GET WISDOM!

“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom!
And in all your getting, get understanding” (PV 4:7)

Dear sister in Christ, for you to be happy in this world, you need God! You need wisdom. You need spiritual, mental and emotional balance. Your priorities must be in this order:
1st place: Your relationship with God! (Jesus Christ must be first in your life always)
2nd place: Your relationship with yourself (learn to know and love yourself. If you do not know yourself, you will a liability to others)!
3rd place: Your relationship with your husband (your office as a godly wife)!
4th place: Your relationship with your children (your office as a godly mother)!
5th place: Your relationship with your job, profession (your office as a Christian worker, business woman)
6th Place: Your relationship with others (friends, brethren in church, extended family etc)

If you put too much time in your carrier, for example, to the extent that your marriage or children suffer, that is not good. Or, if you give too much attention to your children, and you husband is neglected (which means is dis-honored) that is not good. If you love your husband more than you love yourself to the extent that you become foolish, that is not good. If you love yourself, husband, children, job or others more than God, that is called idolatry, It is a sin! You must repent and change! It is not enough to ‘try’ to do everything, to work hard from morning till night! You must respect the order of priorities. This is called wisdom. This is the Word of God!

Dear sister, Pray to have wisdom. It is not a natural gift. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit, a work of grace! Money cannot buy it! Men cannot give it to you! Grace is only from God! As an older woman, as a wife and mother, as a pastor and a doctor, this is my advice: Success is not based on your bank account! Success means to fulfill your God given destiny! Your destiny is to be a woman of God! No matter how difficult life is, never forget that! May your life shine with the glory of God! I wish you well!

PRAYER REQUEST FOR A HEALING MIRACLE

A faithful Christian sister we know well has been praying for many years for the fruit of the womb. Happily, she got pregnant four months ago. Today, she sent me the scan to look at. The baby is strong but his (her) heart beats outside the body. This is a very rare congenital malformation called ‘ectopia cordis’. In the natural, even with the most sophisticated medical technology, with specialized surgery, the prognosis is not good. Most babies that have this problem do not live long. I encouraged her in the Lord! I reminded her that in times like these, when doctors cannot help and men lose hope, her trust should be in God alone. Jesus healed the blind, the lepers and the crippled. Jesus raised the dead! He is our God and healer! There is no sickness and no problem that is bigger than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Some doctors suggested that she should do abortion. But she is a Christian woman and cannot abort this precious baby. If God wants to take the baby to heaven, let Him do it Himself, and not her. Her only hope is in God.
Dear Intercessors, please bring this Christian sister and the baby in her womb before God in prayer! Pray for mercy and a miracle of healing. God bless you all as you join us in prayer! What is impossible with men, is always possible with God. May God Almighty glorify Himself in this situation. We vow to give God alone all the glory! In Jesus’ name!

“Oh, Lord GOD! You have made the heavens and earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You!” (Jer 32:17)
“But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Mt 19:26)

 

ONE WEEK LATER… Less than a week, the story changed! Praise the Lord! I just received her testimony. I told her to look for a second (even a third opinion). There is no need to weep. But there was need to pray. Another doctor did another scan and they discovered that everything was normal. “The heart was beating inside the baby’s chest’. We are grateful for all the prayers! The joy of the parents and all who witnessed this story cannot be described in words. God bless you for your prayer and encouragement! To God be all the glory!

