Sunday, March 26, 2017

Should Christians have secrets

By Hayley Boud

As Christians we are taught that we shouldn’t have secrets and that we should be transparent.  But is that what the Bible says?

I remember when Odon first came to New Zealand and he prophesied over each of us who were present in the meeting.  He then told us not to tell anyone what was prophesied because it was just between us and God.  Does that mean we were being secretive and not transparent? 

It made me think of the story of Joseph in Genesis 37:5 onwards.  Joseph had a dream and then he told his brothers.  He dreamed that they were binding sheaves in the field and his one rose up and the brothers’ sheaves bowed down to him.  His brothers were angry at his dream and hated him.  He then had another dream and told his brothers again.  This dream was about the sun, moon and eleven stars were bowing down to him (he had eleven brothers).  His brothers again became angry because Joseph was saying that not only will the brothers bow down before him but the parents would too.

In verse 10, the brothers rebuked him.  In verse 11, they were jealous.  Joseph made himself appear proud, while he was not.  Was it necessary for him to share this dream?  Couldn’t he just keep it to himself?  By sharing it, he caused others to stumble, he caused others to hate him, be jealous and later this hatred caused his brothers to want to kill him.

Another good example from the Bible is in Matthew 2:1 onwards.  After Jesus was born, magi arrived in Jerusalem saying, “where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him”.  When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled and he called the magi to find out the time the star appeared.  Herod had all the male children in Bethlehem, 2 years and under killed.  Had the magi just followed the star without spreading the news, those children may not have been killed.

We have to be careful to know what to share and what to keep between us.  We have to remember that when we share information, this can be a stumbling block to others.  It might make them angry, jealous, hate someone etc.  We have to think carefully about our reasons for sharing the information, e.g. gossip, lack of self-control (speak before I think).  We have to think carefully about the consequences of sharing that information, will it cause the other person to gossip, be curious, complain, judge others.  As Colleen said in her recent message, be slow to speak and quick to listen.

Colleen’s recent message reminded us that we need discernment and wisdom.  We need to have discernment and wisdom before sharing information. 

Recently, I was really disappointed in myself for sharing information that someone had told me not to.  I let that person down.  I betrayed their trust.  Even though this person and I are not best friends, I knew I had failed the test.

If someone asks us not to share information, we should respect that.  Maybe they have a good reason.  Maybe God has told them that this is not the right time for others to know yet.

I hear many Christians say that they don’t keep secrets because, “the truth will find you out”.  That is very true that eventually the truth will be seen.  However, we have to wise and know when to share information and sometimes it’s not up to us to share it but for people to discover on their own.  I used to have a boss who was horrible to work for but he had everyone fooled into thinking he was an amazing guy.  People would say to me, “you are so lucky to work for him”.  I couldn’t tell people he was horrible but eventually they discovered on their own.

I have aims and goals that I keep to myself because maybe God doesn’t agree with them or maybe I’ll change my mind.  It looks foolish when you tell people that you have decided you are going to live in Auckland next year and then you don’t.  People will judge you for not doing what you said you would.

I don't think there is a single Christian who is completley transparent.  If we are honest with each other, we will know that is true.  So why do we Christians who are not 100% transparent tell other Christians that they should be?  I’ve never read a verse in the Bible that says I have to be transparent in front of others.

There is a great Bible verse that says, “Walk in the light as He is in the light”, 1 John 1:7.  Walking in the light exposes us.  For example, my light in my bathroom is dull so when I leave home, I think I look great.  My light in the bathroom at work is very bright so I get a shock when I see my true reflection.  Where did all those wrinkles come from?

We need to walk in the light so we can see who we truly are and to keep walking in the right direction.  Walking in the light does not mean sharing everything with everybody.  We need wisdom and take time before sharing to ask ourselves, if I share this, how will others react?  With jealousy, judging, selfishness, anger, unforgiveness.

A good example where we need to be wise is when we know we have wronged someone and we know we should say sorry.  Be careful not to share too much.  The person may not even know you wronged them and you may create a problem that never existed.  I usually say, “I’m very sorry I wronged you”.  If they say, how?  I say, “If you don’t remember, then praise God because you have already forgiven me” and I leave it there. It’s not a good idea to create a problem.

Let's remember to think carefully before sharing information and let's not judge others when they keep information to themselves. 

