Sunday, February 24, 2013

Daniel - The Servant of God

By Colleen Podmore

Daniel was a refugee. He was taken from his home at a young age and lived his entire life in another country. The book called ‘Daniel’ was written by Daniel, a servant of God and is about the sovereignty of God. That is God has absolute authority over everything that happens on planet earth. Although men, rulers like Nebuchadnezzar had great power, they were still under the authority of God and could go so far but no further. Although often unacknowledged, God is still the King both then and now!

The book Daniel is not in chronological order. That is events don’t unfold as they happened. The first 6 chapters are historical and the second 6 chapters are apocalyptic (which means they reveal the future). Our God is gracious and in tough times wanted to comfort His people about the future. But today, we don’t want to focus on understanding future events or past events, we want to look at Daniel’s life and try and get some insight into the way he lived as a servant of God, so that we can then pray effectively for modern ‘servants of God’, which includes both men & women

What sort of man was Daniel? On the outside it seemed like he had everything in life: position, wealth, privilege, good looks, intelligence, youth (Daniel 1:3). But Daniel had more – he put God first and was uncorrupted by all material things. They were not things he desired. When he got to Babylon, the place of his life’s ministry, he already had a strong foundation in proper living and that dictated his actions and the choices he made (Daniel 1:8).

Moreover he had friends who were like-minded (Daniel 1:6). Daniel lived a life of discipline and self control. In Daniel 6, it tells of how Daniel prayed three times a day, giving thanks to God (vs 10), this was his habit. Daniel was trustworthy and was neither corrupt nor negligent (Daniel 6:4). He rose to a position of the highest influence in the government (Daniel 6:3) Daniel accepted his situation and fitted in to where God had placed him.

He applied himself to his studies and God gave him knowledge and understanding (Daniel 1:17). Although when he was much older and his enemies had conspired to get rid of him by forcing the king to put him in the lion’s den, because he prayed to God (Daniel 6:11,12), Daniel never lost confidence in God and he was able to testify of God’s deliverance(Daniel 6:21). When you live for God, persecution will come.

Daniel had gifts of understanding dreams and visions (Daniel 1:17). When the time was right he had confidence to use these gifts (1:24), but he took no glory for himself. Daniel always gave the glory to God (Daniel 1:28). He was humble in all he did and this was reflected in the type of lifestyle he lived. The fame and fortune that was given to him did not influence him in any way (Daniel 1:48; 5:17; 6:3).

Daniel seemed to care for the king. He was terrified about the interpretation of a dream the king had, but nevertheless he told the whole truth (Daniel 4:19), that the king would become like a wild animal for a time (Daniel 4:25).

Daniel read the Scriptures and acted on them (Daniel 9:2; 9:11). In this passage we get an insight into the heart of Daniel through his prayer. First he gives glory to God (vs4), then he repents (vs 5-15), then he makes his request (vs16,17), not for himself but for Jerusalem, not for his glory but for God’s sake (vs18,19). See Jeremiah 25:11-12. God heard his prayer and Ezra tells us of the decree that Cyrus made to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem in 538BC (Ezra 1:1; Isaiah 44:28; 2Chron 36:22) If Daniel was a teenager when he was taken captive, and 70 years has passed, he must now be in his 80’s. Nothing has changed, he is still a servant of God (Daniel 10:1). Cyrus reigned from 559BC to 530BC.

Daniel’s life and lifestyle brought him to a place of seeing incredible visions from God, to understanding mysteries and future events. There were times when he was completely overwhelmed by these things and even terrified (Daniel 8:27; 10:8). Are we ready to see God? These visions may have destroyed a lesser man, Daniel knew he was struggling and asked for help, without the intervention and help he received he may have gone insane (10:16 17).

