Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why Jesus is Better than Santa Claus

Santa lives at the North Pole...
JESUS is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh...
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year....
JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies...
JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited...
JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.

You have to wait in line to see Santa...
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap...
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, what's your name?"...
JESUS knew our name before we were born. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly...
JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is HO HO HO...
JESUS offers health, help and hope.

Santa says "You better not cry"...
JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."

Santa's little helpers make toys...
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but...
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree...
JESUS became our gift and died on a tree... the cross.

JESUS is still the reason for the season.

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life."
(John 3:16 The Message)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Crown is Finally Given

By Odon Bulamba (20th November 2011) summary only

“After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days….“So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord.” II Samuel 1:1,10

David was the last born of a family consisting of 8 boys. He was skinny and maybe weak but he was very intelligent and he had sharp eyes and yet he was somehow considered useless according to his father. His father gave him the job of shepherd while his brothers went to train in the army. Because he was looking after the flock of his family, he was sure that if he did it properly, he would be rewarded but all he got was a nice coat and some milk. David had to look after the flock, face lions and other dangerous animals without a gun or arrow or javelin and this was a big responsibility.

Samuel was sent to find a king from the family of Jesse. Samuel knew there was already a king (Saul) and that he might be killed for choosing someone to replace him. God told Samuel to tell Saul that he had to go somewhere to make a sacrifice to God.

When Samuel saw Jesse, he knew that the time had come to put oil on someone’s head; the anointment is here. The first son of Jesse was big and strong and Samuel thought, ‘yes, this must be the one that God has chosen as king’ but God rejected him and all is other brothers. Then Samuel asked, ‘isn’t there anyone else’ and Jesse said there was another son out with the sheep. Maybe Jesse was ashamed of David and didn’t want Samuel to see him because he was weak and he couldn’t imagine that someone so weak could become king. Sometimes we too feel rejected and pushed out.

God said, ‘bring that man, he is the one’. Sometimes when we are rejected by others, God brings us close and anoints us. The blessing you have compared to others, your neighbour and other people around the world is greater (eg. some people have never seen a cell phone or even stepped inside a car – you have been blessed). Some people work very hard with no blessing while others try something small and the blessing flourishes.

David was chosen and if I was David I would say, ‘hey, I’m a king now, I’m different to you, I’m not looking after the sheep anymore’ but David didn’t, he continued to look after the sheep. Imagine that God has chosen you as a leader but God hasn’t given you any advisers except your sheep. Sheep only baa, there is no other language and some people are like sheep, the only language they have is complaints or arguing.

Jesse continued to expect David to watch the sheep while his brothers were being trained in the army. Sometimes people try to put barriers in your place so you can’t progress. Sometimes you know God has chosen you but people tell you to wait, sometimes because people are jealous.

David was sent by his father to take food to his brothers and although he knew that he was a king, David was a good boy and never said no.

Goliath was a giant that the whole nation was afraid of and very often when we see a monster of a problem rising up (no money etc) don’t you sometimes feel like passing away with fear (when you see your bills and no way to pay them). You can see people losing control sometimes because of fear.

David didn’t fear, he said, “I can fight Goliath” and his brothers told him to be quiet. David had never used a sword or shield but as a shepherd he had learnt how to use a sling shot because of the danger. David also learnt how to play music and to sing while he watched the sheep eating.

David killed Goliath and although he was promised everything (including the king’s crown) he didn’t receive what was promised. This wasn’t the end of his mission. Later, Saul needed him to play music for the times when an evil spirit would attack him. One day Saul tried to kill him but he didn’t quit. What would you do? I’d call the police. Very often your boss is mean to you while you are trying to help the situation. The same person who employed you and thought you were useful is now mistreating you.

David eventually ran from Saul and became his opponent and had to fight for his life. Where is God in all of this, wherever David goes Saul is attacking him.

In life, there is pain, even if we are the winner. If we win a boxing match, we will still feel the pain of being punched, even though we won. If we win a marathon, we will still feel the pain. You will never be a winner without pain, without going through a battle, without going through suffering.

Later, David fought a battle and won and all the soldiers came home with victory but they still had the cuts and bruises and broken bones. Once they arrived home, their family members were gone and everybody blamed David for they had been kidnapped. Imagine everybody against you, how would you feel? Have you ever faced a problem with someone in your family or a close friend? This is the hardest kind of problem, when someone close to you is against you.

David encouraged the soldiers to go after their families. Some were unable to continue the journey due to the pain and tiredness from the first battle but others kept on the journey despite the pain.

Then at Ziklag, Saul is killed and the crown is taken and after many years given to David. Sometimes we fight something for a number of years and we keep praying with no answer and we feel like giving up. We start to doubt that God gave the promises and sometimes we fight and win the battle but there is no crown; God doesn’t answer at the right time for us and we start to doubt and think that God is not on our side.

Finally David became king but in a way that was not expected (normally the person who kills the king will become king or the person who is next in line). Your crown will come sometimes in a different way than you expect. God may bring you the answer from a different direction. Are you ready to receive the crown? Then be a good fighter and remember your time on earth is short, so be a hard worker and become what God wants you to become.

David didn’t know all the rules of being a king (how to sit, eat, etc) and we also might not know the entire Bible but we can use what we have and remember we belong to God.

How would you prepare for the queen of England to sleep at your house? Would you let her see every room? Would she be allowed to sit in every chair? What food would you present to her? How have we prepared our body for the Holy Spirit? What room will we give Him? Is there a clean room? If not, why can’t we just make it clean?

Sunday, December 4, 2011


By Colleen Podmore

We live in relationships. We are related in terms of the human race. We are related as Christians in the family of God. We live in relationship with God. The Bible says that God is a Spirit. How do we relate to God as a Spirit? We can’t see him, we can’t touch him, greet him. He is spirit (John 4:24).

Often God is portrayed as a father, but maybe this is not a good image especially if you did not have a good relationship with your human father. God can be portrayed as a grandfather – benevolent, kindly a bit like Santa Claus just waiting to give us what we want when we ask for it. Grey hair and beard but a bit impotent, not really the Almighty Creator of the Universe.

Sometimes God is portrayed as a lover who woos us, pursues us, as a husband, as a friend, a comforter and a counsellor.

These are all human images to help us relate to God.

He can also be like inanimate objects, being described as a rock, a fortress, a deliverer, a strong tower implying strength, and reliability.

How do we relate to God? Is God a man or a woman, a myth, a legend, a dead man?

And conversely, the way we relate to God reveals how we see ourselves. If God is a father, then we are children. If he is Commander, Lord, then we are warriors, servants, slaves. In a recent exhortation Hayley used a verse that described us as prisoners; does that mean God is like a jailer?

We live in relationship, we don’t live according to a set of rules and regulations - do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that. This kind of attitude constantly asks the question - Have I done enough? Am I good enough? Does God really love me?

I like the analogy of the fenced paddock verses the free range with an oasis in the middle. Stock comes to the oasis out of free will because there is water there, shade and shelter. Our Christian lives are not bound by fences. Paul says in 1Cor 10:23 that, “Everything is permissible.” We return to the Living Water which is in Christ Jesus to the oasis of peace and shelter that is found only in relationship with Jesus because that is what sustains us, not because we have to but because we want to! We are in a relationship.

Last week, Tyrone brought us a timely message from Ephesians 4:22-24. Paul says that believers are taught – it is something we are required to do – to change our lives, to put off our old ways of acting, to stop doing the things we used to do before we came to Christ. Old attitudes, wrong ways of thinking, bad actions, things that God says are not in keeping with His character. Now that we belong to Him, we want to be like Him, we want to reflect His glory and not be lead astray by our own deceitful desires, the things we want to do.

Paul says we are to be made new in the way we think, once the old has been taken off there is now room for the new, which will lead to a lifestyle of true righteousness and holiness.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to become new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV.

