“Hope, Again & Again”: A Poem

On Good Friday– March 30th, 2018– it was reported by Vanguard that four suicide bombers in the villages of Malumti, and Muna Zawiya, Nigeria, bombed a checkpoint. The blast killed three civilians and injured anywhere from 13-18 innocent people. Four Boko Haram members were also killed by Nigerian soldiers in these villages, according to Vanguard.

Indeed, the fact that Christ has Risen is something that is infuriating those who are apart of Boko Haram– and the enemy that is truly guiding them (satan).

It’s hard to see and hear of these attacks. It is heartwrenching.
Yet, when the attack of the enemy comes, we know who wins.

It is with this in mind that I wrote this poem, speaking to those who have been personally affected by these tragedies, as well as those who see it happen in the news, day after day. I pray it is encouraging, and blesses your relationship with Christ. Continue reading

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He Wins the War: Hope for the Weary

Over a month ago– on February 5th, 2018—two people were burnt alive in Alau-Kofa village, which is in close proximity to Borno state’s capitol of Maiduguri. This horrific information has come just as the military has said that Boko Haram has been defeated1.

“Saying they have been completely defeated is pushing it too far,” Major General Nicholas Rogers has said concerning the fight against Boko Haram1.The government and military has said much, but things and events have said otherwise, to the anger of those fighting for the Chibok girls—and now, also for the Dapchi girls.

Just yesterday, March 13th, people at the center of the #BringBackOurGirls movement declared that the Nigerian government has 7 days to find and free the 110 “Dapchi” girls, or face “a lawsuit on the grounds of criminal negligence.”2 Obviously, the world is demanding the truth, and real action.

But what if those things never come? What if, for all our striving and demands, our actions and best laid plans, these girls are not freed in our time frame, and Boko Haram continues to at least look like they are definitely winning the war? These are hard, pressing times. Times where the Nigerian military does not want to perform aerial attacks, for fear of killing the very girls people are demanding they save. They are weary of trying to find and apprehend Abubukar Shekau, leader of one faction of Boko Haram, because he is using these precious people as human shields1.

Human. Shields.
Innocent young women and men, their lives put on the line so that these wicked people can live, and continue to do evil.

As I was thinking about this—about how horrific and unjust it all is—one thought came to mind: Jesus knows exactly what these people are going through.

You see, as far-fetched as it all sounds, Jesus was our human shield.

For sinful people who were indifferent or hateful towards Him, “…he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, NIV). Jesus took the blow we, evil sinners, deserved. He took upon Himself the wrath of God, so that we—the ones who have brought it on in the first place—could live3.

Jesus did all of this—only, He didn’t do it because He was forced to, as these innocent people are being made to. He did it of His own free will, choosing to completely obey His Heavenly Father.

I might get hate because of this; I know how racy it made be to compare a normal, everyday person to the leader of such an evil terrorist organization as Boko Haram. But answer me this: Is there such a thing as “big sins” and “small sins,”—that is, is there sins that are more damning than others?

Not just according to us, and not according to society—not even to Christian culture. But biblically?

There is one sin that can never be forgiven, and that is to reject Jesus Christ as one’s Personal Lord and Savior. But other than that, while sins that vary and differ based upon their consequences and who they hurt, I believe James 2:10 says, “If you have committed one sin you are guilty of all.” All sins are equally heinous, as John Piper has said4.

Bottom line: Jesus knows exactly how these hostages feel.
He knows exactly how every outraged mother, father, brother, son, daughter, and sister feels. How the incredibly frustrated, discouraged, angered members of Bring Back Our Girls feels.
He knows my discouragement—and yours, too.

He sees the bloodshed, the tears, the dirt and sin. He hears the cries, the screams; the silence of brokenness.

He hears your sighs, listens to every prayer. Yet, nothing has seemed to change—for the better, at least.

Friend, as everything seems to be getting worse, I have one final question for you: Do you trust the God, who took on the wrath and anger of God the Father upon Himself, to save and free you? Do you trust that He is good, and has good for you, even in this pain?

Look to Calvary, and know two things: Jesus Loves you. And He is in control.

 

As sin abounds, hearts continue to break, and demands are made in this sometimes hellacious world, I encourage you to look to Calvary amidst your much-needed prayers, demands, and actions. I encourage you to remember, no matter how it all ends up: satan may be “winning battles,” but Jesus has won the war.

