FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF APOSTLE PAUL (6)- BEREA

‘As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, some of them went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. The believers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea. Those who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible’ (Ac 17:10-15)

My husband and I continued to follow in the footsteps of the great Apostle Paul. Today we went to the city of Berea in Greece. Over here it is called Veria or Veroia. We took a local bus and after one hour journey, we arrived at Berea. We went to the site called ‘The Altar of Apostle Paul’. The Christians here have made a special place to remember Apostle Paul. There is a beautiful bronze statue of the Apostle welcoming you. Both my husband and I greeted our spiritual father and mentor. There are three original marble steps taken from a 1st century synagogue where it is believed that Paul preached. There are also two beautiful mosaics there. The one of the left depicts Paul’s vision when a man from Macedonia (present Greece) begged the Apostle to come and preach to the people here. The second, on the right, shows the Apostle Paul preaching in Berea. We took some pictures there.

We trecked from there to an ancient synagogue believed to be the place where Paul preached. We continued walking down the streets of Berea and visited two other ancient churches. We took pictures in all these places. My husband and I held hands and prayed thanking God for the privilege to visit these places that hold so much spiritual value for us the Christians.

Just as we read in the Bible, the people of Berea were more noble and more spiritual than the people in Thessaloniki. It proved to be so even now, after 2000 years since Dr. Luke wrote the Book of Acts. It is amazing how the Word of God is so true! In Berea, two women in particular showed us great respect, kindness and help. They behaved like we are thier family! They could not speak English very well but they went out of their way to teach us the importance of this place, they walked with us along the road to help us find these ancient places. They gave us maps of Berea and cold bottled water free of charge!!!! I do not know their names but and God knows them and will reward them.

Berea is a middle size city, very clean, very nice and with very friendly people. It is about 2500 years old!!! Life is quiet and slow here. There are flowers in front of each shop. In Nigeria where we live people are restless to become rich ‘overnight’. Coming here, seeing these old places, we are reminded that a good life may be simpler than we have imagined in our teenager’s dreams. Peace is more important than money and spirituality is more important than success.

Today is a good day. Thank God for the favor, health, resources and strength He had given us to complete this journey. As Paul left Berea to go to Athens, we too will go home to Nigeria! Dear readers, brethren and friends, may God bless you all! With love from Greece, Tali and Malia!

(In the pictures you see my husband and I at the ‘altar of the Apostle Paul’ in Berea; in front of a first century old synagogue where it is believed that Paul preached, in front and inside a first century church and flowers on the very clean streets of Berea, Greece)

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I LOVE NIGERIA 

“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God: “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country” (Deut 28:1-3)

My husband and I we are missionary pastors in Warri-Effurun (south of) Nigeria. This great country has many social and economical problems. It is easy to complain. But one thing I love about the people here: they love to go to church, to be involved, to volunteer to serve God in any capacity. The Nigerian Christians love to sing and dance unto the Lord! Even if you are old, you feel young again. The parents bring their children regularly to church. Another thing I love here is that The Holy Spirit loves the people of God in Nigeria. In each service, the Holy Spirit comes like a rain of grace and glory. The people are healed and delivered just by praising God.

As a foreigner, I have many challenges with the issues of security and all. I have decided to obey God’s voice and Word to the best of my strength. Faith and obedience has led me to the place where blessings ‘overtake’ me. No matter how many challenges I encounter, when I see what the Holy Spirit does among the people here, His love and patience with Nigerians, I forget all our problems and I worship God. And for me, this is life!

