Sunday, March 8, 2015


By Odon Bulamaba


It is a privilege to be among God’s people.  Many people prefer to live in their own corners believing that being in their own corner is easier but our Lord God gives us an assignment to learn how to live in a family of God.  He wants us to learn how to live with our enemies, to love them and to pray for them.  He wants us to learn how also to live in peace with everybody.  What a tough assignment.


It’s easier to say, “you are my enemy so be on your side and I’ll be on my side” but God our Father says we are not allowed to put our enemies aside but to go back to the enemy and pray for them. 


My prayer for my enemy might be asking God for revenge and punishment.  We might even want them to pass away because they are a pain in our backs.  But God says, “no, change your prayer” and we say, “please God take them away from me because that would make things easier for me”.  But when we think things are easier, that is when things are harder.


When we meet with two or three, God is among us.  Is God among us even when we meet with our enemies.


Today we are going to talk about the waterfall.  There are 249 waterfalls in New Zealand (I googled it).  This means New Zealand is very rich and beautiful.  When we see waterfalls, we are impressed and we think it looks good. We can take beautiful photos of the waterfall and present them to friends to show how beautiful it is.  However, if you talk to a blind person about the waterfall, you have to describe it because they don’t have sight.  Sometimes what you see as beautiful in your eyes is just darkness in the eyes of others.  Even God will sometimes find what we think as beautiful as darkness because God says, he can’t open his eyes to look at what you look at.


The water on the river is smooth and calm but when it gets closer to the waterfall the speed of the river starts to increase and the water becomes turbulent.  When you come close to waterfall, the water becomes louder and louder and it becomes hard to hear because of the noise.  Someone can be close to you and you are shouting and they don’t hear you because the loudness of waterfall can drown out our voices.


When I saw a waterfall once around Waikato I realised that the waterfall is dangerous.  I was going closer so I could get a photo but I started to get wet while I wasn’t in water.  The sound was loud and I couldn’t see below the water clearly.  The waterfall was powerful. That was a lesson for me. 


Surrounding the waterfall are rocks that look beautiful but they are very often slippery.  When the water comes to reach the cliff’s edge, the water goes down with power.  You can’t swim up the waterfall.  Many minimise that danger.  Many people think they can swim have an adventure with the waterfall believing they will be able to save themselves.


Mark 6:23, Herod organised a birthday party for himself. He invited the army commanders, kings, friends etc.  When we hold a birthday party, we are expecting gifts.  We put around chairs, tables, drinks and everything is organised including where people will put the presents.  The party will start slowly and quietly and then it will get bigger and bigger and become more powerful, it becomes louder and louder with more people talking and the music increases in volume (like the waterfall where the river starts quietly and turns into a waterfall).


When was the last time your neighbour’s had a party?  Some parties can go up to late at night.  Some kind people will give you a notice to let you know there will be a party and when it will finish.  When the time starts for the party, someone will walk in with a small gift and they are given a seat, drink and food.  After eating and drinking, the shape of the party will change.  Everything was well organised at the beginning but later there will be mess with food all over the floor.


In Mark 6, the king organised a big party and after drinking alcohol, he became drunk and didn’t think properly.  Although the guests had drunk and had eaten plenty of food, the king was not satisfied and he needed someone to dance for him and his guests. The dancers stood and danced to please the king and his guests.  After dancing like a competition, everyone was happy with one girl so the king said her, “whatever you want I will give it you, up to half of my kingdom because you danced so good”.


Micheal Jackson was a very good dancer and to dance is a gift.  Some can practice but will never be like Michael.  When this girl danced, everyone was impressed.  The king asked her what she would like.  She said she will ask her mother who was the wife of the brother of the king Herod. 


Imagine the queen of England asking you today what you would like?  Some might say money, houses, land, whatever is important to them.  The mother of the girl told her to ask for the head of John the Baptist.  Imagine you are given half of the kingdom if you want it.  This girl could have had anything but her mother wanted the head of John because he was against her relationship with the king.  John used to tell the king that he did wrong to take his brother’s wife for himself.  So this woman thought if she got rid of John, then she would be free of her enemy.


In our Christian life we have challenges.  Some of us are given a territory to control like Herod who was given an empire to control for years.  Your territory can be your thoughts, nieghbours, friends, children, those God has given you to look after and protect.  I don’t have the duty or right to go into the houses of my neighbours to control what is going on there.  I can’t ask them if they washed their dishes today.  I have to control my own house first and to take care of what God has given me properly and carefully.


When you ask my son to do something small, he will be annoyed but when he goes outside of the house, he will do things for others.  He can make the beds of another family but not his own bed.  Some Christians are like that, they can go to others and tell them how to live as Christians and tell them to change their behaviour but themselves are not living according to the WORD OF GOD.  Instead their role in life is to organise parties – to celebrate with others.  Many Christians celebrate things they should not.


Yesterday I was at warehouse and people were coming to buy gifts for Valentine’s Day.  I was saying to them praise the Lord you are alive and they would say happy Valentine’s Day.  I would ask them, between me and the Lord or between me and you?  When you say happy valentines, the world thinks it’s a way to say you love that person.  Have you stopped and thought about how much you love God and how much he loves you?  When you love someone, you can hug and kiss and you feel without that person, your life is different and you go everywhere together.  How is your relationship with God?