Judge Not

By Colleen Podmore

Matthew 7:1 says that we should not judge others or we will be judged ourselves. In this context the judgement made is negative. People will quote this verse in response to someone who has pointed out their sin to them. But this is not what Jesus means when He says, ‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged.’ We have to read on to verse 6 to get the complete message.

Matthew 7:1-6 is teaching us about living lives that are authentic, changing our own wrong and sinful attitudes, words and actions (our ‘planks’) before trying to help someone else with the ‘speck’ in their own eye – or the small sin in their lives.

Matthew Henry puts it quite succinctly in this excerpt from his commentary:

Matt 7:1-6   We must judge ourselves, and judge of our own acts, but not make our word a law to everybody. We must not judge rashly, nor pass judgment upon our brother without any ground. We must not make the worst of people.

Here is a just reproof to those who quarrel with their brethren for small faults, while they allow themselves in greater ones. Some sins are as motes, while others are as beams; some as a gnat, others as a camel. Not that there is any sin little; if it be a mote, or splinter, it is in the eye; if a gnat, it is in the throat; both are painful and dangerous, and we cannot be easy or well till they are got out.

That which charity teaches us to call but a splinter in our brother's eye, true repentance and godly sorrow will teach us to call a beam in our own.

It is as strange that a man can be in a sinful, miserable condition, and not be aware of it, as that a man should have a beam in his eye, and not consider it; but the god of this world blinds their minds.

Here is a good rule for reprovers; first reform thyself.

Keeping up appearances

The dictionary meaning of judgement is to ‘form an opinion about someone or something’. It does not have a value and may be either negative or positive, eg in my judgement they are a very fine person. In my judgement they could be less selfish.

We all make judgements when we meet people for the first time. We look at them and make a judgement about who they are, how they live and whether we like them or not. In the blink of an eye they are either ok or not ok. Have you ever been judged like this? Conversely, because others also do this to us, we learn to put on a certain appearance to become accepted or acceptable and we also act in certain ways especially around certain people who we want to impress.

I remember a sitcom a few years ago called ‘Keeping up appearances’ about a woman, Hyacinth Bucket, spelled bucket but pronounced bouquet. She plays the part of a real snob and desperately tries to make herself out to be upper class but her family is lower class.

The Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) refers to a time when Jesus sat down to teach the crowds about how to live a life dedicated to and pleasing to God, free from hypocrisy, full of love and grace, full of wisdom and discernment. He preaches to crowds of people who have flocked to hear him. People who are maybe just curious, or maybe desperate to know God and how to live lives acceptable and pleasing to Him. Jesus has compassion on the crowds and he looks at them and begins to teach them! You can feel the compassion when Matthew says in Matt 5:1, ‘Now when he saw the crowds he went up on a mountainside and sat down’ – perhaps so that the crowds of people, men and women, young and old, rich and poor could hear him and see him? For no-one is excluded from the Kingdom of God.

The people did not have the benefit of Scripture, they were like sheep without a shepherd. The religious class known as Pharisees were hypocrites (Matt 6:2, 5, 16), who said one thing but did another. On another occasion Jesus told the people they were blind guides (Luke 6:39) and to do what they say and not what they do (Matt 23:3), as they do not practice what they preach! Perhaps these verse are mainly directed at them but because we can also be hypocrites at us also.

In summary then, these verses in Matt 7:1-6 are not telling us not to judge but to do so in a right manner and incidentally, verse 6 is also warning about people who will not listen and to be careful around them ie they are Pharisees.

Discernment is defined as the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure. When we make a judgement, we also need wisdom to discern the right way to act in a given situation. Perhaps it might be to be silent, or to pray or to encourage, or to warn. In addition, a discerning person needs to be self-aware regarding their own emotions and motivations for intervening. It also requires us to see through the lenses of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. As I look at a person or consider a situation, I view through my eyes which are covered with the lenses of the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). Perhaps we need them all or just patience. Discernment is making a judgement with self-awareness and wisdom.

Let us desire also spiritual discernment. Hebrews 5:11-14 says, ‘But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil’. Solid food is understanding and grappling with God’s word. Reading it methodically and regularly, meditating on the meaning and allowing it to change us. Maybe we just like ‘milk’, that is easily understood and digested - passages that we don’t have to think too much about (Heb 5:12). We must know what the complete word says so that when the counterfeit comes along – we can spot it straight away. Know the voice of God so that we can distinguish it from the voice of the world (ie good and evil).

