Monday, June 6, 2016

The Ninth Hour

By Odon Bulamba

The purpose of the Word of God is to teach you and when you are taught by someone, you have to listen and also to learn and gain skills and knowledge and then you have to apply it.  Without learning and being taught, Robbie could not be an engineer or Ange could not have become a nurse.  The job of the teacher is to bring the message and it’s up to you now to read and re-read and memorise so that when the test comes, it is time to prove to the teacher you understood what the teacher taught.  If you didn’t learn or prepare yourself, you will fail the test. 


Sometimes we blame teachers for being harsh markers but we have to accept that if we fail that is because of our own failure which comes from us and not the teacher.  The teacher expects you to do your own research so you when you sit the test, you won’t only give what the teacher said but you will show the teacher you went deeper with research.


The HOLY SPIRIT is a teacher who teaches us the Word of God but after you have received it, what have you done with it.  A good student will read the notes throughout the year but a bad student will try to read all the notes at the end of the year and try to cram all the knowledge into one day.  A bad student will fail the test due to lack of preparation.


Don’t fail the test.  Your time on this planet is short and limited and every day God takes us through an exam, a competition of knowledge.  When I open Genesis, I have to ask myself what does it mean?  It means life.  What does living mean?  Exodus means exit, so I ask myself, to exit what?  What has to exit my life?


The book of Acts is talking about the acts of the disciples and we are also disciples and those acts are for us, not only for Peter, John or Nathanael but for you and me.  Act 3:1, here we find the story of Peter and John walking together going to the temple.  What for? To pray.  What time was it?  It was the ninth hour which is 3pm.  There they found this man who was lame, he couldn’t walk or move and he was sitting there begging.  What was he begging for? Money, so he could survive.


He wasn’t begging for the message of God to be preached but for cash, “offer to me something”.  He sat there until Peter and John arrived and he asked for their help.  They said our pockets are empty, we have nothing to give to you but we will give to you what we have, in the name of JESUS CHRIST stand up and walk.  He didn’t stand up immediately but Peter went close to him and helped him to stand up and then he could walk. 


The Bible has been telling us a lot about the ninth hour.  When Jesus Christ passed away, it was 3pm and when the curtain broke, it was 3pm. 


The temple was built by Solomon but a few years, the Babylonians came and destroyed it and then Nehemiah decided to rebuild and then it was destroyed again and this temple where the lame man is sitting is a new fresh temple built 20 years before Jesus Christ was born.  The lame man was 40 years old (in that time 40 was old) and for those family members they had a burden to take care of him. 


Those who had looked after him from the age of 0-20 years had most likely passed away so a second generation picked up and that burden of waking up every morning taking him to toilet, to the temple, to the store, feeding him etc.


Have you had to take care of someone 100%?  It’s not easy.  Even at the hospital, they have a rotation so they could have a break but in the old times, you had to take care of your own people.  If your son was sick, that was your responsibility.  Here, those people must have thought to find a way for the man to produce instead of sitting at home doing nothing.  “Being lame, people outside the temple will feel sorry for you and give you money”.  “We should take him to the temple because those that go to the temple will be nice people”. 


His family believee that if we take him where nice people are, he can make money.  Maybe they taught him how to beg and what position to sit in so people can feel more sorry for him and give a lot.  Begging became his job.  Every morning they carried him there and sat him down to work.  While others are entering into temple to worship, the man is outside waiting, for years, begging.


Those people who were carrying him had to pick up at evening time and maybe they asked, “How much did you earn today?  Show me because I’m the one who brought you here.  We have to share or I won’t bring you here anymore”.  Maybe someone claims their portion because it was their idea to take him there.  Believers of that time who were coming to the temple will give as they pass him and enter the temple.  I haven’t read that anyone spoke to him or shared the gospel with him.


When Jesus Christ visited the temple there, that lame man would have been there but Jesus passed without healing him.  Now it is the time of Peter and John.  How often do we initiate ideas in order to earn money, success, glory and use other people to represent us so we can earn something?  Very often people want to please their bosses and you want to hear how happy they are with what you have done.  We sometimes forget that God is the boss of bosses and we should be happy to hear that we have done a good job for God.