Tali and I 16

I AM FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (Ac 2:4)
I always thought of myself to be a strong person, creative, intelligent and optimistic. Thank God that the Holy Spirit humbled me so that he can blessed me. I became born again thru a crisis conversion. I was very happy! For some time I experienced what you call ‘the honey moon’ of Christianity. I thought thatI have arrived on top of the mountain of the world. I thought that I am stronger than the strongest. I thought that I can preach like Billy Graham and sing like Cece Winans… I became proud in my salvation. I did not understand the way of the Cross. Then the painful road of coming down the mountain of holy success started…

I started feeling my weaknesses… After I became saved, I became concerned that I do not have enough power to be like Jesus. I was weak in my spirit, in my mind, memory, imagination, feelings and will. I was weak in prayer and fasting. I struggled with the Word of God. It is true that I was much better than my neighbors and friends (or so I thought)… I had more zeal to serve God than them… But when I compared myself with Jesus, I was still falling short of His glory.. I cried to God for help… Then He told me that I have to be filled to overflow with the Holy Spirit… I wanted that but I was slow to ‘fulfill the conditions’ for such a power blessing. It took me many years before I could rest my soul in God’s embrace, at peace with His will and ways for me.

Then it happened…It is called the baptism of the Holy Spirit… I cannot describe that holy moment…I was at the backyard of our former house, seated on a small chair…nothing special in the surroundings… suddenly, I felt like rain falling inside my lungs, in my heart… I felt light and good and happy… I never drank alcohol in my life but I felt like drunk.. I felt free… depression peeled off me like an old rag… anxiety melted like butter in the hot pan…I was afraid to move so that I will not ‘disturb’ this rain of glory… nothing changed outside but my inside was flooded with light, peace and joy… If I died there, I did not mind at all… Power and clarity of vision came inside me…The assurance of my salvation was stamped on my soul… From that moment on, I was truly a new creation… not just saved, but saved to tell the story!

Since then, my ‘work’ is to maintain the filling given to me from above… since then I freely give to others, not from my ‘deposit’ but only from the Spirit overflow, from the excess-more-than- enough grace given to me, a nobody made royalty, hidden from the world but known to God… what else can I say than: ‘Lord Jesus, I am Yours and You are mine… From now and forever, I worship You!’

SLL19

FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF APOSTLE PAUL (5)- THESSALONIKI

‘After Paul and his friends had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they went on to Thessalonica. A Jewish meeting place was in that city. So as usual, Paul went there to worship, and on three Sabbaths he spoke to the people. He used the Scriptures to show them that the Messiah had to suffer, but that he would rise from death. Paul also told them that Jesus is the Messiah he was preaching about. Some of them believed what Paul had said, and they became followers with Paul and Silas. Some Gentiles and many important women also believed the message’ (Ac 27:1-4)

My husband and I continued to walk in the footsteps of Apostle Paul. We left Neapolis (Kavala) and are now in Thessalonki. This is the second largest city in Greece, after Athens. It was founded in 300 BC and named after the sister of Alexander the Great. It was an important Roman trading post and an early centre of Christianity. Apostle Paul himself preached here. He was persecuted because of his message. Some of the citizens believed the Word, among them some women of high social status (again, as a woman of God, I feel proud and happy). The Jews living here caused trouble to Paul’s host, Brother Jason. They forced him to drive Paul away accusing him to be a traitor to Caesar. From here, Paul went to the city of Berea.

The believers left behind became very strong. They spread the Word to the whole region of Macedonia. They suffered persecution but they remained faithful (1 Thess 2:14). Later, Paul sent his spiritual son Timothy to encourage them. He gave Paul a very good report about the believers here in Thessalonki. Later, Paul writes two letters to them (1st and 2nd Thessalonians), encouraging them in the faith. Paul’s stay here was short and painful but not a failure.

What is the lesson? A little ministry cannot be destroyed by a great persecution. A little love cannot be drawn by the flood of hatred and envy! The anointing of the Holy Spirit cannot be neutralized by empty religion! Jesus is Lord! Let’s continue to plant the seeds of the Word any place in this world and leave the rest to God. Another great and useful lesson is that we cannot do it all! Some plant the seed, some water it and others reap the harvest. In ministry you cannot be selfish, proud or impatient. Often, things seem unfair. That can be painful! But for as long as your spiritual labor is done to the glory of God, all is well! God rewards His servants! Praise the Lord!