This is the gift of discerning spirits as Paul talks about in 1Cor 12:10, it is not being able to see Angels and Demons but it is about discerning situations and distinguishing between good and evil and being able act accordingly.

Finally, let us not be hypocrites keeping up appearances but let us be mature Christians who are being transformed by the renewing of their minds as we daily read the Scriptures, chewing the solid food and when we are called to judge, combine that judgement with spiritual fruit and wisdom to be able to discern correctly and act accordingly.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Communion - Riches of God's grace

"We have been bought through his blood,
the forgiveness of our trepasses
with the riches of God's grace"

Ephesians 1:6

This word “riches” in our world is measured in terms of monetary value.  Gold is considered riches because it’s worth a lot of money.  Food is like gold at the moment because it’s so expensive.  I went to the supermarket during the week and was shocked at what little amount of money can buy these days.  Everything is about 50% more expensive than a couple of years ago.  I used to buy lamb chops for $10 a packet and now it costs $15 a packet.  It’s only five dollars more but it adds up so that a $200 grocery bill is now $300.  That’s a whole $100 that we have to find while our wages haven’t gone up.

Then there is rent.  There are a lot of people who have had to endure rent increases every six months so that after two years, they now pay $200 more than what they used to, without a pay increase.  So each week we are paying $300 more for groceries and rent than just a couple of years ago.  To go to the doctor is more expensive, to get a Warrant of Fitness.  It’s all very depressing. 

On the positive side, registrations for cars came down.  That is a real bonus and now I can afford to register my car for six months at a time instead of three months (or one month when I was really poor).  This time of year lettuces are cheaper and I really love lettuce so this is great for me. 

The value of the New Zealand dollar compared to the American dollar can affect us quite a bit.  If the NZ dollar is a lot less than the $US then our exporters are happy because Americans will buy NZ products.  If the $NZ is closer to the $US then our importers are happy because us kiwis won’t have to pay so much for American products.

So in the world, what we consider riches goes up and down in value. But what God’s riches is His grace that never changes.  This is very comforting, to know that God’s riches are constant and always holds its value and is always true.  Jesus is our constant eternal value and while earthly riches may bring us bad news, Christ’s riches (grace) always brings good news.

The good news is that Jesus died for us.  Jesus paid the price for our sin and that price is constant, it doesn’t go up or down.  Jesus paid the price with his blood and with his body.  God the father accepted to pay the price for our sin with his own son.  Would you accept to let your child die to save someone who was a convicted murderer?  I wouldn’t.  Yet, God looked at me and said, “You are a murderer because you have hated people that I love, you are sentenced to death.  My only son will die in your place”.  What kind of judge would say that?  Only our God!

Then we sit at the right hand of the Father.  That means the Father is on our left.  Most women hold their babies on the left side.  Scientists believe that this is because when the child is held on the left of a person, that triggers the right side of the brain to work which is the side of the brain that helps us to listen and understand people.  So when the child is on the left side of the mother, she is able to listen and understand her baby. 

I don’t know God’s reason for putting us on his right (except that is a place of honour) but I want us to remember that now that we are His children, we have to be listening to God and understanding what He expects from us.  One expectation is to meet together and take communion so congratulations to all of us here this morning, we listened to God this morning and we obeyed His voice.  Well done to all of us because it’s not always easy.  Let’s keep listening to God’s voice and obeying Him.

It is also important to remember that God’s grace has an expiry date.  When Christ comes back, there will be no more grace.  If you know you are not living in accordance with God’s grace, then now is the time to ask God for forgiveness.  It’s important not to take the bread and juice if you are in sin.  Please make yourself right before God before taking it.  Making yourself right not only means to say sorry to God but also to make a decision not to go back to that sin anymore.

This morning as the bread and juice is passed around, let’s take time to search our hearts and ask for forgiveness where we have fallen short of God’s grace.  Then let’s remember Jesus and all that He has done for us.  Let’s remember His grace that is constant and true.  His grace which brings us good news of our salvation.  Let’s remember that God sent His only son to pay the price for our sin.  Jesus paid for us to be able to enter the Kingdom of God by dying.  This price is so much more valuable that money or earthly riches.  God Himself paid the price.  What could be more valuable than God Himself?

