Guest Post by Jim Richardson

Posted August 20th, 2012 by Leah and filed in Guest Blog, Word of Encouragement

Hello friends, please click HERE to read my husband’s guest post for our friend, Erica Van der Laak, who is a missionary in the Netherlands. Jim and Erica became close friends while working together at the Broad St. Mission in New Orleans. Jim witnessed the amazing and miraculous, and this is just one of his many stories…CHEESEBURGER BUNS!

Savor Jim’s “cheeseburger bun” story and let it settle in your heart, once and for all, that God cares about the desires of your heart, when you delight in Him!

xo

leah

 

Guest Blog from Erica

Posted March 8th, 2012 by Leah and filed in Guest Blog, Word of Encouragement

Hello sweet friends!  Gail, Marcy, Erica, Jessi and I are preparing and praying for the 20 women coming to the first REPLENISH at The Farm!  We are very excited and believe the Lord has wonderful things in store for us. 

Please enjoy a special message from Erica.  Jim and I met Erica van der Laak while we lived in New Orleans.  She came to America after Katrina to help the city of New Orleans recover.  Erica is from the Netherlands and Loves, with a capital L, our Lord. She wanted to share her testimony with you.

Please enjoy!

Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:6

After 25 years of marriage with a lovely husband whom unfortunately was addicted to gambling, he ran off with another woman and left me.

I asked for a divorce…and it hurts very deeply because I loved him.

But, I didn’t see a way out to survive without him, and I wanted my life to end, but my family knew what was happening and they prayed for me from a distance.

The verse above was our marriage text, but we became very wealthy and forgot it and lived our own life, which was not a Godly lifestyle.

I became ill and was crippled with reumatic in my life, my body refused to work properly, and I had several surgeries…gall bladder, breast and intestines.

In that time, I was longing for the peace I had experienced in my parents’ home, for they were Holy Spirit filled believers. But also revelation came to mind…I had opened the door to the devil and allowed him to interfere in my life, and my children’s life.  My daughter received incurable cancer on the bones of her hips and her breast.

At the same time, her husband had an aircraft accident and lay in the hospital 5 weeks in a coma with his body blown up and nothing working anymore. They wanted to stop the equipment because of this.

BUT THANKS BE TO GOD whom sent a preacher from the USA to a conference my brother had organized. This man was preaching and suddenly my brother saw big angels standing in the corner of the church. So the preacher said we should call the names of people whom need a miracle from God because the angels are God’s messengers. So my family called out the names of my kids and me.

During this time, my daughter, barely standing on crutches near her husband’s bed, told him to wake up and get up and go to the bathroom. The nurse was amazed and did not believe what was happening.  He did this and within 24 hours he was standing by his bed with the sheet attached to his back because for 5 weeks he lay in bed because the doctors couldn’t do anything for him. With one surgery they removed the sheet from his back and grafted skin from his legs to his back. In two weeks he was dismissed from the hospital.

I am healed after I confessed my hidden sins, the Lord has broken the power of the devil from me.  I am healed of my reumatic pain and crippleness and my body functions like normal.

My daughter is healed from incurable bone cancer.  It is gone because God has given Jesus for this…to heal the sick and set free the prisoners.

I’ve responded on the question of Jesus…would you follow me?

He asked me to give up everything I had from my marriage. I was crying on the floor in the congregation and asked, “Please Lord, do I really need me to give up everything?”

He asked me again if I really wanted to follow him. Leave everything behind and follow me he said. “Ok Lord, if this is from you, give me joy.” And he did! So I have given it all away. I have the joy and feel free! Hallelujah!!

And I’ve experienced that if we “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, everything shall be added to you.” This verse became truth in my life.

That’s why I want to share with you my testimony so you know what profit it gives not only to me, but to everyone I meet. Many people became jealous, by what happened in my life. It ‘s all because of Jesus. He calls us to follow after Him. He asks us to give up our mindsets, agendas, and to do the works of Him, so I have given all my household up to follow after Him. I’ve seen that people all over the world give their life to Jesus.

Hear and experience His presence in my life and great miracles are happening around me. God is my provider and He has filled up the emptiness in my life. He is more than enough for me.

Now, after years of traveling and teaching how to live a Kingdom lifestyle, a teaching I’ve given in many countries, God has given me a Home! A very very beautiful home in Holland where I will become a mother of many children, women coming out of forced prostitution.

God has prepared a place for them and a Safe Harbor in my homeland so I can love on them and give them what the Father has given me…love and healing.

There is nothing more beautiful than giving away what you have received from Jesus.  The joy of the Lord will multiply in your life.

