Wednesday, October 11, 2017
By Odon Bulamba
God of Time – Focusing on Leah & Rachel
Ephesians 5: 16
Making the most of all opportunity because the days are evil. Redeeming the time because the days are evil. Today I want to share with you a little bit about God’s time and I will link it with what we started last time and today I will talk about the wives of Jacob. First, I will talk about God’s time. Before anything else existed, God brought into existence time because without time, nothing exists.
In Ecclesiastes, it says that there is a time for everything, even creation. God had time for creating. In Genesis, it says that there is a time for the spirit to move upon the water. On the first day, He created from morning to evening and all was based on the time. Maybe at 6am, God started to plan what He will do today and God was creating one item after another. There was no time for distraction, or wasting time and He forgot completely about His Godliness and put time first.
What is God teaching me about time? What does God want me to learn about Him working from morning to evening and then take a break. God doesn’t feel tired but He stopped in the evening and continued in the morning. God’s time doesn’t stop and moves on until the end. Time moves forward. We can change the time on the clock but time keeps moves forward.
You can’t stall God’s time and try to use it tomorrow. We can postpone appointments with our friend but for God, when time passes, you can’t catch up, it passes forever. What Ange sung last Sunday won’t be the same as this Sunday even if she uses the same voice and the same songs, it won’t be the same, it will be different circumstances.
Jesus our saviour thanked God for the time God gave to Him, “I have completed my work in the time frame”.
When I was conceived, I was nothing and as time passed I was developing in my mum’s womb and then I was a baby and as time moved forward, I became a child and today I am an adult. I can’t stop growing old even if I go to a doctor to change my face or change my date of birth on my passport, I can’t change the time.
We have to be wise with our time because these days are not good days. What do you do with your time? Six days God created and then He left it. On the second day He created something different and on third day and so on. We were created in God’s image. What do we create each day that is different from yesterday?
God created trees, oh they are not good by themselves, I need birds. He adds on what He did yesterday to produce more and all look beautiful. Fish in the water, be there. Beautiful. I need someone here to take care of everything. Whatever God created at that time and today His creation continues to produce food and fresh air for us. He didn’t create it to disappear after two days. His good deeds are continuous.
When you do good deeds yesterday, that is enough. I moved the chairs last week so someone else can do it next week and we try to limit what we do because we are selfish. Someone told me they go to work because they need money not because they love their job or to support others. How do you invest in your time? We have all learnt that time is money. Time is precious.
What you do with your time is an investment in Kingdom of God. How do you use it? When time passes, you can’t bring it back.
Laban, the father-in-law of Jacob, had two daughters. Leah, the first born wasn’t married yet and Laban looked at the time and realised Leah was growing old, time won’t let her go back to being young. When Jacob arrived, Laban maybe thought, now is the opportunity for someone to marry in my family. Maybe they were distracted or no one was there to marry Leah but now Jacob is there to marry Rachel and not Leah. “God what can I do to help my daughter?”
We don’t know how often Leah was crying to God to find a husband. We don’t know how often she was grieving because she wanted her own family and she was counting the years passing. You can see how time is flying. It’s only ten minutes but it turns into an hour. If you don’t plant seeds in that 10 minutes, you will see that hour gone.
Laban thought if I tell Jacob what I want to do, Jacob may turn Leah away so I will have to give Jacob his wife during the night. God has split time into two: day and night. Do we really need darkness? No, when we wake up, we need light. Why did God create darkness? Why did God sacrifice half the time to be darkness? Why didn’t He make 20 hours of daylight so we could do what we want to do and only 4 hours for night. There is a reason for that.
Laban came at night time, “Jacob, your wife is here”. Jacob had worked 7 years for Rachel. Jacob started with one minute, then one week, one month and then one year and then for 7 years he was a slave because he loved Rachel. What type of love is that? Working so hard without salary for that person. For 7 days, God worked so hard for his love and your love (7th day he rested) to teach humanity that working is very important and working walks in parallel with time.
Jacob didn’t remember the importance of time. He didn’t tell Laban to wait until the morning, it’s late maybe bring my wife early in the morning. Because Jacob had no mention of time, he believed it is fine. Do you know what happens during the night when you sleep? You can’t control your body, your mind shuts down and your eyes are closed and you dream. You can be in your house but be in the US in your dream. A time of confusion, a horrible time. You don’t want anyone to touch you and wake you up. Your body doesn’t want to function during that time.
