Sunday, March 3, 2019

End days - Mathew 24:17 - On the Roof

By Odon Bulamba

A very short and simple verse to understand, “Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house”

Here we have an idea of a house.  In the Bible, you can learn a lot from houses.  People, kings and God lives in houses.  When you think about a house, what comes first in your mind?  Is it just the place where you spend the night or to be sheltered from the heat or is it a special place for you?  When we talk about your home, what does it mean to you?  I think it means a lot

In your house, you will keep all your secrets, all your treasures, you can walk naked, you can sing and scream and go to bed when you want in your house.  There are things that you can only do in your house and you can’t do elsewhere and if there is any secret about your body, your house can be the first witness to say exactly who you are.

Your neighbours won’t know who you are exactly while you are inside your house.  For that reason, God has chosen your body to be the house of your soul and spirit.  Your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit, a house for the Holy Spirit to live.

Jesus said that someone built a house from sand (parable) so that when a storm came, he lost the house because the foundation was not good.  There God wanted to teach us, you can have a beautiful, great house but you must consider the foundation of your house.  In topography they will advise you to study the soil before to build a house. Is your body a good foundation for your house?  When you stand around, do you remember that your house stands on a foundation?  If not, if a storm comes, your soul/spirit will collapse like in the sand. 

Rahab was prostitute in the Bible and she welcomed the servants of God and she said to them, “you can not stay at this level because someone is after you, I will keep you in the roof of the house”.  You can have a house, your body, mind, your belief but you should know where to keep your soul/spirit in your life.  What level is your soul?  Is it on the ground level, first level, second level or the roof? 

When we book a room in a hotel, you can choose the level you want.  The UN workers choose the second or third floor just in case there is fire you can escape and if there are terrorists, they will come in through the first floor.  When you work for the UN you have to be careful that someone is watching you and if you feel suspicious you change rooms.

For Rahab, those men were in the house safe but when those who came to find the servants, Rahab decided to hide them.  When satan is after your soul/spirit, what do you do?  Temptation will come to look for you to see if there is any opportunity to kill you spiritually. That is why we must know how to protect our gifts.  E.g. someone can tell you that they have the gift of kindness or peace but when anger strikes, the person with this gift can become angry.  How to protect this gift of peace in your life?

I might have a gift of hospitality but when a visitor comes while I am eating, I feel annoyed because I don’t want to stop eating.  We push the visitor to go away.  For God to visit you, He will come to see where you put more valuable.  If you have five gifts, how important are they to me and to my soul?  Those gifts are not only for God but also for others and for ourselves.

If you have a gift of singing people, others will say, that person is a good singer.  They will recognise that gift.  It is your responsibility to protect it and to protect it you must know where you are up to with your gift.

When you are in the roof, don’t come down.  I have given you all the gifts, you have priorities in your life.  Maybe priority number one is to go out, to buy a house, to have money and very few will say my soul is my priority or to one day be in the heaven.  When I pray to God, I try not to forget to ask God to make sure I am ready and that I will be in God’s kingdom when He comes back and then I will pray for my family, friends and others because I want to see each other in heaven and I ask God to let my little gifts be in action.

I’ve seen people kneel down for a nice job telling God, “I will serve you for the rest of my life” but once job is there, they tell God, “goodbye, I have to focus on my job”.  Other activities can be our priority.  Jesus tells us, “you as my child, although you can be in the house, I God have put you above and you don’t need to put yourself down again.”  If you are raised up, be there, why are you tempted to come down again?

If Jesus gave you the gift of praying, keep praying, don’t give up now, don’t go back down to your old way of living.  This is how we fail to serve our God and please Him.  He tries to put us up but we bring ourselves down because we want to be like others.

Kiwis love to watch rugby and all young people in New Zealand have touched a rugby ball and know how to throw it.  It is the dream of children to become rugby players and they can even name themselves after famous rugby players.  Whenever New Zealand will be defeated by another country, we feel sick because we lost the game and we are disappointed.  This is just a simple physical game.