By Hayley Boud

Sunday, January 29, 2017

God's Plans

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord,

Plans for welfare and not for evil,

To give you a future and a hope

Then you will call upon Me

And I will listen to you

And you will seek Me and find Me

When you search for Me with all of your heart”

Jeremiah 29:12

These verses in Jeremiah was part of a letter sent from Jeremiah the prophet to Jerusalem after all the people had been taken from Jerusalem to Babylon. Imagine we are living happily here in Hamilton, New Zealand with our nice jobs, our lovely blue sky and white clouds, our beautiful Waikato River, our birds and trees and the peace and quiet we enjoy. 

Then, imagine that suddenly a foreign country invade us and forces us to leave our homes to live in a foreign land.  The food is different (no more Pavlova), the language is different, the culture is different.  You might think this is a curse or satan. 

Or imagine you are the ones left behind and all the people that you need in your life have been taken and you are left here wondering what to do.  You feel abandoned.  Won’t you feel sad or maybe you will feel angry?  Maybe you will think, this is satan.

Yet, in Jeremiah 29:4, it says, “I have set into exile”.  This was God’s plan.  Sometimes, we think the difficult things in our life have been brought by satan.  Let’s not give him so much honor.  God has a plan for our lives and He knows what He is doing, even when we cross difficult times. 

In verse 6, God encourages the people to increase and to multiply and not to decrease.  As Christians we need to increase and not decrease.  If we used to pray daily, don’t decrease to once per month.  If we used to meet every Wednesday, don’t decrease to monthly.  If we used to use our gifts or practise them, don’t give up, keep using them and don’t decrease.

In verses 8-9, God warns the people to not listen to the prophets, for they were not sent by God.  We have to be careful to know in whose name the prophecy comes.  People can say all sorts of things over us but we need discernment to know if it is God or not.

“For I know that plans I have for you”.  If you feel like you have been put in a strange foreign place or you feel like you have been abandoned or you feel that last year was a hard year for you, don’t worry because God has a plan and He knows them.

“Know”: Do you know your plans for this year? Do you know God’s plan for you in for this year?  Would you like to know God’s plan for you?  We can pray to know it and for it to be accomplished.

“Plan”: “a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something”.  What do you want to achieve this year?  How will you achieve it?  For example, I want to use my gifts for God.  What are they?  One of my gifts is teaching so how will I use that gift?  Wednesday night meeting bring a message which means I have to read my Bible and take notes and meditate on it.  In order to use my gift of teaching, I need to read my Bible every day.  My plan is to teach and my detailed proposal for achieving it is to read my Bible every morning at 6:30am and to meditate, take notes and pray over it so I can be prepared with a message to bring on Wednesdays. 

“Welfare”:  “the state of doing well”.  God wants us to do well this year.  This is His plan for us to do well in our walk with Him, our spiritual growth, to increase and not decrease.  In what areas do you want to do well?  In what areas do you know have decreased and now you want to bring them back to how they used to be?

“Not for evil”: God’s plan is for us to do well in His eyes.  God wants us to live according to the Word of God and to obey Him and serve Him and not to serve evil.  I remember when I was a young Christian asking Michelle, how do I know if I serve God or something else?  Michelle replied, “Ask yourself, does this glorify God?  If yes, do it.  If not, it doesn’t come from God”. 

God’s plan is for us to NOT do evil or to follow satan or his demons or to fall into temptation.  In all we choose, ask ourselves, is this going to glorify God, satan or myself?

God wants to give us a “future”.  A future on this earth but also a future in heaven.  What plans are we doing this year for our future?  For example, if I want to be a lecturer in law one day, I will need to plan for how to achieve that.  That could mean taking time out to teach at the Community Law Centre for free, becoming an expert by reading text books, the latest law and new cases and by researching. 

I want to hear God say, “faithful servant”.  Therefore, I need to be faithful to God, church, Christians.  For example, be committed to this church and its members, to the Wednesday night program, encouraging others even when I don’t have a role by simply being there.

“A hope”: God wants to give us a hope.  What do you hope in?  I hope in the fact that one day I will enter the Kingdom of God.  Look first at the Kingdom of God and all else will fall into place.  Let’s not put our hope in money, getting a better job, people, pastors, prophets but in God.

Now we are going to call upon Jesus and He will listen.

