Saturday, December 31, 2016
By Hayley Boud
Jesus saw the crowd and went up on the mountain where everyone would be able to see and hear Him. He wanted all to hear His word. Tonight, we are here to listen to God. He wants us all to hear the Word of God. Let’s open our ears.
The Kingdom of God belongs to the humble, those that know who they are in front of God. Those that recognise that only God can save them. The Kingdom of God doesn’t belong to the proud who stand in front of the crowd and proclaim how great they are. It doesn’t belong to those who look down on others and think they are better than them.
It also doesn’t belong to those who realise they have sinned and fallen but stay sinning and fallen. The poor are only blessed when they realise they are poor and make a decision to change. If our conscience tells us we are wrong somewhere, we need to repent and make a decision to never go back to that way of living. If our conscience tells us we are wrong but we carry on in that way, then we will just like those who think they are rich in spirit because the rich don’t think they need Jesus.
Only those that see their sin and repent will inherit the Kingdom of God. If we don’t see our sin, we will never know to repent and we will never enter the Kingdom of God. If we see our sin and don’t repent, we will never enter the Kingdom of God. Therefore, only those that see their sin and repent are blessed. Only those that recognise they have fallen and accept for Christ to lift them up out of their sin are blessed because only those that accept to leave their sin will enter the Kingdom of God.
Lessons from today, we need to remain humble, we need to see who we really are in front of God, we need to apologise to God when we have fallen and we need to accept Christ to lift us up from that place of sin and take us to another place where we will make a decision not to sin anymore. When we do this, we are truly blessed because we inherit the Kingdom of God.
Mathew 5:1-10, “When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”.
Jesus sat down. I wonder why? Was He too tired to stand? I doubt it. In the culture that I was brought up in, sitting down is a sign of humility. Bringing yourself to the level of others or even lower than others. I’m not sure why Jesus sat down but it makes me think of our relationship with others. When we want to share the Word of God with others, we need to be humble. We need to be at their level, not lording over them or pointing our finger. If we come with humility, people are more likely to hear what we are saying. If we come with pride, no one will hear the words we are saying. It will be a missed opportunity.
Jesus started by saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit. That sounds the opposite of blessing. We usually think of those who are rich as blessed.
The word poor in Hebrew means poor, helpless, someone who is fallen down and needs lifting up. Blessed are those that know they are helpless to save themselves. Blessed are those that know that they have sinned and fallen down. Blessed are those that know that only Christ can save us, only Christ can clean us of our sin and raise us up.
Those who think they are rich spiritually are those that don’t know who they need Christ. If we think we can save ourselves or we think we don’t even need saving, we will never be able to receive Jesus.
The word spirit is the element of man that thinks, feels, reflects, desires, aims and moral qualities. It is the element of faith in man. We need to make our inner self to reflect on our words and actions. Do they match God and His Word? We need to feel shame when they don’t.
Jesus went on to say that the poor in spirit are blessed because theirs is the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is where the king dwells. If we accept Him, He will dwell in us and when Christ comes back, we will dwell with Him in His Kingdom forever. The blessing is Jesus Himself. We are blessed because Christ dwells in us. We are completely satisfied because that is all we need. All we need is Christ in us. He is the One who fills us with joy, hope, strength.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
By Odon Bulamba
It is my joy to be here this morning and nothing is good in life like feeling joyful. You can possess money and have all the wealth of the world but if you don’t feel joyful, it will be meaningless. When some are joyful, they cry and others laugh and some lose their sleep due to the joy. How do you express your joy? When you feel very joyful, how do you express it? Some smile and others try to control it and others try to turn around so no one can see them smiling. It doesn’t matter who you are, joy comes to each person.
It’s joyful to hear that Jesus died for us and came back to life: that is the news of joy. Someone passes away, we lose hope of seeing them again and then suddenly, he is back to life: that is joy. What a joy when you find something you lost. Many people don’t care when they lose something because they think they will find another but if something is precious to you and you get it back, you love it more. You will take care of it better than before so you can’t lose it again.
Jesus, how did we get Him back? He came back to life and now He is with us and it is our responsibility to not lose Him anymore.