The lame man was expecting to get something from Peter and John.  “I don’t have gold or silver”.  Maybe I could say, “next time because I don’t have anything today”.  But Peter and John remembered that although they don’t have gold or silver, they have something else, something different, something the world doesn’t give freely to people.  When we walk around the city seeing beggars, what do we do?  Do we complain and say, “The police should pick them up, they make our city ugly,” or do we say, “they should join the Paralympics”.  Many people sometimes feel angry because disabled are begging.


If yourself was disabled, and you were in that position, how would your life be without the support of others?  If you were put outside the temple while others are inside and they tell you, you must do this, sit outside and beg. How will your life be?


This disabled person wasn’t born lame because he wanted to be, it was God’s decision. Sometimes you are in a position that is not your fault.  Peter said to the disabled man, look at me.  Most of the time beggars will look at you with sorry eyes but this one wasn’t looking at Peter and so they are now forcing him to look at them.  “We have nothing to give”.  Imagine, you are begging for something and someone says they don’t have anything.  Maybe he felt his heart broken, you have nothing to give to a poor person like me but maybe you have $5 for your offering in the temple.  Maybe he was disappointed but then they said, “In Jesus Christ’s name, stand up”.


When you see those outside begging and in trouble, do you use the name of Jesus Christ, this is the ninth hour, in Jesus Christ name receive this.  I once challenged myself and asked myself how many times do I pray for the beggars and disabled in my community.  I don’t.  We can pray for our government, things that are coming but not the disabled.  They are in need, physically and spiritually.


We might think, if I give him money, he will just use it for alcohol and we judge them but we don’t know.  If I say, I have nothing to give you but let me pray.  Pray for 2 minutes, may God bless you and walk away but if you leave the person there and complain about them, you will change nothing. 


We, as disciples of Jesus Christ, God is sending us to walk around our streets.  Those people have been waiting since the first hour and now it is the ninth hour and you have the power of Jesus Christ in you with the gifts, anointing and ministries, why don’t you share it with these people?  “I have nothing for you but let us pray”.  If you say, I want to pray for you, will they say no?  Maybe, maybe not.  Maybe they will say yes and these are my other prayer requests. 


Most will say I was here for money, I don’t need your prayer but you can say, yes but in Jesus Christ stand up and leave this place because this is not your place, come inside the temple and join the crowd of Jesus Christ, satan is trying to keep you here but come with us. 


Others want to stay lame because that is their source of income.  Some don’t want to leave where they are but to remain lame.  We go together to church to pray but they stay outside the temple, they only come to pray for their interests (material things for themselves) and when they receive what they want, they go back with happiness and say they are blessed but when they receive spiritual blessings they are not happy because it doesn’t help them physically.


I’ve heard a prayer request by one person who asked God for $40,000 to celebrate a birthday and they needed a miracle but when you are talking about spiritual life, they don’t accept that is a miracle.  They will glorify the birthday party and sing but no glory to God for being there or being alive.


Those who tell God, I am one of your people but I don’t want to stand up and be part of your temple.  You don’t want to come inside yourself and ask who you are for God.  Maybe God will stop listening to you because you are invited in but you don’t want to.  Most of the time we talk about things we have heard or seen but how often do we talk about God and his Word.  In 20 of my words or 20 of my actions, 0 involve God and all that I do is for myself and me alone.  In the same way this person was only begging for himself.  Sometimes we beg for ourselves and pretend that if you give it to me God, it will help my family.


At the ninth hour, John and Peter were going to pray.  Do you have a specific hour when you pray?  When you come closer to God?  You can have time for a television program.  Do you have an appointment for your God?  If you don’t have that time or appointment for God, start to think about it.  The Bible says that every morning, Jesus Christ came to the mountain to pray.  Daniel prayed five times a day at specific times.  Do we have a specific times to pray or do you just wait for Sunday and do you really come here to pray?  Maybe we come to church just to sing or to socialise with others or we don’t know where else to go. 


We need to find some time to pray and before coming to the church to pray to God and be with Him.  It doesn’t matter your topic but come and have a conversation with God.  On your way in, you might find circumstances with people begging for something different, give to them what God has given you, pray for them, in Jesus Christ’s name, this is what I give. 


