SISTER, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

PRAYER REQUEST
“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Ps 139:14)
 
A beautiful daughter in Christ, a godly wife and mother wrote this message. She is beautiful inside out. She is in her late thirties. She is a worshiper in her church. She is hard working and very kind. I know her and her parents. I remember that as a teenager she was always self conscious because of her pimples. Her husband is born again, a kind hard working man. He loves her very much. I was a little surprised when she sent me this note. Dear brethren, please pray for this sister. Encourage her with words from your heart (she will read your comments). Words have power. Prayers move mountains! God bless you all!
 
I use her story as a pint of contact to encourage all other young women and men, children of God, who feel that they are not beautiful (handsome) enough!)
“Dear Malia, Lately I’ve felt not very pretty. I feel like my skin is the first thing I see. So today I was washing my hands in the bathroom and thought, look at your eyes… over the years, I’ve trained myself to look at my skin, the bumps, the imperfections… but I don’t often look at my eyes, my lips, my eyebrows… they look like my children, and I think they are the most beautiful people in the world… so I must change my own perspective of my natural beauty. I never take or post pictures of myself because I think who wants to see bumps… but there are other things to my face and also, those bumps are a part of my story. Malia, thank you for your encouragement!”
Black shy girl
 
(The picture is taken from the internet. It is not this sister. I thought that it is helpful to have a picture to imagine her)

TESTIMONY OF GOD’S PROVISION -THE BEGINNING OF FATHER’S HOUSE BIBLE CHURCH

My husband and I are pastors in Nigeria. This is the story of how we built our present sanctuary. I took the first picture exactly ten years ago. We started a church in our former hospital (Lily Clinic). But the space became too small. We tried to do two services on Sundays but everybody was against it. Even the children said that they cannot go home at 10 am. That we must worship God ‘full time’. We prayed about building a house for God. My husband and I thought that we are too old for such a major project. But as usual, God prevailed! We were led by the Holy Spirit to buy this piece of land along Effurun Sapele Road. During the raining season the land was always flooded with water. Everybody thought that there is a subterranean spring of water. That is why nobody bought it. The Holy Spirit said to us: ‘This is the place where I want you to build a sanctuary for my name!’ We bought the land and we build the house of God.
The journey from beginning to the end was truly miraculous. We did not take any loan from the banks. We did not manipulate the congregation to bring money. We did not have a building committee. Nobody died and nobody was seriously injured. The church’ people volunteered their time and resources. Pastor Richmond Leigh, my husband, was the ‘spiritual engineer’ at the site. He was there every day, rain or shine, until the work was done. Many people come to admire the beautiful building and the sanctuary. They ask us: ‘Why did you build this fine church in Effurun/Warri? You should have build it in Lekki or Abuja… This church is too good for Warri!’ Our answer to all is that we did not chose the place, the time or the design. It was God who told us what to do! To us, this is another proof that God’s ways and our ways are not the same. To God alone be all the glory for Father’s House Bible Church Effurun/ Warri! Jesus is Lord!!!
If you are a witness to this testimony share your feelings and the lessons you have learned along the way. And don’t forget to give God all the glory! For He alone is worthy!
 
(I took both pictures from the same spot. This first one is in 2009 and the second one in 2014, when the building was almost completed and we were doing the parking lot). Only God could have done this!!)
FH 2009
FH 2014

SURROUNDED WITH SONGS

“You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah” (Ps 32: 7)
Three days ago I woke up without my voice. I was not sick but I could only speak in whispers. On Friday we had the Women’ Fellowship in our church. I was too much ‘on fire’ to keep quiet. I used the little voice I had to preach and to pray. I shouted in whispers!!!! The Holy Spirit compensated my weakness with His mighty anointing. I am sure 100% that testimonies of miracles will follow. Yesterday, we had our prophetic prayer meeting. My voice was better. I could ‘manage’ to preach and pray. The Holy Spirit was faithful and gave us the ‘push’ to make progress.
 
Today, Sunday morning, I woke up with my voice still not strong enough. I am a pastor. I needed to worship the Lord and to exhort the brethren. I prepared a good word. But as I stood up on the altar, microphone in hand…waiting… a little worried about how will I speak… They were many visitors and strangers. They may complain that this ‘oyibo’ cannot talk well… I waited… Suddenly, the Holy Spirit encouraged me. He told me that today, there is no need to preach to the people. I should worship Him alone!
 