Jacob received Leah during that time. Time is very important. Even the oxygen you are breathing, what do you do with it? When you try to pull in the breath, it is a work. What does it produce? Sometimes you pull it in because of anger. When you are walking it is a work, you must make an effort and after walking you have to produce something. When I leave here, I must walk around the Base and God asks me, “Is it beautiful what you planned today?” Then what? How does this help your family and those coming after you? How does what you are doing help others. God gave all to help us, why can’t we help others.
Laban gave Leah to Jacob to help. When I can’t produce something I have to find another way. If I can’t preach, why not pray for those who preach to preach. Rachel couldn’t give birth so gave Jacob to her servant to produce offspring. If I can’t pray, why not support those with the gift to support them with my prayers. However, we very often think, because I can’t preach, that is not my job to read the Bible, others can read it for me and bring message on Sunday. My job is to watch tv and whatever pleases me.
God’s time can’t be changed. I can’t wear the same clothes I wore as a child. The clothes can be the same for 50 years but children will change their appearance. If you will never be the same again, why do you try to make yourself to be the same. My job is tv and you make yourself stuck there and you don’t want to move.
You promised God when you were saved to work for Jesus. Add flesh to giving your life to Jesus, He needs to see your actions and your faith. This is a dangerous time. My phone distracts me, it is a danger. You can spend hours on it. Spiritually, you forget God. When I watch a tv series, it is a danger and I can forget about God’s time. When food is there, we can adore it more than God, I love it, it tastes so good. How often have you said in front of others that you love God?
Time is more important and Leah understood time was precious and she took more servants to produce more children for her husband because the time that was given to us is the time to produce for God. Jesus came down to produce something. He came for a job and when He had finished that was when He left. We are here to produce for God and not for ourselves. When I work I produce my money for myself. Even offering to God at church can be a problem for some people.
God gave us everything for our own use but when it’s time to create for others, we think 20x. The time God has given us is limited. Keith Green had a time. God gave him the talent. That time has finished. What we are doing now produces something and although people enjoy it today, it will not be the same tomorrow because God will say it is finished. Then we can cry like Jesus, my father why have you forsaken me? This is your time to produce for God, today.
Sunday, October 8, 2017
By Hayley Boud
I have been watching a TV program called about a women detective called Miss Fisher. It is set in the 1920’s. Two of the characters are young and about to get married. Hugh is protestant while Dot is catholic. Dot wants to get married in the catholic church and the only way that can happen is for Hugh to become a catholic. The priest has given Hugh a pamphlet about the catholic faith and now they are meeting together to discuss it with Dot present.
The priest asks Hugh, do you have any questions? Hugh says, it all seems pretty clear to me but I just have one question, is it true that the wife has to submit to her husband? Dot looks at Hugh with a face that says, what? The priest says, yes that is correct. Dot asks the priest, surely that isn’t for today, the bible is very old, that must have been for the old time. The priest says, no, the Bible is the same today as it was yesterday, it doesn’t change. Hugh says, oh, I think I’m going to like being a catholic. Dot looks unhappy.
Watching the program made me laugh but also made me think of some questions around submission:
1. What does the Bible say about submission?
2. Why was Dot unhappy about submitting to Hugh?
3. What is submission?
4. What are the consequences of not being submitted?
5. Given that God has commanded that we submit, what are the benefits of submitting?
6. How to be submitted?
1. What does the Bible say about submission?
James 4:7, “submit therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you”
Ephesians 5:21, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ
Ephesians 5:22-23, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything”.”
2. Why was Dot unhappy about submitting to Hugh?
For Dot, she was unhappy about submitting to Hugh because she knew that he would ask her to give up her job and become a stay-at-home mother. Dot didn’t want to do that. She was afraid of losing something that made her happy. I think that is the same for most of us, we don’t want to submit because we fear losing something that we want to keep. Most of the time, it comes back to our pride that we don’t want to give up.
3. What is submission?
The Greek word for submission in James 4:7 is “Hupotasso” which means to place in an orderly fashion.