This is separate to what God has done for us because it is created. It is something we do, in order to move closer to God. We already have a future and a foundation in Christ, every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3), and the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing our inheritance (Eph 1:4), Hallelujah. Praise be to the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

I heard on the radio the other day a comment about grace (Bob Gass ‘Word for Today’ Radio Rhema 855am). The speaker made the observation that there are two responses to grace, one is to respond by working hard to create a Holy life, pleasing to God, the other is to just scrape by. Which one am I? We are in a relationship, let’s work to please God.

So how do we ‘put off’ this old self and ‘put on’ the new self? Paul goes on in the rest of the chapter in Ephesians 4 and into chapter 5 and half of chapter 6, to tell us how we are to do this! It’s that important, it’s no secret or mystery, it’s written in black and white.

Eph4:25 stop lying

Eph4:26 stop anger, don’t hold onto it; don’t give the devil an opportunity to turn anger into bitterness, resentment, envy, jealousy

Eph4:28 stop stealing

Eph4:29 stop unwholesome talk. This includes criticism, sarcasm, bad language, innuendo, derogatory statements, negativism....

You know what it is like when you are with someone who does these things. How do you feel? It kind of shuts you down doesn’t it, something is not right. Any relationship you might have with the person is broken. You could describe your relationship as ‘quenched’, like a bucket of water thrown on a fire, the fire goes out.

Paul says in Eph 4:30, ‘Do not grieve the Holy Spirit’ - some versions have quenched.

How do we quench/grieve the Holy Spirit? He is like a silent witness to all we say and do; our attitudes and actions. We have invited Him into our lives to guide and lead us. Is He comfortable or uncomfortable in this relationship? Do we need to bow our heads and say sorry, confessing our wrong doing, our sin, in order to restore the relationship with Him?

Nothing can separate us from this relationship that we have with our God.

‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38,39 NIV

Monday, November 28, 2011


By Odon Bulamba (16th November 2011)

“They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.” Mark 8:22-26

Jesus puts restrictions on us and we want to follow those rules and live as Christians and we want to live a life like Jesus but there is a big division among us which is denominations and so Catholics don’t like Baptists and Baptists don’t like Brethren etc. However, the Bible says that at the end times everyone will come to together to fight against Jesus and today we can see the beginning of this by the World Parliament and the World Court System and other institutions that are outside of the UN and these are becoming more and more powerful and will one day oppose Jesus. Therefore, we will one day see Muslims, Catholics and Christians joining together.

In Mark 8, Jesus came to Bethsaida (the same village he cursed 2 times) and some people brought a blind man for Jesus to touch him. Jesus took this man outside of the village; he didn’t heal him in the village. This man would have been very familiar with the village because every day he was begging in the streets but Jesus told him to not go back to the village but to go home (meaning his home was not the Bethsaida).

Today we Christians try to interact with people of Bethsaida (sinners) and we want to live like pagans and to live with them, sharing everything and behaving like people who have never known God. Sometimes we should ask ourselves, “am I a friend of myself?” and if yes, what do you offer yourself?

This blind man enjoyed the life of Bethsaida in the same way today, me and you enjoy the company of sinners and we know that it’s a sin but to please those people, we do it and justify it by saying, “it’s ok, no one is perfect” and we think we shouldn’t be extremist.

Jesus didn’t discuss with the blind man, He just led him. The blind man also didn’t discuss but kept silent and followed the Master. When you do things that you like and you know it is a sin but you do it anyway and your conscience speaks, do you follow Jesus Christ out of that situation or do you discuss?

In order to get healing the man had to be pulled out of the village first and in order for us to get answer to our prayers, we need to first move away from our sin.

The men who brought the blind man to Jesus stayed behind in the village and sometimes we also stay behind; we encourage others to pray, or to serve God or to read the Bible but we don’t do it ourselves.

Jesus used saliva and asked “what do you see?” and he answered, “I see people that look like trees walking”. At this point he doesn’t see clearly and sometimes we are the same when we discuss the Bible, we don’t really see clearly and we think the message is for others and we push it away and don’t accept it for ourselves and this creates confusion in our lives (in the same way the man was confused seeing men as trees).

Preachers today preach 50:50. They don’t want to touch people’s nerves so they can’t talk about everything and so things are blurred and not clear.

If we want to lose weight, we have to be tough on ourselves; eat the right food and not too much while exercising hard. How often do we train ourselves spiritually? How often are we tough on ourselves spiritually? If you want to smoke, God won’t come out of heaven and stop you, God knows you can make a personal decision to stop by yourself.

Have you ever been confused in your life like the man seeing trees? Do you start to doubt God? Do you start to ask yourself, “why am I going through this? Why only me?” do you feel like God has rejected you. Don’t give up, God is holding your hand (like the blind man) and He is taking you outside of the environment you are in and once you decide to leave your old lifestyle, sin and friends, God will give you sight but God gives you the restriction to not go back and to not tell anyone (as He did with the blind man).

Don’t go back because things will be worse and don’t tell people, “I’m not like you”. we have to stop and ask ourselves, ‘is what I’m doing pleasing God?’ Most of the time, we put God in our wallet so that people only see Him when we need Him but most of the time, people don’t see God in us. God should be like our head which can’t be hidden and goes everywhere with us.

How many restrictions has God given you since you were born again? He tells us not to lie (for example) but we continue to lie.

At home we are free to do what we want, eat when we like, sleep when we like, we can even wear our pyjamas all day if we want but we would never go out like that. We are free at home but not free when we visit someone else’s home; at their house we won’t sleep properly or feel free to eat. Where is your home? As Christians our home should be the relationship we have with Jesus Christ. He said, ‘you have to live in me’, not in the church but in Jesus.

When I bring this can of coke in front of you, you don’t find it a problem but if I shake it and try to take off the lid, you will be afraid and run. Coke is like our bodies; satan can tempt us without fear but if we have faith with prayer, it’s like shaking the can of coke in front of satan, he won’t want to come close, he will run away. Do you make satan run or are you shaken by satan?

To make satan shake, we just have to read the Word of God, respect it and obey it and then satan will flee from us. Satan can’t force us to sin. We can decide not to sin and satan won’t push us. Why does satan make us look weak while we are not? If you want to please God, make a decision to belong to God 100%, not only when you need something, but everytime.

Remember, God is tough with us (giving us restrictions) in the same way that a parent is tough with their children. God is tougher with His own children in the same way that a parent is tougher on their own children than someone else’s child. Remember, there will be a judgement day, and God will judge us more toughly.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Compassion on your gifts

By Odon Bulamba

Mathew 15:21-28, “Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to Him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to Him and urged Him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before Him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour”.

The lady was a foreigner but came to Jesus because her daughter was sick with an evil spirit. Jesus told her to go away because the food which He had prepared was for His children and not for dogs (imagine someone calling you a dog).

Psalm 127:3, “Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a gift from him” (children are a gift from God). The woman was protecting that gift day after day, a gift that can’t be bought. There is a process to becoming a mother. When you are around 13 years of age, your body will start to develop and at a certain age you are able to get married and your status changes; you are now responsible. A young girl who was once called a child will now be called a mother regardless of the age that she gives birth.

Sometimes people confuse the word compassion. Usually we only have compassion when we see the suffering in front of us but after saying sorry, we walk away and forget. Our compassion is very limited and it’s only for a short time. This lady’s daughter became sick and no one could help her.

Whenever you become a child of God, you are given the Holy Spirit and He becomes a part of your life and God gives you gifts and we are called to look after them as it says in the Psalm. In New Zealand if we don’t look after our children, the government can give the child to someone else while the new family can sometimes be worse than the first because they may not have enough compassion, or money or abilities. When God gives us gifts we have to take care of them properly because He can take them from us and give them to someone else if we are not careful.

There are steps we have to go through with our children; changing nappies, feeding them, taking them to the doctor and sometimes they cry with no reason. The gifts we have also cry and need to be assisted and put into action and motivated and taken to the doctor when they are sick.  No matter how old you are spiritually, you are still called to look after your gifts (in same way a young mother is still responsible for her children). Only a few people will pray for their gift or use their gift or look after it properly.

