THE BURNING HEARTS

This is a wonderful sermon preached by Pastor Richmond Leigh (my husband):

This Sunday service, Pastor Richmond Leigh preached a sermon called ‘The Burning hearts’. The scripture was taken from the Book of Luke. “And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (Lk 24:32). Pastor Richmond Leigh said that this is a post resurrection story. Two sad disciples of Jesus were walking from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus. One was called Cleopas. The other one was un-named. He stands for all disciples to the end of time, including me and you. They were sad because their Lord died on the Cross. As they were walking and talking, the resurrected Christ came alongside them. But they did not recognize Him. This ‘Stranger’ joined in their discussion. He was the same Jesus they knew in the past. But He was different. The resurrected Christ is different than Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus started preaching to them the Word of God. Then their hearts started burning with fire.

 

Looking at them, we see that the Cross has changed them. They retained some feelings and they lost some. The disciples were sad because Jesus died. But even in their sadness they kept their love for Him. They also kept their faith in Him. Previously, Jesus prayed that, even during trials, they will not lose their faith (Lk 22: 32). God answered that prayer. In this journey of sadness, disappointment and spiritual darkness, they still remained the disciples of Jesus. They continue to love Him. They did not speak unkind words about Him. But you can see that they lost their joy and hope. They lost their confidence that Jesus will fulfill His promises concerning their future. They still believed that Jesus was ‘a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people’. But hope was gone! They thought of Him as a good Man who tried His best but failed. They thought that Jesus failed to achieve His grand plans for the future. That is why they were sad. They lost their hope and their zeal for the Kingdom of God. The fire was burning low in their hearts.

 

These disciples were going down from Jerusalem to Emmaus. When you see people leaving the city to go and ‘settle’ in the village, it is a sign that they lost their fire, passion, zeal, their vision and desire to fight for victory. It is an interesting observation that Emmaus is still a village and Jerusalem is still a big city, even today. This is the situation with many Christians and churches. They used to pray for revival but not anymore. They have lowered their Christianity to a place of low fire and low passion. Many Pastors preach for and about money. They invite comedians and false prophets to tell them what their itching ears want to hear. They have grieved and quenched the Holy Spirit. Many Christians are sad and some have backslid. Many go to church looking for miracles or money. They do not go to church to seek God’s face or to worship Him. They have become bitter about Christianity. They have forsaken their ‘first Love’.

 

How does Christ deal with these sad disciples? By joining in their conversation! Child of God, Jesus will always join into your conversation! The Lord is never far from you! The Lord will always appear! He has never left you! The Lord speaks the Word of God to them until their foolishness and doubts are gone and their hearts fall in love with Him again. Immediately the fire starts to burn in their hearts, they turn around and go from the village back to Jerusalem! That is the sign of revival! The fire in a Christian’s heart can never go out completely. Even during seasons of backsliding, there is always a little flame under the ashes of disappointment and complains. What made the fire in their hearts burn brightly again? The voice of the Shepherd speaking the Word of God to them! Observe that Jesus did not tell them something new, a new prophecy about Himself or a new revelation. No! He spoke to them the Word they knew already! The Word of God! What is the source of revival? The preaching and the hearing of the Word of God combined with prayer done in the power of the Holy Spirit!

 

May your hope of glory be restored! May the joy of the Lord become strength to you! May your hearts be revived again! May your hearts burn again with love, passion and zeal for Jesus! Again! ‘Oh, Lord… set our hearts on fire again! For You!’ Worship the Lord!

