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.

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