there is so much grief. While this redemption and insight may not “make everything okay,” knowing that Christ– the All-Knowing, All-Seeing God,¬†who is everywhere at once, and who gave Himself up for us in Love‚ÄĒis Sovereign over all, gives us hope. ‚ÄúAnd we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV). Through it all, Jesus’ Sovereign, Good Hands will make every broken thing beautiful. Stand on that promise.



Do you know Jesus?

And we know that God causes everything to work together  for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
(Romans 8:28-30, NIV)

Romans 8:28 is a passage of Scripture that has given hope and comfort to Believers in Christ for centuries. Through suffering, Christians have clung to this promise: that though it hurts now, Christ will turn “everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

But what about the next two verses? God knew His people in advance… that is a really complex, heavy, mind-blowing thing to read, much less believe.
But, when Christ died for the sins of mankind, as according to God’s plan before the beginning, He¬†still chose¬†to submit to the Father’s will, no matter how fatal, or painful, it might be, modeling how humanity also has a choice. And so, there is a Truth found: that while God knows His people in advanced, they still have the freewill to either refuse or accept Him, as Lord and Savior.

ALL people, Believers and Non-Believers alike, will stand before God one day, to be judged for what they do and do not do (2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 2:6). Only Believers will enter into heaven– those who have accepted Christ’s payment for their sin, on their behalf. And no one, at the end of their lives, will be able to tell God that they did not receive an opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, taking away their sin and granting them eternal life (Romans 1:20). It will all come down to if they knew and accepted Christ, or rejected Him.

If you have not yet received Christ as your Lord and Savior, “For God says, ‘At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.’ Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2, NLT).

Learn more about, and accept Jesus’ free gift today, here.



Please pray for…

– The 22 (now 23!) Chibok girls who have been freed from the clutches of Boko Haram. Please pray that they would seek and know Jesus, and that their loved ones would also reach out to Christ for the wisdom, understanding, and truly, all they need to love their newly freed loved ones.

– For the 196 Chibok Girls, who are still in captivity. Please pray that, even in captivity, they would seek Jesus, and would be freed spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically from their bondage to Boko Haram.

– The Refugees who have been terrified by recent suicide bombings. Please pray that they would seek Christ, as their true Refuge.

– The Nigerian military. Please pray that they would seek Christ, for the wisdom, guidance, and resources they need, both spiritually and physically, to defeat Boko Haram.

– Boko Haram. Please pray for it’s members– that those who are Christian captives in their midst would be used powerfully by Christ, to call these men, women, and children, to Himself.

Thank you for your prayers. “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture” (Psalm 37:3, NIV).

Radiant Faces: Trusting Jesus amidst Boko Haram Deception

On September 16th, 2016, it was reported, by the Nigerian Federal Government, that the Nigerian government has tried to negotiate for the release of the Chibok girls three times since July of 2015. While this development is encouraging, the reasons behind the failed negotiations shines light on a difficult problem. Although the terrorist group negotiated with the Nigerian Federal Government to secure the Chibok girls, at first, negotiations failed: either because of Boko Haram’s instability, or the fact that, in the process of negotiations, the terrorist sect’s demands were deemed too high. This reveals much about the group: one, that it is breaking apart (a definite answer to prayer!), and two, that they are missing prime leaders and expert bomb manufacturers– whom they demanded be released, in exchange, for the 218 girls still missing.

But, the problem is this: When one is dealing with a seriously evil organization, like Boko Haram, it is dealing with an organization built upon lies. Just as satan is called “the father of lies” (John 8:44), islam, and any other thing not set up upon Christ and His Word, is truly built upon the shaky ground of deceit, able to fall apart at any moment. Ultimately, because Boko Haram is built upon lies, it becomes extremely difficult to discern what is actually going on behind its closed doors.

News of three different negotiations occurring within one year, then, shows the public that there is more to this insurgency than one thought.