He wins. May that carry you through. ❤


Do you know Jesus?

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.”
(Isaiah 53:4, NIV)

On all accounts—from how people viewed Jesus, to the actual pain and suffering God put upon Him, Jesus suffered the worst pain of any person, ever. But why?

Isaiah 53 goes on to say, “By His wounds, we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). “How?” You might ask?

These are two HUGE questions; and while I am only a human being, I would love to help you find and understand the answers. Read more about these questions, here.


Please pray for (you can get prayer sheets, here):

  • Wisdom for the Nigerian government, as they work on freeing the “Chibok” and “Dapchi” girls. President Buhari wants to negotiate with Boko Haram for the girls’ release; please pray that he would turn to Christ, and would be led of Him.
  • The “Chibok girls.” Pray that Christ brings them home soon.
  • The “Dapchi girls.” Pray that the government listens to activists, and works to bring them home, soon, too.
  • Those praying and protesting for these girls’ release; that they, we, would trust in Jesus alone, and would allow Him to strengthen us.
  • That Boko Haram would be crushed, and all “human shields” set free.

 

Thank you for your prayers!!!

1 https://www.news24.com/Africa/News/boko-haram-kills-two-as-military-says-group-defeated-20180205

2 http://www.africanews.com/2018/03/14/nigerian-gov-t-given-7-days-to-bring-back-chibok-dapchi-girls-or-face-charges//

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-cup-consumed-for-us

https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/are-all-sins-equal-before-god

 

Keep Fighting the Good Fight!

On Friday, January 19th, it was reported that 5 people were killed by Boko Haram, early Friday morning in Kaya village of Madagali in Adamawa state. Late Thursday night and into Friday morning, Boko Haram insurgents drove into Kaya Village, forcibly entered two homes, and killed four people, three of which were brothers. They killed another man, as he tried to rescue those who were killed.1

According to reports, insurgents looted a village clinic for medical supplies, then left the town.3 Townspeople ran for their lives; after the rampage was done, both the Nigerian military and local hunters hunted down some of the Boko Haram insurgents.

Unfortunately, contrary to what the Nigerian military has been broadcasting to the outside world, stories such as these are very prevalent in Adamawa, Maiduguri, and those places closest to Boko Haram’s hideout, the Sambisa Forest. “The recent attacks indicate the group is still able to carry out major attacks and has not been defeated despite the successes achieved by Nigerian soldiers in the war,” House Representative Adamu Kamale said on the subject. He went on to say that the terrorism in Madagali is “seriously underreported” to President Buhari, and that “The truth remains that the group is still very active in our areas.”2

These statements do not come without apparent evidence. The village of Pallam was attacked and looted as houses were set on fire, on Monday, January 15th, killing 3 people. 9 others were killed in Ngala, Borno state; and ten innocent people were killed in a suicide bombing in Maiduguri on Wednesday, January 17th, with approximately 12 others wounded.2

While Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, has claimed total victory over Boko Haram and has conceded that some suicide bombings will occur, the consistency of these attacks brings to question: What does “victorious” actually look like? Is there such a thing as being “victorious enough?” When it comes to people’s lives, the answer is always, “No.”

Because we can never obtain perfection in this life, there will always be a fight to fight. No matter how far we have come– and let us never forget how far we have come– there is always new ground to be gained. It reminds one of Joshua, conquering the Promised Land.

fight to fight

As evidenced by the reports spoken of, above, it does no good to be denial about the fact that we must fight in this life. Did you know that God promised Israel, in Genesis 15:18 and Joshua 1:4, the land from the Nile in Egypt to Lebanon (north to south), and everything from the Mediterrean Sea to the Euphrates River (west to east)? That is today’s current land of Israel, plus The West Bank, Gaza, all of Jordan, some of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and some of Egypt and Syria! Though God promised ALL of this land to Israel, Israel only ended up claiming a small fraction of the land God promised them.4

It’s easy to shake our heads in disbelief at this. All of this land was completely Israel’s for the taking. But isn’t this what so many Christians do, in so many ways?

  • In John 10, Jesus says this about what He has given Believers:
    • “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, emphasis mine).
  • And in John 14, Jesus promises to give Believers the gift of Peace:
    • “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27, NIV).
  • Not only this, but the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle John, calls us “More Than Conquerors”:
    • “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37, KJV, emphasis mine).