Now we are going to seek Him and we will find him.

Let’s search God with all our hearts and find him.

By Hayley Boud

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

By Hayley Boud

Mathew 5:1-10, “When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”.

Jesus saw the crowd and went up on the mountain where everyone would be able to see and hear Him.  He wanted all to hear His word.  Tonight, we are here to listen to God.  He wants us all to hear the Word of God.  Let’s open our ears.

Jesus sat down.  I wonder why?  Was He too tired to stand?  I doubt it.  In the culture that I was brought up in, sitting down is a sign of humility.  Bringing yourself to the level of others or even lower than others.  I’m not sure why Jesus sat down but it makes me think of our relationship with others.  When we want to share the Word of God with others, we need to be humble.  We need to be at their level, not lording over them or pointing our finger.  If we come with humility, people are more likely to hear what we are saying.  If we come with pride, no one will hear the words we are saying.  It will be a missed opportunity.

Jesus started by saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit.  That sounds the opposite of blessing.  We usually think of those who are rich as blessed. 

The word poor in Hebrew means poor, helpless, someone who is fallen down and needs lifting up.  Blessed are those that know they are helpless to save themselves.  Blessed are those that know that they have sinned and fallen down.  Blessed are those that know that only Christ can save us, only Christ can clean us of our sin and raise us up. 

Those who think they are rich spiritually are those that don’t know who they need Christ.  If we think we can save ourselves or we think we don’t even need saving, we will never be able to receive Jesus. 

The word spirit is the element of man that thinks, feels, reflects, desires, aims and moral qualities.  It is the element of faith in man.  We need to make our inner self to reflect on our words and actions.  Do they match God and His Word?  We need to feel shame when they don’t. 

Jesus went on to say that the poor in spirit are blessed because theirs is the Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom of God is where the king dwells.  If we accept Him, He will dwell in us and when Christ comes back, we will dwell with Him in His Kingdom forever. The blessing is Jesus Himself.  We are blessed because Christ dwells in us.  We are completely satisfied because that is all we need.   All we need is Christ in us.  He is the One who fills us with joy, hope, strength. 

The Kingdom of God belongs to the humble, those that know who they are in front of God.  Those that recognise that only God can save them.  The Kingdom of God doesn’t belong to the proud who stand in front of the crowd and proclaim how great they are.  It doesn’t belong to those who look down on others and think they are better than them. 

It also doesn’t belong to those who realise they have sinned and fallen but stay sinning and fallen.  The poor are only blessed when they realise they are poor and make a decision to change.  If our conscience tells us we are wrong somewhere, we need to repent and make a decision to never go back to that way of living.  If our conscience tells us we are wrong but we carry on in that way, then we will just like those who think they are rich in spirit because the rich don’t think they need Jesus. 

Only those that see their sin and repent will inherit the Kingdom of God.  If we don’t see our sin, we will never know to repent and we will never enter the Kingdom of God.  If we see our sin and don’t repent, we will never enter the Kingdom of God.  Therefore, only those that see their sin and repent are blessed.  Only those that recognise they have fallen and accept for Christ to lift them up out of their sin are blessed because only those that accept to leave their sin will enter the Kingdom of God.

Lessons from today, we need to remain humble, we need to see who we really are in front of God, we need to apologise to God when we have fallen and we need to accept Christ to lift us up from that place of sin and take us to another place where we will make a decision not to sin anymore.  When we do this, we are truly blessed because we inherit the Kingdom of God.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


By Odon Bulamba

It is my joy to be here this morning and nothing is good in life like feeling joyful.  You can possess money and have all the wealth of the world but if you don’t feel joyful, it will be meaningless.  When some are joyful, they cry and others laugh and some lose their sleep due to the joy.  How do you express your joy?  When you feel very joyful, how do you express it?  Some smile and others try to control it and others try to turn around so no one can see them smiling.  It doesn’t matter who you are, joy comes to each person. 

It’s joyful to hear that Jesus died for us and came back to life: that is the news of joy.  Someone passes away, we lose hope of seeing them again and then suddenly, he is back to life: that is joy.  What a joy when you find something you lost.  Many people don’t care when they lose something because they think they will find another but if something is precious to you and you get it back, you love it more.  You will take care of it better than before so you can’t lose it again.