 

But this is not the only report that proves there is more than what meets the eye happening during the Boko Haram insurgency. Within the same time frame that the report of negotiations was published by News Agencies, news also came that the Nigerian Army released 566 men, women and children who were the families of Boko Haram members. Released to Governor Shettima, and into a UN rehabilitation program, 355 of the 566 people were young, breast-feeding children. With the hopes of rehabilitating, and de-radicalizing, this massive group of people, this unprecedented development is both encouraging, and concerning, in that while people are being freed, these people sadly have the risk of re-joining Boko Haram. To know that the Nigerian Army has been retaining such a huge number of men, women, and children (of which are the majority), for months, and even years, proves that the Boko Haram insurgency is much more complicated, and risky, than any person would ever initially think.
People– people with minds, and hearts, that cannot be easily, or truly, searched, by other human beings– always carry the weight and risk of being untrustworthy. This is precisely why the LORD, through the Psalmist, David, says this in Psalm 20:7: Some trust in chariots, others in horses,¬†but we trust the Lord our God.”¬†

 

In this world of so many unknowns, it can seem hopeless, to be up against such seemingly formidable enemies. More than this, it can be endlessly troubling to realize that “Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God‚Äôs glorious standard” (Romans 3:23, NCV). But we do not need to live in fear, frustration, and dismay. Instead, Jesus calls us to live our lives, looking to Him.

Psalm 34:5, in context, is an incredibly comforting, affirming verse, for those who are having trouble living victoriously. “Those who look to him [the LORD] are radiant;” it says; “their faces are never covered with shame.” At the time it was written, David was not yet King, and was being chased down by King Saul, the then ruler of Israel (as found in 1 Samuel 21). David had put his hope in the LORD, but, feeling scared, famished, and desperate for help, David lied to Ahimelek, which was one of Israel’s priests. Stating that he was actually on an “urgent mission” for Saul, David took and ate the Bread of the Presence of the LORD that had been out the day before (1 Samuel 21:1-3, 6). Not only did he eat of this bread; he, terrified by one of Saul’s men who had been there, also asked Ahimelek if he had any weapons on hand (1 Samuel 21:7-8). Ironically taking the very sword Goliath had when David slayed him, David quickly ran for his life to Gath (1 Samuel 21:9-10).

In Gath, David ran into more problems; and, driven to a last resort, pretended to be insane before the King of Gath, King Achish (2 Samuel 22:10-15). This, no doubt, was a major valley in King David’s life. Yet, Psalm 34 is not a Psalm filled with focus on David’s pain, turmoil, or even lack of faith in God, replaced by fear.

But, let one be clear. David’s lack of faith, and deceitfulness, came with tremendous consequences: the innocent priests, and townspeople, of Nob, were slaughtered by King Saul, because of David, which he took full blame for (1 Samuel ¬†22:6-23). But, even in light of such horrible, self-induced circumstances, Psalm 34 it is filled with praise to the LORD. This, in and of itself, speaks volumes: That, even when we are overcome by fear, or use deceit to get what we need, Christ is bigger than even the worst sin, circumstances, news, or consequences– and is willing and able to forgive those who humbly repent.

 

Not only is Psalm 34 filled with praises of Christ’s mercy, despite dire circumstances. It is also filled with promises of Justice.

Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned
(Psalm 34:21-22).

One must admit: this is a difficult passage to accept, when so many innocent people were murdered by King Saul. But, seen in the light of eternity, the wicked and the foes of the righteous, those like King Saul, will be the ones truly condemned. Those who were, and have been, innocently murdered, both then and now, have the promise of verse 22: that “those who take refuge in Him [Christ] will not be condemned”– even though those who trust in Christ were condemned to physical death by evil, corrupt men, they will never suffer spiritual death.

Ultimately, Christ promises to bring true, final Justice, when He comes back to the earth (Revelation 22:12-13). This, above all, is the Hope of those who look to Jesus, now– that, in the end, Believers will “Behold:¬†he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him,” and everything up to that point, even the worst of the pain, will forever be a thing of the past.

 

In such frustrating, heartbreaking times, Christ’s Power, Protection, Justice, and Mercy are sure. This is the Hope found, even when so little is known about the Boko Haram insurgency. While deception– a lack of knowing the Truth– are things that abound on this earth, Believers have a Savior, in Jesus Christ, who does not lie. “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5, NIV). No wonder those who look to Him are so radiant. ‚̧



Do you know Jesus?

