REVIVAL – LIVING WATER (3)

REVIVAL – THE LIVING WATER (3)

Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled Revival – The Living Water (3). Her main text was taken from the Book of John. “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ… Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” … On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (Jn 1:16,17; 4:13,14; 7:37-39)

We shall revisit the subject of Revival. We feel led to pray without ceasing for an extraordinary move of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, homes, in our church and for this land (Warri/ Effurun/ Nigeria). This time we shall seek God for the fullness of the Spirit, described as the Fountain of Living Waters. Our Lord teaches the Samaritan woman the meaning of true worship. We shall learn with her how to be filled with the Holy Spirit, how to worship God and how to participate in revival. Too many Christians are too easily satisfied. When they are saved an ‘amount’ of the Holy Spirit is given to them. This is because without the Holy Spirit you cannot be born again. After that, they are supposed to press on closer to God, to receive the fullness of God’s Spirit. Few do that! Revival is like ‘a fountain of Living Waters that springs up to everlasting life’. This fountain produces a peculiar water. It is the all-satisfying living water. The promise is that ‘you will never thirst again’. The word ‘never’ is categorical and definitive. Few believers press on until they arrive to that place of ‘never thirst again’. We should pay the price to experience the manifestation of this wonderful promise! The manifestation of revival is under the sovereign will of King Grace. May we please Him! Jesus Christ came ‘full of Grace and Truth”. Out of His fulness we have received Grace and more Grace. The word ‘fulness’ means a container filled to the brim. There is no empty space. The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is a manifestation of His fulness, as the Lord of all. It affects every area of our lives. Both is quality and quantity Grace is eternally creative. We need the Holy Spirit to understand and appreciate the Grace of God. Grace is a King helping His humble servants just because He takes pleasure in helping. Because of this fullness of Grace in Christ, we can never lose our salvation! Christ in us the Hope of Glory! Halleluiah!

Too many believers, after they become saved, live a life of spiritual ‘maintenance’. There is no excitement, no bubbling joy of growth and expanding testimony. They live ‘in past glories.’ Like a honeymoon of long ago, almost forgotten, their best has passed. This is the opposite of the true Christian life. God keeps the best for the last (John 2:10). We are going towards the glory ahead! Selah! “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]” (Jn 10:10; AMP). Eternal Life that comes thru Jesus Christ is not just a lengthy life. It has a special quality. It is a living life! It is powerful. It overflows. It is joyful and satisfying. Life in Christ is like food that is more than we can consume. It is water in greater quantity than we can drink, all our lives. It never ends. You will never see the bottom of the bucket filled with the Living Water of Christ. One thing this Living Water cannot do: It cannot disappoint you! The more you drink, the more it fills the soul. The devil is called ‘the thief’. He wants to kill the sheep and steal their pasture. But Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is the opposite. He cares for the sheep. He finds ‘green pastures’ for them. ‘He leads them beside still waters and He restores their soul’. He prepares for them a table of healthy food. No enemy can stop this holy feast. He anoints the sheep’ head with oil of gladness. He adopts the sheep like they are His own children (Psalm 23). This is just a sample of the promised ‘abundant life’. Grace has the same effect. It overflows! “Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Rom 5:20). Revival is always connected with Grace. Revival is the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit, blessing many believers at the same time. The unbelievers become attracted by this powerful life working in the Christians. The result is that they become converted. Many people look down on the Church. This is because they do not see much difference in behavior between the worldly people and the so-called believers. Once the Holy Spirit convicts the religious people of sin, true repentance and conversion happens. The believers will manifest the fruits of repentance. The world notices that. The Church has authority over the world only when the children of God pay the price for sanctification and the fulness in Christ. Like butterflies come to the light, so the unbelievers are attracted to truth and love, manifested in their fulness, in the lives of the believers. This is a good question: Since you became saved, do you experience this fullness of life? Are you truly filled with the Holy Spirit? Is the fountain of Living Water springing up in your spirit? Is your spirit ‘bubbling’ life toward others? Is your testimony changing others around you? Have you experienced this Niagara Falls-like ‘Glorious Rich Grace’ (Eph 1:6,7)?

HINDRANCES AGAINST REVIVAL, AGAINST RECEIVING THE FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT (THE LIVING WATER)

1-PrejudiceApart of the prejudice against people of a different race, gender, social status and religious affiliation, man’s greatest prejudice is against Truth. Man is born a sinner. He is born hating God and God’s Word, which is truth. He sees The Lord Jesus Christ as his enemy and the Bible as foolishness. “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14). Our Lord said this about the Holy Spirit: “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (Jn 14:17). The religious unbeliever ‘cannot receive’ the Holy Spirit of Truth. He cannot see Truth and cannot know Truth. He has no option than to lie and deceive continuously. But once a sinner repents, he immediately stops fighting the truth. He now loves God, the name of Jesus, the Bible, prayer, worship, and the fellowship of the brethren. This change is dramatic, and it is a sign of conversion. It is totally the work of the Holy Spirit.

2-The evil spirit of religion The evil spirit of religion is also a great hindrance against revival, or spiritual maturity. There is great difference between an unbeliever and a child of God. There is great difference between a Living Church and a ‘dead’ church. In fact, a ‘dead’ church is an abnormality. What are some of the qualities of a living church? A living local church acknowledges and welcomes the Holy Spirit. The pastor preaches the Word of God, the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected. Truth has a power no lie can destroy. As the pastor preaches the Truth, in the power and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the congregation is fed with ‘organic spiritual food’. Because of the authority of God’s Word, the congregation remains calm during preaching. Nothing changes the hearts of men except the Word of God that penetrates thru the Holy Spirit! Changes happen in the congregation. These changes lead to revival. The unbelievers repent of sins and eventually become saved. The believers love truth and desire to grow in Grace and in the Knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ! But when the pastor and the leaders grieve the Holy Spirit thru unrepentant sin, the atmosphere of the church changes. The Holy Spirit withdraws from the people. They lose that sense of freedom and joy of salvation. An evil spirit replaces the Holy Spirit. It is a counterfeit ‘holy spirit’. It is called the spirit of religion or the spirit of antichrist! The pastor now preaches stories and not the Word of God. The church now loves ceremonies and religious entertainment. The people think worldly. Sin does not look evil to them anymore. From the leaders to the youngest member of the church, they all follow this evil spirit of religion. They are deceived and they deceive others. They now backslide. Many people join the church who become religious but have no desire to be truly saved. The leaders in the church become ‘famous’ and the congregation worships them. This is a tragedy. The Holy Spirit will intervene and discipline the leaders and the people. The church belongs to Jesus Christ! He died and shed His Blood for the church to be born. The Church is the Bride of Christ. The Bridegroom is jealous and will discipline the wayward Bride. This phenomenon has happened again and again in the history of the church. Revival is the answer to backsliding. We need to do spiritual warfare to keep the doctrine and the behavior pure, to please our Lord! Selah!

