THE WINE, FIRE AND ECHO OF THE SONG OF SONGS

HAPPY WITH CHURCH TONIGHT

The Women’s Fellowship was very good. Today was our first meeting this year. We had a full house. We shared testimonies of God’s goodness and power. We praised God with songs and dancing. We prayed and prophesied over our lives, marriages, children, businesses and ministries. We did warfare: we rejected the evil spirits of empty religion, depression, barrenness, fear, doubt, poverty, sickness and sorrow! We prayed two by two, one for another. We prophesied that the single sisters above 30 shall marry this year. We prophesied that the married women who pray for the fruit of the womb shall be pregnant and have children! In Christ we declared that God has opened a new door for us in 2018. It is a good and great, surprisingly sweet new platform for ministry and family blessings. No devil and no man can shut it. Our testimonies will increase! Our joy shall be full! In Jesus name, amen! Then the sermon came. It was about the joy of an ideal godly marriage. It was inspired from the Song of songs. Our marriages must be better! There is always room for improvement! Amen!

 

THE WINE, FIRE AND ECHO OF THE SONG OF SONGS

“The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s” (SS1:1)

The Song of Songs is the most romantic Book in the Bible. Most Christians ignore this book because they either do not understand it or they feel uncomfortable reading it. The Song of Songs is a poem written by King Solomon, the son of King David. He describes how he deeply fell in love with a simple shepherd girl, even when he already had hundreds of wives and concubines in his harem. Symbolically, the poem describes the love between Christ and the Church. The same poem perfectly describes the ideal love found in a godly marriage, when both husband and wife are mature believers in Christ. This holy love in marriage has four attributes: Passion, Self-control, mutuality and eternal life.

 

*LOVE IN MARRIAGE IS PASSIONATE

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—

For your love is better than wine

Because of the fragrance of your good ointments,

Your name is ointment poured forth;

Therefore the virgins love you.

Draw me away! … The king has brought me into his chambers…” (SS 1:2- 4)

 

Passion is described as a strong and barely controllable emotion. Love in marriage must be romantic, exciting, full of interesting gifts and sweet surprises. Like wine, it must be intoxicating to the heart and to the brain. Its source is the sacrificial passionate love of Jesus, who died to save His sinful Lovers. This love is jealous and very protective. It fights to death the enemies of love. In this Song, the passionate love in marriage is described in many ways: kisses on the mouth, fragrant ointment poured forth, getting drunk with wine, getting sick with love, going out in the night searching for the offended lover to make peace with him and many beautiful intimate praises poured out between husband and wife. This passionate love involves their bodies, souls and spirits. There is no shame in this love. Their love is a reflection of the original purity designed by God for marriage when:  “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Gen 2:24, 25). The fire of love burns all guilt, all shame and all inferiority complexes. They feel happy and safe to love each other. They are generous with the best they have. There is no fear of betrayal, deception or divorce. Their sexual life is passionate but limited to marriage. There is no wasting drainage to adulterous affairs. The ‘strange woman’ must be disappointed. If your love is holy and passionate then ‘your fountains will not be dispersed abroad and your streams of water will not flow on strange dark streets’ (PV 5: 16). Love’s passion is an anointed overflow able to destroy all the evil plans and opposition of marriage. Lukewarm love is dangerous. It is on its way to defeat. Keep the fires of holy love burning! Quench not the Spirit of love! Let the fire burn, day and night! Be drunk and be filled with the Holy Spirit!

 

*LOVE IN MARRIAGE IS CONTROLLED

“I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,

By the gazelles or by the does of the field,

Do not stir up nor awaken love

Until it pleases” (SS 2:7; 3:5 and 8:4)

 

The beauty of true Christian love is that it combines great passion with great self-restrain. Only the Holy Spirit can produce this unique combination. Flesh is a coward. It always looks for escape in one way or the other. Flesh loves until it destroys itself. It quenches the very life of passionate intimacy. Fleshly love oscillates in between erotic lust and frigid vows. But the love of Christ is both hot and controlled in the same time. Two of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the first and the last, are ‘love and… self-control’ (Gal 5: 22, 23). Mature love is spiritual and balanced. That is why it does not break and it lasts forever.  The Bride tells ‘the daughters of Jerusalem’, her friends, to be patient with the manifestation and harvest of love. Lust boils immediately and burns the kettle. But ‘love is patient’ with itself (1Cor 13:4). The passion of love in marriage must increase gradually. Love is wise. Love knows when to say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no’. Like driving a car, love has one speed pedal and two breaks. There is a time to love more and times when you love less, so that you can rest your soul (Ecc 3:8). Going on the high hills and the deep valleys of life, even when stumbling, it must go on, for ‘love never fails’ (1 Cor 13:8).  Love in a godly marriage is ‘A garden enclosed… A spring shut up… A fountain sealed’ (SS 4:12). This love has a secret address and a codded password. It is separated from the eyes of strangers. The fence of holy fire around the marriage bed keeps its passion safe. Marriage is a mystery protected by God Himself (Eph 5:32; Mal 3:5).

