THE DOCTRINE OF THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT

THE EARLY CHURCH (5)/ THE DOCTRINE OF THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT

Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled The early Church (5)/ The Doctrine of the Unity of the Spirit. Her main text was taken from the Book of Acts.  “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.… he (Peter) testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day, about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Ac 2:1-4; 40-47).

THE DOCTRINE OF THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT – WITH ONE ACCORD, IN ONE PLACE

The disciples were waiting for the Promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit, in unity of the Spirit. It was a requirement of Jesus for the Spirit to come and ‘weld’ them into a new Body called the Church. We are told that they were ‘all with one accord in one place’ (Ac 2:1). The early church continued the practice this unity of the Spirit so that the Holy Spirit can work in their midst and thru them. The unity of the Spirit is vital for the organic growth of the Church and for experiencing miracles. One of the most difficult things to do is to keep is the unity of the Spirit!!!

Unity is generally defined as the state of being ONE! It is a condition of harmony, peace, joy, balance, and beauty. Unity is a state when the different parts agree with one another and work for the common good. Unity is togetherness. Unity is power. The opposite of unity is division and confusion. These are the basic attitudes of the world, as the result of the Curse of Babel (Genesis 11). “God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints” (1 Cor 14:33). In Greek, the word ‘confusion’ means disorder, tumult (when a group of restless people argue, and talk loud at the same time). The word peace in Greek (irene) means to have a calm sound mind, and to experience prosperity. Peace is unity and confusion is division of mind. The Church of the Living God is the only gathering of people in the world where there is unity of the Spirit. The Church is blessed, and the curse of Babel is destroyed in her midst. The unity of the Spirit manifests as life, power, and growth! This law applies to godly marriages too. The relationship between husband and wife should be in flesh and Spirit. Then the marriage become ‘born again’, it matures, becoming a source of life and ministry to many.

The doctrine of the unity of the Spirit says that the Church, the Body of Christ, is One! It is composed of all the believers in Christ Jesus, but the Body is One! This supernatural unity is the direct effect of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Though One, we are many, collectively following Christ our Head and together fulfilling His purpose and will. “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:12, 13).

The Unity of the Spirit is not a natural desire to stay together, or to try to be friendly to one another. It is said that ‘birds of the same feather flock together’. Christians are ‘birds’ of the same Spirit ‘feather’. It is also said that ‘blood is thicker than water’. It is true. But Spirit is thicker than blood. The unity of the brethren in the Church is the desire of Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, and it is maintained by the Holy Spirit.  

The unity of the Spirit is a peculiar atmosphere among believers based on the same faith in Christ and in His Word. Unity cannot be forced. Unity cannot be achieved by obeying some laws. No man can produce it. It is the unity that only the Holy Spirit can produce. Man is not asked to produce this unity, but man must ‘keep’ it. Sin, especially pride, selfish ambition, hatred and competition, divides, damages, and destroys it. “Nothing will avail to divide the Church as love of power” (Chrysostom, died 407 AD).

THE BLOOD OF JESUS WAS SHED FOR THIS UNITY OF THE SPIRIT

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (Jn 17:20-23). The Unity of the Spirit in the church is the result of God’s work in Christ. The Blood of Jesus was shed on the Cross for this unity to be given to us as a gift! Jesus requested for it from the Father. This unity reflects the Trinity’s glory and perfection on earth. It is a sign to the unbelievers that God is alive and working in the Church. Unity in the Church is one of the greatest tools for evangelism. Praise the Lord!

The unity of the Spirit is always spiritual and never in the flesh. The unity of the Spirit is always related to unity of faith. The believers are one in the Spirit because they believe the same major doctrines. They may disagree in ‘matters of indifference’ but they agree about the great basic doctrines of salvation. This is a spiritual law: before you can have fellowship with others, you must agree with them in the matter of faith and doctrines. Mind has more power than the emotions! These days, churches desire fellowship at any cost. But that assembly is not blessed by the Holy Spirit because they do not believe the same doctrine. Faith in the Word of God, in truth, is more important than fellowship. Selah!

The Church is made of many believers. There is a spiritual unity among them. It is not like a car that has many parts. It is like a human body that has many organs but the same blood flows thru all. Therefore, the unity of the Spirit is organic, not mechanical, not forced. Each believer is connected directly to Christ, who is the Head of the Church. At the same time, each believer connects to other believers thru the Spirit. This is the result of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fire done by Christ. This is how the Church is a Living organic growing Body. The world is not united. All unbelievers are scattered and divided. When a sinner becomes saved, the Holy Spirit goes inside him and gives him eternal life. That life starts to manifest thru fruits of the Spirit and unity with other believers. Thru the Holy Spirit that new believer is baptized into the Body of Christ. He is not like an addition. It becomes part of the body. God has predestined that believer and has already prepared work for him to do. He becomes a part of the Body of Christ, receives gifts from the Holy Spirit and a vision of his work on earth for the glory of His Savior.

Unity is not conformity. All parts are not the same as biscuits in a box. In unity there is diversity. Like with the human body, some parts, like the eyes, are seen. Other organs, like ‘the private parts’, are covered. Other parts, like the organs inside the body are invisible. But all these parts are necessary to the life of the body. The parts cooperate and do not compete with one another. Each believer is called to be a disciple and a servant of Jesus. He matures spiritually so that he can work for God, do his part in the Body. No believer can survive on his own. The branches of the vine take their life sap from the vine. Jesus is the Vine, and we are the branches. Rebellion and division in the church is like deadly poison. For a believer there is nothing like ‘I do what I want and when I want it’. In the Body of Christ there is submission to God and to His delegated human authority. As each part submits, and grows, the Body becomes stronger. Therefore, there are stronger and weaker Christians. There are also stronger and weaker local Churches. Selah!  

THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IS A GIFT AND A GOAL

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all… “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:1-6; 13).

Apostle Paul is talking to the brethren in Ephesus. He knows that they meet in their houses. They are different in race, social status, and economic status. Some are masters and others are slaves. There are men, women, and children. What keeps them together is the unity of the faith in Christ and the Holy Spirit. In our churches today, we face the same challenges. The church is a mixed multitude. There are people of different races, ages, economic and social status. It has always been difficult to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. It is not easy for people, even for the believers in the church, to relate well to people who are different than they. Paul wrote this letter as a prisoner in Rome. He is pleading with them to walk worthy of the high calling as a Christian. The Holy Spirit is in each believer and in the Church. The Church is the only Body God can use to change the world. The highest gift from God is to be saved and become a member of His Body on earth!

The purpose for this unity is to give glory to God and for each believer to become like Christ! How is this unity to be maintained? ‘With all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love in the bond (or band). The words describe an attitude of love, peace, humility, and gentleness, typical of a true believer. This attitude is not weakness, but strength. It is being like Jesus who said: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt 11:28-30).

The unity of the Spirit is described in two ways: a Gift and a Goal! The unity of the Spirit is first a gift from the resurrected Christ. It must be gratefully received, kept, preserved, and protected, by all the believers. At the same time, the unity of the Spirit is a goal to attain. The unity of the Spirit in the Body of Christ is a Unity of Faith and Knowledge of the Son of God. The aim is to mature all believers, to become ‘perfect’, to become like Jesus! In that way, the Body of Christ becomes spiritually strong, pleasing to Christ. In other words, we protect what we have received, and we walk towards this perfect unity of the Spirit. It is like salvation: it is a gift to be received by faith and, thru the process of sanctification we ‘work it out with fear and trembling’ (Phil 2:12). This unity requires the study of God’s Word and prayer. Humility and love are basic attitudes to keep this unity, both in the Church and the marriage relationship. Faith in God is necessary too. Faith comes by hearing God’s Word (Rom 10:17). The knowledge of the Son of God, His life and work to save sinners, is found in the Word of God. Therefore, we can say that the church where the true Gospel, the true doctrines of salvation are preached, that is a church that will experience spiritual maturity, the unity of the Spirit and revival. Any church that preaches false doctrines will remain divided and will not experience unity or revival! The ’holy glue’ that keeps the unity in the Church is LOVE!

THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IS LIKE THE HUMAN BODY – THE PARTS ARE THE SAME AND ALSO DIFFERENT

1-We are the same! To fulfill our calling we must be lowly, humble, gentle, and patient, bearing with one another in love. These are the necessary qualities to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. When pride, selfish ambition, and impatience manifest, the unity and the peace is destroyed. It is Christ, thru His shed Blood on the Cross, and by Holy Spirit, that started this unity of the Spirit. When Jesus died, the wall of hateful separation between Jew and Gentile, between different groups of people, was ‘abolished’ (Eph 2:13-18). All the believers, as One Man, together, we have access to God the Father thru Jesus Christ our Lord! Hallelujah!

Our duty is to ‘keep’ this unity, to maintain it. We are all the same, sinners saved by grace! We may differ in some issues but for as long as we believe the major doctrines of salvation, we can keep the unity of the Spirit. The only people we cannot be united with are the people who are not saved, who believe false doctrines. This is a reminder that the single brethren should not marry unbelievers. They will be united in the flesh but not in the Spirit. That marriage cannot be happy or successful. Selah!

2-We are different! God made us different. We are of different races, gender, nationalities, levels of education or social status. In the world, the rich oppress the poor, the educated mock the illiterate. There is racial and gender discrimination. Just because they are different it is hard for men and women to keep the unity of the Spirit. One of the greatest challenges in marriage is to keep this unity of the Spirit. Sexual lust, adultery, greed, pride, and sin in general, destroys the glue of this Unity. Repentance and restitution are necessary for the unity to be re-established. Another area of pride and competition is the manifestation of spiritual gifts in the church. Christ gave each one of the believers’ different gifts. These gifts are for the unity and blessing of the Body. But these are a source of envy and division in the church. It should not be so. We need to acknowledge Christ’ sovereignty, authority, and generosity in giving gifts to men as He pleases. All gifts are for the benefit of the Body. No gift is to be used selfishly or for monetary gain. Don’t envy or despise other people’s gifts. Love and pray for one another!

UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN MARRIAGE

“The Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him. And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so, then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.” In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:2-12).

God hates divorce (Mal 2:16). Why?  Because God invented marriage. God created each man to have his own wife. In God’s original plan, there were not lonely or single people without a mate. Each man had his wife. Each couple had children. There was no sin, no divorce, and no death. There was not an option for polygamy. When the man and his wife got united in marriage they left their families, joined together, and became ‘one flesh’. Number ‘one’ cannot be divided. The children are the product of that ‘one flesh’. As you cannot cut a child into two and the child will still be alive, so, you cannot divorce two people who are already married. God ‘has joined them together’ means that marriage is God’s work and not man’s work. Divorce means to destroy God’s work. Every marriage, every conception in the womb, every delivery of a baby, these are the work of God! In the Old Testament breaking of marriage, or adultery, was punished with death (Lev 20:10). But if a man has sex with a (slave) single woman, the man shall be ‘scourged’ (beaten with 40 stripes) but not killed (Lev 19:20-22). This is to tell you that adultery because it was the breaking of God’s work, had a greater punishment than fornication!!! The last of the Ten Commandments forbade ‘coveting’. Adultery is ‘heart coveting or lusting’ of another man’s wife. This sexual lust is dangerously close to death punishment. Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:27, 28). Adultery (in the body or in the heart) is a form of dividing and scattering God’s Work on earth. Repent therefore! The unity of the Spirit in marriage is maintained by the husband loving his wife as Christ loved the Church, and by the wife submitting to her own husband, as unto the Lord Jesus! (Eph 5:22-33). Selah!

BEWARE OF THE SIN OF DIVISION!!!

Dividing people is a work of the flesh. “The works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions (strong disagreements), heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:19-21).

Division in the Church in a sin. Apostle Paul is asking: “Is Christ divided?” (1 Cor 1:13). Obviously, the answer is No! The unity of the Spirit in the church is the result of preaching the truth, the true Gospel. Preaching false doctrines leads to sin, lawlessness, and division. People who believe the same thing, will stay united. We are of the same Body of Christ, the same Blood saved all of us. We have the same Father therefore we are members of the same spiritual family. Based on this truth, we should be flexible and keep the unity of the Spirit.

The strategy of the devil in Church and in marriages, is this: “Divide and conquer!’ Do not be ignorant on this! There are many warnings against false brethren who infiltrate the church like spies, to find a weakness in the Body, to divide it. These deceivers may behave well, looking so much like true Christians. For a moment, stop admiring their works and listen to their words. You will discover that they believe false doctrines. They reject the true Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected. They pretend to be humble, but they are proud. They pretend to love you, but, in their hearts, they desire that you should backslide. They want you to lose your reward. In the Old Testament, the spirit of Absalom represents the evil spirit of pride, division, selfish ambition, bitterness and unforgiveness, sexual lust, and love for power. He tried to divide the kingdom. He deceived the people of Israel thru lies and flatteries. In this way, he ‘stole their hearts’ (2 Samuel 15:6). He died an untimely, shameful, death. This was God’s punishment. Selah!   

A homewrecker is someone who has an adulterous affair with a married person and causes that marriage to fail. He (she) is responsible for a couple’s separation or divorce. He is happy that the couple has divorced. He wants to replace one of the married partners with himself. Apart from human beings, there are other evil activities also called ‘homewreckers’: pornography, alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, or domestic violence. The opposite of a homewrecker is called a homebuilder. Generally, love and wisdom build a home. Foolishness and selfishness destroy a family. “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (PV 14:1). This is a question: If God punishes adultery with death, how much more serious is the sin of church-wrecking? Selah!     

We are commanded to totally separate from false brethren who reject the basic doctrine (or Gospel) of Christ (2 Jn 1:7-11). We are also commanded to note people who divide the body with false teachings, lies and flattery. If they refuse to repent, they will be crushed by the Prince of Peace! Avoid them! “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore, I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly… Amen!” (Rom 16:17-20). Avoid people who are easily offended, over-sensitive, who quarrel, and verbally abuse others, especially the leaders in the church. Divisive people need to be disciplined in the church. “Avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned” (Titus 3:9-11). Also, avoid people who gossip and are bitter, unforgiving. “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends” (PV 16:28; NIV). Unforgiveness divides friends. “He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or gossips about a matter separates intimate friends” (PV 17:9; AMP). Selah!

JESUS IS THE THREE-FOLD CORD

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecc 4:9-12)

The word ‘overpowered’ means to prevail. The word ‘withstand’ means to resist successfully against an attack. The word ‘broken’ means to tear apart, to divide or separate. There is power in unity. This applies to marriage and to church. A lonely Christian is vulnerable specially to attacks. Having another to agree in prayer and encouragement is strength. Two cannot be pushed back. The third cord that binds the other two is Jesus Christ. This is the unity of the Spirit. Two in the unity of the Spirit can be divided only if they damage the unity seal. This is what Jesus said: “Again, I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt 18:19-20).

HOW DO WE MAINTAIN THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT?

How do we maintain the unity of the Spirit? By being like Jesus! By dying to self and living to Christ! “Therefore, if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord; of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil 2:1-4).

THE CHURCH IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

“Therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph 2:19-22). God builds His Church, like His Holy Temple. God arranges us as living stones, one to support the other. Each believer is a living stone filled with the Holy Spirit. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. But together, as One Body, we become ‘the dwelling place of God’ the Holy Spirit. This Body is alive and growing. This Body changes the world. All things work together for the good of not only individual believers, but for the good of the Church! The Church is The Father’s gift to the Son! The Church is the most expensive thing bought in this universe. Jesus died and shed His Blood to purchase it. The Church is the temple on earth where the Holy Spirit dwells. The Church is God’s greatest treasure. The Church is the foundation and pillar of truth and the best sample of heaven on earth! Worship the Lord!