LOVE IS BEAUTIFUL

“How beautiful you are! How lovely, O LOVE, with your delights!” (SS 7:6)
Life is so wonderful to me… These days I pray to remember good and useful memories from my sin-to-grace past. At the time when these events happened, I did not see much value in them. But now, from the perspective of mature victory, I see them as pearls of great price picked from the ocean of God’s love. I am talking about things I had experienced as a woman of God, wife, mother and recently, grandmother. Some of these memories were painful. At that time I prayed that I will forget them. But God has healed my heart. Now, because I had removed the sting of the bee and I am enjoying the honey left behind. I am now praying to remember them… How time changes our desires and perspectives…
About 1998-1999, my husband and I were living in Houston, Tx. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit called us to duty. He said that we should leave the children behind and go back under a missionary anointing. We were to start a church called Father’s House, in Warri-Effurun, Nigeria. That was a hard word for both of us. It was especially difficult for me, because it meant leaving our children behind, alone, in a difficult place called America. The hardest was the leave our youngest daughter Jemine who was just 16 at the time. She already got admission and scholarship in the University of Houston and she wanted to stay there. Before going to the US we worked as medical doctors and my husband was also a successful national politician. Both of us, we did not go to Bible School. By faith alone, we obeyed God’s Word and we started this church. We were surprised at the success of the ministry. To God alone be all the glory!
Thank God for the people who invented the phone and the internet. God bless them! Our elder daughter Alina was shuttling between America and Nigeria. But Jemine was there alone. Thank God that she kept in touch all these years. Even up till today, we still talk on the phone about things, daily events, big or small. We pray. We dream. I rebuke. We encourage each other. All these things thru the phone!!!
One serious problem I had in particular was that Jemine was changing into an ‘American girl’. Trying to belong to a foreign system, she started doing like they do. I was worried that what she considered ‘normal’ over there, for me was called ‘backsliding’. For example, the idea of dating a boy, to me it was worldly. Of course, ‘living together’, better called fornication, was not acceptable. Almost nothing she would say to me was right in this area of ‘American romance’. For me, the worst of all was the Valentine day and Halloween day. I used to tell Jemine to run away from boys; to be careful with boys; to remember that she is there alone and boys will deceive her… I spent a lot of money on phone cards telling Jemine to run away from ‘fake love’. Thank God that even when she was angry at me, she could not keep the anger for too long. She will eventually see the wisdom of a mother’s words and come back ‘to her senses’. Her father and I prayed daily for our children. I was personally worried that she will be trapped in a ‘self-pity poisonous circle’ of terrible loneliness. Especially on Valentine Day, she will cry on the phone: “Malia… I am so lonely… Nobody wants to invite me out… Nobody sent me even half a rose… Nobody loves me here… If I will continue like this, I will never marry…. Malia…pray for me…” It is not easy to hear your child cry. I will pray in the Spirit and try to find words of wisdom and love, to help her go on. She will say: “Malia, you have taught me to drive men away. You said I should say No No No to all men who are not serious. Ok! I am very good at that. Now, they have all left me alone. Nobody greets me anymore. When will I marry? I am getting old… When will I say Yes?” Me too I did not know when… She was a born again Christian, a worship leader, well educated, having a good job, beautiful and all… But no husband … GOD!!!!!!… Many times I told her: “Jemine, your dad and I, we are in this with you, together. Your pain is our pain. Your prayer is our prayer. Just trust God!”