How does a servant of God live with the revelations from God? Only with God’s help (10:19). It’s amazing to consider the battles being fought in the spiritual realm (11:1). Daniel’s prayers were answered (9:23; 10 :12) - powers and principalities in the angelic realm are answering our prayers and petitions to bring about the will of God! Amazing dynamics that we are often ignorant of. If we truly could glimpse these things we would be inspired to greater deeds, I’m sure!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Testimony by Mark Hall


The Privileged Planet

Please click on link below to see an amazing youtube clip about our amazing planet.  It shows just how much God loves us....God the creator of the Universe sent His only Son to die for us....who can make sense of that?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Departure and Arrival

By Odon Bulamba, 3rd February 2013

Psalm 121:8

According to this verse, the lord will be with you from the time you are going out until you come back – from your departure to your arrival from now and forever God will protect you. That is His promise.

Everything has a beginning and an end. Eg. A Playstation game, even if you are a good player and even if you enjoy some point the game will tell you it’s over.

This is the beginning of the year so it is like a new departure. When I think about departure it means to travel from one place to another and it can be done through three different ways: land/sea/air.

Travelling has been there from the beginning – God used to travel down to visit Adam. After Adam sinned, God came down and said, “where are you?” When God asks you, “where are you?”, He is knocking on my conscience and it means something. God is omnipresent but he would still come down to visit adam every afternoon although He is everywhere, He left one place to go to another.

In Gen 2, God created Adam from the dust of the ground. How do you feel when you touch mud? Dirty. God came with his mouth and breathed into the nostrils and mouth of the mud. We will think it’s not clean enough but God did it. When He did it, the mud was transformed to flesh and the flesh automatically had bones and veins. To be a human being is a miracle.

God didn’t stop there, he continued to travel doing His own thing and then He came back to Adam and discovered he needed someone – animals were around but Adam felt lonely. When you feel lonely – God really cares, when you feel isolated – God cares. God came down and decided to do something for Adam and he took the bone from Adam to make Eve. He didn’t use dust to make Eve. Between bone and mud which one is stronger – you know the answer and it means something.

Adam and Eve gave birth to twin boys – twins love themselves so much – they are selfish. If one wants something the other wants it too. They often walk in parallel together. After these two twins (Cain and Abel) offered their sacrifices, one of the brothers became jealous and decided to kill his brother. You might see your brother successful in an area but please don’t become jealous.

During our journey this year – tell God to protect us from anger so that we can’t hate people, “I don’t have to hurt people – Lord protect me”. That spirit of Cain still works today – brothers kill each other, sisters kill each other and we kill ourselves (spiritually and physically).


Jesus was walking with his disciples and he met with a crowd. Some people hate others without them doing anything and judge them without knowing what is going on in their lives. Tghw crowd brought a lady to Jesus because she had had a relationship with a man and they wanted to kill her. Jesus wrote on the ground, whoever has never sinned throw the first stone. We have to support those who have done wrong otherwise they will completely get lost – we don’t have to stone them.

One day, an Arabic boy asked for something to eat and a man told the boy to go to the lady who is selling my bread and take one. He asked the lady but she refused to give him one but because he knew he was right, he took the bread and ran toward the man who had told him that he could have the bread. He was caught and the before the man could intervene, the crowd crushed the boy’s hand by running over it with a heavy vehicle. By the time the man explained, it was too late, the boy’s hand had been damaged. Maybe you are quick to react to someone’s mistakes – please slow down, take your time and deal with people in a compassionate way. This is the approach Jesus used, to bring healing.

One time, I went to see a doctor here in NZ and he was from Egypt. During my appointment I noticed he was keeping his distance, he didn’t want to touch me. He asked me if I were a Christian and he wasn’t happy. He didn’t want to treat him because he was a muslim. We should work together even though we have a different religion.

Jesus continued his journey and he asked his disciples to bring an animal because he wanted to enter Jerusalem. I think the SPCA would say it is unacceptable behavior for a small, young donkey to be ridden by a big man but he did what he was told to do by God. He did not concern Himself with the complaints of people, or the judgments of man but did what God asked Him to do.