Satan looks at our gifts and he knows that these gifts will destroy his kingdom and he wants to make sure to destroy that gift. For example, if you love to pray, satan will make something nice happen so you decide to come back to prayer later (maybe the courier will arrive with a package for you, or maybe the phone rings and it’s a good friend you haven’t talked to for a while or maybe you get a new job that pays much better but the hours are long). This is the same with reading the Bible, and slowly, slowly, you will start to be possessed by that power of satan. You will be possessed to take a portion of your life so that it now belongs to satan (just like the daughter who was possessed by satan). Slowly, slowly, satan will take a piece of your life. When we sin, the Holy Spirit is squashed so He can’t move properly. This is why we need compassion on our gifts. The more we use our gifts, the more they will get stronger.

To change your body shape takes time. If I am fat today, it will take time and effort to become slim, it can’t happen in just a few days. Satan takes his time too, he attacks us when we start to practise our gift; I feel tired, I feel lazy, I’ll do it tomorrow. The reduction of practises will lead us far away.

The lady went to Jesus Christ because there was nowhere else to go. When you believe your gift is sick or things are wrong in your life….where do you go? We have to pray for ourselves and we have to pray for our gifts.

“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!” When you go to God, say to Him, “have mercy on me, God feel pity on me, have compassion on me, look at my situation, look at my gifts, things are going rotten, please save me.

By giving us gifts, God knows that satan will attack us day after day but those gifts will also protect us. For example, a leopard is dangerous but if trained properly, it can also be a protector. First, we have to know how to train the leopard and we have to make sure to avoid mistakes because mistakes can be deadly. This is the same spiritually, if we sin, it can also be deadly (spiritually). How much training do you offer your gifts in order to make them perfect? God gives us gifts and behind them is a blessing but we don’t use them. One day God will ask us what we did with his gifts and what will we answer.

When the lady asked for Jesus’ help, He didn’t answer her, He kept silent and ignored her. Imagine if you call on God, praying for ten years and He doesn’t say anything. Because she loved her daughter she had to fight until the end.

Her second challenge was the disciples who wanted to send her away, ‘she’s annoying us, send her away, you are too soft Jesus’. That lady must have said it over and over for it to become annoying. Imagine you are asking God something and the church says, ‘go away, we don’t have time for that, you’ve already given that prayer request before’. Instead of supporting you and feeling compassion, they are telling God to send you away.But the lady didn’t quit. There is a time for everything and she knew that if she didn’t beg Jesus now, she might not have another chance to meet with God again.

Jesus answered and said, “I’ve only come for the people of Israel, not for you”. Imagine asking God for help and He tells you that you don’t belong to the tribe. When you know what tribe you belong to, you know your roots and this lady knew the root of her problem was the demon. Do you know the root of your problems? Is it the music you listen to, the tv programs you watch, the places you go to, the people you spend time with? Sometimes when we give all our attention to the things that are destroying our souls, we can’t hear the voice of God. It’s like when we listen to music with a headset on and we can’t hear what people are talking about around us.

When we are in sin, God considers us as sinners (in the same way that Jesus considered the lady as a foreigner). We have to become a part of Israel so God can give us what we need. The lady worshipped God after He told her that she was a foreigner. When you are in a disappointing situation, will you have the courage to worship Jesus?...when you have health problems, work problems, money problems, when you feel God rejecting you, will you make a step and worship God?

We don’t put effort into worshipping. In heaven there is a choir worshipping day and night, what will you do if you don’t practise? The more you practise, the more you will get in good shape. In order to get a good body shape, you have to set up a time for going to the gym etc, and you have to have the equipment and know how to use them properly and we accept that there will be pain the next morning. It is the same with praying for our gifts, we have to find the time and make the effort. If we don’t use what we have, we’ll go back to zero.

Jesus called the woman a dog. How patient are you with people when they are abusing you, don’t you feel angry, don’t you react, do you listen and continue to be by them. The lady said, “even the dogs have the right to eat, I only need the crumbs”. Can you be full with crumbs? Everything that is in the bread will also be in the crumb. Whenever you pray to God, when you are far away from Him, God considers you as a dog but remember a dog can be trained and remember what is in bread will also be in the crumb. If there is healing, blessing, salvation, it will be there; we might not be satisfied completely but don’t stay away. Read the Bible even at the level of a crumb.

“Your faith makes you well”. That is enough for healing. Whenever you feel your gifts shut down, ask God for crumbs, ask God for access to the crumbs, ask God for His cooking and for what He supplies to the church. If you don’t have the courage to collect the crumbs, your life will be miserable (as the woman wouldn’t have had healing for her daughter and her daughter may have been taken from her). God can take from us as he likes, we can’t stop Him so before He takes them away, use them, use your gifts. God will ask us what we did with our gifts, what will you answer? I didn’t have time?

Pray to God for your gift now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Praying for the Government

By Hayley Boud

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior”. I Timothy 2:1-3

“I urge” sounds urgent and necessary. According to the dictionary it is a very strong need for something to be done.

“Entreaties” is a request we ask from God (praying). The dictionary states that it is to keep asking someone to do something in a way that shows you are worried and serious.

So today we are being urged to keep asking God to help the government and to ask in a way that shows God we are worried/concerned and we are serious. What are the things that we are concerned about for our nation?

Our children, our families, our elderly, our sick, poverty, jobs, money, food, shelter, the environment, peace, unity, compassion, the economy, the recession, the church, freedom etc.

So we are urged to talk to God on behalf of those in authority in our country for those things that concern us and we have to strongly tell God and to keep telling God, in a way that proves we are serious.

“Petitions” according to the Greek dictionary is to pray/address God (boldly) on behalf of others (intercession). The dictionary says to make a request to a Court/King/God. For example, we file a petition for the release of someone who is in prison. The petition is made on behalf of someone else and we take the petition to the only person who can fulfil it (the prime minister/president). In this case, God is the only Judge/King/God who can help us.

So we are urged to come boldly before God our King and Judge who is the only one who can answer our requests that we are making on behalf of the government.

“Thanksgiving” we have to thank God for those in authority. We have to thank God for our Prime Minister/President and for those in Parliament. Even if we don’t like them or agree with what they have done. They are human beings that God created and we have to thank God for them. We can find plenty of things to be grateful for. In NZ we have peace, we have blue skies and green grass and fresh water from our taps and every person has a home with hot water and electricity and we never have to think about war or fighting and we are free to make our own decisions. We are truly blessed in this country and we can be truly grateful and thankful to God for what we have (and don’t have).

“Tranquil” makes me think of a nice quiet lake, calm and still and peaceful and we definitely have that in NZ. We have a very calm, quiet country with no real problems but we need to continue to pray that this country will always be blessed in this way.

“Quiet” NZ is without a doubt quiet, we even has noise control to prevent noise getting out of hand and people obey the officers. We don’t have shootings or bombings or wars or fighting (not even verbal fighting). It’s a quiet country. But do NZers know about spiritual tranquillity and spiritual quietness? Many NZers don’t know the peace that only comes from Jesus and this we can pray for.

“Godliness” means to worship God by devoting our lives to Him and to live like Jesus by our fruits (joy, peace, love, gentleness, self-control, goodness, patience, faithfulness).

Therefore, we are urged to pray on behalf of the government so we might live peaceful, tranquil lives (spiritually being the most important) in godliness rather than living as it says in II Tim 3:1-5,But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these”.

I don’t want to live in a country where people love themselves (selfish) more than others, where they love money, they boast, are arrogant, disobedient to their parents (especially God the Father) and are ungrateful, unholy, unloving….

