Monday, January 20, 2014

Oil Pressed

By Odon Bulamba

This is a special Sunday because it’s our first Sunday to meet for 2014 and 2014 is coming with new realities and surprises and things you might not have thought of.  In 2014 we might be surprised to find that God may not have called us to change the world but to learn or to change from what we see from the world.  Many Christians today fight to change the world.  What is the world? Is the world people or is the world animals, or trees or birds.  When people fight the world, what are they fighting?  Many fight against pollution and invest in that which is fine but they forget to learn that in the world satan is the one controlling the world so we have to be careful not to step into the world. 

It’s a privilege to be called a child of God, to be called a disciple of Jesus.  When Christ came down he picked up a few people.  The only ones blessed enough to be chosen were the 12 disciples.  He left those of high ranks, those from important worldly and spiritual positions aside and chose a fisherman, a tax collector and said, “follow me”.  Isn’t it strange, why didn’t He choose those mature in theology or go to every tribe of Israel and take the best from each tribe but instead He only collected 12 people among millions of Israelites He could have chosen from.

Jesus started his journey with the 12 and they saw Him perform hundreds of miracles.  How proud would you be if you were chosen to follow someone who could perform such miracles, how proud would you feel to be a friend of such a man, to sit with Him at His table, to eat with Him and talk with Him? If you know a simple person like John Key (Prime Minister of New Zealand) and you are his friend, you will believe you have a good friend.  If you are the friend of the Queen of England, you will believe you have a very good friend. Being a friend of Jesus is another story. 

Friendship with Christ is a friendship of eternity that gives life forever and protects you for eternity. My first question on 1st January 2014 was, “who is going to be my friend this year…my true friend?  Is it my sleep, my bed, my neighbors, my Bible?” I have to choose the right friend, the one who will never give up on me and will always be there for me.

One day Jesus met around a table at Passover time with His disciples.  Passover means bread and wine and Jesus had taken the Passover several times since He was a child but this one was a special one.  It wasn’t anymore the bread Moses taught but Jesus had changed the formula and said, “this bread is my body now”.  How will you feel if Jesus tells you this is His body?  They were challenged because the Israelites had been taking Passover bread for hundreds of years since Moses and now they were being told it was the body of Jesus Himself.  They thought it was a simple bread but now it is the body of Christ.

What you saw in 2013, this simple Bible and Word of God is changed in 2014.  It is a new day and we have to take the Bible seriously now and remember that the Word of God is Jesus Himself.  In the same way the disciples took the bread and were now told it was His body and to remember Him and take it seriously, we also have to start a new lifestyle and take the Word of God seriously.

While the disciples were taking the Passover, Jesus told them, the devil is here but the disciples were confused because Jesus Himself had chosen them.  They asked each other, “is it you? Are you the betrayer?”  Jesus said the one who dipped his bread in the same cup as mine is the one.  Imagine if you share food from the same plate and cup as someone else.  If someone sees you do that, they will believe you love that person a lot to share the same cup.  Maybe you are the one who shares everything with Jesus and you are going to betray Him.  How often do we betray our Lord? We tell Him, “I love You, You are My Father, You are My Everything” but then we go behind his back and betray Jim. 

Remember the person who will betray you, it is someone who is next to you.  Even your own body can betray you.  In mark 14:32, the Bible says He told his 11 disciples after having the meal, “come with me” (Judas had already left to betray Christ).  Jesus took the 11 to Gethsemane which means oil press.  It was an orchard for olives and only those fruit trees were in the garden. 

It was late and the disciples should be in bed but Christ took them to the garden and told them to sit as He went to pray.  Imagine being told to go somewhere while your friend goes to pray.  What will you do?  Sleep?  Jesus came back and chose from among you the 11, James and Peter and John and told the three, “follow Me”.  He picked up only three and left the 8 behind.  When we are heading towards oil pressing, Jesus always cuts down the circle in the same way He cut the 5,000 who ate the bread and fish down to 12 disciples and then to 3 who will go deep with Him.  Jesus will have followers but some will only be there for the bread and fish, while others will only be there for the wine and bread, some will only follow for healing or money and some for a good job.  When you need a good job or money or health that is the time you will kneel down and pray but when everything is fine, you live your life as you like.