Then about 5 years ago her dad and I we went to visit her in the US. We were relaxing in the sitting room when Jemine said that a young man who plays the keyboard in her church wants to ‘take her out’. This was scary for me… ‘Take out????” This ‘outing’ was a first after so many years of staying home alone. It just coincided with our annual visit. I did not know if it was God or the devil… But trust God to perfect the good things He started! My husband and I felt like we are on the threshold of a miracle. I was in the kitchen, cooking Nigerian stew (Jemine’s favorite) when the young man came in. He shyly said: ‘Good evening Sir! Good evening Mam! My name is Matthew. Can I take Jemine out, to see a movie? We shall come back in time…” Tali said: ‘Of course…’ but I saw that he was ‘eyeing’ the young man from head to toe. Tali and Matthew and another Nigerian visitor sat down waiting for Jemine to get ready. They were discussing recent events. I observed that Matthew (a white boy) was behaving like a good ‘Nigerian Yoruba boy’. He was the youngest among the three men there. He did not speak too much. He waited for his ‘turn’. He addressed both Tali and the other man with ‘Sir’. When Tali stood up to take something, he stood up too. He did not insist on his opinions (like the young Americans do). He did not raise his voice. Wow… Turning the stew on the stove, I was thinking: ‘This boy has good ‘home training’. Thank God for his parents…I was impressed… But, can this be Jemine’s prince we have been praying for? Is this the special man who will kill Jemine’s loneliness? She said so many: ‘No No No’ to other men. Can this be the ‘Yes’ man?” Will this young man change her Valentine? This is how the mind of a mother works…. I hope you understand…
They went to a movie and came back that evening. I could not rest. I was waiting for the ‘report’. Jemine knew that I will still be in the kitchen, waiting…. I decided to cook Nigerian beans too. Just to waste the time… When Jemine came she was overwhelmed. She told me that they went to the movies and when another man was talking ‘nonsense’ to her he stood up to protect her. Then they went to eat dinner and he insisted that he will pay for both of them. She was impressed because at that time, he was still a student in the university but she was already working. He said that his mother ‘will kill him’ if she hears that he invited a girl out and waited for the girl to pay the bill (even if she has more money). Jemine said that Matthew opened the door of the car for her to enter. She said that since she has been living in America, no young man has even done that. It was only the old men who do that ‘nice thing’- she said. It has never happened to her. She was totally impressed. The look on her face reminded me of the time when I met her dad, many years ago… Because I experienced true falling in love, I could smell the perfume of it… After so many ‘No No No’, we are finally entering the blessed ‘yes’ hour! God has answered our prayer. Six months later, Matthew and his beautiful family came to Warri and Jemine became his wife. And they live happily ever after… This is a true story! My family’s story!
Jemine may remember this event in a more romantic way. She may have forgotten the beans and stew she ate that night. She may add some sweet details I have forgotten. But one thing is clear! It is a story of true love! Be encouraged! God loves His children and He answers their prayers, more than they will ever imagine! Dear young people, both boys and girls, please take this mother’s advice: there are many No-s in life abut only one Yes! Wait for the yes! The journey may be long and lonely. But trust God to the end! Serve God before you can serve men! You too will one day be grateful for the pain becoming a fruitful testimony. Glory to God!
(In the pictures, Matthew and Jemine Oakes at their Nigerian traditional (Itsekri) and church wedding day, in Warri, Nigeria, 2012)

