Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Neglecting Little Things (Part I)

By Odon Bulamba (22 November 2002)

It’s a joy to meet together in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today the world joins together around a glass of whiskey or food to talk about politics. But for the love of our God who is so great, we meet together with different backgrounds so that we can be a family. A family that doesn’t have biological blood but a family united in the Spirit of God and in our Lord. We are pure children and are the race of God, a race that is different from any other on earth. A race that doesn’t look at the colour of your skin, but a race that looks at the colour of your soul, and blessed are those who are selected to be called children of God.

Yesterday I gave $4 to Angela but because she had $1000 in her purse she told me to keep it. What did she do? Was she willing to accept my $4? Did she neglect my $4? Was she merciful because it was all I had? When we have a great knowledge we sometimes forget the little things, and when we are rich in some areas we neglect in other areas.

In Kenya I started speaking other languages and sometimes mixed it with my mother tongue. If you didn’t speak English in Kenya you were regarded as an uneducated person, and those who are regarded as uneducated were neglected. But in our God, who is alive, we are not to neglect anything because God’s measure starts with little things. God will never measure something big if He hasn’t measured something small.

2 Chronicles 29:11 11 My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.

You were chosen by the Lord, brothers and sisters, so don’t be neglectful. God has chosen you among many others, I don’t know why, but once you are chosen you become God’s friend. There is one warning and that is not to be negligent. When people look for jobs they write letters etc, but once they get the job they start neglecting it 3 months down the track, and when this happens someone else replaces them.

There is nothing worse in life than negligence because it always has negative consequences, and when we neglect something it means that we don’t take care of it. On earth many Christians are neglectful, they neglect their salvation, they neglect the lives of other Christians and they neglect the work of the cross. So what will God say? If you neglect your salvation who will take care of it? If you neglect yourself, how can you take care of others?

When God created us He used mud. Every minute God takes care of us, He protects us from dangers, He gives us the breath of life and He protects us from demonic attacks. God sees what will happen later so He prepares us for that holy place. How many times have you thought about your life since you were born? If you calculated how much money you have spent since being born a large figure will appear.

One day I woke up and looked at my sister and she was ugly. Saliva dripped down her mouth and you could see dirt around her eyes, not to mention her stink breath. After 2 hours in the bathroom she was transformed. She didn’t neglect anything on her body and when she left home all the men looked at her. But one day when she left home the rain fell, and because she was walking she used her bag to cover her head, so why do you think women cover their heads? To protect their hair, but when it comes to praying they never cover their hair.

She struggled to keep her make up on her face because of the rain. This is a good example for Christians. When we look after our bodies we don’t neglect anything and sometimes we compare it with others. If you see someone with nice shoes for example, you will do everything in your power to have that same look and whether it will cost a lot of money or not, you will get it. But when it comes to spiritual things (and we know that God keeps on loving us and encourages us to take care of our souls) we are the first ones to neglect it.

Hebrews 2:3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation.

How can we escape? As human beings we forget that after this life there is a judgment and that our life on earth is very short. After this life there is death and if you are not on death’s side you will be on life’s side, so how many times do we prepare ourselves for the last judgment? Do we find time to think about it or do we neglect it? Do we doubt what God says in His word will happen? Do we think this earth belongs to us?

Christians who love the Lord must always think about judgment and are not allowed to neglect it. Prepare yourself because you cannot escape it. As Christians today we neglect our salvation and forget about what Jesus did on the cross and what He went through for our sins. Who among us will accept to be nailed to a cross? Who among us could wear a crown of thorns on his head? What man can sacrifice his life for someone else, to the point of death?

We neglect salvation and live our everyday lives, and in our everyday lives we do things as if we didn’t know Jesus. Jesus is watching, so do you take care of your salvation or do you take care of your body and neglect your salvation? You were born alone and you will die alone, and all you will take is your salvation. Your salvation is the foundation for your eternal life; you will never take your parents with you. So think about the deeds you do on earth to see whether or not they qualify in the heavens.

Nobody can stop death and say I want to go with my husband or wife. When someone dies in Africa they bury him or her, then the husband or wife scatters dirt over the coffin, and after this they cry. Salvation is not something that we leave buried in our lives. Remember that when your dad dies you will see him again because tomorrow it could be your turn, so do not neglect your salvation because of one man or the clothes you wear.

How many people have killed others just to have money? Why are there problems between mankind? Why don’t we think about the cross? How are we going to take care of our salvation if forgiveness doesn’t exist in our lives? How can we take care of our salvation if there is no love? How can we take care of our salvation if we don’t respect the word of God? Do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Do you think your make it with the life you are living today?

Today you are breathing but for God 1 second is enough to take your breath away, and then what will you tell God about your salvation? When God asks you what did you do on earth for the 30 – 40 years He gave you, how will you respond? God I neglected my salvation because I was taking care of my studies. God will tell you that grace is finished, and if there is no grace, judgment is for you.

There is no escaping when you neglect your salvation. The reason why the church of God is humiliated today is because of our behavior. We neglect servants of God, the word of God, our neighbors, colleagues and we think we are the best. But for God whoever is the least is the greatest and whoever wants to be high will be put down. If you strive to have money and poor people aren’t your friends, God will confuse you. Spiritually, God will tell you that you are very poor.

THE MINISTRY OF EVANGELIST (Part III)

By Odon Bulamba (Friday 6th October 2000)

QUESTIONS

CAN WOMEN BE EVANGELISTS?

Women can’t be evangelists. When we were in Kenya, there was a famous woman who said she was an evangelist. It is true that women can sometimes work in that direction, but they always work against God’s will, they serve God against His will. When David went to take the Arc of the Lord from among the Philistines, David prepared a chariot to carry the Arc and at some stage, the oxes pulling the chariot got in trouble and the Arc was about to fall. Uzza wanted to help and stop the Arc from falling and God put to death Uzza from the tribe of Benjamin.

Uzza didn’t do anything wrong because he wanted to serve God. But God found that this was out of His will. And the Bible warns us that on the last day, some people will claim having done this or that in God’s name but God will answer, ‘Leave, I don’t know you!’ I know that most women don’t like hearing about it, they are sometimes shocked but it is what God’s said. There are also things that men can’t do, but men are not worried about it, whereas women can’t bear it. So, just accept your task and the responsibility God has given you, and be proud with what God has given you and He will do something great through that.

If you do somebody else’s work you will be exalted by men, but not by God. So, I will ask you, my sisters, Mums, to always be courageous to participate in God’s work according to His will. Personally I might prefer (Odon) to be a prophet: the Bible says (1 Corinthians) that prophecy has first position in a church, because with it you can see everything that is going to happen. If the preacher does not preach the right thing, you will know, you can know everything in Hayley’s life, if God wants to do something somewhere you will know everything before it happens, and if Peter was to become sick you will know it two days before time.

I find that prophecy is better than evangelism because you are closer to God. Evangelists must kneel down, cry out to God day and night, and waste time just to seek one answer from God. They must know God’s will or where to go at all times, travel and sometimes be stoned or beaten. Would you like to have this kind of adventure? This is why God shared His tasks according to His own will.

Some women say that in the spiritual world there are neither men nor women because we are all on the same level spiritually. If you say it to be in unity for God’s work, it is good, but if it is just to work when God said no, this is a shame. You can test God and ask Him, “I have worked with all the gifts you gave me and I have completed all of my missions. Now make me become an evangelist’ and God will talk to you and show you clearly that you actually haven’t finished your task given by God. God will tell you that you are asking for a greater thing when you were unable to complete your small job. God does not fear anyone, if He wants to talk He does it, whether you are ugly or handsome God will speak anyway. Let everybody humiliate themselves when He speaks.

Preaching the good news is not the only gift. I told you last time about this lady who used to clean the church. When God presented the crown of life to His servant, Billy Graham (God’s servant) was convinced he should have the shiniest crown but he was told, ‘This does not belong to you but to this lady who cleans the church’. He had noticed how the church was always clean and he didn’t know who had done that job. Little physical things we neglect have a greater value before God. It was not by chance that Jesus was born in a manger and the Spirit of God revealed to His servants of that time that a king was on earth, and nobody could believe it. So, what you have is so important in God’s eyes, so why do you want to lose what is greater to take up what is lesser?

ARE MANY EVANGELISTS MARRIED?

Some evangelists are married and some are single. Sometimes, God allows the wife to follow her husband but it is difficult. In the Bible, Jesus would leave his family and go. And once, one disciple said he wanted to bury his Dad who had died and Jesus answered, “Let the dead bury the dead’. So it is a tough life: the children grow and see their father once or twice a year. The Mum does everything for the children, but God’s grace is always there. And you see that Jesus Himself didn’t get married as well as Paul. He realised that he if obeyed his body, this will put barriers for his ministry. But the Bible doesn’t say that evangelists must not marry, but his choice must be conformed to God’s will.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

THE MINISTRY OF EVANGELIST (Part II)

By Odon Bulamba (Friday 6th October 2000)

5. WHERE TO GO AND SPEAK?

Let’s look at Phillip

Acts 8: 5 “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.”