“‘Look, he is coming with the clouds,’
¬†¬†¬†¬†and ‘every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him’;
¬†¬†¬†¬†and all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of him.’
So shall it be! Amen.”
(Revelation 1:7, NIV)

Psalm 34 states that those who look to, and put their trust in, Jesus Christ, will never be ashamed. Nothing points to this more, than those who believed on Him, who saw Him suffer and die, on the cross.

Over 2,000 years ago, God stepped onto the scene of earth. Filled with sin, God entered the world, and suffered at the hands of those He lovingly created– so that “And by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, NIV).

Nailed to a cross, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, physically died of a broken heart, yelling out, “It is finished!” as those who crucified Him, looked on.

Learn more, and meet, the God-man who was rejected and killed, so that Believers might be forever accepted, and saved, by God, here.


Please pray with me…

“Dear Father God,
I thank You, and I praise You, for coming to this earth, in the form of a man, so that we could look to You, for the Love, Joy, Peace, Protection, and Salvation mankind so desperately needs.

Father God,

I pray for those who still have yet to meet You– who see You as a far-off God, or a guru, or a prophet, or simply don’t believe in You, at all. Dear Jesus, I pray, in Your Name, that these men and women, who are hurting so much, would find relief in You as they submit to You, as their Lord and Savior.

Father God,

I pray for Your children, in Nigeria, and in every surrounding country, who have been harmed, wounded, or are grieving the loss of their Loved Ones, but who have not seen any Justice done on their behalf, yet. Father God,

Please help these people to continue to trust You; help them to trust that You will provide them the Justice that they so deserve.

Father God,

Wherever injustice, and deception abounds, as definitely as in Boko Haram, I pray that You would bring these evil acts to light– and would bring those who have done such things to dust, so that they might be humbled, and come to truly know You.

Father God,

I pray for those stuck in IDP camps, suffering from hunger. Dear Father God, please let these people be found by aid groups; please help us to know how to spiritually help, through prayer, and practically, through giving.

Dear Father God,

I pray over the 218 young girls who have still not been found, and who are the subject of so many negotiations. Father God, dear Jesus, whether it would be by negotiation, or divine, miraculous intervention, please bring these precious young women, home, soon.

While they are in captivity, Father God, I pray, in Jesus’ Name, that You would help them to look to You. Even in such a place as captivity, I pray that the Holy Spirit would comfort those who believe in You, there; I pray that they would trust in You, and that their faces would be so radiant, that it would bring others to You, as well.

I thank You for this, Father God. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

He Will Fight For You

 

The reports came pouring in. During what seemed to be a great time of victory, with Boko Haram losing major ground, and captives being freed, the shocking news that Boko Haram had been appointed a new leader– one who has threatened to no longer target Muslims, but directly target Christians, instead— has sent fear into the hearts, and minds, of many Christians, and their pastors, in Northeastern Nigeria. On high alert, these people are panicking. Some have started to leave their homes, running for their lives from the terrorist group.

One cannot imagine the terror, discouragement, and hopelessness these pastors, along with every Believer they pastor, are feeling and experiencing. More than ever, these Christ-followers must have some sort of Hope, of Comfort, of Courage, to steady and strengthen them, in such a time of terror and apparent instability.

The God who Provides

King David, in Psalm 18, quotes his own song, found in 2 Samuel 22:34: “He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet: and setteth me upon my high places.” In the midst of the battle, King David trusted Christ, and his feet were made “like the feet of a deer.” Though God did not take King David out of every war, or trial, He was all King David needed: Christ was his Sustenance, his Protection, his Strength, and his Courage to go out and fight. Was King David ever scared, to go out and fight his countless enemies– or, in some cases, to run from them? One can think so, based on Psalm 56.

Psalm 56 enforces a seemingly simple, yet poignant Truth.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
(Psalm 56:3, NIV)

Psalm 18 expounds upon this Truth, even more; all throughout, David trusts and praises Christ, for saving him, and making him victorious in the day of battle. This concept of Fear vs. Faith is very prevalent in the Bible. All throughout history, Christ has been seen as truly saving, helping, and being in relationship with those who humbly seek, trust, and obey Him. As Believers in Christ, Christ promises to save, love, comfort, and hold those who humbly trust in His Name, today, no matter what they “fight” or walk through.