So I lifted my heart and eyes to heaven and I worshiped God. In a hall full of people, I sang to my Lord alone. I saw no one. I heard no one. Only Jesus! Only Jesus! I forgot about people’s opinions or my ‘cracked’ voice. I went straight into the Holy place and gave God my best. Men may complain… but God always encourages me. He never rejects my heart’s broken pieces, my limping dance or my out of tune voice. I was desperate for a fresh touch from my Lover. I got more than a touch. I got an embrace and a lifting of my head. The Holy Spirit accepted my sacrifice of praise! The voice was so-so. But the heart was right. God looks at the heart! How wonderful!
 
People did not know how much I struggled this morning. Thru the labor of love, a testimony of grace was born. God’s fire surrounded me. His grace covered me. His Spirit filled me. The fire was so much that I grabbed one of our daughters in the choir and we sang together a song of deliverance. There was an impartation. This was church for me this morning!
 
“My very heart bows in adoration, Lord…”
SLL 95

BOASTING: CHRIST’S POWER RESTED ON US! 

TESTIMONY

For reasons beyond our control, we could not hold our women’ fellowship for two months. We were all eager to meet again to pray. The Holy Spirit gave me the ‘push’ and the word for the Women in our church. Yesterday we were to have the fellowship. I was ready to confront the evil spirit of Jezebel (also known as the Queen of heaven, Mammy water or Ogbanje). I was also ready to lead the prayer session. This was so that all the sisters who will come to church may be inspired to follow the lead and pray deliverance for themselves and their families. A leader must lead! The only problem was that yesterday I woke up without my voice. I could only speak in whispers. That made me even more angry with the devil!

The Holy Spirit gave me a word from Jeremiah 44. The people of God refused to listen to the Prophet Jeremiah. The women were leading in the stubborn rebellion. They decided to ‘relocate’ to Egypt. God has told Jeremiah that His people shall be sent to Babylon, to live in exile for 70 years. This will be so that they will become humble. But God promised to be with them throughout the journey, to Babylon and back. There shall be grace in this loving chastisement. But some of the people of God, led by some women, decided to go to Egypt where God did not send them. Over there, they publicly declared that since they stopped serving the Queen of Heaven and decided to serve only Jehovah, their lives have become worse. They are now poor, sick and depressed. Based on what their eyes see, they decided not only to go back to Egypt to live there, but they shall go back to serve the Queen of Heaven. They decided to backslide so that they lives will be better. This is complete nonsense! The women were leading in this foolishness and their ‘mumu’ husbands agreed with them. Of course, God was angry and told them so thru the prophet Jeremiah. They rejected God, His prophet and His words. God said that His people who were sent to Babylon shall be brought back. But the Jews who went Egypt by themselves, shall all perish there. Like we say in Nigeria: ‘If God no sent you, you are on your own. Anything you see, you take am’. It is true that both Babylon and Egypt and worldly countries. But there is a difference!

What is the lesson for us? If God sends you to a difficult place, His grace and presence will be with you there. The process is to humble you so that the same God will bless you at last. But if you decide to ‘punish yourself’, to a false humility, without the presence of God, no place can be a paradise on earth. It is the presence of God that marks the child of God and not the location! For example: many Nigerians I know who live in Warri tell me that their dream is to live in New York. But without the presence of God, New York will be hell for them. But when God is with you, even Warri becomes the Garden of Eden (I am a witness to this!).

This was the word God gave me to share with the women. There was fire on my bones. The only problem was that I could only speak in whispers. Jemine, my daughter asked me ‘Malia, how can you preach without a voice?’ I told her that ‘even if I have to preach with my nose, I will still go there to encourage the women to fight for their souls and families’. After we praised GOD and shared testimonies, it was my time to stand and talk. I took the microphone and I started talking in a whisper. But the more I talked, the more the anointing increased. In my weakness, God proved Himself strong on my behalf. After some minutes, my voice got stronger. The prayer session was so powerful!!! The Holy Spirit helped all of us to stand, pray, prophesy and reject this demon. Like we say in Warri ‘pidgin English’, ‘mammy water shocked in’. I Christ, we are free! We have the victory! I expect great testimonies of healing, deliverance and breakthroughs at all levels. To God be all the glory! ”

This morning I woke up happy and strong. And guess what? My voice is back! “Jesusssss….”