Sometimes the crowd gathers just to hear the message coming from God through a man. The crowd will not come if the evangelist isn’t ready to speak. So evangelists will first of all seek God’s guidance; if God allows them to speak, they can speak, but if God doesn’t, they won’t do it.

You will see that most evangelists have a programme for a whole year: they know that in June they will be in China, or at another date they will be somewhere else, and then they spend 2 days at home and go to the next place. After talking with God, they receive the whole programme from Him and they write it down.

6. THEY MUST PRAY SERIOUSLY

An evangelist must start praying to prepare the crowd for the good news: in a crowd there are all types of men and spirits, including impure spirits, magicians and spirits of darkness.

I (Odon) remember a famous musician, his name was Franco. If you listened to his songs and listened to his lyrics, you will see he was a great poet, and had a wisdom the world could not understand. When he played the guitar in front of a crowd, he would say around midnight: “Be careful because now the spirits are coming, if anyone here did not come with his husband or wife it is not the time to look for a girl/boyfriend, those who have eyes can see now”. The people were listening but could not understand a thing. This is what he meant: there were handsome men and nice girls but these were spirits just wearing bodies.

When evangelists lead crusades, the same thing happens. When evangelists proclaim this and that, everybody will come, including the army of darkness. Satan will come and say: “This man has come to take away the souls that belong to me” and he will ignite a whole strategy: magicians and sorcerers will come to tempt you, including all types of evil spirits. If you are not spiritually ready, you will not speak. I know some servants who took the microphone but no sound came out of their mouth. I told you the other day about a stage that collapsed and everybody was confused. So, you must be seriously prepared with support from prayer groups.


7. THEY PREACH AND PERFORM MIRACLES

The Bible says that when Phillip was preaching, the crowd was paying attention to what he was saying because they were listening as well as watching the miracles coming from Philip’s hand. When an evangelist performs miracles you can be sure the crowd will follow you: anybody who suffers will come to you to be healed. If you are an evangelist and you don’t have this power, don’t go there, don’t start to evangelise without wearing the right clothes or otherwise people will despise what is in you or what you say. So remember to be properly equipped so that you have everything that is necessary for God’s mission.
After Phillip prayed for the sick, the Bible says that the whole crowd was happy. Among them was a man performing miracles, Simon the magician, who saw that Philip’s power was greater than his and who accepted Jesus Christ into his life on that day.

So if evangelists are well prepared, they can also transform people, they can transform those who represent Satan on earth, and those who perform miracles with the power of darkness.

If you are not ready, the spirit dwelling in this person will come on you, live in you and you will lose everything you have, you will be bound by Satan. That’s why you must know how to use the ministry of evangelism.


8. PHILIP RAN AFTER THE CHARIOT TO START TALKING TO THE EUNNUCH

In the same story we read that Philip met the eunuch and baptized him. The Bible says that Philip ran after the chariot, the chariot didn’t stop for the eunuch to invite Philip. In fact, the chariot was passing by and Philip decided to talk to the eunuch. He ran after it until he could actually talk to him. He started with a question: “Do you know what you are reading?”

So evangelists must run after God’s souls that have been captured by Satan and ask them, ‘Do you know what’s happening in your life?’ and they will invite them and share with them. That is what Philip did; he ran after the eunuch, talked to him to the point that the eunuch asked to be baptized.

An evangelist must not walk with pride. He is someone quick and alert to spiritual things because our time on earth is very short. So he must run after the souls to call them back to God. If he doesn’t run, he will not fulfill his mission. An evangelist never hesitates, if someone is ready, the evangelist moves on to baptize them or do other things and then leaves them.

9. PHILIP WAS TAKEN TO THE NEXT SPIRITUAL LEVEL UP

After Philip finished his mission, the Spirit of God took Phillip away and Phillip went on to a spiritual journey. After fulfilling a mission, evangelists are taken to the next level up. The same Philip who talked to the crowds also spoke to an individual. Evangelism is not always about crowds, it can also be just for one person or a door to door mission, through the media etc.

10. CONCLUSION

An evangelist is someone who travels, takes time to speak with God and always performs miracles. He does not stay in a church but runs after the souls that are not in the church to take them back to the church. An evangelist is never afraid to talk about sin. He is the one who warns people about their lives, tells them: “Be careful for time is up. The Son of Man will be back soon, so, you, liars, you, thieves, etc, if you don’t change your ways, when Jesus comes back you will not inherit his Kingdom. So, be ready.” He can preach in a mosque, in a Buddhist temple, in a pub, at the market, everywhere and to everyone, he doesn’t care if people despise him or ridicule him: his only worry is to open his moth and bring the good news.

It is written in Matt:10, those who welcome you, give them peace, and those who don’t just shake the dust off your feet. Don’t waste your time in this city if it doesn’t work, go to another one. This is the life of an evangelist, especially nowadays.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

THE MINISTRY OF EVANGELIST

Odon, Friday 6th October 2000

When we are gathered together in His name, He is with us. It does not just mean that we are together physically, but spiritually. When we are gathered together in one spirit, God’s presence is with us. We can be gathered together physically, but spiritually we are not, and God’s presence is not with us. God always takes into account the quality of our spirit. Let’s do our best to be together in one spirit so that God’s presence will be with us. It is true that God is not far from us and He is already among us, now we want to see Him, let’s concentrate and listen to what God wants to tell us.

Acts 21:8
And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.

2 Timothy 4:5
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

We find this word evangelist only twice in the Bible, in Acts 21:8 and in 2 Tim 4:5.

This word started acting in the New Testament. In the Old Testament we cannot find this word. This word was used for the first time when the disciples obeyed Jesus, Jesus said: “Go in the world and evangelize”.


1. WHAT DOES ‘EVANGELISE’ MEAN?

To evangelize is to go and bring the good news to those who are lost, the lost sheep who need to go back to their Shepherd, this is what evangelize means. But nowadays we hear something different today, we hear that someone who is an evangelist must study first, learn strategies and afterwards he can start working. We are not talking about this type, we are talking about one of the ministries of God found in Ephesians 4:11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;”

It means that God himself watched you and gave you this position so that you can do something for the church. It hasn’t been given to you by your elder or pastor but by God Himself. It is not because your parents told you that you will evangelize, it is not because you saw an evangelist and you want to be like them and imitate them, we are not talking about this, we are talking about something different.


2. EVANGELISTS DON’T SIT AT THEIR DESK, THEY TRAVEL

5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 10:5-7

Jesus told his disciples not to go to the land where there are no Jews. To understand, we go back to the book of Acts 8:5Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them”. Phillip traveled, and this is what Jesus had told his disciples. They must travel around but not in the city were there are no Jews, He said: “Go to the lost sheep because me, the Lord need them, and preach to them that the kingdom of God is at hand”.

When you are chosen by God to be an evangelist, be assured that you will travel. An evangelist is not someone who stays sitting in the same place, at his a desk, office or in the same church. Their office is always outside the church, and he might spend 80% of his time outside his house and just serve God, and as he travels he will preach that the Kingdom of God is at hand. It means that the evangelist will not wait for someone to invite him at church to preach, his mission is to preach everywhere he goes, on a bus, in a taxi, office, anywhere telling them that the kingdom of God is at hand, and the lost sheep will find life. This is what an evangelist does.

Jesus said: “Before you go, remember one thing: do not go to Samaria, do not go to the cities were there are no Jews.” Jesus said that because he wanted to teach evangelists that before you go anywhere you must ask the Lord where to go. You cannot say: “I will go to Australia next year to evangelize there” God Himself will choose where you will go. If He finds it good for you to go to Singapore instead of Australia, this is His will. Always remember you are a slave, and a slave doesn’t argue with his master, and a slave does not try to please his own will, but the desire of his master. Jesus said: “Don’t hide anything but tell people straight that the kingdom of God is near.”


3. TWO JOURNEYS: SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL

There are two kinds of journeys: spiritual and physical.

a. Spiritual journey
Someone for example might come to you here and tell you everything that is happening in Brazil right now, and others might come here and tell us what is exactly happening in Auckland right now. They didn’t receive a revelation from God, but they were transported by the Spirit of God and they arrived to the point of seeing everything that was happening.

b. physical journey
To travel with the physical body we must get ready: sort out for instance where we will sleep, eat and find a ticket to get there. But God does not think that way, He doesn’t want us to seek a ticket, because He has planned for it all. God cannot send someone when they are not ready. You can be sure of that, even at the last minute God will do something for His mission’s success. God for example, can tell you to evangelize in the East, and you don’t have any money, you look right and left but nobody can help you. In that case, don’t be discouraged, always look up to God and He will answer.