 

The God who Fights

But, this is not the only thing Christ desires to do. Not only does Jesus want to walk with us, strengthen us, and comfort us through our struggles; He wants to fight for us.

In Exodus 14, one can see this in a very powerful way. The Israelites were being led out of Egypt, and Moses followed God’s commands to “encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon” (Exodus 14:2, NIV). As they encamped by the sea, what Christ said would happen, did: Christ hardened Pharoah’s heart. This hardening of Pharoah’s heart resulted in him pursuing Moses, and the Israelites, wanting to capture them, and bring them back to Egypt again, as their slaves (Exodus 14:5-9).

Encamped by the sea, and being surrounded by Pharoah and his army, the Israelites started to panic, crying out to Moses, “‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12¬†Didn‚Äôt we say to you in Egypt, “Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians”? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!'”¬†(Exodus 14:11-12, NIV).

The Israelites were terrified.
They saw no way out, and all they could seem to focus on was that their enemy had surrounded them. They were disappointed, confused, and desperate (for good reason). They were angry with Moses– and, quite possibly, angry with God (YHWH).

But Moses’ reply, as YHWH’s mouthpiece, was profound, and is something Christ Followers can put their faith in, as well:

Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14¬†The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.‘”
(Exodus 14:13-14, NIV)

In their panic, the Israelites probably wanted to run to the right or to the left, or to escape somehow, some way. Christ’s Words to “be still” required a huge amount of trust in Him. To trust that somehow, Christ was going to move on their behalf, took a huge amount of trust in who Christ was– and is. It meant life or death, for them.

But, an amazing thing happened: Christ did come through. After commanding Moses to “Raise your [his] staff and stretch out your [his] hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground,” YHWH makes His plan clear to Moses: He will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, so that they go into the sea after them, and He will be glorified through the very chariots that were being used to hunt the Israelites down (Exodus 14:17-18).

Jesus was faithful. The angel of God, as well as the pillar of cloud, moved from the front, to behind the Israelites, separating the two armies for an entire night. The waters of the Red Sea rose, as they were separated in two, down to the very sea bed; and “the Israelites went through the season dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left” (Exodus 14:22). Just as YHWH had said, the Egyptians pursued the Israelites through the Red Sea, and the walls of water came crashing down on top of them, killing each Egyptian, from the least to Pharoah himself.

The Israelites waited upon Christ, and He made a way, where there was none, so that He might be glorified. The Israelites did not need to fight their battle, alone– instead, they only needed to trust that YHWH would do the unimaginable on their behalf, rest in that fact, and simply obey Him, even amidst the terror of it all.

Today, for Christians in Northern Nigeria, the story is very similar. Hunted by Boko Haram, they too face a battle. But, Christ wants to do the unimaginable on behalf of His People, fighting for them, and providing them with all they need to obey Him.

The days ahead of them may be precarious, frightening, and seemingly insurmountable. But, just as Christ split the sea, when there seemed to be no other way, Christ will fight and provide for those who humbly call out His Name– using what the enemy meant for evil, to produce good (Genesis 50:20).

May these Truths be the promises all Christians– especially those struggling in persecution– cling to.


Do you know Jesus?

“Those who know your name trust in you,¬†for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.¬†11¬†Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion;¬†proclaim among the nations what he has done.¬†12¬†For he who avenges blood remembers;¬†he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.”
(Psalm 9:10-12, NIV)

As the Israelites encamped by the Red Sea, and looked out over its vastness, the news that the Egyptians were coming filled them with unimaginable, overwhelming, horror. Stricken by fear, they knew that there was nothing they could do, to escape the certain death that seemed to await them.

The same can be said about mankind’s problem of sin. Inescapable, there is no amount of “good works” that can save a person from their sin, just as there was no amount of running, or swimming, the Israelites could do, to save them. But, as Psalm 9 promises, God heard the cries of those who cried out to Him. He made a way, where there wasn’t one, by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of the world.