Deuteronomy 34:5-7, Moses was famous and everyone knew he was a powerful leader both physically and with his words but regardless of his achievements and power, God decided to take the life of Moses. God said, you worked for me and you did what I asked, now it is time to take you back. What a sad moment. Look at those millions of people following Moses. Now God is taking him away. God said, don’t worry I will give you someone to replace him but they thought, Joshua is not Moses and maybe he won’t play the same role as Moses.
When Moses passed away people cried because their beloved was removed from them. When Moses was taken by God his body where was there but Moses himself was outside of that body. They could keep that body for 600 years but the body wasn’t Moses anymore, it was a dead body.
God said He created you from the dust and you will return to the dust. We try to put that aside and don’t want to hear about that. When someone is dying, we can fast and pray loudly and cry to God because my brother is dying and you lose your joy and lose your appetite, strength and peace of mind and heart. People will be able to read the sadness on your face. Someone will maybe rub your shoulders to encourage you.
Where is the joy of death? When death hits your sister, brother or friend, do you keep your joy and say hallelujah because you have taken what belongs to me? Sometimes we feel angry and tell God He is not fair.
A few days ago my sister lost her son who was very clever and among her five children, he was the only one who would pray every morning praising God and then pray for his dad. He was only 12 years old and he was doing that since he was five. He would bless the food every time. He was an amazing boy. He got sick and in five hours he passed away. My sister told me, why does God do this to me? Why only this child? Would you give away the first born to keep him? He is God and He knows what he is doing. For the past three nights I go to bed at 4am to keep my sister company and talk with her.
God took Moses and people wondered what they can do now. In Deut 34:6, God came down and buried the body of Moses because He didn’t want [people to worship the tomb of Moses.
Whenever someone dies we know the tomb holds the body and a tomb is a place where many magicians (those that work for the power of darkness) will go to collect power to invoke the power of evil so they can perform magic. Around that area you will find evil spirits and people will go there to worship.
When we are alive we don’t think about the tomb and try to forget about death and try not to think about where we will be buried but those around us will be forced to take the responsibility when we pass away to bury us. If someone dies today, that person will say, my mission is finished. It is the responsibility of others to deal with the body. They treat that body with more respect.
Some people when they are alive are not respected at all. Their family pushes you away but once you are dead, everyone will treat your body with respect and say, this person was amazing and talk nicely about you and make jokes and forget that yesterday, they didn’t respect you or tell people about you but when you die, they will speak about you to others, “I remember such day we did this and this together”. Don’t we sometimes praise God when God is away from us? Don’t we sometimes praise ourselves when life is away from us?
People will pick up the body and think what is next. Most funerals will have a program and a committee that will organise it. Such person will do this and another will do this and they will share tasks in order to take care of this dead body but when you are alive no one shares tasks with you.
“Sister, I need five dollars”, “no I don’t have it”. “I need you to visit me”, “oh go and see the doctor” but when you die, they will sit next to you for hours and show remorse and there is no joy because the person was dear to them.
After planning, they will choose a place to be buried. You came from dust and you have to go back there. They choose a place and pay money, some places are $5000 and others up to $50,000. Those alive will have to dig the place and then with respect, calmly take you down slowly into the grave, they won’t just throw you in. Then you are covered, you are gone and finished. That is the last time we will see that person until heaven, “I’ll meet you in heaven” but you didn’t make that appointment while they were alive.
God knew the people will worship where Moses body is laid and he is a jealous God. In the church today you will see pastors, bishops, big prophets who will leave their countries to go to visit where Jesus was buried and they will worship that place and take some soil from that place and bring it back to New Zealand. Brother you are sick, take some of this soil from the tomb of Jesus and you will get healing in Jesus’ name and you will take the soil and believe God has healed me. This is a pastor, a prophet, a servant of God!
Another will walk where Jesus was baptised and say, “wow this is Jordan where Jesus was baptised. Hey give me six bottles of water to take home” and they believe this water is pure and when they start to pray for people, they will give them a small cup of water to drink because it contains power to be healed. Others will put a little on your face with the sign of the cross and you feel so blessed. Are you sure you are blessed, or cursed? It is clear from the Bible that He wants only to be worshiped and the dead is dead and He is not in the grave anymore, He is alive.