I went to Frankton market with my girls and Levi yesterday.  In my mind I said, every fourth person I meet, I will stop them and talk about the gospel.  The fourth person was a disabled person playing the harmonica and begging.  He was large in size with people around him.  This is a test, I thought to myself.  I came to him and I said, “Hi”, and he pointed to the bag.  I stopped him and he said, “what?”  How to continue?  “I want to talk to you about Jesus Christ,” and he said the f-word and “If you have something to give to me, give it but if not, go away”.  I replied, “I want to give to you something bigger than what you are after” so I put my hand in my pocket and his eyes followed and I said, “you need Jesus Christ and your life needs to be changed but that can only be done if you and I pray now” and I started to pray and he started to play the harmonica and then he stopped and listened and then he hugged me.


The next fourth person was a lady eating a kebab.  I said, “Hi sister, can I talk to you, do you know Jesus Christ?”  She said, “Yes,” and I asked, “How do you know him, how long have you been Christian?”  She replied, “I’m not but my parents used to take me to church”.  I told her, “Jesus Christ loves you and He wants you to be your friend, can we pray”.  She said, “No, Christians are hypocrites”.  I answered, “I’m not talking about Christians but the love of Christ,” and I started praying but by the time I finished, she was gone.  Some will listen to you, others not but don’t let the opportunity pass without giving because the more you give, the more you will be given.  If you bless, you will be blessed. 


Give the Word pf God to others but we only want to give the Word of God to Christians.  When we meet non-christians, we lack courage.  At the ninth hours, what do you do?  When someone has been begging and shouting for help, what do you do?  3pm is when all activities in city are coming to an end.  The children leave school and those at work think in one or two hours our office will close. 


The church is around 3pm now when all work is about to close down where Jesus Christ will come back and judge all our communities.  Imagine if your neighbours tell you, “Robbie did you know that Christ is coming back, why didn’t you tell me?”  How will you feel? 


I’m sure that the lame man was full of joy to see himself on his feet, maybe he shouted with joy and rushed into the temple and forgot about the money he used to make and I’m sure he didn’t worry about the lack of skills to make a new job.  He was only concerned about walking.


Do you have a gift that you have given to someone that they have never forgotten?  He couldn’t walk and then he could walk.  If someone asks you now, what is the precious thing God has given you, we will all say salvation.  What is the best gift you have given someone?  Maybe money, a birthday party.  You have prayers, blessings, Word of God and plenty of things the HOLY SPIRIT has been giving to you to give to others. 


Although Jesus Christ is dead, the name of Jesus is still alive.  Just use the name of Jesus Christ and see what will happen, it’s not you but the power in that name.  Many Christians will only use that name when they are casting out demons and sickness but when we are blessing others, why don’t we use it or use it when we want to see other’s lives changed.  In our letters we say be blessed but not in Jesus Christ’s name be blessed.  Jesus Christ loves glory so use it.  If you use the name of Jesus Christ, that person will be blessed.


I want to paint a wall so I can pray, “In Jesus Christ’s name, let his wall be painted perfectly”.  I need to get home quickly, “In Jesus Christ’s name, I will go through the traffic and get home before 4pm,” and you will experience the power of the name of Jesus Christ.


One time I was traveling in an airplane with 60 passengers and only one pilot who was drunk and said, “you people have faith, we will be ok and get there”.  In the air we felt something was wrong.  There was no cabin crew.  The pilot again said, “Don’t worry, we will get there,” but then he started to fall asleep due to the alcohol and we started to fall and then he woke up and rose the plane up again.  We screamed but couldn’t do anything because we didn’t know how to fly a plane.  I said, “In JESUS CHRIST’S name, let us get there safely,” and I shouted it without knowing.  When the plane landed, I left the airplane without picking up my bag. 


The name of Jesus Christ is so powerful to even change our minds and even the mark that your lecturer gave to you.  I have had 100% without knowing how.  Pray for your children in Jesus Christ’s name to be successful in school.


To say God bless you isn’t bad but what God are you talking about.  The ninth hour is coming in our life. Nothing will change a situation in our life a part from the name of Jesus Christ and the Lord will never let you down. 


Money and all that you have comes from God.  All your possessions comes from God and giving it back to God will make him happy.  “You give me this tool which is Your Name, let me use it”.  Then others will discover the power of transforming lives and miracles.


Michelle used to drink a lot of coffee in the past but she wanted to stop so we prayed in Jesus Christ’s name to stop drinking coffee and the desire to drink coffee stopped.  It wasn’t her or me but it was God and whenever she tried to drink it, she couldn’t stand the taste of it.  That name can be used in any situation.  Use that name for all situations. 

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