MY CONVERSION TESTIMONY

My name is Silvia Lia Leigh. I was born in Romania more than sixty years ago. At that time Romania was a communist country. Religion was forbidden. We were thought in school that God does not exist; that religion is for the poor illiterate people. I believed that! I grew up in a loving family of four. My parents were teachers in the school which I attended with my younger sister; Adica. My father was also the principal of the school. My parents thought us by example to be kind, respectful, humble and hard working. We did not believe in God and did not attend church.

 
In 1973 I got admission into the Medical School in Timisoara. In my first year I met my husband Richmond, a Nigerian. We were class mates. We fell in love and against all odds we got married. After graduation, in 1980, we moved to Nigeria. We became very successful as medical practitioners. We started a private hospital in Warri Nigeria called “Lily Clinic”. We were very happy. We had three children. We had money and fame. What else could one possibly want? Nothing! Or so I thought…
In 1986 I had a crisis conversion. I met the Lord Jesus Christ. This was purely the grace of God in action because we did not attend any church. This is how it happened…. Before coming to Nigeria I did not see a Bible. In January of the same year, I became very depressed. I saw nothing good in my achievements. I even lost my desire to live. This was very strange because I was always an optimistic person. The mysterious depression started after ‘accidentally’ I read a scripture on a pamphlet: “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). I did not know who Jeremiah was. The scripture was not explained. But after I read it once, I just could not forget it. It seems like the words got stamped in my mind. I tried to forget it but I could not. After reading it I started thinking of God. I fought the thought but I failed. It was like He was calling me. I panicked… I have never prayed in my life. Can I start now? A voice said: ‘It is too late for you. Don’t pray!’ Another voice said the opposite: ‘It is never too late to pray. God loves you!’ These voices made me crazy. What voice I am supposed to believe?
 
Finally, I made my choice. For the very first time in my life, I prayed. It was 14th of March 1986. I said: “God, if You exist, then come down from heaven and change my heart. I am tired of doubting You. I am tired of fighting you. But please God, I can’t wait forever for the answer to this prayer. I give You ‘a month’s notice’ to come down from heaven and change my heart. If You come, I promise to be Your friend forever. If You chose not to come, then let me die in peace. In Jesus name I pray, amen!” I did not know the meaning of the name ‘Jesus’ but I heard people pray like that so I guessed it was the appropriate end to a prayer. Immediately I knew that something ‘good’ had happened to me. Not certain of what, I felt a sense of destiny coming down enveloping my soul.
On the 12th of April, 28 days after this ‘a month’s notice’ prayer, the Holy Spirit came and filled my hungry heart. Like an invisible blood transfusion, I felt LIFE entering my veins. I was alone in the sitting room when this event happened. It was much later that I knew it was called ‘the baptism of the Holy Spirit’. I became a child of God, never to be the same again. I started reading the Bible like a mad woman. This hunger for the Word for God and for prayer continues without interruptions until now. After some time, my husband became saved also. We sold our private clinic and together, we are now in full time ministry. We are the founders and the senior pastors of Father’s House Bible Church in Warri, Nigeria. To God alone be all the glory!
 
May this testimony ignite in you the desire to be truly saved or to experience revival! In Jesus name, amen!
 
Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh
SLL 67

ACCORDING TO 

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19)

Many years ago someone pointed out to me that this verse does not say that God will bless us ‘out of’ His riches of glory in Christ Jesus. It says that He will bless us ‘according to’ the riches of His glory in Christ. This is the meaning of the words ‘according to’: as stated, reported, or recorded by (someone or something); in a way that is based on (something); In proportion or relation to something! The words ‘in proportion’ mean this: According to a particular relationship in size, amount, or degree; In the correct or appropriate relation to the size, shape, or position of other things!

In other words, God will bless us in proportion to the riches of His glory and grace. Can you measure those riches? Heaven knows no lack! There is no unemployment in heaven! All angels and saints over there worship God ‘day and night’. They eat from Tree of Life and drink from the River of Life. In the presence of God there is total freedom and unspeakable joy! Your imagination is too small to dream about God’s riches of His glory!

In other words, God will answer your prayers in a way that will embarrass you. Grace is like a holy ‘tsunami’! God will provide for you in a way fit for a King! He will bestow His goodness upon you and meet all (not some) of your needs (present and future) in a way that will shock you! Jehovah Jireh is the God of more than enough! Do not limit God by your doubts, fears and your ‘poverty mentality’! God knows His job! Trust God! Take the good risk to trust God! Men may mock you for your faith in an invisible Almighty Caring God! But He will never allow you to be put to shame for your trust in Him! The more your enemies laugh at you, the more God will bless you! His overflow of grace and supply is your holy vindication! Child of God, give your Father a chance! This is the Word of God and not of man: God “will meet ALL your needs ACCORDING to the riches of his GLORY IN CHRIST JESUS!!! Shout Hallelujah!