Shofar Dr Leigh

SAD SMILES

“Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he tore his clothes; and as he passed by on the wall, the people looked, and there underneath he had sackcloth on his body” (2 Kg 6:30).
The king was dressed with royal clothes but underneath he was dressed with sackcloth. He was mourning in his heart but pretended life goes on as usual. He was troubled in his heart, but outwardly he wanted to show that he is a tough man, still looking like the king! He is like many Christians today who smile and look happy outside, but in their hearts they are troubled and afraid. What is behind this pretense? The evil religious spirits teach many Christians how to deceive others with smiles and sweet words. These people have perfected the skill of having a religious ‘testimony’ when peace and joy is absent. That is a lie!
As a doctor and as a pastor, this is my experience… For example, somebody comes to my office. I ask: ‘How are you?’ Most of them automatically say: ’I am fine!’ Then I ask: ‘Why then do you want to see me? Are you sick?’ Many of them say: ‘I am well. My enemy is sick’. At the beginning I was confused. With time, I had to learn that this is a spiritually coded answer meaning ‘I am sick but I cannot say it…’ The truth is that the person is sick and he (she) needs help. But they are too afraid to speak the truth. They fear that if they agree that they are sick, the sickness with become worse. They choose a sweet lie than a bitter truth. In my experience both as a doctor and a pastor, religious people are very difficult to help. They complicate themselves trying to come out of a trap. Hypocrisy is practiced to their disadvantage. I often have to say: ‘See, I am a doctor. You are in a doctor’s office. Relax and tell me the truth. It is not your enemy who is here. You look sick and you need help. Tell me the truth…’ Even then, confronted with the truth, they still struggle to speak it. They want me to fall into the same trap of deception. I often have to say: ‘My friend, if you are not ready to tell me the truth, you please go home! Leave my office! I cannot help you!’ Seeing that I am serious, he (she) finally submits: ‘Doctor, Ma… I … I…. I am sick. My stomach is upset… I need help… Please help me…’ That is the blessed breaking point when, by the grace of God, I can help. Pride, presence and religion go thru the window. Wisdom finds a place to manifest. Humility shines! The grace of God is experienced by both the doctor (pastor) and the patient. Truth sets free. Truth is healing. Truth begets the hope of freedom! The Hope of glory is greater than all! The true testimony of God’s touch is ready to be born!
As an unbeliever I too practiced false humility. I did not believe in God. I did not use religious words. But I was afraid to open my heart to people for fear of possible wounding. When I was sick I tried to heal myself. The doctor’s office was the last place to go to. When I was troubled by dreams, a pastor was the last person to visit. When I was lonely, I pretended to be ok. I gave the impression that I do not need friends. Truth was fearful to me. But when I got saved, I became a new person. I relaxed in the knowledge that my Savior Jesus Christ loves me. I learn to trust Him and the people He directed me to. I humbled myself! I learned to speak the truth in love and from my heart. I became free. Up till today, if you see me happy outside, it means that I have overflowing joy inside. If my face looks sad, it means that I am burdened for my sin or for another’s. My face and my heart are now like twins. No more pretenses! What a blessed freedom! I trust Christ when I am sad because He knows how I feel. He is ‘the Man of sorrows and acquainted with suffering’ (Is 53:3). I trust Christ in my joys for He is the happiest Man in the whole universe. ‘For the joy set before Him He endured the Cross’ (Heb 12:2). My Lord is my Wonderful Counselor and Friend forever! He never pretends so why should I?
This is my prayer for you: “Be free from hypocrisy and religious pretense! Be yourself! May the Holy Spirit do a deeper work in your hearts and free you to find your identity and destiny in Christ alone!” Glory to God!
Sad-Behind-Smile

THE TESTIMONY OF REV. LEMUEL HAYNES

Lemuel Haynes was a prominent New England Congregational minister, and the first African American in America to receive an honorary college degree. Haynes was born in West Hartford, Connecticut on July 18, 1753. His mother was a Scottish immigrant house servant and his father was an African American slave who lived and served on the plantation of John Haynes. When both his parents abandoned him, Haynes, an unwanted infant, was taken by Deacon David Rose of Granville, Massachusetts. He lived there until his 21st birthday. He spent his days working the farm, and his nights attending the plantation schools. A household Saturday evening custom was to read sermons from the local church, and on one such evening Haynes read a rousing sermon. When Deacon Rose asked who the author was, he acknowledged that it was his own work. From that point Haynes was frequently called upon to write and preach sermons.
 
Upon reaching the age of twenty-one Haynes was freed from his master and he built a stone home in Granville. He became a private in the independence war. After the war, Haynes returned to his farming duties at Granville, Massachusetts while continuing to train in Theology. He studied Latin with the Rev. Daniel Farrand in New Canaan, Connecticut and then Greek with Rev. William Bradford in Bloomfield, Connecticut. In November of 1780, Haynes was licensed to preach and accepted a call at the Congregational Church of Middle Granville, making him the first African American minister of an all-white congregation.
 