Jesus, how did we get Him back?  He came back to life and now He is with us and it is our responsibility to not lose Him anymore.

Deuteronomy 34:5-7, Moses was famous and everyone knew he was a powerful leader both physically and with his words but regardless of his achievements and power, God decided to take the life of Moses.  God said, you worked for me and you did what I asked, now it is time to take you back.  What a sad moment.  Look at those millions of people following Moses.  Now God is taking him away.  God said, don’t worry I will give you someone to replace him but they thought, Joshua is not Moses and maybe he won’t play the same role as Moses.

When Moses passed away people cried because their beloved was removed from them.  When Moses was taken by God his body where was there but Moses himself was outside of that body.  They could keep that body for 600 years but the body wasn’t Moses anymore, it was a dead body.

God said He created you from the dust and you will return to the dust.  We try to put that aside and don’t want to hear about that.  When someone is dying, we can fast and pray loudly and cry to God because my brother is dying and you lose your joy and lose your appetite, strength and peace of mind and heart. People will be able to read the sadness on your face.  Someone will maybe rub your shoulders to encourage you. 

Where is the joy of death?  When death hits your sister, brother or friend, do you keep your joy and say hallelujah because you have taken what belongs to me?  Sometimes we feel angry and tell God He is not fair.

A few days ago my sister lost her son who was very clever and among her five children, he was the only one who would pray every morning praising God and then pray for his dad.  He was only 12 years old and he was doing that since he was five.  He would bless the food every time.  He was an amazing boy.  He got sick and in five hours he passed away.  My sister told me, why does God do this to me?  Why only this child?  Would you give away the first born to keep him?  He is God and He knows what he is doing.  For the past three nights I go to bed at 4am to keep my sister company and talk with her. 

God took Moses and people wondered what they can do now.  In Deut 34:6, God came down and buried the body of Moses because He didn’t want [people to worship the tomb of Moses.

Whenever someone dies we know the tomb holds the body and a tomb is a place where many magicians (those that work for the power of darkness) will go to collect power to invoke the power of evil so they can perform magic.  Around that area you will find evil spirits and people will go there to worship. 

When we are alive we don’t think about the tomb and try to forget about death and try not to think about where we will be buried but those around us will be forced to take the responsibility when we pass away to bury us.  If someone dies today, that person will say, my mission is finished.  It is the responsibility of others to deal with the body.  They treat that body with more respect. 

Some people when they are alive are not respected at all.  Their family pushes you away but once you are dead, everyone will treat your body with respect and say, this person was amazing and talk nicely about you and make jokes and forget that yesterday, they didn’t respect you or tell people about you but when you die, they will speak about you to others, “I remember such day we did this and this together”.  Don’t we sometimes praise God when God is away from us?  Don’t we sometimes praise ourselves when life is away from us? 

People will pick up the body and think what is next.  Most funerals will have a program and a committee that will organise it.  Such person will do this and another will do this and they will share tasks in order to take care of this dead body but when you are alive no one shares tasks with you. 

“Sister, I need five dollars”, “no I don’t have it”.  “I need you to visit me”, “oh go and see the doctor” but when you die, they will sit next to you for hours and show remorse and there is no joy because the person was dear to them.

After planning, they will choose a place to be buried.  You came from dust and you have to go back there.  They choose a place and pay money, some places are $5000 and others up to $50,000.  Those alive will have to dig the place and then with respect, calmly take you down slowly into the grave, they won’t just throw you in.  Then you are covered, you are gone and finished.  That is the last time we will see that person until heaven, “I’ll meet you in heaven” but you didn’t make that appointment while they were alive.

God knew the people will worship where Moses body is laid and he is a jealous God.  In the church today you will see pastors, bishops, big prophets who will leave their countries to go to visit where Jesus was buried and they will worship that place and take some soil from that place and bring it back to New Zealand.  Brother you are sick, take some of this soil from the tomb of Jesus and you will get healing in Jesus’ name and you will take the soil and believe God has healed me.  This is a pastor, a prophet, a servant of God!

Another will walk where Jesus was baptised and say, “wow this is Jordan where Jesus was baptised.  Hey give me six bottles of water to take home” and they believe this water is pure and when they start to pray for people, they will give them a small cup of water to drink because it contains power to be healed.  Others will put a little on your face with the sign of the cross and you feel so blessed.  Are you sure you are blessed, or cursed?  It is clear from the Bible that He wants only to be worshiped and the dead is dead and He is not in the grave anymore, He is alive.