The influence of the evil spirit of religion upon a religious unbeliever, or upon a congregation manifests itself in many ways:

*Ignorance of God’s Word and lack of interest in prayer From the discussion of our Lord with the woman at the well, you can see that there are two basic conditions in receiving the Living Water: knowing the Lord Jesus and specific prayer. Our Lord said to the woman: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (Jn 4:10). The woman was ignorant of ‘the Gift of God’ who is our Savior and Lord. Only Him can save a soul. Only Him can give this Living Water called Eternal Life. During the discussion, the woman believed and asked for the Gift. “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw” (Jn 4:15).

What are the lessons? You need to come to Jesus! You need to surrender your life to Jesus, as your Savior and Lord! You need to pray that He will forgive all your sins and fill you with the Holy Spirit! Then you shall indeed know the Gift of God, and His Grace to men! You need to be saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! You need to know and believe the true Gospel. Jesus died and rose again for you! You need to understand the true doctrines of the Bible. Faith in the Word of God is basic to the Christian life. The devil does his best to stop sinners from reading the Bible and praying. When doing evangelism, you need to combine it with spiritual warfare. There is a false Gospel and a false ‘Jesus’. These false doctrines cannot save a sinner. But Truth always prevails!

This is a reminder of the responsibility of the pastor in caring for the flock of Christ. We preach Christ Crucified and Resurrected! This is the only true Gospel who has the power to change men’s hearts! The Gospel reveals to us the need for salvation, the need to be filled with the Holy Spirit! Ignorant of the need, we will not ask for the Living Water! Praise the Lord!

*False brethren The evil spirit of religion produces false brethren. They look and sound like Christians, but they are not saved. They do not produce fruits of repentance. They stand in times of peace and prosperity, but during times of trial, they fall. Their aim in the church is to infiltrate and attack from the inside. They are dangerous because they are hidden among the true believers. False brethren are easily satisfied with a little religion. They do not pay the price for spiritual maturity. They do not offer sacrifices of praise! They are ‘busybodies and spies’ in the church! They are wolves in sheep’ clothes (Mt 7:15). They do not care about Jesus! They only care about themselves. They gossip and create divisions in the church. We are commanded to avoid such people. “We command you, believers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by His authority, that you withdraw and keep away from every brother or sister who leads an undisciplined life and does not live in accordance with the tradition and teaching that you have received from us… Indeed, we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined and inappropriate life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies [meddling in other people’s business]” (2 Thess 3:6;11; AMP). The false brethren infiltrate the church like spies of the devil. They pretend to be Church’ members. They do the things other Christians do and speak the right words. But they are not saved. They do not even desire to be saved. They study the weakness of the church to give information to the devil. They can damage the unity of the Spirit in the Church. They desire positions of leadership in the church. They use manipulation and intimidation so that they take control over the church. They do not submit to the authority in the church, but they compete with the leadership. Apostle Paul recognized them and opposed them. As a Christian, you cannot submit to these agents of darkness. “And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you” (Gal 2:4,5). The solution is to continue to “preach the Word” (2Tim 4:2). Light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot quench the light! Amen!*Lukewarm (backsliding) Christians The disciples of Jesus went to buy food. When they returned, they saw Him talking to a Samaritan woman. They were surprised and possibly upset but no one had the courage to rebuke Him for breaking the social rules (Jn 4:27). Our Lord knew that they too are prejudiced against the Samaritan woman. That is why He allowed them to go and buy food in the town, so that He can be alone with her. The disciples (except for Judas) stand for immature or backslidden believers. Later, the Lord teaches them lessons taken from His conversation with the woman. Humankind is divided into two groups: believers and unbelievers. The believers are also divided into two groups: There are ‘baby Christians’ and there are ‘mature Christian’s. All believers go to heaven when they die. But there is a difference between them, in the way they live their lives on earth. The difference is found in this ‘fullness of Living Waters’. The Baby Christian only drinks the milk of the Word. He is ‘carnal, a mere man’. He is not full of the Holy Spirit. The mature Christian has a different ‘diet’. He eats ‘the strong meat’ of God’s Word and is filled with the Living Waters. Apostle Paul rebuked the Corinthian believers because they were not willing to pay the price for spiritual maturity. “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (1Cor 3:1-3). A Christian who is envious on others, who is a fault finder, a troublemaker and who divides people in the church, is surely a victim of the evil spirit of religion. He may be ignorant of the fact that he serves the devil, but this is the truth. He is a backsliding and lukewarm Christian. He causes a lot of harm in the body of Christ. He is in a dangerous position too (Rev 3:14-16). He walks in the same way with the false brethren. That is why we challenge and encourage people to pay the price for spiritual maturity. Listen to me, please… Humble yourself! Study the Word of God! Fast and pray! This is the royal way of the Cross! It is not easy, but it is the only way. There is no short-cut to maturity! Spiritual laziness, refusal to mature spiritually, is one of the greatest hindrances to revival in the church. Our Lord said: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Mt 12:30). He who ‘gathers’ the harvest with Jesus, will be filled with His Living Water! It is a terrible thing to come to church for nothing. You do not listen to the Word of God. You are passive, sitting in the congregation. That is a waster of opportunities to grow and Grace. You need to repent!