 

 

*LOVE IN MARRIAGE IS MUTUAL

‘My beloved is mine, and I am his…’ (SS 2:16; 6:3; 7:10)

 

In a true godly marriage the husband and wife are free to be themselves, free to talk and free to manifest their love to each other. Love is a two way street. Love is a duet. Love is like tango dance! Love is a mutual feeling experienced by both of them. In this poem you see that both the Lover and the Beloved initiate speeches and actions. The leadership of the husband and the submission of the wife were curses placed after the fall, to restrain sinful behavior in marriage. But in this poem we see that agape love equals both players and brings them together unto ‘the hill of incense’ to dance for joy. In a golly marriage there is no violence, wickedness, manipulation or oppression. There is love, trust, purity and peace. Both husband and wife are free in each other’s arms. They give themselves one to the other in a happy and safe surrender. Each one teaches the other how to live, love and laugh. They weep together and they rejoice together. No one is left behind. No one is lonely. The blanket of Love is wide enough to cover both of them. True love is hated by many. In the forests of this world you will encounter many ‘little foxes that try to spoil the tender shoots of springtime love’ (SS 2:15).  Both husband and wife are ready to fight the enemies of marriage. They are both jealous over their love and they protect it unto death. ‘Love always protects’ (1 Cor 13:7).  Spiritual warfare done in the name of Jesus, in the unity of the Spirit, in a godly marriage is always successful. The devil has no chance here! The monster of adultery dies immediately when marriage covenant partners hold hands in prayer and worship their God.

 

*LOVE IN MARRIAGE IS FOREVER

“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm;

For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave;

Its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame.

Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it.

If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house,

It would be utterly despised” (SS 8: 6, 7)

 

The marriage covenant is done in the presence of God, among witnesses in heaven and on earth. It lasts a life time. After death, the surviving spouse is free to live single or remarry. But the love they had for one another endures beyond the barrier of death. The fruits and effect of their holy love will survive the destruction of their bodies. Their children and friends have been touched by their true passion. Their love will continue to sing its song in the hearts of many, forever!  This love cannot be destroyed, quenched or sold for money. It is a proof that Jesus Christ is the Husband of the Church. It is a sign post directing seekers to the sacrifice on the Cross done by our Savior, King and Lover! The color of true love is red for the Lover’s Blood payed its way to the heart of His Beloved. ‘God is Love” (1 Jn 4:16). God always ‘keeps the best for the last’ (Jn 2:10). May your love be fruitful and free!

 

This is the testimony of agape Love found in Christ alone!  May we worship the God who loved us first! May true agape love be found in our hearts! May the Song of Songs echo in our marriages, now and forever! In Jesus name, amen!

Wedding-Rings

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A TENDER ROOT IN A DRY GROUND

 

“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,

And as a root out of dry ground…

He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,

And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.

He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied” (Is 53)

 

What does it mean that our Savior was a tender plant growing in a dry ground? How Jesus did survive so much opposition? Why did He not die before His hour came? What is the secret of His holy eternal success?

 

When Jesus was born everything was against Him. Herod the Great hated Him. He killed all the boys but Jesus escaped. Mary and Joseph were poor people. There was no other place for Mary to have her baby except the stable where animals stayed. There is no doubt that during her labor Mary experienced feelings of rejection and loneliness. No woman, however poor she is, wants to deliver her baby in a stable. I believe that it was also cold and she had to endure the unpleasant smell of animals. The pictures of Christmas may look romantic but the reality is different. Then they became fugitives in Egypt. Eventually, they come back and settle in Nazareth. Nathaniel said about that village: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” The childhood of Jesus was in a place where nobody saw any good thing coming from it. Jesus did not go to a regular school He learned the trade of carpentry from his father, Joseph. It is true that He was from the royal lineage of David. That could have been something good, but Israel did not have a royal dynasty anymore. It was the Romans that now chose their kings who had nothing to do with David. When Jesus entered ministry, the disciples that followed Him were poor un-educated people. The religious leaders hated Him and rejected His teachings. The religious leaders arrested Him and brought Him before their tribunal. Jesus did not have any lawyer. He did not even defend Himself. He did not write any book. He was a king but He did not have any army. He was eventually killed on the Cross. Humanity killed their Maker on Mount Calvary. He was buried in a rich man’s borrowed tomb. The Roman soldiers guarded the burial place. That should have been the end of the story… But Jesus rose from the dead and He lives forever!