M and J 2

M and J 3

M and J 4

POWER FROM ON HIGH

During the Sunday service, Pastor Richmond Leigh, my husband, continued preaching on the theme ‘Power from on high’. His main text was taken from the Book of Revelation: “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen” (Rev 1:17, 18; NKJ). He said that as a church, we are entering a new season, into a higher level of anointing. We need to be Baptized and Filled with the Holy Spirit. Nobody knows all the functions of the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. The major work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ! He reveals Him to us; opens our eyes to His Majesty so that we can worship Him. The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth and helps us believe and understand the Word of God.

Pastor Richmond Leigh said that it is possible to be born again and not be baptized with the Holy Spirit. It is true that no one can be saved without the work of the Holy Spirit in his soul (Rom 8:9). One of the symbols of The Holy Spirit is the water. The effect of the water is that it wets you or it quenches your thirst. There are degrees of these effects. For example, the rain is drizzling outside. A man goes in the rain. After some time, he will get wet. But if the rain is torrential, he will get wet faster. If a man drinks a cup of water, he will be filled (gets wet) in the inside. But if a man is dipped into the ocean, he will become ‘wet’ instantly both outside and inside. He will be overwhelmed by the water. All these illustrations show degrees of ‘wetness’ from the same water.

In Greek, the Word ‘baptism’ means to submerge, to immerse or to overwhelm. (It is a pity that in many churches, they have lost the true meaning of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They call it a ceremony by which the Christian becomes an official member of the church). The true Baptism of the Holy Spirit is when a child of God is suddenly ‘immersed in the ocean of the Holy Spirit’ by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit and fire! It is a unique, specific and powerful experience! The baptism with the Holy Spirit is always a definite experience, something clear and unmistakable. It is recognized by the person to whom it happens and to others who look at him. Regeneration is something unconscious, the secret work of the Holy Spirit in the spirit of man. It is non-experiential. Nobody knows exactly the moment when he became born again. It takes time to discover the fruits of the Holy Spirit ‘growing’ in your spirit. But the Baptism with the Holy Spirit is different. It is conscious, experiential, definite and clear. It will literarily ‘shake’ you! Once you experience this baptism you can describe the experience with your own words. Your life will never be the same again. You shall receive ‘power from on high’! You shall receive boldness to preach the Word of God, to witness for Jesus! You receive an unshakable assurance that you are saved forever! This is the command of God: “Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph 5:17, 18; NKJ).

The manifestations of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit are identical in character but vary in degrees of expression. Some people are more passionate than others. It is not wise to compare two people who each has been baptized with the Holy Spirit. The Baptism and the gifts of the Holy Spirit can create a wonderful energy, a passion, a holy zeal and ‘a fire’ in the church. This is called revival. We should pray for it. We should desire it. But we should be careful that the fire will not do damage to the name of God as we manifest the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The other extreme is to act in fear and to quench the move of the Holy Spirit. That is also wrong. We need godly wisdom to welcome the Holy Spirit, to host Him in our services and to allow Him to move freely in our midst.

What are the signs, the marks and the manifestation of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit? Basically, there are two types of experiences: Subjective and Objective. The objective signs are what others see about you as you are baptized with the Holy Spirit. The subjective signs are what you experience inwardly when no one can see, as you are baptized with the Holy Spirit. Apostle Paul describes the objectives signs in 1 Corinthians 14. The believers were manifesting different gifts at the same time. These were all genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit, but Paul was concerned about the disorderly manner of the assembly. He reminded them that God is a God of order and even if they are baptized with the Holy Spirit there should be holy order in the fellowship.

The subjective manifestation is what the believer says about his personal experience. When a child of God is baptized with the Holy Spirit the first inevitable sign to him is a sense of the glory of God, an unusual sense of the presence of God. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit makes real to him the things he has previously believed by faith. Things difficult to explain, the mystery of the union with Christ, heavenly things, these become so real to him. It is an immediate awareness of the glory of God. Generally, we walk by faith and not by sight. But at the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, the spiritual sight becomes so clear in an immediate way. Suddenly, doubt vanishes, and faith becomes very strong. The assurance of salvation is established, and none can shake it. It is almost impossible to describe these things with words. If you have experienced them, you will know them. If you have not experienced them, you cannot understand them. If a Christian grieves the Holy Spirit and backslides, he will lose some of his spiritual sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and his faith will become weaker. He will still believe that he is a Christian, but he will not as confident as in the past in his witness to others. These glorious things he once delighted in become pale in his mind. His salvation remains but his faith and joy decrease.

The subjective manifestations are not described in the Bible. Peter and the other disciples did not describe how they felt at Pentecost. The reason is that each person has his own words to describe the holy experience. Not two are the same. As Believers we walk by faith and not by sight. This is true! But the experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is above and beyond faith. The following are some examples of what can be described as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit: Moses was in awe of God as He encounter Him amid the burning bush. “Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God” (Ex 3:6). Isaiah also thought that he will die as he had a glimpse of the glory of God. He cried out: “Woe is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips! For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts” (Is 6:5). In the first five chapters, Isaiah felt confident to rebuke the backslidden nation. But now, after seeing God on the throne, I found himself undone and he discovered that he too needs to repent before such a holy God.

Apostle Paul was journeying on the Road to Damascus when suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting… So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do (Ac 9:3-6). John the Beloved fell like dead at the feet of the resurrected and glorified Christ (Rev 1:17). As you can see, each believer experiences a sense of awe of the presence of God hard to describe in words. But one thing is clear, his life is never the same again. He now has a new unshakable and bold confidence concerning the assurance of his salvation. It is like he went to heaven and back. The experience is so real! He can now effectively witness for Jesus no matter the opposition!