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb 5:12-14). The word ‘unskilled’ means to be ignorant of the basic doctrines of the Gospel. The baby Christian has only a ‘head knowledge’ of the Gospel. He has not learned how to apply it daily in his life. He does not have a personal testimony. He has zeal, sometimes even Bible knowledge, but he lacks wisdom. He is still restless. He is still thirsty. He still needs to draw water daily with the bucket. He is not a teacher yet. “Therefore, with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Is 12:3). A baby Christian has joy, but he labors much to extend his joy to others! A baby Christian who refuses to mature, will surely backslide. He will persecute the mature Christians and ignorantly, will oppose revival in the church! *Religious spirits in the church are witchcraft spirits Apostle Paul said: “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?” (Gal 3:1). False prophets, false doctrines, love of money, and religious witchcraft are part of church ‘entertainment’. The evil spirit of religion is one of the greatest enemies to revival. Spiritual warfare is necessary before the Holy Spirit moves freely in the church. The woman at the well is seeking for truth. But she tries to deflect the discussion towards her advantage. She changes the subject easily. She tries to sound smart, intelligent, spiritual. She tries to impress Jesus. But she fails to distract Him. Look how the Lord directs the conversation towards the revelation of Himself so that the woman can be saved. This is how the sinner tries to run from the conviction of the Holy Spirit. This is how we behaved too. Why did we do that? Why do we avoid the questions of our conscience when convicted of sin? This is because nobody loves painful words. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin because we do not believe in Jesus (Jn 16:8,9). We try to be smart. We are skillful in running away from repentance, trying to silence our conscience. We underestimate the power of the Gospel. We deceive ourselves in thinking that we know all the answers and we do not need salvation. Like the woman at the well, she had her own bucket and water. She thought she needed nothing else. The Lord stirs her interest in ‘a better’ water. Her curiosity is aroused by the free offer of Jesus! All her manipulations fail in the presence of Him who alone can save her soul! Lastly, we want to say that except the Lord Jesus Christ thru the Holy Spirit reveals Himself to you, you cannot see Him! Selah!

THE NEED FOR SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Christianity is not just a teaching. It is a way of life. It is a spiritual phenomenon. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for sinners and to save them. He sent the Holy Spirit that bonded all believers into one body. The devil hates God and hates the believers. He tries to destroy the church, but he will always fail. Our Lord said: “on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18).We are soldiers for Christ! “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Cor 10:3-6). Glory to God!

THIS IS THE MINDSET OF A CHAMPION:

The Olympic champions have something in common. They think in the same way.

1-A champion believes in God and in God’s vision for him

2-A champion is a student, loves to learn. Because of this desire, he remains humble and teachable

3-A champion has mastered his mind. He is bold, focused; not easily distracted. He kills his anxiety and doubts. He remembers the prize ahead

4-A champion has mastered his body. He kills his fleshly desires and lusts. He does not give up until he finishes his race.

5-A champion surrounds himself with others who have a similar mindset (mentors, teachers, pastors…) and avoids losers

RUN THAT YOU MAY OBTAIN IT!

One of the greatest weapons against the discouragement of the devil, is to have ‘a champion mentality’. Athletes train their bodies and also their mind. They need to have a vision of victory before they can be champions. How much more we, the true worshippers of the only Living God! We should have the mind of Christ! By the power of the Holy Spirit, we should kill all fleshly ideas, inferiority complexes, fears, and doubts about the victory our Lord gained at the Cross. The devil has lost forever! In Christ, we go from one triumph to another. For His glory! Apostle Paul said that we are like Olympic Champions. We are runners and boxers. The saints who are in heaven, they watch and encourage us to continue to the end. Apostle Paul said: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore, I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Cor 9:24-27).

Paul says:

*I do not run with uncertainty! The word ‘uncertainty’ means doubt, lacking a purpose, hiding from others, obscure, fearful, shy. Paul says: I run with the assurance of my goal! I run to the end! I do not hide! I run in the light! Dear believer, how can you run if you do not know your lane, you do not know the rules of the game and where the finishing line is? As for me and my household, I will run the Christian race until my last breath! I will see Jesus, face to face! I am sure of that! He is my Reward!

*I do not fight as one beating the air! A boxer may exercise by ‘beating the air’ but once he enters the ring, he must punch the enemy and win the battle! In the boxing world, ‘a perfect punch’ is said to be the punch that takes the opponent by surprise and defeats him. The professional boxers say that it is not so much a matter of strength, but that of wisdom. You need to take advantage of all opportunities, including the weakness of the enemy (the devil). You need to be dead to self and alive only to the Holy Spirit. The Cross is the only sure victory ground! Just like David who knocked down Goliath with a single stone, you can ‘punch the devil in his eyes’ and defeat him! We see that we should run for the medal, for the crown, for the reward in heaven! ‘Run in such a way…’. Stay focused! Encourage yourself and others! Christians are not in competition with one another! They help one another as they run together! You do not win the prize by comparing with others. You must focus on the prize promised to you and not to other runners! The Christian race is not a 100metre dash. It is a marathon. It is 42 Kilometers. Life is long! It is a marathon! Your testimony is a marathon! You should think like that! It is not how well you start but how well you finish it!

Every athlete practice self-control in all things: diet, exercise, and sexual abstinence. There is no success without discipline! You need to take dominion over self! To be champion is not easy! It is Self-mastery! The athlete even abstains from good things if these things hinder him to gain the crown. The fruit of the Spirit is self-control (Gal 5:23).

Paul is a spiritual champion and mentor to us! He leads by preaching the Word and by personal example! He said: “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Tim 4:16). Let us follow the example of Apostle Paul! He was a man of ‘one thing I do’. Thru the power of the Holy Spirit he was leaning towards the future. You need the Holy Spirit to remain focused and forget the past, with its failures and successes. You need to be excited about the future, the glory ahead. That is having the mind of Christ, the mind of a heavenly champion! Pressing Toward the Goal “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have [d]apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, let us, as many as are mature, have this mind” (Phil 3:12-15).