We need to pray for our government to protect us from this because we want our country to…

“Dignity” please God rather than people.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Revelation 12:3 (Summary) Dragon & the Woman

By Odon Bulamba (5th May 2006) Summary only

When Jesus walked on water the disciples were present and they were afraid and hardened their hearts (Mk 6:51,52) and worshipped Him (Mt 14:33) which means that is it possible to worship God while you are afraid. It is hard but you can and it is a good weapon to have when you are crossing a hard situation because when you worship you will find victory but if you decide to find your own solution it will not be easy to think about God. For example Meshach, Shadrach and Abed-nego worshipped while they were in the inferno and victory belonged to them. Also Paul and Silas worshipped while in prison and they were set free and the authorities didn’t even try to find them, which means that after victory it is impossible to go back again. When we cross a hard situation and fear is there we have to worship God.

Rev 12:3, God opened John’s eyes to see things that no one had seen before, he saw a red dragon coming from heaven (some versions say coming from the sea or the earth) and I’m not sure that John knew exactly what a dragon was at that time. I’ve never seen a dragon so how would I know but because John had spiritual eyes, he could see.

The red dragon represents satan and some say he is red because he is covered with the blood of those he killed. A dragon is something that gives fear and panic and doesn’t have forgiveness and when you see it you try to escape because there is no mercy. Bruce Lee had a power to perform miracles and could do things that normal people can’t do because of the power of the dragon. A dragon is dangerous and is the worst of all the beasts.

This dragon came close to the pregnant lady and he wasn’t afraid of the sun and although satan knows God is close to us and that Jesus Christ is our master, he doesn’t fear and he always tries to tempt us. The dragon was waiting for the baby to be born and although he could have just killed the lady and then the baby would have been killed too, he waited for the child to be born because he only wanted the baby and no one else. The lady was crossing a hard time waiting for labor and satan was pushing her to give birth. Some people say this relates to Mary giving birth to Jesus and Herod tried to kill all the children under two years old but the dragon didn’t go to all the pregnant ladies (as Herod did) and not all women are covered by the sun.

This verse is talking about the true church that is in you. The dragon knows that us Christians will give birth to something that will save the earth and he knows that this birth will destroy his kingdom so he tries to destroy that birth first.

Daniel 7:7&8, the fourth beast is a different picture to what we see today so imagine if you saw a cow with 10 horns, what would you do? Be afraid, run away? Daniel tried to describe the animal but wasn’t really able and these two animals in Revelations and Daniel are similar animals. The ten horns represent the 10 kings and the power that will be given to those kings. In the world of spirituality satan uses 10 weapons which are the foundation of his kingdom to destroy the church and during the end days people will find those 10 tools (II Timothy 3:2). Those things are building the kingdom of his animal and when you have them in you people will either fear you or criticize you because they will see a monster, e.g. you love money or you love yourself.

Satan with his kingdom tries to be next to you to see what will come out from you to see if what you will give birth to will glorify God or your own life. Do you glorify God in your way of talking or whatever you do? If you give to others (spirituall) you will glorify God but satan will try to stop you and if you do stop, then satan will win (kill that birth). We forget there is a danger in our actions, we forget that if we are not acting with wisdom we offer what God gave us to satan. Imagine your good actions can bring salvation but you are trying not to do it.

In the church of God we don’t have to follow denominations because the denomination will never get you in to the Kingdom of God. A good strategy satan uses is to go through denominations because in denominations we have different versions of the Bible (e.g. Methodist uses NKJ while Pentecostal uses NIV) and they write down rules that they follow. Satan puts rules in churches so that people will follow rules more than the Bible and it reaches the point now that people can be excommunicated but where is forgiveness. Instead of supporting people and leading them to repentance the church throws them out but Jesus left 99 sheep to search for 1 lost one. In Corinthians it says that we don’t have to put people aside for what they did but to give their flesh to satan and be careful with their souls. Tell the actions to go away but the soul is very important. Don’t participate in excommunicating others because the same measure that you use for others will be used for you.

Satan knows that Christians are struggling to give birth to the glory of God, to please the creator and so satan is struggling to destroy what you will give birth to so there will be no good result and no one can find salvation form it. To give glory to God we must have good fruit because that is how people know the tree by what fruit it produces, so what fruit do you produce?

We need to focus on the Word of God only because if we focus on denomination, rules, or culture we will go far from God and we will lose the new born. God looks at us to see what we have inside of us (what pregnancy we have), the Holy Spirit, love, faith good actions? After seeing what is in you God will protect you as He protected the woman. John 1, in the beginning was the Word, nothing else and if you want God to cover you and protect you, you must be in that Word.

Trust in God and not in man because He knows your future and your life and He can lead you. You can trust in people, your mind, your country but you will be disappointed. If you trust in God you will never be disappointed. You can be in a hard situation but it will be ok if you are with God. There is a time for everything, a time for joy, a time for mourning, a time for money, a time for nothing, but Jesus says that whoever is thirsty come to Me and drink water and get life. Remember when you cross a hard situation that there is a time for that but it will pass. Don’t think of sinning or trying to find your own solution, just trust in God. The more you come close to God the more He will come close to you.

Jesus Christ is teaching us today so don’t neglect that little voice or any person or any message, take it and analyze it and if it matches with the Word of God, do it.


- When you cross a hard situation, worship God
- Satan has 10 tools he uses to build his kingdom (II Tim 3:2) so don’t use them
- Your good works can give birth to salvation and satan tries to kill that birth
- Glorify God with your fruit (goodness, kindness, patience, love etc)
- We need to focus on the Word of God; not denominations, rules, culture etc
- Trust only in God because in Him you will never be disappointed
- Remember what you are crossing now will pass
- Don’t neglect God’s voice through people, messages, situations etc

Monday, November 7, 2011

Revelations 12 (Part 5) The Church

By Odon Bulamba (5th May 2006)

Today, in some churches, there is an aversion toward people from another denomination. For example, if you are a Baptist and I am a Pentecostal, there is no connection, ‘Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! Amen’ ‘What church are you from, brother?’ ‘I’m a Baptist’ ‘Oh, I’m a Brethren’ so no connection.

‘Hi brother Shen, how are you? Praise the Lord! Amen!’ ‘What church are you from?’ ‘Methodist’ ‘Oh, I’m an Adventist’ ‘Ok, see you next time’ and that’s all! But if you tell me you are from a Baptist church and I am also from a Baptist church ‘Oh, from which Baptist church are you?’ ‘Fairfield’ ‘Oh! Do you know such pastor?’ ‘Yes’ ‘such elder?’ ‘Yes’ ‘such man?’ ‘Yes’. We become friends and then we say we are in unity of Holy Spirit … according to the church of human beings. But in the Church of God, we must not follow these ways; a denomination will never take you to heaven. Jesus didn’t say, ‘I give you a church called the Pentecostal Church’ NO! I am sorry to say it, I am not attacking the Baptists or Pentecostals, I was myself baptised as a Pentecostal, so I’m not attacking Pentecostals, but we have to remember that we are not saved by Pentecostals but by Jesus Christ.

Today, Satan is using denominations as a strategy to divide the Church; It is his most efficient tool and almost every denominational church have their own version of the Bible. People who call themselves Eagles (Branamits) use the Zondervan version. The Methodist church uses the New King James, the Pentecostal church uses another version and if you read a version that is not theirs, they will disagree with you.

On top of that, denominational churches establish rules or church regulations. For instance, ‘in our denomination, you can drink wine, but you can’t get drunk’. ‘In our denomination, women cannot wear trousers,’ ‘In our denomination you can’t cover your head,’ ‘In our denomination, women can preach,’ ‘In our denomination, children can heal people,’ and ‘in our denomination, if you speak in tongues, nobody will believe you are in Christ.’ All these things are written in their rules and before opening their Bible to study whatever topic, they need first to check all those conditions. What do our rules say? ‘Today, I saw Odon smiling. According to article 7 of this church, you can’t do that.’ Satan starts to institute rules in churches.

The bigger churches get, the more its members focus on these rules instead of other important things, to the point where I was angry to see that some churches even excommunicate people. They say, ‘Ange, we saw you drinking last Saturday, so you have to leave this church today! Go away!’ Hey! Jesus brought Ange back to His Church while she was lost and paid Himself the price for her sins, and you are telling her to get out of His kingdom! Where is forgiveness! Instead of telling her to repent and come back to Christ, you are telling her that, ‘We don’t need you in this church. What you did is a shame in our eyes and in the eyes of our community!’