All the iniquities that come up in my mind from what I have done in my past, I rededicat them to the Lord. I bring them immediately to the Cross, because I believe that Jesus took it for me in his death. Now I am free, forever! So I cut myself loose from the spirits, and all things are new! The old is gone!

When Jesus said you shall do these things also and greater things than this…this is for every disciple of Jesus Christ! For you and for me.

 

Guest Post- Climbing the Mountain

Posted July 29th, 2010 by Leah and filed in Guest Blog

Hello friends!  Thank you for your calls, comments and emails encouraging me during the move. Last night marked one week and I am ALMOST unpacked!!  (:

Please savor this beautiful, insightful and encouraging analogy a dear friend of mine from Seattle, Jody Collins, wrote during a very difficult season recently.

———————————————–

The last several weeks have been a significant challenge for me, as my husband and I have been caring for my aging father-in-law, who lives with us.  Managing his care, hiring daily help, working with hospice and doctors, plus dealing with my mother-in-law, who was also convalescing, was very hard, to say the least.  I felt supernaturally protected and strengthened by the Holy Spirit during that time.

One day I read a quote from a preacher, via a very wise woman:

“Honey, if the mountain was smooth,

you wouldn’t be able to climb it!”


I said, “AMEN!” And then these words just poured out of me…

This is for all of us who are climbing with Jesus!  (Dad passed away on the 4th of July).

Climbing the Mountain

by Jody Collins – June 2010

GETTING STARTED – Going Up

I.  WHAT should I have?  The right Tools and Equipment


Crampons/boots to steady your feet along the path- “feet shod with the gospel of peace”

A walking stickwhat are you leaning on?

The right clothes– to stay warm, protect you- “put on Christ”

Enough food– the Word for your daily bread and living water

A Flashlight/lantern– to light the path

A Map is most important- to know the way

CLIMBINGalong the way

II.  HOW am I going to do it? So I am not overwhelmed- “Man this is a big mountain!”


One step at a time- using the light you’ve been given

Follow the signs-  Pay ATTENTION!

Stay Focused on the path- don’t look to the right or to the left

With the encouragement of others-  “I’m praying for you”,  “God is faithful!”

Rest and Refresh along the way- no reason to hurry

Most Important: Eat, drink and breathe daily-  Read God’s Word and breathe the breath of the Holy Spirit

AT THE TOPTime to Stop

III.  WHY did I climb this mountain?   PURPOSE


To Get God’s perspective – because you can see better from the top!

To Prove you could do it– build your faith

To be strengthened– for the next challenge

To come down and encourage others–  “You won’t believe what I saw!” ,  “If I can make it, so can you!”

Whatever Mountain you face today, Jody and I both want you to know that you are not alone!  We are all climbing together.  Lord, show each of us the “next right step” toward reaching the top and show us who we can encourage along the way.

Have a wonder-filled weekend!  xo   Leah

WINE SEASON- penned by my friend Erica van der Laak

Posted January 4th, 2010 by Leah and filed in Guest Blog, LR Ministries

Picture 2

Hello everyone!  I have a special treat for you today.  A dear and precious friend of ours from Holland, Erica van der Laak, is back in New Orleans visiting for a month.  What a blessing to have such a strong woman of God staying in our home.

My husband Jim met Erica at the Broad Street Mission when they cooked together for the homeless.  Erica travels the world to be the hand and feet of Jesus to the poor, outcast and forgotten.  She refers to herself as a “pilgrim” and has given her life to serving the Lord.  Last year alone she served in Italy, the Ukraine, France and China sharing the love of Jesus.

The Lord has given her a powerful message “Kingdom Living” to help equip and set free the Saints by teaching them how to live a “Kingdom Lifestyle”.  When Erica leaves New Orleans, she will travel to Uganda.

Erica’s slogan-  “If she does God’s work in God’s way, He shall provide all her needs.”  If you want to partner with Erica, she says “Pray- for together we are strong!”

Erica never asks for financial support, but as a sister in Christ who has witnessed first hand her love and servanthood in the Body of Christ, I encourage you to sow into her ministry.  Like she says, “together we are strong.”

To donate please go to Paypal.com.  Click on Send Money Online.  Erica’s email address is Ericabenjaweh@gmail.com.  Thank you and Jesus bless you immeasurably!

Now, please enjoy a message from Erica…

Wine Season –   John 15:1    I am the true vine and My Father is the vinedresser.

Riding with my car in the middle of the wine fields looking to the grapes almost ready to harvest, it’s a fruitful Year 2009.  Italy can enjoy its fruit that is growing on every tree.  I’m amazed how all things continue on earth season after season.