I remember a brother in our country who was broke. Although he had nothing, no bed (he would sleep on the floor), he asked God one-day to have a wife “God I want something from you, I want to get married” After two days he received a letter from Belgium from a former schoolmate. One of his friends from school sent him all his furniture. This brother was always at home, and when he was hungry he would ask his wife to cook for him, but there was no food in the house and the wife always asked: “What can I cook you, we have nothing to eat”, “Just put water in the pan and it will boil” Then he started singing with his guitar, asking God: “God, what shall I eat today?” and someone would come and give him money. Sometimes he would say to God: "God, I want to evangelize, but my stomach is empty, how can I speak?"

And God would always answer him.

That is what stops many evangelists today. They forget that their body is here just to support the work of the Lord. Your body will always show you that you don’t have enough money to buy your ticket to go to Te Awamutu.
If Peter goes to Te Awamutu now, for example, he will use all the petrol in the car, so
- It is better that Peter goes next week,
- Peter isn’t going because he has a headache,
An evangelist must realize that the body is very demanding and will always try to stop God’s Word.

In my country (Congo) in the military camp, everyday at 5:00am the whistle would blow to get up, and everybody had to get up in the cold. If you got drunk the night before, that was your problem, you still had to get up. Whether you had eaten or not, seen your wife or not, it was not their problem, you still had to get up. When you heard the whistle blow, every person knew where their boots were and all their gears. They didn’t even have the time to rinse their mouth, because they respected the whistle, if you wasted two minutes you will be punished and arrested for maybe two days. It was an incredible discipline.

This is a picture of how evangelists must behave. When God blows the whistle and tells you to go and evangelise somewhere, you must be ready, clean with the right boots on, at the right size so that you may walk probably. If your boots were too small it may be a hindrance for you.


4. WHAT DO EVANGELISTS DO?

Matt 9:10, “ While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

Matt. 10:8,Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers,
raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give”.


You must know that you have the power to heal the sick. If you feel in you that God has sent you to evangelize but you don’t have the power to heal the sick, pray first and ask God to fill you with this power. This is one feature of an evangelist. You must always be able to raise the dead, cast out demons, heal the lepers. This must not be in you so that you become proud or make a fortune and be rich. Most evangelists today after praying for the sick and receiving healing ask to be paid the amount the sick would have paid the hospital if they had been there. This is how evangelists pray for billionaires and in their heart want something in return; money. He will not say it with his mouth, but his heart will speak and he will wait for a reward. And if it sometimes happens that a person does not pay a servant of God, they are shocked. They forget they have received freely, and must give freely and they forget that the hand of God will be upon them one day to condemn them. They forget that God can take away the gifts He gave them. The Bible says “Don’t take anything” (Matthew 10:9, Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses). This is what is so difficult for most servants of God.

Everyday Christian Life

By Odon Bulamba

We are going to talk about everyday life of being a Christian, and after this we’ll look at a few signs Jesus gave us to get ready to welcome Him on His day back.

Each Christian must realise about his everyday life that there is a difference about being a Christian and a non-Christian. A Christian will think about what he does, but a non-Christian doesn’t. Everything a Christian does, he will compare it with God’s will. How does he compare? He will ask himself, ‘what I did, was it according to Gods will or not?’

A child wakes up in the morning and wants to eat, he’ll disturb his parents and always ask for food, ‘I want to eat.’ The parents might say, ‘this is not a good time to eat.’ The very first thing you do when you wake up, you brush your teeth, have a shower etc, and this becomes an everyday thing, a teaching. If you don’t teach your child from child-hood, you can be sure he’ll ridicule you in front of everybody.

I have lived with a sister in my country, she got married and didn’t look after her body. When her husband would come home she would dress up and be pretty for him, and this pleased him to see how nice she looked. But there was a secret and he couldn’t see it, the secret we knew because we lived with her, and we always warned our brother-in-law, be careful, do not be deceived by the appearance. Our sister could go a whole month without a bath, she would just wear perfume. When we would ask our sister, “why don’t you wash this”, we would become her enemy and she’ll start crying, as women do.

Then she got married. The first night with her husband she woke up, around 11am, as you know sometimes people dribble and she would talk to people and her breath would stink making you feel uncomfortable with her. First day it was like this, second day her husband came back to see her with the same clothes, also the bed wasn’t made, after two weeks the sheets hadn’t been changed. The husband observed her then asked her, “my dear, it has been two weeks and you haven’t had a bath”, and she answered, “do you love me or only when I have a bath?” It was hard for the husband.

I give this example because of our everyday Christian life; if we are not careful with our everyday life we might start living in immorality and live an impure life thinking it is normal. This is just because of our teaching from child-hood. I know a two year old boy who was told something that wasn’t correct; someone told him that this part of the body [the arm] was a duck. When my aunty asked him something he said, ‘do not touch my duck,’ ‘what duck?’ she replied. This is what happens when we learn something wrong, we put them in confusion, and when we have learnt something wrong, we insist we are right.

As for us Christian we must weight up things with what the Bible says, this is what Christians must do right from the morning. Try this programme I have for you, and we’ll see if we have positive results.

When a Christian wakes up, when you open your eyes before getting out of bed, you must thank God, just say ‘thank you Lord because I’m alive, I know how the devil puts traps around a Christian’s bed,’ Satan might tempt you during the night, and if he can’t find an open door, he’ll do it around your bed, if you get up and don’t pray...you have already fallen into a problem. You must first say, ‘Lord thank you so much because you protected me, because some people wanted to see this day but haven’t, a few people are not alive but I am, and for this I praise you O Lord’. On top of this pray for the whole family, ‘thank you so much for each member which I haven’t seen yet, and I do believe they are alive like me, so take care of me and them throughout the day, so from this step on lead me.’

Many Christians when they get up, a wife will get breakfast ready for her husband, and the husband will eat or drink, then he’ll have a shower. The wife who had strength to get up and make breakfast hasn’t prayed and her husband who just got up, hasn’t given thanks for the food or drink. In the world of darkness magicians use food we eat, they can use food to hypnotise people. Ebola is a sickness that started in Congo, nobody knew how it started but it was an epidemic. Sorcerers got together and decide to shake people, how will this reach each one, it goes easy through food, for everybody has food in the house and by this way everybody will be reached.

Only through prayer could doctors find what this disease was, so Christian mums, when you wake up, pray for your husbands, before touching food pray for it, take authority over it, if there has been any power that touched the food you must cast it out, encourage your husband to pray with you before doing anything, and husband encourage your wife to pray. We are not like sheep or cows that eat in the morning, we must be conscious with what happen during the night.

I know people who use talismans to protect them, and each morning they pray earnestly because they know that this talisman protects them, and if you don’t pray, you’ll lose protection. As for us Christians God gives us protection for free and we don’t even have the time to pray.

After praying in the morning with your husband or wife, pray for your children, and if it is possible wake them up and teach them how to pray, it is not about praying for 10 minutes, but only 3 minutes is enough, so that they will say with their mouth, ‘thank you God because you look after us,’ and God will protect us during the day.

It is difficult to look after your own spirit if you are unable to look after other people’s spirit. In some families the parents aren’t able to look after their own house. In the morning for example Sylvie starts putting away chairs from the meeting last night, she only puts them away because she has a visitor, she’ll say ‘I was busy reading the Bible and praying a lot this morning, and this is why I haven’t organised my house,’ the first day you might say this but what about the second day, the third etc. she’ll say ‘Nathanael cried a lot, and we didn’t sleep.’ Because someone may see that your house is a mess, you’ll start making excuses and may begin to lie, and the lie is a sin, if you don’t give a true reason you have lied.

Someone can read and pray and forget to clean the house, but if you see that you haven’t cleaned up because you are lazy, you only justify yourself. A Christian must have his Bible by his side, you must always sleep with your Bible. In Kenya sorcerers would come at night and beat Christians up, people would scream and cry. The first thing sorcerers do is to lower your voice so that no one will hear you being beaten up and in the morning you’ll feel tied or wounded. This has happened to many Christians only because they didn’t pray, they would pray but in a lazy way, so the devil took the opportunity to punish them.

The Bible is very powerful and people would sleep with Bibles around them to protect them, it is more powerful than the power of darkness. When you sleep, know where your Bible is, it shouldn’t be on the shelf and if you are ashamed to carry a big Bible around take a small one.

A Christian must also know to read at least one verse in the Bible, and he must ask himself questions, what does this verse tell me about God? What does the verse tell me about my Christian life? What does this verse tell me about my life with others? Is this verse necessary for my life? What do I have to change in my life according to this verse? This will help a Christian change his life. Once you have read this verse you will practice this verse all through your day. What you read today, will you put it into practice, and what I’m doing, does it please God? Will it please me and the people around me? Will it please my Christian life?

