SIGNS, WONDERS AND OUR FAITH

(This sermon was preached this Sunday, by Pastor Richmond Leigh, my husband)

During this Sunday service, Pastor Richmond Leigh preached from the Book of John. “So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!” Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!” Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household” (Jn 4:46-53).

 

Pastor Richmond Leigh said that the signs, wonders and miracles are manifestations of supernatural powers. In particular, the miracles in the New Testament proved the divinity of Christ. Even with the advance of science, the miracles that Jesus performed have not been replicated by men. For example, nobody could change water into wine, walk on the water or make a man who was born blind to see.  These miracles had two effects upon those who witnessed them. Some were attracted to Jesus and believed that He was sent by God, because no one could perform such miracles except by the power of God. Others, sadly, rejected the Lord, in spite of witnessing the miracles.

 

As Christians, our faith is not based on miracles. We believe that Jesus is Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus did some of the miracles because He had compassion upon the needy men and women. But the primary reason why He did them was to reveal His glory to men on earth. “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him” (Jn 2:11). Our Lord was the greatest Teacher. The miracles were like ‘visual aids’. He was teaching the people to believe in Him, that He is the Messiah. He wanted the people to trust Him as their Savior; that He came to die for their sins.  Salvation is God’s supernatural work. The people must believe the Word of God and become born again. But many of the people who listened to Jesus wanted only His miracles and not His Person or His teachings. They wanted the miracles but not the Word of God. The purpose of the miracles was to lead them to the Word of God so that they can believe. Our Lord Jesus Christ wanted them to believe in Him even without miracles.  Men of little faith want to see miracles before they believe in Jesus.

 

In the story found in John Chapter 4, the son of a noble man was very sick, to the point of death. The father came to Jesus looking for a miracle.  The father trekked 20 miles from Capernaum to Cana, to meet with the Lord. Jesus had compassion on him. Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. What Jesus did was ‘to connect’ the miracle to the Word of God. Jesus did not go with him to Capernaum. But He gave him the Word. The father believed! With the word in his heart, he trekked back another 20 miles.  He had enough time to meditate upon that Word of God that produces faith. He discovered that the son was healed at the very hour Jesus spoke the Word! It was like Jesus healed the son by ‘a spiritual remote control’. The father believed the Word and the son was healed!

 

This is a good lesson for all of us. The primary purpose why the Son of God came to earth was not to perform miracles. It was to die for our sins! It was for our salvation! But He also performed miracles because He was compassionate. The true miracles done in the name of Jesus are intimately connected with faith in the Word of God! Miracles should lead us to the Word of God. Faith in the Word produces miracles! These days, many false prophets try to deceive the people who fake miracles (Mt 24:24). They do it to attract crowds so that they can collect money or become famous. But the true children of God cannot be totally deceived because their faith is not based on signs and wonders, but on the Word of God, which stands forever! Amen!

 

These are some honest questions: Pastor, do you get angry if the Lord does not do miracles in a crusade? Do you get angry with God if He does not do miracles to prove that you are a child of God? You people in the choir, what is the purpose of your singing? Is it for a show? You people who play instruments, why are you doing it? Is for fame or money? Or is it for the glory of God? Christian women, what is the purpose of your dressing up each Sunday with expensive clothes? Is it to seduce men or it is for the glory of God? Christian men, what is your attitude to money? Do you pay your tithes and offerings? Do you desire to contribute to the expansion of the Kingdom of God, or not?

 

Let’s never forget! God exists! Jesus Christ is the Lord! Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God! He died that we might live! We are not justified by miracles. We are justified by faith the Lord Jesus Christ! The Cross is the greatest miracle this universe has ever seen! Salvation is the greatest miracle offered to man! Nothing compares with this! This is the will of God, that men will be saved! Miracles are good but their effect is temporary. Salvation is eternal!  Become born again! Worship the Lord!

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MY TESTIMONY IN A SONG

“Like the woman at the well, I was seeking
For things that could not satisfy.
And then I heard my Savior speaking—
“Draw from My well that never shall run dry.”

Fill my cup, Lord; I lift it up Lord;
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.”

(R. Blanchard)

 

I’m alive and healthy. I have roof over my head, clothes and food to eat. My soul is saved! I AM A SUCCESS STORY!  Glory to God!

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WHAT THE WIFE DESIRES FROM HER HUSBAND?

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself” (Eph 5:25-28)
 
The Christian marriages are under serious attacks. The answer to the above question is found in the Word of God. I confirm it from my experience as a wife of more than 45 years and also from my experience as a Pastor. One thing is clear: the devil hates successful godly and happy marriages! To have a successful marriage it takes a lot of effort. That is why the spiritually lazy are all unhappily married. Any woman, but especially if she is born again, has her own expectations concerning marriage. This is because she reads the Bible and she sees God’s standard concerning the men. She is not happy if her dreams do not come true.
 