PRAYER/SONG FOR UNITY OF THE SPIRIT

“Bind Us Together, Lord/ Bind Us Together/ With Cords That Cannot Be Broken

Bind Us Together, Lord/ Bind Us Together/ Bind Us Together In Love!

There Is Only One God/ There Is Only One King/ There Is Only One Body/ That Is Why We Sing” (song by Bob Gillman)

Worship the Lord!

BY HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED


“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Is 53:3-5)

This is the description of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit revealed it to the Prophet Isaiah long before the first Christmas. Isaiah saw Him as a suffering servant set to do the will of God. He also saw Him in His glory that followed His sufferings. This is a word for all who are sick at heart, in their mind on in their body. ‘By His stripes we are healed!’ Please meditate upon these words! It is not saying that ‘we shall be healed’ in the future. We are healed now! If you believe that Jesus was punished and died on the Cross for your sins and that He carried away your sicknesses then you are healed NOW! The word ‘stripes’ means permanent marks on the body following severe beating with the whip or with the rod. It is a raised mark on the surface of the body produced by a grievous blow. The Lord acquired these stripes on the Cross. He took the punishment for our sins. In heaven He has a new body but the stripes are still there as a reminder. His hands are still punctured by the nails on earth. Oh, what a Savior…

This is my testimony: When I am sick, I pray and trust God for healing. I repeat these holy words with faith and courage: ‘By Your stripes I am healed!’ I repeat these words again and again; when I am in the kitchen and cooking; when I climb the stairs… I say these words when I take my shower… By the time my mouth is tired of saying them, the sickness is gone! The Word of God is a holy seed. Let it enter into your spirit! It will produce roots and fruits. One of the fruits is called faith! May your faith increase! May your testimony be established! Glory to God!

THE WORSHIP CONTINUES

“My wife, there is no retirement with worshipping God. Even in our old age, we must serve Him to the end. His holy calling to us as pastors does not have a retirement program. God will give us more grace and more wisdom, even as we get older and our bodies get weaker. Fear not! God’s strength shall equal our days!”

(The advice of my husband, Pastor Richmond Sisan Leigh, to me, before he went to heaven. These are precious words to me!)

FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!” (Ps 139:13-17)

God knows everything about you. God knows everything about your children. You are not a mistake. You were in God’s mind before you came on earth! You are a planned pregnancy! God formed you in the secret place where no human eye can see, and no human hand can touch. Today, take a moment and praise the God who formed your inward parts! He started with one little cell and lovingly multiplies it to become a baby! All your organs function well without asking for your help. God covered you in your mother’s womb! The word ‘covered’ means to place a screen over the baby, to protect and defend him (or her) from enemies. There are so many reasons why a pregnancy can end in a miscarriage: the baby may be sick, the womb or the placenta may have a problem, the mother may be sick too. But even so, at just the right time, you came out alive and well. Praise the Lord!

God made all your organs. He formed the inward parts. These words mean the kidneys, the heart and all the rest organs. Everything inside you, all your organs, visible or invisible, co-operate with the will of God. That is why you live! God made and protected your body. God is jealous over the wellbeing of the organs! From the time of conception, until the very end, God protects your baby’s heart and mind. No heart beats by itself. God counts the beats, the seconds, and the days! Trust God! You will not experience miscarriage. You will not be cheated by untimely death! God knows His job! God is in control! Praise Him! I mean really praise God aloud with singing!

You who pray to have children, may God give you, your heart’s desire! For nothing is impossible for God! Just vow to give God alone all the glory!

Today I praise God for His protection over me, from my conception until the very end! Today I praise God for His continuous personal loving protection over my children and grandchildren! My life and my children we are signs and wonders of the grace of the only Living God! From the bottom of my heart, I praise You, Lord! By God’s grace, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My very body declares the power and the glory of Almighty God! I can never feel ugly! I can never feel too short, too tall, too skinny, or too fat! I am a child of God! I am and I feel beautiful! He who made the stars and placed them in the sky, made me as well! God made me unique and special! His name is Wonderful! God has placed a soul in my body. God breathe His Spirit inside my soul! I am saved! Hallelujah!

(Picture taken from the internet of a 16-week-old baby)

May be an image of text

NO GREATER JOY

‘I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth’ (3Jn 1:4)

In these two pictures there is our older daughter, Alina. The distance of time between the two pictures is almost forty years. What a time! So many precious memories come to my mind… Things changed, locations are not the same… Even our faces have changed… But one thing is sure: God has been with us all this time. I also declare that He will be with us unto the end of time.

This morning I am pondering once more, with thanksgiving in my heart, about God’s gift of family, of having children. I still remember how anxious I was when I became a mother 43 years ago. Our children were all fruits of true love. As a young bride I loved my husband with all my heart. We met in Romania and fell in love over a cadaver (in the anatomy class)!!!! Against all odds we got married. At that time, I’ve never traveled out of Romania and I did not know where Nigeria is on the map. We had two children, a boy called Toju John and a girl called Alina Yemi. In 1980, my husband and I came to Nigeria, with our children. I was anxious during this transition, but I trusted my husband to lead and teach me to live here. I was not saved. I did not believe in God. I could not speak English. We got jobs in the Specialist Hospital Benin City. We hired a three bed room flat. We bought basic furniture and a small television set ‘black and white’. I was very happy. I chose to work in the Children’s department knowing that they will not complain about this ‘Oyibo’ who could not speak their language well.

Little by little I settled down. I was a wife, mother of two, and a medical doctor. I learned to eat and cook Nigerian food. It was cheaper to buy than the foreign food. Since then, I love to eat jolof rice, moi moi, acara, beans and dodo, shaki or Kpomo stew, pepper soup with goat meat with boiled tam, eggussi soup and vegetable soup. Later we moved to Warri and opened our private hospital called ‘Lily Clinic’. In 1986 I became born again thru a crisis conversion. My life in Nigeria became not just a story but a testimony! Glory to God!!!

The first picture of Alina is taken in Benin city, on the house we stayed later on Boundary Road. She was selecting discs to play music. She always loved music, to sing and to dance. The second picture is taken this year on a trip we went with her in Greece. We are visiting with her. She is a mother of three children herself. She is a nurse practitioner Her life has not been always easy, but it is good now. I remember my anxiety in the past, how much I wanted to protect my children from the challenges of life in this difficult place called ‘the world’. Later, after I became saved, I will fast and pray that our children will fulfill destiny. Looking back, I can testify that God is a faithful God to me as a wife, mother and now, a grandmother. God is good all the time! What a privilege to witness God’s love in the lives of our children…

I walked with my children hand in hand when they were little and heart in heart now that they are adults. Tears were shared. Joys were exchanged. Wisdom of life was imparted! The Lord Jesus promised never to leave us and never to forsake us. He had kept His precious Word!!! This morning, visiting our children and grandchildren, with gratitude in my heart, I bow my head and I worship God!! I declare that there is no one like God! To help in troubled times and to bring to fulfillment dreams of long ago! He who invented love and family, He who has started it all shall complete it to His glory! Thank You Father, Son and Holy Ghost! In Jesus’ name, amen! To God be all the glory!

(From Malia’s diary, 05-09-2018)

THE POWER OF THE NAME OF JESUS

THE EARLY CHURCH (2)/ THE CURSE OF BABEL/ THE POWER OF THE NAME OF JESUS

During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled ‘The early church (2)/ The Curse of Babel/ The power of the name of Jesus! Her main text was taken from the Books of Genesis 11 and Acts 1:12-14; 2:1-13; 2:36-47.

THE EARLY CHURCH – INTRODUCTION

We shall study the early church from the Day of Pentecost until the end of the recorded acts in the Bible.  The pattern of the early church is the same as what happens during revivals. This study should ignite revival in our hearts, in our church, and the overflow should bless the city. Doctor Luke wrote both the Books of Luke and Acts. We shall study the early church in the book of Acts learn how the believers behaved at that time. The early church shows us the perfect pattern of the church, what God had in mind when He sent the Holy Ghost to the believers. One thing is clear, it was a church experiencing revival, a supernatural body that influenced the world. The church started with 120 believers. Right now, there are 2.18 billion Christians around the world representing nearly a third of the estimated global population of 6,9 billion. The Christians are so much spread that no geographical area can claim to be the center of Christianity. The early church was growing in numbers and in authority. They sent evangelists and missionaries to preach the Word. We know that they loved the Word of God, they loved their fellowship, they prayed, they preached, and they did miracles. They held the name of Jesus in highest honor. They had supernatural boldness, authority, and power in the name of Jesus. They lived in the unity of the Spirit. They were extremely conscious of who Christ is in heaven and in their midst. They knew their identity as believers, what Christ has done for them. They exercised holy discipline when necessary, so that the church remains pure. They were loving, helpful, and generous with one another. All were not wealthy but there were not needy among them. They were persecuted by the religious leaders, but always victorious. The pattern of the early church is the original pattern. There are many lessons for us. The coming down of the Holy Spirit and the early church is a holy model for revival and evangelism.

In the book of Luke 24 we see that The Resurrected Christ spoke to His disciples about the plan and the purpose of God, concerning the church. He opened their understanding concerning Himself, as the Living Word of God. They now saw it that Christ needed to suffer and die for sinners, so that they can be saved. They also saw that Christ rose from the dead according to the scriptures. Christ commanded them to go and preach Him and His Gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to other nations. But first, they needed the Gift of the Holy Spirit, to be baptized into one Body and so that they can receive power to do ministry. The promised Holy Spirit came on them on the day of Pentecost, exactly 50 days since Christ resurrected and 10 days since He ascended. The believers were baptized together by the Holy Spirit into a new eternal Body called The Church, or the Body of Christ. The Church is not a manmade organization, a social club, or a branch of the Government. It is the Body or Christ. It is a living organic united Body made from all the born-again believers who have died, live presently, and will live in the future.

The only book that describes how the church began is the Bible. This is the truth revealed in the Bible: God created man for Himself. Man rebelled against God and sin entered the world. The punishment for sin is death. God sends His Son Jesus Christ to become a Man and to die on behalf of men. Jesus dies, is buried, and rises on the third day. Forty days later Jesus ascends to heaven as the Lord of all. He promised to send the Promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit. Ten days later, on the Day of Pentecost, from heaven, He sends the Holy Spirit on the waiting believers. The Holy Spirit unites them like the welding fire. He baptizes them into one Body. He gives them the power to be witnesses unto Him, from Jerusalem, to all Judea, to Samaria, and to the end of the world. This is the Gospel. The Church preaches the Gospel. In this world of sin, the Gospel is the only good news. On the Day of Pentecost, filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter stands and boldly preaches the Gospel. The people were ‘pricked in the heart’ and repent of their sins. That day, God added 3000 souls to the Church.

What is a Christian? The first thing we see that a Christian is a sinner saved by Grace. The early believers changed dramatically. In the past, they believed in Jesus but were afraid of persecution and of death. Now, they suddenly fear nothing and nobody. Their lives bear fruits of godliness. A Christian is someone who has the Holy Spirit inside. The religious unbeliever may attend church but does not have the Holy Spirit inside him. Salvation manifests as a new way of thinking, feeling, and making decisions. For the first time in his life, the Christian begins to think. Sinners do not think. They follow the crowd. But the Christian is spiritually intelligent. He thinks. He understands the Word of God. He can explain his faith. One of the first works of the Holy Spirit is that you begin to think and ask questions about life and death. When Peter preaches people start asking questions: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” The moment you start asking questions, you will find the answers. Peter said: “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. When the Holy Spirit provides the answers, the light of God will shine on your soul. For the very first time in your life, you will see how ignorant you have been all your life. You will know that all these years you were dead in sins. But now, you have received life, eternal life. Joy full of glory will fill your soul! Salvation in Christ is a miracle! It is the greatest gift given by God to man! Halleluiah!

THE CURSE OF BABEL (Genesis 11:1-9)

After the ascension of Christ, the believers went back to Jerusalem, to the upper room where they were staying (Ac 1:12-14). They were together, men and women, including Mary, the mother of Jesus. They all ‘continued’ with one accord in prayer and supplication. In Greek, the word ‘continued’ means to persevere, to persist in waiting upon, steadfastly (in a fixed way, faithful, responsible, no distractions). The unity of the Spirit was a miracle. It was something totally different and new in the history of man. For us to understand the vision, the unity, and the power of the Church, we must go back in time and study the false unity of men against God manifested in the building of the Tower of Babel.

God created man for His purpose. In the Garden of Eden, thru disobedience, man fell into sin. The sin of Adam has been transmitted to all humanity. We are all born sinners, hating God and His ways. God announced the Gospel in the Garden. The seed of the woman shall come and crush the head of the serpent. This is the first prophecy concerning the coming Christ as Savior to men. God curses the serpent, limits the unity of marriage, and curses the ground. After that, God kills a lamb and uses the bloody skins to cover Adam and Eve. This is the second prophetic revelation of Christ, the Lamb of God, who will die to save men. Lastly, God drives the couple out of the Garden. Sin and death have entered the world. Soon, all men except for Noah and his family, become exceedingly sinful. God destroys humanity thru the flood. Only eight people, Noah, his wife, their three sons and wives, survive the flood thru the Ark, which is another symbol of salvation in Christ. This was a new beginning for man! It was a second chance for humanity to live according to God’s word. But man failed again. About 100 years after the flood, men come together in rebellion against God. This is the story of the tower of Babel.

God commanded both Adam and Noah to multiply and spread all over the earth. “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that crawls upon the earth.” (Gen 1:28). “So, God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen 9:1). We are told that the men ‘journeyed East’ and gathered on the plain land of Shinar to build a city that will cover the earth and reach heaven. They obeyed God’s command to fill the earth but soon, they stopped. They decided ‘to dwell’ on the Plane of Shinar. That was disobedience to God! Most Bible commentators believe that the land of Shinar is in the present-day Iraq and is the same with Babylon. Shinar is a desert land. There are no stones to build. The men made bricks from mud and water and baked them in the fire, so that they become strong. They wanted the building to last forever. The purpose in building that tower was threefold: They wanted to build a city whose tower can reach the heavens, to compete with God. Secondly, they wanted to make a name for themselves, to become famous all over the earth. Thirdly, they wanted to stay together in an unholy unity of the flesh, directly disobeying God’s command to fill the earth. Three times they addressed one another with the words” ‘Let us.’ In Hebrew, the word ‘city’ means ‘excitement.’  To ‘make a name for yourself’ it means to have a good reputation, to become famous, celebrated and respected by many people; to become successful and well-known. The men building the tower wanted to be successful, excited about their fame. They wanted to be admired by men and not by God. They wanted to become God to themselves. Sinful men wanted to build a city where they can live without God. There is much pride and rebellion in their fleshly unity. God hates that!

The Trinity came down to see what the sinful men are doing. The men said: Let us build ourselves … The Trinity said: Let US go down and confuse their languages.  Sinful men are foolish men. They forget that no man can fight God and win. God could have killed all the men again the way He did it during the flood. This time, He let them live, but He scattered them by confusing their languages. God forced them to obey His Word that said: “Be fruitful and fill the earth!” When they started building the tower, they were united in sin. All spoke only one language. When God sent judgment on that sinful unity, He confused their languages. Men started speaking many languages and none could understand each other. The word Babel (from which the word Babylon comes) means ‘confusion’. Confusion is defined as a situation in which people do not understand what is happening, what they should do or who someone or something is. Confusion is ignorance of the truth. Confusion leads to anxiety and embarrassment. Babylon stands for the world, the system of men living like there is no God! Confused by their languages, they stopped building the city and they scattered all over the world, according to God’s command. The building of Babel shows what men can do, their power in unity of purpose. This sinful unity is a form of witchcraft, which is a work of the flesh (Gal 5:20). God condemns that!