Can someone give me a verse, any verse. Job 8:11, “Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh?" What does this verse tell me about being a Christian, because when I read this I can’t find any meaning, but there is a meaning, everything that is written in the Bible has meaning and life, and everything that is written in the Bible is for you and me, so now we will ask ourselves what is a papyrus? A papyrus is a plant and this plant was very useful in the Bible, for the first time this plant was used by Moses’ mum to make the basket (Exodus 3). Papyrus was used because crocodile’s flee when they smell this plant, so when Moses’ mum made the basket she thought “I don’t want the crocodile to eat my son, so the papyrus will protect him.” This plant will always float on water.

If I compare this verse with the Spirit of God who was above the waters and thinking of Jesus also walking on the lake, also the ark Noah built was on the water for days. As you can see from this verse we can find one thousand preachings, so what is it about God? What is it about me? What about the people around me? You can draw a teaching for everyone, so with each verse there is a lesson, even 20 lessons. It is all about concentration, understanding the words and you will find God’s glory

This is what a Christian should do every morning, when you do it yourself you must look at your husband’s life, your wife’s life, and your children’s life, and you’ll see where you and your family are up to compared to the verse you are reading. After you find time to read your Bible and pray, you then can have a shower and do what you want and try to remember the verse you read and where it’s written. If someone comes to visit share this verse and this person can give his explanation and this might help you more, if you haven’t understood it is time to ask questions.

As the bible says in Timothy 4:4, we must give thanks to all that we eat. For us Christians we must get ready, and take time to share with others, and we must be ready to eat something and give thanks, if you haven’t said thank you do not eat it. One day I was with Pete and he was eating muscles, he took a knife, he opened the muscle and ate, I observed him, second muscle he also ate, he completely forgot to pray. People pray only when there is a big meal, but when they eat little things they don’t realize, when we eat a biscuit we don’t even have the time to say thank you.

Someone gave my mother a biscuit once and it had poison in it, if she hadn’t prayed she could have died. The Bible says in the gospel of Mark that if we eat something that has poison in it we will be protected, but if you don’t pray you can see the danger. Servants of God, before giving a lolly (candy) to your children, pray for it because you don’t know who prepared it, many people use magic so their product will be brought. Do not be ashamed to pray for even a lolly and when you pray say, “oh Lord I want to give this lolly to my child, bless it and I take authority over forces that can affect his health,’ and give it to your child and God will do something.

2 Timothy 2:22, Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

How can we do this throughout the day? The Bible gives us an answer; we must seek righteousness, that’s all. You must think if I do this will it please God and others, if I do this thing to my neighbour’s child will I be pleased if someone did it to my child? If you think no, then do not do it. This is what righteousness is, you already know love is above all these things, the very last thing is to avoid discussions, the Bible says from verse 16 you must avoid discussions and people will be saved. We must try to live without arguing because when we argue we sometimes fall into anger, sometimes we lose self control and might abuse people. As human being’s we must realize everybody has been created differently and the devil uses some people to be a temptation for you, he uses people so that you will lose the faith, you must be very careful, control your tongue as it is written in James, weigh up all your words and be careful with your words.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Faith Without Works (Part II)

By Odon Bulamba (15 November 2002)

One day at Auckland Airport I asked a lady who worked there where the information desk was, she then asked me where I was from. So I said I was from heaven, she looked at me and said, “heaven, black like you?” I asked her if there were only white people in heaven, and after that she kept quiet. Then she asked me, “What do you want”? I said that I only want to know where the information desk is, but she refused to tell me. A few minutes later another lady came to her and asked the same question, and without delay the lady (worker) directed her.

I persisted to get my information however, I then showed her my immigration card and told her that I worked for them, then her attitude changed a bit. I asked her if she was a Christian, she said “yes, I’ve been a Christian for 30 years”, so I said, because of my card you consider it more than me even though I am a person? Is this card worth more than a human? She asked me to forgive her. Form time to time we do things that oppose the Word of God. Christ means anointing, Christ means the Word and whoever opposes this Word is antichrist. If you oppose the Word of God know that you also oppose Jesus. People think the antichrist has horns, tails and is something mighty, but the antichrist is living among us today because our deeds manifest the works of the antichrist in our lives.

The way we react towards people shows that the antichrist is working in our lives. It is not about having a stamp on your forehead with 666 on it, but because the Holy Spirit seals you, demonic power also wants to seal you. If I ask Peter to show me the seal of the Holy Spirit in his life maybe he won’t be able to show it. When the Bible talks about 666 it is not about receiving a stamp on your body, but it is a spiritual mark and we must understand this message.

It is impossible to grow a plant without a seed. Small deeds help make a plant grow. If our works are good then the plant of God will grow, but if they are not good and they contradict our faith, you as the plant will be burnt. We must practice good things.


Hebrew 11:31; by faith Rahab the Harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

If you can welcome people you are good enough before God who does good works. When my son was in Congo New Zealand immigration sent an insane-looking Ethiopian man to get him. Immigration thought that if they sent this man to Congo nobody would bother him. So I rang my family in Congo to prepare for his arrival. One day a lame man who hadn’t brushed his teeth knocked at their door, and he said to my family he was sent by New Zealand immigration to pick up a child. My brother told the lame man that he was mistaken and sent him away.

My family received a shock because they didn’t expect someone scruffy but they expected a professional. They thought that someone from New Zealand would be clean and white. When they saw the lame man they didn’t welcome him, so the man left Congo and came back to New Zealand. This is why it took an extra two years for my son to come to New Zealand. So because of one day my son lost two years. When the man came back to New Zealand he said my family didn’t welcome him even though he had the papers. So I rang my family and told them that the lame man was the one, but still they said it was impossible because he was an Ethiopian.

Welcome people when they come to your place so you can receive something great for your spiritual life. Many women don’t know how to welcome people. First of all they will ask who is there? Secondly they will send a child to the door to see who it is, and when they know it is Odon for example they will tell the child to tell Odon we are sleeping. But when Michael knocks at the door with his promise of $400 to them they run to the door with great joy and smiles. This is not a good deed.

Ladies, sisters or mothers try to welcome people into your homes because when you do this you are welcoming angels, don’t be like Sara who crossed her arms and let her husband do all the work. Our faith needs deeds. Don’t make any comparisons between people, put your-self in other people’s shoes. If someone is sick for example and the person says they are suffering, don’t just say lie down and rest because tomorrow it could be you. Maybe all they need is a simple prayer or some medicine. Do you think that your friend will be close to you tomorrow if you weren’t close to him yesterday?

Sometimes we do things without knowing whom we do it to, because one day you might meet that person later on. God can use anyone. We will never die if our works are good, but if we make mistakes or have bad works it will kill our faith in the Lord.

Romans 15:1-2 says, we then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

At all cost we try to please others so we can grow in the faith. To please others is not for you as a Christian to gain something from this world like money etc, but we must know what is useful for the faith. Do not live to please yourself, if you always say I want this and that, remember that one day the Lord will say I want that. Also give others the chance to be listened to so it can help them know that they too are Christians or human beings. Although they are weak and have less ability, help them to grow in the faith. Our deeds will help them.

One day my son was playing with Kennedy (a baby). As they were playing he could smell that Kennedy needed changing, so because the smell was terrible he pushed Kennedy away and went to his room. He then called Kennedy’s mother and she changed him. As soon as she changed the baby, my son continued to play with him. Sometimes as Christians we act like this. When a Christian is in a sin, friends etc will flee from you until you have solved your problem.

Example: Peter is a church member but has a problem with stealing money. Word gets back to Peter’s Pastor so he decides to excommunicate Peter. To help Peter in his weakness he could have told Peter that what he did was not good, then told him to repent to God and to people, then ask for forgiveness. This will encourage Peter.

Jesus gave us an example; He always went to the sinner and comforted them. But Christians today don’t accept weak Christians. Everybody wants to be Benny Hinn or Billy Graham’s friend because they are on top, but a simple Christian is neglected. In Christian life we must help each other. If someone is in a sin we can’t leave him or her in that sin, we must do something. If you are in hospital and no one comes to visit you, how will you feel? Sick? Miserable? It is the same thing with the Christian. If a brother commits a sin we are not like newspapers or TVs that tell everybody, but we must go and see him or her to help and comfort them. We must remember that in everything we do, we will be paid back. If you reject people you also will be rejected. Today you may do something good but tomorrow you may do something bad.

Good drivers can have accidents and die, so as Christians we can’t say that we are always strong, maybe today you are strong but yesterday you were weak.

Hosea 14:5-8 says I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. 6His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. 7They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. 8Ephraim shall say, what have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. 9Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? Prudent, and he shall know them? For the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.