For women who play netball (kiwis are good at netball) when we lose, we feel bad.  How do you feel when you fail your own soul, or your spirit?  Some will say it’s a mistake and move on.  I have seen in New Zealand, once a team fails the people of New Zealand will say that the couch must resign.  Does the coach play?  He/she doesn’t even play.  They will tell the coach to resign because the team did not perform well.

You are responsible for your soul and spirit, when your body fails, you are the coach and you have to take care of your soul/spirit/body.  Many will tell you it’s God’s plan but God has given you a big responsibility.

Another example in the Bible is the coins.  God says, “You will return to me the benefit of the coin, not the coin itself”.  We all have gifts, we can all read and see.  Is there is any benefit that I give to God with my eyes?  What does God get back from me because I have hands?  We should ask ourselves these questions.  God wants us to be different but we don’t want to.

Children can fight to become a famous person.  Why do they want that? Because they believe they famous people are models for us, we should be like them.  Once you are like Helen Clarke (previous prime minister of New Zealand), you should remember that you are not allowed to do what you want because people will talk about it.  A simple mistake that you do will become a problem.

God has been raising us up.  Maybe the position that God has given us is higher than Helen Clarke but we forget about our responsibilities and act like others.  A few years ago, Jacinda Adern (current prime minister of New Zealand) and Simon Bridges (current leader of the opposition) would talk on morning tv.  Now Jacinda is the leader of the country, she occupies the position is higher.  Paul Henry used to mock them and ask them foolish questions but he won’t ask them those same questions today.  Although Jacinda is the same person, she has another level in politics.

You are a Christian for many years, your level shouldn’t be the same as a new Christian. Your answers and actions should reflect a mature person.

In the story of Rahab, they searched for the servants but they couldn’t find them because Rahab hid them.  The level God has put you is secure and satan can’t find you because you are covered by the blood of Jesus but if you leave that place to do your own things your own way, you will be exposed.  If you resist satan, he will run away from you. 

We are not only to be called Christians but we are supposed to know where is our place in the house of the Lord and secondly decide, make a tough decision not to come down.  I have given my life to Jesus, I am known as a servant of God and I am not going down even if it is for money or anything that you want.  The decision is yours.  Jesus decides that it will be good for you if you want to be in Kingdom of God to stay at the level God has put you.

The sign of the end of times is that Christians will act worse than pagans.  We all live the same life as the world.  The church is dying day after day.  Those that do medicine will know that some parts of the body die first when a person is dying.  The last thing to pull out is your breath.  You can talk to someone breathing but they can’t hear you and then finally they will leave us.  What part of your spirit is leaving you?

How many gifts do you have and how many do you use?  If you have five gifts, do you use all of them or not?  Are they alive or not?  Then you will be ready to welcome your Lord.  Only those that are sealed by the Holy Spirit will go with him.  To be sealed with the Holy Spirit, those gifts have to be operational in your life.  If not, it will be difficult to meet with your Lord. 

Pray for yourself and tell God, “put me at the level that you think I should be and restrict me from going down to find something else”.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Signs of the End Times - Mathew 24:15 - Abomination

By Odon Bulamba

Once again we are here for the Word of God.  This is our first Sunday to meet for 2019 and I’m sure that although we are Sunday today, this Sunday is different from the last Sunday we met.  Everyday is different, days can have the same name but they are different days.  Every single second of your life is different.  Every breath you take is different.  Life is moving on and is not the same. Most of the time we get confused because we forget what we were yesterday is not the same person we are today.  If I was weak yesterday, today I am strong.  If I was tired yesterday I can be awake today.

What is your plan for 2019 with God, Jesus Christ?  Singing these songs today, I have collected a few good lessons.  When Jesus went to Jerusalem, He had a plan.  “Prepare the way of the Lord,”: He knew He had to prepare His way of moving from here to there and everybody knew that Jesus was coming.  What preparation do you have for meeting Jesus in 2019?  Maybe Jesus has sent you to find a donkey for him to ride on.  Maybe he has asked you to prepare a jacket for him to walk on.  Maybe you are to collect the palm leaves.  What have you planned for God?

