Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Will of God

By Odon Bulamba

Jesus Before left the earth, He said in Mathew 6, “this is the way to pray, let Your Will be done”

What is the will of God? When I tell God, “let Your Will be done”, what does that mean?  Telling a king to let your will be done in my life is a powerful statement. 

The will of God has two sides:
(1) Matches with our desires. God allows us to get what we want.
(2) It goes against our desire but it is still the will of God.

The will of God last night was for John Key to remain as the Prime Minister of New Zealand.  Some will be happy while others will not be but this is the will of God.  Although the Labour party and Dotcom tried their best, all their efforts were useless.  They tried to show how the National party shouldn’t win but God said forget about that this is what I have decided. We have to praise God for this decision, even if it doesn’t match what we wanted.  We must praise God every day for everything.

In Judges 14:6, the Bible says that the Spirit of the Lord took Samson who had nothing in his hands and helped Samson to tear apart a lion.    With nothing in his hands!  When Samson returned home, he didn’t tell his parents.

Samson left his country and decided to go to Timnah.  The rule God gave to Israel is to never marry someone from another nation but the same God who said that put the desire of love in the heart of Samson to love a philistine woman.  God who said to never marry these people put the desire in his heart when he reached Timnah for a beautiful lady.  He came home and declared to his parents that he wanted to marry her.  The parents said this is against God’s law and our belief and culture and morals…are you crazy?  Why can’t you find one of the Israelite women?  Why have you chosen this one?  The parents of Samson were against this marriage. 

On his way to Timnar, the Bible says that this lion came out from nowhere and Samson found himself in front of a lion.  When you are in front of a lion, you either have to face it and fight or run away. Samson was brought in front of this situation.  I’m sure we have all seen a lion in real life or on TV.  Imagine a lion seeing this man ready to fight.  If you were the lion, what would you say?  The lion would say, “You have nothing in your hand to fight against me but you stand in front of me and you want to prove to me that you want to fight.  Look at your feet, how small they are.  I have four big paws with big nails.  You have small teeth, look at mine.  Look at my muscles and big head.  Your small voice cannot intimidate me compared to my lion’s roar”.  God did not create us with the abilities to defeat wild animals but one tool that God gave to us is our brain which is the best tool to defeat these big animals.

I used to own a leopard that respected me because of the training that I gave to it.  Here in NZ we have a big dog that weighs more than 70kg.  When he leans on us, we fall over.  If he were to pull the lead, we wouldn’t be able to stop him but by training the dog, he understands that no is no. God gave us that ability to think and use our brain.  It’s not what is in our hands or heart but what is in our brain.

Samson comes face to face with lion.  If it were me, I would pray and ask God to prepare me for His Kingdom.  How can I face a lion?  I once saw a man attacked by foxes and he peed in his pants when he saw the foxes coming towards him. 

When Samson faced the lion, this was the time Samson discovered who he was – he was strong.  The mother of Samson was told to never shave her son.  The hair didn’t fight the lion but the Spirit inside of him boosted him.  He killed the lion in a matter of seconds.  How much effort would you use to pick up this chair and to break it a part.  It will require a lot of energy and Samson did that with a lion.  Then it was a victory. Someone like me (Samson) can I really kill a lion?

In Timnar, Samson brought up this idea of having a riddle, “From something which eats people, I got something which can be eaten”.  People couldn’t understand the riddle.  No one could have an idea that from a dead lion you can get honey because bees don’t normally live inside a dead animal. God’s will was for the lion to produce that.  Samson was in love with this lady and so by giving the riddle he thought it was a way for him to get the lady for marriage.  The love he had for her was strong. 

The people of Timnar couldn’t solve the riddle, so they pushed Samson’s lady to ask him about the riddle.  He opened his heart to her because he trusted her and he gave her the answer.  Then the people of Timnar were able to give the answer to the riddle.  Now, Samson became angry because he was betrayed. 