Christ has the supreme the supreme rule. He is above all other gods, people, ourselves etc. Then our husbands, then others. We need to see that the order is not to put ourselves first but to put ourselves last. To put our ideas, our desires, our plans, our time, our needs last and to put others’ ideas, desires, plans and time first.
E.g. I might see that things could be done a easier or better way but maybe my boss doesn’t want to listen. I can explain my point of view and then leave it. If they don’t want to listen, submit to their way. Can anyone think of other examples they have faced during the week where they had to submit to others?
E.g. a husband might recognise you are right when you tell him that the towel belongs on the towel rail and not on the floor. Pick up the towel without saying a word is to submit. Putting your husband’s needs before your own.
4. What are the consequences of not submitting?
James 4:7, says the word “therefore” which means we should have a look at the previous verses 1-6. There were quarrels, lust, murder, envy, hate, wrong motives. These are the consequences of not being submitted. You will not have peace in your life. In verse 6 it says that God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.
Pride causes quarrels because we have to be right and keep arguing our point. Pride causes lust because we want to have what we don’t. E.g. I see Ange with a new pair of shoes, I lust after them and my pride makes me want a pair too so everyone will see me with beautiful shoes. Pride makes us commit murder in our hearts when we hate someone, e.g. they wronged me, I hate them. Pride causes envy, “I need that car” because we want others to give us glory. Pride causes us to ask for things with a wrong motive, “God make that person sick for the way they treated me”.
5. What are the benefits of submitting?
The benefit of submission is that you will live a life that is without quarrels, envy, lust, hatred but instead live a life that is peaceful. Who doesn’t want a peaceful life?
6. How to be submitted?
James 4:7 tells us that humility is the tool needed for submission. If we are humble we will submit to other people’s ideas and not have to argue with them. If we are humble, we will submit to God, others and our husbands. Other tools that help is love and especially patience (fruit of love). If we are humble, have love for one another and are patient, we will easily submit. It’s only when our pride gets in the way that we make it hard for ourselves.
E.g. “husband, why do you leave your mess everywhere, can’t you see I just cleaned up, don’t you love me? If you loved me you wouldn’t do this to me”. That’s women logic. We think that if someone doesn’t do what we want, it means they don’t love us instead of realising that when we complain and are not submitted, we are the ones that don’t love.
Any other tools that you can think of that is needed to be submitted?
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
By Colleen Podmore
In the book of Acts, we read how the Lord gave His Apostles the task of testifying to His resurrection as eye witnesses.
Matthew’s gospel proclaims his resurrection (Matt 28:7, he has risen from the dead’)
Mark, a disciple of the apostle Peter writes, ‘Don’t be alarmed..He has risen’ (Mark 16:6)
Luke the doctor who associated with the Apostles but was not an Apostle also testifies, (Luke 24:7)
John also proclaims the resurrection (John 20:9)
Luke confirms it again in the letter he wrote called Acts. He says in Acts 1:3, ‘many convincing proofs that he was alive…’
Acts 1:22 states why the remaining 11 apostles thought they should replace Judas, who betrayed Jesus.
They say, ‘For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection’.
Peter testifies in Acts 2:32, ‘God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.’
And again in Acts 3:15, ‘You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this’
Acts 4:2, ‘They were greatly disturbed because the Apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead’
The fact of the resurrection has profound implications for us 2 000 years later.
The gospels and Acts are testifying to the resurrection. Most of the rest of the New Testament comprises letters that Paul wrote to the churches in the regions where he had planted them.
Paul teaches more theology and describes in detail how Christians should live.
Paul who never met Jesus before his crucifixion also testifies that Jesus is alive through the encounter he had on the road to Damascus when Jesus spoke to him after which Paul became a follower of Jesus Christ.
Paul was a really remarkable man – we know quite a lot about him through his writings and he also has some autobiographical parts in his letters. (Phil 3:5).
He also tells us what motivated him, what drove him on to do all he did and how he survived persecution, disappointments and suffering. He spent the rest of his life proclaiming the gospel. He believed whole-heartedly, without reservation that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and that His Name is the only Name by which we can be saved and that He is alive. Everything that he had achieved up to that point which may be to his credit, he considered as rubbish (Phil 3:7), in comparison to knowing Jesus.