How are you going to walk in 2013 when people will talk against you? What will happen when you have a big crowd and you only have a few fish – will you share with the crowd while you don’t have enough for your family? Will you share the Word of God with others even though you might not know much? People only followed Jesus for miracles? You can also do miracles, you can also share His Word with others. We need to ask God to use us as a tool to feed others as we walk around in 2013.

When I was travelling recently, I arrived at the airport in Congo Brazzaville and I had some kind of skin rash. I was told by an immigration officer I had Ebola and automatically I was isolated and my passport was taken away and I was taken to hospital. Once at the hospital I was told that the lifted doesn’t work and I wasn’t allowed to use the stairs. Only certain people were allowed to use them and I was told that I would have to pay for these people to carry me before I could see the doctor who was upstairs. Maybe you will see challenges in your life but we should never judge other people or judge Congo Brazaville.


In Acts we can read that Paul was travelling by boat and waves came and Paul who used to perform miracles wasn’t able to stop the storm on that day. Paul had to swim to shore and it was cold and heavily raining so he went to collect firewood and was bitten by a snake. Many people might wonder if God was really with Paul, or was Paul really with be shipwrecked, cold and bitten by a snake. Maybe even Paul wondered what was going on. When we go through tough situations, maybe we can think God is not with us. If something goes wrong in the lives of others, we might judge and think God is not with them. Sometimes we think certain deaths can’t be from God and we assume a terrible way to die must be from satan. God has never told us that we will never go through challenges.

In water there are a lot of challenges. I was crossing a river with my aunty in Congo and in the middle of the sea the boat stopped and the waves started taking us somewhere and I can’t swim. We were all afraid even though we had lifejackets. The only thing we can trust on water is the ship/captain but titatnic was a big ship with a good captain and yet God took many people’s lives and they had to cross that.

When we travel – we should ask God to always be with us so we don’t have to sin – even if we don’t reach our destination – we need God to protect us from sin

When the disciples were on the boat and waves came and they woke Jesus, he told the disciples, “where is your faith?” Imagine God rebuking you, how will you feel? The disciples were quiet and they listened to Him and he ordered the waves and the waves obeyed him. Maybe in 2013 there will be many difficulties and you come next to Jesus to tell him waves are there and every day you might ask Jesus to wake up. May be Jesus will tell you, “how big is your faith?” He might take 5mins or 10 years to answer but how long it takes, we have to remember that He is capable and always present and we shouldn’t be discouraged if he doesn’t react immediately

Peter saw Jesus walking on water and he said, “can I come” and Jesus, said, “yes of course.” Have any of you tried to walk on water? I have tried when I was a little boy by running fast but after two steps I would fall in. Nothing is impossible for God, there are challenges that seem too hard but Jesus will tell you come. When fear is there, you won’t move. Peter was supported by Jesus. You will have your journey in water – believe that God is there to protect you and He is there for you


Travel by air requires you to go to the airport. There will be screens with the flight number and you have to read and check to know if you can board the plane or if it is delayed etc. You then have to check in at the counter. Once you have started the process you have to continue. Some people read the newspaper, others play games, and others talk in groups while they wait. They don’t know each other but once the flight number is called you will see who will join the journey with you and you will see people stop what they are doing. The plane won’t wait for you if you are too slow or if you refuse to come. Once you board they will tell you this is your gate pass, seat 12a. You don’t know who will be 12 b.

One time I walked on a plane and I found this man he who was sick, his skin was peeling off and the lady next to him wanted to swap seats. I told her to swap seats with me. The man said, “shit” when he saw me coming and I joked and said, “sheet of paper or sheet of plastic?”. I picked up my Bible and started to read and he asked me if I was a Christian and I said yes, are you and he said yes and I asked him why is he mean to me and he said he didn’t like black people because his father had been killed by black men in South Africa

He stole my food when the cabin crew handed it to and he ate it. He asked if I was angry with him and I said no, you should eat, you are sick. The lady came with blankets and the man asked me to cover his legs which were filled with wounds and he didn’t want anyone else to do it. Every five minutes he asked for help from me and it became a burden. When the flight was over, I was glad to be getting off the plane and away from him but iIn the next flight, he was there again, sitting in the seat next to me. Sometimes as we are travelling we meet challenges.