Servants of God will go to Israel to collect stuff, Jesus did miracles here, He passed here and those memories will become tools to pray, to heal and to preach.  When you ask someone to pray for you and the first thing they will do is cover your head with a small piece of material from Israel and you will be asked to take special water from Israel to drink it and then you are healed.  Satan has a power and he tricks people.  He will make you to go in front of an empty tomb where Jesus is not there and you worship and pray with tears, “This is where your body lies, I am here with you”.  Father in heaven says, “I am not here with you, I am alive”.

The tomb will make it like an ornament in order to keep the body there.  Jesus’ body was kept there for three days only and those three days were not with Jesus sitting there looking at the tomb, He went to fight to take the key from Satan.  He didn’t stay in the tomb.  Although, He told his disciples, I will come back to life, how many believed him?  First they believed He couldn’t die because He is God and then He died, so is He really going to come back to life?  How often do you say, oh it’s been a long time since Jesus said He will return.  He told his disciples He will come back for them.  Some might think that Jesus has forgotten His appointment with us. 

Once Jesus came back to life, the tomb was there but Jesus was walking around.  We should move with Jesus to cities and go wherever He walks around.  We should not stay in one spot stagnating.  When Jesus walks, do you walk with Him?  When He changes His direction, do you change your direction also?  Or do you prefer to stay with the dead body because you don’t have time to follow Jesus around everywhere, “I’m not a puppet or a dog to follow you around, I need to enjoy and relax” and we try to make this Jesus to be a dead Jesus forever.

When a person is dead, you can do what you want with the body and the person won’t react.  In Arab countries, they will beat the dead body as a punishment but the person is not there anymore.  When you want to make Jesus to be a dead God in order to fulfil your desire, God says, “my son, you should wake up, open your eyes and ears because I am not here anymore, what you are doing is not what I asked you to do”.  We promise to follow Jesus and worship him, Jesus guide me.  Do we allow him to guide us?  Do we really follow him?  Do we treat him as an alive God?

We want to focus on the tomb like those soldiers.  Are you one of those who stand there because you believe Jesus is dead?  One of Jesus’ disciple, Thomas didn’t believe Jesus was alive.  He went back to the grave, “I want to see Jesus, I’ll go back to the grave”.  Many workers of God today start to go the graves to find the power to serve God.  They will collect tools and power to perform miracles and impress human beings so that water can turn to wine, your black shirt will become green, I can pray and you will see me suspended in space.  I have seen that with my eyes.  When they do those things, everyone gives their offering and give money and even their houses so they can be prayed for and get blessings.

We want to see miracles but we don’t want to see where those miracles come from.  We put aside discernment.  Thomas went to tomb but he was good because he came back and informed others, “truly, He is gone.  Maybe someone stole his body”.  No one can steal Jesus from your body, He is alive.  Jesus saw Thomas and Thomas said, you appear to be Jesus but I am not sure, I am doubting.  Jesus said to him, come close to me, touch.  Jesus didn’t tell him to touch his stomach or head but to touch where he was wounded.

Imagine you have a wound and you ask someone to touch it, only a few will say that because it will hurt.  Do we have to hurt Jesus in order to believe?  When you open the Bible, why don’t you just believe but you want God to appear and you can hurt Him more before you believe it.  A tomb doesn’t move, Jesus left it a long time ago.  Those soldiers collapsed when Jesus came alive and rushed to their bosses and told them.  They were told to keep quiet with money.

Sometimes satan will tempt you by blessing you with friends or whatever you want so you can keep quiet about Jesus.  Have you decided to go to pak ’n save to talk about Jesus but you reach pak ’n save and you start to decide which one you can talk to.  You are afraid and you decide to run away and satan will bless you with that shyness and fear so you won’t share the gospel (it’s curse, not a blessing).

Jesus is outside of the tomb and is reminding you that the tomb belonged to Joseph.  Your body doesn’t belong to you. There are those who will take you (e.g. your friends, your family, your neighbours) to a tomb while you are not dead.  In my country, they can punish you by burying you alive.  You can see your neighbour is driving you nuts and taking you to bury you alive and that is where you and I make a decision not to talk to that person again because their behaviour is bad.  They have taken me like a dead body and so I hate my enemies instead of loving them and praying for them, I will curse them.