The Lord wants us to get closer to Him so we can blossom. If you have faith without works, ask God to accept you and help you do good works. If you have good works but no faith, ask God for the faith because every tree must blossom both in physical and spiritual activities. It is time to go to God and ask Him to help you.

“Lord help me not to have a dead faith, I don’t want my faith to be killed because of my bad actions, transform me Lord completely so I will have good works for You and man, and that my testimony will be good where ever I go. I also want the devil to testify before You about my good works”.

Pray for yourself and then for the whole group so that we will have good works in our lives until Jesus comes back. Ask God to help those who are not present so that their works will be good as well. May the Lord transform our weaknesses into strengths.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Faith Without Works

By Odon Bulamba (15 November 2002)

Grace is essential for Christian life, and without grace our belief is useless. Without grace we are nothing in God’s eyes, but His grace is sufficient because it makes us worthy before Him. When we wake up in the morning sometimes we don’t realize where or what happened during the night. When we sleep we can forget that we are alive but by God’s grace, He lets us see another day. Nobody can fight sleep or the tiredness of his body, but by God’s grace we feel strengthened and free in the morning from a night’s sleep.

This is how Christian life works in spirit. When you feel tired or weak ask God for His grace to comfort you, call upon God to give you strength and know that every prayer is done by faith. When you wake up in the morning and tell God to keep you safe all day long during work etc, be assured that you will go to work and come back safe. Nobody wants to have an accident while going to work that is why we ask by faith for God to bring us home safely.

For example it is by faith that you make an appointment at 11am to see your friend because you don’t know if you’ll be alive. First of all you believe that at 11am you will be at your appointment, and then second you will act upon it. So first of all you believe, second you act and third you meet the person. This is the secret to faith. To have a good faith in the Lord we must make a decision. If one of these things is missing your faith is a bit disabled. If you don’t act upon it then your faith is dead, if you lack making decisions then you have no faith. We will talk about these three things; faith without deeds is a dead faith.

James 2:24-26
24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Everyday we talk about faith but on top of this the Bible asks us to perform something else, which is our deeds. Having this faith we decided to become Christians, and from the time of your conversion you decided to change your life. You also decided to leave the life you lived before to start a new life in Jesus Christ, and from this time you started believing and faith started to grow. After faith we need deeds. 1st of all you make a decision, 2nd you act upon it and the 3rd point is the result of what you want.

One day in Africa there was a Palm tree 10 or so meters high. In order to get the sap you had to climb the tree, make cuts into the tree and the sap then dripped into the container below, and after two weeks your container would be full. This drink is very nice and natural, something you can’t buy in a supermarket. Because I couldn’t climb the palm tree we use to throw stones at the buckets but they were always tied to the tree. However, one day a monkey came and climbed the tree without any problems and drunk the sap in front of us then left the container empty. The monkey made a decision to climb the tree and drink the sap, and even though a man put it up there the monkey wasn’t afraid. But when it comes to humans doing what the monkey did they doubt because they are afraid.

When we have faith in the Lord we can climb as high as the sky and catch whatever we want, but we must think about what God gives us. If you use what God has given you that is not His way, woe to you, you’ll find that your spiritual life will drop down like an empty container. You could lose control.

There was a famous servant back in the 1960’s who was strong in the spirit. He would say to the dead get up and they did. When he would pass people who were crying for their loved ones, he would ask them, what happened to this person? After telling him he would tell the dead person to get up, get up! He would command the sickness to leave this person and the dead person would then had a few more years to live.

But when God gave this servant more power he couldn’t control it and started to use it for business. This servant used to go to the mortuary in hospitals and ask people, how much money would you give me if I raised your loved ones back to life? People would say anything you want. So he touched the body and it would rise. God wasn’t happy with this and after a time he lost all his gifts. First of all he had the faith, secondly he put his faith into action by praying, but when he got the result of his prayers it wasn’t in a good way.

We as Christians must not say that our faith is enough, we must work and act upon it. Faith without deeds is dead. It is good to have faith but the second step is to see what deeds you have. If you observe Christians today in churches you’ll see that sometimes it is better to live in the world than live their Christian lives, why? It is because of the works we do. We know the Word of God and His will, we have the faith to believe that everything God gave us is the truth, but when we work and act upon this faith it becomes the opposite. When we tell people that we are Christians they can’t believe it because of what we do.

When I first came to this country and found out that the Prime Minister was a Christian, I was surprised. She would put Political laws before Christian laws. If you say praise the Lord to her she will say Amen! I am not judging her and saying that she is wrong but it is just a little example. You can see that some people are 20% Christians and 80% in the world.

Some preachers preach the Word to others but tell them not to follow their example, but Jesus said follow Me, Paul also said follow me as I follow Jesus, so how can people follow us if our actions are not good?

As we read about Rahab in James 2, deeds or works followed her faith. Everything is written about Rahab in Joshua 2. Rahab had been a prostitute for over 20 years and one day she received two men into her house thinking they were clients, but these two men were sent by God to spy on the city of Jericho in order for God’s people to find a way through it. As Rahab welcomed these two men she started talking to them and discovered they were Israelites.

In Joshua 2:9 she told the men not to forget her because their God was a strong God. I don’t know who taught her about God but she knew, and after she learnt about God she believed. Rahab had faith to believe that the God of these two Israelites was powerful, and if these two men were in her city she knew something was going to happen, so Rahab chose life. This is why she told the men not to forget about her.

The men accepted her plea on the condition she was to keep quiet. When Rahab accepted the two men into her house a neighbor saw them. Rahab’s neighbor spread word to the king so the king sent troops to arrest them. The Bible says that Rahab hid the two men on her roof and fortunately the troops didn’t find them. Once the troops left, Rahab helped the men go through a window, and then they left her. But before the men left they told Rahab to leave a red ribbon by her window as a sign for them to remember. Nobody touched this red ribbon for Rahab’s faith was alive.


As Christians today God wants us to get closer to Him so that we can be transformed from spiritual prostitution. Also, sometimes an act of faith can ask us to be quiet in certain things. When you pray don’t tell everyone you are praying for this and that, and definitely don’t go telling people that it was because of your prayers that this or that happened. Sometimes we have to keep silent and when we do this it will help our faith become strong. As Rahab put the red ribbon on her window, we as Christians must always think about the blood of Jesus. Every time people walk past you they must see the blood of Jesus in your life, which means forgiveness, repentance, joy etc. This is the result from the cross.

Because Rahab saved a man (or men) she also was saved, and from this time on she became the descendant of Jesus Christ. Faith without works is dead. You can have 5000 Bibles at home and you might know all the verses, but without works you are nothing before God. It’s true that Muslims have good works but they don’t have faith in Jesus Christ, and it’s true that Christians have faith in Jesus Christ but their works are not good. So why are good works missing for Christians? Do we lack good will? Do we neglect God’s Word? What is lacking because sometimes Christians are worse than pagans?

For example when a brother goes through a hard time some people rejoice or they think it is time to play music, and if someone succeeds we as Christians become angry. So when are we going to perform good works? Why do you spoil your faith by doing deeds not according to God’s Word? If this were so, then it would be better for you not to have faith in Jesus Christ.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010

FAITHFULNESS

What does faithfulness mean?
Faithfulness is when we obey the covenant we have made with God and using this covenant whenever necessary with God.

So what is a covenant?
A covenant is an agreement when you give your life to Christ. It’s not up to me to control my life now, it’s up to Jesus to control it. When some people make covenants with God, they give just their soul or their heart or their body – maybe they only give 50/50 – they keep something back for themselves. This leads to different types of Christians. For some God controls 100% of their life; others 50%; others 20%. So that’s why some Christians are stronger in their faith and others are weaker and struggle.

Determination
The second step in being faithful is determination. You must determine that from now on, whatever may happen, you will never change the decision you made in your mind when deciding to accept Jesus. This step is the hardest for a Christian. When we lack determination we have to ask God for help. Help to not waiver in your faith, help not to look back, help to continue to remain steadfast to Him.

Once we have determined we want to be faithful to God, we must make the step of starting to live a new life which is different from your will – it’s now God’s will controlling your life. Often when Christians think about faithfulness, they think about it in the context of sex etc… between husband and wife. But for God to see if we are faithful, He looks at our intentions, which are in our heart.

The intentions that are right before God, these are what we must put into practice. When you start to practice all of this, that’s the time when God will open His mouth and talk to others about you. God will testify to people how faithful you are to Him. This is also the time that God will come close to you and start to test you and to see how you will put His Word into practice and how much we ask Him for help. If the situation is hard, don’t go far away, stay close to God.

Through the tests God gives us, He sees how faithful we really are. He can be proud of us as He was with Job. To the point where He said to Satan, “Look, do you see my servant Job, he is very faithful.” And God allowed Satan to do all those horrible things to Job and his family. The test of true faithfulness has begun.