In chapter 15, he put 300 foxes and tied them together and put fire on them and they destroyed a farm.  Who has the power to collect 300 foxes and tie them together?  This was another miracle.  What did the poor foxes do to deserve to be put on fire?  What did the crops do wrong to be burnt?  God our creator wanted that to happen for one reason – for Samson to fight against the Philistines.  That was God’s will. God wanted him to fall in love with the lady and become furious when he couldn’t marry her and then fight the Philistines.

Normally when we talk about the will of God, we think about everything to be smooth.  How can God push me to love someone and then I don’t get the person?  How can it be God’s will to put something in us and then we don’t get it.  How many times are we disappointed or doubt God’s will when we don’t get what we want. Sometimes we don’t trust God’s will.  Mary as a virgin is pregnant – how can anyone believe this?

Jesus was pushed for 40 days to be in desert without food yet this was the will of God and then satan comes to him face to face and challenges Him, “if you are the son of God?”  Satan knows of course He is the son of God but he pushes Him.  The will of God sometimes pushes us into hard situations and we feel like we do we even exist.  .

The will of God made Jesus to be crucified so we could be saved.  We thought that a savior will come and be the leader like winning an election campaign but it was a leadership of the cross and He had to die.  If you are Jesus, and God tells you, can I send you down and die for these people, would you go?  Maybe for my own glory so I can die as a hero but to die just for their sins or because I love them, no way.  In NZ you will never see crucifixion.  In my country if you are caught stealing a lolly you will be nailed to the road by your hands and feet so you can suffer to the very last minute of your life. 

The same will of God has pulled Samson now to fight against the Philistines.  Maybe yesterday you loved something and you wanted to get it, maybe you wanted success, or to study or do well in your studies, maybe you wanted work but once you take a few steps in one direction God tells you to turn right and then left and you feel you have nothing and you don’t know how to defeat your situation. 

For example, you are married to someone who loves you and you feel you love them but they continue to betray you in the same way the lady betrayed Samson.  Samson told the lady his secret and she betrayed him and married someone else.  Sometimes situations in our lives push us to the point where we feel disappointed.  When you pray for someone, everything for them goes well but when you pray for yourself everything goes wrong. 

This lion which was killed by Samson was not a small lion.  It was a big challenge.  You have a lion in your life, a situation you are facing. We don’t have to tell God to take away the situation because it is tough or tell God to protect me ‘cos I will die but we should say, “give me enough strength to defeat this situation and go with it until the end”.  Jesus asked God to take the cup away from Him but above all He wanted God’s will.  God didn’t answer.  He didn’t let the cup pass. 

When we cross a tough situation believe we believe this must be satan.  We say, “In Jesus name be gone” while Jesus is looking at us wondering, “do you understand my way? This is my will in your life for there to be mountains and valleys and my will is not there to please you or for you to feel better.”  God’s will is not there to cuddle us like babies but to shake us in order to be ready for the Kingdom of God

The Samson we see in the movies is a giant with huge muscles but if Samson was physically strong, the Philistines could never ask where does the strength come from because they could see his huge body.  I believe he looked like everyone else but the spirit in him made him powerful.  You can appear weak in front of a situation you are facing, your nation, your family but God who is in you is stronger than the world.  This power can change situations,

Do you know that God loves the weak?  When you cross the weakness of your life, that is the time God is there to boost you and support you.  You have to recognize on your own you can’t do it and say Lord if this is your will, take control of it. 

A few days after Samson killed the lion he found honey inside of it.  Samson pulled out the honey and ate it.  You can have an empty hand and suddenly God can present you a dead body (less value) and God can bring something good and tasty from it.  You can be disappointed in your life.  You might be disappointed in your children or family or cousins because they are so far away from God but from that family you can get honey.

Imagine a dead lion.  It smells.  Will you have courage to come close?  Samson came close and got something from it.  He knew there was something in the lion because he could hear the bees (bees are noisy).  Regardless of what the situation looks like, the negativity of your friends, or the weaknesses of your family, come close to them.  They can be dead in sin, they can be far from Jesus but come close to them and try to listen and not to judge them.  Come close first of all.