People can make your life hard and when that happens they want to kill your faith and trust in God and take you to a tomb that doesn’t belong to you.  If you are not careful your body can react quickly with anger, lust and envy because you body accepted death.

God didn’t come down to bury Adam or David but he decided to bury Moses.  Why?  If you don’t know the answer, start to search.  God will leave his throne in heaven for the love of glory and worship to separate the body of a dead person form the people.  How often does God leave the Kingdom of God to bury the dead things in you?  Who protects you and me?  God.  Our lives are in His hands. 

When we bury someone, what does it mean?  Its means to get rid of that person?  It’s a culture?  We were tired with that person?  Think about it.  If you are not buried, does it mean you didn’t die?  Some bodies are not buried.  Why do we have a cemetery that is embellished better than our hearts, minds and bodies.

In Huntly there is a beautiful cemetery.  Graves are in order, flowers and people walk with respect, slowly and read the names and talk sadly, “oh she was only 12” and they read the stories of those written on the gravestones and then they will stand where their fathers were buried, take off their hats, bend their heads, think, look and we see them in distress and then they go back home.  Some leave flowers, pots and treasures. 

You can see how often we are attached to those who left us.  Are you attached to the Christians who quit the gospel 20 years ago?  Do you visit them?  Do you think about them?  We go back because we have memories and we miss them, how often do you miss those that were in Christ.  Do you even remember their names or who they were?  Do you remember the role they played in your church?

Joshua said, “God, take my people and take them away”.  God told Moses you will lead my people to Canaan but on the way, God tells him you are not going to Canaan anymore because you hit the rock 2x and Moses says forgive me and God says no, I can only show you the city.  Have you seen the heaven open in your life?  Has God shown you the future which He is preparing for you and His people?  Has God said no in your life and you accepted it?  We very often don’t accept that word no and we think it must be satan.

I feel sick, oh must be satan.  I want a new Bible and when God says no, it must be satan.  What doesn’t work according to my desire, it must be satan.  We forget that if something doesn’t happen, it might be God.  What is the point to show Moses Canaan since he cannot enter but Moses continued to respect God.  That is the country where there is milk and honey.  Yuck, have you tried to mix this?  How does it taste? 

In Canaan there were no cows or bees so where will the milk and honey come from?  If they had a few cows, those who possessed them wanted to keep them.  There was plenty of camel milk but you can’t mix camel milk and honey.  God doesn’t give us the meat and good life we enjoyed in Egypt.  After seeing, God says, it’s enough now.  How many things have God shown you, projects etc but you are not there when they are fulfilled.  In 20 years’ time, this will happen, but you will not be alive in 20 years.  God gives to us the picture of the church and the direction of where they are going.

How many Israelites reached Canaan? A very small number because all the adults who left Egypt (except a very few) vanished before reaching it.  God who promised us the blessing but the blessing didn’t come because they didn’t obey God and preferred to live in the tomb sitting there waiting for God to do everything.  Follow Jesus wherever He is going. If you want God to act in your life, also act for God.  Prepare your mind and body and train yourself for what you want to do for God.

Maybe you rely on someone in your life but that person can die tomorrow.  If you rely on your job, maybe it will close down like DickSmith.  If you didn’t learn and prepare yourself while working at DickSmith you will regret now that it is closing down because now you have to think about job applications and where to send them.  Prepare yourself for Jesus.  Are you ready to receive Jesus who is coming back for you or do you want to be like Thomas and doubt and wonder if this is really Jesus coming back or someone else. 

Jesus will come back like a thief.  Thieves in Africa will send you a letter that they are coming for your things and you have to prepare it for them but if you leave one thing, they will kill your child.  In New Zealand, they won’t warn you.  Even the Prime-minister can be robbed.

When Jesus comes, He will come like a thief, it doesn’t matter who you are and what He will steal from you is grace.  The grace will come away from the earth and there will be no more grace.  Repentance will be gone and the Bible will be closed.  The work on the cross will be stopped.  The time for purification will be gone and it will now be the time for judgment. 

Imagine the thief becomes the judge.  He surprises you and then judges you.  If you are not ready, what will you say to Him?

Let’s pray for Zoe, for that beautiful girl.  She needs strength, guidance, blessings.