Paul lived with a holy fear. He was not afraid to lose his salvation. But he was afraid to damage his testimony and lose his reward as a servant of Christ! This is a warning especially for the preachers! As a believer, you cannot lose your salvation. But thru sin, you can be disqualified from ministry and lose your reward from God! May God forbid! Say with Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim 4:7, 8 )Finally, let us run the race like Jesus! He is our Best Example, Mentor and Champion forever! It is a race or faith that ends in joy! “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the [a]author and [b]finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:1, 2)

“Let the Living Waters flow over my soul! Let the Holy Spirit come and take control!” Worship the Lord!

I AM QUIET AND BEAUTIFUL

I AM QUIET, GENTLE, PRECIOUS AND BEAUTIFUL

“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1Pet 3:1-4)

MY TESTIMONY AS A WIFEI shall now boast in the Lord! My husband and I are married for almost 44 years. In Christ and by the grace of God, I declare that I am quiet, gentle, precious and beautiful! The Word of God says so! My husband says so! What others say it does not matter. I have learned over the years to speak less than my husband, especially when we are in public. For example, if he speaks 10 words, I speak maybe 3. If he is not around I can speak 8. You may joke about it, but this is the truth. I mentally count the times I open my mouth. If I do not have something good and godly to say, I am not ashamed to keep quiet. I do not have to prove that I am intelligent, anointed or educated by talking. When I talk, I make sure that I am on my husband’s ‘side’. I do not come from the opposite side. I do not stand against him spiritually speaking. I do not threaten him positionally. I am never on the side of them who argue with him, even if jokingly. If I do not understand something he says I make a mental note to ask him at home. I do not want to ask him any question while others listen to us talking. If it is an ‘emergency’ I ask him in Romanian. Thank God, most people do not understand this language. I do this because I do not want to be seen as his boss, teacher or mentor. I gladly submit to him because of God’s command. I also do not ask other men questions in my husband’s presence. I do not want to be seen as a foolish ignorant wife. That attitude will place the blame on him implying that he did not teach me well at home.You may ask… What is my ‘gain’ in all this? My gain is God’s pleasure over our home! The Holy Spirit is free to move, and work in us from inside out. Both my husband and I are ‘work in progress’ but if I obey God’s Word, the progress is faster. I love that! The devil loves to ask questions causing division, doubts, fears and confusion. I pray before I talk. I choose when to answer or when not to answer a question that is ‘thrown’ at me. My husband is the only one who has the right to ‘demand’ answers from me. No other person has the same right. Over the years, I do not regret talking too little but I regret talking too much. This strategy of keeping quiet as a wife (well… most of the time) is not legalistic or religious. It is the result of the leading of the Holy Spirit who gives me the power to choose silence when silence is the winner. Controlling your tongue is great achievement as a wife! It is not easy. But the effect of peace in the home is great! To God be all the glory!

(in the picture, my beloved husband, Richmond Sisan Leigh and I, during a trip in Italy. I wrote this note in 2016, before my husband went to heaven. The words remain true and can still bless somebody. Glory to God!)

LIKE THE EAGLES

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (PV 3:5, 6). I cannot ‘trust in the Lord with all my heart’ in English. I need a heavenly language that is above ‘my own understanding’. When I pray in English, there is still a pocket of anxiety left in me. I still have some inferiority complex that I may not have ‘nailed’ the prayer. But when I pray in tongues, all limitations vanish and I can fly like an eagle. Fearlessly and joyfully! Once up there in the sky, the Lord uses the Wind of His Spirit to direct the path of my wings. Above the clouds, He creates a new imagination in me! I worship Him in Spirit and in Truth! That is why I love Jesus, my Lord! I hope that now you understand…

Love in Christ alone,

Malia!

(Picture taken from the internet)

REVIVAL – THE LIVING WATER (2)

REVIVAL – THE LIVING WATER (2)

Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled Revival – The Living Water (2). Her main text was taken from the Book of John. “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ… Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” … On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (Jn 1:16,17; 4:13,14; 7:37-39)

We shall revisit the subject of Revival. We feel led to pray without ceasing for an extraordinary move of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, homes, in our church and for this land (Warri/ Effurun/ Nigeria). This time we shall seek God for the fullness of the Spirit, described as the Fountain of Living Waters. Our Lord teaches the Samaritan woman the meaning of true worship. We shall learn with her how to be filled with the Holy Spirit, how to worship God and how to participate in revival. Too many Christians are too easily satisfied. When they are saved an ‘amount’ of the Holy Spirit is given to them. This is because without the Holy Spirit you cannot be born again. After that, they are supposed to press on closer to God, to receive the fullness of God’s Spirit. Few do that! The Living Water stands for salvation in Christ Jesus, for Eternal Life. It stands for Revival, the fullness of the Spirit, worship in Spirit and in Truth and doing ministry. The woman at the well became saved, Spirit filled and anointed to do evangelism that very day. The Grace of God comes as power to change a sinner into a saint. To God be all the glory!

DESCRIPTION OF THE LVING WATER

How can we describe this Living Water? It is a peculiar water. A life-giving water. It destroys all barrenness, waste, and death. It heals the body, the soul, and the spirit. It is always fresh. Religion is boring. It fades like old clothes. But the Spirit makes everything fresh. Even if we preach the same Bible every day, there is something new in the revelation of God’s Word. Many pastors who are not Spirit filled. They got tired of preaching the Word and have replaced the Bible with books about politics, social studies, breaking news and stories. That is not preaching. Religion looks like a dress. It only covers and changes the outside behavior. Religion never goes into the heart. But the Living Water goes into the heart. “The water that I shall give him will become IN HIM a fountain”. This water goes ‘in him’. This water is all-satisfying. It is not like the water in Jacob’s well. The pleasures of the world may feel good, but they do not last. They do not satisfy. The Living Water goes deep ‘in you’, in your spirit and your soul. It affects the center of your being, your personality. Like a waterfall, the Living Water comes with power, changing everything in its path. It overflows with joy. This is a joyful powerful water. It never ends. Drinking this water, you will be satisfied. You shall search for the meaning of life no more. This Living Water is experiential. You feel when it comes inside you. This Living Water comes directly from Jesus! None can give it except the Lord Jesus Christ! Revival is like ‘a fountain of Living Waters that springs up to everlasting life’. The Lord’s promise is that ‘you will never thirst again’. The word ‘never’ is categorical and definitive. Few believers press on until they arrive to that place of ‘never thirst again’. We should pay the price to experience the manifestation of this wonderful promise! The manifestation of revival is under the sovereign will of King Grace. May we please Him! Let the Living Water flow over my soul…

HINDRANCES AGAINST REVIVAL, AGAINST RECEIVING THE FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT

1-PREJUDICE

Let us study the conversation between our Lord and this woman at the well. This is a classical lesson on how to do evangelism. The woman was a sinner seeking for the truth. She met Truth. She submitted to Truth. She became saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. Initially, the woman is restless and religious. She talks a lot, going from one subject to another. Our Lord allows her to talk. He is gentle with her. But at the same time, He stays focused, and He is totally in charge of the conversation. He does not push her. He draws her with cords of love that the woman cannot resist. This calling of God creates a thirst for the Living Water that is irresistible. King Grace call cannot be ignored! Glory to God!  