The first man to have an idea to build a city was Cain, who killed his brother Abel (Gen 4:17). The first criminal in the history of humanity is the first architect to build a city. These are some reasons why people leave their villages and gather into cities: They want to make a name for themselves. They think that living in a farm or a village they will die poor, unfulfilled, and unknown. The second reason why men love cities is because they feel protected from wild animals and criminals. In the ancient times, cities have high walls surrounding them. But men are foolish because no walls can stop God inspecting them. You can see the story of Jericho city. Lastly, men build cities because they can get lost in the crowd and commit sins without feeling guilty. Like Babel, the big cities are centers of crime much more than the smaller ones. What is the lesson? God judges sinful men. None can hide from God!

Abraham was born about 300 years after the building of the tower of Babel. He was born in a city called Ur of the Chaldeans, about 200 kilometers south from ancient Babylon. See the difference between these sinful men who built the tower of Babel and Abraham, a man called by God!  The sinful men journeyed by themselves and settled at Shinar. They picked the land. But in the case of Abraham, God picked the Land. Abraham went by faith, led by God not knowing where he was going. His nephew Lot loved the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. He lost his testimony, his wife, and his wealth in those cursed cities. Abraham chooses to stay in the desert. God told Abraham that He will give him as a gift, all the things the city people wanted. He will be a blessing to all the nations on the earth and God will make him a name forever. Listen to God’s promise to His friend and servant, Abraham: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen 12:1-3). God will be His Protection, Provision, Fame, and Peace!

The promise to Abraham is ours thru Christ! As you can see there is a great difference between Babel, the city of man, and the city of God! Abraham lived in tents, in the desert, as a pilgrim on earth. “He waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb 11:10). God’s curse of confusion in the world manifests since those ancient times. Men have discovered many things. Science has made great progress. Men build great buildings, fly with airplanes and rockets. They even went to the moon. Despite all these discoveries, men still do not know God, and do not understand themselves. Men still quarrel and fight with one another. They are confused about life and relationships. They have no peace. Right now, there are 7151 spoken languages all over the world. Most people speak Mandarin Chinese, followed by Spanish, English and Hindi. You can see that it is not easy to understand each other.

Is there any hope for peace and unity? Yes! The God that confused the languages at Babel, is the same God who sent His Son to die for sinful men, who sent the Holy Spirit to start the church. The curse of confusion and division is reversed into blessing on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down on the waiting disciples, when the church of Christ was born. The unity of the Spirit was born. The curse of confusing languages was removed. Men started to speak in new tongues, praising God. They now understood one another. They became united by the Holy Spirit. The Church of the Christ is not a human organization the way Babel was. It is God’s supernatural eternal work, thru the Holy Spirit sent from God the Father, because of the sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus Christ! Now you see why the Church cannot be destroyed. Halleluiah!

The story of the tower of Babel shows not only God’s judgment against sin, but His extraordinary mercy. God could have bombed the tower, destroyed it, killing all the rebellious people. But He did not do that! He confused their languages. What is the lesson? Any time you hear quarrels, confusions, and misunderstandings, remember Babel, and thank God for His mercy to sinful men.  

THE POWER OF THE NAME OF JESUS

The men who were building Babel wanted to make a name for themselves; to become famous, to have a great reputation, to be admired and worshiped by other men. With their pride, they provoked God in heaven! When Jesus became a man, he humbled Himself and let go of any form of human reputation. He died on the Cross. That is why God made Him famous! At the name of Jesus, every knee now bows! The Gospel is the story of The Humbled and Exalted Christ! We must have the same mind and attitude. We serve God not to make a name for ourselves but to lift the name of Jesus! Then God will bless us! The name of a person is his identity. When Jesus went back to heaven, He left special gifts to His disciples: His Word, His peace, His joy, His blessings (at the ascension), His Spirit (at Pentecost), and His name. The name represents the person of Jesus in His absence. It is like His ATM card connected to His account in heaven. Only God’s children have the right to use that ATM card and withdraw money from the eternal bank. There is no limit to the amount you can withdraw. Faith is needed to withdraw money. All the money should be used for the glory of the name of Jesus and not for fleshly purposes. When the unbelievers, proud men try to withdraw money, they are punished by the Holy Spirit. 

*The name of Jesus is supernatural. It was given to the Son of God by God the Father. Mary and Joseph did not choose this name. In Hebrew, He is called Joshua. It means God Saves or The Savior! It was a common name at that time. To identify Him, He was called Jesus of Nazareth.

*The name of Jesus is the only name by which men can be saved from sins or danger! The name of Jesus is the only ‘password’ to heaven and to the heavenly realms. That includes salvation, healings, and miracles!

“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23-24). “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Ac 4:12). “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runs into it and is safe” (PV 18:10). The name of Jesus is a stronger tower than Babel! Ministry in the name of Jesus attracts persecution. “And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:5-12)

*The name of Jesus has authority above all other names! The name of Jesus is above the name of any sickness or disease or situation. Whatever has a name is below the name of Jesus and must give way to it, no matter where it may come from: heaven, earth, or hell.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:5-11).

*The name of Jesus represents the Person of Jesus! Just like Jesus was on earth performing all works and miracles, His name now represents Him! Miracles in His name are signs following the preaching of the true Gospel: Christ crucified and risen for my sins! The preaching of false doctrines will make the name of Jesus powerless! God will judge those people!

“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen” (Mark 16:17-20)

*The devil knows the power of the name of Jesus! All deliverance is done by faith in the name of Jesus.

“Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour” (Acts 16:16-18)

*The name of Jesus should only be used mixed with faith in God and His Word. Therefore, it is only the born-again Christians that are authorized to use the name of Jesus! The unbelievers are not permitted to use. They can even be punished for it. This is God’s command: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Ex 20:7). See the story of the sons of Sceva. This is a warning: Using the name of Jesus carelessly, or with doubt in your heart, will not work. “Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified” (Acts 19:13-17). Because of this incident, the people feared God and highly honored the name of Jesus! The people discovered that the name of Jesus cannot be manipulated, that it is not an ordinary name.

What is the lesson for us? We receive our identity in Christ alone. His powerful name is an encouragement to desire a good name and a godly testimony for ourselves! This is God’s Word: “A good name [earned by honorable behavior, godly wisdom, moral courage, and personal integrity] is more desirable than great riches; And favor is better than silver and gold” (PV 22:1; AMP). If you are living in sin, you damage your name and testimony. It will then be impossible to have faith in the name of Jesus! Godliness is related to authority! Selah!

Prophetic word: “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door (of opportunity), and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name” (Rev 3:8). Worship the Lord!

TESTIMONY/DELIVERANCE OF A MOTHER

“Hello mum!!! God is good at all times!!!

This is my testimony: when you called the sick out for prayer on Sunday I actually didn’t want to come because I wasn’t sick, but something pushed me out. I took my six-month old son from his dad and came out. My husband was surprised because he wasn’t sick either. After the prayer I went back to my seat feeling refreshed. Then came the wonders/ miracle!!! I noticed I now joke with my first son unlike before. For the past five years he has know me as no nonsense mom. I use to get angry with him in any little and given opportunity and even when he is seated calmly he used to come running to me and say mum you called me thinking he hear me called him. I have prayed about it infact each time I said I won’t beat him. I will find him doing something that will make me angry and I hit/beat him seriously.

Today I give God all the glory because who knows what I would have done to him if not for God using you to break me free from spirit of anger and bitterness towards him. Seriously ma if you see me dealing with him before, you will think I didn’t birth him. But since three days now I joke, laugh and play with him. To confirm God’s healing that Sunday after church we went home, I dished food for each member of the family, my son took his plate of food looked at it and said “mum I can’t eat this meal because I want something else”. I didn’t say I word. Before I could turn he pour the food away and I went into the room to bring out Cain but couldn’t pick it up. I just went and sit down. Would you believe he pack the food back into the plate and ate even requested for more indeed what God can’t do does not exist. Lord King Grace I am grateful for healing my body and mind 🙌🙌 Glory be to GOD!!!

From your daughter… “

May be an image of one or more people, people standing, people playing musical instruments and crowd

DEFEATING FEARS – FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Few days ago, I was attacked by a demon of fear. I defeated it many years ago. This was a new attack. I sensed it immediately. It was the same as catching a thief in my house. With all my strength I started shouting at the thief, at the demon of fear! I rejected it from my house! I prayed in English, and I prayed in tongues until he ran away, and peace was restored in my heart and in my house. Fear is a coward! Fear is a liar! Fear has been disgraced and totally defeated at the Cross! The Blood of Jesus was shed for me to save me! Fear has no place in my heart or in my home! This testimony of victory against the demon of fear is to the glory of God! At last, I asked the Holy Spirit, ‘what was the purpose of this attack and this victory?’ He said that I needed a fresh reminder of how wicked fear is, because many are struggling with it. He also said that now, I can prepare my sermon and I can encourage the brethren even more. His anointing will strengthen me to preach and pray! Victory in Jesus, my Savior forever!

In Christ I declare:

“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You!” (Ps 56:3).

In Jesus’ name,

Amen!

PLEASE, SHOW ME YOUR GLORY

THE DOCTRINE OF REVIVAL (6)/ PLEASE, SHOW ME YOUR GLORY

Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled The Doctrine of Revival (6)/Please, show me Your Glory. Her main text was taken from the Books of Exodus, 2 Chronicles and Isaiah.  “And he said, “Please, show me Your glory… He said: “Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord. For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you” (Exodus 33:18; 34:10). “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chr 7:12-14). “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Is 57:15).

REVIVAL DEFINED

Revival is a miracle; it is a phenomenon! Revival is a visitation of God’s Spirit to the Church. It affects even the unbelievers. Revival is defined as the unique, sovereign move of God, the Holy Spirit, coming down to earth in a dramatic way, changing people and nations. It manifests as a heartfelt return to God and His commandments. Only God can produce revival. The Holy Spirit does two types of works: the regular work (convicting people of sins, the process of sanctification, helping people to understand the Word of God…) and the extraordinary work, which is called ‘Revival’. From time to time, in the history of the Church, the Holy Spirit manifested His power among the believers in a most unusual way. The believers became filled with the Holy Spirit, signs and wonders multiplied among them. The overflow of this move of God affected all people. Many surrendered their lives to Christ and the Church became stronger. During revival the Holy Spirit recovers the basic doctrines of salvation, especially the justification by faith, by Grace, thru Christ alone.  Revival can happen to an individual believer, to a family, to a church, or to a geographical area. True revival changes the history of a city or a nation. Great social changes start to happen. Righteous laws are given and the nation changes for the better. God does more in one day of Revival than in hundred years or ‘regular’ church work! During revival, God shakes our comfort zone and makes it uncomfortable. There is always a preparation for revival. No revival is an accident! Revival is like the risen tide of the ocean. The risen tide lifts all boats, big and small. “Revival is when God gets so sick and tired of being misrepresented that He shows Himself” (Leonard Ravenhill). During Revival, the world stops and watches. Even the unbelievers must agree that God loves His people! Oh, how we need revival!

THE WELSH REVIVAL (1904-1905) – EVAN ROBERTS (1878-1951)

The Welsh revival is one of the greatest revivals in the history of the church at large. It lasted one year. It affected the whole Wales, an area in the UK. The primary language of the people is Welsh. English is their secondary language. Wales is a rural area made of villages and small towns. The capital of Wales is the city of Cardiff. From Wales, the revival spread all over the world. The human instrument God used to ignite it was a young man of 26 called Evans Roberts. Just before the revival, the churches in Wales were getting lukewarm. Most of the pastors were not preaching the Gospel. They were involved in politics and social events. Most people stopped going to church. Between 1899 and 1903 some Christians started praying specifically for revival. Many believers including Evan Roberts were grieved by the situation and were praying to God for mercy. The leaders of the Welsh revival were the young people. Generally, the brothers preached, the sisters sang, and they all prayed.  Evan Roberts was born in Loughor, a village in Wales. He was one of eight children in a close-knit Christian family. At the age of 12, he started working in the mine with his father. This was hard work. He became saved when he was 13. He soon became passionate about the things of God. He said that God appeared to him telling him to pray for revival. He obeyed. He said that often, he would ignore the other boys who were playing outside and go back to his Bible and prayer. He passionately loved God and His Word. Like many others who God used, he separated Himself unto God, even at that young age. He ran away from the miners who used vulgar language. He thought himself to play the violin and the accordion. He used his little pocket money to buy Christian books. He never dated a girl. He was not interested in sports or social things. His family, friends, and neighbors all knew that he was a strange man. He was always reading his Bible and praying. He had visions with God in the night. The gifts of the Holy Spirit, like prophecy, words of knowledge, etc., were common with him.

When Evan Roberts was 26, though a young man, but he has been praying continuously for revival for the past 13 years. He left the work in the mine. He decided to become a pastor. He went to a Bible school to get his certificate. In England, a man cannot preach without a certificate. He wanted to do the right thing. But few months later, troubled in his spirit, led by the Holy Spirit, he left the Bible school. He went back to his village, Loughor, where he immediately organized a prayer meeting with the youths. During a prayer meeting, on the 14th of February 1903, a teenage sister called Florie Evans stood on the feet and said: “I love Jesus Christ with all my heart.” Everybody was touched and worshipped Jesus. That is when the Holy Spirit came down and the revival started. The first prayer meeting that he organized was increasing in numbers. They were mostly young people. They gathered daily to pray. The language most used was Welsh and only later, English. The Holy Spirit descended on Wales. All people felt a strong desire to repent of sins, to pray and to attend church. This spiritual activity went on for one year. Evan Roberts started traveling all over Wales. Often, he will fall by the pulpit and weep telling people that they should become saved. He ate and slept very little. This was the request all young people made: “God, send the Holy Spirit more powerfully for Jesus Christ’ sake!” Evan Roberts said: “We must firmly believe that the Spirit WILL come, not just hope!” Soon, people started coming to this group of young people on fire for Jesus. All social barriers were broken. Men and women, old and young, from all denominations, they came freely! During prayer meetings, Evan Roberts would jump and say: ‘Stop that! You are grieving the Holy Spirit’. Some people thought that he has some psychiatric problems. He said often: “Revival comes with the knowledge of the Holy Spirit and a way of co-working which enable Him to work in revival power”. Thousands of people became saved. All the ‘pubs’ shut down because nobody wanted to drink alcohol again. There were no police cases. It was the season for political elections, but all elections had to be suspended because nobody was interested in them. Even the football stadiums got closed because nobody bought tickets to go there. People did not want entertainment. They wanted God. They wanted reality, eternal reality. All the conversions were deep and genuine. This was an interesting fact: The donkeys the miners were using refused to listen to the new commands because now the miners stop using foul language.

During revival, the services would often run seven or more hours, with no one wanting to leave. Many parents came because they saw dramatic changes in the behavior of their children who became saved.  Store owners were closing their shops early to obtain a seat in the chapel. The workers from the mines would come to the church still in their working clothes. The grocery shops in Loughor were cleared of food products by those who had come from long distances to attend the revival services. The people lost all consciousness of time and had no desire to return home. The Cardiff police reported a 60% decrease in drunkenness. The people who made money from selling alcohol went bankrupt.  Coal miners crowded into prayer meetings that lasted till 3:00 a.m. and then washed, ate breakfast, and returned to work not being tired. The Judges had no case to try. People paid their debts and settled with one another outside the courts. By December police were out of work. They went with the crowds and formed musical bands to sing during church services. More than 100,000 unbelievers got converted and more than 100,000 backsliders came back to the faith.