This is another way to describe the Baptism with the Holy Spirit: The love of God is ‘shed abroad in our hearts’. This experience is more powerful than generally knowing that God loves you. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that gives the believer supernatural peace, joy, hope, boldness and patience thru tribulations. The child of God loses any form of shame or timidity concerning the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ and Him Crucified (Rom 5:1-5). After the Baptism of the Holy Spirit we have the assurance of the love of God which is also the assurance of our salvation. It is this assurance that gives rise to witnessing. Our Lord said to His disciples before ascending to heaven: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Ac 1:8). Once the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you receive a supernatural sense of ‘I know it! I was there when the Cross happened! I saw my Lord on the Cross! I know the Gospel is true! I know that Jesus Christ is Lord!” This ‘knowing’ is more than knowing the doctrines. This knowing becomes part of you until you see Jesus face to face. The Holy Spirit tells us in the most unmistakable manner that we are children of God. Deep down we know that God loves us in Christ and that His love is by His grace alone. The power of such an experience ‘shocks’ some people and they start speaking in tongues. The truth is that only a heavenly language that can describe such a mighty outpouring of Love from above!

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom 8:15, 16). The Holy Spirit is also described as ‘The Spirit of adoption’. The Holy Spirit does two things. First, He makes our spirits cry ‘Abba, Father’. This is a deep involuntary spiritual cry. Only the children of God cry like this. Just like in the natural, the children cry: ‘Daddy, Daddy!’. Like David said: ‘deep calls unto Deep’ (Ps 42:7). Secondly, the Holy Spirit witnesses to our true spiritual identity, confirming to our spirits that we are indeed children of God. Every man can identify with this experience. For example, a father and his beloved son walk together along the road. Suddenly, moved by some inward impulse, the father takes hold of his child and picks him up. He holds him tight in his arms, embraces him and showers him with kisses. After this moment of manifested love, he puts the child down and they continue to walk along the road. That’s it! Even before this moment of manifested love, the child knew that this man walking with him is his father. But oh, the loving embrace, that extra outpouring of the love of the father; this unusual sudden manifestation of it. This love, this embrace, these kisses… they add fuel to the flame of filial love. In a simple way, this example describes the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the highest, the most absolute and glorious way of experiencing the assurance of our salvation. This assurance is more than the one received from deductions, as we read the scriptures. We could arrive at this assurance by the process of reading the Bible, praying for understanding or for the revelation of the scriptures. We could arrive there by a process of self-examination and self-analysis. All these methods are right and true. But the glory of this highest form of assurance is that it is neither anything we do, no deduction that we draw, but it is the direct assurance given to us by the blessed Holy Spirit. There is none like it! That is why God alone takes the glory for every experience of Baptism of the Holy Spirit!

Finally, these are good questions: Are you baptized with the Holy Spirit? Do you understand these things? The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a wonderful supernatural experience granted to them who are already born again and who pray for it. Jesus Christ, our High Priest in heaven, is the Baptizer. Child of God, you must seek this experience, until you receive it. It may be accompanied with speaking in other tongues or not. But one thing is clear, this ‘power from on high’ is granted to the believer, to preach and to pray. Educated or not, the believer will be able to witness to his Savior and Lord with great assurance and conviction. He will fear God more than he will fear men! Signs, wonders and miracles will follow the spoken Word. This is the basis for all true ministry. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is needed by all believers but especially by them who evangelize. After His resurrection, our Lord commanded His disciples: Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” (Lk 24:49). But Peter got tired of waiting. He led the others to the Sea of Galilee to go ‘fishing’. They were supposed to wait for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to empower them for ministry. But they got discouraged and went back to their old profession, fishing. The Lord met them on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. He helped them to re-focus on their primary ministry as lovers, worshippers of Jesus and secondly, as ‘fishers of men’.

This baptism is the explanation of revival, when the move of the Holy Spirit changes nations. Oh, how much we need that! We need revival in Nigeria! ‘Holy Spirit please come and fill our hungry hearts! Revive us again! Baptize us with power from on high! In Jesus’ name we pray!’ Worship the Lord!