God always has a plan for us.  Do I have a plan for God?  Jesus is our friend and He loves us.  If He is your friend, what do you plan for your friend in 2019?  At the end of 2018 you had a plan for your friends and family.  You planned what gifts to give ahead of time.  What have you prepared for 2019 for Jesus?  That question is not only for you but it is also for me.  If I haven’t prepared anything yet for Jesus, I am late and I need to hurry up.  In January this is what I have planned for you and February, March to the end of the year we need to plan for each month of the year.

If you did not prepare anything, then prepare to fail.  If you don’t have anything prepared for Jesus, then you are preparing for failure and your relationship won’t work well. 

“You are my King, I’m forgiven”…song continues… “Amazing love”.  Do you have an amazing love for Jesus or does Jesus only have to love you amazingly? Don’t you have to love him back?  When you were a child your parent said to you I love you and you answered, I love you too but when Jesus says He loves you what do you say in return? 

Mathew 24:15, this is a message Jesus was giving to His disciples.  The 10th sign of Jesus coming back.  We have talked about the first 9.  “When you see the abomination that causes the desolation spoken of through the prophet Daniel, let the reader understand”.

The person who is supposed to understand the message is not the listener but the reader.  It’s not about the observer it’s about the reader.  Let the one who reads, understand this.  How often do you read and when you do, what do you read?  You can see children read a book in 2 days.  Adults read the paper.  My father would read one verse of the Bible quickly and then read the paper and take time to read the paper.

Do we sometimes read the gospel of Jesus to find out what is going on in our lives or do we just read it because it is there?  If you want to understand, then you must read.  If you don’t want to understand, then be lazy in reading. 

When you see the abomination of the desolation.  Before to see it, you must understand what it is.  Behind me there are good patterns on the wall but I don’t understand their meaning.  Maybe someone else will know.  The person who made the patterns will be able to tell us the story behind the signs.  Is it just a decoration or does it have meaning?

By reading the Word of God, we don’t have to say amazing love but we have to understand the meaning behind the words.  What we see behind what we see.  When I read the Word of God and understand it, then it is good but when I don’t understand then I am just wasting my time because I don’t understand what is behind the words and when I am asked a question, I get lost.

My first question, what is the abomination of desolation?  What does it mean?  It’s not any type of desolation but what Daniel talked about.  This is the 10th sign, what Daniel talked about.  What did he speak about.  Daniel 9-11: that is where the story lies. Before we go deep in that, today we will only talk about abomination of desolation to try to understand what it is so we can then come back to Daniel to understand what and why he wrote it.

Abomination is something that is violent and destroys and gives the feeling of vomiting.  When was the last time you vomited?  Can you remember it?  When vomit is coming, you can’t stop it even if you are clever and strong, tall, white or black, you can’t stop it.  It’s a feeling that starts in a way that you can’t explain.  Slowly inside you, you feel nauseated and you get lots of saliva in your mouth and you can’t swallow it.  If you swallow it, your body feels worse.

I’ve seen people in church when they feel nauseated, they start to think where is the toilet?  That feeling of vomiting makes you lose your peace and pushes you to feel uncomfortable.  People can talk to you but you can’t respond because your concentration is on something else.  You can tell those around you but it doesn’t sort it out.  That feeling of vomiting will come inside you.  You might be someone who had a nice meal earlier in the day and maybe spent time cooking it but the feeling of vomiting won’t care about the time you spent cooking.

That feeling of vomiting will push you to get rid of that nice meal.  You can enjoy your icecream but when you vomit, the taste of the icecream won’t be the same.  This kills what was good in the nice food to become yuck and you don’t want to look at it anymore.  When you saw the icecream, you looked at it and it looked delicious but when you feel nauseated, it doesn’t look good anymore.  When you bring the food out of your body, people who enjoyed you eating icecream will not want to look at the vomited icecream. 

Abomination transforms what is in your body, to something that is rejected.  The Word of God is food, a message from a preacher, a message from God and you appreciate that food.  When you are crossing a lot of problems and you open your Bible and you feel Jesus is listening to you, you feel good.  Then abomination comes to you and brings that taste to change your joy in the Lord and you feel nauseated and you no longer want that Word in you anymore.