The local Newspapers sent journalists to find out about the revival. Initially, the reporters mocked the people. Soon, they all stopped mocking because they felt the presence of God. Evan hated interviews. Once, when the reporters asked him why he and others behave so strange when they pray, he said: “The Spirit is at work. Just accept it!”. They wrote about him: “Each move Evan made was a puzzle to men but was known by God”. The articles made free advert to the revival. More people came to partake from the revival. All were surprised at the energy of Evan. He was never tired to pray, preach, and encourage others to draw closer to God! He said: “It is a wonderful life! I am so blessed that I could walk on air. Tired? Not once! I can face thousands! My body is full of electricity, day, and night…” He started travelling from village to village. At each place he went, the signs of revival will manifest. People will come to listen to him, fall to the ground and repent. Often, he will not preach, but just encourage all to pray. It was said that Evan was like ‘a spiritual catalyst’ to all the meetings. In Chemistry, a catalyst is a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected. A person is counted as a catalyst when he causes activity between people without being affected himself. God gave to Wales Evan as a gift. He was not a great preacher or singer. He was a young compassionate and humble man with a burden for revival, filled and led by the Holy Spirit. Glory to God!             

After one year of this constant ministry, Evan started showing signs of emotional stress. His friends advised him to slow down but he refused.

Evans Roberts was always worried that people should not worship him. In 1906 he had an emotional breakdown that led to depression. He left Wales to live with a wealthy Christian family in England. The wife, Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, was an evangelist also interested in revival. When she saw that Evan Roberts had signs of depression, she offered him an apartment in their mansion. He went to live there. He hid from public view for many years. He now decided that prayer and intercession is his main spiritual gift. He never married. He had no children. When he died, at 72, few people remembered him. He is buried in the family plot, at the cemetery behind Moriah Chapel, at Loughor, Wales, where the revival started. On the column erected later it is written in His handwriting: “Dear Friend, God loves you. Therefore, Seek Him diligently, Pray to Him earnestly. Read His Word constantly. Remember Jesus Christ! Yours in the Gospel, Evan Roberts”. The life of Evans Roberts is the proof that God uses the foolish things to confound the wise. He was an uneducated young man, a miner. He became the human tool God used in the Welsh revival. He had not gone to Bible School. He has no evangelistic or pastoral experience. But what he has was a pure faith for Jesus and love for the souls of men. What is the lesson? Do not look down on young people! It is said that ten years later, during the first world war, many of the people that got saved died in war. If it is not for the revival, they could have died without peace in their souls.

The main prayer for Evan Roberts was “Holy Spirit, bend me! Bend us! Make me what you want me to be!” The four points of his sermons were:

1-Confess all known sin, receiving forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

2-Remove doubt!

3-Be ready to obey the Holy Spirit instantly

4-Publicly confess the Lord Jesus Christ.

HERE IS LOVE

“Here is love, vast as the ocean,

Lovingkindness as the flood,

When the Prince of Life, our ransom,

Shed for us His precious blood.

Who His love will not remember?

Who can cease to sing His praise?

He can never be forgotten,

Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,

Fountains opened deep and wide;

Through the floodgates of God’s mercy

Flowed a vast and gracious tide.

Grace and love, like mighty rivers,

Poured incessant from above,

And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice

Kissed a guilty world in love”

(By William Rees, 1802-1883)

This is the Welsh revival main song. It was a Love Song to God who sent His Son to die for us. Multitudes sang this song in Welsh, on and on.

THE EFFECTS OF THE WELSH REVIVAL

From Wales, the revival spread to: Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Korea, Africa, France, Czech, Belgium, India, China, and America. May revival come to us in Nigeria! To God be all the glory!

A young Welsh man named George Jeffrey (1889-1962), together with his brother Stephen, became saved during the Welsh revival. The two Jeffrey brothers became evangelists all over the UK. They preached the Gospel with signs and wonders following. They founded Elim Pentecostal Church that has many branches all over the world. In 1962, another young man of God, Reinhart Bonnke, on a visit to London, met with George Jeffrey, now an older man. Reinhard told him that he is called to preach in Africa. George prayed that ‘his mantle will be passed on Reinhard’. The young German man went to Africa and thru his ministry there, millions of souls were saved. Halleluiah!       

GOD’S SECOND APPEARANCE TO KING SOLOMON

“When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever.” (2 Chr 7:1-3)

“Thus, Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house; and Solomon successfully accomplished all that came into his heart to make in the house of the Lord and in his own house. Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually” (2 Chr 7:11-16)

As we pray for revival, we should revisit this passage in the Bible. God promised that if His people humble themselves and pray, He will visit the land and heal it. What a wonderful encouragement! This promise of mercy to God’s people and healing of their land applies primarily to the Jews. As a nation, Israel had a covenant relationship with Jehovah God. They knew that if they obey God’s Word, He will bless them. If they disobey God’s Word, they will suffer (Deuteronomy 28). We cannot change the word Israel with Nigeria because Nigeria as a nation does not have a covenant with God. But we can apply this scripture to our lives. This is a picture of revival in a church. In the first encounter with God, Solomon asked for wisdom. God gave young King Solomon wisdom and an understanding heart. God blessed him in many other ways. God also gave Solomon the responsibility of building His temple in Jerusalem. King David prepared the materials and mentored his son Solomon how to build the temple. Now, Solomon has finished building the temple. He dedicated it to God. The fire of God came down from heaven and consumed the burnt sacrifices. And the glory of God filled the temple. The priests could not enter because of God’s glory. All men worshipped God. This is what happens in revival. God takes over and all men bow. God wants us to be humble, to seek Him, and to pray. No humility, no grace! No prayer, no power! God wants us to repent. To repent it means a turn around in your mind, in your will, with fruits to prove the change. There is great difference between Remorse and Repentance. Both have tears. Remorse has tears but no fruits to prove the change. Repentance has tears too, but there is a radical change in the believer. For example, Both Judas and Peter sinned against Jesus. Later, Judas had remorse, but Peter repented. Judas committed suicide but Peter became a leader in the early church, faithful unto death. True revival is always connected with strong preaching of the Biblical Doctrines, faithful prayer, and desire for personal holiness. “No great spiritual awakening has begun anywhere in the world apart from united prayer” (J. Edwin Orr). We should take sin as serious as God takes it! Are you tired of your sin? You must say no to sin and yes to God!!! May God help us to humble ourselves, seek His face and pray! May revival come to us!

PLEASE, SHOW ME YOUR GLORY! (Exodus 33)

“And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen” (Ex 33:18-23)

We continue to study the life of Moses, the servant of God. He is asking God to please show him His glory. In the past, Moses had encounters with God. He had seen God’s power among men. Moses saw God in the burning bush. God has been with him as he went back to Egypt to free the people of God. God used Moses’ rod to part the Red Sea. God’s people crossed over and their enemies drowned at the same place. Moses and the people were led and covered with God’s cloud by day and by night. God provided mana in the desert. Moses went on the mountain and spoke to God there. God gave him His laws and the plan to build the tabernacle. After the people sinned, Moses carried his tent outside the camp and the Shekinah glory came there. He spoke with God like a man speaks to his friend. God assured him of His personal protection. Even so, Moses wants more. This request of Moses reveals His passion to know God more, his great faith and holy boldness. Moses is grateful but no satisfied. This is a spiritual law: the more you know God’s Word, the greater revelation you shall receive. The more you pray, the more God will talk to you. “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away” (Mt 25:29). Moses is concerned for the glory of God. He wants God to manifest His glory to men, that they may know Him better. This desire to see the glory of God among men is the primary reason why we pray for revival. This desire manifests especially when the enemies of God mock His name and despise us, His people. “Arise, O God, plead Your own cause; Remember how the foolish man reproaches You daily” (Ps 74:22). The believer longs for the manifested presence of God as the thirsty deer pants for water in the desert. “As the deer pants (long for) for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” (Ps 42:1-3). Do you know this thirst? Do you desire a closer walk with God? Paul said: “That I may know Him…” (Phil 3:10).  Don’t seek revival! Seek an intimate relationship with God! Revival is falling in love with Jesus again!

Moses prays: “Please, show me Your glory!” Please observe that God is pleased with this prayer of Moses! This is wonderful! God answers Moses but in His own way. Moses is ignorant of God. He does not know that he will die if he sees God. A glimpse of the glory of the resurrected Christ blinded Saul of Tarsus on the spot. God says that no man can see His glory while still living in his body on earth. To see God’s glory, the man will die. The Son of God became a Man on earth. He hid His glory with flesh. Once men killed Him on the Cross, the glory was revealed. That glory on the Cross killed all sinners. That is the power of the Cross. But for all who believe that Jesus died for them, they receive new life! God tells Moses that he will answer his prayer partially. God places Moses ‘in a place by Me’. That cleft in the Rock is called Christ. We are protected from God’s judgment in Christ alone. God places His hand over Moses and passes by. Moses can see God’s ‘back, and not His face’. Many commentators describe revival what Moses saw that day: a passing, a glimpse of God’s glory on earth, a foretaste of heaven. Here you see that revival has a beginning and an end. As the passing by of God’s glory and goodness, so revival is described. Each time God touches you personally, supernaturally, three things happen: you will never forget it, you will never be the same, and you want more of God!!! Revival is supernatural. For revival, you need to experience hunger for more of God. You also need to pray! 

Moses saw the glory of God passing by. The glory of God is manifested mostly as the Proclamation of God’s Name (in the act of preaching) and as the Goodness of God. In Hebrew, the word ‘goodness’ means God’s best, His favor, Beauty, and Prosperity. God is good! His mercy, His justice, His peace, are all good! God tells Moses that He shows mercy and goodness by His Grace. It is a free gift. He gives it to the humble. He gives it to the elect. Nobody has a claim on God’s favor. “God made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel” (Ps 103:7).

Oh, that we may desire to experience God’s goodness in our lives! No man knows God completely. All we know about God is from God self-revelation, that comes by His Grace. The greatest revelation of God is found in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected is the glory of God! What Moses prayed was really this: “Please, show me Christ!” Apostle Paul said: “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:5, 6). The Glory of Christ in the Gospel is revealed: the glory of His Person and the glory of His Word for the salvation of sinners.  When the glory and goodness of God passed before Moses, we see the revealing and the concealing of God. This manifests in Christ. His flesh concealed the glory of His Person. On the Mount of Transfiguration, the glory of the Son of God was revealed for a short time. The hand of God protecting Moses was the Cross. By His death, Jesus covered our sins and made peace between man and God. What a Savior! Worship the Lord!

THE TESTIMONY OF PEACE

The child of God… his path (is) blazed by God, he’s happy. If he stumbles, he’s not down for long; (for) God has a grip on his hand.

                                                                                       -Psalm 37:23, 24; TM

We are building our new sanctuary. Most of the work is done with the willing volunteers from the church. They are lovingly called ‘the men of valor’. The women in the church have decided to cook daily for the workers. This holy project is on for about two years. Every day one of the women cooks for about 50 men. This is not a small job. The men like ‘heavy’ food. Here, in Nigeria, it is called ‘eba ’and it is made from cassava flour mixed with hot water. It becomes strong like a ball. It is eaten with different soups.

Sister Ufuoma was the one who cooked yesterday. Her name in the native language means ‘Peace’. This is the Testimony of Peace to the glory of God! Ufuoma is a godly wife, a wonderful mother of two and heavily pregnant. She also goes to the College of Education, intending to be a teacher. Yesterday, at lunch time, she came with the food to the site. She stopped the car close to the building. She went behind, opened the boot (trunk) of the car and brought down the heavy coolers with the hot food. Then she went back to the wheel, and, by mistake, she reversed the car. The car tires crushed the coolers, and all the food was wasted on the ground. The workers shouted ‘stop, stop’ but, somehow, she did not hear. When she saw what happened, she cried (of course). Then, she did what a woman of God should do. With tears on her face, she entered the car and drove back to the market, bought the meat and all the stuff, went home, and cooked again. Before the brethren closed for the day, at about 6 pm, to the shouts of ‘Jesus!!!’, sister Ufuoma was back to the site, with new coolers, hot food, and all!!! Praise the Lord!!!

Clearly, this labor was not easy. She had every reason to just cry, apologize to the brethren, then go home and sleep. But she could not ‘declare defeat’. God gave her the grace and the strength to redeem the time and make the best out of a hopeless situation. She obeyed the command to conquer evil with good. She could do all things thru Christ who truly strengthened her! By now, you realize that I am very proud of my spiritual daughters. To God be all the glory!  

(This testimony happened in 2013 when we were building our sanctuary; see picture bellow)

In Christ I declare:

I am a child of God! If I stumble, I do not fall, for God’s mighty hand grips me! I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me! My testimony of an overcomer is sure! Praise the Lord!

In Jesus’ name

Amen!

MY TESTIMONY

THIS MORNING I REMEMBER MY FIRST LOVE

“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering… Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded… You will receive what He has promised!” (Hebrew 10:32-34)

Dear child of God, you are commanded to remember the beginning of your Christian life, when you were persecuted for Christ’ sake. You should remember the time you told your unbelieving family and friends: ‘I gave my life to Christ! I am now a born-again Christian…’ Because of this confession of faith your world as you knew it then mocked you and rejected you. It was very painful. Do you remember it? Can you share with me some of it? The Bible commands you to remember that peculiar pain of the past. The Bible is not commanding you to remember your ‘sweet’ times of success and breakthrough with Jesus. But the Bible tells you to remember the pain of that new beginning when you died to the world and the world died to you. The Holy Spirit uses this holy remembrance to build up your confidence in Christ, to reward you and to bring you to the place where you are able to receive the promises of God! Remember the price you paid for your first Love and you shall receive the answers to your prayers! Remembrance is directly connected to reward and receiving of miracles! Selah!

Let me be more personal… When I married my husband, he was my ‘first love’. Later, after I became saved, Jesus became my FIRST LOVE, and my husband, was my second love. He too did the same. Jesus was his FIRST LOVE and I, his wife, became the second love. Praise the Lord!

As I get older and more mature in Christ, I am able to pray more, to make better choices, to avoid sin faster and to stand stronger for the truth. But there is still this tendency to become proud because of my spiritual accomplishments. Comparing with who I am now with my life as a beginner in Christ, I see that in the past, my life was full of mistakes. And there were a lot of unnecessary tears… There is this temptation to forget from where I started, to ignore my spiritual roots as a baby Christian. But I need to fight this pride by going back to re-visit my first love. This morning I remember how I first fell in love with Jesus Christ, my Lord… I remember and I worship Him!

What is the lesson? From time to time, it is good to remember the way you started this Christian race. Do you remember how for the first time you discovered that behind this natural world there is a complex spiritual realm? Do you remember your ‘sinner’s prayer’? Do you remember the joy when after a lifetime of spiritual blindness and foolishness, your eyes suddenly got open? Please do not forget the anxiety, the desperation that preceded the joy to be called a child of God! Then there was this strange battle over your soul. The devil commanded the forces of his dark kingdom to fight you, to stop your prayers, to block your progress. For a moment you thought that you will fail to stand your ground. But when all outside natural support failed, when friends and family disappointed you and ran away, when darkness pressed you down and arrested you in its chains, when you could not breathe and thought you will surely die, then the light of God broke thru the clouds of despair and love lifted you to the place of victory, to taste of its glory. Do you remember the taste of grace, the fragrance of glory imparted to you, a baby Christian? Darkness does not tempt an unbeliever! Darkness only fights the child of God. Darkness cares not for its own. Darkness is a wicked mother. All her children suffer! All her followers hate the children of light!