Philippians 3:10 – this was Paul’s heart’s desire – what he lived for and worked toward. He said,
‘I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead’ (NIV)
Paul writes, ‘I want to know Christ’ – interesting!
He didn’t say ‘I wish I had of known Christ when he was alive’ or ‘I want to know more about Christ, let me talk to the people who knew him personally’, but he said, ‘I want to know Him’ – because he knew without a shadow of doubt that Jesus is alive!
Jesus is alive! The Bible testifies this through the eye witnesses at the time and the testimony of many who have met Jesus down through the ages and Paul, perhaps the greatest Apostle testifies that he can know him in a personal intimate way.
Which is good news for us, because like Paul we have not seen Jesus, we have heard of Him and we know a lot about him but we can also know Him personally because He is alive, not as we are but in a new resurrected dimension.
Knowing Jesus and knowing Paul - Our minds testify to this, for example I really admire Paul but I would never think that I could know him as I can know Jesus. Paul is dead and will one day be resurrected but not yet and therefore I can only know about him.
In fact Jesus invites us to know him as a friend as a lover, as a brother, as a husband, as our Father – all the relationships we have on earth are kind of a shadow of what real intimacy with God looks like.
I want to know Christ – how do I do this?
We do need to know about him – we do need to read about him in the gospels, hear about him through preachers but real knowing comes through spending time together, talking with him and walking with him through all the ups and downs of life. Like any relationship, if it is neglected it will die.
In conclusion let us press on toward the goal of knowing Him. There is a song we sing ‘The Greatness of our God’ and a line in it which says, ‘I spend my life to know and I’m far from close to all you are’
And Paul felt the same way – his goal was to know Christ and yet he felt far from achieving that goal. It is our life’s work as it was for Paul!
Paul confesses, perhaps like us that he hasn’t got there yet but he ‘presses on’ (Phil 3:12) as we also must do. Let us not give up, but make it our goal to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering, becoming like him in his death and somehow we also will attain to the resurrection from the dead! Amen.
Monday, October 2, 2017
By Colleen Podmore
At home, we have a new friend living with us. He is very loyal to us, always happy to see us when we turn up, no matter what the hour. He always comes to greet us and accepts the odd rebuke and is always forgiving. His name is Jimmy and he is a puppy.
I called him a friend – but is this correct? Can a dog be a friend? Can an animal be a friend?
Strictly speaking, no, because the definition of a ‘friend’ is a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relationships. I may experience this bond of mutual affection with an animal but they are not people so they are more companions than friends.
I know a couple who have been friends for about 10 years and are now more than friends. They are still friends but a better description of their changed relationship is they are boyfriend and girlfriend. A friend is someone exclusive of sexual relations.
At the place where I work there are about 80 people that I know. I wouldn’t describe them as friends – more like acquaintances.
I, like you have many relations scattered around the country and world. They are relatives, some may be friends as well but not because they are relatives.
The term ‘friend’ is often used very generally to describe many relationships and in some sense I think that the idea behind the word is lost. Having friends and being a friend is one of the most important relationships for people. You may be an orphan and single and still be blessed because a friend is always possible.
A friend is a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual and family relationships. A friend is someone with whom we have common interests. Friends do things together, care about each other. Anyone can be a friend and can have friends.
What do we look for in friends? What sort of friend do we want to be?
Do we cultivate friends who push us nearer to God, spurring us on to love and good deeds. And are we friends like that?
In conclusion, it says in John 15:13 ‘Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”
Jesus laid down his life on a cross for his friends – that’s you and me.
Our friend Jesus has asked us to remember Him in only one way and that is through His death on the cross, the bread we eat represents His body broken on the cross, a substitute for our sin, taking the penalty of our sin on Himself, giving His life as a ransom for many.
‘Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends’
We also take the cup, representing his life. The Bible says that life is in the blood (Lev 17:11). His life given for our redemption. What a friend we have in Jesus.
Let us never neglect our friends and our friend Jesus is particular
Lord we thank you for your sacrifice on the cross for our sin. We have come now to specifically remember that and thank you for dying in our place.
Please bless both the bread and the juice as we eat and drink together,
In Your Name Jesus, Amen.