Thursday, August 22, 2013

Clear Oil From Olives Beaten to Make a Lamp Burn Continually

“Clear oil from beaten olives to make a lamp burn continually”
Leviticus 24:2

By Hayley Boud

By looking at this verse, what is your overall first impression?  What do you think it means?
A lamp is a light and in order for it to give light continuously, it has to have oil beaten from olives and that oil must be clear oil, not dirty oil.

The first word is “clear”, what does that mean?  Why does the oil have to be clear?
If oil is dirty, it can destroy the machinery.  For example, a microscope lense can get scratched or the car engine can get destroyed.  If I said to you, please wipe this oil that contains sand over your reading glasses to clean them, would you think it was a good idea?  You would say no because you know the dirty oil will scratch your glasses and destroy them – you won’t be able to see clearly anymore.  Dirty oil makes the lamp to burn with smoke which makes not only yourself to become blinded but also those around you and the lamp will not be useful in leading people in the right direction.

This is the same with our spiritual life, we have to be clean or we will destroy ourselves both physically and spiritually.  We reap what we sow.  A friend of mine is now unable to get pregnant because she got chlamydia as a teenager and so she destroyed her physical body because she didn’t keep herself clean from sexual immorality.  If we want to see clearly with our spiritual eyes, we need to keep our soul clean.  If we don’t want to misled others or be a stumbling block, then we have to be clean. 

What does oil do? What does the oil represent?
Without oil, your car won’t work.  The car will seize up and stop working.  It’s impossible to see anything on the microscope slide without oil. If we put dirty oil in an engine it will clog up not only the engine but the other parts around it.  The oil makes things run smoothly and allows all the parts of the machine to smoothly work together.

The oil represents the Holy Spirit Himself, baptism of the Holy Spirit and anointment of the Holy Spirit.  We need the Holy Spirit to make our lives run smoothly and not only our own lives but the lives of those around us and when we have the Holy Spirit and no sin in us (clear oil) the work we are doing together as Christians will go smoothly.  It is impossible to do or see anything without the Holy Spirit.  We need Him in our lives and we should do our best not to quench Him by keeping clean and pure so the Holy Spirit can work in us.  If we are dirty, we cannot work properly and we can even destroy those around us, so let’s make sure to repent when we have sinned and make a decision to not sin.

What do the olives represent?  Why do they have to be beaten olives?
Olives are a type of fruit and as Christians it should be our aim to produce good fruit.  Without beating the olives, there will be no oil.  To beat olives takes hard work.  It requires patience, time and effort.  We have to remember, to produce good fruit for Jesus, we need to make an effort, work hard and be patient.  Faith without works is dead or useless. We have to work hard as well as have faith. Read the Bible, pray, spend time with Jesus, serve God and serve others.

Also, the word “beaten” sounds painful.  We have to remember that in order for God to transform us, we might have to go through times of testing and trials in order for our character to become like Christ’s.  If I didn’t have this illness for all these years, I would never have learnt what I have and I would never have changed but being sick for so long tests my patience, perseverance, faith and helps me to be more compassionate, caring and kind to others.  So the beating will remove the outside of the olive to produce the good clear oil which is used to light the way.  Our testing times will remove what is not good in our lives to produce something useful for God and others.

Why should a lamp burn continuously? What does it mean for us?
We are the light of the world and therefore we should be continually burning that light for Christ and for the world to see Christ so they can be drawn to the Kingdom of God.  We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, clean of sin and we need to work in order for our lamp to burn continuously.  I want an eternal flame, not one that goes out after a few days or weeks or years.  Therefore, I need to make a decision to not sin anymore and if I do sin; repent immediately in order to keep clean.  I need to ask the Holy Spirit to lead me and anoint me and the work I am doing.  I need to work for God, serve Him and those around me.

Verse 3: This was in the tent of meeting where the Levites gather, not just the priests.  The Levites are a picture of Christians because they were given that role by God to serve Him and others and to show the rest of Israel how they should behave.  They were to be a good example of to live.  We as Christians have to do the same for the world around us.  They are watching us so we need to be a good example.  Therefore our light has to shine everywhere we go, not just when we are around Christians.  When I’m at work, Uni, supermarket, at home, with friends and family, I have to be a light that leads people to Christ.  Can I honestly say that at every second I am shining a light that leads people to Christ?  If not, now is the time to say sorry and make a decision to change and then change. 