Also, to overcome the tests we need to have the fruit of self-control. If you don’t have the fruit of self-control, you will never be faithful. When we have this fruit, God will continue to be close to us. When you have self-control, you have assurance of salvation and that you will do this and that for God because you know you can control yourself. If Job didn’t have self-control, he really could have gone far away from God. But he controlled his body, his thoughts, his actions and his speech under very difficult circumstances and God came even closer to him. He blessed Job even more than He had before because through self-control, Job was faithful to God.

People close to us, like Job’s wife and friends, can sometimes destroy our faithfulness. They might ask us to do something outside of God’s will. That’s why it’s so important to know the Word of God and see if it matches.

After self-control, comes the fruit of kindness; someone might be talking to you really angrily, but you still must talk kind to them because you can control yourself. As Christians this is really important. Kindness must be a fruit that is evident in your life, for God and others to see and taste.

Faithfulness with God means to walk in justice. You must know what is the truth. And two ways to know the truth is to check with the Bible or to go and see that person to find out the truth. The Bible says that if you have a problem with a brother, to go to them and sort it out. So it’s very important to practice the Word of God. And as I said before, if you can’t practice the Word of God, you will never be faithful.

Another way of being faithful to God is to take the message from messengers of God. Don’t think the message is just for somebody else – take it for your life, for yourself, for your salvation. And try to put the message into practice.

An example of a faithful person in the Bible: Elijah – 1 Kings 18. On Mount Carmel in front of all those prophets, he didn’t panic or lose his courage – he knew God was with him. He controlled his body, his thoughts, his actions and he was proud of his God. He knew God would intervene and once again his faithfulness to God came down to self-control. Wherever there is water, fire can never be! But with God, all things are possible. And you know how the story ended.

This same Elijah became unfaithful and he ran away after someone said, “I’ll kill you.” He also complained to God. He lost his self-control and started to doubt. This means that whenever we lose self-control or we doubt, we can easily become unfaithful to our God.

In hard situations, the first thing we must do is ask God first for strength because now is the time to practice the Word of God. Ask God for self-control to stay faithful to Him.
Galatians 6:1-4

It’s hard to be faithful to God if you don’t trust those in the body of Christ. This is not for the glory of others but for the glory of God. We trust the preachings that people give us and check to see if it’s what the Word of God says and this helps us to be faithful to God.

As God’s wife, we can make people think we are faithful, but God can see directly into our hearts and He knows when we are not faithful. So tonight, I ask you to analyse your life and the covenant you made with God. What did you give to God on that day? Is it 100% of your life, 70%, 20% or 5%? Do you think if God came close to you tonight, He would see the fruit of faithfulness, self-control and kindness?

Are you a branch on His vine that is laden with 9 delicious fruit worthy to stay there or are you a branch that is lacking some of these fruit but desire more, or are you a branch that is empty and not producing fruit and one day will be pruned off? On the day that you made a covenant with God, how much of your life did you give? 100%, 70%, 20%, 5%?

Like Job, are you a faithful servant whom God can show off to His enemies? If faithlessness is a problem in your life, can you see a need for more self-control?

Self-control isn’t always about stopping yourself from doing something; it can also mean to push yourself to do something. For example, how many times have I promised I would ring people in our group but I haven’t done it. This is also a lack of self-control because I don’t control my laziness or my carelessness in order to do what I should.

Also be encouraged if you are crossing a hard situation – God is close to you and testing you to see how great your faithfulness really is. And know that the blessings He has in store for those who remain faithful to Him are eternal. Also remember the sufferings and hardships you endure here on earth, are according to Romans 8:18 helping to produce an indescribable glory to be revealed to us. So obey the Word of God, be determined, self-controlled and kind and know that you are practising faithfulness in your life. Amen.

Psalm 145:18
James 4:8
James 4:14-15
James 4 :11
1 Kings 18

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Family Of God (Part IV) Strength

By Odon Bulamba (31 August 2001)

Strength is a free gift from God. To be in God’s family we need this strength. When a child gets a fright they always ask for their parents and when a child is punished from friends they will get their father. If a child knows their father has a financial power, the child knows his or her father will buy them anything. If the child believes that his or her father is stronger than anyone, the child will say, “my father will punish you”.

In God’s family strength is one of the most important attributes for spiritual growth, if you are not strong you are weak and the weak don’t have any room in God’s family. The Bible says that those who are strong must assist those who are weak so they can become strong.

What is the importance of strength in life? Strength is necessary for our words, strength is necessary for activities, and strength is also necessary for our production. If you are not strong than you are soft, and if you are soft in God’s eyes I don’t know what you will tell Him. From the beginning God constructed man and created him in His image. Because God is strength and man was created in His image, man also has this strength. If you don’t control the strength God gave you, be assured that you will be weakened.

God said to Adam, “I created you in My image so don’t eat the fruit from this tree”. Adam, who was stronger than death and suffering, became weak because he ate the fruit. Adam is now weaker than death and suffering. Suffering and death could attack him easily and Adam couldn’t defend himself anymore. When God gives us a certain situation and we are not able to control it, we are going to be weakened.

There was a man in the Bible called Samson. Before Samson was born God told his parents, “Do not cut his hair for this child will deliver his family from the hands of the Philistines”. Samson’s mother was given conditions, she wasn’t allowed to drink any wine while pregnant with Samson otherwise she would destroy God’s plan. “If you cut this child’s hair, it will be terrible for the whole nation”. Samson’s mum respected God’s conditions. From Samson’s youth he was told that no one was to cut his hair. He could cut his nails but never accepted anyone to touch his hair. There might have been lice in his hair or there could have been dirt, but Samson was careful not to have it cut. This was the condition that God gave him.

One day Samson faced a tough situation. According to theologians, when Samson was 14 he went somewhere with his parents. The Bible says that Samson was big and strong, this strength was not only physical but also spiritual. When Samson was walking with his parents he came across a lion. Samson ripped the lion in half with his bear hands without his parents knowing and Samson carried on his way. Read Judges 14:1-9.

This is the way God works. Samson was an enemy to the Philistines and from birth he was told this. The philistines were considered as the uncircumcised and as sinners, but now God wants to use Samson to do something in the camp of the Philistines. He was to deliver God’s people from the camp of the Philistines. God knows that deliverance cannot happen without strength, and God knows that our thoughts can help us and knows that strength is needed for deliverance.

God knew that at that time many young people from the camp of Israel could have been soldiers, but God didn’t want to use an army but chose to use Samson only. God put the desire in Samson to love a Philistine woman. This was against Moses’ law and the Israelites couldn’t accept this. But because the Holy Spirit was pushing Samson to get the woman, nobody could go against the Spirit of God. Samson told his parents, “I must have her”. Manoah had a revelation and knew what Samson was doing had to come from somewhere. Manoah accepted what Samson wanted so they went together to get the Philistine woman Samson desired. What inspires us Christians today to make decisions? Is it the Holy Spirit? Samson knew that what he was doing was from the Holy Spirit, but when we do something where does this desire come from? Where does this strength come from? God gives strength that is positive and Satan gives strength that is negative. Between these two kinds of strength, what one are you using? How do you know that the decision you make is from God?

Samson’s parents had no problem with him marrying a Philistine woman. When Samson was going to get married he came across a lion and he had to kill it. Imagine confronting a lion, to hear it roar is bad enough. Samson forgot about fear because his strength came from God and because he didn’t fear he knew that God would control the situation. Samson completely forgot that death existed and he knew that the lion couldn’t do anything if God was with him.

Samson remembered that God had given man the power over all the animals on earth and said, “God has given me the power to defeat this lion”! Amen! When we have the power of God we have the assurance of victory and death will never frightened us. God is always with us to protect us.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Family Of God (part III)

By Odon Bulamba (24 August 2001)

With reference to Ephesians 2:19 we read that we are members of God’s family. If God puts you into His family, He has His reasons and also a goal. Although many people dislike their family, God has a goal and wants you to be part of His family. In God’s family, sometimes people don’t love one another and sometimes people fight against each other. A young man can hate having an insane sister or a sister can hate her brother. I had a cousin that use to beat me up, every time I would see her hate was crouching in my heart. I wished she were dead.

This happens in God’s church today. If Steve preaches and his message speaks about something in my life, I’ll start building a wall against Steve and become his enemy. Man always wants to be pleased, man always wants to be exalted above others, but God is against this. God is righteous and God is just, God also is a God who rebukes. Do you need flattery when you need to be corrected? Why do we flatter people rather than correct them?