I had a friend who is a Dr in Canada and he came across a very sick lady who was so overweight she couldn’t move and a part of her body was rotten.  My friend vomited in front of her. The lady asked, “are you coming to treat me or to mock me”.  Sometimes we don’t control our feelings and minds.  Know that as Christians we may face situations that stink or are unpleasant and we have to know how are we going to present ourselves there without messing things up more. 

You might find yourself in a situation and instead of bringing down the fire, you fuel it.  We sometimes destroy rather than build. Then finally when the situation explodes, us Christians are the ones who caused it.  We are supposed to support the weak and from there we will get honey.  The parents of Samson ate the honey and they enjoyed it without Samson saying where it came from.

Are you ready to put God’s will first or put your will own first? Most of us Christians fail because we want our own will to be done.  Don’t be proud if you work and someone doesn’t work.  Don’t believe they are nothing because they don’t work and you do.  If you are beautiful, don’t be proud of that.  Don’t be proud to have children while others don’t.  When others are struggling, what is my role in their lives?

Satan is like a lion trying to see who he will destroy.  When you face temptations, do you run away or face it with nothing in your hands.  The best tool is to remember you have God and pray. Don’t complain but pray.  Samson didn’t go back home to tell his parents.  Be quiet. Know how to keep things inside you.  You can seek advice from others but pray and tell God if this is your will, let me go through it and be strong.

Does the presence of God really fill you?  Do you feel the presence of God where ever you go, in your heart, in your mind, where you work, at home?  Invite God wherever you go to fill your area and then you can be a winner like Samson.

A few weeks ago my printer at home refused to work.  On that morning my daughter said, “I have an assignment that needs printing for school”.  I looked at her and felt sorry in my heart because I didn’t have money for a printer.  Then the same day I received a letter from Harvey Norman saying I had overpaid an account years ago and I had $396 to use.  This was like a dream.  They couldn’t find what I had bought.  I went to check the price of the printer – it was $396 – so it was the exact amount.  God this is the answer to my prayer.  I felt so good because it was the will of God to get the printer but when God pushed me to not have a printer, I wanted to blame God. 

How often do we blame God?  Women tell you they want to look like someone else.  They get plastic surgery.  Where is the will of God in that?  Let’s give God the chance to be in control.  Let us allow God to hold us close to him, “let your love surround me, not the love of cars, farms, or money.”  Your family can love you but if you don’t have love of God in your life you have nothing.  God loved Samson and Samson allowed this love in his life.  Do you accept God’s will in your life?  I have nothing in my hand but God be with me.  Let’s pray

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


By Hayley Boud

Leviticus 13-14

Why is this in the Bible?  Why do we need to know about the process of going to a priest to see if we have leprosy when there is no leprosy in NZ?  Couldn’t God just give a handbook to the priests?  Is it really necessary to have this is the Bible?  All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for us but are these chapters really profitable for us today?  What can we learn from them?

1. The leper has to be checked by the priest. 
We have to be checked by Jesus Christ who is the Word of God.  We need to take the Word and use it as a mirror to make sure we are right in front of God.  We have to keep checking in the same way that the priest would check every 7 days.  It is really important to read the Word and ask, “do I match what the word is saying?  Am I kind? Do I love?  Am I patient?  Do I gossip?”  We should do this regularly to make sure we are still on track.

2. Lepers yell out “unclean”
If I recognise that I am unclean (sin) then I should yell this out to God.  We need to be humble and accept when we are wrong.  Admit to God and those around us, “I’m sorry, I’m unclean, I was rude to you, I wasn’t patient, I wasn’t loving” and ask for forgiveness.

3. Lepers are removed from the camp
When we have sinned we make ourselves unclean like the lepers and we separate ourselves not only from God but from His church and His work.  When we see someone with leprosy, we are repulsed and we don’t want to come close.  That is how God feels about us when we sin.  Jesus said, “Why have you forsaken me” because when God saw the sin on Jesus, He couldn’t come close.  This is the same with people.  When we sin, we make Christians and non-Christians run away from us.  They are repulsed by our actions when we are rude or angry or unloving or unkind.  Also, Christians will remove themselves from other Christians when they want to sin.  When they feel like having a drink of beer, they will go to the pub when they should be with other Christians to avoid the temptation.  When we separate ourselves from God, the church and His work, we get further and further away until it becomes impossible to come back. 