Joy

MORE LESSONS FOR A HAPPY MARRIAGE

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Eph 5:22)
More on the difficult matter of submission… As a pastor, I counsel many wives who have problems with submitting to their husbands. Some become foolish and ‘over-submit’. Others become rebellious and they ‘under-submit’. Remember this: Christianity is the best wisdom of life! Christianity is the most balanced holy life! Christianity is the most joyful life! Christianity is the most successful life there is! Never forget that!
The scripture above is not a suggestion. It is God’s command! All God’s commands are meant to be obeyed; for His glory and for our own good. The command looks simple but it is not simplistic. It is true that there are not many practical details given on how a wife should submit to her husband. But don’t forget! Verse 22 in chapter 5 is part of the whole letter to the Ephesians. Read it, from beginning to the end. You include this verse in the rest of the letter. The wife must be born again and Spirit filled to be able to submit to her husband ‘as unto the Lord’. This is the most important thing!
Let me be more practical… For example, the letter says that bitterness grieves the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30, 31). It means that a bitter wife grieves (makes sad) the Holy Spirit, who is her only true Helper. Therefore, she becomes a spiritually helpless wife. She becomes weak, depressed, lonely and confused. Even if she wants to do it, she will not be able to properly submit to her husband. Because she is bitter and angry she will be provoked by his words and actions, even if they are nice and loving. The grief of the Holy Spirit will manifest as a blanket of suffocating sadness over a once happy home… Jesus!!! This is a very serious matter. This is a dying marriage. It is an emergency!!!
Dear wife, you need to repent of bitterness and re-dedicate your life to Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to forgive you for grieving Him. He is a Person. He is not ‘a church thing’, an influence or some religious chemistry. Think of Him as a Person who sees you, who loves you and wants to help you. He is your best Friend! Most of all, He is God! He is the God who witnessed your marriage vows! He is the God who hates divorce! He is the God that loves you more than any man (including your husband) will ever love you. Don’t waste time! Repent! ‘Settle’ with the Holy Spirit before you are able settle with your husband! Like my husband preaches: ‘First things must come first!” Oya! Do it! Pray!
OUR TESTIMONY
As you know, my husband and I are married for 44 years. We made many mistakes but learn from them. Let me be more practical to explain submission… This is the Word of God: Wives submit to your own husbands and children obey your own parents! These commands look similar but are not the same! For example: my husband tells me that for this week we have ten thousand Naira to spend on food (for us and for unexpected visitors). He does not tell me the type of food to cook. He gives me the freedom to use that money the way I think is best. He gives me the liberty to buy what I want knowing the food we both like to eat (he generally prefers Nigerian and I still prefer ‘oyibo’ food). I do not have to write my menu on the wall every day. I do not have to tell him that the pepper is now 50 Naira and not 20. Once we agree on a budget, I use my discretion to spend the money as I think is best for the two of us. In the kitchen, I am in charge! It is my ministry! What is important is that we eat good food every day and we are happy with each other. If there is any ‘change’ left from ‘the chop money’ I can spend it how I like. I do not have to tell him that I used 100 naira from the change to buy ‘powder’ for myself. I am not his daughter. I am not his cook or a house servant. I am not a hireling! I am his wife!!! For me, submission is this freedom to be myself within my husband’s boundaries and principles of a happy home. But the child’s obedience is not so. He does not have the same freedom. For example: If I give my daughter 50 naira to buy biscuits she is to tell me how much she has spent and she should give me back all the change. That is how we’ve trained our children. They need to be accountable to us, the parents! Once they became adults it was easy for them to function as married people and parents to their own children. You can ask them… They will testify!
(By the way, this is my testimony: my husband trusts me in all areas, including finances. This trust was not easy to gain. It was not automatic. It is the result of many years of studying each another, of passing many tests. My husband’s trust in the matter of my behavior as his wife, my words, my preaching the right doctrine, in ministry and financial decisions is one of my greatest achievements in life! To God be all the glory!)
Finally, as most of you know, we come from very different backgrounds. We see things differently. We have different strategies of solving problems. That is ok. We are not twins. We do not have to foolishly imitate one another. Each one of us must be who God called us to be. But as a wife I need to know both my husband’s weaknesses and his strengths; his pains and his joys. It is my responsibility! I need to understand what type of wife he wants me to be. I need to pay the price and change to become his ‘dream wife’. I need to yield and accept his idea of ‘a perfect marriage’. This is not easy… I made many mistakes… But I continue to press on… I may not become all that he dreams of me in this life time, but I can try… I am willing to try… In fact, I am trying… He sees that I am trying… For it is my responsibility to contribute to our mutual happiness. I am not a liability to him! I am a blessing to him! It is my honor to help him fulfill his destiny as a man of God, as a husband, father and grandfather. What a privilege! As a wife, I need to know his mind and my boundaries of submission. I need to accept them and submit to them. Then I am free. Sorry, I wanted to say that we both are free!!! Freedom means the power to be happy! We are indeed happy together… Glory to God! May these words help, challenge and encourage you today for with God, all things are possible!
RSL and SLL 5
(In the picture, my husband and I, happy together, in front of the golden statue of King David, during a trip to Jerusalem, some years ago. We both love King David!)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 

