MORE THAN WE ASK OR THINK

Now praises “to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us; to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Eph 3:20, 21)

The prayer meeting was wonderful. I know that you may say: “are all your services so good?” To the glory of God the answer is ‘Yes’! How do I know the services are so good? It is because the very Person of God the Holy Spirit comes in our midst and He moves freely and un-grieved. What more can we ask? What else do we want? Nothing compares with the feeling of being found lost in God. No other love is like the Love of God! Tonight, the Holy Spirit came, wave upon wave. Like a mighty water fall. The impact and noise was so much that I could not preach. We stood in awe worshiping the King of kings. We sang and danced and prophesied…The Lord is good! All the time!

Jehovah Jireh is still manifesting mightily in our church. The following testimonies were shared this evening. These are to give glory to God, to put the devil to shame and to encourage the brethren.
1. Sister R shared how God bless them. Her husband is a carpenter. No man trained him. He just discovered that he is good working with his hands and wood. For many years they have been struggling financially. They have two small children. According to the prophetic word, they prayed that Jehovah Jireh should come and blessed their home. Two weeks ago they called her husband to present a sample of his work. Many other more ‘famous’ carpenters were there competing too. The contract is a big one. To make all the furniture to a big hotel in town. She said that ‘just like that’ they chose her husband and they are now ‘millionaires’. If a rich man came to the church he could not have chosen them to make them rich, for they are simple people. But God is not a respecter of men. To God be all the glory!
2. We needed a powerful generator for our church. We are planning to move to the new site and the industrial ACs to be used in the sanctuary need a 500KVA generator. A new one is 16 million Naira. A brother from the church saw one for sale. It is not new but it is still good. Pastor phoned the owner. When the owner heard that it was Pastor Leigh that wants to buy it, on the phone he said that he should just take it. My husband said ‘what do you mean just take it’. He said that he heard that my husband is a pastor now; that we are building a new church and he feels in his heart to ‘dash’ us his generator free of charge. That we should take it as a gift from him. Pastor Leigh has never met this man before. To God be all the glory!

God’s blessings are more than we can describe. Maybe you say that you have prayed for a long time and nothing good has happened. The road may be long but ‘just like that’ the rain of blessing comes down. God does not love us more than He loves you. God does not discriminate people. But He looks for faith in their hearts. God will surprise you with ‘much more than you ask or think’. May you come back with a basket full of testimonies! Glory to God in the highest!

THE VIRTUOUS WIFE (2)

“The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him… Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies” (Pv 31:1, 10)

The word translated ‘virtuous’ also has an interesting meaning. It means ‘power’. It describes the strength of an army ready for war. The virtuous woman is strong and courageous, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. She has all the resources needed to be successful in life. It gives the picture of a prevailing force, of holy boldness that always leads in victory. Spiritual passivity, foolishness, weakness, a double mind, laziness, ignorance and fear, these are terrible traits in a woman. The virtuous woman has’ no fear of the future’; she is intelligent, faithful, wise and responsible. The husband may be ‘the bread winner’ but she is the manager of the home. She is called a home maker. That is a good word. She has all the resources to produce good things without supervision. The wise woman builds her home (PV 14:1). Her home is her palace. She’s in charge of people who willingly cooperate with their able leader; like an army following the queen of the castle. Even so she submits to her husband as unto the Lord. The strength of the godly woman comes not from her muscles or gym classes. It comes from her proven mature spiritual fruitfulness. Her character is the source of her strength and beauty and the foundation of her testimony.

The most important thing to say is that no man or woman can be truly virtuous except they are born again, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Many women have tried to imitate Mrs. Virtuous in Proverbs 31, but failed. It is because they tried to do it in the flesh. Flesh profits nothing. Victory is possible only by the Holy Spirit.

Other translations call this virtuous woman as:

*Capable- having attributes (physical, mental and spiritual power) for performance and accomplishment. She has the legal right to own, enjoy and perform her responsibilities. It means that she has the power and skill to always bring about the desired effect.

*Efficient- producing the desired effect without waste. All her efforts produce results.

*Impressive- having the power to make a lasting impression, to excite attention, awe or admiration.

*Fulfilled, satisfied- complete realization, reaching the end of possibilities. No regrets! No fears!

*Proven- tested thru trials, genuine, faithful in little things, given charge over greater things

*Noble- possessing very high or excellent qualities, superior mind, character or ideals

*Famous- widely known and honored for her achievement.

Do you desire to be a virtuous godly woman of God?

Let’s pray: “Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Word. We repent of ignorance, foolishness and all evil behavior in the past. As wives, we repent of taken our marriages for granted. As mothers, we repent of not teaching our sons the truth about life in general and women in particular. As older women, we repent for not teaching the younger women how to be godly wives and mothers. We repent for the foolishness of choosing secular women as our mentors and models. We come back to You! We come back to the Bible. We are ready to start afresh with You. Help us Dear Lord…Holy Spirit come afresh on us…In Jesus name we pray, amen!”