Come reign Holy Ghost! Come reign in my heart! Come reign in my soul! Ever reign!
Holy Spirit Thou art welcome in this place! Omnipotent Father of mercy and grace, Thou are welcome in this place!
Come, Holy Spirit we need You! Come sweet Spirit we pray! Come in Your fulness and power! Come in Your own special way! Amen!

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

RSL 19

THE TESTIMONY OF MARTIN LUTHER

“For in the Gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Rom 1:17)
Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a great man of God. He was a former monk and professor of theology in the Catholic church. One day, thru the revelation of Romans 1:17, he became born again. He wrote that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone. That brought much trouble to him from the leaders of the Catholic Church in Rome. He was ordered to come before the religious court and defend himself. In 1521 he was arrested and brought before the Holy Roman Emperor and the delegate of the Pope, that he should retract his doctrines. His accusers pointed at the pile of books that he wrote. They said that Luther was blaspheming God and insulting the Pope. Luther said that the Pope is not God. He said that salvation is by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and not by the authority of the Pope or any man.

Luther maintained that salvation was by faith alone (sola fide) without reference to good works, alms, penance, or the Church’s sacraments. On a theological level, Luther had challenged the absolute authority of the Pope over the Church by maintaining that the doctrine of ‘indulgences’ (paying money to the Church to save your soul) as authorized and taught by the Pope, was wrong. At that time, nobody who challenged the Pope escaped with his life. This was a serious danger for Luther. Some of his friends begged him to reconsider his radical position. The religious leaders warned him that if he does not recant his stand, he will be burnt alive in the public square. After his accusers spoke, Luther stood on his feet. Suddenly, a ray of sunshine fell on his face. It was like the anointing of the Holy Spirit confirming God’s servant. He referred to the Bible as his only judge. Then he spoke these unforgettable words:

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the Pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am conquered by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other! May God help me. Amen!”

Somehow, confused by what to do, they allowed him to go. After his dismissal he departed for his home in Wittenberg. However, fearing for Luther’s safety, The Prince of Germany, Frederick III sent men to fake a highway kidnapping attack and abduct Luther, hiding him away at Wartburg Castle. This is how Martin Luther survived. During his stay in the Wartburg Castle he began the translation of the Bible in German. He wrote many hymns. He married a former nun, Katharina, and they had six children. His doctrines spit the Catholic Church. This is how the Protestant churches (Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian and Lutheran) started.

If you are born again, no matter of your denomination, give thanks for the life of this great man of God, Martin Luther! To God be all the glory!

(In the painting, Martin Luther defending himself before the Royal Catholic court called the “Diet of Worms”)

martin-luther-before-the-diet-of-worms-anton-von-werner

UN-INVITED, YET I LIVE

“All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days” (Est 4:11)

This is the story: Mordecai tells Esther that in the absence of God’s miracle, their people will die. The wicked Haman has convinced the king to sign a law by which all the Jews in Persia should be killed. Queen Esther is the only one who can do something to save God’s people. But there are many difficulties. Esther tells Mordecai that no man or woman can go to see the king uninvited. She can die for such an act. But if the king holds the golden scepter of mercy towards her, then she will live. There is also another problem: the king has not called her to his private chambers for thirty days. Esther, like any wife, is not sure if the king’s love towards her has cooled down. Haman must have tried his best to make the king forget the love he had for his beloved queen. There is also a possibility that the king is too busy with the affairs of the state or planning a war. A busy man easily forgets his wife. The window of successful intercession is very small. Esther has to decide fast. This is an emergency. She decides to fast and pray with her maids. She asks that all the Jews do the same. It is a critical moment of life and death. Then she will go and see the king, uninvited by man but accompanied by the Spirit of God. You know the story. By the grace of God, Esther succeeds in her mission. The evil man Haman is killed and the Jews are saved, to the glory of God.