Whoever accepts Jesus, Jesus lives in them but when abomination comes, you feel like vomiting.  By using His saliva, Jesus made a blind person to see.  When you are nauseated you spit your saliva and you don’t want your saliva.  People will be shocked to see you vomit.  You can’t control yourself and you can’t act responsibility.  When the devil comes in your life with abomination and he comes into the temple, into the church, he gives the feeling of nausea.  I don’t feel like reading Word of God today, I’ll read it tomorrow.  When someone uses the Word of God, you feel defensive.

When the Holy Spirit speaks to your conscience, you believe the Holy Spirit has no role in your life and you tell him to be quiet.  When you vomit, you try to force it out.  You widely open your mouth and tell your lungs be ready and you take in the breath and push it out.  Sometimes you will accept to put your head in the toilet bowl because if you stand up, you will get vomit over you.  You accept for your head to be in the toilet.  The smell from the vomit doesn’t please you but you force yourself to do it.

Someone will ask you, “Are you alright?”  You have a justification, “I feel sick, I ate such and such”.  You have an explanation that your body doesn’t accept what is inside you.  Praise the Lord we have people working at the hospital to help that person to vomit and they write down the times that you vomited.  A nurse will check your temperature and ask you if everything alright but that doesn’t stop the hospital from feeding you.  You must eat even though you are vomiting because your body needs food.

Those who vomit say they don’t want to eat anymore because it might make them vomit more.  Those that quit the gospel don’t want to consume it anymore because it will make them vomit.  Better not to read it anymore.  That is why Jesus says in Revelations, “remember your first love”.  When you were first saved you read the Bible all the time but now you don’t want it anymore.

Desolation means to destroy something.  You vomit not because something came inside your body but because the devil has a secret, he wants to destroy your soul.  The Word of God of is life and the devil knows that for you to die, he must remove that Word of God from your life.  He fights first against the Word of God that lives in you.  If you kick that Word of God outside of you then it will be a desolation. 

How do you protect the Word of God that lives in you?  Do you have any precaution on how to protect Word of God?  Do you have any assurance for the Word of God?  Many people have life/contents insurance.  I have had things stolen and my insurance replaces what I have lost because those things are important to me.  The Word of God that you receive every day, have you got insurance for Word of God?  How do you protect it because it is precious?  People will run to find the Word of God but they won’t find it in the end times.

How do you protect your gospel?  If not, you don’t have any insurance.  I have seen the pills to take for nausea.  If vomiting was so good for your health, then the doctor would not give you medicine to stop you from vomiting but because vomiting can be dangerous for your life, they must make sure you are safe.  Jesus lives in you.  How to we protect him and make sure He doesn’t leave our lives?  Do you have any agreement with God to live with you forever? 

Otherwise, when we feel nauseated, we might think to vomit rather than stopping the nausea.  If you don’t have any anti-nausea medicine, you will vomit.  You might find yourself removing God from your actions, your life etc. 

Recently, I went to Tauranga.  Hayley met with some friends.  I had my own time.  It was a Sunday.  A man was on the street giving leaflets to Jesus.  Every person rejected his leaflet.  Another lady was giving away a leaflet about makeup.  People could take from the women but not from the man because his was about eternal life.  I picked up one.  He was a white man from south Africa.  I said, “Hey people of Tauranga, why do you reject Jesus?”  The man ran away from me.

People were passing me as though I was crazy, “if you want life come and listen”.  A few people came around and I told the guy to talk but he said, “no you do it”.  We want to serve God but we don’t have the courage.  I used to stand on the street giving leaflets but did they understand the leaflet, why didn’t I open my mouth to speak which is louder?

When you board the trains in China, they are all on their phones but nobody is talking.  One day I shouted, “hey you people of China” but no one could hear me because they had their earphones in their ears.  No one could hear me even though I was shouting.  Once you are talking to them, they can’t hear you because they are busy listening to their own thing.  What have you put in your ears to avoid hearing the Holy Spirit or why do you run away from Jesus when He is talking to you?

There was crowd watching Jesus on the cross but how many could hear what He was saying?  Maybe only those who were closer to Him.  Only those that come close to Jesus will hear His voice.  Don’t accept your body to accept abomination because you will be the one who gets destroyed.