 

All these factors against Him describe to us the ‘dry ground’ of the life of Jesus. There was nothing in His environment that helped Jesus survive or succeed. There was no place where He could lay His head… There was no man who can take the credit of saving His life.  How then did this Jesus survive all the hatred and negativity against Him? Not only survive, but how did He succeed to become the most famous Man all over the world?  Why is His name on our lips, more than 2000 years later? Why so many people call Him their Savior? Why do so many people worship Him, in every city, every country? What is the secret of His Holy success? The answer is that He is God! He is Jehovah, I AM, the self-sufficient God, who does not need anything man has to offer to live eternally. If you are a child of God, think about your Father…

 

This evening I say: If you are ‘trapped’ in an unloving marriage and your spouse does not encourage you at all… if you are a missionary and, with all your labor of love you see no visible fruits… If you live in an area where churches are all lukewarm, you desire to mature spiritually but there is no mentor, no Spirit filled pastor…If you are alone and afraid or even hopeless, then go to Jesus Christ, the hope of Glory! Go to Jehovah, the self-sufficient God who does need His creation to live eternally! Go to the Holy Spirit who will give you the strength to live and succeed even if the whole world is against you! For no ground is as dry as the one that held the roots of the tender plant called Jesus Christ! Allow the Holy Spirit to enlarge your vision to see how that Lonely Seed planted in that dry ground, against all the odds and plans of the devil, became the King of the Kingdom of God! If you are born again then you are part of the lonely painful travail that has satisfied the Son of God! This is the work of God! If God has started a work in you, nobody can quench it! No circumstance, no enemy, no devil can destroy the work of God! Once the zeal of God is involved in a work, nothing can destroy it!

 

This is our testimony! This is the very faith that propelled my husband and I to have the boldness to start a church in Warri, Nigeria. The ground is dry but the seed is Holy! The faith in Jesus Christ proved to be enough for us! Let us be encouraged to trust God when all things go against us. Like Jesus, we do not need anything to survive and succeed, only God! Jesus is enough for me! I am satisfied!

 

In Christ I declare:

Even if the spiritual atmosphere in Warri- Effurun, Nigeria is as dry as a ‘bonga fish’, the Kingdom of God shall be established here! Many souls shall be saved! Father’s House Bible Church is blessed! All to the glory to God! In Jesus name, Amen!

Bless the Lord

RUN TO JESUS AND EAT!

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over” (Ps 23:5)
 
When under attack… when fear wants to be your friend… when the bully proposes marriage to you… when the enemies come around you like hungry wolves in the winter night… when you see their sharp teeth and lusty eyes…when trouble comes to kiss your hand… when the doctor says you shall be sick unto death… when the lawyer says that you have lost the case… when friends betray… when the evil man rejoices at your fall…. when you don’t know what to do, what to say and where to go… Run to Jesus! Run to Jesus! He is stronger than them all!
 
Let your hunger drive you to Jesus! He is the Bread of Life! Run to Jesus and Eat!!! Run to the table set under the banner of His love and EAT! EAT! EAT! Swallow the Word of God! Drink the sweet wine of the Holy Spirit! Fill every empty anxious space with the sure promises of God! Let the anointing oil soak your mind, pouring down on your lips, filling your heart… You need to be satisfied with His Love…You need to rejoice in His presence…this is your hope, your cure, your testimony, your ministry!!!
 
