WE WILL NOT FEAR! 

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Ps 46:1-3)

“Although I am dust and ashes, Lord, I am tied to You by bonds of love. Therefore I feel I can speak freely to You. Before I came to know You, I was nothing. I did not know the meaning of life, and I had no understanding of myself. I have no doubt that You had a purpose in causing me to be born; yet, I thought that You had no need of me, and on my own I was no use to You. But then You decided that I should hear the words of Your Dear Son, Jesus Christ. And that as I heard His words, You enabled His love to penetrate my heart. Now I am completely saturated in His love and faith, and there is no remedy. Now, Lord, I cannot change my attitude to my faith; I can only die for it. I can never go back! I fear not what men may do to me! In life or death I declare that Jesus Christ is Lord!

O Lord our God, who raised up Your servant Hilarius to be a champion of the Catholic faith: Keep us steadfast in that true faith which we professed at our baptism, that we may rejoice in having You for our Father, and may abide in Your Son, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen”

This is a prayer by Bishop Hilarius of Poiters, 310-367, AD. He was born in a pagan family. He was well educated in the Greek philosophy. By the grace of God he became gloriously saved. The Christians in the city of Poiters, were so impressed with his conversion, his wisdom and courage, that they unanimously voted him as their bishop. His wife and his daughter got saved too. As a family they suffered much persecution for their faith. The religious leaders sent them to exile. The Christians they left in Poiters prayed him back. After five years in exile he and his family came back to continue the work of God. He wrote many books that became a great encouragement to Christians at that time. Even now, his words are filled with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Thru it all Bishop Hilarius and his family remained faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ until the end! Child of God, be encouraged today and praise the Lord!

St. Hilarius of Poiters

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JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE SON OF JOSEPH

 

 

“Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law, the One the prophets foretold–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph…They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” (Jn 1:45; 6:42)

 

Last Sunday we celebrated ‘Father’s Day’. There is one holy man in the Bible that I admire a lot. My choice may surprise you. I am talking about “Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ” (Mt 1:16). He is one of the most neglected characters of the Christmas story. But his life is a treasure of encouragement to me.

 

What is his story? Humanly speaking, Joseph’s life was not easy. He had to deal with much disappointment. First of all, as a husband, he heard that Mary, the girl he loved and planned to marry, was pregnant!!! Of course the Angel told him that she got pregnant by the Holy Spirit. But in his flesh, it was not easy to accept this ‘good news’. ‘The joy to the world’ meant silent sorrow (at least for some time) in the heart of Joseph. As a father he had his own pains. His sons with Mary did not believe that their older brother is the Messiah. “For even his brothers didn’t believe in Him (Jesus)” (Jn 7:5). Because Joseph was a believer in Christ, to have unbelieving sons, that was not an easy fact to deal with. Until he died, Joseph did not see his sons converted to Christ. Then there was also another painful issue he had to accept: his loss of social status! Joseph descended from the direct lineage of King David. In the history of Israel, the people of God became rebellious against God. They needed to be humbled. God sent them to Babylon for seventy years. When they came back to their land, they came without their royal mantle (read Matthew 1). They ‘lost’ their crown in the wilderness of Babylon. They came back as ordinary men. If it is not for the rebellion of his people, Joseph could have been ‘His Royal Majesty King Joseph’. He could have lived in David’s palace in Zion, married to a Queen and with many servants around him. But that dream died and was buried in Babylon. Instead, Joseph was known as the village ‘carpenter’, too poor to bring a lamb when his Son was dedicated at the temple. He could only bring two doves, the offering of a poor man.

 

But thru it all, with all these losses and disappointments, I do not see any trace of bitterness in Joseph. He was a man of God! He was a good caring husband to Mary. He was a wonderful father to Jesus and to his other sons. He was a righteous man, a wise, patient and spiritual man. God spoke to him thru dreams and he obeyed God with all his heart. He was led by the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit chose Mary to carry God’s seed in her womb. God also chose Joseph to be a father to Jesus for many years. The greatest achievement of Joseph was that he was called the father of Jesus!!! He lost his crown but his adopted Son was the King of kings!!! What a vindication!

 

What are the lessons for us today? Be born again! That is the first and most important lesson! As a child of God you can live a life of humility and thanksgiving, no matter the difficult circumstances around you. There is no need to look back, at what could have been. There is no need to compare yourself with others. If you are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, then you shall be free from inferiority complexes, depression, doubt and bitterness. Your greatest achievement, your heritage and gain is your relationship with Jesus! In the light of His glory and grace, nothing else matters! Hallelujah!