Verse 3 says “kept in order from evening to morning”.  All day and night we must keep our souls in order.  Every second of every day we must be sure that we are clean and we don’t fall into temptation.  When night comes (satan) don’t fall into that temptation, remember that after night comes the morning so tell that temptation you won’t be tempted today and know that after a few minutes, the temptation will disappear. 

Let’s pray all together for ourselves.  Ask for forgiveness if this message has touched an area in your life.  Praise God if you are on track.  Ask God to help us to not fall into temptations, tell Him you decide today to be a light to those around you leading them to Christ through your actions, your purity and the Holy Spirit leading you.  Ask the Spirit to help you so your light will burn continuously and never go out. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Staying on Track - Proverbs 3:6

“Staying on track”: Proverbs 3:6
By Odon Bulamba
I’m so happy every time to pick up my phone to read a verse in the morning, because it helps me to pray and start my day.  The Bible can feel heavy but the phone is always there, so easy to program it with reminders to pray, or praise the Lord.
Life doesn’t have a draft version, what you are living is it; there is no chance to correct what you are doing tomorrow.  I have three Bibles that look exactly the same, blue, black and red.  This red Bible is from Pete and it is a special gift for me.  When I came to New Zealand, I had a Bible which was so old it didn’t have a cover on it anymore and a lady covered it for me but it wasn’t very good and Pete saw my Bible and he gave me his Bible (this red one).  I look after this Bible because it was a special gift that I will never forget.  The actions we do, we can forget them but the recipient will never forget them.
Proverbs 3:1-6,My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.  Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
In all your ways acknowledge him and direct your paths.  Today’s message is about  “Staying on track”.  We hear people say all the time, “I’m on track”.  The first thing in life that keeps you out of the track is discouragement; that is the first enemy.  Discouragement wakes up with you, when you have a shower it’s there with you, someone had a hot shower before you and now the hot water is gone and you feel discouraged.  You have a hot coffee and it didn’t taste good.  Doing your make-up, you are discouraged; I don’t look really good.  When eating, you are discouraged; this isn’t the food I was expecting.  Even wearing your clothes you can feel discouraged and change them several times.  Discouragement can push you off track when you allow it to be your twin brother.
If you want to be a good Christian, you have to fight against disc.  When it comes, tell it, “no your place is not here, there is no seat for you here, you stay away from me”.  Discouragement will listen.  It won’t fight back.
Sometimes when I look around and I can see weak people or evil doers as David in the Bible calls them, they get all the blessings without praying, fasting or even thinking about God and all their business is blessed, they have victory and suChrist Churchess while me who prays strongly and shout and cry to God…God won’t allow it to happen to me but he gives it to other people who are evil doers. 
Psalm 37 reminds us that we don’t have to envy those people or put our mind or trust in the result of what they are getting because shortly it will be cut off.  Those who are evil doers feel fine, they have no need to go back to God, I don’t need him I have everything that I need: a wife, children, money, job etc.  Do I really need God?  I can tell you those blessings will be cut off very soon.  Verse 7 says to wait patiently for God for him to intervene.  Sometimes when you are asking for something you want it to happen immediately.  You tell God, “now not later because if you don’t give it to me now….such and such thing will happen or won’t happen”. We put God aside while He knows better what is going to happen.  We tell God if you don’t heal me now I will die and God looks at you and says, “I am the one who determines death”.
The second thing after fighting discouragement is patience.  Patience is the best tool to stay on track. By not being patient the prodigal son in Luke 15 wanted his blessing now from his father because he wanted to do his own life.  Maybe I have prayed like the prodigal son in my life telling God I want it now.  The father said, do you really want this, do you think this is the right time?  The son said, give it to me now.  The father was so kind and gave it to him.  Some Bible theologians will tell you it was a big amount of money, gold and silver around $50M today and the boy packed everything and said goodbye, this is what I was after and I have to go.  When God blesses you and you receive from God, isn’t that the time you tell God, good bye now because I don’t need you anymore, I have to take my own direction.