The Pharisees were happy when people flattered them, but if you spoke the truth to them they would become your enemy. In God’s church many people think they are holy and other people are sinners. Jesus teaches us about this when He was with His disciples because Jesus’ disciples thought they were holy. One day children came to Jesus; the disciples thought that the children would disturb Jesus so they wanted to take them away. What did Jesus say? Matthew 18:3. Whoever wants to be boss in God’s family, must be the servant, if you think you’re an adult you will be humbled like a child.

A child is happy when they can speak freely, but why do parents play with their children? Steve says, “He likes it”. Why do you play with Nathaniel Michael? “Because I love him”. In God’s family the Bible says it is impossible to love God if you don’t love your neighbour or the one you live with. Many people say they love God but don’t love the one they live with. Many people are servants of God but don’t love their children or wives. We are children of God and must be the light of the world. In God’s church we must be the light. Steve will teach his children how to read the Bible, he will teach them how to pray, he will teach them how to respect God. After ten years Steve’s children will be able to remember what their father has taught them. When we teach our children not to do something, we must also, as parents, control ourselves and ask, “What would be the consequence of doing this”?

We must not be like the Pharisees. Jesus said, “Do what they teach you, but don’t do what they do”. This is a curse if you teach people something but don’t do it yourself because you will never grow spiritually. It is like a sign on the road, the sign reads Fox St so that people know where to pray, the sign that says Fox St can never pray with us. We can have a bell at church that rings every morning to tell Christians, “wake up, it’s time to pray,” but the bell never comes to pray. This is like the Christian in God’s family; this Christian can know the Bible by heart but cannot practice what they have learnt.

Philippians 2:1-5, “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing for selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ”.

This is how God’s family should live.

Philippians 1:27, “whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened”.

Paul gave this message for the family of God. We must control our behaviour. Is our behavior in line with the Word of God? Is how behavior in accordance with what God tells us to do? Many people in God’s family are Christians when they are around Christians, but when they are alone they are unable to show that they are a Christians.

Paul said, “I can be present or absent, but stand firm in what you believe and be careful with what you are doing, control all that you do”. If there is a battle we must fight together with one heart. The very first thing you must know is where is my faith? Is my faith in Jesus Christ or not?” Maybe your faith is in Buddha, maybe your faith is in money, maybe your faith is in your husband or wife, maybe your faith is in man? If your faith is not in Jesus Christ you will not be able to live in God’s family.

Job was a rich man; he was prosperous and had a lot of belongings. If Job put his faith in what he had, what would have happened to him? Maybe he could have killed himself. Unfortunately this is a normal thing to do. Many people kill themselves because of what they have lost.

I know Ethiopians who have hung themselves because of being robbed. These people put their faith in money and would even kill for what they had. Although they say they are Christians and could pray and fast, if you touched their money you’ll see where their faith was.

Many servants of God have Judas sickness. When they fall asleep they dream about their bank account, they dream about how they can invest their money, they dream about how they can prepare for their future. They cannot read or pray for 5 minutes but can waste 2-3 hours working out financials. This sickness led Judas to betray Jesus, this is what it is to be mean! When you love what you have, little by little you will lose faith in Jesus. You will not lose it straight away, but eventually.

A Christian must know, “if I have faith in Jesus Christ, will this faith make me strong or not?” Our unity must bring positive fruit. If I decide not to control my tongue, will it make me strong in Jesus Christ or not, or will it make me weak? Jesus Christ always asks us to be strong. Those who are strong must assist those who are weak. However, those who are weak and accept to live this way influence those who are strong. If we lose faith in Jesus Christ the love we had for Jesus will decrease. What does faith in Jesus Christ mean?

The Bible says that faith in Jesus Christ is to accept what we cannot see. It is to believe that what God tells me is truth and life. It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me. Did Jesus abuse people? Did Jesus mistreat people? So why do you abuse people? Do I do it or does Jesus Christ in me do it. Does the faith in Jesus Christ allow me to do it? Each Christian can behave in a way that is pleasing to God, because the behavior you have does not belong to you. If you misbehave, this behavior belongs to the devil. We are stewards for our own behavior.

It is like an accountant who works for a company. The accountant is there to analyze what may become difficult for the company, and if they see a danger they will warn others. At the end of each year the accountant will make a report to know what’s happening with the financials used. This must be in each Christian’s life. Everyday you must make your own report. An accountant doesn’t do things by chance but before making any decisions they will ask themselves, “will this bear fruit or not? If I do this, will it be any good?”

A doctor will never operate on a person without knowing what’s wrong first. He must first know what sickness the patience has; then know what kind of operation they will perform and also what kind of tools they will use. On top of this the doctor will need helpers, even Jesus Christ needed helpers and that is why the disciples were with him. With a crowd of 5000 people Jesus couldn’t distribute bread to everyone. The faith we have in Jesus Christ needs help also, the faith we have in Jesus Christ needs a report and before doing anything we must ask ourselves, “will this go on my positive side of my report or the negative side?” If it goes on the negative side I must forget it because it doesn’t please God (Unless you chose to work for the devil).

The very first thing we have to do in order to live in God’s family is control our faith. We must know how to control our behavior in Jesus Christ and we must know whether or not our faith is strong or weak. Ask yourself, “does Christ’s love encourage me or not”? If God’s love doesn’t encourage you then what will? Is it my brother’s love? Is it my child’s love that will encourage me?

If the devil was to ask you, “what encourages you to love sin?” How would you answer the devil? Or, “what stops you from loving God, because I, the devil give only death and you know the consequences of death, God gives more than me for He gives life eternal, so why do you come to me, is it because of material things?” When a rich person dies everybody is sad, not because they are dead but because of their money. If we want to live in God’s family we must put aside our own interests and love the interest of others. Do not live with someone so they can support you with material things. If you use people for material things remember this: Judas didn’t eat anything from the money he received. Because we are in the family of God we must avoid this kind of love.

Family Of God (part II)

By Odon Bulamba (17 August 2001)

Philippians 2:2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

Remember one thing. Our thoughts can lead us to life or death. When you think, you can sin, you will be led to death or when you think you can have life, you will be led to life.

Paul says one thing, “it is not I that lives but Christ that lives in me”. On the outside people knew that it was Paul, but everything that came from him was the manifestation of Jesus in him. There once was a guy who wanted to earn money. So he started thinking and saying, “Because I have nothing I can use only my brain, God gave me a mind to think and act so I’ll use it”. However this guy went the wrong way and started making money that was false. The 10% he gave to the church was a large amount and everybody in the church would say, “this man is a good Christian, do not lose him, if he goes there will be no church”. Some people knew he was making false money. Thoughts. Although he used his mind for this, he ended up broke.

In God’s church today sometimes we have different thoughts. May your yes be yes. Help each other with God’s Word. If you ask me, “brother I have a problem, and the Bible says this and that about my problem, can you please meditate on these verses with me so that I can find the light, because if you don’t help me I might be lost forever”? We must help one another and ask ourselves, what will be the consequence if I don’t help my brother; will he give up the faith?

God doesn’t speak through trees or stones but through man. A prophet is a man like us, an apostle is like us, and a disciple is like you. When the person speaks and it is fulfilled, you will know that it is true. So we must be very careful with our thoughts. How do we use our thoughts negatively? 89% of Christians use their thoughts negatively. If you see brother Andrew looking at you in a bad way, you will think he hates you. The way he looks at you speaks 1000 words. But who told you that? Have you looked deep into Andrew’s heart to know what he thinks? This is a judgement. This is not a fruit of the spirit. You must first know the situation. If you doubt or think differently you must talk with that person. “My brother, this is what I think”. He will then say, “This is not the truth”. Confess straight away because your thoughts have made you sin.

We can be influenced by our surroundings. Where are your thoughts now? You cannot force God to do what He has planned for tomorrow, and you cannot change what He has planned to do. Sometimes Christians who are strong spiritually can be arrogant and make the weaker become a slave. Those who become a slave to these people are not slaves according to the law but man. This is a shame. This is what the Pharisees do. When a soul was saved they would use them. Instead of teaching them how to live the Christian way, they would change the word and make them serve man instead of God.

In God’s family according to Philippians 2:2 our thoughts must be the same. If you have a problem, go to your brother and ask him, “brother, this is my problem, can we find a solution together?” He will say, “Yes my brother, let’s pray”.

In everything God’s glory must be recognized. In any problem God is the solution. Before Oscar played football he would gather together his team and pray. Although he has the ability to win the match he still would pray. Why does he pray? The victory is not Oscars’ but God’s. Oscar doesn’t know the future and he doesn’t know what will come in the next two seconds. Many Christians today don’t have the time to ask God for anything. If they have a problem they say, I’m the solution. Who told you that you are the solution? God says He is the solution but you say that you are the solution. Let’s be careful. Some Christians can say, I don’t need Michael I’ll just kneel down and pray. The Bible says in the book of Hebrews, “it is difficult to love God Your creator if you do not love your neighbour”.