Joseph and Baby

Joseph and baby 2

 

(In the picture, you see Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus, wonderfully played by Mr and Mrs Joseph Alika (and baby) who are part of the drama organized by our church every Christmas and called ‘The Nativity’)

MY LITTLE EXPENSIVE MISTAKE 

‘Wisdom is more powerful
than weapons,
yet one mistake can destroy
all the good you have done’ (Ecc 9:18)

Today I learned another lesson in a painful way. My husband and I were planing to go out. I wanted to finish my notes on our trip to Phillipi. I was very Impatient to write as fast as I could. I finished my letter. Then I pressed ‘copy to paste’. By mistake, because I was in a hurry, I pressed ‘delete’. All my good work for the past one hour disappeared in less than a second. I was shocked! I wanted to hate my phone… It was very painful. For a moment I thought that God is not ‘fair’ to me. I could smell the devil coming close to attack my spirit… Jesus!!!! I quietly but firmly rejected the anger that wanted to enter my heart!

We went out. Later, the Holy Spirit reminded me that impatience is able to spoil much good work, especially in ministry. I remembered the scripture that said ‘a little mistake spoils much good work’. God’s Word is right! Always! God is not ‘fair’ to the flesh because the flesh must die! God is always fair to the Spirit! Finally, I ‘forced’ myself to thank God for the fulfillment of His Word. My pain turned to worship. I came back home and I wrote the notes again, this time I was patient and careful, as I should have been! Good lesson for me! The pain was only for a moment but the lesson is for a life time! Thank God for reminding me of the power of His Word! Hallelujah!!!

FOLLOWING THE FOOTSTEPS OF APOSTLE PAUL (3)- NEAPOLIS, Greece

‘From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis’ (Ac 16:10)

My husband and I we continue to follow the great Apostle Paul. This morning we took a small plane (like our Aryk in Warri) and flew from Athens to Neapolis. Apostle Paul wanted to go to Asia but he was directed by the Holy Spirit to go to Macedonia to preach the Gospel there (Ac 16:6-11). He saw a man in avision begging him to come to help them in Greece. He left Troas and arrived at the city of Neapolis.

We too arrived this morning at Neapolis. Today it is called Kavala, Greece. It is a quiet city of about a hundred thousand inhabitants but it has a village feel. This ancient city was founded 300 years before Christ. From the mountains near by the Romans excavated gold. The city was used as the main sea port for the Roman great city of Philipi, built in the mainland about 17 km from here.

We stay in a humble hotel by the sea. We ate a simple meal of fried meat, bread, garden egg and lettuce salad and potatoes in an open view restaurant by the sea. The sea gulls flew around waiting for crumbs. There are many butterflies and many flowers. I try to feel what Paul felt. We drove up the hill and took some beautiful pictures with the city of Neapolis (Kavala) down there in the background. There is a peaceful feeling about this place. Later in the day, we shall go to see the ruins of the Old city of Philippi which is not far from here. These mountains and the sea have not changed since Paul came here preaching the Gospel. In the first century Christianity became very strong here. Because of that they made Neapolis the city centre for the Bishop to reside here. They even changed the name of the city to Christopole. The city fell to the Otoman empire for a time. Sultan Suleiman ‘the Magnificent’ built an aqueduct to bring water to the city from the river in the mountain. You can still see the aqueduct today passing in the middle of the city. The town was freed by the Greek forces later.

It is Sunday morning. We just finished watching the service of Father’s House on the Internet. We loved it! We are far away in the natural but one in the Spirit with the brethren at home. We also feel good touching history, especially Biblical history. Today is a good day! Praise the Lord!

(In the pictures you see my husband and I during our stay in Kavala. I also took some pictures with our lunch, flowers and seagulls there. It is an old beautiful city)

FH 3-1

FH 3-2

Fh 3-3

Fh 3-5

Fh 3-4

FH 3-6

Fh 3-7

FH 3-8

EAT TO THE GLORY OF GOD! 