He went to another country.  I watched the movie Shrek, and in that movie is the kingdom of far, far away.  Many people after receiving their treasure from God, they start to look around to find a kingdom from far far away from the track.  They start their journey.  The blessings of God led the prodigal son to become a sinner…it was life for him but death for God.  Is it good to beg God and shake him to make you have what you want now?  This is not a good strategy because it might lead you somewhere where you can’t return. 
If I take my car key now from my pocket, and say to Chris who is only 8 years old, “you are my son, I love you so much, this is my car key, take my car and drive to the supermarket”.  Am I a good father?  Chris will say yes and the car will never refuse Chris.  I am free to give it to my son but this is not the right time I should say, “wait the time will come when you turn 16 then you will have your car so you will be protected and safe.  If I give it to you now, you will crash and kill yourself or someone else”.
Blessings are already there, God has prepared all the blessings for us and He is now working on us to be ready for those blessings. 
When we go to the train station we see the tracks, we see the long metal lines in parallel like stairs with lines in between them.  We used to think of trains as big snakes when we were kids.  When you go to the station, the first thing you need to know is where are you going, do you have a destination.  If you know your destination you will come on time, sit down, read, talk to others and once there, someone will say, the train from Auckland to Christchurch is leaving in the next few minutes and you will stop what you are doing and get ready to go.  JESUS has given you the ticket and you have everything you need to border the train and the train will come.  You can see in your eyes you are going to Christchurch but you are still in Auckland but in your brain you know you are going to Christchurch. Some train stations are under ground and you will need to use stairs.  You need climb the stairs, accept it or not. 
When I was a child we had a two story house and you had to go up the stairs to get to our bedrooms.  Stairs can sometimes look ugly and sometimes people try to cover them with carpet or lights or flowers and pictures but the stairs are still stairs.  When you go up the stairs you will sometimes feel pain and your legs will tell you, you have just walked up stairs.  When my mother was 8 months pregnant, she was upstairs and I shouted from downstairs, I’m dying (joking) and she tried to rush down and she jumped one step and fell down like a potato sack at the bottom of the stairs and when she realized I was just joking, she smacked me and then I saw the blood coming from my mum and I saw the damage I caused.  We have to go one step after another and we can’t jump stairs or we will cause damage to ourselves.  Once you are up one stair, don’t go back to the step where you were once before and don’t let satan push you down.  We have to press ourselves to move up the next step.
When you want to be someone who stays on track for the Lord, praise God for where you are now.  Praise God for being able to drive, praise God because the vehicles starts, praise God for what you see on your way, Praise Him for safety.  “If God you were not watching over me, I could kill this person.  Thank you Lord because I am in victory, what I failed yesterday I have now passed that and I am one step ahead.  Thank you for all that I have”.
David was just a simple man and God sent Samuel to bless him as a king.  Samuel anointed him as king but imagine this king became a shepherd looking after sheep.  Who could believe a king could be there with a staff from morning to evening running behind the sheep, supporting the sheep to give birth.  Imagine being told you are going to be a king and you have to shepherd the sheep.  I will start to doubt God, was the promise true or not.   The time wasn’t there yet but when the right time was there he was king because he stayed on track.
God asks of us to, “Respect what I ask you, respect My Word”.  Do we respect it or not?  Jesus fed the thousands and people wanted to make Him their king and the answer of Jesus was, “this is not the time, wait until the time I will be crucified”.  Crucifixion made him become a king.  Your sickness will make you get healing, your poverty will make you become rich.  What you are challenged with today will lead you to victory.  You praise God when you are sick and then healed but someone who has never been sick will never understand what you are talking about.
When you sit on that train of going forward, the speed will start to increase, no matter how you want to reach your destination; the train has its own schedule.  God has put you on the train and this is the destination but you now control the train, you drive your feelings but remember this is the speed limit. 
This lady sang this song, “Jesus take the wheel”.  She was driving with a baby in the car, she was going too fast and she started to crash and she couldn’t control the car anymore and she surrendered the car and she said take control of it.  Jesus has given you a train that you pull with many people behind you.  If Anna works as a doctor, how many lives will depend on her.  If Pete approves my accident compensation case, my whole family benefits because it’s a train.  If Anna heals me, look what will follow, my whole family will be benefit from that healing.  The train you are given by God is a long train carrying precious cargo.  If you go at high speed the train will leave the track and it can never get back on the track.  Many people lose their lives because of one person driving.  There is a recent case of that man who was distracted driving the train and has taken the life of more than 70 people.