This morning, pray that your spiritual eyes may be open. Pray for spiritual sight in the name of a Jesus! The devil will fight this prayer, but he will lose the battle. Darkness can never understand or quench the light of God. Even a little candle wins against a room full of darkness. So, shine your little light wherever you go. Your words, your testimony, will bring life, truth and freedom to all people who come your way. This is indeed your greatest privilege, to be a witness for The Lord, you who are the royal seed of heaven planted in this earth.

Also, remember! God is faithful! From the beginning to the end, God is faithful! From your youth to your old age, God has been with you! The grace of God upon your life is your best possession! This morning, as you remember the beginning of your testimony as a believer in Christ, give thanks to God! Praise the Lord!!!!

Love in Christ alone,

Malia!

REVIVAL

THE DOCTRINE OF REVIVAL (4)/ GOD DELIGHTS IN MERCY

Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled The Doctrine of Revival (4)/ God delights in mercy (Micah 7:18). Her main text was taken from the Book of Psalms, Isaiah, Habakkuk, and Micah. “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10). “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:11). “Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence—as fire burns brushwood, as fire causes water to boil— to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence! When You did awesome things for which we did not look, You came down, the mountains shook at Your presence. For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him” (Isaiah 64:1-4). “O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2). “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me…  Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob and mercy to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old” (Micah 7:8, 18-20).

REVIVAL DEFINED

Revival is a miracle; it is a phenomenon! Revival is a visitation of God’s Spirit to the Church. It affects even the unbelievers. Revival is defined as the unique, sovereign move of God, the Holy Spirit, coming down to earth in a dramatic way, changing people and nations. It manifests as a heartfelt return to God and His commandments. Only God can produce revival. The Holy Spirit does two types of works: the regular work (convicting people of sins, the process of sanctification, helping people to understand the Word of God…) and the extraordinary work, which is called ‘Revival’. From time to time, in the history of the Church, the Holy Spirit manifested His power among the believers in a most unusual way. The believers became filled with the Holy Spirit, signs and wonders multiplied among them. The overflow of this move of God affected all people. Many surrendered their lives to Christ and the Church became stronger. During revival the Holy Spirit recovers the basic doctrines of salvation, especially the justification by faith, by Grace, thru Christ alone.  Revival can happen to an individual believer, to a family, to a church, or to a geographical area. True revival changes the history of a city or a nation. Great social changes start to happen. Righteous laws are given and the nation changes for the better. God does more in one day of Revival than in hundred years or ‘regular’ church work! Selah! 

Revival can be ‘messy. No man can totally control revival manifestations. The devil can infiltrate a church with fake manifestations to distract the believers from the genuine work of the Holy Spirit. The pastors need supernatural wisdom and discernment of spirits. Listen to what the great pastor and author R. T. Kendall said “I have prayed for revival all my life, but I wonder if I will recognize it when it comes. Will I be able to cope with the packaging in which God sends it?”. These are honest words.

REVIVAL MEANS THE CHURCH GETTING AWAKE FROM SLEEP, TAKING HER BATH AND WALKING IN WISDOM AND LIGHT!

Revival is a gift from the Holy Spirit for the church in particular. Revival has been described as ‘a community saturated with God” (Duncan Campbell). In revival the ‘sleepy’ church wakes up to please God afresh!  “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore, He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:8-16).

The Church is ‘sleeping’. Most of the Christians are spiritually asleep. Not dead, but asleep! The reason is because they still love the things of darkness. Many believers have intimate ‘fellowship’ with unbelievers, with the shameful and unfruitful works of darkness. They are children of light, but they chose to partake from ‘the fun’ of darkness. What do people do in the night? They party, they commit adultery, they kill, and they steal! The believers go to church during the day and join those who do evil in the night. To protect them from greater harm, God puts them to sleep. That means they become weak and some, they die untimely death. It is better to sleep than to destroy your testimony. Many Christians are like this. Sleeping people are spiritually tired. They find it difficult to pray, to study God’s Word, or to attend the local church (especially the weekly activities). Revival means waking and walking in love, wisdom, and light! See the Church, not only in its dryness, but the way Christ sees it, glorious and powerful! You need to balance the present and the future vision to be able to pray for revival! Selah!

But not all believers are sleepy. There is always a faithful remnant who stays alert and awake even during the night. These are the ones who study God’s Word and ‘pray without ceasing’ (1Thess 5:17). They are the humble, faithful, and responsible servants of God! They pray day and night! “Shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?” (Lk 18:7). It is their prayers that God answers to bring revival. Revival is not just a visitation of the Holy Spirit to the nations. Like rivers in the wilderness, Revival is God’s precious Gift to the local church. During and after revival the church gets stronger. God’s purpose for the church is to be the Household of God, the Pillar, and the Foundation of Truth (1 Tim 3:15). The Church is the Light of the world and a City on a Hill (Mt 5:14). The Church is the Bride of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ loves the Church. That is why He died for her. He now cleanses her with the Word of God. He does not cleanse the world, but only His Bride, the Church. “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” (Eph 5:25-27). The cleansing goes on until she is perfect! Glory! During revival, you can see the difference between the believers (who are clean) and the unbelievers (who are unclean). Christ awakes His Bride and brings the Living Water to give her a fresh bath in the morning light! The preaching of correct Biblical doctrines supplies this fresh water and perfumed soap for the bath. Halleluiah!

Clearly, God’s plan is that the Bride of Christ is a blessing to the world. “The manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (Eph 3:10-12). During Revival, people stop mocking the Christians and the Pastors. They see the glory and the beauty of the Church like never before! Wisdom gives us boldness to preach! May Revival come to Nigeria!      

REVIVAL IN NIGERIA

About revival, God has done special work in Nigeria. There are two men that God has used in a particular way: Pa Elton and Apostle Babalola!

PA ELTON (1907-1987)

Pa Sydney Granville Elton was an English man of God, and a missionary to Nigeria. He was a towering apostolic and prophetic vessel in the hand of God specifically for Nigeria. When he was a young man growing up in England God specifically spoke to him to move over to Nigeria and locate a town by the name of Ilesha. He came and he found such a town. It will be his home for the next 50 years of his life (1937-1987). He never left Nigeria. He is buried with his wife at Ilesha. He is undoubtedly the father of the Pentecostal Revival Movement in Nigeria. Pa Elton had arrived in Nigeria in 1937 with a clear mandate to raise a new breed of leadership in the Nigerian Church, who, powered by the Holy Spirit, will take the message of God’s kingdom and the all-conquering King to the very ends of the earth. He lived in Ilesha which is about 30km from university town of Ile-Ife where he found a potent platform to impact and disciple young men and women who were students and lecturers at the University Awolowo. When he got to Ilesha, he became a part of an ongoing revival there led by Apostle Ayodele Joseph Babalola. He became the mentor of Apostle Babalola and to many other great men of God (Archbishop Idahosa, Pastor E.A Adeboye, Pastor W.F Kumuyi, Bishop David Oyedepo, Emeka Nwakpa, Gbile Akanni, Francis Wale Oke etc). His only daughter Mama Ruth, just like her father gave her life for the service of humanity in Nigeria. She got her Nigerian passport in her eighties. She refused to marry or move back to England. She too has done missionary work all her life. She is now 88 and still living in Nigeria. These are Pa Elton’s last words on earth: “But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” These words were the strongest motivator for all that Pa Elton achieved in 50 fruitful years as the untiring vessel of a spiritual movement that was soaked as much in prayer as it was in prayer-inspired action. He and his wife are buried at Ilesa.  Listen to his prophecy about Nigeria: “Nigeria and Nigerians will be known all over the world for corruption. Your name Nigeria will stink for corruption but after a while, a new phase will come a phase of righteousness. People from the nations of the earth will hold to a Nigerian and say, We want to follow you to your nation to go and learn righteousness.” To God be all the glory!

PROPHET AYODELE JOSEPH BABALOLA Ayodele (1904-1959)

Joseph Ayodele Babalola was born on April 25, 1904, at Odo-Owa in Ilofa, near Ilorin, in Kwara State, Nigeria. His father was the Baba Ijo (“church father”) of the C.M.S. Church at Odo-Owa. In 1914, his brother took him to Osogbo where he went to school. However, he quit school to become a motor mechanic apprentice. He soon joined the Public Works Department (PWD) working as a steam roller driver. On September 25th, 1928, he suddenly became restless and could not sleep. The next day, as he was working, the steam roller engine went off with no visible mechanical problems. He heard a great voice ‘like the sound of many waters’ calling him three times. The voice told him that if he does not go and preach, he will die. Babalola resisted the voice initially. Later, he surrendered to God’s call.  He resigned his work at PWD. The same voice came to Joseph a second time asking him to fast for seven days. He obeyed and at the end of the period he saw a great figure of a man that resembled Jesus. The man in a dazzling robe spoke at length about his ministry. The man also told him of the persecutions he would face and assured him of God’s protection and victory. He was given a bell and told that evil spirit will flee at the sound of the bell. He was also given a bottle of ‘life-giving water’. He was told that he will pray for the water and any who is sick and drink that water, shall be healed. This is how he started his ministry. Pastors invited the young prophet who performed miracles of healings. Muslims and pagans got converted to the new faith and revival started. He said that he was not sent to start churches. At that time, he said that he is a member of Faith Tabernacle church in Lagos, where the leaders baptized him in water. He also went there to learn the doctrines of the church (one of their doctrines is rejection of all medicine, and only pray and trust God alone for healing). There was a division in the church. Some said you can pray but still take malaria medicines. Others said that only prayer is sufficient. The church spilt. Babalola went with the group that believed in prayer alone, which eventually became Christ Apostolic Church.

All people who knew Babalola agreed that he was a very humble man. Glory to God! The revival began in July 1930 with the raising by Babalola of a child who was dead for 4 days, at Oke-Oye, Ilesha. The mother of the dead child who was restored to life went about spreading the news that a miracle working prophet had come to the town of Oke-Oye. This attracted many people to see the prophet. Many of those afflicted with various diseases who came to Oke-Oye were healed. Many mighty works were performed using the prayer bell and the drinking of consecrated water from a stream called Omi Ayo (“Stream of Joy”). The result was that thousands of people including traditional religionists, Muslims and Christians from other denominations were converted to the Faith Tabernacle. As there was no space in the church hall, revival meetings were shifted to an open field where men and women from all walks of life, from every part of the country and from neighboring countries assembled daily for healing, deliverance, and blessings. Within three weeks Babalola had cured about 100 lepers, 60 blind people and 50 lame persons. The Anglican Churches in Ilesha were left desolate because their members transferred their allegiance to the revivalist and that all the patients in Wesley Hospital, Ilesha, abandoned their beds to seek healing from Babalola. Hopeless barren women were made fruitful. The dumb spoke and lunatics were cured. The number of clear healings and miracles was never previously seen in Nigeria. Witches confessed and some demon possessed people were exorcized. Babalola said that God told him to burn the mighty tree in front of Owa’s palace. He said that the tree is a coven for witches. He burnt the tree down. People expected him to die. But he lived. That increased his fame. Babalola travelled all around the area. The revival spread to other places. The success of the revival was accelerated by the conversion of both the Oba of Efon and the Oba of Aramoko. They were both baptized with the names, Solomon Agunsoye and Hezekiah Adeoye respectively. Some people persecuted him. A warrant for his arrest was issued from Ilorin. He was arrested for preaching against witches, a practice which had caused some trouble in Otuo in present Bendel State. He was sentenced to jail for six months in Benin City in March 1932. Babalola got married and had four children. Two of his daughters are still alive today. To God be all the glory!

CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH

Christ Apostolic Church is a distinctly indigenous African Church with headquarters in Nigeria, but with members spread across the world. We are the pioneer Pentecostal Church in Africa, with a membership base of presently over five million, made up of men and women, families from diverse sectors of the social strata. Our history is traceable directly to the definite outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Nigeria, Africa, in the great revival which began in 1930 through the ministry of Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola. The Church is renowned as a praying church, and we believe that healings, miracles, and other signs and wonders as recorded in the book of the Acts are meant to manifest today” (From their website).

The word ‘Aladura’ in Yoruba means ‘the praying people’. The first Aladura movement emerged from St. Savior Anglican Church, Ijebu-Ode, in 1918. The leaders in the church felt led to start vigorous prayer meetings. In 1919 they became influenced by the doctrines of the Faith Tabernacle of Philadelphia, to reject all forms of medicine, whether western or traditional. This led to a doctrinal conflict with the Anglican Church, and they were forced out of the church. The Aladura movement began as a renewal movement in search of true spirituality. A revival took place in 1918 during the influenza pandemic. The group claims to have used prayer to save many lives affected by the epidemic. This consolidated the prayer group. The movement grew gradually and formed branches throughout Nigeria. The name of the group went through several changes, such as Prayer Band, Precious Stone, Diamond Society, and Faith Tabernacle. A great revival started in July 1930 by the raising of a dead boy by Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola at Oke-Oye in Ilesha. People traveled from neighboring cities and countries to receive healing at Ilesha. Several people were healed through prayer. The revival lasted about 60 days and is regarded as the greatest revival ever in Nigeria. The C.A.C. believe that the spiritual power bestowed on Babalola placed him on an equal level with Biblical apostles like Peter and Paul. The Revival group went through additional name changes until they settled for Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) in 1942. The Church established schools at all levels, including Joseph Ayo Babalola University. The Aladura Churches separated into two main groups: The Pentecostal and the Spiritualists churches. These are the main Aladura Nigerian Pentecostal Churches: Christ Apostolic Church, Redeemed Christian Church of God, Mountain of Fire Ministries, and Deeper Life Bible Church. These are the main Aladura Spiritualists also called ‘white Garment’ churches: Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim, Church of the Lord (Aladura), and Celestial Church of Christ.

THE SIN OF ISRAEL

“For among My people are found wicked men; They lie in wait as one who sets snares; They set a trap; They catch men. As a cage is full of birds, So, their houses are full of deceit. Therefore, they have become great and grown rich. They have grown fat, they are sleek; Yes, they surpass the deeds of the wicked; They do not plead the cause, the cause of the fatherless; Yet they prosper, and the right of the needy they do not defend. Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the Lord. ‘Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’ “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests, rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (Jer 5:26-31). “Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness; And from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely. They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; Nor did they know how to blush. Therefore, they shall fall among those who fall; At the time I punish them, they shall be cast down,” says the Lord. Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it” (Jer 6:13-16)

This is a description of the corrupt and perverse church leaders. They are greedy. They deceive people. They are more wicked than the unbelievers. They don’t care for the needy. They don’t care for the wound of the people. They refuse to repent. The congregation imitates their wicked pastor. Therefore, God will punish them, the leaders, and the followers. This corrupt religion is the state when people must pray for mercy, for revival. God says: “ask for the old paths, where the good way is”. Like Isaac, who opened the wells of his father Abraham, go back to the Cross. Repent, trust, and obey! This is the unfailing royal way of the Cross that leads to revival! Halleluiah!

THE CONDITIONS PRIOR TO REVIVAL (Exodus 32 and 33)

This is the story of how the people of God chose to backslide as a nation. They abandoned God and their leader Moses, to make for themselves an idol in the form of a calf. The glory given to God who brought them out of Egypt, they now give it to this idol. Aaron was their pastor. He could speak better than Moses, but he was a weak-willed man. The congregation convinced him to make them an idol. He was afraid to reject their request. Out of their gold earrings Aaron made for them an idol looking like a calf. This was the idol the Egyptians were worshipping. The choice of this idol was no accident. It was like the Egyptian god, Hathor, a bull goddess of joy, celebration, and love. You can see that they were out of Egypt, but Egypt was not out of them. Aaron’s weak faith resulted in national idolatry and the death of thousand of people.