The Lord asks her: “Give Me a Drink!” Observe that the Lord initiates the conversation. Grace always starts and Grace finishes the work! Learn to talk like Jesus! Do not get distracted!  “Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” (Jn 4:7, 9). The woman has prejudice based on the social rules of her day. Prejudice is a preconceived judgment about others, not based on complete knowledge. It is rooted in fear, suspicion, and intolerance. Prejudice is a negative opinion about others because of their race, tribe, social status, gender, or religion. Prejudice damages relationships. The Lord was tired and thirsty. He asked her for a cup of water. The woman was surprised that a Jewish Man asks her for water because the Jews and the Samaritans had an historical hatred against each other. The Jews totally discriminated the Samaritans. The radical Jews said that to eat bread from a Samaritan is the same as eating pig’s flesh, and that touching the cup of water will defile a Jew. They said that no Samaritan should be accepted as a convert to Judaism and that no Samaritan will go to heaven. The Samaritans also hated the Jews thinking that they are backsliders of the true faith of Moses! Each nation despised the other. People grew up knowing about this hatred and accepted the division without checking the facts.

Samaria as a city was the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. After Israel’s fall, Samaria as a region was in the central area of what used to be the northern kingdom. During the time of Jesus, Samaria was located between Galilee to the north and Judea to the south. Today, Samaria is in what is now the northern West Bank. Several hundred Samaritans still live in Israel and continue to practice their faith. The Samaritans were half Jew, half Gentile. The Assyrian Kingdom conquered the Northern Kingdom in 721 BC. Many Jews were captured and sent to Assyria in exile. Others remained in the land. They intermarried with the Assyrians. They became known as the Samaritans. They had their own system of religion. They read only the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). They rejected the Kings, the Prophets and the Temple built in Jerusalem. They too waited for a Messiah! They had their own form of worship and built a temple on top of Mount Gerizim. The southern Kingdom also called Judah fell to the Babylonians later. The Jews from the Northern Kingdom were absorbed in Assyria and disappeared from the Jewish history. They are called ‘the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel’. But the Jews from Babylon later came back to build the temple and the Jerusalem walls, under the leadership of Nehemiah and Ezra. Nehemiah was strongly opposed by Sanballat the Horonite, who was a Samaritan (Neh 4:2). Nehemiah resisted him. He rejected his help. He told him: “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore, we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.” (Neh 2:20). Starting from that time, the Jews rejected all Samaritans. The division between the Jews and the Samaritans never healed! People developed prejudice against one another. Even today, the Jews and the Palestinians discriminate and hate one another. Prejudice is baren and makes all people sad.

The woman at the well was prejudiced against the Jews. Initially she was suspicious when Jesus asked for water. Socially, she was supposed to reject His request. Her people demanded that. She could not afford to be kind to a Jewish man, even if the man was thirsty. But there was something about Jesus that made her forget her prejudice. She was drawn to the Lord Jesus by a power greater than her fears. KING GRACE alone has the power to destroy prejudice! Everywhere He went, Jesus interacted with the poor and outcast. Whether He was healing lepers, eating with tax collectors, or speaking to Samaritans, Jesus constantly demonstrated care for those the world had rejected and showed that He didn’t care what the “religious” people thought of Him. Jesus showed that the Gospel is for everyone. He said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). Samaria suffered discrimination. But in Christ, there is no Jew, no Gentile. You see that in talking to the woman, our Lord avoids talking about things that produce discrimination and prejudice. In doing evangelism, we too should not talk about race, gender, and religious divisions. Talk about Christ only!

The early believers became free of prejudice. This was a miracle! Philip went to the city of Samaria and preached Christ there. He did miracles in their midst in the name of Jesus. Multitudes were saved and healed. The city of Samaria experienced great joy (Acts 8). There was a wizard called Simon who, for a long time, astonished the people of Samaria with his sorceries. He wanted to buy the power of the Holy Spirit with money. Peter rebuked him openly (Ac 8:20-24). We need to do warfare against every form of prejudice and discrimination. Jesus came to destroy the wall of division between Jews and Gentiles. In the same way, there shall be no hatred between people. “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation” (Eph 2:14). If you have prejudice against people, you cannot serve God, you cannot worship Him and you cannot do ministry! For God has created all people! In Christ, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).

In the past, we have studied the subject of revival in the Book of Genesis 26. The Philistines became jealous on Isaac when God miraculously prospered him a hundredfold. They blocked his father’s wells with dirt. Isaac did not waste time and effort to dig new wells. He wisely opened Abraham’s wells. This is how in a time of crisis they found the water of life. This Living Water at the bottom of the well is a symbol of Revival. That is the Living Water. We need to do warfare and remove the religious lies that block the way to the Living Water. “Then Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. The man began to prosper and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So, the Philistines envied him. Now the Philistines had stopped up all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, and they had filled them with earth. And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.” Then Isaac departed from there and pitched his tent in the Valley of Gerar and dwelt there. And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them … It came to pass the same day that Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well which they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water” (Gen 26:12-18; 32). We remove the dirt from our father’s well! WE reject all forms of prejudice and discrimination! By faith, we declare that the blessings of Abraham are ours! Revival is here! Glory to God!