MY TESTIMONY AS A WIFE
My husband and I are married for almost 46 years. We got married as unbelievers. Then we became saved. We left our medical profession to start a church. We are now in full time ministry. Over the years, as a wife, I had to learn the spiritual protocol of marriage. There was a time my husband was very involved in national politics in Nigeria. It was a lonely difficult time for us, especially for me. We give God all the glory for sustain us and our marriage. Personally, I have learned many great lessons from Queen Esther. For example, there were times when I had to go and see my husband for urgent matters. I learned never to go in ‘flesh’ to meet with him. He hates to see me panicking, crying or complaining like an ‘ordinary woman’. He wants me to stand and speak calmly. As an unbeliever I failed this test many times. But after I became born again and filled with God’s Spirit, I learned to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. No matter the situation, before I go to meet with him, I remember to stop everything, breath in and out, take a minute of silence and pray to God. God is always my first Helper, Savior, Counsellor and Friend! God understands me better than I understand myself!

In times like these English or Romanian language is a wasting of time. I usually pray in tongues. I pray that the Holy Spirit goes before me to touch my husband and open a way for me. I never take it for granted that I can burst in his office just because I am his wife. I need the grace of God always! I pray that when he sees me, he will not see a foolish confused woman, but a true woman of God. I pray that I obtain favor with him even as I speak. I pray that the Holy Spirit gives me the right words, spoken in the right way and in the right tone. I pray that my body language shows faith in God and if need be, the courage to fight spiritual warfare. I pray that, no matter the challenge, God will help us maintain the unity of the Spirit. I pray that our marriage survives the attacks and extra burdens of so many needy people. I usually bind the evil spirits of fear, confusion, impatience, division, anger, emotional manipulation and foolishness. They shall not speak. They shall not have any room to manifest between the two of us. I pray for the unity of the Spirit; that both of us see things in the same way! I pray that the peace of God reigns in our hearts and marriage. I pray that Christ is glorified in the midst of this problem. I pray that the test will become a new testimony. All these requests are ‘translated’ in tongues. I pray in the Spirit as I walk towards my husband. Then I knock at his door. I open it. I enter… We speak calmly. We pray aloud. We agree on the strategy. We are one with God and with one another! The enemy is clearly defeated. The matter is solved in minutes. What seems impossible, after talking and praying together, it now seems so easy, so simple… God is always faithful. Jesus is Lord! We rejoice together! We smile… We laugh… The marriage is becoming stronger. The worship continues… To God be all the glory!

Dear sisters in Christ, I pray for you… I hope that the Holy Spirit reveals to you my heart. I love God and I love my husband. I pray that the singles will marry; that they will not be discouraged to marry seeing so many broken relationships around. I pray that your marriages are fruitful and they will increase in love, wisdom and faith. I pray that you do not draw back in case of difficulties. I pray that after you have done all, you stand in the glory of the Son! Come back with testimonies! I am waiting… I wish you well! God bless you all!

(In the picture, me, dressed with a beautiful Nigerian attire)

SLL 21

SHE HAS DONE WHAT SHE COULD

“And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply. But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” (Mk 14:3-9)

How do people define success, or greatness? Generally, the world appreciates wealthy men, beautiful women, philosophers, poets, musicians or humanitarian people. But according to the Bible, greatness is always connected with life in Christ, with true spirituality. A great man or woman in the Bible is a child of God who pays the price for spiritual maturity and fruitfulness. The Bible calls such a one ‘a saint’. Jesus Christ is the greatest Man who ever lived on this earth. He is also God, the Second Person of the Trinity. As a Man, He walked on this earth two thousand years ago. He showed us how a Man should be. Jesus is not only our Savior, but our Teacher, our perfect Example and Standard on how we should live on earth. The main purpose of our lives, why we live, is to glorify God and to become like Jesus! That’s the most important thing! If we can do that, we have fulfilled our destinies! We have achieved eternal greatness, on earth and in heaven! Halleluiah!