What does a Christian woman desires from her husband?
*Love! The husband must love her in a particular way: ‘even as Christ loves the Church’. This is the greatest love of all. It is not just a seasonal emotion, but a forever sacrificial love.
*Prayer! The husband must pray with and for his wife. Before praying for children, for friends and the extended family, the husband must regularly pray for his wife.
*Cleansing! A godly husband must ‘wash’ his wife with the Word of God. He must study the Bible to have enough ‘water and soap’ to do it.
*Providing! A husband must provide for the wife. He must be an ambassador of Jehovah Jireh in the home.
*Trustworthy! A godly husband must keep his word. He should not lie or give false hopes. He should not promise things he cannot perform. Breaking a promise to the wife means breaking her heart. And that breaking takes a long time to repair. He must be sexually faithful to his wife.
*Communicate! The husband must speak the truth in love! He should be a lover and a leader using good words! They should talk ‘heart to heart’, about everything. Silence is not a good communicator. You may misinterpret the absence of words. My husband and I we talk about everything. We are friends, lovers and co-laborers in ministry.
*Spiritual covering! The husband must take responsibility for the mistakes of his wife. He should not blame her harshly. He must correct the wife in love. This correction is an art. Do not correct in anger, but always in love. Be patient and expect improvement. Rejoice when the good changes come.
*A good father! The husband must be a good father to their children.
*Co-laborer! The husband must help carry the wife’s burdens. He must pray to understand his wife. This is not an easy task but with the help of the Holy Spirit he will succeed.
*Rejoice with her! He must make her laugh for laughter is like medicine. He should discuss their finances with her. They should not be greedy or wasteful. They should pay their tithes and offerings in the church.
*Be an encourager! He must encourage her to be all that God wants her to be. He should not expect perfection for no one is perfect. But they should mature spiritually and rejoice in the journey of life. Each season of life is beautiful in the presence of God!
 
This is our testimony. My husband loves me and I know it because he has proved it to me numerous times. He loves me with words and action. He prays for me. One of the sweetest times for me it is when my husband calls me and says: “My wife, let me pray for you…” To me this is the highest form of love in action. I so appreciate it! Recently, having some health issues, my husband’s prayers carried me on. My husband studies the Bible daily. I love it! We discuss the wonderful things we find in the Word of God. He provides for the financial needs of the home. He is not a lazy man at all! I trust him when he promises me things. He does not lie to me. He encourages me and he corrects me when I need both. He is happy when I improve in my character. We rejoice together. He is a good father to our children and a good grandfather. We share in the burden of the ministry. We laugh together, we work together. My marriage was not perfect from the beginning for we were both sinners when we fell in love. But after we became saved, the spiritual fruit started to appear and now our marriage is a garden of the Lord. Glory to God!
 
This is a prayer I often pray. It has worked for me. If you have faith, it will work for you! “Lord Jesus, please help me to see You in my husband’s eyes…help me to feel Your touch thru my husband’s hands. Bless our marriage. Bless our home with Your presence. Let the water be changed into wine in our marriage, In Jesus name, amen!”
 
(In the picture, my husband and I)
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IN ME YOU MAY HAVE PEACE

“Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:31-33)
 
These are the words spoken by our Lord just before He went to the Cross. He challenged His disciples to believe that He alone is the Savior of men. His disciples were ‘scattered’ and left Him alone to die. In Greek, the word ‘scattered’ is ‘skorpio’. It means the sting of a scorpion, so painful, that men run away and scatter abroad. Peter, who represents all of us, ran away from Jesus and even denied knowing Him. The devil, the evil ‘scorpion’, has done his worst. But Jesus encourages His disciples by reminding them of who He is. Jesus is Lord! Even when we are unfaithful, He remains faithful. Even when we fail, Christ can never fail! He is the victor over sin, sickness and death! Salvation was gained by Jesus Christ alone. We ran away. We cannot share in His glory as the only Savior of men. The glory is His alone, the Lamb upon the throne, slain for the salvation of sinners like you and me. This is what I believe!
 
Jesus is preparing His disciples for what shall come. His words are eternal. In this world we shall have ‘tribulation’. In Greek, the word ‘tribulation’ means to be hard pressed, to be stressed or to be squeezed into the mold of the world. The world is the system of men who live without Christ. The people of this world hate God but love religion. They strive against one another. ‘Dog eats dog’ is their strategy to succeed. They have bitter envy and selfish ambition in their hearts. They lust for sex and material things. The devil is ‘the god of this world’. He will try his best to make you backslide, for you to enter the world system and to live like them. The devil will try to teach you how to seduce, manipulate and intimidate others so that you ‘succeed’ in this world. Resist the devil and he will run away from you!
 
What shall we do then? What is our hope and shield against this flood of evil in our minds? It is the peace of Jesus Christ that ‘passes all understanding’. Jesus left this peace to us on earth! This is not the natural peace you may have when all things go well. The supernatural peace of Jesus becomes stronger when things go wrong, when hearts break and tears fall. Filled with this peace Jesus went to the Cross. He died in peace. He rose from the dead in peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace! Our Lord is the greatest Champion who has ever lived. This is His anthem: ‘I have overcome the world!’ Never forget that! Thru His peace Jesus has overcome the world system of greed, lust, envy and wickedness. His Peace is stronger than them all. In Him alone we find this peace. ‘In Me you may have peace!’ That is why in Christ, we too, are champions. No matter how loud the world shouts about its success, anyone outside Christ is a loser!!! Do not be intimidated by them! But anyone inside Christ is a winner! We move from one triumph to another, from one testimony to another! Victory is our portion! Jesus says: “Be of good cheer!” Thru all things in this life, be strong, faithful, courageous and confident of the God you serve! There is no one like Him! Give God Glory! Child of God, I say to you: Be encouraged today! Be filled with the Holy Spirit! May the peace of God fill your hearts today and forever! In Jesus name, amen!