2019 should not be a year of abomination but a year of building and making yourself stronger.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The End Days - Mathew 24:14 - The Good News

By Odon Bulamba

Welcome to all of you.  God being our God is the One who gives us everything. If I’m breathing, it is a gift from God.  if I’m walking, I must remember it is a gift from God.  Being a very good God who loves us, He did not stop Himself from only providing life but went further by giving to us His son, Jesus.  Although many of us are happy because we are able to talk, eat, have good health but for God, that is not enough, we have to remember the other gift which is the most important gift: Jesus.

When I was young, I used to play soccer and I was very good.  My presence on the field used to make the opponent team to shake before we even played.  What made me so good was that I would go next to the opponent and tell him you look ugly and they would be angry and then they couldn’t play.  I used to provocate them and I would juggle with the ball and laugh at them.

But one time, my mum told me that your mouth has no fees, we can talk without paying.  If you were charged every time you spoke, how often would you speak per day?  I’m sure most of us will be speechless.  My mum used to tell me, you were given a mouth not to abuse others but to encourage others and remember that you did nothing to be a good soccer player, thank God for that gift.

We sometimes compare ourselves to others.  How often do you thank God for what you have and what you are?  We very often forget.

In our daily lives, we very often forget about Jesus.  It’s rare to talk about Jesus for most people.  Women can talk about their hair and make-up but can easily forget about Jesus.  Men can talk about rugby, fishing but when it’s about Jesus, we become speechless.  We use our words to talk about many other things than Jesus.

Mathew 24:14, this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations and then the end will come.

This was a big assignment that was not given to the angels or the elders but to preach the gospel was given to you and me.  We must take the gospel all over the world and then after completing that task, the end will come.  Do you take the gospel around?  If yes, when was the last time?  If not, what are you waiting for?

When I wake up in the morning, I very often tell myself I need to lose weight, summer is coming.  I have a little boy Levi who will hit my tummy and say, “fatty”. Sometimes I feel shy if people are there because in my heart, I think if a child of 6 years can mock me, shame on me.  I go to the gym determined to get rid of my fat but after a few minutes, I’m on treadmill and I’m tired.  I go home.  Once home, I don’t discipline myself, I eat all the junk food.  After two days later, the boy will mock me again.  When it’s time to put on my shirt, I must choose the size that will fit me.  Some won’t fit my stomach and no matter how much I try to make it fit, it won’t.

The shirt will tell me, I’m the right size, you are not the right size.  What is your right size for Jesus?  Jesus was born for you and me and we were told to take the gospel everywhere and inform the world that He is our Saviour but when He tries to fit in our life, He doesn’t fit anymore because we are fat with sin.  When we start the marathon of Jesus, we are tired and we quit because Jesus didn’t give us what we were expecting.  We prefer to hold onto the relationship of the world.

Luke 2, the day that Jesus was born the angels were singing and the angels started to tell people, “Shepherds, the Messiah is born”.  The star came up and the wise men saw it and they informed Herod, a child is born.  The news to share gospel started the day Jesus was born.

Luke 2:22, the shepherd spread the news.  What do you spread in your life, what kind of news do you spread?  You have been saved for many years, have you ever taken that news of knowing the Saviour, the free gift of God to others?

When a child is born in a family we inform others. I remember when Leah was born, we all got the news, like fire in the bush, “Ange has a girl”.  We have a free gift from God, why don’t we share it?  When Leah or Rebekah or Anna were born, they were just babies.  Look at Anna now, she is taller than me.  She grows like a palm tree while I’m like a potato plant.  As she grows, we don’t know when is growing, we can’t see it and then suddenly, she is taller than me.  It’s not a matter of age to be tall but a gift from God.

Now it’s a responsibility of these girls to use these gifts.  Netball would be good for Anna because she is tall but I’m too short.  My gifts do not allow me to play netball.  Anna can reach the hoop but I will need to be lifted up.  That doesn’t mean that because my size is small I shouldn’t perform but I should look for something that matches who I am to play in society.

In the Kingdom of God, you can’t blame your small faith, you can’t blame the fact that you are not an evangelist or preacher to share the gospel, no, it doesn’t work like that, use what you have because after this life is a better life and the source of that life is Jesus.