But, you, pastor, what you are doing is also a shame in the kingdom of God, because you are called to be a good shepherd. Imagine you are looking after your sheep and one of them gets sick. Instead of taking it to the vet, you say, ‘I have to leave it somewhere so that it can die’, and you say that because you have hundreds of sheep; but Jesus left 99 sheep to get the one that was lost! Imagine, he sacrificed 99 sheep to rescue only one of them. So who are you to throw people of God away from the church?

In the book of Corinthians, it is written somewhere that you mustn’t push out someone because they do something wrong. You are supposed to support them; it says ‘Give their flesh to Satan, but take care of their soul.’ It doesn’t mean telling someone ‘Don’t come back to this church!’ but tell the person to control their flesh and their actions and to look after their soul, because it is more important and that’s what the dragon is doing today, he is in churches making people feel insecure, doubtful and fearful.

For instance, you think, ‘I know that if I don’t take a good decision in this matter, people will laugh at me and maybe others will turn against me’ to the point that today in some churches, people make decisions in a democratic way. Let’s say we are a group of elders of the church and we say ‘We are going to excommunicate our brother Oscar (just an example). What do you think?’
- I think Oscar must leave
But Michelle says ‘I think you shouldn’t do that.’
- Why not?
- Because the Bible says …
- No, no, no, put the Bible aside, he must leave, because last week we told Isabella to leave the church, and the week before, we excommunicated someone else.

My dear brothers and sisters, don’t make your decision become the standard or a rule to follow; whenever your church decides to excommunicate someone, don’t take part in this decision, because the measure you are using is the one God will use for you. Jesus asked the wicked people who wanted to stone the sinful lady, ‘Who has never sinned?’ and although Jesus was illiterate, he wrote down on the earth, ‘Whoever has never sinned, stone her.’ So, we should always listen to our conscience, instead of following Satan’s ways.

Now, the dragon, which is Satan, knows that we, Christians are struggling day after day, he knows we are giving birth to the glory of God, to things which please our Creator, and he wants above all to destroy everything that comes out of our heart and soul, so that people won’t benefit from our good actions and words, and consequently not be saved. I will give an example.

I can say that I have been a Christian for 40 or 50 years, but the person who can really testify of it is my neighbour Sonia, because you know the quality of a tree by eating its fruit. And the fruit we bear is not only saying verses each time we talk to someone – I think I know more than 1000 verses in the Bible and I can tell them by heart. Maybe I know 500 or 2000, but that’s not enough ! What we should ask ourselves is, ‘What type of fruit do people see me bearing?’ When I came to NZ, I saw a kiwifruit for the first time in my life, I looked at it and thought, ‘Hew, it doesn’t look like food for human beings, but maybe for bats. I can’t eat that!’ And last year was the first time I tasted one, my first one in seven years that I have been in New Zealand. Every time someone offered me a kiwifruit I said, ‘Go away’ and they would answer, ‘Why?’, and I’d say, ‘Because I don’t like it, it looks too different.’ In my mind, I had already made a judgment against this fruit, but when I tasted it, I realised it was different from what I thought it would be.

How many times also do we judge people by looking at their appearance? How many times, looking at someone, you thought, ‘If something went wrong yesterday, he must be the guilty one.’ To give another example, I know that some people would refuse to sit beside Arabs in a plane. In some countries, Blacks are loathed because they are Black. If something is stolen, it is the Black person’s fault. Elsewhere, if you are an Asian, you will easily be accused of doing wrong and we judge and falsely accuse others because of their appearance.

There was a man in a refugee camp, whom we used to joke about because he didn’t look serious, he looked like a thief, and we said,’ If something is stolen, he must be the one who did it’. Sometimes adults would blame children if something goes wrong, and sometimes innocent children are punished because of the way adults judge them.

God is telling us today to WIN the battle, if we want to have wings like the woman in Revelations 12, we have to focus only on the Word of God; if you focus on your denomination, your rules or your culture, I tell you that you are going far away from God and you will lose your first born.

When Jesus was born, the good thing was that Mary didn’t find a place to give birth. Let’s take Saeeda as an example. Saeeda, can you stand up please; look at that lady, how she is fully pregnant. I’ll come next to Saeeda, I’ll blow my tummy like that, and we are both walking on the street at night time, and we are tired and knocking at Colleen’s door and Colleen answers that she’s got only one room for one person available, to whom will you give this place?
- To Saeeda.
- Why for Saeeda?
- Because she is the weakest.
- How do you know, I’ve got also a big tummy, maybe I am heavier and fatter than her!
- You are not going to give birth.

Exactly, the point is that she has got something special in her tummy that will give her privileges and that is what God requires from us.; to get favour from Him, first, he looks at us, and says ‘What do you have in you? Do you have my Holy Spirit? Do you have good actions? Do you have love, faith? What do you have in you?’ and after seeing what is in you, He will continue to protect you.

The Bible says that, God our Lord, is the Word. When Jesus came down, the Bible tells us in John 1, ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God’ and so on. In the beginning was the Word, nothing else. Now if you want God to cover you as a sun, to protect you, you have first of all to be in the Word, if you are not in the Word, forget about it. I know today, many people become bishops and pastors or whatever they want after studying theology at University for instance, and that’s fine; it is not bad to study theology, but you have to hold at least read the Word for yourself. I can try to please human beings but if I am not pleasing God, it is useless.

Now, this woman who was crossing this hard time in labour pains didn’t get any support, she was just there facing the dragon. Imagine now that you were alone with satan, like Jesus was alone on the cross and he cried to his father, ‘Father, father, why you have forsaken me? Why did you leave me alone? Imagine you are crossing a similar situation, you are looking for help but nobody is coming to help you. How would you feel? Maybe you would judge people, ‘Hey, I was crossing a hard time and you didn’t come, I was really suffering and no one visited me.’ Some people would even think it would be better to die. Others will say, ‘I give up with God because it is too much’.

A man recently asked me, ‘If God exists, why does He allow suffering?’ Think about it. God is full of joy, He is full of mercy, he loves everybody but why does he allow suffering? It says in the book of Jeremiah, ‘Woe to the man who trusts in man’. It would be a real shame if you continue to trust in human beings. Trust in God first and because God knows your life and your future, He will lead you. I can trust today in my brother or in my sister and tomorrow I’ll be disappointed, I can trust in money and tomorrow I’ll be disappointed. I can trust in the glory of my country and tomorrow be disappointed but if you trust in God, in your Lord Jesus Christ you never be disappointed and you will understand that He is in control if everything and you will accept joy and trouble.

You can be in a painful situation or in a situation where nobody visits you; it will be fine, because we were not created to live a life full of joy. There is a time for everything; that is what the book of Ecclesiastes tells us. There is a time to cry and a time to laugh; there is a time to eat and maybe to vomit; there is a time to sow and a time to reap; there is a time to jump and also a time to sit; there is a time to drink physically and a time to drink the Word of God. Jesus said that whoever is thirsty come to me and I will give him the water of life. So, when you are crossing a hard situation, in your Christian life, remember that there is a time for that to happen and that it will pass. Don’t think, ‘Because it is hard, I can sin’, or ‘Because it is hard, I must find a solution myself’. Trust in God and God will trust in you. Stay away from Him and He will stay away from you but if you come close to Him, He will support you.

God was not stupid to command Joseph (Jesus’ father) to take Jesus to Egypt, He was not unable to stop Herod and his army to not harm the child, but He wanted to see how obedient Joseph was. He told him, ‘Take him’. Imagine, it is night time, and in a dream you hear God telling you ‘Wake up, take your wife/husband and your daughter and leave. Walk from Hamilton to Wellington’ (more than 400 km). ‘Ah! I’m going to take my horse’ ‘No, no, no, take a donkey’, and you know how polite donkeys are, how good and fast they are. You may know what they do when they are tired. Have you ever seen how a donkey behaves?