In 1785, he became the first ordained African American minister. After a courtship with Elizabeth Babbitt, a white school teacher, the couple married and had ten children. Haynes remained in Granville until 1787, when he accepted a call at the West Parish congregation in Rutland, Vermont where he remained for the next thirty-one years. He became a fiery preacher against the evil of slavery and oppression. His dynamic sermons became famous. He was one of the first African Americans whose work was published in the newspapers. He also received an honorary Master of Arts degree from Middlebury College, only the fourth degree given by the school and the first ever to an African American. He served his final eleven years at the Congregational church in South Granville, New York. Rev. Lemuel Haynes passed away at the age of 80. He was buried at Lee-Oatman Cemetery in South Granville. He had composed his own epitaph, which was included on his gravestone as he had requested. In 1967 his home in South Granville, New York was historically restored and is now a museum: “Here lies the dust of a poor hell-deserving sinner who ventured into eternity trusting wholly on the merits of Christ for salvation. In the full belief of the great doctrines he preached while on earth, he invites his children, and all who read this, to trust their eternal interest in the same foundation”
 
Quotes of Lemuel Haynes: “To despise blacks, to trade in slaves, or to hold slaves was not to acknowledge God; it means to not honor His affections, mind, and will. All men, white of black, were in the image of God. They were made for more noble ends than to be drove to market, like sheep and oxen… It was total reliance on the merits of my Saviour Jesus Christ that supported me. Had I a thousand souls, I would venture them all on Christ alone”
 
Praise the Lord for this testimony! He was a mixed race child. He was abandoned at birth by both his parents. He was raised as a slave and freed at 21. He became born again and preached to all, black or white. He decided to educate himself. He competed with the best preachers at that time. God blessed his efforts and his ministry. His life is reminds us that as a child of God, even if men reject you, God will raise you up. Be encouraged today!
 
(In the pictures bellow (taken from the internet): Reverend Lemuel Haynes, his house now a museum and his tombstone in the cemetery)
Lemuel Haynes
Lemuel Haynes house
Lemuel Haynes tomb

THE SNARE OF FLATTERING IS BROKEN!

“A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet” (PV 29:5)
Flattery is defined as insincere or excessive praise. The difference between flattery and a compliment is the benefactor. Flattery has a selfish motivation. The flatterer hopes to gain approval or advantage over the one being flattered. That is why flattery is dangerous! Flattery is a snare and a bait! Compliments, however, are sincere acknowledgments of admiration spoken to praise someone else. A compliment is intended to benefit the recipient, whereas flattery benefits the flatterer.

The Bible has a lot to say about flattery. The book of Proverbs warns of the “flattering lips of an adulteress” (Proverbs 6:24; 7:5, 21). Flattery is often the first step to an adulterous affair. A wise person learns to recognize it and separate flattery from sincere compliments. Flattery is often coupled with lying, as a flatterer is not concerned with whether or not he or she is being truthful (Psalm 5:9; Romans 16:18).

Unfortunately, flattery can also be used within Christian circles under the guise of encouragement. Since biblical times, some false teachers have used flattery to lead people astray and to benefit themselves. Paul reminds the church that the apostles had never resorted to flattery in spreading the gospel: “You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed.” (1Thess 2:5). Scripture warns of false teachers who use flattery to introduce heresies intended to deceive Christ’s followers and line their own pockets (2 Pet 2:3; Rom 16:18; Dan 11:32).

Some teachers use flattery as a means to increase personal followings. Leaders desiring to attract a crowd sometimes water down their message until the gospel is reduced to little more than a God-tainted self-improvement program. They pepper their talks with cheerful verses and illustrations designed to make their hearers feel better about themselves (and about the teachers). There is much talk about discovering one’s potential and developing personal greatness. This is nothing more than flattery intended to create popularity for the speaker and his message. It sells books and media time, but it often bears little resemblance to the message Jesus proclaimed! Listen to what you listen!