Like the mother bird, EAT more than you need for this present need…. Taste and see that the Lord is good… Eat and carry that food home… Let it be more than enough, more love, more courage, more anointing, more hope, more faith, more wisdom … until it comes out from you…until there is an overflow of grace… until your words become fruitful in other hearts… until it pours into the waiting mouths of your chicks… Running over into the hearts of them who believe that mother will never be too late to bless… Bread, Oil and Wine… I am satisfied… Love cares until the last breath…Feed on love… Love never fails!
Bird feeding her chicks

MY QUESTIONS HAVE TO WAIT

 

A question is a sentence used to find out information from another. In an exam, a question is a problem that tests a person’s knowledge or ability: A question produces doubt about the truth of something, creating confusion in the minds. The devil was the one who asked the first question in the Bible. “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Gen 3:1). According to the definition of the word ‘question’ these are the motives in the devil’s mind when he talked to Eve: he wanted that she should open her heart to him. The devil wanted that Eve should give him more information about her relationship with God, about her marriage and her life in general. As you can see, a question provokes an answer. This is an invitation to intimacy, a manipulation to close friendship, stolen love…

 

This is a spiritual lesson: When the devil is asking you a question, you should totally refuse to answer him. You rebuke him instantly! Do not cooperate with him! For that, you need to know the difference between the voice of God and that of the devil!!! You should not give the devil any information about your life, not even jokingly! Secondly, when the devil is asking you a question he wants to test your knowledge about God and His Word. If you fail the test, the devil will be more confident to attack you further. For example, when Eve replied that God said they should not eat or touch the forbidden fruit, the devil immediately attacked her again, tempting her to disobey God’s command. This is because Eve misquoted God’s command. God did not say that if they touch the fruit they will die. Eve failed the test of the devil’s question. As a teacher, the devil ‘punished’ his student called Eve. All Eve’s daughters are still paying the price for their mother’s foolishness.

 

The devil’s question was designed to create doubt and confusion about God’s character and love towards men. This doubt is a poisonous arrow creating anxiety and inferiority complex. Eve started thinking that she is too foolish and she needs more wisdom so that next time she can impress ‘Teacher-devil’ with her intelligent answers. She forgot that God created her perfect and she needed nothing more than an intimate relationship with her Maker. Looking for that wisdom, she eats the forbidden fruit and convinces her husband to do the same. Sin and death entered their spirits and bodies that very moment. This is the story of the fall. The deadly effects of sin can only be destroyed at the Cross of Christ.

 

Since Eve’s deception, women in particular have struggled with (many) questions and (fewer) answers ever since. Many are still confused about who to ask and when to ask questions. They still struggle with doubts and confusion more than the men. They still have inferiority complexes about their intelligence and wisdom. They still want to impress men with their education and intelligence. That attitude makes them look childish. In the Bible there is a restrain upon women, not to ask questions in public. This is so that they will not reinforce their inferiority complexes and expose their foolishness to outsiders. “If they (the wives) have any questions, they should ask their husbands at home, for it is improper for women to speak in church meetings” (1Cor 14:35). For married couples, asking questions and giving answers is to be done at home, in a quiet, safe and loving atmosphere. The Holy Spirit is your Teacher.

 

MY TESTIMONY AS A WIFE

May years ago, based on my understanding of the Word of God, I decided that I will never ask my husband any question in public. I can talk to him in public on any subject. He can ask me any question he likes. I will answer him to the best of my knowledge. But my strategy is not to ask him back anything! (Of course, if it is matter of life and death, I will break my rule). Generally, when we are in public, I am very careful with my words, with the tone of my voice and with my body language. I made up my mind not to talk to him as I am his boss or judge. I will not query him. He is not my child. Even if what he says sounds terrible to me and I ‘die’ for an explanation, I will wait for us to go home. I learned how to wait… Inside, I can ask all the questions I want. We are safe from the world. I do not want to be seen to be his teacher, his older sister, his mother or his pastor. My voice does not go higher in tone, does not become harsh, demanding or threatening. My body language speaks of love and submission too. I do not stand ‘tall’ ‘towering’ over him, intimidating him or bullying him, not even jokingly. I know that many women ‘joke’ with their husbands’ feelings. This is their excuse to fight back. It does not work with me. My husband does not approve of jokes that make us look foolish, divisive or rude. I too have learned to behave well, to protect the ‘image’ of our marriage, not to give the devil any foot hold to use something against us. I am very protective of his reputation and honor. I trust him with my life and he trusts me with his. This trust has not come easily. Many tears of regret and repentance have flown under the bridge of God’s mercy. But we are so much better now… Dear reader, there is hope for you too. Our testimony as a happy married couple is one of our greatest accomplishments on earth. It has become a ministry for the encouragement of many people. To God alone be all the glory!