“Let the Living Water flow over my soul. Let the Holy Spirit come and take control. In Every situation that has troubled my mind. All my cares and worries, unto You, I roll… Father… Jesus… Spirit…” Worship the Lord!    

WHEN MY HUSBAND CALLS ME, I COME!

“King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in before him, but she did not come” (Est 1:17)

Please read the Book of Esther, chapter one. King Xerxes is married to Queen Vashti whose name means ‘Beautiful’. The king throws a great banquet to entertain and impress his military leaders, princes and nobles. He later invites all the citizens of Susa to come and enjoy the king’s feast. There is no limit to drinking wine and eating the royal special food. The reason for this party was to give glory to himself. Like Nebuchadnezzar, King Xerxes was a proud foolish man! He loves to drink alcohol. He was also a hot tempered man. Suddenly, becoming tired of the entertainment provided, the drunken king orders his Queen to come to him, dressed in her royal robes. He wanted to boast, before all his guests, of his wife’s beauty. Hating to be embarrassed in front of many drunken men, the Queen refuses to obey his orders. What? Imagine that! The great king is publicly rejected by a woman!!! Suddenly the happy party turns into a mourning gathering. The king is angry mostly because he is embarrassed by his wife’s public rejection. Both husband and wife are angry and embarrassed at each other’s actions. Who will win in this foolish emotional manipulation game? Of course the devil who takes pleasure in division, quarrels and divorce!

King Xerxes asks his wise men what to do. They advise him to divorce and disgrace Vashti. In verse 19 she is no longer called Queen Vashti. She is simply called by her name, like any ordinary woman. The poor queen has no credit of grace with anyone. Vashti is sent away from the palace! She loses her marriage, her reputation and her throne! The wise men advise the king to write a new law saying that each man should be ‘the ruler of his household’! It will be on record that all the wives should submit to their husbands. This is a foolish decree for no law can force the wives to submit or the men to love them. Submission and love are spiritual things of the heart! What are the lessons for us? The first thing I see is that without Christ, fame and riches are useless. Without Christ, there is no peace, no wisdom and no joy! Without Christ, even the best marriages scatter. Without Christ the partying, the happiness of the world will suddenly turn to disgrace and depression. The law cannot change the hearts of men. Only the grace of God found in Christ alone can change hearts and circumstances. Anger, lust, foolishness, pride, rebellion, drinking alcohol, having worldly friends… these are all drops of poison able to kill any relationship. As a married woman, I am sorry for Queen Vashti. In this story she had to go away. She vacated her throne for Queen Esther who is an ambassador for Christ. In this world, nothing is permanent. Only God never changes! ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever’ (Heb 13:8). If you marry an unbeliever, you will suffer. Money and fame cannot help a broken heart. Only God can do it! Another lesson is this: once you are married to ‘a famous’ man, or you hold a position of authority, if you like it or not, you become a role model. Others will imitate you, for better or for worst! Visibility requires responsibility! Remember that!

MY TESTIMONY My husband and I are married for almost 44 years. Both of us work full time to make our marriage happy and strong. It is a sacrifice made because of love. We are not ignorant of the attacks of the devil which is able, if given the chance, to destroy any marriage. This is the wisdom I have learned from the Book of Esther chapter one: Each time my husband calls me I will answer and immediately come to him! I promised myself that I will not be like Queen Vashti! This is my pledge to God and to my conscience: If my husband needs me, if he calls me, I will answer! It can be morning, afternoon, evening or night time. I may know or I may not know the reason for his call. I have made a covenant with my feet not to be tired to walk up and down the stairs when my husband calls me. I cannot even imagine ignoring his call. I take it as serious as the call of God. For me, rejecting my husband’s call is a luxury I cannot afford. I want our marriage to continue. If I was Queen Vashti, knowing that I will be embarrassed in a room full of drunken men, I could have still come to see my husband. I will pray in tongues in my heart that before entering that room, my husband (even if he is drunk) will pity me and let me to go back to my room. I believe that God can change the heart of any king! And even if I have to stand there embarrassed, I will ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen me among those foolish drunkards. In difficult times I pray to be able to use my pain for the glory of God! The shame I will experience will bring me closer to Jesus who also suffered shame on the Cross, dying for me. But no matter how, if my husband calls me, if he needs me, I will come at once! So help me, God! Dear Queen Vashti, I am sorry, but you cannot be my friend! I am with Queen Esther, who is my sister and mentor!

Now I have to go for my husband is calling me… “Come with Me from Lebanon, My bride, come with Me … My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me…. (SS 4:8; Jn 10:27)

(written in 2018)

THE LIVING WATER (1)

REVIVAL – THE LIVING WATER (1)

Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled Revival – The Living Water (1). Her main text was taken from the Book of John. “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ… Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” … On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (Jn 1:16,17; 4:13,14; 7:37-39)

We shall revisit the subject of Revival. This time we shall seek God for the fullness of the Spirit, described as the Fountain of Living Waters. Our Lord teaches the Samaritan woman the meaning of true worship. We shall learn with her how to be filled with the Holy Spirit and how to participate in revival. The problem with many Christians is that they are too easily satisfied. When they are saved an ‘amount’ of the Holy Spirit is given to them. This is because without the Holy Spirit you cannot be born again. After that, they are supposed to press on closer to God, to receive the fullness of God’s Spirit. Our Lord describes that as ‘a fountain of Living Waters that springs up to everlasting life’. This fountain produces a peculiar water. It is the all-satisfying living water. The promise is that ‘you will never thirst again’. The word ‘never’ is categorical and definitive. Few believers press on until they arrive to that place of ‘never thirst again’. We should pay the price to experience the manifestation of this wonderful promise! The manifestation of revival is under the sovereign will of King Grace. May we please Him! “Let the Living Waters flow over my soul! Let the Holy Spirit come and take control!”