While in the air we can’t order our own food, we have to eat what is there and we have to fit in the situation. In 2013, try to fit yourself in situation that God has given you. Accept all the challenges of flying. Enoch was taken up, Elijah was told I’m taking you and horses picked him up in a chariot. What power will raise you up in 2013? A broom from witches? A magician for money? During your journey you might find miracles that satan is performing. Be careful!

At Waikeria prison, the prisoners from Black Power used to joke with me by yelling my name, “Bulamba!” One day miraculously, two groups of gangs started a fight and authorities were scared to talk to them so they used me to talk to them. They used a strange language that I can’t understand (gang talk and kiwi slang) and they don’t understand my terrible accent. When I walked in, the two gangs used me as a judge. God might use you, he might put you in a situation where people are feared by others and you are asked to help them. Are you ready to help those people? Let 2013 be the year where we help people especially those who are going through a hard time

Isaiah 45:11, "This is what the LORD says--the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands?”

Most of the time we give orders to God and we question him. Like Jonah who made a decision to follow a different direction to the one that God gave him. Many of us are living in a way that doesn’t please God. We tell God what we want and we tell him we are doing this anyway and it’s not your business God , I want to do what I want to do. God looks at you and says, “I made you from nothing”. Who are you to stand against His will? People say, I’ve decided not to pray anymore, not to read the bible anymore, not to go to church anymore. He will tell you, if you don’t do this for me, I won’t do this for you. We can’t treat God like a grandparent. How often do you give orders to God and create discussions with Him. Lord, let your will be done, is what Jesus said. Do we accept the Word of God in our lives or do we just want to order God to tell Him want to do

One time in Africa, there were two flights – a helicopter and plane. Every time the helicopter would fly the engine would go off and I was obliged to use it because I was late and there was no space in the plane. I said, let your will be done to God. Something happened to the plane, I don’t know what because the helicopter kept moving ahead but the plane was left behind and never arrived at the destination. Accept where God puts you. Don’t resist God. People have been misled today, even by church leaders, “if you want to see God, come to my church” or “be careful with Colleen, she isn’t good,” and they spoil the reputation of others.

I lost my father when I was young and we have one aunty who decided to leave where her husband was living in order to look after us. God was so good because she had never been given the chance to give birth and she had tried everywhere but years later, she became our parent. If she had her own children, she could not have looked after us. She had left the riches of her husband to look after us. What are you sacrificing in 2013 to help other’s. Even the princess of Egypt looked after a Hebrew child. Let’s look after others who need our help in 2013.

Pray for God to lead us in 2013 and guide us so we can be victorious in all our challenges. Everyday tell god to help us to overcome so we can do his will.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Does God Really Know Who I Am and Where I Live?

By Colleen Podmore

Psalm 139

On Sunday the preacher posed a number of questions and then very clearly answered them. I was quite impacted by Q3, Does God know who I am and where I live? Psalm 139 quite emphatically says yes He does know me, because he has searched me.

This is both scary and freeing. We can hide our true selves, our true motivations from each other, but we can’t hide from God. It’s scary when I think about who I am, yet freeing because God knows all my weaknesses and failures and struggles, but He knows me and still loves me. Unconditional love!

Part of our journey with God, I’m sure is to get rid of all our preconceptions and misunderstandings of who God is. Sometimes we might imagine God as like a boss who expects high things from us, or we might feel we have to try and earn His love with our achievements.

If we feel condemned by God we should remember how God describes Himself, ‘...the compassionate, and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.’ (Exodus 34:6) and again in Matt 12:28, ‘Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart’ And again in John 3:17, ‘For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.’