4. Lepers had to go to the priest for cleansing
We have to go to the High Priest, Jesus Christ to be cleaned.  It is only be His blood that we can be atoned.  In Lev 14:18 it says atonement (removing that separation between us and God) is achieved by blood and oil.  When we ask for forgiveness, God cleans us with his blood and we receive the Holy Spirit (oil).  It is very important to make ourselves clean as soon as we have sinned so we are not separated from God for too long.  While we are sinners we are infectious, we can stumble others with our sin by encouraging others to participate in the same sin or by bringing a bad name to Christ and putting people off.  It’s better to not be a Christian at all than one that sins shamelessly and takes people to hell with their actions.

The priest knew whether the disease was leprosy or not.  Jesus knows what is inside us even if we think we are fooling people around us…we can’t fool God. 

5. A house or garments that contain the disease must be torn down or burnt
We have to remove our sin far from us so we can’t be led from one sin to another to another.  For example, people say they will just have one glass of beer but then they have another one and then another one until they are drunk.  Or people say they can’t go anymore to the Wednesday night meeting because they have sport and then they say they can’t go on Sunday because they have work and eventually they give up serving God altogether.   

6. Leprosy is caused by a small bacteria that affects the whole community
We can think our sin is small and we can think that it only affects us but sin is sin for God.  There is no big or small sin…they are all the same to Him.  You have either sinned or not.  When someone’s father has leprosy and they have to leave the camp…who will take care of the children?  When you are sinning, who will take care of your family’s souls, your friends souls, your work colleagues souls?  If you are not there because of your sin, you affect your whole community.  It might be a small sin in your eyes such as complaining under your breath but you don’t know the big impact this has on your community.

7. Leprosy attacks the nerves = lack of ability to feel pain
When we continue to sin, we start to lose our conscience.  The first time we fall into temptation we feel really bad but after a while it becomes normal and we don’t feel anything anymore.  We lose the ability to feel guilty, to feel sorry.  That is why it is so important to make a decision to not fall in the first place and to not be surrounded by those who are sinners.  We have to be lights in the world but not to be a part of the world.  When we are always with non-Christians and don’t spend enough time with Christians, we can easily start to think like the world.  We start to think it’s normal to go to night clubs, to drink, to laugh at dirty jokes, to gossip etc.  We must never stop meeting together as it is written in Hebrews and we must never stop reading the Word of God so we can keep our conscience.

8. The cure for leprosy is simple and cheap
Leprosy is cured with a simple dose of anti-biotics which are really cheap and easy to come by.  Yet, many still have leprosy.

The cure for sin is simple and free.  We just have to ask Jesus for forgiveness and accept to be cleansed by His blood.  But many today do not accept.  Maybe they don’t know the cure.  If that is the case, then we as Christians need to bring them the anti-biotics.  If you had the cure for your neighbour who has leprosy in your bathroom, wouldn’t you share it?  Maybe they don’t believe the cure could be so simple and refuse to take it.  If that is the case, we need to pray that they will accept Jesus.  Maybe they enjoy their life the way it is.  They think the life they are living is enjoyable.  If that is the case, we should pray that God can reveal to them that in reality they are dying a spiritual death.  In front of God, we look like lepers when we sin.  May those around us come to understand this.  Maybe they can’t accept they have leprosy because they look so good on the outside.  Many lepers can have the bacteria for years without knowing they are sick.  We need to pray for ourselves and others that God can show us what is on the inside and have the courage to admit it and not justify ourselves.  Many who have leprosy might say it wasn’t their fault and blame others for giving them that disease in the same way we blame others when we sin but the cure is so simple.  It’s easier to take antibiotics than to blame others.  It’s easier to come to Jesus than to justify.  The cure is instant and we immediately feel and look better.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


By Angela Bhandal

Definition: an actor playing the part of another. From the Greek word ‘hypokrites’. When Greek actors (hypocrites) performed, they used masks which represented the character each portrayed. This suggests that the hypocrite is a person whose real self and motives are masked, perhaps even from themselves.