Jesus’ message did nothing to inflate the self-importance of His hearers. Rather, He stressed the need to die to ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him. He said that those who desire to keep their lives now will lose them and that, if we love anyone more than Him, we are not worthy of Him (Matt 10:37–39; Lk 9:23; 17:33). These teachings are the opposite of flattery. Jesus never shied away from stating what someone needed to hear because His motivation was always to do His Father’s will (Jn 8:29). Jesus spoke the truth whether it was popular or not. He refused to compromise the Word, even when great multitudes left Him (Jn 6:66). He spoke in love, but He never resorted to flattery for personal gain. As His followers, we should be careful to do likewise!

Prayer: “Dear Holy Spirit please have mercy on me and protect me from the attacks of the evil spirit of flattery. Open my eyes to see the danger and expose the wicked spirit of flattery. Help me to be delivered from every inferiority complex, from foolishness, from every desire to flatter or to be flattered! Deliver me from every weakness of flesh that desires flattery or manipulation. I reject the flattery spirit! Go in Jesus’ name! By the grace of God, I shall flatter no one. I shall refuse flattery! I am free from the snare of flattery! Abba Father, help me to encourage others with the strength of the Holy Spirit. Help me to be satisfied in You alone! I freely declare that You, Lord Jesus, are all I need, now and forever! Help me to only speak the truth in love! Help me to speak like You, Jesus! Help me to be like You, Jesus! This is my prayer this morning! Thank You Father God! In Jesus’ name I prayed, amen!”

break-free

ARE YOU A SHEPHERD OR A HIRELING?

This is a wonderful prophetic sermon preached today by my husband, Pastor Richmond Leigh. Read and be blessed!

This Sunday Pastor Richmond Leigh preached from the Book of John a sermon titled ‘Are you a Shepherd or a hireling?’ This is the Word of God: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own” (Jn 10:1-5; 11-14). Jesus our Lord is the good Shepherd. He has an eternal love relationship with His sheep. The children of God are His sheep. We are the flock of Christ! The religious unbelievers are symbolized as goats. No goat can become a sheep and no sheep can be transformed into a goat. A sheep is a sheep from the beginning of the world and the goat is a goat to the end.  A goat does not need a shepherd. But a sheep without a shepherd will die.

 

The hireling is a man or a woman who only works for money. He takes care of the sheep for some time. But he does not care about the sheep.  When he sees the wolf coming he abandons the sheep and runs away. The hireling does not have the sensitivity of the shepherd. He does not love the sheep. He only loves himself and his money.  He has no love relationship with the sheep. He is not the owner of the sheep. He sees the flock as a foreign body, as a stranger. The spiritual hireling is a definite personality. You need the discernment of the Holy Spirit to recognize him. From afar he looks like a shepherd. He may look even more spiritual than the pastor. But a hireling can never become a shepherd. The love of money is the motive why he works in the field.

 

In the Bible, there is a story about two women who each had a baby (1 Kg 3:16-28). One baby died. The woman whose baby died wanted to take the other baby who was alive. They argued who is the mother of the living baby. They went before King Solomon, so that he can judge the case. With divine wisdom he said that they should cut the baby into two. The pretending mother said yes. This is the voice of the hireling. She has no feelings for the baby. He wants to baby dead. But the real mother said: ‘No! Do not kill the baby. Give her the baby!’ Solomon said that this is the real mother because she has feelings for her baby. She does not want her baby to die. Even if she will lose him, it is better than a dead baby. The real mother is the voice of the good Shepherd! She loves and cares for her sheep!

 

How can you identify a hireling? The truth is that it is very hard to know who is a shepherd and who is a spiritual hireling! Only time will tell. The main difference between the true shepherd and the hireling is not visible! It is in the heart! It concerns the motivation of doing ministry. The difference is internal, spiritual and invisible. That is why it is hard to detect a true pastor from a spiritual hireling. Both dress the same. They speak almost the same. But the true shepherd is genuinely humble. He does not struggle to prove himself. His motive for being a shepherd is to take care, protect and feed the sheep. Our Lord commanded Peter three times: ‘Feed My sheep! Take care of My lambs!’ (Jn 21:15-19). The true pastor obeys these commands for the glory of His Lord! But the hireling is different. His motive for doing ministry is for his own benefit. He worships God for money. He preaches the Word of God for money. He does not care about the sheep or the glory of his Lord. He does not feed the sheep.  He fleeces them. He is not ready to suffer when taking care of the sheep. If there is a little trouble, of if he thinks that the sheep do not benefit him anymore, he runs and abandons the flock. He has no shame. He does not fear God. The spiritual hireling is interested only in money and fame. He is gathering followers.