Joseph was told ‘Take a donkey’
- ‘Where can I go with a donkey? My wife, sit on the donkey, hold the baby and let’s go’. Donkeys don’t walk when it’s dark. If the moon is there, they will go out, but if there’s no moon, I can tell you, you can beat them or hit them but they won’t move. If you are strong enough, you will maybe lift the donkey up, put him on your shoulders and continue your journey. That’s it. But during that night, this man was told ‘You have to travel with a donkey’. ‘Oh my God, You send your angels from heaven to earth to tell us to do this. Heaven is maybe more than 10,000km high, so why can’t they carry us to Egypt?’

Maybe Joseph didn’t sleep that night because he looked after his wife, or maybe because baby Jesus was crying all night, and then he is told, ‘Wake up and go!’ I don’t know what time it was, maybe around 3.00am. Then, he woke up, woke up the donkey ‘Donkey come here!’ ‘wrrrrr!!!’ you know how stubborn donkeys are. ‘Come here, we must go’ and he started to pull the donkey all night until they reached Egypt. Maybe during this journey, Mary complained, ‘I’m cold, I’m hungry. Stop, I need to go to the toilet. Stop, I need this’ It is not easy to sit on a donkey’s back for hours and on top of that holding a baby. Maybe she had never rode a donkey, maybe it was the first time, and Joseph was supposed to pay the price of all of that.

If I were Joseph, I would have told Mary, ‘Give me the baby, I will hold him and sit on the donkey while you pull the donkey because I am tired.’ But because he knew the message from God and respected it, although it was a simple dream, that you and I often reject, he believed in that dream, he stood up and he obeyed God’s command. Do you obey when God talks to you in a quiet voice? Do you obey when Jesus Christ sends a simple man to teach you something? Do you obey when someone a child comes to you and gives you some advice? What is your reaction when your 2 year old daughter tells you, ‘No, mummy, don’t do that!’ How will you act or react? Will you take it into consideration? Today, Jesus, our Lord, is teaching us that we shouldn’t neglect anybody and any message. Take it, analyse it and follow God’s instructions. If it matches the Word of God, do it, just do it!

In my country, most people believe that babies save adults. In two occasions, while my sister was a new born baby, a thief broke in the house. It was around 3.00am when my baby sister started to cry, she was really upset, so my father woke up, he turned on the light and the thief had already cut a hole in the door window with a diamond. They usually cut it from outside, pull their arm inside and open the door. Because the baby cried, my father woke up and saw the window was open and he was inside the house. So thanks to the cry of my sister, who is here with us tonight, the thief’s mission failed.

My father said, ‘Oh! What is this?!’Coming out from his deep sleep, after snoring for hours, he opened his eyes and saw strangers in his house. What would you do if you saw strangers in your house at 3.00am?
- I’d probably scare them.
Other people, especially women, would scream. Why to scream?

Children can help us in different ways. I know some people who wanted to travel, but who were unable to because their baby was sick, and the plane crashed. Once, children were going to a certain place and got lost, and their parents went to search for them. While they left the place, something happened. So don’t neglect children and don’t neglect people who are looked down upon by everybody; we need to help them and they also need to help us. Jesus came for people who are sick, people who are weak, people who are poor, for those who have a low social status, that is why he didn’t go to school, so that we, people who didn’t study much, would be proud of having Him as our Saviour.

Imagine if Jesus were a doctor in philosophy, what would people who have degrees or nothing at all say? Only intellectual people could be Christians. If Jesus were rich, what would poor people think of Him? If Jesus were white, what could Blacks do? If He were Asian, what could European do? What was Jesus’ skin colour? This will be my last question. Do you know?

- That’s an interesting question because Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit doesn’t have any colour and He has not any bit of Mary or Joseph.

- Our soul doesn’t have a colour

Yes, that’s true. Another man told me that Jesus was multicoloured. And what colour is Satan? Some people say Satan is a black man and he looks like this or like that, he is an African, but Jesus was white and some people say that angels are white. Why wouldn’t they be Asian? Are there not any angels who look like Asians? Or Maori? Or Indian? Why’s that? Everything that is spirit doesn’t have a flesh like we have, remember this. That is why our soul doesn’t have any colour. When our soul goes before our King, our Creator, and our Lord Jesus Christ, we will all look the same, no black, yellow, or green person. All of us will be the same. Why can’t we now start to bring the kingdom of God down here? It says in our Father’s prayer, ‘Let Your kingdom come’. If the kingdom of God is in us, why are you a Baptist and I am a Pentecostal? Why are you an Adventist or I am from another denomination? Why are you what you are and I am different from you?

We will stop here tonight and we are going to pray. We are going to pray that God help us to win the battle, because we know that Satan is beside us every second. We are going to ask God for His protection and His strength so that we win every type of battle we will go through. Pray for your family, for your children, for yourself and for the new generation in this country, because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Let us pray.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


By Hayley Boud

Ephesians 3:1

What is a prisoner?

A person just like you and me. They are people who have no rights, no freedom, no material possessions. They have to follow the rules of the prison and they must respect the prison guards, they must follow the schedule. The prisoner is someone who has no choice at all, they don’t even get to choose what food they will eat or what clothes they will wear. Some prisoners are only given one hour per day to leave their cell and they don’t have a choice where they will go, they are told, “have a shower” and “eat” and “go outside” and that is it. They get visitors only once per week and only if the prison guards allow it and there must be supervision at all times with no touching. There is no freedom at all. They must wear a uniform so everybody will know who is the prisoner.

How is it possible that Paul is a prisoner while the bible says the truth will set us free?  (John 8:32)

What are we free from? Sin, death, satan, addictions, and because of this we are no longer prisoners of death, or prisoners of satan but we are now prisoners of Jesus Christ.

Luke 14:33, “any of you who wants to become My disciples must give up everything”.

Galations 2:20, “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me”

We have to follow God’s rules, we have to obey Jesus and respect Him and follow God’s schedules and remember that He is watching us in the same way the prison guards have to be obeyed and respected and they are watching. We have to wear the uniform that comes from God, people should know we are Christians in the same way the bright orange uniform alarms people, we should also be like an alarm for others. When people are around us and they know we are there, they shouldn’t feel free to make course or improper jokes or gossip because they will see our orange suit and remember we are Christians.

Prison guards are to be feared because there are consequences to actions and this is the same with Jesus, we have to fear Him and know that our actions will bring about consequences, so we must be disciplined.

Why are we to prisoners of Jesus?

Eph 3:1, “for the sake of you Gentiles”

We have to behave as prisoners of Jesus so as not to be a stumbling block for those around us. I don’t drink alcohol because I don’t want to stumble anyone. When I was 16 years old I made a conscious decision that I would never drink alcohol, not even a sip so that I wouldn’t be the reason for someone else drinking. I knew that if someone saw me take a sip, it would give them reason to take a sip and maybe they would like it and maybe they would continue to enjoy it and after a few months, they could end up addicted to alcohol all because I took one small sip.

How else can we be a stumbling block to those around us?

With our mouths, we can cause others to gossip by ourselves gossiping. We can cause people to judge others by talking about others. We can cause people to be offended and even turned off God by our tone of voice, by talking rudely or impatiently. Eating too much, watching too much tv, watching the wrong movies, sleeping too much. Especially those of us who have children watching us.  There are many ways we can stumble someone and although we are free, we have to be careful not to use our freedom to cause someone else to be led down a wrong path.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Revelations 12 (Part 4) The Dragon

By Odon Bulamba (5th May 2006)

Rev 12:3, “Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads.”

1. The dragon is a frightful creature

When John was on the island of Patmos, God opened his eyes and he saw things no human being has ever seen, things that are happening in the world of eternity. He saw a big red dragon coming from heaven according to some versions, from the earth according to other versions, or from the sea, in other versions. But one thing we know for certain is that John saw a red dragon. Who among us has ever seen a dragon? No one has.