Read your Bible, meditate on it and stay on track.  Read Bible and find for yourself what is written there, and ask, “what are your directions Lord”.
I cried once at my daughter’s primary school.  My eldest daughter sat an Australasian exam for English and she got in the top 1% of all the Australian and New Zealand schools.  The principal said, “now I have this to share with you, this person who became the top 1% she is not a native speaker of English, but she made it and that person is Roda”.  Everybody clapped and I started to cry and I didn’t cry for the certificate but I cried because it was a victory for me.  Roda is naturally intelligent but the school would not let her move to higher levels.  Whenever I asked for her to move up, they would refuse.  Instead, the teachers would discourage her from working because her level was ahead, they would tell her to slow down and not work so hard so she could stay at the level of the other children, they didn’t want her to move up.  So I cried for the victory.  What makes you cry?  God will move you upstairs and with your tears tell God thank you although the world will not always accept it but when you show your results to the world, the world will see.
Now Roda wants now to go to Harvard and she is serious because she believes God has a plan for her there.  Do you believe God has a plan for you?  If you do praise God, just stay on track. 
This small machine is a GPS and when you have this in the car with you, you put all your hope and trust in this.  I’m going to visit someone in Whakatane, I’ll just let my GPS, once I put in the address it will tell me how long it will take and the route to take.  If on the way, there will be delays, the GPS will modify the time and advise on taking another route. 
Sometimes I’m not patient especially when I ring a company and the phone says, press one, press two especially with IRD, they will tell you “please be patient” after every one minute and the music plays.  One time I waited for IRD for 1 ½ hours and I had to listen to the message, “Please be patient”.
One time I was very hungry and I was coming from Palmerston North (five hour trip) and when I saw Burger King, I parked my car and smelt the food and became very hungry but with 20 people in front of me waiting in the queue, I complained, “Oh God, what can I do, help me.”  Because of lack of patience I drove home but there was no food ready and I was supposed to start to cook from zero.  Sometimes when we lose patience and we lose everything.
When you are going in the wrong direction, the GPS will tell you.  It will tell you, “You are out of the track, make a you turn, turn around”.  What is your GPS in your Christian life, do you have one, when you are away from God and it says turn around, do you turn off the GPS?  If you don’t want to get lost, you will listen to the message and turn around but if you turn it off you will get lost.
I programmed by GPS and somewhere it turned off because the battery was dead and I wasn’t at my destination and I couldn’t call anyone because it was out of coverage.  Look after your GPS, (your conscience) check you are on the right track and don’t lose your GPS.  Many people didn’t go to church this morning because of the rugby game last night and they drank and now can’t wake up because the spent the whole night celebrating but if you tell them to celebrate for the Lord, they will think 20 minutes is too long.  The train you are leading is the train of life and takes the life of your children, parents, and neighbors.    
Paul in the Bible said, “I have finished my course”.  MY course.  It is my competition and I have to participate.  You have to participate.  This athlete completed the race even though he lost and did it for the glory of his country and his career.  Better to compete than to give up.  Never pull out because on that day of judgment, Jesus will tell you, “when I called you, you rejected me”.  He called you to follow you in the same way He called the disciples.  When He calls you what do you answer, put aside your excuses and follow Him and don’t get off the track.
When you got married, on that day how happy were you.  Men walking with their wives proudly but today they the wife is there to do their cleaning while children are observing.  We have to come back to the track – remember our first love.
Proverbs 3:1, you can forget anything else in your life but don’t forget the laws of God.  You read your Bible every time but you try to forget who He is and what He has done for you.  Don’t forget Him.
All your problems and challenges in your life and in your family and friend’s lives, God has the solution and the solution is already with you but He is preparing you so you will be ready to receive it.  Don’t be discouraged or down because you don’t get what you need, keep your hope and step by step you will receive what you will need at the right time.