While I am not trying to advocate for “Name It and Claim It” Prosperity Theology, this fact about Israel’s history begs me to question: Are we claiming Jesus’ promises, and walking in a truly victorious life, like Jesus has given us for the taking? Too often, Christians– like me– choose to live a life of fear, of being worldly and bound to sin, or of being bound by the law. So much of the time, life can also feel so heavy that victory or progress seems impossible; but, friend, just as defeat and compromise is not what God wanted for the Israelites, this is not what Jesus wants for us! He wants to meet us exactly where we are at, comfort and free us of our bondage, and then help us to grow in our faith in Him, as HE– not us– fights (and wins!) our battles, if we only trust in Him  to do so.

This side of heaven, there will always be a fight. While Christ has already won the war, He calls us to trust in Him, rest in Him, and obey Him, as He continues to fight the battles we face. Not only does Jesus ask us to trust in Him; He asks us to do our fighting, not by flesh and blood, but in the spiritual realm, through prayer. As 1 Peter 4:7 says, “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”

We are in the fight of our lives: A fight for Hope, a Fight for Justice, and a Fight for Christian Unity– but supremely, we are in a fight for Love, to see lost souls come to eternal salvation in Jesus. Our spiritual armor, and our alert prayers, are indispensable tools for this fight.

As seen in the current happenings of Norther Nigeria, there is still an enemy– and the fight isn’t over. As we battle this war between darkness and light, between lies and truth, between satan’s reign and God’s will being done on Earth as it is in Heaven, may we look to Him who encourages us: Never back down, never give in to the enemy, and never give up. After all, as the lyrics of “Lions” by Skillet say, “before we face the fight, we know whose going to win.”

Watch the lyric video of “Lions” by Skillet, here!: https://youtu.be/DzjfNI2XEBs

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NIV, emphasis mine)

This is in tribute to the 5 people who died from Boko Haram’s attacks. 

 

1 https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/256055-boko-haram-attacks-adamawa-town-kills-five.html;  https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/01/boko-haram-kills-five-adamawa-state/

2 https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/256055-boko-haram-attacks-adamawa-town-kills-five.html

3 https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/01/boko-haram-kills-five-adamawa-state/

https://www.gotquestions.org/Israel-land.html


Do you know Jesus?

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
(Exodus 14:14)

With Jesus, you never, ever have to be afraid. While we face many battles and struggles in this life, it is Jesus Christ who won the ultimate war over sin and death, giving us the only way to be saved from eternal separation from Him (hell).

Because Jesus did all that was needed to save us, we truly can rest, and let Jesus’ fighting be enough for us. Learn more about this ultimate war on sin and death, and how Jesus reigns victorious over it, here!


Please pray for…

  • The families of those killed in this wicked, horrible violence. Pray that they come to know Jesus through it, and are strengthened, comforted, and healed by Him!
  • The Nigerian military. Please pray that ALL of them do come to know Jesus, through this war– and that they would not give up fighting against Boko Haram.
  • Local hunters. Like the Nigerian military, these people (possibly apart of the Civilian Joint Task Force) are fighting and serving to abolish Boko Haram, and to defend their respective cities, towns, and villages. Please pray that these people would come to know Jesus, as well; and that they would fight, not out of evil intent or bitterness, but with a pure desire to see Peace and to protect their loved ones.
  • President Muhammadu Buhari. Please pray that He would come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, and that He is moved by Jesus to pursue the end of Boko Haram, and the healing of its victims.
  • Boko Haram members. That their eyes would be uncovered, and that they would realize the false religion that they are apart of. Pray Jesus would meet with them in real, lasting way.

Thank you for your prayers!!!

 

 

 

Victory in Christ Alone

“Down in the valley, when waters rise, I am still believing hope is alive. All through the struggle, and darkest day, I will remember the empty grave.”
(“Remember” by Passion)

On June 26th, 2016, the Nigerian army was proud to declare that approximately 5,000  men, women, and children, who had previously been held in Boko Haram captivity have been rescued by the Nigerian military.

In an operation they call “Lafiye Dole,” 15 towns and villages were raided by the Nigerian military, killing 10 militants, and one civilian.

In just a couple of days, 5,000 people have been released, from brutal bondage– in a victory that could have only been won by the Hand and Favor of God.