According to the dictionary, a dragon is a power. People believe that a dragon is a lizard but not a normal one; it can destroy and it has enough power or strength to protect a nation. I wonder, whether John knew, at that time, what a dragon was, and I wonder how he recognised it was one. He could have thought it was a crocodile or a big lizard, but he affirms it was a dragon. How does a dragon look like? I have never seen one and neither have you but because John had the eyes of God, he was given the power to see things which exist in the other world, he was not mistaken, he really saw a dragon.

A Chinese friend of mine always used to bother me with his stories of dragons. So, one day I asked him, ‘What colour is a dragon?’ He answered, ‘It depends, some dragons are be red, others green.’ ‘Have you ever seen one?’ ‘No, but our ancestors used to have them as pets.’ I said, ‘What! A pet dragon?! How come?’ he answered ‘That’s what we believe’ and he went on and on about dragons. Then I asked him, ‘How do you know dragons are powerful?’ He told me that dragons can spit out fire from their mouth and it destroys everything.

2. The dragon is a spirit and it represents Satan

John saw a red dragon, and this red dragon represents Satan and we know from John chapter 8 that Satan is a murderer. You will find another story of a dragon in Genesis chapter 6.

Some people say about Revelation 12: 3 that the dragon was red because he was covered with the blood of people he had killed. A dragon is not simply a lizard, it is a creature which makes you fear and panic, a creature that doesn’t have forgiveness and when you see one, you want to run as fast as you can because he has no mercy.

When I was young, I used to watch movies about dragons and all these frightening creatures, and I believed that dragons were always angry and that they easily destroyed everything, they do not have forgiveness. In ancient China, the dragon was something different from the lizard we talked about earlier, it was a spirit. Some people would pray and call on that spirit to be with them. When, Bruce Lee, who was one of my favourite actors, was angry, he would change face, he would start to scream, and then hit and kill people. Although these were just movies, I understood that a power was coming from somewhere and made him execute supernatural actions. Therefore, know that dragons exist and that they represent Satan.

John knew the creature was a dragon because it looked frightening. A lion could frighten you but never as much as a dragon. A shark is also a dangerous and frightening animal, but not as frightening as a dragon. A dragon is the worst of all beasts. This is how John recognised it was a dragon.

3. The dragon doesn’t fear the sun

This red dragon had something in mind. In verse 4, the Bible says that despite the sun covering her, the dragon did not fear to approach the woman.

Rev 12:4, “His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.”

Although Satan knows that God is among us, although he knows His presence in our lives, and he knows that Jesus Christ is our master, he doesn’t fear or care, he always comes close to us to tempt us and in this verse, when the dragon stood in front of the lady, his intention was not at all to harm her, but to kill her new born baby. That’s all. He didn’t tell the mother, ‘I am going to kill you because if I kill you while you are pregnant, the baby that is in you will also die.’ No. He said, ‘I only want the baby’ and there he was controlling that lady who was crossing a difficult time; she was in labour, and Satan was there pushing her, ‘Give birth now so that I get the baby. I want your new born son, because I want to kill him’.

Some theologians believe that this verse talks about Mary, the mother of Christ; they believe that when she was pregnant, God’s power was with her and when she was ready to give birth, Herod stood up and said ‘I will kill all the new born males’. But in this case, the dragon didn’t go everywhere to search for pregnant women and for all the new born boys, the dragon came to search specifically for the lady who was giving birth, and who was covered by the sun.

4. The woman represents the church of the Living God

Other people say that, after Satan tempted Eve, God told her in the Garden of Eden, ‘The son to whom you will give birth will kill the snake and the snake will bite you’ and people say that it was a conflict between Satan and God from the beginning. In Rev 12, the woman represents the true Church of God, the Church which is the pillar of the truth, not my church, not your church, but the church of the Living God. Not a denominational church, not the church of Baptists, Pentecostals or other denominations. No. Neither is it a building. It is what is in you. That’s what the Bible is talking about. God would never cover a building like this one and say, ‘I will protect this building’. He will protect His people, He will protect our souls, but He will never protect material things.

To give an illustration of the situation, imagine that something is going to come out of Benedicte, she is going to give birth to a sceptre, which will allow her to save the world, and to destroy the dragon’s power. The dragon knows it and therefore, he wants to destroy the sceptre as soon as it is born, because it will otherwise destroy his kingdom. Let’s turn to

Daniel 7:7-8, "After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.”

Here, Daniel sees the picture of a beast, which is different from the picture of any beast we know. Imagine if you saw a cow with ten horns, what would you think? It is abnormal, strange, and what would you do? Or imagine you saw a buffalo with ten horns? You run, because it is dangerous.

So this man saw this animal with ten horns, and that’s not all, something else was astonishing, the little horn had eyes. Imagine, you are a farmer and one day you wake up and see your cow with an eye on one if its horns, what will be your first action?
- Ring a scientist.
- Kill it.

Maybe I will tell everyone because it is a discovery and I may get some money for it, or perhaps I will be afraid of it because it is not normal, it is a monster. When Daniel saw this animal, he tried to describe it as best as he could, but he was unable to tell us about all its features. This animal is similar to the one John saw; both of them had ten horns, we read it in Revelation 17:9 &12.

"This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits.… The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast.”

5. Ten tools Satan uses

We need wisdom and understanding to help us picture this creature with ten horns. These ten horns represent ten kings, to whom power will be given.

A few years ago, some theologians spoke about the United Europe; they said that although it was constituted of 12 countries, 10 of them made the decisions and gave their power to someone while the other 2 didn’t have a connection with the ten others. In the spiritual world, we have 10 big weapons we can use, and Satan also uses, which are the foundation of his kingdom, they are the tools he uses first to destroy the Church. The Bible says that in the end times, people will become friends with these 10 tools. What are they?
- Money, power
- Where is it written?

… in 2 Timothy 3, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

All those things are building the kingdom of this beast. Whenever you have one or two or 10 of these elements in you, I tell you that people will criticise you or even fear you and they will see you as a monster, ‘Oh you know Odon, he loves so much money!’ ‘You know Michael, he loves himself!’ ‘You know Benedicte is this and that’, ‘Saida is such and such’, people will talk about you and it will be like a dragon throwing fire. Imagine someone who loves money, if you tell him he loves money, how will he react? He will think you are attacking him. It is like saying to a thief, ‘You are a thief!’ How will that person feel? Offended, and he will defend himself. And if you tell a liar, ‘You are a liar’ the person will feel angry, ‘Pete, you are a drunkard.’ ‘So what! Do you want to buy me a beer?’ They will justify and defend themselves because they feel attacked. And now, Satan is always going to be beside us Christians to see what will come out of us.

6. Do you give birth to the glory of God?

And what you are giving birth to is not something special, to tell you the truth, you are giving birth to one thing only, to the glory of God in your life, that’s all. Do you glorify God in your way of talking? Do you glorify God in your way of doing things? Do you glorify God in everything you do? For instance, if I have $2 and I give $1 to Isabella out of love and because she needs it, God will be pleased with that. But Satan will say, ‘Look, the $1 you gave Isabella yesterday, she spent it on popcorns. Keep your money!’ and you will think, ‘Yes, that’s true, I don’t have to do that’ and Satan will deceive you in this way. We easily forget that Satan is around us, that is why we often act or react like pagans.

We completely forget that if we don’t act with wisdom, we risk offering the things God gave us to the kingdom of darkness. Many people say that the baby who was born from the lady in verse 2 was Jesus Christ. Fine, I don’t say it’s wrong. But imagine that Jesus Christ came down to earth to save the world and Satan came to destroy him. Imagine that through your good actions, someone can get saved, but you just don’t want to do good things.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Revelations 12 (Part 3) Preview

By Odon Bulamba (5th May 2006)

Before talking about Revelations 12....

1. When you are afraid, worship God

Before carrying on with the book of Revelation chapter 12, I have something very simple to read you and I’d like you to answer my question, if you can.