God became angry. He threatened Moses that He will destroy them completely and make a new nation our of Moses. Moses intercedes for them, and God relents from punishing them immediately. Moses prayed something like this: “In wrath, remember mercy!” (Hab 3:2). This is a prayer for revival! God interceded for the people for the glory to God! Have you learned to argue with God? God was delighted with Moses. Do you know how to intercede with God?  God said: “Come now and let us reason together!” (Is 1:18). God loves spiritual courage! 

God always judges sin. The Judgment of God may come in a form of warning. This type of judgment is soaked with mercy and grace. The purpose is for the people to repent. Other times, the judgment is final; for example, a Christian who refuses to repent may experience sorrows or untimely death. A good example is the death of Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5:1-11). Here there is no grace at all.  

God then tells Moses to lead the people to the Promised Land. God said that He will not go with them anymore, but He will send an angel. Moses again intercedes that God should lead them and not an angel. God calls the people ‘stiff- necked’. The word means more than obstinate or rebellious. It means to be ‘perverse’. The word describes a stubborn horse that refuses to accept the rein on his neck and be guided by the rider. To be ‘perverse’ means a deliberate and obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable; opposing what is right, reasonable, or accepted; to behave strange and not what most people would expect or enjoy; to be corrupt (dishonestly using your position or power to get an advantage, especially for money).

When the people forsake God and His Law, God gets angry. This is a justified anger. God could have killed them all. Moses steps in as a Mediator. He intercedes with God pleading His glory and His promises. God has promised Abraham that out of him God will make a nation. Moses said that even with their sins, these are God’s people, made from Abraham. The enemies will mock God if He destroys them all. You see here the power of prayer, of intercession. Without a mediator, the people will die. When Moses comes down, he breaks the two tablets with the writing of God. The breaking of the tablets signifies that God has broken the covenant with them. Here you see grace when the covenant is broken. This grace is found in Christ alone.  Moses has succeeded in his intercession. God will not kill them immediately. But sin has consequences. The leaders of the rebellion are killed. A plague kills some more. But the nation survives. This is grace! This is the story of revival!

The story with the golden calf is written for us as a warning.

“Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor 10:6-11)

God is holy. He always judges sin. God’s judgment manifests as death. The Levites killed 3000 people, that is all the rebellious leaders. God also sent a plague that killed more people. God also said that He will ‘blot out’ the names of the rebellious people out of His book. The people finally see how great their sin was. They stripped themselves of all ornaments and they mourned. This was a national repentance. This mourning for sin is necessary to pray for revival. At times like these, God raises great leaders! The Levites were raised at that time to serve God! They loved God more than their families. Moses becomes a great leader. He said: “God, if you do not save Your people, then let me die too”. Moses is ready to go to hell than to abandon God’s people. He is like Apostle Paul. “For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh” (Rom 9:3). Do you care for God’s people? God tells Moses that He will keep His promise to give them the Promised Land, but He will not lead them over there. God will send an Angel. Moses rises to the occasion and prays again saying: “God, if you do not go with us, don’t send us from here! I don’t want blessings without You!” Then Moses gets bolder and says: “God, show me Your glory!” And God showed His glory and goodness. This is the passionate prayer that brings revival. The nation deserves to perish. We are sinners. We deserve to die. God is looking for people who know God’s heart, who know that old way of the Cross. They know that going on without God is death! They wait on God to come down, no matter how long it takes. This is the way to revival! Are you jealous for God’s revival? To see people falling in love with Jesus again! Christ died and rose again for us! This is the eternal Gospel! Its power is eternal!

For you to truly understand the Bible, you must read it from God’s point of view. If you feel sorry for the men who died, of for the weak-willed Aaron, or for the frustrated Moses, then you do not understand it well and you cannot pray for revival. You must listen to God’s heartbeat and feel God’s pain. He delivered His people from the slavery of Egypt to give them a good land, to make them worshippers. But they quickly forgot God’s kindness and wanted to go back to Egypt. They were impatient and ungrateful. This is wickedness. We are like these people. We forget God’s acts of mercy and His grace. We are commanded not to grieve the Holy Spirit. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30). It is only a Lover or a Friend that can grieve. Living in the center of God’s will is the only way not to grieve the Holy Spirit! Hallelujah! 

All true revivals were preceded by times of terrible moral and spiritual decline and by a manifestation of the righteous judgment of God. God brings burden upon one or few people, the faithful remnant, to pray for revival. God uses these people to do extraordinary things. He gives them a prophetic anointing to call people to repentance. These are ‘the old paths and the good way’ There are too many ‘Aarons’ in ministry and too few Moses. In the US, in the churches there are more than 70 % unsaved people and that more 70 % of the pastors are not born-again.        

What are the lessons?

1-Nothing is hidden from God’s eyes. God will hold people accountable for their sin. Especially the leaders! Repent of sin! Trust and Obey God!

2- Jesus is our Mediator! “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1Tim 2:5). 

3- There is great value in passionate prayer and intercession.

4- God prepares and raises true leaders who will bring His people back to Him!

5- God delights in showing mercy. This is the great hope for revival! Pray for revival! Worship the Lord!

THE WISE GODLY WOMAN

“Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a wise [insightful] wife is a gift from the Lord” (Proverbs 19:14)

There are two opposite women in the Bible; both were queens, and they married the same man. One was foolish and the other was wise. I am speaking about Vashti and Esther. The first was not prudent. She started the day with a party; she ended it exiled, outside of the palace. She did not see the danger of divorce and of losing her crown because of ‘a little disobedience’ to her husband. If she knew that her life would end in disgrace, she could have happily obeyed the king’s command. But Queen Esther, who replaced her, is the very opposite. She saw the danger of her people perishing. She fasted and prayed. She did not take the favor of God for granted. She did what she could to save the people of God. She is known as a godly queen and a prudent woman of God, an example, and an inspiration to many, to the end of the ages.

An excellent, prudent wife cannot be bought with money. She is a gift of grace to a man who will appreciate her. In the area of marriage, the rich are not better than the poor. What is most important is that Jesus Christ is the Lord of the home. Even the wealthy parents cannot provide their sons with gracious, wonderful, wise, and faithful wives. But they can pray that such a gift may find the correct address.

MY TESTIMONY

I speak from experience here… Spiritual wisdom is not an easy or cheap virtue. It took me many years to learn how to control my tongue in a way that will always glorify God. I wept often and I prayed hard for wisdom, prudence, discernment of spirits, and self-control. I asked God to help me not to be ashamed or have reasons to regret my speech, my choices, or my actions. I prayed that I will never be a liability to my husband and that he will never be tempted to regret marrying me. I refused to take our marriage for granted. I prayed to learn how to gain his trust by making wise choices as a wife and mother. I prayed that our children will not be ashamed of their mum. Please note that no unbeliever can ever do that. Their tongue is energized by demons and is ‘on fire from hell’. Even for a believer it is a long process, very difficult and painful. You must passionately desire to change the way you talk, the way you communicate. You must be ready to pay the price for that change, however big it is. But the reward is very great. God will bless you with an ever-increasing anointing and He will use you in ministry to teach, challenge and encourage many. May Christ be glorified in you! Amen!

THIS IS HOLY GROUND

THE DOCTRINE OF REVIVAL (3)/ THIS IS HOLY GROUND

Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled The Doctrine of Revival (3)/ This is Holy Ground (Ex 3:5). Her main text was taken from the Book of Psalms, Isaiah and Habakkuk. “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Ps 46:10). “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:11). “Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence—as fire burns brushwood, as fire causes water to boil— to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence! When You did awesome things for which we did not look, You came down, the mountains shook at Your presence. For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him” (Isaiah 64:1-4). “O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).

REVIVAL DEFINED

Revival is a miracle; it is a phenomenon! Revival is a visitation of God’s Spirit to the Church. It affects even the unbelievers. Revival is defined as the unique, sovereign move of God, the Holy Spirit, coming down to earth in a dramatic way, changing people and nations. It manifests as a heartfelt return to God and His commandments. Only God can produce revival. The Holy Spirit does two types of works: the regular work (convicting people of sins, the process of sanctification, helping people to understand the Word of God…) and the extraordinary work, which is called ‘Revival’. From time to time, in the history of the Church, the Holy Spirit manifested His power among the believers in a most unusual way. The believers became filled with the Holy Spirit, signs and wonders multiplied among them. The overflow of this move of God affected all people. Many surrendered their lives to Christ and the Church became stronger. During revival the Holy Spirit recovers the basic doctrines of salvation, especially the justification by faith, by Grace, thru Christ alone.  Revival can happen to an individual believer, to a family, to a church, or to a geographical area. True revival changes the history of a city or a nation. Great social changes start to happen. Righteous laws are given and the nation changes for the better. God does more in one day of Revival than in hundred years or ‘regular’ church work! Selah! 

THE ATMOSPHERE OF REVIVAL

The greatest manifestation during revival is the Presence of God with the people. In Isaiah 64:4 it is a prayer for revival. The word ‘presence’ appears three times. In Hebrew, this word also means ‘the Face of God’. During Revival the presence of God seems like a holy blanket over the people. God’s Face comes so close to men. People not only believe that the spiritual realm is true, but they feel God’s presence in a clear way. The believers are aware especially of the Holiness, Majesty, and Glory of God. The Holy Fear of God is real. The religious unbelievers and the backsliders feel guilty of sin. This guilt makes them restless. They cannot find peace until they repent to God and to man. This atmosphere of revival is different than an evangelistic outreach when people work for God without feeling a sense of guilt for their sins. As they prepare the venue for the crusade, they pray and joke at the same time. During revival, the atmosphere is always sober and holy. In their spirit, men see Jesus on the Cross. Salvation becomes personal. They say: “Jesus died for ME, for ME!!!” During church services, the people enjoy the presence of God so much that they forget the passing of time. In the past, they may grumble saying: ‘The church service is too long’. Now, they feel different. They feel bad when the service ends. They want it to continue. They go home with the anointing received. They see the value of Church. They think about the Word of God they heard during the preaching. They make effort to apply it practically. The Holy Spirit enlightens the mind and the understanding. The believers love to hear the Word of God preached to them. They feel the power of God’s Word working in them. In other words, revival is like days of heaven on earth! It is said that the exclamation “Oh…” is a sound of revival (Is 64:1; Hab 3:2).

Simply said, revival means ‘to wake up from sleep and live’! That is why, the word revival applies to the believers who are backsliding. The overflow touches the unbelievers too, but primarily, revival is the touch of God to His children. To be revived is to be refilled with the power of the Holy Spirit, to allow Him to rekindle the slow-dying fire of passion for Jesus. Revival is returning to the purpose for which we were saved. It brings us into the center of the purpose of salvation found in Christ alone. Revival brings glory to God alone! During revival, men testify that “God is everywhere”. The presence of God was felt not only in the church, but on the streets, in the schools, in the hospitals. For example, the alcoholics will go to the bar, order a drink, suddenly they turn back and leave the drink untouched. Prostitutes would dress seductively to go to the streets. Suddenly, they feel cold, they run home, unable to continue with their sinful work. Armed robbers would suddenly change and stop doing crimes. Thieves will return stolen property. People reconcile with one another. The gambling casinos were shut down because none came there again. Revival changes people. The change is radical, genuine, and permanent. I read that during the Welsh revival, the political meetings were canceled or abandoned. They seemed completely out of question since no one was interested. Political leaders even from the parliament of London went to the revival meetings. It was all because of the personal transformation in people’s lives. Let the fire fall! When revival comes, the whole society feels the impact. You cannot have a touch from above and not touch those around you. People will notice you and me, that we have been with Jesus. They will be attracted to Christ in us. Remember that Christ is the most attractive and lovely Person in the universe. “He is altogether lovely” (SS 5:16).  Because Christ is seen and heard in us, people believe that He is alive! They will believe the true Gospel, Christ crucified and resurrected. Men see now that power does not belong to them, but to God! Men are not worshipped anymore. Jesus alone is worshipped for who He is! Glory!

Revival is the sovereign act of God, the outpouring of God’s Spirit upon a person, a church, or an area. Revival is a miracle. A miracle is defined as the direct, sovereign, immediate, supernatural action of God. There are three essential truths about a miracle: 1-It is of God and not of man! 2-It cannot be duplicated, controlled, or explained by man! 3- God always takes the glory for it! God is sovereign when and where He grants revival. He is also sovereign about the person He chooses as His vessel to ignite revival. Men can organize church programs. They can organize evangelistic crusades to preach the Word. All these are good! But no man can ‘organize’ a revival. ‘We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind of heaven’ (G. Campbell Morgan). We study the past revivals to learn something from them. But there are no human methods to organize a revival. It has been observed that God uses humble people and grants revival to faithful genuinely needy people. Revival always humbles people! That is the general observation. Revival starts and ends as God pleases. Once revival ends, man cannot control it to prolong its work. But the good effects in society last longer. Just as on the Day of Pentecost, when revival happens, men ask: ‘What is this?’ Revival is hard to explain. It comes like a spiritual flood that changes all in its path. May revival come to Nigeria! “Even so, Come Lord Jesus!”      

THE CONGO REVIVAL (1953-1955)

This is the story of the revival that happened in the Belgian Congo, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  The revival began in the WEC mission station at Lubutu on Saturday night, February 7, 1953. WEC is a missionary organization Worldwide Evangelization for Christ that did ministry in Congo at that time. It was during a scheduled worker’s conference, with the national pastors, evangelists, and wives from the area present. Things were good with the ministry, but something was missing. The passion for Jesus was not there as in the past. The believers were more legalistic. They felt that they lost their first love. They were praying for revival. That evening the European missionaries were holding a prayer meeting in their home, while the African believers were having one of their own at the school. It was then that the missionaries heard the noise of wailing and crying coming from the school. They went to investigate, and they found many overcome and prostrate on the ground, shaking violently. Many were standing with their hands raised, worshiping, some confessing secret sins. After a while the missionaries attempted to close the meeting, but it continued for twenty-four hours. The conviction of sin was at times so intense that people would be in deep agony. Those who resisted confessing their sins were grievously tormented until they yielded. One woman went insane under conviction until she confessed her sin. An evangelist went into a coma for three days, and his healing came after he came to and confessed his sins. Following confession of sin, their hearts were filled with overwhelming joy. From the surface it appeared as though it was all chaos and confusion. “God, send us a season of glorious disorder!” (C H Spurgeon). But the fruits were clearly of the Holy Spirit!

From Lubutu, the Revival spread to other places. The Missionaries in Lubutu began writing letters to the other mission stations throughout the region, explaining what happened. Initially there was opposition and criticism, but that all soon gave way as the Holy Spirit began to fall on other mission stations as He did at Lubutu. Almost all the churches throughout the region were affected. It was like a Spiritual Tornado. The people were literally flung to the floor or over the benches, yet no one was hurt. News of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit quickly spread throughout the area, and people were walking upwards of 100 miles to come to witness and participate in the move of the Holy Spirit.

“We have longed, prayed, cried, agonized for revival, and when it came, it was beyond anything we had imagined. The conversions have been marvelous: the whole compound is a new place: from missionaries to workmen and their wives, to schoolteachers and their wives, to houseboys, schoolboys, and schoolgirls—even among those in kindergarten classes” (Missionary at the Ibambi station, Congo).