The Nigerian military recognizes this. On July 6th, 2016, while celebrating “Army Day,” Army chief, Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, proclaimed that “God has given Nigeria victory over Boko Haram” (source). During a Christian, inter-denominational church service held for the event, the Army chief claimed that another, muslim service was had– both events purposing to “acknowledge the supremacy of God,” and to celebrate that “Victory comes from God” (source).

While this sentiment is true– in that God, YHWH, does reign supreme, and does give victory to whomever He chooses– it is important to ask which God gives such victory.

With the term “God” being so generic, it can be easy to see, and believe, that all references to “God” speak of the same God, no matter the faith or religion. But this is simply not true. The First of the Ten Commandments says, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me” (Deteronomy 5:6-7, NIV). This is because, in all reality, there is no other God but the LORD, YHWH; all other gods are completely dead, and completely worthless.

In the Old Testament, there were many foreign, false “gods” that were completely futile; and while many people don’t worship physical idols, today, the same idea is true: YHWH is the One, True, Triune, Living God– “apart from me [the LORD] there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:11).

It is of incredible importance to understand that God is triune– three in one– when asking who gives victory. Being the One, True, Triune God, YHWH is known as three separate, completely equal, co-eternal (existing eternally, together) Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As this article explains, these three Persons are distinct “centers of self-consciousness,” yet are one Being: YHWH (also written Yahweh). As revealed all throughout scripture, God the Son is Jesus Christ, who came as the Maschiach (Hebrew for Messiah), to be the Ultimate Sacrifice for all of mankind’s sin, as emphatically stated in Romans 8:3. Jesus is YHWH, the One and Only True God– there is no other God besides Him (John 14:6; John 10:30).

On the other hand, all other “gods” are not gods at all. Jesus said, in 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.”

Honestly, all other belief systems– including the main one that fuels Boko Haram’s fire, islam– are false, workings of the enemy to distract one from Christ. Used to “steal, kill, and destroy,” just as stated in John 10:10, all other gods, such as allah, parade as the Truth, but really rob a person of Freedom, Joy, and most crucially, the eternal Salvation of having a relationship with Jesus.

It is the Salvation, won by what Jesus did on the cross, that truly sets men free. This freedom was not cheap; rather, it cost Christ everything. As Isaiah 53 so famously states,

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, NIV). Jesus Christ bore our sin, and our shame, on that cross. Bloodied, bruised, and buried, He was punished, so that we might live free: spiritually, in the truest way possible.

But He did not remain that way. On the third day, Christ rose from the dead, declaring Victory over death itself (1 Corinthians 15:4; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57)!

…the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death” (Romans 8:2). If Christ has set us free, in the clearest and best way, possible, there is absolutely nothing stopping Him from setting us free in every other way. Whether physically, spiritually, or mentally, Jesus can give us Victory over whatever enemy we are facing. Many people are either extremely skeptical about this, or they believe that this freeing, from bondage, only happens in a certain manner. Neither extreme is infallible: While there is power, in the Name of Jesus, to break every chain, Christ can employ whatever means He desires to break those chains.

Whether through miracle, men, or medicine, it is the Name and Sacrifice of Jesus, that gives victory. As Romans 8 celebrates, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. …No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Army Chief Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, you’re right: God has given us the victory, in Jesus Christ, both now, and– for those who place their trust in His Victory– forevermore. May we give Him, and Him alone, the glory.


***This blog post is dedicated to Laura Chord,
a beautiful young woman with a passion for Christ, who was– and is– a testament and role model to countless others, of victorious living, in Jesus.
On May 3rd, 2016, this amazing young woman suddenly left this world, and passed into the Presence of the King of her Heart, finishing her race victoriously.
Please pray for her family, best friend, and loved ones, as they continue to grieve the loss of this “star in the dark world” (Philippians 2:15). Thank you. ***



 Do you know Jesus?

Jesus once said, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40, NIV). 

For one reason or another, many people have rejected Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Here is a personal question, for you, the reader: Have you come to Christ to have the “abundant life” He gives, as John 10:10 states?

If you have not, why? Is it for lack of knowledge about Him, or that you don’t feel you need Him?

Learn more about Jesus– and why He came to die, in the first place– here.


Please pray for…

– The families, and loved ones, of the remaining 218 young women, in Boko Haram captivity. Please pray that they would find their victory, and hope, in Christ.