Servants of God will go to Israel to collect stuff, Jesus did miracles here, He passed here and those memories will become tools to pray, to heal and to preach. When you ask someone to pray for you and the first thing they will do is cover your head with a small piece of material from Israel and you will be asked to take special water from Israel to drink it and then you are healed. Satan has a power and he tricks people. He will make you to go in front of an empty tomb where Jesus is not there and you worship and pray with tears, “This is where your body lies, I am here with you”. Father in heaven says, “I am not here with you, I am alive”.
The tomb will make it like an ornament in order to keep the body there. Jesus’ body was kept there for three days only and those three days were not with Jesus sitting there looking at the tomb, He went to fight to take the key from Satan. He didn’t stay in the tomb. Although, He told his disciples, I will come back to life, how many believed him? First they believed He couldn’t die because He is God and then He died, so is He really going to come back to life? How often do you say, oh it’s been a long time since Jesus said He will return. He told his disciples He will come back for them. Some might think that Jesus has forgotten His appointment with us.
Once Jesus came back to life, the tomb was there but Jesus was walking around. We should move with Jesus to cities and go wherever He walks around. We should not stay in one spot stagnating. When Jesus walks, do you walk with Him? When He changes His direction, do you change your direction also? Or do you prefer to stay with the dead body because you don’t have time to follow Jesus around everywhere, “I’m not a puppet or a dog to follow you around, I need to enjoy and relax” and we try to make this Jesus to be a dead Jesus forever.
When a person is dead, you can do what you want with the body and the person won’t react. In Arab countries, they will beat the dead body as a punishment but the person is not there anymore. When you want to make Jesus to be a dead God in order to fulfil your desire, God says, “my son, you should wake up, open your eyes and ears because I am not here anymore, what you are doing is not what I asked you to do”. We promise to follow Jesus and worship him, Jesus guide me. Do we allow him to guide us? Do we really follow him? Do we treat him as an alive God?
We want to focus on the tomb like those soldiers. Are you one of those who stand there because you believe Jesus is dead? One of Jesus’ disciple, Thomas didn’t believe Jesus was alive. He went back to the grave, “I want to see Jesus, I’ll go back to the grave”. Many workers of God today start to go the graves to find the power to serve God. They will collect tools and power to perform miracles and impress human beings so that water can turn to wine, your black shirt will become green, I can pray and you will see me suspended in space. I have seen that with my eyes. When they do those things, everyone gives their offering and give money and even their houses so they can be prayed for and get blessings.
We want to see miracles but we don’t want to see where those miracles come from. We put aside discernment. Thomas went to tomb but he was good because he came back and informed others, “truly, He is gone. Maybe someone stole his body”. No one can steal Jesus from your body, He is alive. Jesus saw Thomas and Thomas said, you appear to be Jesus but I am not sure, I am doubting. Jesus said to him, come close to me, touch. Jesus didn’t tell him to touch his stomach or head but to touch where he was wounded.
Imagine you have a wound and you ask someone to touch it, only a few will say that because it will hurt. Do we have to hurt Jesus in order to believe? When you open the Bible, why don’t you just believe but you want God to appear and you can hurt Him more before you believe it. A tomb doesn’t move, Jesus left it a long time ago. Those soldiers collapsed when Jesus came alive and rushed to their bosses and told them. They were told to keep quiet with money.
Sometimes satan will tempt you by blessing you with friends or whatever you want so you can keep quiet about Jesus. Have you decided to go to pak ’n save to talk about Jesus but you reach pak ’n save and you start to decide which one you can talk to. You are afraid and you decide to run away and satan will bless you with that shyness and fear so you won’t share the gospel (it’s curse, not a blessing).
Jesus is outside of the tomb and is reminding you that the tomb belonged to Joseph. Your body doesn’t belong to you. There are those who will take you (e.g. your friends, your family, your neighbours) to a tomb while you are not dead. In my country, they can punish you by burying you alive. You can see your neighbour is driving you nuts and taking you to bury you alive and that is where you and I make a decision not to talk to that person again because their behaviour is bad. They have taken me like a dead body and so I hate my enemies instead of loving them and praying for them, I will curse them.