It is not easy for me to read or talk about food. This is because I like it too much. Most of my adult life I struggled with my weight. Even as a born again Christian, it was very hard for me to have victory in this area. I fasted, prayed and cried to God for help, for deliverance. Then one day the Holy Spirit reminded me of this scripture: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1Cor 10:31). He told me that this is the key to conquer the demon of gluttony, guilt in the area of eating and obesity. He said that God looks at the purpose of the action more than at the action itself. He said that the purpose of my eating was wrong. I was eating because I was hungry, because I liked to eat food, because I like to cook, because I can afford to buy any food I like, because I do not want to waste food or because everybody is eating…. Ok! What is wrong with that? The Holy Spirit said: ‘Everything! This type of eating is like food dedicated to idols. The purpose of my eating must be ‘to the glory of God’. ‘But how do I eat to the glory of God?’ – I asked the Holy Spirit. He said to me: ‘See yourself as God’s creation. You are not your own! You belong to God! Your appetite is given to you by God. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. You need to eat to ‘maintain’ the temple of God. Losing or gaining too much weight, or neglecting your body is not your personal business, but is damaging the property of God’.

I suddenly got the revelation! Since then, I try to remember the real purpose of why I eat food and drink water (or fruit juice): to the glory of God who created me and whose Spirit dwells in me! Praise the Lord!

(in the picture is me, at a restaurant in Athens, Greece, eating what else? Greek salad! It is very good!)

SLL 40

I HONOR MY FATHERS 

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Ex 20:12)

Today we celebrate Father’s Day! It is a good thing to remember our fathers. A father is a man who has children, natural or spiritual. He has a relationship with them. He invests his life in them. He prays for them. Fatherhood is a gift of God. It is not by might or by power that you become a father. It is a grace gift from God. Give Him praise!

Honoring your father and mother is a command. It releases great blessings upon you, upon your descendants and upon the land God is giving you. You cannot be a happy father or landowner if you disrespect, dishonor or ignore your parents. Honoring them breaks the bondage of the fear of untimely death. In your heart, honor your fathers! These men were not perfect. They were sinners saved by grace. If they are dead, think of a little personal detail that you remember, so that you make this day special and holy. God bless you, sons! God bless you, daughters!

Today, it is my desire to honor three fathers. The first one is my dear husband, Pastor Richmond Leigh. He is a wonderful father to our children and their spouses and a great grandfather to our grandchildren. He is also a great man of God, a pastor, a mentor and a spiritual father to many. Pastor and I we are now happily married for 44 years. If Pastor Richmond Leigh has influenced your life for better, please acknowledge that and pray for him! To God alone be all the glory!

The second father I want to honor is my natural father: Prof. Albai Ion. He has gone to heaven about 15 years ago. He was a wonderful father to my younger sister, Adica and I. He was the principal of the school we attended. He was openly proud of his love for our mother and us, his daughters. Each time we went to an exam or an interview, he went with us to encourage us that we can pass it. We grew up feeling protected and loved. He encouraged us to be the best we can be, without any inferiority complex that we are girls and not boys. He was very worried when I told him that I want to marry a man from Africa. I told him that he should meet with the one I love. My husband and himself met and they discussed things about life and future. Immediately he trusted my future husband and ‘adopted’ him as the son he never had. He gave his life to Christ before he died. To God be all the glory!

The third father I want to honor is my father in law, Engr. Fredrick Mene Leigh. He was a wonderful father to his children and even to me. Initially, when his son told him that he married an ‘oyinbo’ girl he too was worried. He was afraid that I will run away from Nigeria and break his son’s heart. With time, he learned to trust me. The last two years of his life he was very sick. I became his personal doctor and pastor. By the grace of God I lead him to Christ and he after he made peace with God. Six months before he died, he called me to ask for forgiveness that he doubted his son’s marriage to me. He said that he does not want to die with the burden of un-forgiveness in his heart. I was very surprised because I did not expect an old man to ask for forgiveness. I knew then that his conversion was genuine. He then told me something very wonderful. He said: ‘Lia, from today, you are not my daughter in law. You are my daughter. Anything you see my children do, do like them. Where they walk, you too feel free to walk…” I was touched. He destroyed my inferiority complex of being a foreigner. Since then I feel at home in Nigeria, both spiritually and emotionally. To God alone be all the glory!

(In the pictures, you see my husband, Pastor Leigh, holding our grandson Oliver; my father, Prof Albai Ion, holding me as a child, and my father in law, Eng. Fredrick Mene Leigh)

Tali and Oli

Tata and I

Papa Leigh