Jesus Christ came ‘full of Grace and Truth”. Out of His fulness we have received Grace and more Grace. The word ‘fulness’ means a container filled to the brim. There is no empty space. The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is a manifestation of His fulness, as the Lord of all. It affects every area of our lives. Both is quality and quantity Grace is eternally creative. “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Pet 4:10). This fullness of Grace is described as ‘manifold’. The word describes Grace as the colors of the rainbow, having many gifts and many blessings. There is no problem that the Grace of God cannot solve. Because we are born sinners, it is hard for us to imagine such a wonderful Grace. We are too stingy and too selfish to understand this revelation. We are too lazy to pray for revival. We need the Holy Spirit to understand and appreciate the Grace of God. Grace is a King helping His humble servants just because He takes pleasure in helping. Because of this fullness of Grace in Christ, we can never lose our salvation! Christ in us the Hope of Glory! Halleluiah!

Revival is always connected with Grace. Revival is the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit, blessing many believers at the same time. The unbelievers become attracted by this powerful life working in the Christians. The result is that they become converted. Many people look down on the Church. This is because they do not see much difference in behavior between the worldly people and the so-called believers. Once the Holy Spirit convicts the religious people of sin, true repentance and conversion happens. The believers will manifest the fruits of repentance. The world notices that. The Church has authority over the world only when the children of God pay the price for sanctification and the fulness in Christ. Like butterflies come to the light, so the unbelievers are attracted to truth and love, manifested in their fulness, in the lives of the believers. Lukewarm Christians are a hindrance to revival. This is a good question: Since you became saved, do you experience this fullness of life? Are you truly filled with the Holy Spirit? Is the fountain of Living Water springing up in your spirit? Is your spirit ‘bubbling’ life? Is your testimony changing others around you? Have you experienced this Niagara Falls-like ‘Glorious Rich Grace’ (Eph 1:6,7)? God wants us full of His Spirit so that “He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:7). Grace manifests as Kindness. Do people know you as an extremely kind person? Kindness is a weapon of Grace that never fails!

LESSONS AT THE WELL

Our Lord has a conversation with a Samaritan woman at the well. John chapter 4 is special because it is the longest recorded conversation in the Bible between our Lord and a sinner. There are so many lessons for us to learn. We shall focus on the promised water of life, the Gift of God. We shall seek God for the fullness of the Spirit and revival, in our lives, our families, our church and our Geographical area. You can see that Jesus arrives first at the well. He is waiting for the woman. You see that it is not the woman seeking God, but it is God seeking for worshippers who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

*The Lord reveals Himself for the first time as the Messiah! Not to His disciples, but to a Gentile sinful woman! “The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” (Jn 4:25, 26).

*The Living Water our Lord is talking about is not found in Jacob’s well. No human bucket can locate it. This is the Living Water of the Holy Spirit. It is the fulness of the Holy Spirit in the heart of man. This Living Water, once you drink it, it settles in your spirit and becomes a flowing fountain. The water is under pressure, cleansing everything in its way. It changes you inside and outside. It flows to eternity. It never stops. It is the source of revival. It is for the glory of God and for the blessings of men. The water of the world quenches the thirst only for a short time. But this Living Water kills the thirst, the restlessness of seeking and not finding. This Living Water satisfies your body, soul, and spirit! The Lord Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit is the only source of this fountain of Living Waters. This Water, like Grace too, it is a Gift of God. You must know it and you must ask for it. These are the conditions for receiving it. “Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (Jn 4:10). The woman was still thinking in the natural but slowly she knew that this Man is a Prophet. She knew something from the promise of the Gift of God He offers to her. Then, she asked for the Water, fulfilling the two conditions: “The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” (Jn 4:15). Later, our Lord directs the discussion towards sin. The woman needs to acknowledge that she is a thirsty needy sinner. She needs to taste the bitter news of sin and death before she can receive and rejoice in the Good News of Grace and Life. Against all odds, she did it! She is the first person truly saved and Spirit filled in the ministry of our Lord. What an amazing Grace!

*The Lord Jesus plans His encounters with His people. Nothing is accidental with the Lord. He never makes mistakes.

We are told that our Lord “left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria” (Jn 4:3, 4). The Jews never passed thru Samaria. They used a longer roundabout road to go to Galilee. They did this because they hated the Samaritans. But Jesus does not discriminate people. He went thru Samaria because He planned to save a Samaritan woman and to anoint her as an evangelist. After a long journey, our Lord was tired and sat by Jacob’s well. His disciples went to look for food. He wanted to be alone with this woman who came to draw water in the heat of the day. Salvation and deliverance are personal. You must expect the Lord to come for you alone. Do not reject your hope of glory! The brethren can pray for you, can help you as much as they can. But they cannot save your soul. They cannot fill you with the Holy Spirit! Wait on God alone and you shall not be disappointed. He who saved the dying thief, will save and help you! Do you see how God is in charge of your circumstances? Salvation is planned and executed by the Lord! He said: “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk 19:10). Jesus knows the location of all His lost sheep. He seeks them, He finds them, and He saves them, one by one. He knows each of His own before the foundation of the world! That is why we are confident in saying that we can never lose our salvation! Can you appreciate The Lord’s constant care and love for you? He feels your pains! He will locate you in your loneliness! He is never too early to save you and never too late to help you! King Grace is always in control! Glory to God!

*God is sovereign in the way He blesses people. The Lord talks to the Samaritan woman. He reveals to her deep revelations about God, about her needs, about the worship of God. What are some lessons here for us? In the previous chapter (John 3), our Lord revealed the way of salvation to Nicodemus, a theologian, and a religious ruler in Jerusalem. He came to see Jesus by night. He was a Jew, a man, a wealthy man, and a religious teacher. You may say that he had all the credentials to be blessed by fresh revelation. But in the next chapter, our Lord saves this woman who socially, is the opposite of Nicodemus. Just imagine the scene… Our Lord does Bible study with a simple illiterate woman, an adulterous woman. Nicodemus is named but this woman is unnamed. She represents us, the Gentiles, who are saved by Grace, thru faith. The Jews reject the Samaritans. This woman has nothing to recommend herself to the Lord. But Jesus wants her, to save her soul. He gently leads her to Himself. King Grace saves her soul, not because she merits anything, but because of God’s eternal plan of salvation. This is how she became saved. Nicodemus was afraid of the public opinion. That is why he came to see Jesus in the night. But this woman talked to Jesus in the light and in the public. Our Lord patiently teaches her one of the greatest doctrines in the Bible, about the true worship of God in Spirit and in Truth. Our Lord reveals Himself as the Messiah to her. She believes Him! Salvation is always by Grace and thru faith! He justifies her and freely gives her the gift of an evangelist. She starts her ministry that day. Our Lord breaks all barriers of race, gender, and social status. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). As you can see, King Grace is in charge!