Herod made a party to please human beings.  In the same way as Christians we prepare our messages to please people. E.g. We talk about God’s love and people enjoy it because they want to hear about God being their servant but God is your commander and chief and He wants you to take orders from Him.  He is not there to take orders from you.


Herod made people drunk and finally, poor John was beheaded and his head was put on a platter for the girl.  Imagine, Nora if you ask for the head of Robbie, what will you do with that head? Nothing.  Sometimes we go to collect advice from the wrong source.  If this girl could think for herself and answer the king from what she wanted then she could have had up to half the kingdom.  Instead she preferred to seek advice from her mother and then pretended the decision came from her. 


God gave you intelligence.  Seek God’s advice first because when you seek advice from others, you will regret later.  Some can give inspired advice which is good to follow but you should be able to know when the advice is bad.  The young girl should have known to behead John was bad advice. She should have known the head of John was not a good gift.  She should have told her mother that she had no interest in killing another human being.  But instead she blindly took the advice of her mother.  We do the same, we blindly take wrong advice and follow our feelings.  We say, yes, you are right, he should die.  A decision that is simple to us can turn into a nightmare for others.


When satan comes to you, where will you get good advice?  You can’t trust anyone but God, not the police, not the lawyer but only God because He is the only one that can be trusted and He is the only one that can take your burden.


My daughter wanted to go to a party at a friend’s house so I asked what kind of party it was.  She said others will drink and smoke but I won’t do it.  I asked her, “So when others become drunk, will you be able to stop someone from hitting you?” I explained to her that when something goes wrong it will be too late to stop it.  She agreed not to go.  Later at the party, things went wrong and people got hurt. 


Sometimes ideas start to present to us slowly (like the quiet river) but if your ideas do not involve God, those ideas will turn bitter later (like the waterfall).  You will be led by satan if you are not led by God.  It is easy to allow your child to play with other children but if you don’t teach them how to play correctly, it will be impossible to teach them later. 


I’ve heard of fathers taking a shower with their children while they are young.  When the child turns 10, he will wonder if this is normal.  The father thinks that we are created naked, it is natural.  I listened one time to the testimony of a man who used to shower with his father.  Later the child become gay and the father asked the church to pray for the child.  One day the child explained to the church that it was because of the father, “because he taught me to be naked in front of other men”.  What you are training your children is what you harvest one day.  What you are training your body, your body will give it back to you later.  If you are lazy, if you are sinning, if you don’t go to church, you will see the result one day.


Will you accept to die like John the Baptist who continued to tell the truth to others.  Herod recognised John was clean and pure.  Are you clean and pure in front of God?  Are you like the girl and want to make people happy and when asked what you would like to get, you ask for something stupid?  Will you be like Herod who was given a territory who could not control what he was given?


When you come close to the waterfall that looks beautiful from a distance, you will see the danger.  How many people look at you and you look like a good Christian from a distance but when they come closer, they start to see the slippery rocks, it’s a danger.  For example, anger.  How many times have people wondered if you are Christian? How many times have you rebuked yourself for a wrong action?  How many times do you say you are a nice person while you have pushed others to sin?


Yesterday, I was working on security at the warehouse and I could see many people stealing.  I saw a man in his 60’s put a pair of shoes down his pants and when he walked in front of me, the tag fell out.  I pulled the man aside.  He was so embarrassed and threw back the shoes.  He explained that Work and Income (social welfare) doesn’t help him and his son needs a pair of shoes for school and the only way to get the shoes was to steal them.  I shook his hand and said I’m not calling police but please don’t do it again.  Next time ask the manager for help or go back to Work and Income.


I saw another woman, so beautiful and looking at her you couldn’t believe she was a thief.  She came with a man and two children.  She was taking dvds and putting them in her bag.  I told her that what she did was not good but when I looked in her bag, she had removed the covers and there was only discs.  I told her, Jesus loves you.  She became angry.  I told her Jesus says happy valentines.  She came back and told me that she bought one dvd.


Sometimes we can be tempted but we have to know how to stop ourselves.  How many have died just by stepping near the waterfall.  Many people come into your life and they want to be like you and they want to be close to you but don’t be the source of their death by your way of living (e.g. the mother of young girl was the source of John the Baptist’s when the young girl came close to her to ask for advice).  We should encourage and help others so those who are weak can say they are strong tomorrow.  But if you are strong and you try to step on the weak, they will perish.


God loves you so much that he came down to this earth to save you so that you in return can help others.  Salvation is like a plant that can crawl and be seen in another corner even though the roots are in one place.  Are your actions productive?  When people see you, or your friends or family see you, what do they say about you? 


Smoking starts slowly.  Drinkning alcohol is the same (like the slow quiet part of the river).  You can tell your child they can have a sip but later it might be a danger (like the waterfall).  What we offer can be a danger to others.  The waterfall stays in the same place forever – don’t be such a Christian to be a stumbling block for others so they leave the church and the faith because of your behaviour.  Live in Christ and let our lives produce fruit.  Don’t let any influence that can damage your soul take control of you.  If you don’t stop and think, no one will do it for you. 


God will ask you what you did on the earth.  If you know how to dance, dance for the glory of God.  If you know how to invite, make parties, ask questions, do it all for the glory of God and make sure what you do doesn’t destroy souls.