I was born on a Friday at 10am.  My mum used to tell me, “When you were born, you didn’t have any hair on your head” but all my sisters were born with a lot of hair.  I was the ugliest looking baby of my family, my mum used to tell me that she was ashamed to look at me.  Even my dad would wonder if he was my dad.  The more I was growing, my appearance changed.  To see if there are changes, you must be close to observe.

If today we call someone who hasn’t been here for ten years and ask them which one of these children is Leah, they won’t know who she is because they haven’t seen her for many years.  If you go for a long time without seeing a baby, you won’t recognise them.  The same with Jesus, when you first see his beautiful face, you know Him but if you depart from Him for some time, you may end up not knowing Him anymore and He will look like a stranger to you. 

When you look at the Word of God everyday as a mirror for your life, and you remember you have to prepare your place in heaven.

About 6 months ago, I went to the gym and I collapsed and I went to the hospital.  I could see everyone was in fear but I wasn’t.  Everyone was shaking even the person who was training me couldn’t breathe properly but I wasn’t afraid.  My blood pressure was low.  The ambulance took me to the hospital but I wasn’t afraid because I had no pain but those looking at me could see death on my face.

After some time in emergency, I was allowed to go home.  When you go away from Jesus and you push Him far, you are like someone who is dying but you don’t notice it.  Others notice it but you believe you are not afraid and others see the danger but you say, “I’m ok”.

The doctor was asking me, “Have you had this and that in your family, have you had problem with lungs?”  I wouldn’t know because my parents don’t share with me because they believe you shouldn’t frighten your children.  The doctor kept asking about the different types of sickness in my family.

Today, God is asking you about spreading the gospel of Jesus, do you spread it to your family?  My next birthday, I know when it is coming.  Do you know when your birthday is?  We all know our birthday and our age.

In life you will see someone who comes from nowhere and God makes them to go up and up.  Don’t be surprised if yesterday you didn’t have $10 but tomorrow you have the solution to help the world’s financial problems.

Jesus was born for you 2000 years ago for you and accepting Him to be born in your life will make you to step from one place to another. 

90% of my trips overseas I pay nothing.  For example, I am offered to preach in China and the church will book my flight and accommodation.  Today I was not supposed to be here because 4 different churches wanted me to be there to talk about the day that Jesus was born, to spread the news.

“Merry Christmas”, we say that when we meet.  Behind that Merry Christmas, Jesus was born.  Let’s declare it, “Merry Christmas, Jesus was born for you”.  The more we remember our God, the more we will be proud of Him.  Your God is the One who looks after you and all you have is from God. 

When my father passed away, I was 10 years old.  My father was dead and although he was tall, handsome with a lot of money, his body lied down.  Look how capable is our God, He can separate you from your life and this world and once taken, your family will prepare the funeral and find a piece of land to get rid of the body.  If He continues to give you all that you have now, you should be grateful.  If He gives His Son Jesus, we should be more grateful because all who receive Jesus will not perish.

Bring all your burdens and problems and challenges to Jesus, He is the answer and if you don’t want to give your life to God, then one day God will ask you, “Did you spread the message, did you tell the world, I am the saviour?”  Life is short, we should enjoy it and the best enjoyment is to be a part of the body of Jesus.  Tell Jesus, take control of my life and then you will discover the best father and friend ever.

Christmas is a great day where we see santas and children receiving gifts and trees and decorations which is good for our eyes but in God’s eyes, what does He see in us, what decoration do you have in your heart?  What we see outside is good for our bodies, what does God see in our hearts that is good for Him?

Happy New Year and happy Christmas, celebrate in peace and may He be with us.  Things that did not work in 2018, may God change them into positive work in 2019.  If God can change water to wine, He can change your life.  All your burdens and problems, ask God to make 2019 a year of victory. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Signs of the End Days - Mathew 24:13 - Endurance

By Odon Bulamba

Those who endure to the end will be saved.  Very simple sentence but you must go to the end to be saved.  Endurance sometimes can be a challenge.  Salvation requires you to accept Jesus as your Saviour, as the Master of your life but you have also to endure and it shouldn’t be for a short time but continuously until the end.