This morning, we took an open roof bus and went round the city. It was very interesting. Most of the city was burnt in a major fire in 1917. Only few ancient buildings were preserved. The city was later rebuild and it is now very nice. There are many markets, shops and restaurants. We saw very few police men. You feel free… The city has many students in the university. The people are friendly and helpful to foreigners. That is good! The general feel is that of an old city with a youthful zeal. Like a man who had suffered a lot, almost died, but survived to tell the story. The journey continues…

In the pictures you see some of the Roman ruins and ancient churches we saw in Thesssloniki. My husband took me a picture on the roof of our hotel as we were eating breakfast. This is from me to you, greetings from Thessalonki… Let me add this … The best cake and ice cream we have ever eating is here… The temptation is great… Vacation is an excuse for me to eat this very good cake!!! But later, I had to ‘manage’ a Greek chicken salad to ‘balance’ the calories… Smile with me…Lastly, the trash cans in the hotel where we stay are transparent… I have to be careful… Let the trash be ‘clean’ a little if not it is seen by everybody… Smile again…

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I HAVE AN UNFAILING FAITH 

“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Lk 22:32)

Yesterday we had a wonderful Holy Communion Service in the church. I read The Book of Luke Chapter 22 to refresh my memory concerning this holy event. The Lord told the disciples to prepare the place so that they will eat the Passover meal. They obeyed not knowing that this is the last time they will eat together. Jesus said that He really wanted to have fellowship with them ‘before I suffer’. Judas has already agreed to betray his Master for religious money. Jesus institutes what we now call ‘The Holy Communion’. He tells them to do it ‘in memory of Me’. I tried to imagine the place and the feelings of our Lord during this ‘good-bye-send-off’ meal. He knew that He will die soon. He also knew that His disciples do not yet understand the gravity of the moment. The atmosphere was tense. Jesus says: ‘I give you my Body… I give you My Blood…’

These are eternal heaven soaked anointed words. They define the perfect love free of all fears. These words should provoke men to worship Jesus! When a man gives you his life, the only acceptable response is to give your life back to him. By laying down His life for His friends, Jesus proves that He is Man and He is God. And God is love. But men do not understand the passion, the pain and the price of Love. The disciples started quarreling among themselves who is the least and who is the greatest among them. Can you imagine that? The Lord was talking about His kingdom, saying that they will seat with Him on thrones, that they will be Kings and Priests with Him. But the disciples quarrel about ordinary things… things that money can buy… earthly things…fading profits… It is like a King telling his son that he will one day be a king ruling from his throne… but the son goes to the servants’ quarters and quarrels with them about the next ‘contract’… who will supply bread to the royal home… How sad…

Here you see the great distance between the way the Spirit thinks and the flesh thinks. Jesus is clearly lonely during that last supper with His friends. Loneliness is a price to pay if you want to be like Jesus and especially if you want to be a pastor. But these lonely moments are holy pregnant with glory moments, when you draw closer to the Lord more than ever before. Nobody likes to be lonely. We all want a group of friends, admirers and followers to be around us. But there are times when God will isolate you from family and friends, so that you can experience His pain, understand His grace and see His glory.

These times of loneliness are times of temptation too. The devil will come and try to flatter you. In these last days I see that the devil has ‘fallen in love’ with the Church. Jesus warns Peter saying: “behold, Satan hath desired to have you” (Lk 22: 31; KJ). Satan wants to have you! To control your mind, emotions and will! This is his plan! Be careful, you who like to complain saying: ‘Nobody loves me… I am lonely…’ Satan, the Accuser, may supply ‘love’ to you… but the price for this fake love is your destiny and your soul. So I say: “Backslider, come back home! Run to Jesus! Run to the Cross! God loves you! Jesus loves you! The Holy Spirit loves you!’