KEEP THE FIRE BURNING

“A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out” (Lev. 6:13)
One of the symbols of God’s Spirit is fire. Jesus Christ is the Baptizer with fire (Mt 3:11, 12). Just like John was baptizing repentant people in the water, so the Lord Jesus Christ will baptize your spirit in a river of holy fire. The purpose for that is to cleanse and purify your faith. Everything you say that you believe must pass thru God’s fire. If your words are true, they will come to pass. If your words are lies, they shall be burnt and you shall be called a liar. It is like gold passing thru the fire. Nothing can produce spiritual purity, anointing and power except this baptism of fire. In the Old Testament the priests were in charge of the fire at the tabernacle of God. This fire was miraculous. God Himself sent the fire on the sacrifice. But the maintenance of that holy fire was the duty of the priests. Even when they traveled the priests had to carry the fire burning with them. The priests received three main instructions about this holy work. There are two additions and one subtraction: +sacrifice + wood – ashes!
(We too can learn from this)
 
*They should always place a sacrifice on the altar so that the fire will burn it. Without a sacrifice on the altar the fire becomes ‘idle’ and it is in danger of quenching. For example: a new born baby must be placed at his mother’s breast to suck. The breasts are ‘stimulated’ to produce milk. If not, the glands will stop working and the breasts will dry up. In the same way, the sacrifice ‘stimulates’ the fire. If the fire is quenched the priest is in serious danger. He has failed his work of God. He may be tempted to produce a ‘man-made’ fire which is called ‘the spirit of religion’. This will surely be rejected by God. Many churches and Christians have become lukewarm because of neglecting God’s true anointing and fire. We must daily present our bodies as a living sacrifice on the altar of God. Let God’s fire burn in your bones! You may feel uncomfortable but this is how God’s work is done! Take care of your body the best way you can (diet, exercise etc). Do this not to become stronger, healthier or more beautiful, but because your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit ‘walking’ on earth. Take care of God’s temple!
*The priests should always place wood every morning so that the fire can burn. You need to daily study the Bible and pray. That is added material (‘wood’) to the fire.
*Every day the priests should always take the ashes outside the camp to a ‘clean place’. The priest who does this special work should be clothed so that the ashes will not stick to his body. These ashes represent the end result of the work of the Holy Spirit. At the end of your ministration (singing worship songs, preaching, giving help to the needy etc) the people are to give glory to God and not to you. But if you receive the praises of people, the holy ashes will stick to your naked body and God will be angry with you. Another reason why the ashes must be removed is because they will quench the fire. The altar must be clean so that the fire can burn brighter daily! Yesterday’s work is gone! Today is a new day to serve God with a clean, submissive heart!
 
Finally, what is the lesson for us? “Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord” (Rom 12:11). May the Holy Spirit help you desire a pure heart, anointing and power for ministry! You cannot buy purity, anointing or power with money! You must pay the price for it! This fire is the holy romance necessary to worship God! May your heart continue to burn for the Lord Jesus Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit! May revival come!
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NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR GOD!

“Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You!!!” (Jer 32:17)
 
Are you sick? Fear not! Pray! Your prayer will end in praise! I know that God will answer you! God will heal you! And you shall be glad! With God, there is no big or small sickness. He is able to heal them all. With God there is nothing like ‘incurables’. God created your body! He is able to ‘repair’ it when it is broken. No matter what the doctors say, trust God! I am a medical doctor by profession (retired now). I am a pastor by God’s calling. God’s word is final. Our medical textbooks are not! Praise the Lord!

ARMLOADS OF BLESSINGS

“It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
When God returned Zion’s exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
We couldn’t believe our good fortune.
“We were the talk of the nations— they said:
“God was wonderful to them!”
It s true! God was wonderful to us;
We are one happy people…
 
And now, God, do it again—
Bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
Will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
Will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing!”
(Ps 126; TM)
 
This is my testimony: There is a special feeling to carry babies to the presence of God and to dedicate them thru prayer and holy commitment! When God called me to be a pastor in Nigeria, I did not anticipate such a great honor, to be a mother (and a grandmother) in Christ to so many blessed, special people! I did not know that I will be happier as an older woman! This God surprised me-oh!
 
This picture was taken yesterday in our church. See me-oh!!! Proudly carrying in my arms sweet Baby Boy Noah Josiah! Next to me is Pastor Trish Eresanara carrying a sweet baby girl, also there for dedication to God)
 
I use this picture as a point of contact for all couples who pray for the fruit of the womb! Trust God no matter what the doctors are saying! God is greater than them all! God will do it! This is my wish: Let me carry your babies too! My children in Christ, I Love you! My name is Malia!
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