Today, I’m sharing with you this sign of the end of times that Jesus has given us, endurance.  Endurance means to push yourself through a tough time without giving up until the end.  It’s not a time of joy.  When you endure, you are not going to join a party, you feel suffering and bad, tired but you know that when you reach the other side, you will gain something.

There are two categories of endurance.  Some will endure without knowing what they will gain at the end, an empty endurance.  The other endurance is where you know that if you reach the end, this is what you will get from your work.

Endurance requires not only your physical body but your mind and spirit.  I’ve seen in our world, many join the gym and there they tell you no pain, no gain.  If you want to gain, you must accept pain.  Boys especially want to look attractive with a six pack and muscles everywhere.  My son, for example, pulls up his shirt to show his six pack.  For him to have that is a glory but to get a six pack you must endure and persevere.

We pay to go to the gym.  Maybe it will cost $10 per week and now it’s up to you to use the machines that you have access to you.  You now must work hard to reshape your body.  I’ve been going to gym for years but shame on me when I look at my body and my clothes don’t fit anymore because I don’t persevere, I don’t endure.  This morning I wanted to wear one of my nice shirts but after ironing it, the buttons couldn’t close because I had gained too much weight.

I started to think, I’ve gained so much weight. Oh well, I will use another shirt instead.  I tried to tell myself it’s alright but tomorrow, I will be even bigger.  For the first two days I go to the gym with courage to reach my target but then my arms and legs are in pain and so I take a break and with revenge, I eat KFC and other fatty foods that will kill me.  Then later I go back to the gym and then one week I stay home and then I go back to the gym and then six weeks I don’t appear again.

My neighbour is also the member of my gym and he was fat but now he has lost weight.  I asked him what is wrong, are you sick.  He said, “No I decided to lose weight”.  You must push your body and mind to decide and to keep that decision to make the target.

You can have a target but if you don’t push your body or mind to reach it, you have nothing.  Those three things must work together.

When that time comes, it will be a time of suffering but you have to push yourselves and tell your mind, “you must do this, body you must do this,” and then you know what you will gain.  We pray to God and worship him for a purpose (1) a command from God (2) we must follow the rules to be in the Kingdom of God. 

The Kingdom of God is like a gym, everything is here now and it’s up to you to work.  The Holy Spirit is here as an instructor to teach you how to use the machines.  After knowing how to use them, what do you do?  It’s a matter of decision.

I have made several bad decisions with the gym by not going but they keep taking my money.  I feel bad but I can’t claim my money back.  I can’t ask for a refund because I didn’t go.  If you don’t make any effort to work hard you will wake up the next morning and time has passed and you will discover that every day you have postponed your gym time.  When you don’t go to the gym, what do you do?  Distraction, tv, out with friends but when you hear someone has had a heart attack you are shocked, maybe because they didn’t exercise.

How often do you exercise by reading the Bible?  How often do you use what God has given you to keep your shape in the Lord?

When we trained for cross country at school, my father will encourage me to keep running, and I will say, “no I’m tired, I’m not running”.  My father can’t run for me, I must decide to run.  My father is disappointed when I don’t run.  Then after running, I would ask for an icecream, “no you don’t deserve it”. “I ran”.  “No but you didn’t persevere”.  My father wanted me to learn how to be among the best.  Since I have started to practice that in my life, that spirit of competition started to grow in my life.

If someone can read the Bible, why can’t I read it.  If someone has been working, why can’t I?  if someone looks after their body, why not me?  We must accept pain but if we want to gain without pain, we gain in a wrong way.

The life we are living, requesting to run with Jesus, practising every time even when things are hard, we need to remember to endure.  It’s up to you to do the job.  How often do you endure for your soul and spiritual life?  When we die, our bodies will remain down here on earth but our souls will go somewhere.  How healthy is my soul, how often do I take care of my soul?  Maybe I don’t because I don’t care but God is saying, you must endure until the end not just for a short time and then quit. 

If you go to the end, that is the time that you will be saved.  Do you want to be saved?  Then go to the end.  Do you want to be in the Kingdom of God?  Then go to the end.  God is so good, whenever we know something is hard, He doesn’t hide from us.  He opens our mind to understand that it is hard but we should try.  E.g. if press-ups are hard, then start with one and then move to two on the next day but we always want everything at once without hard work.