*The God of all Grace surprises humble people. You can never predict or manipulate King Grace! We should live by expectant faith!

Nicodemus decided to go and meet with Jesus. But this woman did not know that she will have an encounter with King Grace that day. The women in the town draw water in the evening when the weather is cooler. She comes at noontime, alone, to draw water, so that none will see her. She avoids the people because of her life of sin. She is ashamed. That day was an ordinary day. She did not know that her life will change that day. King Grace surprises people with salvation and blessings when they least expect. This woman translates from nothing to fullness! From Zero to Hero! Your past of sin is not a hindrance to the Lord! He died as your Substitute. He paid the penalty for your sins with His Blood. Come to Jesus, as you are right now! You cannot wash yourself. His Blood with wash you and make you clean! You should live in this expectation of an encounter. Be ready to repent easily! Live by faith and not by sight! Expect God! The resurrected Christ passed thru the walls. He still does that up till today. Nothing hinders Him when He comes to visit you. Each time you come to church, expect an encounter with the only Living God. Do not be tired of waiting on God! Let it be your lifestyle. Selah! To God be all the glory!

NOAH FOUND GRACE

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen 6:8).

“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Heb 11:7)

The story of Noah is a wonderful story, 4500 years old. All people, including the children, love it. The most important thing said about Noah is that he “found Grace in the eyes of the Lord”. This is the first time in the Bible that the word ‘Grace’ appears. Grace is the unmerited free and full favor of God. It is the first time that Grace has found her voice among men. The word ‘found’ means to meet, to encounter Grace. ‘In the eyes of the Lord’ means in the presence of the Lord. Let us follow the story and see how Grace saves this man and his family.

At that time, the people were extremely wicked, in their thoughts, imaginations and actions. God said that He was ‘grieved’ that He made man. He decided to destroy all people with a flood. This is a type of the last judgment when God shall judge and destroy sin. In the midst of this tragedy only one man found ‘grace’ with God. This man is called ‘Noah’. In Hebrew, his name means ‘rest or comfort’. God told him about the evil in the world and that He will destroy the world with water. Grace takes man into his counsel. God told Noah that only he, his wife, their sons, and their wives, shall be saved. Grace gives hope for the future showing you the door of escape in trials. Noah responds with faith. Grace needs faith to manifest. By faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we and our household shall be saved. God gives Noah the plan of salvation. Noah must build an ark that will float on top of the waters of judgment. The only other place the word ‘ark’ appears is in the Book of Exodus. Moses’ mother made a little ark to save her son’s life (Ex 2:3-5). Both Noah and Moses were types of saviors. They are ambassadors of Christ! Thru Noah, God saved humanity. Thru Moses, God saved Israel.

Noah’s ark had a special design. God gave Noah the revelation in detail. During this time, it is only God who decides and speaks. Noah was to listen, trust and obey God. The ark was extremely big in size. Its length is five hundred feet; its width is seventy-five feet, and its height is thirty feet. To give you a better idea, the ark will be one and a half size of a football stadium. It can accommodate 120,000 sheep. It will be like three stories building floating on water. Until the 19th century, no man has ever built a ship of this size. The ark will not be a ship for the bottom is flat like a badge. It shall have no steering wheel, no engine, no compass or nautical instruments, and no sails. There shall be no captain. There shall be no port of destination. Grace shall be the captain. Grace shall lead the ark to nowhere (better said to where God wants it to go). The only function of the ark is to rise on top of the waters of judgment. Grace is King! Grace kills and Grace makes alive whom He wishes. Grace is the greatest Lifter when we fall into sin. Noah was to build according to specifications. He will build and he will preach. That is all. Grace gives strength for you to work and to do ministry. Noah will use wood to build the ark. The wood will be made waterproof by smearing ‘pitch’ on it, inside and outside. The word ‘pitch’ is the same as the word ‘atonement’ (Leviticus 16). In other words, Noah will make the ark safe from the judgment by applying the blood of Jesus, inside and outside. Grace is sure salvation! Grace is released to men because Jesus shed His Blood on the Cross of Calvary!

There shall be only one window for light and ventilation at the top of the ark. There shall be only one door. Jesus said: “I am the Door” (Jn 10:9). God told Noah that when he will finish building the ark, He will send animals, male and female. They will willingly come and enter the ark. Noah was to gather food for all of them. At that time, all men and animals were vegetarian. Grace provides all that we need to survive! The animals will survive with Noah and his family. The building of the ark took about 120 years. During this time, Noah built and preached the Gospel (2 Pet 2:5). None of them who heard him believed the Word of God. Noah may have been a frustrated preacher but what matters is that Grace located him and saved him.

Looking at all these details, nobody but God could have this idea of building an ark to float on the waters. After the last nail was set in position, Noah, his family and all the animals entered the ark. And God shut the door. Then the rain started. It flooded the earth. As the waters were rising, the ark was lifted above them. Grace always lifts above sin, above trials and temptations. Grace is the greatest Lifter out of sorrow! The nonstop rain stopped after 40 days. Apart the sea creatures, all living beings, men and animals perished in the flood. After the screaming and pleadings of the desperate dying people, the silence of death came over the land. Noah stayed in the ark for 375 days. He came out and offered animal sacrifice to God for sparing their lives. He recognized that salvation is by Grace alone! God was pleased and promised never to destroy the world by water. Out of that flood, eight people came on earth. It was a new beginning. Grace has the power to give you a new beginning! The promised Seed that will bruise the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15) continued its journey among men. One of the descendants of Noah, Jesus Christ, came to earth as a Man full of Grace and Truth (Jn 1:14). The Ark is a symbol of Christ! There is salvation, safety, and satisfaction in Christ alone! King Grace expects faith and worship as the proper response to His royal help! Noah entered as the owner of the ark. After about one year, he came out as the owner of the world! To God be all the glory! Grace is King! Worship the Lord!