Today, in the U.S. people celebrate ‘Thanksgiving day’. I have so many reasons to rejoice… This is just one testimony: Six years ago today, our youngest daughter Jemine Leigh Oakes got married to her wonderful husband Matthew Oakes, here in our house in Warri, Nigeria. This is a picture of their traditional marriage called ‘temoshi’. Jesus!!!!! “I go de hail… day be day… all the way”
To God alone be all the glory!

M and J 3

WORD PLANTED IN THE WATERED GARDEN

“The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail” (Is 58:11)
 
My sister, Jehovah God is with you. He is personally interested in you. He has been guiding you to a good place, a fruitful and beautiful garden of life. It is a place or rest, singing, joy and satisfaction. Led by God, you have left the sad, barren past and you have moved on to this new place, designed and prepared by Him. The location where you live, the city where you stay may be like a desert. But the visible dry land environment has no power to cut short your blessings. You will bloom in the desert! People will be surprised and will give glory to God for the good work God will manifest in you. You shall have ‘enough’ blessings in all area of your life. You will not desire more because you shall have more than enough. Do you want more children? Yes? Then they will come to complete the number you desire. They will come until you say: It is enough for me! Do you want more material blessings? These will ‘appear’ too at your doorstep. The Lord will give you freedom, daily appetite and joy of life. You will not be tired, depressed or frustrated with your life, because it is designed by God especially for you. God will strengthen you to be a soldier for Christ. You shall improve your skills in doing spiritual warfare. Your territory of influence will be enlarged. You will win and disciple more souls! You will be amazed at the new strength and wisdom you shall have by doing great exploits. You shall only move forward. Never backsliding! No enemy can conquer you. This is because there is a fence of the Holy Ghost’ fire around you and your family. Your husband is a blessing to you as a man, husband and friend. He will not betray you. Your marriage will succeed and become very fruitful! Your testimony as a woman of God, wife and mother is sure! To the glory of God! In Jesus name, amen!

NOTHING DO US!

“This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps 118:24)
 
There are so many reasons to be sad in this world. Just listen to the news and you will weep… The whole world is in pain. In the past, we associate suffering and pain with poverty. But now, even the wealthy are not exempted. So why will I rejoice? Why will I chose rejoicing over sadness? Is that not crazy? I tell you why…
 
I rejoice because I am a child of God; a citizen of the Kingdom of God made of ‘righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost’! I rejoice because my name is written in the Lamb’s book of life! I rejoice because God’s mercy to me endures forever! I rejoice because even when I was in distress, alone and in pain, God answered my prayers! I rejoice because when my enemies surrounded me like the bees, God shielded me and neutralized their stinging poison! I rejoice because when my enemies rejected me and my words, God received me, loved me and listen to my prayers! I rejoice because God has prepared a feast for me in the midst of my enemies! I rejoice because my cup overflows and my head is anointed with the oil of joy above my fellows! In spite of the plans of the haters, stingers, pushers, slanderers and all, God is with me and His mercy towards me and my family endures forever! I rejoice with my Lord Jesus Christ ‘who for the joy ahead endured the cross scoring its shame’! I rejoice because Jesus overcame the world and shared His triumphant joy with me!
 
I rejoice because today is the day God has made for me! God is eternal and does not need ‘days’ to count for Himself. But He is the ‘Ancient of days’! He has prepared, provided and appointed this particular day for me, to remember Him in the morning, to praise Him in the afternoon and to worship Him in the evening! I shall live every moment in His presence where there is fullness of joy! I have no reason to grumble or to be sad. My joy makes me to spin around and dance! I was glad when they said unto me: let us go to the house of the Lord! I arise and shine for my light has come! The glory of the Lord is risen upon me! The Joy of the Lord is my strength! God is in control of my life! Yes, today is good to remember all these blessings! My future is better than my past and my present! Therefore, I must rejoice!
 
My dear children, I want you to know that your mother is happy, blessed and highly favored! This is my testimony! My boast is in the Lord! Listen! The voice of rejoicing and salvation is heard in the tents of the righteous, even in my house! The right hand of the Lord is exalted! The victory is sure! As for me and my family, we shall worship and serve the Lord forever! This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercies endure forever!
 