People can make your life hard and when that happens they want to kill your faith and trust in God and take you to a tomb that doesn’t belong to you. If you are not careful your body can react quickly with anger, lust and envy because you body accepted death.
God didn’t come down to bury Adam or David but he decided to bury Moses. Why? If you don’t know the answer, start to search. God will leave his throne in heaven for the love of glory and worship to separate the body of a dead person form the people. How often does God leave the Kingdom of God to bury the dead things in you? Who protects you and me? God. Our lives are in His hands.
When we bury someone, what does it mean? Its means to get rid of that person? It’s a culture? We were tired with that person? Think about it. If you are not buried, does it mean you didn’t die? Some bodies are not buried. Why do we have a cemetery that is embellished better than our hearts, minds and bodies.
In Huntly there is a beautiful cemetery. Graves are in order, flowers and people walk with respect, slowly and read the names and talk sadly, “oh she was only 12” and they read the stories of those written on the gravestones and then they will stand where their fathers were buried, take off their hats, bend their heads, think, look and we see them in distress and then they go back home. Some leave flowers, pots and treasures.
You can see how often we are attached to those who left us. Are you attached to the Christians who quit the gospel 20 years ago? Do you visit them? Do you think about them? We go back because we have memories and we miss them, how often do you miss those that were in Christ. Do you even remember their names or who they were? Do you remember the role they played in your church?
Joshua said, “God, take my people and take them away”. God told Moses you will lead my people to Canaan but on the way, God tells him you are not going to Canaan anymore because you hit the rock 2x and Moses says forgive me and God says no, I can only show you the city. Have you seen the heaven open in your life? Has God shown you the future which He is preparing for you and His people? Has God said no in your life and you accepted it? We very often don’t accept that word no and we think it must be satan.
I feel sick, oh must be satan. I want a new Bible and when God says no, it must be satan. What doesn’t work according to my desire, it must be satan. We forget that if something doesn’t happen, it might be God. What is the point to show Moses Canaan since he cannot enter but Moses continued to respect God. That is the country where there is milk and honey. Yuck, have you tried to mix this? How does it taste?
In Canaan there were no cows or bees so where will the milk and honey come from? If they had a few cows, those who possessed them wanted to keep them. There was plenty of camel milk but you can’t mix camel milk and honey. God doesn’t give us the meat and good life we enjoyed in Egypt. After seeing, God says, it’s enough now. How many things have God shown you, projects etc but you are not there when they are fulfilled. In 20 years’ time, this will happen, but you will not be alive in 20 years. God gives to us the picture of the church and the direction of where they are going.
How many Israelites reached Canaan? A very small number because all the adults who left Egypt (except a very few) vanished before reaching it. God who promised us the blessing but the blessing didn’t come because they didn’t obey God and preferred to live in the tomb sitting there waiting for God to do everything. Follow Jesus wherever He is going. If you want God to act in your life, also act for God. Prepare your mind and body and train yourself for what you want to do for God.
Maybe you rely on someone in your life but that person can die tomorrow. If you rely on your job, maybe it will close down like DickSmith. If you didn’t learn and prepare yourself while working at DickSmith you will regret now that it is closing down because now you have to think about job applications and where to send them. Prepare yourself for Jesus. Are you ready to receive Jesus who is coming back for you or do you want to be like Thomas and doubt and wonder if this is really Jesus coming back or someone else.
Jesus will come back like a thief. Thieves in Africa will send you a letter that they are coming for your things and you have to prepare it for them but if you leave one thing, they will kill your child. In New Zealand, they won’t warn you. Even the Prime-minister can be robbed.
When Jesus comes, He will come like a thief, it doesn’t matter who you are and what He will steal from you is grace. The grace will come away from the earth and there will be no more grace. Repentance will be gone and the Bible will be closed. The work on the cross will be stopped. The time for purification will be gone and it will now be the time for judgment.
Imagine the thief becomes the judge. He surprises you and then judges you. If you are not ready, what will you say to Him?
Let’s pray for Zoe, for that beautiful girl. She needs strength, guidance, blessings.