This is another testimony: the people were gathered in a prayer meeting. They were 95 Africans and 5 whites. Suddenly everyone heard the roar of what seemed to be a hurricane. The windows shutters throughout the hall were quickly closed to prevent the wind from damaging anything. But as they waited, the wind didn’t come, they only heard the sound. When they looked outside, they saw a clear sky, with no movement in the trees. Yet at the same time the lanterns throughout the hall were shaking wildly, and the building seemed to rock. It was like the account in Acts 2:2: “a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting”.  The hall was filled with people lying flat on the ground, being hurled there by an unseen force. Nobody was conscious of anyone next to them. It was just the individual and God standing face-to-face. Many began crying out to God for mercy. Others were shaking violently. Some were on their feet with arms outstretched to heaven giving praise to God. Conviction of sin had fallen upon all present. People with tears streaming down their faces confessed to theft, jealousies, anger, coldness of heart, and having a religious spirit. After the confession it was as if there was a flood of joy that gushed in through the person who had confessed, and their weeping and groaning transformed into songs of praise to God. Glory!

There was an overwhelming conviction of sin accompanied with trembling, shaking, writhing, prostration, wailing, crying, groaning, and indescribable grief. There was a powerful awareness of the reality of heaven, as well of hell. This torment caused by conviction of sin was said to be “the whip of the Holy Spirit.” Confession of those sins was made. Forgiveness of sins was experienced. Indescribable joy and the infilling of the Holy Spirit was obvious. Restitution was made for things stolen and relationships were restored.

The preaching of the Word of God, which was carried out consistently before the Holy Spirit’s outpouring, now came forth with much greater power. The understanding of the sermons preached seemed as though it was the first time they were heard, as they were so fresh and life-giving. Conviction of sins was so powerful that people had to confess them before they could be free from the burden of their sin. Physical healings were common. Many were often so overcome by God’s presence that they were said to be “drunk with the Spirit” (Acts 2:13). There were those who attempted to resist the Holy Spirit’s power, but always failed. The torment from the shaking and trembling drove them to confess their sins, as that was the only way relief could be obtained. The gift of discernment was granted to enable the leaders to detect what was of God, what was of Satan, or what was just people pretending. Worship songs were written, some of them given directly by God. Ecstasy of joy was experienced following confession of sin and being filled with the Holy Spirit. This was often accompanied with laughter, dancing, praise, and thanksgiving. Satan did attempt to infiltrate and disrupt. This came in the form of some who tried to gain attention for themselves by going to extremes. Others gave false prophecies. But it was clear that the false believers failed to control the meetings.

RESULTS OF REVIVAL

People freely preached about and testified of Jesus’ love wherever they went. People were saved by the hundreds and thousands. The people were so caught up in the presence of God that they didn’t take time for meals, and they would often sleep only a few hours each night, yet they were not tired. Prayers were no longer mechanical, they were heartfelt, and there was an intense desire to intercede for the lost. The singing was filled with passion. Marriages were restored. Many young families (husband and wife) felt the call to attend the Bible School and prepare to be pastors of evangelists. People did not arrive late for the services like they did before–they ran to them. Newcomers were at almost every meeting. Believers were not ashamed to carry their Bibles in public, as they previously were. Numerous owners of wine palm trees cut down their orchards and were no longer producing alcoholic wine. Restitution of stolen items was made, and payment of debts was common. The Africans changed their pagan-associated names to New Testament names. The revival affected the children, the teens as much as the adults.

This revival ran across the Belgian Congo from 1953 to 1955.  During that time the churches doubled, and then tripled in their numbers. Twelve years later, when civil war tore the country apart, the revived Church had been prepared by God to withstand the onslaught of unbelievable horror and evil. Since then, the leaders of the churches were those African believers who were blessed by the revival. As it was with the Businessmen revival in New York (1857-1858), just before the American Civil war, we see a pattern here. God knows that there will be war ahead. He grants revival to prepare and strengthen the church before or after conflict. We are amazed at the grace and mercy of God concerning His people. Glory to God!   

THE BURNING BUSH – THIS IS HOLY GROUND

“Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So, he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed” (Ex 3:1,2).

This is the story of the amazing encounter between Jehovah God and Moses. God reveals Himself to Moses and declares His name: I AM THAT I AM. God calls Moses to work for Him. Father’s House Bible Church has been declared prophetically to be ‘a burning bush’ in this area. What is the meaning of that? We try to find out as we study this miraculous encounter. There are many lessons for us here, even as we pray for revival.

For forty years, Moses lives in the desert with the family of Jethro, a priest of Midian. He got married to one of his daughters. They have two sons together. He works for Jethro. He takes care of sheep that are not his. These forty years, his life was simple, and possibly boring. Every day is the same. There is the routine of simple life in the desert. Forty years ago, Moses was a Prince of Egypt. He was trained to be an Egyptian royalty. “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and deeds” (Ac 7:22). He could speak well, and he could fight like a warrior. But now, what is the purpose of his life, living as a shepherd in the desert? Moses lost the Egyptian, worldly skills. God humbles him in preparation for a new work. God carries Moses in the desert to unlearn the Egyptian ways. Suddenly, God appears in a new way, in the burning bush that is not consumed. The bush was at ‘the back of the desert’.

What does the Burning Bush teach us? That God is eternal, Sovereign over all, self-sufficient and self-existent. Everything about God is eternal and indestructible. We also learn that God speaks to men and calls them to His work. We pray for revival. We need to know the God that saved us and calls us to work for Him! Please note, that the way you see God determines your Christian life. It determines what you do, say, pray, the decisions you make, your relationship with your family and others. As you pray for revival, remember who the God of Revival is!  

*God is self-existent! God is sovereign and independent! His name is Jehovah, I AM THAT I AM. This name appears 6519 times in the Bible, It is used more than any other name of God. This is God’s Covenant keeping name! What God says will come to pass! God is faithful to all His promises! God is to be trusted and obeyed!   God told Moses: “Tell them that I AM sent you!” I AM means I EXIST FOREVER! What does it mean to be ‘self-existent’? It means that God is independent from His creation. He is God all by Himself! God is the only self-existent Being in the universe. He created everything that exists, spiritual and physical. Nobody created God. The difference between God and His Creation is immense. It is like a drop of water from the ocean and the ocean itself.  God is different than all of us. God is the Creator, and we are His creation. God has no beginning and no end. God IS the Beginning, and He IS the end. We have a beginning and an end. We are created to worship God!

*God is self-sufficient! God has no needs! God ‘takes care’ of Himself. He does not need His creation to provide anything to Him. He is perfect. But we are wholly depended on God. If there is no Oxygen, we all die. We need food and water. But God needs nobody and nothing. We need God but God does not need us for anything. He appreciates our worship, but He does not need it. We cannot contribute anything to God, to make Him happier. He is happiness Himself. He is perfect by Himself. But in His eternal Wisdom, He had chosen us to become His children. That is why we should always be humble. That is why we should always trust and obey God! That is why we should live for His glory alone! God is not accountable to nobody! We are accountable to others and finally, to God. But God is free from accountability. To be accountable it means that you must take responsibility for your words and actions. You must answer the questions of others. God does not need to answer any question from nobody. Whatever He does is right. Just because God says a word, it is right! Sinful men tried to find fault with Jesus especially in the words He spoke. Eventually, they gave up. Jesus is God. He is not accountable to men for the words He speaks. “But after that they dared not question Him (Jesus) anymore” (Lk 20:40). “I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him” (Ecc 3:14). “Everything God does is right” (Ps 145:17, TM).

*God spoke thru the burning bush. The bush was an ordinary bush that God chose to dwell in it at that time. It was in fire, but it was not consumed. The Burning Bush stands for the Eternal God dwelling among men. It is a symbol of The Lord Jesus Christ, of the Eternal Word of God, and of the Eternal Kingdom of God, including all God’s Children. The burning Bush is also a symbol of the Church of Christ in revival!  

God’s Son is like the burning Bush. He is our Lord Jesus Christ who died and rose again! Death could not hold Him. The fire is the hatred of the devil and the world. On that Cross, the fire of the wrath of God against sin ‘burned’ Him but did not destroy Him. It is not the fire that consumed the Lamb. It was the Lamb that consumed the Fire! Glory!

God’s Word is like the burning bush. Men tried to destroy it, but they failed. God still speaks thru the Bible. The Bible cannot be destroyed. It will always remain the number one ‘best-seller’ among all printed books in the world. Not only that the Word of God cannot be destroyed, but it will also be the Judge at the last day. Jesus said: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (Jn 12:48).

God’s Kingdom is like the burning bush. It is eternal. Daniel saw the vision of a mighty statue representing the kingdoms of men. Then a stone not cut with human hands came and destroyed them all. The stone became a kingdom that can never be destroyed. “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).

God’s Church is like a burning bush. The gates of hell cannot prevail against the Living Church. It is a light in the darkness! “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Mt 5:14). As workers for God, we need to build with silver, gold, and precious stones. These are material that resist the fire of God. “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are” (1 Cor 3:11-17)

God’s children are preserved when passing thru fire. “The LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day” (Deut 4:20). The three Hebrews young men did not die in the furnace fire. They became free, they got promoted in their offices and God was glorified (Daniel 3:24-30). This is God’s promise coming from the burning bush: “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Is 43:1-3).

You must listen to the voice of God that speaks from heaven, even thru the burning bush. When God speaks, men must listen and obey! When God speaks, people and things shake. During revival, God’s voice is heard like a trumpet. Men cannot hide from its blast. The fear of God comes upon men who hear God. The way God called Moses; men are called to work for God.  Religion is a joker when God speaks. “See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12:25-29).

This is quote from the Book of Deuteronomy. It is a warning against idolatry, showing that God is a jealous God. “For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” (Deut 4:24). God’s fire shakes and destroys all idols and purifies, shines your faith the more!

THE EXCUSES OF MOSES

At the burning bush Moses Is called to ministry. Face to face with the eternal God, Moses brings excuses not to work for God. What are these?

1-Who am I? This is inferiority complex. Moses said: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain” (Ex 3:11, 12). When Moses was a ruler in Egypt, he had confidence to speak to Pharoah. But now, Moses thinks that he is a nobody. In the desert, he has lost his proud self-confidence. He did not know that it was God’s plan for him. God’s answer to inferiority complex is His presence with you. God’s presence is success guaranteed. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31). When you pray for revival, His Grace is your confidence of victory! “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor 12:9).

2-What shall I say? I cannot speak, pray, or preach! “Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’ ” (Ex 3:13, 14). Moses used to talk fluently in the Egyptian Language. Now, after forty years of speaking the Midian language, he is not sure that he can communicate well. In the desert, the work of the shepherd is mostly silent. Moses has lost the confidence of speech. God’s answer is His name! The revelation of His personal name! God tells Moses to speak His name to all people. The name of Jesus is stronger than all. You use it when you pray, when you preach, and when you praise! Jesus is the Word of God! Preach the Word! Preach the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation! That should be your confidence!

3-What if nobody will believe me? “Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you’.  So, the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.” (Ex 4:1, 2). Moses was afraid that men will not believe him. That includes His people, the Hebrews, and the Egyptians. God answers that signs and wonders will accompany the preaching of His Word.  The resurrected Christ told the believers: “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen” (Mk 16:17-20). The Word of God comes with power. In revival, signs and wonders are multiplied.

4-I am not eloquent in speaking! 10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say” (Ex 4:10-12). God rebuked Moses by reminding him that He made Moses’ mouth. Words will be supplied at the right time. The Lord Jesus Christ gave this promise to all believers: “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say“ (Lk 12:11, 12).

5-Send another man! This was Moses’ final objection. Moses said: “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.” So, the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said: “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do. 16 So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God. And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs” (Ex 4:13-17). God has been patient with Moses and his excuses. But now, for the first time, God gets angry. He did not disqualify Moses, but He was angry. This is a great lesson for us. If God calls you, just surrender to Him! He will use you in a great way! Glory!

The burning bush is the first place in the Bible where the only Living God choses to dwell. Other places are the Tabernacle in the wilderness, The Temple of Solomon, The Church, and the true Spirit filled believers. During revival, His glory in us is revealed more than other times. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are like the burning bush. Our testimony must be pure! We are to be on fire, not on and off, but all the time! If you throw water on the burning bush, it will not quench it. It will become vapor. If anybody says bad words to you, it will not affect you!

Forty years later, Moses remembers his encounter with God at the burning bush. He prophesies that Joseph will know the “favor (goodwill, acceptance) of Him who dwelt in the bush” (Deut 33:16). What is this favor? It is favor with the enemies. It is total victory and deliverance from the oppressors. It is the freedom we have in Christ! “And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So, you shall plunder the Egyptians” (Ex 3:21, 22).

To lead God’s people like Moses you must become like the burning bush. If you are on fire, no virus can live in your body. The demons run away from you. But the same fire, will not destroy you. Your personality is preserved. Your testimony will become brighter. This is the Baptism of Fire. As Moses stopped to see the sight, so people will come close to you, to listen to your words. Then they will hear the voice of Christ thru your words. This bush did not need fuel to burn. In the same way, you will not need human encouragement anymore. That is for baby Christians. The fire in your bones is your continuous encouragement. Men may criticize you, but they will never forget you. This is what we need too!  This is the road to revival, to the glory of God! Oh, Lord, may revival come to Nigeria! Worship the Lord!

I AM PREGNANT WITH HOPE

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the Hope of Glory” (Col 1:27)

I was very sick once and the doctor said to me: ‘Madam, please do not lose your hope’. I said: ‘Me? I cannot lose hope for Hope cannot lose me!’

For a child of God, hope is in their ‘system’. Hope is not a decoration, an attachment, or an achievement that can be lost or can fade away. Hope is a Living Person! Hope is Christ and Christ is in you. You cannot lose Christ; therefore, you cannot lose hope. This is a hope of Glory. The Glory describes God. In human words glory is the power and the beauty of God. As a true believer I know that my hope leads to Glory; my hope leads me to heaven. My hope shall bloom as glory; my hope shall mature as glory. Hallelujah!

That is why I declare that in Christ, my future is better than my past. By the grace of God, my hope will make me like Jesus, more powerful, more beautiful. I do not fear the passing of time. I am fruitful at my old age. Time is on my side. This morning I did my spiritual ‘pregnancy test’. It reads ‘positive’. I am pregnant with Hope! Out of my belly flow rivers of living water, to the thirsty needy souls. Glory! Therefore, I rejoice!

THE DOCTRINE OF REVIVAL (2)

THE DOCTRINE OF REVIVAL (2)/ HAVE FAITH IN GOD!

Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled The Doctrine of Revival (2)/ Have faith in God! (Mk 11:22). Her main text was taken from the Book of Isaiah and Habakkuk. “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:11). “Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence—as fire burns brushwood, as fire causes water to boil— to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence! When You did awesome things for which we did not look, You came down, the mountains shook at Your presence. For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him” (Isaiah 64:1-4). “O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).

REVIVAL DEFINED

Only God can produce revival. Revival is a miracle; it is a phenomenon! Revival is a visitation of God’s Spirit to the Church. It affects even the unbelievers. Revival is defined as the unique, sovereign move of God, the Holy Spirit, coming down to earth in a dramatic way, changing people and nations. It manifests as a heartfelt return to God and His commandments.  The Holy Spirit does two types of works: the regular work (convicting people of sins, the process of sanctification, helping people to understand the Word of God…) and the extraordinary work, which is called ‘Revival’. From time to time, in the history of the Church, the Holy Spirit manifested His power among the believers in a most unusual way. The believers became filled with the Holy Spirit, sings and wonders multiplied among them. The overflow of this move of God affected all people. Many surrendered their lives to Christ and the Church became stronger. During revival the Holy Spirit recovers the basic doctrines of salvation, especially the justification by faith, by Grace, thru Christ alone.  Revival can happen to an individual believer, to a family, to a church, or to a geographical area. True revival changes the history of a city or a nation. Great social changes start to happen. Righteous laws are given and the nation changes for the better. God does more in one day of Revival than in hundred years or ‘regular’ church work! Selah!  Oh, how much we need revival in Nigeria!   