THE VIRTUOUS WIFE (1)

“The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him… Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies” (Pv 31:1, 10)

This evening the women’ fellowship was very good. We shared many testimonies to the glory of God, to the shame of the devil and for the encouragement of the sisters. We praised God and we prayed. The presence of the Holy Spirit was strong over us. The number of women attending has increased this year like never before. We need more wisdom and more anointing to fill all the seeking hungry and empty vessels. There is a great responsibility on me to carry the burden of God for them, to pray that the women here fulfill their destiny. Please pray for me…Pray for us… God has great plans for us. God loves us. It is our duty to seek God and to trust in His plan and purpose for our lives.

Then the message followed…

The Book of Proverbs 31 is written by King Lemuel, which is another name for King Solomon. In Hebrew, the word Lemuel means ‘Belonging to God’. He quotes the words that his ‘mother thought him’. In other words, the description of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 is done by a mother to her son. She wants her son to know what a true woman of God looks like, so that when he is ready to marry, he will not make mistakes. The mother tells her royal son to avoid two things: wine and (bad) women. These are addictive and poisonous. They intoxicate the mind and emotions of a leader leading him to disgrace and destruction.

This is an interesting point. Men in general make mistakes when assessing women. The lust of the eyes is a common danger. They admire the superficial, choosing a wife based on their fleshly desires. To avoid this terrible mistake, the mother teaches her son who a true godly woman is, making it easy for him to reject the fake and marry well. This is the truth: Men, young and old, need help. Our sons need help to know what to look for in a woman. No man should be deceived when looking for a wife. The classical description of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 is done by a woman so that men may know the truth about women.

The mother taught her son, Lemuel, preparing him to be a king and a successful man. In Hebrew, the word ‘thought’ means to chastise, to discipline when teaching. The mother uses some level of force when teaching her son. She wants him to know what is good and what is bad in life, especially the truth about the women. Lemuel’s mother is what we call ‘a hard teacher.’ She is drumming wisdom into his head. She does not spare the rod, even when her son is not a child anymore.

Let’s pray: “Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Word. We repent of ignorance, foolishness and all evil behavior in the past. As wives, we repent of taken our marriages for granted. As mothers, we repent of not teaching our sons the truth about life in general and women in particular. We come back to You Father. We come back to the BIble. We need help. Please help us…We vow to give You alone all the glory! In Jesus name, Amen!”

STAND THEREFORE STAND

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore” (Eph 6:13, 14)

In Greek the word ‘stand’ means to abide, to continue, to be established, to stand up and to stand still. The same word translated ‘resist’ appears in this scripture:  ‘Resist the devil and he will flee from you’ (Jam ).

To stand is a soldier attitude, a battlefield command. To stand your ground means not only to occupy a place but fight to defend that position of victory. It means to be strong and courageous not only in winning but in guarding and preserving your crown. It means to perform your duty to the end, waiting for the Lord of Hosts to come and take over your responsibility. When you successfully stand in faith, you shall encounter the Lord of Hosts. He shall greet you with these wonderful words of life: ‘Well done good and faithful servant! Enter the joy of your Lord!’

You need to stand ‘tall’; to be strong and calm in the face of adversity. You need to believe in God who helps you to stand. This is an active exercise of spiritual warfare. Just the way the trees die standing, so the true champions ‘stand therefore’. The opposite of standing means to fall, to fail, to faint, to be weak, to be spiritually passive, to be a coward, to compromise, to submit to the enemy and to lose the crown. If you do not stand in faith, you become a traitor to your Commander. In the name of Jesus, I forbid all these!

David faced Goliath, a young man, standing alone in the battlefield. Older brothers, uncles, soldiers and generals could not stand and take the challenge to fight for Jehovah. The king was hiding in his richly decorated tent of shame. David had no human encouragement or helper. His armor was his faith in God. His experience as a boy shepherd in the forgotten bush was his only recommendation for the post of the new leader in Israel. He was too young to become a regular soldier, so in his invisible application he went straight for the coveted position of an eternal champion. His destiny was written in the dusty valley of Elah, to be an inspiration for people of all ages and forever. So the stars shine…

Dear Child of God, you are a servant and a soldier of Christ. After you have done everything God has told you to do, you still cannot lie down. You cannot take a break. You cannot drop your armor. Your back may ache, your feet may hurt, your arms may tremble with tiredness, and still, you cannot lie down. You need to stand on your two feet, waiting for your crown. Your Lord has promised to ‘come quickly’. You cannot relax for now. You cannot dis-engage. You cannot afford to become passive. There is a particular moment when you shall know in your spirit that, beyond any shadow of doubt, you have done everything that was expected. You have passed the test. You have endured to the end. You have walked alongside your oppressor that extra mile, and even more than that. God, who gives you breath and who measures the number of your steps, He knows you have done your best. You have labored and ministered and prayed without complain. This has been a long road…You have finished your task and normally, it should be a time to rest… I know…and yet, no rest! For the standing continues!