Ladies always look at other ladies and comment how beautiful they look.  Ladies spend a lot of time on their faces, first looking at their eyebrows, then using their tools to remove hair from their brows and then take a crayon to artistically, nicely create nice eyebrows.  Then their hair.   I have seen a lady walk into a bathroom and don’t expect them to come out in five minutes.  Once they step out, you can see the difference and how hard they have been taking care of their bodies.

Men, we are supposed to say, wow, you look so great.  Teach us also to know how to take care of ourselves.  Women have a lot of talents that we men don’t have.  They have patience to spend 10 minutes on eyebrows but I can’t do that.  They will wear red lipstick to match a red outfit.  After doing that, they can come out not to please themselves but for others to see, for the world to appreciate how clean and beautiful they look.

We must do a proper make up for our souls so that wherever we go, people will say, you have done a great job.  If you want to be saved, don’t only say that Jesus has given His life for me and that’s all I need, you also need to exercise.  Someone who never goes to the gym will be weak compared to the one who goes every time.

As a student, we would study and then go to the gym.  The more you work physically, the more you become mentally focused.  We can be twins but if you practise a lot and go to the gym and I don’t, our bodies and abilities to do things will be different. 

Whose fault is it, if I don’t exercise?  Can I blame anyone?  Should I blame myself?  Jesus is telling us clearly that we must endure and if there is no endurance and you don’t find any obstacle in your life it means that there is a problem in your life.  Every Christian must face challenges and temptations and tests.  Your test can be your children, friend, neighbours, family and even your tv. 

I was born on 14 November.  I decided this year to do nothing on that day, to have a rest.  Then I watched tv for hours and my eyes told me it was enough but the program was so good, I told my eyes to be quiet.  Even now I feel that I have a headache because I watched tv all day.  I was watching Greenleaf.  A pastor’s family with disorder in the church and all is about money and glory.

I was watching episode after another to discover what is next.  I started at 9am and I was still there at 5pm.  I believed it was a good day for me but it wasn’t, I should have spent the day with the Lord, maybe I should have vacuumed for my health.  To watch tv is ok for a couple of hours but not all day focussing on what is not necessary.

I endured to watch it but gained nothing, waste of time.  The Lord is telling us that salvation is coming, if you endure, salvation is at the end.  There are only two destinations, Kingdom of God and the other is the opposite.  If you endure, you will end in the Kingdom of God but if you feel tired or lazy or tell yourself you will do it next time, you will be shocked when Jesus tells you, I don’t know you.

Why postpone things you should do today?  Once you go to gym daily without stopping, it becomes a habit but if you give up, you will start every week.  Endurance requires encouragement and motivate each other.  E.g. Ange lets go for a run together.  By encouraging each other we can move forward as a team.  If we don’t encourage each other, we will all die cold.

Like the army of the Lord, we should be there for each other not only by watching movies but all spiritual activities.  Levi loves to play and sometimes he asks me to play with the football.  We kick the ball around the house and because I’m lazy I tell him to go and play with his friends and he is happy and he learns and socialises while I am just sitting in my chair.  When he comes back he has gained something but I haven’t.

After a few days I feel I need to exercise and I go back to the gym and I will see those running on treadmill non-stop and I envy them.  I can’t run like them because they practice while I don’t.  They have gained a lot and I have lost my money and more.  They know how to use their time, mind and bodies to gain something.  I know how to waste my money on the gym but I don’t think about how to gain.

I must be stupid, waste of money.  If that was my child wasting money like that, I would tell them no.  after two months those at the gym are so much ahead of me, that I am embarrassed.

Take courage.  Jesus gave the sick new life.  He touched them and they could walk.  Not only physical miracles but spiritually, God is telling us that we can stand up and move forward.

The end is coming, we are going towards the end of everything and when the end comes, it doesn’t care what you look like, and your end is not only the return of Jesus but it can be today or tomorrow, you life can end and when it ends, God will look at your endurance.  What report will you tell God about your spiritual endurance.  You can give a report about your singing for church, now your endurance for your soul, prepare it.