The Lord says: “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” We recognize what Jesus sad done on the Cross two thousand years ago. We also acknowledge and honor His present ministry as our High Priest in heaven, the Author, Finisher and Sustainer of our faith. Your faith in God is supernatural! If not, you could have gone back to sin and to the world! Tell me the truth: how many times you got tired of Christianity and wanted to backslide. But you could not do it! Why? Because Jesus Christ is praying for you right now, that your faith should not fail and should not quench! Give Him glory! Now that your faith is established, now that you are strong in the faith, strengthen the weak Christians as they walk with Jesus!

As for me, this is my testimony, my story and my song: Jesus Christ is My Savior and My Lord!!! Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so! His love is enough for me!!! Because of Jesus Christ, I declare that I am a child of God and my faith in Him is unfailing! Thank You Lord for Your Blood, for Your Body and for Your Spirit! It is well with my soul… Glory!

HC 1

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I HAVE AN UNFAILING FAITH

“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Lk 22:32)
Yesterday we had a wonderful Holy Communion Service in the church. I read The Book of Luke Chapter 22 to refresh my memory concerning this holy event. The Lord told the disciples to prepare the place so that they will eat the Passover meal. They obeyed not knowing that this is the last time they will eat together. Jesus said that He really wanted to have fellowship with them ‘before I suffer’. Judas has already agreed to betray his Master for religious money. Jesus institutes what we now call ‘The Holy Communion’. He tells them to do it ‘in memory of Me’. I tried to imagine the place and the feelings of our Lord during this ‘good-bye-send-off’ meal. He knew that He will die soon. He also knew that His disciples do not yet understand the gravity of the moment. The atmosphere was tense. Jesus says: ‘I give you my Body… I give you My Blood…’
These are eternal heaven soaked anointed words. They define the perfect love free of all fears. These words should provoke men to worship Jesus! When a man gives you his life, the only acceptable response is to give your life back to him. By laying down His life for His friends, Jesus proves that He is Man and He is God. And God is love. But men do not understand the passion, the pain and the price of Love. The disciples started quarreling among themselves who is the least and who is the greatest among them. Can you imagine that? The Lord was talking about His kingdom, saying that they will seat with Him on thrones, that they will be Kings and Priests with Him. But the disciples quarrel about ordinary things… things that money can buy… earthly things…fading profits… It is like a King telling his son that he will one day be a king ruling from his throne… but the son goes to the servants’ quarters and quarrels with them about the next ‘contract’… who will supply bread to the royal home… How sad…
Here you see the great distance between the way the Spirit thinks and the flesh thinks. Jesus is clearly lonely during that last supper with His friends. Loneliness is a price to pay if you want to be like Jesus and especially if you want to be a pastor. But these lonely moments are holy pregnant with glory moments, when you draw closer to the Lord more than ever before. Nobody likes to be lonely. We all want a group of friends, admirers and followers to be around us. But there are times when God will isolate you from family and friends, so that you can experience His pain, understand His grace and see His glory.
These times of loneliness are times of temptation too. The devil will come and try to flatter you. In these last days I see that the devil has ‘fallen in love’ with the Church. Jesus warns Peter saying: “behold, Satan hath desired to have you” (Lk 22: 31; KJ). Satan wants to have you! To control your mind, emotions and will! This is his plan! Be careful, you who like to complain saying: ‘Nobody loves me… I am lonely…’ Satan, the Accuser, may supply ‘love’ to you… but the price for this fake love is your destiny and your soul. So I say: “Backslider, come back home! Run to Jesus! Run to the Cross! God loves you! Jesus loves you! The Holy Spirit loves you!’
The Lord says: “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” We recognize what Jesus sad done on the Cross two thousand years ago. We also acknowledge and honor His present ministry as our High Priest in heaven, the Author, Finisher and Sustainer of our faith. Your faith in God is supernatural! If not, you could have gone back to sin and to the world! Tell me the truth: how many times you got tired of Christianity and wanted to backslide. But you could not do it! Why? Because Jesus Christ is praying for you right now, that your faith should not fail and should not quench! Give Him glory! Now that your faith is established, now that you are strong in the faith, strengthen the weak Christians as they walk with Jesus!
As for me, this is my testimony, my story and my song: Jesus Christ is My Savior and My Lord!!! Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so! His love is enough for me!!! Because of Jesus Christ, I declare that I am a child of God and my faith in Him is unfailing! Thank You Lord for Your Blood, for Your Body and for Your Spirit! It is well with my soul… Glory!
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I SEE THE LORD