Lord You are the Creator of this beauty!  I saw a Red Rose planted near the vine and asked for explanation because I’ve never noticed this before.  The Rose is planted to expose if there is an insect that destroys the fruit during the maturing of the grapes.  If they see spots on the Rose, they need to clean the vineyard!  So that the grape becomes ready for the wine to flow into the vessels.

It came up in my mind, Lord it’s like us.  Jesus teaches us, if there are unclean things in our life we need to be cleansed again with his blood.  The insect needs to be killed before he kills the whole plant and the plant does not give fruit any more.

Song of Solomon 2:15 speaks about the little foxes that spoil the vine, for our vine has tender grapes.

It’s the Holy Spirit that sees the wrong in us and urges us to be cleansed again by the blood of Jesus so we don’t die, but become fruitful.  When the Rose is blooming beautiful in us, we are healthy from the inside and we bring forth good fruit.  The branches that are closest to the vine have greater grapes or fruit than the ones that hang on the end.  Every plant stays on himself but every branch reaches out to the other branches to stand strong.  Every vine that stands alone loses power to stand up straight and finally dies also.  Because when the storms of life are coming into your life, you are without power.  Only together are we strong.  When there is a branch without fruit He takes it away.  He calls it pruning, that hurts the other branches too.  Surely when it is happening in the body of Christ, if one suffers the whole body suffers.

When the harvest time is there, the Rose still remains blooming.  While the leaves coloring red drop on the ground, the Rose blooms until the freezing cold comes over the garden.  That is what I have noticed in my time that moment.  I was in a resting time and felt really as the leaves of the vine.  But God told me that this time is necessary for you.  Just like the vineyard needs rest, you too need rest.  Stay close in me and enjoy your resting time so I can pour new energy inside of you to become fruitful again!

I was thinking it is not the white or yellow rose that shows the vinedresser the illness in the vineyard, but only the red…the Rose of Sharon.  How precious God explains Himself through His Word.  We only need to be careful to stay close to Him and to other believers.  Vine plants stay their lifetime together, shoulder to shoulder.  Don’t boast that  your branch is better than the one near you.  Only the wine from inside the grapes flow out to the world so everyone can taste the fullness of the mature fruit.  It’s God in us, the Hope of Glory, who made this plant and works this all out for the best.  For His Glory, not our glory…for His and His alone!!

When spots are coming on us, we need to be cleansed again.  He purifies us and we again become fruitful.  Think about this, every vine has a time of growth and developing and pruning.  This is how God has prepared everything for us.  So every year there is a season that fruit comes up.  I pray that you will stay close in Him to be fruitful.  Read your Bible so when the time of sharing Jesus’ love arrives, you are filled up with His Words of Love.  And there shall be fruit ready to be harvested.

God Bless you all in your walk with Jesus,

Erica

O STAR!

Posted December 24th, 2009 by Leah and filed in Guest Blog, LR Ministries

Pastor Parris Bailey, an anointed woman of God and friend of  mine, wrote this poem that I thought you would enjoy.  Last year she founded Mary’s Song, VictoryFellowship.net/Ministries/MarysSong which has been such a blessing to many young women who were in desperate situations and had no where to turn.

From personal experience of facing distress in her teenage years, Pastor Parris says, “I believe that God uses the things that cause us the most pain and embarrassment in order to bring Glory to God.  I also believe that God loves to fill empty vessels or ones that are base or lowly.  Mary is a great example of that!  She did nothing to deserve favor.  God did everything.  She was so pure yet so impoverished, a woman pregnant but not married.  Martin Luther said, ” You must become impoverished and be completely wrapped up in poverty so that, without any human help, God alone may do the work.”

That is such a good word and deserves pondering over this Christmas eve.

O STAR!

O beautiful Star

How brilliant you are

The place I see you seems so far

Will you hear my call?


O Star, Star Divine

How do you make your face to shine?

If we follow the star what will it say?

“Go to the manger”

Where Christ the babe lay

Far away from present danger


Star of amazing shine

Full of holy love divine

Shepherds awoke in the night

There was a great light

They heard the angels sing

Glory to God, Peace to all

Fields and valleys do ring

The news of the new born King


O Star, Shine on me!

Show me this wonderful mystery

In you, his face I will see

From now to eternity

Your shine brings clarity


Bright and morning star

Fairest of ten thousands

Guide me to the distant shore

Where I will be with him forevermore

Until the Daystar comes with healing in his wings.


…desiring to shine like a star in the universe as I hold out the Word of life… Merry Christmas,  leah