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2Cor 12:8-10)

Ngozi Chiemeke

THE EVIL SPIRIT OF GAMBLING 

“Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit! Be smart enough to stop! ” (PV 23:4)

To be quickly rich without any labor, this is the dream of all sinners. That is the foundation of gambling.
Gambling – definition: To play a game for money or property; to bet, to take a chance, to risk on an uncertain outcome; to expose yourself to danger and to proceed in the face of it.

The attraction of gambling is love for entertainment and the love of money. Both are very addictive strongholds of satan. The victims are people who are lazy, covetous, foolish and ambitious in the same time. That combination is deadly. Gambling is a scheme to escape labor, but in reality, gambling is an evil spirit that kills and destroys.

In the U S gambling is an industry of billions of dollars. The lottery is the favorite legal gambling. Gambling is the fastest growing addiction in the world. 1/7 teenagers and 1/10 adults that gamble will end up as addicted to it. Gambling wrecks homes and marriages. The business is wicked and it attracts all type of men but especially the poor who believe in the get rich quick schemes. The poor neighborhoods have the highest number of location for gambling and lottery. These are sold in poor grocery stores to attract the people who buy food. Many times a poor man has gone home to his family without food and just with a lottery slip and the promise of millions. ‘The American Dream’ is intimately connected with the evil spirit of gambling.
The casinos machines are built in such a way that 80-90% of the winning numbers go to the patron. The chance to win there is minimal but the attraction to make money without work is very high. Even the few that win, statistics say that they will lose all their money in maximum two years and they are back to gamble again, ready to sell even their soul to satan.

If you study the Word of God and His ways you can deduce that gambling is a sin and it is to be rejected as a practice to make money. Gambling violates God’s law because of the following:

1-The foundation and the attraction of it is the love of money, which is evil.‘Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income’ (Ecc 5:10)

2-Gambling encourages laziness and covetousness in the same time. The Bible says that we should work and be good stewards of the income we make. We are to tithe to God, then use the remaining to take care of the family. Any surplus we are to invest it as seed in the work of God or to save for emergencies in the future. ‘Lazy hands make a man poor but diligent hands bring wealth’ (PV 10:4); ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife…’ (Ex 20:17)

3-Gambling may be entertaining but it is very addictive. All addictions are sins because they master the person who becomes a slave to them. ‘A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him’ (2Pet 2:19)

4-Gambling gives false hope to people and builds false imaginations. God is to be our only hope. Our future is joyful because God, in Christ, will change our sorrow into glory. Any other hope of riches and fame outside Christ is false and criminal. ‘The hopes of the wicked come to nothing…when a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; all he expected from his power come to nothing’ (PV 10:28; 11:7); ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 15:13)

5-Gambling does not give glory to God but to the ‘luck or fortune’ of men. There are things in this world that may not be bad in themselves, but they are not beneficial to the kingdom of God and to our testimony as believers. ‘Everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial…but I will not be mastered by anything…but not everything is constructive’ (1Cor 6:12; 10:23)
That means that gambling does no good to me or to others. Its hope of success is a deception that will only destroy my life and my family. It is the entertainment of the devil and it is to be rejected, in Jesus’ name!

6-Man was created in the image of God. But gambling makes a man to be a fool ‘Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay is the man who gains riches by unjust means. When his life is gone, they will desert him and in the end he proves to be a fool’ (Jer 17:11); God is angry with them that believe in the idol of fortune or gambling. This is because it makes the people deaf to God’s voice and stubborn to His leading. Gambling is the backslider’s god and the fantasy of the rebellious (Is 65:11,12)

Let’s pray: ‘Dear Lord Jesus, I pray that you expose this wicked, seducing, evil spirit of gambling so that we can hate it enough to separate from it totally. We ask for forgiveness for any desire to be lazy, to cheat or to covet, and desire wealth in the same time. Let Your light shine on our understanding! In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!’

Portrait of a professional poker player sitting at pokers table