 

This is a very serious matter. These men come as spiritual leaders in the churches but they are not born again. They are selfish and greedy. They are very good at soliciting funds from church people. They are dangerous because they deceive the Christians in the name of ministry. A pastor, a spiritual leader, an apostle, a prophet, a Bible teacher, a husband or a father can be either a true shepherd or a hireling. This is a sad reality. Pray for discernment! The Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see the truth that will set you free! Our Lord warned us: ‘By their fruits you shall know them’ (Mt 7:20). Finally, this is the question: Are you a shepherd or a hireling? Are you a sheep or a goat? Do you love money more than God? Do you give glory to God or to yourself? Test yourself! Worship the Lord!

(In the picture, my husband, Pastor Richmond Leigh)

 

RSL 7

BUT HE REFUSED

 

“But he refused…” (Gen 39:8)

The Saturday evening prayer meeting was very good. The hunger for the presence of the Holy Spirit was satisfied by Him. No one else can do it. Empty religion promises much but will always disappoint! Only The Holy Spirit can quench the longing of our hearts! The King of kings was in our midst receiving the evening sacrifice of willing hearts. “Lord, prepare me to be Your sanctuary pure and holy, tried and true… With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living, sanctuary for You!” This was our longing, song and prayer. God knows when hearts are united in a holy supplication. He never ignores the desperate prayer of His children. We worshipped at His feet… Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!!!!!!!

 

Then the Word came. We are in a prophetic season called ‘Shalom’. This is one of the most important words in Hebrew language. It means more than peace. It means a combination of health and wealth, favor and friends; peace and prosperity. We’ve already tasted from the blessings of Shalom. For some time we have been studying the life of Joseph, who is a type of Christ, the Prince of Peace. We read Genesis 39. We studied the secret of Joseph, how he overcame sexual temptation. His secret was the presence of God the Holy Spirit. Four times in this chapter we are told that ‘the Lord was with Joseph’. This is how he conquered the lustful liar! Lesson: if the Lord is with you, you shall overcome all trials and temptations! No man or devil can destroy your life, destiny or testimony! Warning: a Christian can grieve the Holy Spirit thru disobedience. In that case the protective fence of the Spirit is broken; the Christian becomes vulnerable because the devil has access to his mind. The devil is not original. Many servants of God, men and women, have lost their ministry and peace of mind because of falling into sin. The sexual sins and the love of money are top of the list. You cannot fight these sins in your strength. Filled with the Holy Spirit you can resist the devil and he will flee from you. In Christ, victory is not only possible but expected. To the glory of God!

 

One of the easiest ways to fight sexual sins is to obey six commands based on the Word of God. I found this ‘formula’ in a book written by John Piper. It has been very useful to me since then. I tried it and it works. It is to remember the word ‘Anthem’. ANTHEM!!!! Each letter is connected to a command.   Simply said, what do you do when tempted sexually?

 

A — Avoid! (Avoid sin and any person who you know is sexually impure. Like Joseph did, run for your life! Your legs will not fail you in your pursuit of passionate purity!)

N — No! (Say No to any proposal to commit fornication! Say it courageously, strongly and quickly! Say it within 5 seconds!)

T — Turn! (Turn your eyes away from sinful pictures and look unto Jesus! See Christ crucified! See the price He paid to set you free!)

H — Hold! (Hold on in your mind the picture of Christ crucified for you until the dirty image is gone and replaced with the wonder of His love!)

E — Enjoy! (Enjoy God and His Word! Enjoy the fellowship of the believers! Enjoy spiritual things, the greater pleasures of the blood-bought promises of God!)

M — Move on! (Move away from mistakes to a meaningful Christ-exalting activity. Work for God in the church. Any ministry is useful and holy if it is done for Christ’ sake. It is better to wash the floors in the sanctuary than to watch pornography on the internet!).

We ended the prayer meeting with grateful hearts for a good time in His presence!

‘Thank You Lord Jesus!”

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