After calling those three, Jesus went to pray and He could feel the pain of death within Him, He was pressed down.  The olive oil is capable to doing 100’s of things that can help your body meaning the oil from this fruit is a different oil but before to get the oil, the first has to be detached from the branch and pressed down.

Gethsemane was a place to collect the olives and press them to produce oil.  Oil is a sign of anointing.  You want God to anoint you, do you sometimes pray to God for anointment? God will say “yes, but before I anoint you I need to press you, to crush your attitude, your behavior, the way of seeing things in order to produce oil”. 

Sometimes a bishop will take oil and place it on the persons head but the Holy Spirit and anointing is not in that oil.  God wants to see you crushed.  Oil can be placed on a person for healing but you have to know the meaning of oil first in order to understand that placing oil on a person to be healed is only a symbol.

We the church today don’t want to be crushed.  At Gethsemane, 8 disciples stayed behind.  As Jesus was praying with pain in his heart, He stopped and came back to the three He chose and found them asleep, “I told you to pray with Me and you can’t even pray for one hour” (verse 38).  Sometimes I pick up my phone and I can talk to friends for 2 hours or listen to music for 6 hours or go to a party and celebrate all night or play sport for 2 hours.  Hugh can run for 2 hours and Colleen told me she recently climbed a mountain for 7 hours walking by herself.  This is determination.  Everything we do is a matter of decision regardless of the barriers, even if you fall asleep you can tell yourself, “no, I’m not sleeping, I’m praying” and your body will accept that.  Stand up, move around, drink water and pray but if you decide to put your head down for two minutes but you will fall asleep.

Jesus came back to those young men, “why can’t you just stay with Me for one hour, if it were a party you could dance for all night.”  Every church today is good at praising but we are not good in prayers.  When it is time for praying, the number decreases as you can see 5,000 went down to three and even those three found it was a challenge.

You go through a hard situation and you ask people to pray for you but they sleep instead.  Leave those people aside and be like Jesus and continue to pray.  For situations that people are crossing, are you serious or are you joking?: “Lord bless this person amen”.  As Jesus knelt down, the pores opened and he sweated blood because of the pain.  Sometimes you are crossing a hard situation and you ask people to pray for you and they take it like a joke.  All they need to know is the news and once they have satisfied their curiosity they go away and never pray.  Jesus was crying and if you really love Jesus, you will take time to cry and pray with Him.

Finally Jesus came back a second time and found them sleeping again.  When you watch tv, you can see churches worshipping and full of joy but when it is the time to pray, people  are looking at their watches, looking around, and hoping it will finish now because it takes so long only after three minutes.  People can lie on the beach for hours transforming the colour of their skin with the power of the sun but ask them to kneel down for hours to pray to God and they will tell you they are tired or their back hurts.

We are interested in gossip and can talk for four hours but when it is time to pray we feel we should do other things.  Jesus is calling us to put ourselves in the lives of others for 2014.  There is no blessing or anointing without prayer.  Let no one cheat you.  You will never find anointing without praying and praying means to pray seriously.  It doesn’t mean to tell God what we want.  In Mark it says nothing is impossible for God but let Your will be done. To pray doesn’t mean to change the situation but to change me to fit in that situation.  e.g. if I pray for a car and God says no to a car then pray that I will be able to move around without a car.