WHY DO WE NEED REVIVAL?

Spiritual revival is needed when we want to know God deeper in our spirit. Right now, there is no major revival on record in the world. We need revival because Satan is out to steal, kill and destroy. The devil wants to keep us from being on fire for God. Satan will stop at nothing to keep us from sharing that passion with others. Satan doesn’t want us doing anything, that will lift the name of Jesus Christ! He hates that we desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Examine your heart! Do you fervently pray that God will give you opportunities to speak the gospel message to those around you! We need revival when we backslide! We need revival when we chose to watch the TV news than to read the Bible. We chose to gossip than to pray! We watch unholy movies on the TV and we do not feel guilty about it. Our marriages have lost the romantic passion of Christ. Their love wine is ‘finished’ (John 2:3). The couples are co-existing rather than experiencing the fullness of the love of Christ. We are more concerned about our children’s education than about the condition of their souls. Sin in the church is ignored and not punished. We criticize the pastors rather than to pray for them. Our prayers are empty religious words designed to impress others. We have ceased to mourn and grieve over our own sin and the sin of others. We need to entertain people so that they come to church (the clowns have replaced the preachers of the Word). In the Lewis Revival, many of the conversions happen after the church service closed. They went to the homes of those who were converted and there, they repented, struggled in prayer, and became saved. Never despise the informal home fellowships! God bless all the lighthouses of Father’s House Bible Church! 

MANIFESTATIONS OF REVIVAL

Some say that revival can be ‘messy’. This is because many people repent and weep openly. There are also demonic manifestations as the anointing increases. People get delivered in the name of Jesus! Each revival has its own fragrance.  But there are some things that are common to all: the believers fall in love with Jesus again. They love the Word of God and desire to apply it. They bring their unsaved friends to the church. The conversions increase dramatically. The sales of the Bibles increase. People love coming to church. People pray more. They join the evangelistic ministry in great numbers. People travel from far distances to attend services in the churches experiencing revival. All who come get filled with the Holy Spirit and the passion for Jesus! They go back to their cities and like fire, revival spreads. Religious people become truly saved. The unbelievers cannot pretend anymore. In the churches, the praise and worship get better! The night-clubs, the places where they sell drugs and alcohol, they all shut down. The number of crimes decreased dramatically. The number of abortions decrease. The policemen, the court judges, and the lawyers become idle for there is no work for them. The signs, wonders, and miracles are multiplied! Praise the Lord!

WHO OPPOSES REVIVAL?

The evil spirit of religion is the greatest enemy to revival. Religious pride is the greatest hindrance. The devil does not mind if sinners go to church. But he hates it when they encounter the Only Living God. The truth is that revival can be ‘messy’. Because the Spirit of God works in our midst, there are visible manifestations. The devil produces counterfeit manifestations as well. Many pastors cannot discern the difference. That is why, they tend to reject all fruit, good or bad. By doing that they quench the Holy Spirit, and the revival stops. In the History of the Church, the people who most oppose revival are the older ‘Christians’ who have high positions in the churches. These people are religious but not saved. They are also the ones whom God has used in the past revivals but now they are backsliding (The retreating wave of the sea, blocks the coming one). The more legalistic they are, the more they oppose revival. They hate to see this new activity, this zealous passion for Jesus and for souls. They feel uncomfortable when they cannot control the congregation. They fear changes. They feel threatened. They ‘resist the Spirit of God’ like the Pharisees who stoned Stephen to death. Revival shakes the false believers. “The sinners in Zion are afraid; Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” (Is 33:14). Many of the Christians who opposed revival were members of the great denominations. They loved their positions in the denomination more than they love God. Others who opposed revival loved miracles of healing more than the glory of God and the conversion of souls. It is good to be reminded that in the history of the Church, no revival started thru the organized official channels of the Church. All revivals started small. God used one or few people to feel the burden for revival and to pray for it. Remember this: God is never afraid to start small, like a mustard seed of passion which becomes a tree of revival! Glory!     

QUOTES ABOUT REVIVAL

“The Christian Church would have been dead and finished centuries ago and many times over if not for revivals. In one sense, the whole story of the Church can be described as a series of Pentecosts – I mean by that, a series of revivals” (Martyn Lloyd Jones)

PRAYER OF FAITH MOVES MOUNTAINS

“Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” So, Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:20-26)

Faith in God is basic to the Christian. That is why he is called ‘a believer’. It is the duty of the child of God to defeat the evil spirit of doubt and to grow in faith. In this story, we see a glimpse of what happened during the last days of Jesus on earth. The subject is prayer. You may wonder, who does Jesus teach His disciples about prayer on His way to the Cross? Following Jesus, the disciples did not pray much. For the past three years, the disciples had all their needs met just by talking to their Master. Now, He is telling them that He will die and go to heaven. Therefore, they need to learn how to pray! This is a radical spiritual shift! They did not like that. Jesus is telling them that if they pray, all heaven’s resources are at their disposal. When Jesus cursed the fig tree that is a parable of judgment upon the temple and the nation of Israel. The prophesy came to pass. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. Here we see that Jesus has the power that with a word He can curse and dry a fig tree, roots, and all. This is a negative miracle that displays the power of God! Such power, be it negative or positive, is from God alone! “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!” (Rev 19:1). Jesus said: “Have faith in God!” In other words: Have faith that God is Your Father in heaven, that He is all powerful, and that He wants to help you!

How do you pray for revival, for miracles? Examine your memory, heart, tongue, spirit, arms, and conscience! The answer to your prayer depends on these!  

*Your memory! Remember what God has done in the past! ‘Peter remembered…’ You cannot trust God now if you have not experienced a miracle in the past! The fig tree withered immediately as Jesus cursed it. Peter remembered the words of Jesus… The more you remember the past miracles the greater faith you have. The old Christians have an advantage here because they remember many miracles. Remember God!!!

*Your heart! Trust God! ‘Have faith in God’ and do not doubt the character of God! Study God’s Word. Attend your church regularly. Listen to your pastor preach. Faith in God is ‘injected’ thru your ears. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). Faith needs to be built! You must trust His promises, purpose, power, and plans! When you pray, ask for things that give glory to God and advance His Kingdom! Do not ask for selfish things. Do not pray amiss (Jam 4:3). “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Mt 7:7). Pray over your prayer requests!

*Your tongue! ‘Whoever says…’ You must believe that because God created you in His image and likeness, your words have power! When you pray, your words will perform the action! Do not doubt your prayers! Your words should be like the words of God! Idle words, even in prayer, are judged by God. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment” (Mt 12:36). The word ‘idle’ means unprofitable, injurious, useless, and thoughtless. Praying in flesh is rebuked by God! Praying in the Spirit is answered by God! Pray with faith and without doubt! Both tongue and heart must be united! That is the ideal prayer! To move mountains is about serious issues. When you pray, there should be no doubt in your heart that God is able to do all things. You need faith in the power and the wisdom of God! Little faith in the Big God is enough! “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (PV 18:21). As you can see, the tongue has power to build or to destroy, others and you. If you do not believe this scripture, you shall carelessly use negative words of destruction. For example, if you jokingly say “I am dying-oh…”. Because you did not die after saying such a word, you start to doubt the power in your tongue. Later, when you desire to pray for healing for example, you cannot believe that your words are powerful enough, for God to answer them. Negative, careless, gossiping, slandering, unholy joking words, are a great hindrance to prayer for revival and miracles!

 *Your spirit! You must “pray always” (1 Thess 5:17).  The more you pray, the better you understand the God who answers prayers! Prayer and faith grow together! “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them”. Jesus says ask for all things! But not for selfish desires. It must be according to God’s will. Ask and wait! “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (Jam 4:2, 3). Jesus was telling them that they must pray. Before now, they have not prayed. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (Jn 15:7, 8). A good prayer answered by the Father proves much spiritual fruit and gives glory to God!

*Your arms! Learn to receive God’s love thru His Word like a baby. A baby at the mother’s breast does not ask: ‘Shall I receive this food?’ He just opens his mouth and sucks the milk! Faith comes with receiving God’s Word! Doubt comes thru rejection of God’s Word!

*Your conscience! ‘And whenever you stand praying… forgive him’ An attitude of forgiveness is necessary for an answered prayer. Choose between your grudge and your miracle!

What are the lessons for us? What is the pattern of a good prayer for miracles or for revival? Jesus says that prayer must be in faith and power! These are the simple steps to follow:

1-Remember God’s Word!

2-Believe God’s Word!

3-Speak God’s Word!

4-Pray (ask) God’s Word!

5-Forgive yourself and others!

6-Receive your miracle!

From looking at these steps of faith, we deduct that the hindrances to prayer, the very mountains we need to remove are these: Forgetting and Doubting God’s Word, Keeping silent when you should speak and pray, and Unforgiveness. In this case, you cannot receive what you desire!  

The disciples quickly learned the act of prayer. Immediately Jesus went to heaven, they started praying. Then the Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost (Ac 1:14, 2:1-4). Good memory, clean conscience, faith, prayer, and power are always connected! Worship the Lord!

REVIVAL IS LIKE ISAAC WHO DUG AGAIN THE WELLS OF WATER OF HIS FATHER ABRAHAM!

“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” (Gen 26:18)

THE BUSINESSMEN REVIVAL IN NEW YORK (1857-1858)

This was a great revival. It is the last revival in U. S. This is significant! This is the story: For one year (1857-1858), God used a simple unknown man called Jeremiah Lanphier to ignite the great revival in New York. Jeremiah’s parents came to America from Holland. He was a tailor. He produced readymade clothes. He got converted during Charles Finney’s revival. Here you see how the revival’ seed spreads. Because of the economic downturn, many people stopped going to church. He made good money, but he sold his business to work for God. For a salary of 1000$ per annum, his church, the 88 years Old Dutch North Church at Fulton street, hired him to go from house to house and tell people to come to church. That is how at 49, Jeremiah became a missionary evangelist. He told everyone he met to give their lives to Jesus and start coming to church. One day, God gave him ‘an idea’ to start a weekly prayer meeting for businessmen and workers, during their one-hour lunch break. He obeyed God. He used his money to print 20,000 handbills and distributed them in the city. He was not a preacher. He wrote a simple note in front of his church inviting people to pray. The note read this: “Prayer Meeting from 12 to 1 o’clock—Stop 5, 10, or 20 minutes, or the whole hour, as your time admits.” The first prayer meeting was exactly at 12 noon on a Wednesday, September 23, 1857. He alone climbed the creaking wooden stairs and went to a room at the third floor of his church.  He entered that empty dusty room, pulled out his pocket watch and sat down to wait. It looked like no one had the time. As the minutes ticked by, the solitary waiter wondered if it were all a mistake. Then he started praying alone, for God to have mercy on all, to bring revival. Thirty minutes later, a man came. Before the hour was up, four men came to join him. The first prayer meeting was help with six men who did not know each other. The following week twenty men came, and the next week forty men turned out! Their prayers were earnest, but as yet, unremarkable. Undaunted, Jeremiah took a step of faith and decided the men should meet daily.  October 14—the twenty-first day after the first meeting—the stock market crashed. All the banks closed, and the whole country descended into the worst financial crisis it had ever seen. Many committed suicides. Upended New Yorkers flocked to the meetings for prayer. Within six months, 10,000 businessmen (out of a population of 800,000 in New York) were bringing their petitions to God, meeting in churches and public buildings throughout New York City. This is how revival started. Soon, people started coming in great numbers. There were many unemployed in New York. There was economic recession. Businesses closed down. People remembered God and came to pray. In January 1858 there were at least twenty other prayer meetings going full tilt in the city. There were rules for the prayer meetings. This revival was much more structured than other revivals. This was the pattern: They start singing a hymn. Then there is a reading from the Bible. Then they start praying for themselves, for mercy, for revival. No man could pray aloud for more than five minutes. The women were allowed to come but not to pray aloud. Soon, people hired a big theater hall, and all people could come and pray aloud, men and women, black, white and Asians. The prayer meetings started 12 noon exactly and ended 1 pm on the dot. No politics or social topics were allowed to be discussed. They made room for the Holy Spirit. Different men led the prayer meeting. At 12:55 they sang another hymn and prayed a prayer of blessing. They close at 1 pm exactly. From here, many men went back to work. They used their lunch break for prayer. Within a year it is estimated that over 1 million people got saved!!!

What are the lessons? Humility, Faith, and Obedience to God are basic in ministry. God can use anybody! God likes to use foolish things to confound the wise! God told Jeremiah that revival will come thru a prayer meeting. He obeyed! Nobody came to pray with him in the first thirty minutes. Then one man came. Many people are too impatient. Wait on God! God uses anyone who humbles himself, who desires to bring glory to God and to save souls. This revival was made from laymen. There were no church leaders. It was not denominational. Most of the people were businessmen. It spread to other cities in the US. It was a revival of prayer. Never since that time have Americans come so united in prayer. “Do not despise the day of small beginnings” (Zechariah 4:10). Men took the anointing to Chicago, Philadelphia, and other cities.  Out of this prayer meeting came the ministries of Dwight Moody and Ira Sankey as well as movements to end slavery and bring justice to the oppressed. Though it did not prevent the Civil war (1865-1861) many believe that the revivals during the civil war were inspired by it. This revival changed America. God moved in amid tragedy and saved many souls! To God be all the glory!

In Christ I declare:

WE HAVE ENTERED THE REALM OF ANSWERED PRAYERS!

Revival is your portion, God’s grace and mercy your inheritance, the victory of God is your latest boast! You shall know this salvation, this deliverance! You shall hear the voice of hope singing the ‘coming out’ song to you! You shall once more feel hungry for righteousness! Your passion for Christ is rekindled! You shall be filled with His Spirit! You shall be married and fruitful! The barren shall sing for joy at the embrace of miracle children! You shall see the King in His beauty! You shall feel His touch, His grip, and His lifting. The cursed hiding hole shall be emptied of its contents, for Jehovah has come to redeem His people and claim back His own! Let the praise start! For the glory of God alone!

In Jesus’ name, Amen!  Worship the Lord!

THE PROMISE OF GOD WHO CREATED AND SAVED YOU

“For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the LORD, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11; AMP)

Child of God, you need to pray and meditate upon each word. You need to learn how to encourage yourself by God’s Word. Don’t wait for anybody to encourage you. Men may disappoint you. They too have needs. Learn to strengthen yourself by the power of the Holy Spirit!

This is a fact: God alone knows your future. He not only knows it, but He has prepared it for you in advance. You are the owner of a prepared hope! That is why, no matter the present trials of life, your God given future is sure because the faithful God has ‘planned it’. This ‘expected end’ means eternal life and assurance of going to heaven. It also includes a life of ‘Shalom’ -peace to the last breath on earth, and walking in divine health and favor with God and man.

God also promised that ‘your God given strength shall equal your days’ (Deut 33:25). If you trust in God alone, you will never be disappointed. You will never regret knowing and serving the Lord Jesus Christ. His plans for you are the best ‘insurance policy’ ever! Faith in God is a powerful chemistry. You should build your faith. It is a most wonderful work you can do on earth. It has extraordinary benefits! So, be thankful for your past, grateful for your present moment, and start praising God in advance for the prepared joyful hope! His Word never fails! Halleluiah!

Love in Christ alone,

Malia!