Learn more about the God who Saves, and how He saved us, here.



Please pray with me…

“Dear Father God,

I thank You, Father God, and I praise You, Father, that You “hear the cries of the afflicted,” and come to their aid (Psalm 9:12). You have never failed those who trust in You, Father God, and I praise You, that You never will.

Father God, right now I just lift up our brothers and sisters, in Christ, in Northern Nigeria. Father God, I thank You that You have protected so many of them, and have given them ways to get out of this horrible situation. Father God, I pray, in Jesus’ Name, that just as You led the Israelites through the desert and out of Egypt, providing for all of their needs, You would protect them on the way, and fight this battle, for them. Please hide them under the shadow of Your Wings (Psalm 17:18), and lead them to safety.

Father God, I also pray for and over pastoralists in Northern Nigeria, who are having to “migrate,” or flee, from their homes and lands, because of the threat to their lives, and their livestock. Father God, please bring these men and women to You, and protect them, as they flee, as well.

Father God, I also lift up those Christian Nigerians, that cannot flee, or have decided not to flee from Boko Haram. Father God, please lead and guide them in Your Way; and give them Your Wisdom, Protection, and Guidance. As Your Word in Matthew 10:23 states, please help those who can flee, flee from their homes and towns, so that they might be protected.

Father God, I thank You for the Nigerian Army, and for the Joint Civilian Task Force, that is currently fighting Boko Haram. Please bring these people to You, and be their Strength, Wisdom, and Guidance, as they fight this battle against Boko Haram.

Please, Father God, in all, use this horrible news for the good of Your People, and for the Glory of Your Name. Please save many through this, just as in Genesis 50:20: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

May Your Word Spread, Father, Your People be helped, and Your Name always be praised, no matter what. For You are good! In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

Please continue to pray for all those fleeing. Jesus will make a way! Praise Him for that. ‚̧

Whose Voice will You Listen To?

The reports are conflicting. In what could be one of Nigeria’s biggest breakthroughs regarding the Chibok Girls, online news articles have announced that Boko Haram has offered to negotiate the release of many of their members for the release of the Chibok Girls, who were kidnapped on April 14th, 2014 by Boko Haram from Government Secondary School, in Chibok, Northern Nigeria. Yet, not all reports claim the same findings; while the leader of Chad, Idris Deby, informed Chadians that Boko Haram’s leader, Abubukar Shekau, had been replaced by another leader willing to negotiate, Shekau announced that he was still alive on August 16th. This puts Boko Haram’s willingness to negotiate into question.

Kidnapped schoolgirls are seen at an unknown location in this still image taken from an undated video released by Nigerian Islamist rebel group Boko Haram. About 100 girls wearing full veils and praying are shown in an undisclosed location in the 17-minute video in which Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau speaks. MANDATORY CREDIT. REUTERS/Boko Haram handout via Reuters TV (CONFLICT POLITICS CRIME LAW) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO COMMERCIAL USE

Over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, Nigeria were kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 and later filmed by the Boko Haram praying in hijabs. (MANDATORY CREDIT. REUTERS/Boko Haram handout via Reuters TV)

Even in the event of Boko Haram being willing to negotiate, many are skeptical about how successful negotiating with Boko Haram could be. Many are completely against negotiations with Boko Haram, for good reason; many don’t believe the terrorist group would come through with the negotiation’s agreements, after Shekau himself claimed to “have married them off,” stating that “they [were] all in their husbands’ houses” (source). With little to no idea on the trustworthiness of Boko Haram, and with no information on the precious 200 Chibok school girls still missing, it is hard to know what to believe.

So, whose voice should we listen to? With so many conflicting pathways to take on the matter, it can be hard to both know what is the true and truly dependable path to take. Who or what are we to place our faith in? In such a time, it is important to, like the Nigerian soldiers of today, remember the Giver of our mission, and the initial mission He gave.  Focus and faith are needed if we are ever to walk an established, sure path. Continue reading

Quick Post: Rest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are strong and mighty to save.

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

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

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

I can rely upon Your Word and Your Promises.

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

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

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

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

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