God is like the coach on the side-lines cheering us on, encouraging us to keep going. He is not shaking a stick at us

The Psalmist in 139 starts out by proclaiming that God has searched him and knows him – there is nothing about our lives that God doesn’t know. He knows all my weaknesses, all my sin, all my mistakes. He knows, yet still loves me. We may be able to fool each other – put on a pious face for Sunday morning, but God already knows who we are. We have this amazing assurance that He still loves us.

‘O LORD, you have searched me and You know me’

The Psalmist goes on to describe how close God is to us.

He poses the question, ‘Where can I go from your Spirit?’ or His Presence? Meaning, there is nowhere we can go to be outside God’s presence. We may feel lost and abandoned by Him, but this is our opportunity to examine our lives and work on our relationship with Him, spend time with Him, read His word, talk to Him in prayer and fellowship with other Christians, encouraging and exhorting each other. In fact, doing just what we do!

Feelings are good, but let’s examine them and find what is underneath the feeling.

There is nowhere we can go to flee from Him. Jonah tried and failed. What would have been worse than God reprimanding Jonah in the belly of the whale? Maybe it would have been much worse if God did nothing. He desires us, He woos us, He longs for our intimacy. If God seems distant, don’t panic, don’t feel condemned or a failure, continue being obedient as He has exhorted us to be, not giving up meeting together, but encouraging each other and all the more as we see the Day approaching! (Hebrews 10:24)

Phil 1:6, Paul says, ‘...being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus’

He opened the door of faith, He drew us to himself (John 6:44), He gave us new life, He keeps our souls (John 10:27-30), we just have to do our bit (Phil 2:12)! Amen? Amen!

Not only does God know us and there is nowhere we can hide from Him but He created us to know Him. We are spiritual beings, we are Souls. ‘I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made’ Psalm 139:14. ‘ the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27)

God also allows us to know His thoughts. We have His thoughts, the Word of God, ‘How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!” Psalm 139:17

We can even talk to God, make our requests known to Him, ‘If only You would slay the wicked O lord.’ Psalm 139:19.

This is relationship with God, He knows us, He is close to us. He created us to know Him, to hear His words and to talk to Him. Finally, because of all of this we can open our hearts to Him, fully trust Him and invite Him once again ‘to search us and know our hearts, test us and know our thoughts’ (Psalm 139:23) and to invite God to lead us in the Way.

We have this relationship with God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is fully God. He completes us, fulfils us and we use this relationship as a pattern for all other relationships. But what is the purpose?

As the people of God, we come together in unity; we put aside our own agendas and begin to build something special – the church of God. Jesus called us out of darkness and placed us in his family (John 1:12) and began to build His church (Matt16:18), which is like a city on a hill.

This song from Casting Crowns is quite poignant. It tells a story about the city on the hill, the church of God and about how easy people can become discouraged and give up and leave the church. Let’s listen to the song and listen to the words:

City on a Hill

Did you hear of the city on the hill, said one old man to the other
It once shined bright and it would be shining still, but they all started turning on each other
You see the poets thought the dancers were shallow, and the soldiers thought the poets were weak
And the Elders saw the young ones as foolish, and the rich man never heard the poor man speak

And one by one they ran away, with their made up minds to leave it all behind
And the light began to fade in the city on the hill, the city on the hill
Each one thought that they knew better, but they were different by design
Instead of standing strong together they let their differences divide
And one by one they ran away with their made up minds to leave it all behind
And the light began to fade in the city on a hill, the city on a hill.
And the world is searching still

But it was the rhythm of the dancers that gave the poets life
It was the spirit of the poets that gave the soldiers strength to fight
It was the fire of the young ones, It was the wisdom of the old
It was the story of the poor man that needed to be told

And one by one will we run away, with our made up minds to leave it all behind
As the light begins to fade, in the city on the hill
And the Fathers calling still, come home, to the city on the hill, come home

From CD: Casting Crowns “Come to the well” #2