Do not speak behind your neighbour’s back. To love your neighbour doesn’t mean that what you’ve shared with Oscar you can share with Nathaniel, unless you agree with that person. Sometimes God can reveal to you a situation, which He will not allow you to tell anyone. When John wrote Revelation he talked about the seven trumpets and seven seals but God said, “seal this message”. Daniel also was the same. This teaches us something. We must not as Christians have diarrhoea with our words.

If you receive you must open your heart to other people’s problems. If someone comes to you and says you have made a mistake, open your heart and think about what you are taught and pray together. Don’t be like a man who is blind. He talks about something he doesn’t know and many Christians are like that today. You can ask them something but they answer you with things that don’t make sense and it causes confusion. Never be a stumbling block for others. When will we grow? When will we be able to grow?

Ephesians 4:15, speak the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the head, that is, Christ.

If you speak the truth but don’t have love it profits you nothing. If you show love but don’t have the truth, it profits you nothing. That is why many Christians are spiritual babies. They can have a doctorate in theology but are still babies.

In 1978 the Pope got shot. When he was healed he said, “I forgive this person and as proof of my forgiveness I will employ him to work in the Vatican”. Someone asked the Pope, “Why did you forgive him”? The Pope said, “I forgave him because I am the Pope and he is my child”. Is this the truth or not? Something is hidden here. If you read Revelation 17, you’ll see. They wanted to cover up the prophecy that was predicted on him.

Many Christians are the same. When Sylvie comes to my house I show joy, but when she leaves I become a lion. When children watch television and their dad comes home they want to flee, because the sheriff is home. The presence of some people can be disturbing. It is like putting rats with cats. This is the situation for most Christians. They want to please those around them, but are not able to please their parents or children. They are Christians when they are in front of other Christians, but they are not Christians in their everyday life. This is a shame because you deceive yourself. God can see the deep things in your heart.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Family Of God (Part I)

By Odon Bulamba (17 August 2001)

As Christians we must live like a family. In a family you talk and give each other advice. Mum and dad give advice to their children, and the children give advice to their parents. In my [Odon] country we have a saying, “the child plays the drum and the parents dance.” It means that a child play’s the drum and through that beat everybody can start dancing and singing with praise. This means that parents are not allowed to reject the advice they receive from their children.

As you know, Jesus works with people who are young. The one who seems weaker will be the one you will need the most. I told you once that we prayed for the whole night until 4am, and while we were praying someone came into the church. Everybody was watching him and asking, “Who is this man that comes into our church at 4am, nobody should be here?” So after the prayer had finished which was around 5am everybody left and went home. The way he was dressed was not good, just looking at him you knew he wasn’t educated, so everybody kept on praying, making out he didn’t exist. Before going home we suddenly thought to ourselves, “Where is that man? We looked for him but he was gone. This was a lesson for us. We are not allowed to neglect anyone.

Tonight we are going to talk about God’s family.

Ephesians 2:19 you are no longer strangers or aliens but fellow citizens with the saints and are of God’s household.

We are fellow citizens in God’s Kingdom. Amen! To be a member of a family means to be born from a descendant. To become a member of a family you have to have a bond through blood and body. I cannot say that physically Andrew is a member of Sylvie’s family because Andrew will say that he has his own parents and his descendants are different from Sylvie’s. But when we talk about Gods family, God Himself rejects physical descendants and focuses on His spiritual descendants. Remember what Jesus said? “Who is My sister, brother or mother? My mother, brother and sisters are those whom I share the Word with”. This is how God’s family is different from physical families. The love we have in God’s family is stronger than our physical family. Because of this love you can be cast out from your own family for the name of Jesus Christ.

In God’s family there are requirements. God looks at the one who has the seal of the Holy Spirit. He looks at the one who has accepted salvation and taken advantage of the grace given to them. This person becomes a member of God’s family. If Steve teaches his daughter Amber how to sing and at the age of 15 she starts producing C.Ds, people will say, “Oh this girl really sings for the glory of God”. But when Amber starts making money Steve will say, “Amber, remember that I’m the one who started your success?” Amber will say, “if it were you dad, why don’t you sing yourself so you can be rich as well?” How will you feel Steve? It won’t be easy. When Amber makes a lot of money and decides to spend it at the casino, how will you feel? Very upset. Steve will start thinking about what happened at the beginning. “I taught her how to sing and this is how she repays me?

However the situation might be different, Amber might be right if Steve’s intentions didn’t please God because all he wanted to do was buy a new V8 Holden car, whereas Amber was using the money to spread the gospel in Vietnam. Because of this Steve will think that Amber doesn’t respect him. Why do I say that? We don’t make decisions according to our own will.

In God’s family we are not meant to do what we want. Remember Paul was a prisoner of Jesus Christ. What does it mean to be a prisoner? To be a prisoner is to be given commands. If you are a prisoner you will never do your own will because you have to respect the requirements of that prison, and if you comply with the rules you will be a good prisoner. Do not forget the uniform. If you are arrested with the clothes on your back, you have to leave them and wear a uniform. In my country you can’t wear shoes in prison, and if you kill the head lice, which they put intentionally on your clothes, you’ll be given a longer stay. Sometimes people have their head shaved with glass, which really hurts, but you must accept suffering because you are a prisoner.

Understand that when you become a prisoner of Christ your life is going to be hard. God will force you to do what you don’t want to do. God will not allow you to do your own will, but His will, will be done through you. If you find a Christian doing his own will instead of God’s will, you can pray for this person. I consider these people insane. They can give you the whole Bible and every verse but they don’t put it into practice. They are like Sadducees and Pharisees, they know the law, they talk about the law, but they are the last ones to put it into practice. In God’s family we cannot live like this!

In God’s family and being Jesus’ descendants there is no hatred. Remember what is written in the book of John, if you hate someone you are a murderer.

How do we live in God’s family because a father, mother, brother and sister are all different ages, so how do you come to an agreement? A Christian who doesn’t want to speak the truth or express what is in his or her heart to confess or help a situation to improve is a hypocrite, and hypocrisy is not from God.

Tell me some good points on how to live or what we need to have to live in God’s family. If you have a verse say it. Do not fear. Fear is not from God.

Ephesians 4:32, be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

What does this mean? We always speak of God’s goodness and affection but what does kindness mean? When the Bible speaks about kindness it means to do the opposite of evil. If you are not able to do something kind ask your God to help you. Those who are strong must help those who are weak and show them the right way. We must be compassionate (tender-hearted). It means to have no bitter feelings. To be tenderhearted is not to punish. Sometimes people can react if something has been said or done against them. They’ll try to revenge that person so they can learn their lesson. This is not a tender-heart, but this is from the world of darkness.

We must love each other. If we love each other there will be light and the devil will flee from us. The Bible says we must forgive each other. Remember Mark 11:25, if you don’t forgive you’ll never be forgiven. Many people on this earth don’t know how to forgive. They remember where their scar came from. Even after twenty years they can look at their scar and remember what happened, “Michelle, you did this to me on that day and after twenty years I still remember”. This is not Christian behavior! This is not forgiving! To forgive means to forget completely. If God remembered our sins where would we be today? If your mum or dad could remember all what you did in your childhood, who would you be today?

The great illness for Christians today is unforgiveness. If I have a fight with Steve at work and he asks me forgive to him, I have to but when Steve says “hello brother” and I just turn my back and say “hello” with no smile, it means that I have something hidden in me. Some people grind their teeth with bitterness. Mark 11:25, you must forgive to be forgiven. When you come to pray but haven’t forgiven, you are wasting your time because God will not listen to you. You can pray for twenty years but if you don’t know what forgiveness is, all that you do is in vain. If you are not kind, you will not know how to forgive. If you are not tenderhearted towards your brother or sister, you will never be able to forgive.

If people know you are from Africa or a sick nation and you ask for a glass of water, instead of giving you a glass to drink from they will give you a margarine container. The hate in some people’s hearts is terrible, “why does he come here”! If they do give you a glass to drink from, as soon as you go they’ll dispose of it thinking there might be an infection. However, if Benny Hinn asked for a glass of water they will give him a gold-plated glass because money talks. Where is the Christian affection? Where is the tender-heart? This is what kills Christians. In God’s church we must practice kindness to everyone. Children, young people and the elderly have to be tenderhearted to one another.

Physical life is very different from spiritual life and forgiveness is essential for everyone. Without forgiveness there is no salvation. Another principle about forgiveness is to carry one another’s burdens. If your sister or brother has something they can help you with, it is up to you to accept what they give you. If you see that they make a mistake you can help them. This is Christian life; we are here to help each other in love. When I use to pray with others, we would sometimes forget who the Pastor was. We lived how the early church lived. The early church would live together as brother and sisters. Everything was in order with respect and love.