The Bible has a lot to say about hypocrisy and most of it is directed to the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. In Matthew 23, Jesus describes the actions that merit this term of hypocrite and we will get to that shortly but first what does it mean to be a ‘Pharisee’? The term ‘Pharisee’ means ‘separated ones’ and it applied to a small but extremely influential group or sect of lay men who were committed to:

1)      “strictly of in Jewish culture at the time of Jesus observe all of the ordinances of Judaism concerning ritual purity as defined by tradition”

2)      “scrupulously carry out religious duties, such as tithing and the performance of religious washings.”

They really looked down on and scorned ordinary Israelites because they had no knowledge of the Law. So the Pharisees exalted themselves above others. Pharisaism was the leading sect in Jesus’ day. They were even influential enough to set the form of prayers and religious services in synagogues which were dominated by another sect – the Sadducees.

Their influence was rooted in two things

1)      “the great respect the common people had for these men who were committed to the most strict observances of their religion”

2)      “the presence of a number of the Pharisees on the Sanhedrin – the Jewish ruling council”

Not only did the Pharisees think they had the truth through the Scriptures but also believed that Moses had communicated an oral law of equal standing and that this oral law was found in their traditions.

So not only did the Pharisees feel they had the truth but also the right to stand in judgment on other religious teachers.

Let’s read Matthew 23:1-28

So from these verses, what can we see? What really stands out for me is this: everything a Pharisee does is for the people around them to see – they loved the praise and adulation of people. They love the place of honour, they loved to be called ‘teacher’ (which is a position of authority).

They thought that outward expressions on their piety (that is their clothing – long tassels, prayer boxes on their foreheads etc) equates to spirituality. With their outward appearance they deceived converts who really wanted to know God, to follow their example and thus condemned them to the wrong path which leads to hell. Moreover they diligently tithe unimportant things and neglect important things such as justice, mercy and faithfulness.

Jesus really condemns their actions, comparing them to a cup which is clean on the outside but dirty inside, thus they neglect the inner person which is full of greed and self-indulgence despite their outward appearance. They appear to be righteous but on the inside they are full of hypocrisy and wickedness!

Is this who we want to be like? Is the spirit of Pharisaism in our lives also? Do we wear a mask, pretending to be Christian when we are together but at other times we live and act as pagans? Can you think of examples in your own lives where hypocrisy was present yet you weren’t aware of it? It is very easy to justify ourselves and not examine our lives but let us ask ourselves these questions. How often do we want others to notice our good works? Do we look down on others who may not be as fortunate as ourselves?  Do we like to be exalted and hate feeling humble? Do we like to be flattered and hate being corrected or rebuked? How do we treat those next to us, husbands or wives or children or friends, colleagues, when nobody is around? How often have we been greedy for more of something? How often do we indulge ourselves but neglect those next to us who may be struggling? All questions not designed to condemn but to become aware of who we are and how we live our lives and with God’s help to begin to change!

Does anyone know what the antidote to hypocrisy is?

Love – self-less love which can only come through Jesus Christ who sets us free through his death on the cross.  After this self-less act of providing redemption for all mankind, He arose from the dead and reigns victoriously over death and the deeds that lead to death both physical and spiritual. Hallelujah and Amen!

Through Jesus and Jesus alone, we can put to death the deeds of the body/flesh that results in hypocrisy. If this is something you have identified in your life and want to change, it’s just a matter of repentance – ask God to forgive you and help you to change. Ask God to take the yeast of hypocrisy from your life and replace it with the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.

The Pharisees were hypocrites – they had the truth and a type of spirituality which exalted themselves over other Israelites. If only they had an inward faith that matched their outward deeds and practiced justice, mercy and faithfulness. Let us not be like the Pharisees but sincere followers of Jesus Christ.