How does the power of becoming great comes to you? It is because of the mystical spiritual unity with Christ! Once you become saved, you become one with the greatest Hero, Champion and Savior of all. As you can see, your greatness is not the product of human gifts, your wealth, education or social status. It is because you are now one with the King of kings. His righteousness, greatness and glory are now imputed to you. This salvation is a great mystery but thank God, it is also a reality to be experienced. Many testify to it! May you be among those blessed ones!

Let’s look at the passage above. Jesus is ready to go to the Cross. In few days He will die so that we can live. He became sin so that we can become right with God. Jesus came to the house of Simon the leper, at Bethany. Then a woman comes in and goes straight to Jesus. She is not named in this story. Maybe she was Mary, the sister of Martha. Or maybe she was another woman. She can be you or me. She brought a bottle containing a very expensive perfume. She suddenly breaks the seal of the bottle and poures the perfume on the head of the Lord. That is all she did. She did not speak any words. But clearly this is an act of deep worship. This is a very simple act. The whole thing lasted less than a minute. Even a child can do that. She gave her all to the Man who won her heart. Please observe that she did not pour her perfume on Simon the leper who was the landlord. She did not pour it on Peter or John. Her heart, her love and her sacrifice were for Christ alone! That’s worship!

The men in the room complained calling it a waste. According to men, her love was ‘a waste’. But Jesus appreciated it! This Jesus is a strange Man… He told His disciples to gather the pieces of left-over bread, scattered at the end of the miracle when feeding the crowd. He said that there should be no waste. Natural food can always be eaten later (Jn 6:12). But now, Jesus receives this so called ‘waste’. This is a reminder that without the Holy Spirit you can never understand the Son of Man. He rebuked the men who criticized the woman. Why was this simple act so important to Jesus? Because it was truly a loving and sacrificial act. It was a picture of the Cross. The value of this perfume was a worker’s annual salary. Like the widow’s mite, it is possible that this was all that she had, her life savings, her treasure. Like King David, she was a true worshipper. She knew the price of worship. She refused to give Jesus a gift that cost her nothing (2Sam 24:24). I don’t think that she planned to do this for a long time. It was more on the spur of the moment. She somehow knew that Jesus will die soon. In her mind, this was the last time she will see Him alive, as a Man on earth. She decided to sacrifice her best to mark this holy moment, to turn it into a sweet memory, able to warm her heart forever. She did not know that her act of worship will make her great. Love does not seek its own reward. Jesus said: “She has done what she could, when she could” (Mk 14:8; TM). She did this love act for Christ alone. The other people in the house, the disciples, her relatives, they enjoyed the fragrance of the perfume. But the perfume itself was for Christ alone. She did not know how great her worship was. Love is not for sale! She put no price on it. It was Christ that made her gift look great, who truly appreciated her sacrifice. Wonderful Jesus!

This is a lesson for us all: do what you can do as you love and serve God! Redeem the time thru worship! Let Jesus evaluate and reward your labor of love. He attached to her act a greater significance than any man on earth could ever do. Jesus looks at the heart. He appreciates love from the heart. For example, when you help humble Christians, Jesus sees that work as it is done unto Him. ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’ (Mt 25:40). The people grumbled against her. But Christ honored her. Trust God to honor and reward you amid the rejection of ignorant and ungrateful people. So long Christ is happy, don’t care about what men say. Be a Christ pleaser, not a man pleaser. Jesus said that this simple sacrificial act of love for Him, will be part of the preaching of the Gospel. This is another great lesson for us all: the root of evangelism is watered by worship! This woman’s simple act of worship shows us what God loves! Making God happy, this is true greatness. It is greatness seen thru the eyes of God! When God commends you, His promotion is sure. No man or devil can stop it! God sees and God apricates your labor of love! One day you shall hear from His blessed lips: “Wonderful! You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in My happiness! Enter you the joy of your Lord!” (Mt 25: 23; CEV).

Dear Sister, I don’t know what you can do for Jesus. But I know that you can do something. No matter how little! Do it now. Do it for Christ alone. Forget what men say! For Christ is worthy of your sacrifice! Worship the Lord! Glory to the Lamb upon the Throne!

FH 7