How often do we need to be anointed?  I want to feel anointed every second and we ask for the Holy Spirit who says, “I am already here with you, just accept to get into the press” and allow someone to press you down to get the oil. Leave your comfort zone.  There was a tv program called Desperate Housewives, which many people loved to watch and if they missed one episode they will ask around to see if anyone recorded it and if they missed one episode they will become angry.  I used to watch the tv program “24” and loved it very much and when kids annoyed me, I would pause it.  How often do we pause our prayer when we are distracted and then come back to the prayer? Zero times.  We are distracted every time, that is why Jesus said to go to your room in a secret place and lock the door and tell Jesus your problems who is the only One who can bring the answer.

You can have a plan but God is above all our plans.  Before I came to New Zealand I was told that my money could be easily transferred electronically from Africa to New Zealand but once I got here, the money was not allowed to be transferred.  I had joy before I left Africa knowing I would have money once in New Zealand but then all my joy for money was flushed down the toilet.  Money is not the solution to your problems because you will only have the money when God allows it even if you are working, therefore God is the solution to all our problems.  Even if you have a good job and believe you will be paid next week, you can wake up in the morning and you are paralyzed so all your plans should rely on God’s hands. 

Make yourself a good prayer person.  Don’t be like the disciples who followed God only for glory but when it was time to pray they slept.  You have to work on your faith, your behavior, your character and when Jesus comes to select his Own, you will be among them.  Only those sealed with holy Spirit will meet with Him in the air and then we have to present our deeds.  Based on what you did you will receive your crown. 

If you are given the gift of healing but you refuse to be pressed, you can touch someone for healing but God will ask what you did with the olive and you will blame others and say the gift never worked but it is your fault because you didn’t have time to pray or press the oil.  How many disciples of Jesus continued to do the work of Christ - only a few continued and those are the ones who continued to pray.  You need to determine yourself, you need courage.  Don’t plan for the evil things in life like Judas did.  Imagine Jesus calling you satan as he said to the disciples at the passover, “satan is here”.  How will you feel to be called satan?  It will be bad on that day when Jesus said I told you to get into the press but you refused.

One time in Zambia I was asked to speak to a big crowd and I asked them to write down what they expect from God and there were thousands of paper but then I asked them “what can you do for God” less than 20 papers came back.  We pray and ask God to make us to be in the spotlight like Benny Hinn but maybe God created you to be in the shadow.  We want to be seen in churches like Joyce Meyer but seek Jesus first, “Lord Jesus tell me where to go to pray and adore”.  Maybe your place to pray is Gethsemane but you prefer to go to the rose garden because it’s so beautiful with many colourful flowers while the olive garden only produces olives. 

How do olives taste straight from the tree? Yuck.  Sometimes when you try to share the Word of God with others, they believe the taste is yuck because the taste doesn’t fit in the  world. 

Be someone who does what Jesus wants even if the world hates you or laughs at you or judges you and leave them behind sleeping.  Because of the prayer of Jesus, we are redeemed, we are transformed, our lives are changed and our nation is changed.  Don’t act in a group and only pray if you are at a prayer meeting.  Don’t look at people, don’t wait for Colleen to invite you, do it yourself.  We can sing by ourselves, we can go to work by ourselves, and so we can add prayer to our schedule and add it to our daily routine. We have 24 hours per day, just give Him a portion of that time to meet with God face to face and let God talk to you.  If you have something to tell Him, tell Him but also let Him tell you too.  Sometimes He doesn’t let the cup pass over as with Jesus.  Jesus asked for the cup to pass Him but God said no.  You need to be ready for God to say no and when you are ready for that, you will have the victory. 

Jesus is coming back soon, do you have a place there?  If you don’t pray, then I’m sorry for you.  Magicians pray to perform what they perform.  Who is that child that never wants to talk to their parents? By talking to their parents they learn from their parents and so we should with God.

Ask God to press you and produce the oil so God can use you, let 2014 be a year of miracles and show people that I belong to you, a year of anointing.  Remember your first love, tell God to bring that back and you need to feemnvl that again, boil in me so I can work for you. 

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