Men without visions, cowards without dreams, exiled kings without crowns, these may be lazy, may lie down, for that is all they’ve done. They have nothing to lose for they’ve lost everything of value. But we are not losers! Not me and not you! We need to establish the gain and the territory. The devil is persistent. He hates your standing. He waits even for the eleventh hour to come and steal your joy, your crown. Resist him in faith! Do not be tired to do the right thing! Do not fret, fear, doubt or shake! Watch, stand and defeat the plans of your enemy. Disappoint the foe! Defend your position of victory! God is on your side! Your reward is already decreed.  Your crown has been newly polished. The angels happily anticipate your coronation. Be supernaturally strong! Jesus is Lord!

Stand therefore…STAND!!!

GENERAL GUIDELINESS TO MINISTRY OF HELPS

“I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ (Mt 25:35, 36)

“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim 5:8)

The church as a Body has a responsibility to help people in need, BUT NOT ALL OF THEM!

The first responsibility for financial help belongs to the FAMILY (immediate and extended)

You can show compassion to all and PRAY for them who have needs without giving them money!

The needy people to be helped by the church are these: old men and women who are poor, alone, sick or widows!

Financial help may NOT be given to the younger able people who can work!

There is a difference between one EMERGENCY help and a LONG TIME program!

If it is an emergency help, any person who is truly in evident need can receive it, if he is a believer or not!

If it is a long-time program (like in Acts 6) of commitment to meet financial needs, there must be an interview to asses if that person ‘qualifies’ for that help. The need itself is not enough criteria for help! This is very important! The person who may be helped financially must be a true believer, a clearly godly person with fruit to prove over the years, who has worked in ministry and many people ‘recommend’ him!

Pray for wisdom and discernment of spirits!

Do all things to the glory of God!

For helping the poor and for blessing His children, God will surely reward you!

ISABELLA BIRD BISHOP

Isabella Bird Bishop

One of the most famous travelers of modern times was Isabella Bird Bishop (1831-1904). She was born in England. Her father was an Anglican Pastor. As a young girl she was very sick, She has tumors in a spine that made her very weak. The doctors did not give her much chance to survive. She decided to do physical exercise daily. At the age of 26 she could rarely rise from her bed before noon. Yet, she did much of her work lying in bed. She wrote many articles to many magazines and publications. She answered many letters from all over the world. She wrote propped by many pillows with a writing board upon her knees.

She had an operation to remove a tumor from her spine. The operation was only partially successful, and after that she suffered from insomnia and depression. Her doctor recommended that she travel. She decided to do that. With a lot of difficulty, she traveled to North America, Australia, Hawaii, Japan, India, Middle East and Korea. She wrote many books and took many pictures from all over the world. She was the first woman fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

She accepted all invitations to talk to people. She attended many meetings and parties were she will pray and counsel many. She had the power to forget herself entirely in the presence of the person seeking help. At the age of 36 her spinal injuries progressed so much that her head had to be supported by a steal net. She continued her life like that. She never complained and considered her life to be happy and fruitful to the glory of God.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2Cor 12:10)

GENTLE AND HUMBLE IN HEART

‘Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light’ (Mt 11:28-30).

Do you desire to be gentle? That is a great holy desire God will grant to you!

This is the definition of Gentleness:

* To be lovely and gracious; a sign of true royalty

* To be humble, not costly to maintain

* To be teachable, submissive and obedient; calm and sweet

* To be a good listener and counselor, sensitive and wise to the leading of the Spirit

* To be moderate, mild, modest and pleasant, avoiding extremes of speech and action

* To be merciful and compassionate to others

* To patiently endure injury without grudge or lust for vengeance

There is no higher ambition for the believer on earth than to be like Jesus. He is ‘gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love’ (Ps 145:8). We may admire His wisdom and power. But one of the Lord’s qualities that we least understand is His genuine humility, His meekness and gentle heart. Sin has made us hard and harsh. Our words and actions have an irritating ugliness about them that we can’t hide for long behind beautiful clothes or a pretty face. Sinners are not sensitive to the Holy Spirit or to the feelings of others around them. Most of our words hurt and wound the spirit of other people. We pass by ignorant of others pain. Under provocation, we lose our temper and fight back in anger. We may repent later, but damage has been done in other hearts that may take years to heal.

Our Lord is strong but also gentle. We need to be the same. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit who alone produces holy spiritual fruits. Gentleness is having God’s type of heart and the mind of Christ. It cannot be achieved by human strength, education, learning good manners or diplomatic skills. It is the unique exotic fruit of the Holy Spirit dwelling and abiding, un-interrupted and un-grieved in the believer. Gentleness leads to peace and rest of mind. May these words trigger a fresh passion in your heart to be like Jesus!

‘Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near’ (Phil 4:5).