(In the picture, my husband and I, rejoicing… ‘Nothing do us!’ – Nigerian slang meaning that we have no problem and all is well with we)
R and L 2

MY TESTIMONY IS ON THE ROCK

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” (Lk 6:46-49)
 
Many desire to experience miracles of healing or prosperity. I too desire those great blessings. But I know that God is sovereign in the way He blesses people. I know that God is good and faithful to His promises. This morning, I ask myself: as a ‘simple person’, what can I do to experience the supernatural power of God? How can I ‘facilitate’ a miracle? What is the part I must play in my relationship with God? The answer is this: I must dig deeper and draw closer to God! I must remove the religious junk and get to the reality of Christ!
 
Our Lord tells a story about two men. One is foolish and the other one is wise. Each one loves the good things of life. Each one built a house for himself. Both houses look good from the outside. Each one enjoyed his house for a time. But when the storms of life came, one house stood strong and the other fell down and was destroyed. Why? Wisdom means to apply in practice the knowledge that you already have. For example, you know some scriptures. Now obey what you know! This is wisdom and everlasting success! What is the secret of the wise man? He is a true believer obedient to the Word of God! The foolish man was a false believer, a hypocrite. He called Jesus ‘Lord. Lord’ meaning ‘Master, Master” but he did not obey the words of his master.
 
This is the first lesson: Christianity is not just words, even if they are good religious words. Christianly means willing, active faith and obedience to the Word of God! Faith and obedience are twins. A true child of God OBEYS his Lord’s commands! The clear proof of salvation is an obedient generous spirit! To obey it means to comply, to follow the commands, restrictions and wishes of your master. It means to submit to his authority. Obedience is action and not just words.
 
The secret of the wise man is that he went to ‘dig deep’ until he touched the Rock. That is the place he anchored the foundation of his house. Foundation is always very important! That Rock is Christ! He is ‘The Rock that is higher than I’. He is ‘The Rock of Ages, Cleft for me’. Once the invisible foundation is secure, no outside storm can destroy the house. To ‘dig deep’ it means to penetrate down the earth, to advance by pushing aside or removing the soil. It means to go down, to be profound in thinking and to have deep faith. This wise man is not shallow or superficial. He is not interested only in the visible things. He is not a pleaser of men. He wants a deep humble genuine walk with God. He wants to be established in his faith. He wants to have a strong testimony and character. He is not just saved, but he has the assurance of his salvation. This treasure is never found lying on the ground for men to pick it up. There is a price to pay! It is found inside the holy mountains of incense where the gold of His majesty is hidden. You need to be ‘a spiritual miner’ to become prosperous, sure and secure in your faith. Then your life becomes spiritually fruitful. These mysteries are found one by one, as you study the Word, fast, pray and doing ministry in the church. Simple question: when last have you fasted just to have a deeper revelation of the Word of God?
 
This is my attitude to spiritual things: I want to be a wise builder of my home and ministry! I search for the gold of revelation deeper than what is easily available for me. I take the ‘hard’ road. I dig deep. I do not search for things. I search for an encounter with a Person. I search for Christ! Like a woman pushing during labor, I do not stop until ‘virtue goes out of me’. Rivers of living water must leave my belly! Thru the power of the Holy Spirit I work to kill the desires of my flesh. I hate fear, doubt, confusion and empty religion. These are my enemies. I know them well for they live ‘under my skin’. I know the power and the seduction of an easy lazy flesh life! Every day, I carry that selfish desire to the Cross and I kill it! No mercy for the devil! When it comes to sin, I am a hunter and a killer! For as long as these voices of fleshly desires still whisper to me, they are not dead. So the battle goes on.
 
This is the truth: from the bottom of my heart I want to obey God. I want to make my Lord happy. He knows my heart! To please God, this is not just my work. It is my passion! Of course, it is hard labor and the flesh hates it. But the Holy Spirit loves it and He encourages me. I want my life to be an inspiration, beautified with miracles and testimonies. I want my life to remind you of Jesus! So, I remain focused on the Lord and work hard. I do not do it to impress people. I do it to help them!!! They need encouragement to grow and to be fruitful spiritually! In these days of ‘famine of the hearing of the Word of God’ I promised God that I will pay the price to give people true hope! I am a hope giver! The price for this work is high: loneliness, battle with discouragement and persecution. But the reward is so much greater than any of my labors. Anyway, I am willing to pay the price for true Christianity. That settles the matter! I love Jesus Christ my Lord!
 
My prayer today: “Dear Abba Father, please strengthen my body, soul and spirit! Please touch my heart, my mind and my will! Encourage me so that I can encourage others! Help me to remain focused and fruitful! I give You all the glory! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen!”
SLL13