– The families of the victims of Boko Haram.

– The men, women, and children, who have been newly freed from Boko Haram: for their spiritual freedom in Christ, and for their mental and emotional freedom, from suffering such trauma.

– The protection, and continued favor, of Nigeria’s military, as they continue to rout out Boko Haram.

– That Christ would redeem all things in this terrible insurgency, and Christ would use this horrible tragedy to bring others to Him.

– For the continued Strength, Comfort, and Peace of those who are grieving Laura.

No matter the trial, or darkest day, there is Victory found in no other than Jesus Christ! 

I praise Jesus, and thank you for your continued prayers! 🙂

Victory in Christ: An Open Letter to Sa’a

Sa’a, a twenty year old girl from Chibok, Nigeria, was around 18 years old when she was just one of the 276 young women Boko Haram kidnapped on April 14th, 2014. Jumping from the bed of one of Boko Haram’s trucks as it sped away into the night, Sa’a barely escaped with her friend.

Now free, Sa’a (a name used to protect her real identity) is studying in the US, along with the very same friend who escaped alongside her. Interviewed by NPR, Sa’a also wrote a statement, and was brought before a congressional panel on Africa and human rights, represented by chairman Chris Smith.

Although she is physically free from the clutches of Boko Haram, she remembers her classmates, and all those displaced, back in Nigeria, and has brought great glory to Christ, in all her recounting of her horrible ordeal.

Jesus Christ has used this beautiful young woman, and her story, to greatly encourage me in Him. I pray that, if given the opportunity, she would be encouraged in Him through this letter, as well.


Dear Sa’a,

Hello! My name is Annalee, and I am from the western United States. I received the honor of learning about your personal story, concerning Boko Haram, both through your interview on NPR, and through a news article posted on a press-release distributor. As I read, and heard, your story, Jesus Christ stirred in me and led me to create this letter to you.

Sa’a, as I read your story, I was filled with both pain, for you and those in Northern Nigeria, as well as encouragement. I wanted to encourage you; but I don’t want to write you merely fluffy words. I wanted to encourage you in Christ, and by His Word. I pray I am able to do so, here.

Sa’a, I praise Jesus, that by Him, you are very brave. Christ has gotten you through so much, and, as a poet named John Newton, once said in the song “Amazing Grace,”

Tis Grace has brought us safe thus far,
and Grace will lead us home.

While your current circumstances still may hurt, I want to encourage you with this verse, found in Romans 8. “But in all these things we are completely victorious through God who showed his love for us” (Romans 8:37, NCV).

Sa’a, as you look to the future, I know that you probably also look toward the past, at times. You must think about the classmates you love that have not escaped, yet; and the millions of people who have been displaced, harmed, and even killed by Boko Haram. Sa’a, I am so sorry for this. Please, my dear friend, know that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, NIV). It is during the most heartbreaking times that Jesus is working, moving, and opening His arms wide to you, for Comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3). I pray you would receive that Comfort.

Finally, Sa’a, I wanted to encourage you with this. What your classmates have gone through, and still are going through, is unthinkable.

The injustice is outrageous. So many feel, and think, that no one hears them. Their hearts are sometimes lonely. Hopeless. Sad.

But, even in this state, we have this sure Hope: we know that Jesus Christ rose from the grave, and He is coming back, again (Hebrews 6).

On that cross, the power of sin– and the power of death, that seems so overwhelming– was conquered. “For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57, NLT).

It is Christ’s Victory that makes us spiritually free and alive, as Christ says.

 Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?'”
(John 11:25-26, NIV)

And, that is the complete Truth– no matter where we find ourselves. In Christ, we have the Victory. In that, I pray you would find true Hope, Rest, and Comfort.



Do you know Jesus?

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried,that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.”
(1 Corinthians 15:3-5, NIV)

Think about it. Your rabbi, your friend, and your leader, Jesus Christ, warns you that He will die soon. That you all will scatter. That He will rise again (Matthew 16:21). How would you feel? What would you say?

There is no doubt that sorrow, panic, and a deep disturbance would fill your heart. There is no doubt that the disciples of Christ were confused, angry, frustrated, and, most of all, filled with grief.

As they saw Christ crucified in agonizing fashion, the One they loved looked defeated. Struck by men, this man who claimed He was God died (John 10:30), and His followers did not understand (John 12:16). Although He foretold His resurrection, Jesus Christ’s death seemed to be the Ultimate Defeat to those closest to Him.