The Bible tells us that Jesus’ disciples saw Jesus walking on the water. Which water was that? The Sea of Galilee. And it also says that, when his disciples saw Him walking on the water, they worshipped Him.

Mark 6:51-52.

“Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.”

Their hearts were hardened. But if we turn to Matthew 14:33, we will find a different story. “Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

Amen. So when they saw Jesus walking on the water, some of Jesus’ disciples were afraid because they thought He was a ghost and because they had hardened their hearts, while others worshipped Him. Is it possible, when you are crossing a situation in which you fear, to worship? Can you really worship when you are afraid? Can you? It is hard, but some people do and it is a good weapon we are supposed to use. When you cross a hard situation, worship, and victory will follow. But if, when you cross a hard situation, you think, ‘Where will the solution come from?’ you will easily forget about God.

2. The example of Daniel’s friends

In the Bible, there is a good example of men who worshipped God while crossing an extreme situation. When Daniel’s friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the blazing furnace, they worshipped. Could you really do that? Maybe I’ll cry or scream. But while they were in this fire, they started to worship and finally, they were delivered from it. Can you give me another example from the Bible of someone who was in a trial, who was full of fear and who worshipped God?

- Paul & Silas. When they were in prison, instead of crying, they praised the Lord and sang songs to God.

Amen. This is good example; Paul and Silas were in prison where they couldn’t do much. Moreover, as you may know, there are rules in prison, for instance you must stop talking and go to sleep early, but it was a good time for them to sing and worship God. While they were praising the Lord, suddenly the prison doors opened and they were freed. The amazing thing in this story is that, when the government of that time discovered that Paul and Silas had escaped, they didn’t tell the authorities ‘Go and arrest them’. Imagine, if here, in New Zealand, someone escaped from jail, what would the police do? They would search for the fugitive, arrest him and bring him back to jail. But in this case, they didn’t bring them back, and the same thing happened to Daniel, and his friends. Therefore, we can learn from these two examples that when God delivers someone from a tribulation, that is it, nobody can take him back to it.

Give me another example.
- Jonah, inside the whale, cried out to God and God delivered him.
Yes. Thank you and the Bible is full of examples which teach us that whenever we are crossing a hard situation and we fear, we have to worship. Imagine Ange was a monster, and you see her coming and when she is close to you, you see that she is not a monster but she is Ange. Would you have the courage to worship in front of her? I think you’ll start to doubt and every second, you’ll open an eye and close the other one, thinking, ‘Is she a monster or a human being?’ Now, Christ’s disciples were crossing the same situation, they were afraid of Jesus, but in the end, they worshipped him.

3. Did Joseph (the father of Jesus) go to Egypt after or before going to the temple in Jerusalem?

When Joseph fled with Jesus, Jesus was still a baby. He went to Egypt and the Bible says that it was a time during which someone wanted to kill all the Hebrew baby boys. Who was that? Herod? Who was Herod? The king. Of what kingdom? Judea, Rome.

During that time where was Pharaoh? In Egypt. The Bible tells us in Matthew 2:13 that Joseph carried baby Jesus to Egypt,

“When (the Magi) had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."”

But in Luke 2: 21, it says that Jesus was taken to the temple in Jerusalem.

Luke 2:21-24, “On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.  When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons”.

How could Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus have gone to the temple in Jerusalem if they were in Egypt? Did they run from to Egypt to Jerusalem, knowing that Herod controlled the city, and wanted to kill the baby boys? What do you think about that?

- They run to Egypt after going to Jerusalem?
- Herod killed all the baby boys under 3?
- It was after Herod realised the wise men didn’t come back to him that he became angry?

And where did Joseph leave from? Jerusalem or Bethlehem? I will tell you the answer later on. Thank you so much for your contribution.

Revelation 12 (Part 2) Table of Contents

By Odon Bulamba (5th May 2006)

"A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems". Revelations 12:1-3


Before talking about Revelation 12:
1. When you are afraid, worship God
2. The example of Daniel’s friends
3. Did Joseph go to Egypt after or before going to the temple in Jerusalem?

Revelation 12:3

1. The dragon is a frightful creature
2. The dragon is a spirit and it represents Satan
3. The dragon doesn’t fear the sun
4. The woman represents the church of the Living God
5. Ten tools Satan uses
6. Do you give birth to the glory of God?
7. Disconnection between Christians of different denominations
8. Church rules become more important than the Bible
9. Some churches even excommunicate their members
10. Don’t follow those who decide without consulting God
11. Satan wants to devour the things that comes out of our heart
12. Be careful not to judge people on their appearance
13. To win the battle, focus on the word of God
14. Why does God allow suffering? Trust in God
15. As Joseph, follow God’s instructions
16. Children help us in many ways
17. Our soul doesn’t have a colour

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Revelation 12 (Part 1) the woman

By Odon Bulamba (21st April 2006) Summary only

"1And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 3And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 5And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. 7And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Revelations 12

Prophecies can come through signs, through people talking or through visions and John had a vision.

The sun represents God and the woman represents the church of the living God according to II Timothy 3:15 which is the pillar and foundation of the truth and this is the church that God envelopes (as the sun envelopes this woman). The members of this church are those that accept the truth which is Jesus as He is the truth and so if you accept Jesus you will become a member of the church of the living God and you will have a good foundation that can’t be shaken forever. That church will only have a few members as only a few will accept to live according to Jesus Christ and give their entire life and time to Him. That Church of God will be covered under God’s power.

The sun gives light and Jesus wants us to know that whoever lives in Him will become one with Him and will therefore be the light of the world. When you live in the sun everything will be clear and open and there will never be darkness. God wants us to be in Him so He can protect us (who can reach the sun?).

The moon represents people who are Christian by name only, they are Christian in the world but not in God and God will allow the Church of truth to step on them because the Church of Truth will talk about truth and destroy the value of denomination.

We also ourselves think we are the best one sometimes and give the impression to others we are the light but when God comes next to us and feels us, we are cold (like the moon) although we look shiny (like the moon). To be hot like the sun it is a matter of following God’s instructions; are you a moon or part of the sun? The sun is more important than the moon.

The 12 stars are there to reflect God’s glory in darkness. We are far away from God in the same way that stars are far away but the glory of God continues to shine. The glory of God in our lives is there at every second, it’s just a matter of looking and that is why the stars are above the woman’s head because you have to look. The glory of God is enough, if you need something and God says ok, I will glorify myself then it will be successful.

The number 12 has a meaning;
1 + 2 = 3 (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
2 – 1 = 1 (God in one)

The dragon wanted to attack the newborn of the pregnant woman and when you are living in Jesus Christ you will cross hard situations like pregnancy where you are unable to eat certain foods or you feel tired or you can’t sleep or you vomit and when we accept Jesus Christ we are no longer masters of our lives but it is the Holy Spirit who controls us like the baby controlling the mother’s appetite etc.

The Holy Spirit tells you what is good for you and what is not so you will become a perfect Christian. A pregnant lady can easily order people about while they are only a weak person and when the Holy Spirit fills a small and weak person, they can have the strength to talk about Jesus to big and strong people. When Jesus wants to use us, He doesn’t care about how big or small we are, we just have to put fear aside.

Someone who is fat is not treated the same as someone who is pregnant; people can see the difference and it is the same with churches. A denomination can be there showing the world it’s greatness but people will know the difference between the Holy Spirit and the flesh. We have to learn about God’s strategies to know how to look after the Holy Spirit and how to be lead by the Holy Spirit.

What pregnancy do you have? When you envy something and then that envy becomes pregnant it can give birth to sin which can give birth to death. Pregnancy of the Holy Spirit grows up and gives birth to miracles so that many souls can trust in Christ as their Savior.

There are 12 gifts according to II Corinthians and all other gifts come under those 12 categories. E.g. teaching comes under knowledge and tongues and visions come under interpretation. The 12 gifts have branches and the Church of the living God must also hold those 12 gifts with the 5 ministries to support the church and to work together so the glory of God can be manifested at every second.