 

“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ – Says the Lord of hosts. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone. With shouts of “Grace, Grace” to it! Moreover the word of the Lord came to me saying: The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech 4:6-10)

 

This evening the prophetic prayer meeting was very good. In the natural, there were obstacles. Let me explain… This is the season of football (The Word Cup). Many people are tempted to stay at home to watch the games. Also, today we experienced a very heavy rain. For many brethren it was hard to come outside and find a keke or a taxi. Few of us gathered to pray. As we started praying, the electrical power (NEPA) went off. Some brethren put on their phones to provide light. We were in 90% darkness for about 30 minutes, until the generator was finally on. Having all these things against us, we encouraged ourselves by the Holy Spirit! We reminded ourselves that God is with us and for us. Things change. Circumstances change. People change. Seasons change. But God never changes! We stabilized our spirits holding unto the anchor fixed behind the veil. In the spiritual realm, today was declared to be ‘the day of small things’! Can anything good come from Nazareth? But God is faithful! The day of little things surprises and blessed the people who refuse to despise it!

 

Brother U shared a wonderful testimony. His two years old son called Shalom was very sick but God healed him today, on his birthday. For about two weeks he could not breathe well. When the doctors said that he needed surgery his faith almost failed him. He said that he has experienced firsthand the wickedness of death. He knows the sound of digging a fresh grave. In the past he has buried a brother and a sister. The devil was tempting him that his little boy will be the next one to die. He resisted the devil’s lies! Together with his wife they held on the promises of God and prayed. Today was Shalom’s birthday. By faith, this morning, they went out to buy a cake, toys and food to celebrate his life and healing. Before they left the little boy was still breathing hard. By the time they came they found him sleeping peacefully and totally healed! Hallelujah!

 

The Holy Spirit said: “I will finish the good thing I started in your life. Fear not! You shall not be ashamed. You shall not be disappointed. You shall praise God and praise God! Take your dancing shoes and dance! Sing a new song! The benefits released at the Cross are your inheritance, your portion. Receive peace and joy! Be healed! Be delivered! Be fruitful! Let prosperity manifest! Your enemies rejoiced at your weakness, at your stumbling… They shall be disappointed. Be strong with supernatural strength! Pursue, overtake and recover ALL!!! Not half, not in part! But ALL that the enemy has stolen. Take it back! There shall be a restoration testimony! There is a turning of the tables! Your future is surely better and much brighter than your past! See your future… Like rivers in the wilderness, so the life power of My Spirit shall overflow into your lives…Joy…Joy…Joy!!! Like the eagle, catch the holy current of My wind and glide… no struggles… just easy and easy…your life will be much easier… glide into glory! Arise and Shine for thy light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you…upon you…I release a finishing touch on you… It is a finishing touch on you!”

 

“I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it…” (Philip 1:6; AMP)

 

Give thanks for your lives, for your spouses, for your children, for your church, for your pastors! God does not borrow you. God gives and gives again… grace and more grace.  He who has laid the grace foundation shall place glory roof with shouts of ‘God bless you’! Grace has multiplied on your behalf! Favor has increased! Joy is fruitful”

 

“I see the Lord… I see the Lord… Exalted high above the nations, of the people of the earth…I see the Lord…”

Joy