But, Jesus Christ could not be defeated. On the third day, He rose again. Learn more about– and meet– the One who was victorious, here!



Dear Father God,

Father God, I praise You, and I thank You, for all You have done, all You are doing, and all You will do. You are unstoppable, Father God; Your resurrection proves it!

I thank You, Father God, for every person You have created; You have declared Your Glory to all people, Father. Father God, I just praise You for Sa’a, and for her being just one of the countless people You have shown Yourself to. You are Holy, Father God… and You have given everything, to free Sa’a, and to show her You are near. You are amazing, Father God!

I pray right now, in Jesus’ Name, Father God, that dear Sa’a would be comforted by Your Holy Spirit during this horrible time. Please give Sa’a Yourself as her Strength, and draw her close to You. Dear Father God, please delight her as she seeks You, more and more, and show her Your face through all of the grief and darkness.

Father God, I praise You and I thank You for Sa’a’s unnamed friend. Dear Father, I pray that this young woman would know You as her Lord and Savior, if she doesn’t already. Father, You are “a very present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1); I pray that You would show this to Sa’a’s friend. Please strengthen her, Father God, and restore/give to this young woman everything the enemy has tried to rob her of, and destroy.

Father God, I praise You for all people who have been touched, hurt, and otherwise affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. Please bring them to know You, and show them the Justice, Peace, and physical Salvation that they need, Father God. 

Father God, please protect those men, and women, who are taking a stand against Boko Haram, and are giving their lives to defeat Boko Haram. Please show them that You are the One and Only God, Father God, Lord Jesus; protect them from their spiritual enemy, Lord Jesus. Comfort them with the fact that You win. 

Father God, I pray over the 219 young girls who are still missing, and the thousands more who were not apart of the Chibok Schoolgirls kidnapping. Please strengthen them, Father God; give them great Courage and Peace, and keep their eyes on You (Psalm 31:24; Isaiah 26:3). Please move, in and through these camps, to bring all men— even Boko Haram members– to You. 

In all, Father God, please reassure Your People that You are ruling and reigning over their every experience. Thank You for dying the death we deserved, that we might know You, and have Victory in You. Praise You, Father God! I thank You for ALL of this. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

Please continue to pray for Sa’a, her friend, and all those who have been deeply affected by Boko Haram– free, and captive. Thank you! 

Being Brave

Over a year ago, almost 300 girls ages 16-19 were kidnapped from their boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria. As violent men threatened these young women, putting them in open trucks, split-second opportunities emerged for many of them to escape. Whether hanging from tree branches above the vehicles or jumping from the truck beds onto the ground below, these opportunities for freedom required amazing amounts of courage, skill, and good– almost miraculous– timing [1]. While we cannot even begin to imagine the thoughts and feelings of these young girls as they were being driven into lives of captivity, the last-minute decisions made by many of them to escape were surely made in a mix of both desperation and amazing, even divine, resolve. These women knew nothing of their futures if they decided to jump: uncertainty, even regarding their very lives, hung over them like the branches they were about to grab. Yet, they chose the uncertainty– chose the imminent danger of death, injury, or being re-captured and harshly punished– over the complete certainty of being kept alive (for at least a while) even in the face of captivity. Continue reading

Victory!

There is a darkness all around us. Whether one senses it or not, a spirit of sorrow– of fear, of loneliness, of hopelessness– reigns in the hearts and minds of countless people all over the globe. Daily, we read articles of heartwrenching violence abroad, while locally, the day’s headlines include senseless tragedies, marring the day with disheartening, sober pensiveness.

In nations like Nigeria, Iraq, and inumerable european countries all across the East, this darkness is both strikingly felt and incomprehensibly heavy. With events such as a child suicide bombing committed by a girl as young as seven years old in Nigeria, to the kidnapping of close to 90 christian Assyrians in Syria, the incessant persecution and violence found in these nations are a cause for deep terror in the hearts and minds of people caught in the crossfire. And while the Boko Haram insurgency found in Nigeria and its surrounding nations is being fought back against by a heavy-handed AU Army, the warfare found in Nigeria– as well as across the middle east– is only a symptom, a physical manifestation, of the spiritual warfare occuring all over the planet, every moment of our lives. Continue reading