Tali and I 11

MY GARDEN 

“Awake, O north wind,
And come, O south!
Blow upon my garden,
That its spices may flow out.
Let my beloved come to his garden
And eat its pleasant fruits” (SS 4:16)

I have been living in Nigeria since 1980. My husband and I worked as medical doctors until 2000. Then we started a church called Father’s House Bible Church. We are now pastors in full time ministry. There is no secret that I love Nigeria. There are many reasons why I love this country. First of all I am married to the best Nigerian man. Secondly, I got saved here in Warri, Nigeria in 1986. Our three children, John, Alina and Jemine grew up here, in Warri. I speak English with a Nigerian accent. I also speak ‘pidgin’ English. I am proud of these my achievements!

As you can see, there are many reasons why I love Nigeria, my adopted country. One of it is this: the soil and the weather is so good for the plants. These are pictures from my garden in Warri Nigeria. People may grumble because of economic hardship and other issues, but I chose to see the good around me. One thing is clear: my flowers bloom without any troubles. Their leaves are not less green because the Naira is falling. The birds and the butterflies zoom around them with no fear that the price of fuel will increase. God who created these beautiful things just to make us happy is the same God who will take care of us. Fear not! Jehovah Jireh is in charge! God loves flowers. And flowers do well in Nigeria. Why will I complain?

“Abba Father I thank You for saving my soul! I thank You for sending a Nigerian man to marry me and bringing me to this beautiful and interesting country that You love so much! I trust You for mighty change here and for revival to come! In Jesus name I pray, amen!”

(In the picture you see some of my beautiful flowers in my Effurun garden. Jesus visits me here. Thank You Lord!)

Garden 1Garden 2Garden 3Malia 6

I AM HEALED 

“There are times when I feel despairing,
when all around seems dark
and my cry for help is unheard…

Then, unexpected, a faint light appears,
gradually dispersing the darkness.
The silence is broken
by the sound of angelic voices.
I know that God has heard my cry
and reaches out to heal me.
I experience transforming power…”
And suddenly I know,
That I am healed!

(John Johansen-Berg)

Jesus heals me

IMELA-E…

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn 1:5)

Yesterday, during the Sunday service, as I went up to minister on the altar, the power went off. (Later we were told that our big generator ‘caught gas’). For about 15 minutes the church was in total darkness. The microphones, and the musical instruments (with the exception of the drum and the saxophone) went silent. Some people in the congregation put on the lights on their phones. Our church has no windows, so when it is dark, it is really dark. Without the microphone, my voice could have been ‘lost’ in the big auditorium. I had the option to go back to my seat and miss my ministry ‘slot’. But long ago, I made up my mind not to bow to contrary spirits or negative circumstances. I am a soldier for Christ. I have to fight to the end and if I have to die, I must die standing! I chose to worship God no matter what.

I could not preach a message but I could raise my small voice and sing: ‘Imela-e… Imela-e…For the great and might things that You have done…Chineke … Idinma… Ezeh!” (It means: Thank You Lord, My God and My King…)… The congregation loves the song and we all worshiped God with singing the same song again and again.The ACs stopped working. It was hot and dark. But nobody was showing impatience, whistling angrily (as many youths sometimes do…). Everybody remained calm, hands lifted up in worship singing: Imela-e… Once more we discovered that the devil is a liar and a loser! He tried to stop the service, cause confusion and anger but he failed completely. The Holy Spirit was totally in charge and the anointing became even higher…At last, the power came back! Praise the Lord! The worship must continue!

In Christ I declare: God loves Nigeria! I am a witness to this love rooted in His grace! The light of Christ shines in the darkness of Warri- Effurun and in Nigeria! The power of evil is fighting back but it cannot quench the light! One little candle is stronger than the most ‘professional long standing thick’ spiritual darkness! We declare that Jesus Christ is Lord over Nigeria! Against all odds, Nigeria will make progress, spiritually and in the natural! Christ in us is the Hope of Glory! If the hope died, the Hope shall resurrect! Love is as strong as death! We reject every demon of fear, armed robbery, kidnapping, tribal wars, depression, inferiority complex, slave mentality, poverty, empty religion and foolish pride! We destroy every covenant done by any person, past or present, with territorial evil spirits! Holy Spirit please come and take control! It is well with my soul! It is well with Father’s House Bible Church! It is well with Nigeria! Revival shall come! To God alone be all the glory! In Jesus name, amen!

Malia 5