Wednesday, September 26, 2018
We have to follow the steps to prepare our way to heaven. Life is very short and we can’t change that so we have to seize all opportunities from it in order to prepare for the next life, eternal life. When I was young, I used to tell my parents I wanted to die when I was 250 years old. My father told me, it’s not up to you because whenever the Master of life says, “it is finished for you”, you can’t change it.
Without preparation, we won’t see you in the Kingdom of God. When I was 7 years old I lost my friend who was my neighbour and my father said, “see even children can die”. I was offended, why does God kill children, He should first take the old first. I believed children shouldn’t die.
Mathew 24:10, many will be offended and betray one another and hate one another. Our life is based on this. We think on these three things every day, offended, betrayed and hatred. Sometimes in your life, maybe several times, people have offended you. How do you feel when you are offended? Do you feel angry, disappointed, and feel that you should never come close to them anymore, do you feel humiliated and do you hate them?
“Many will be offended”. To be offended is natural. Recently I was offended. I was leaving China coming back to New Zealand. At the airport, I asked the lady at that counter, “can I sit at A?” and I was told yes. When I boarded the plane, the seat that I was given wasn’t an A (isle seat) but I had to sit in the middle which meant I disturbed people when I went to the toilet. During the night, it was time to go to toilet and I asked the lady next to me, “can I pass?” and the lady became annoyed and in my heart I felt bad. Later I had to go to the toilet again and that time the lady said, “is that the way you live in Africa?”
Those who made this airplane made it specifically for you Aussies and Kiwis. It’s not my fault the seats are so jammed in. I came back and the guy next to me said, “don’t worry, I know you are offended but take it easy”. Sometimes when we don’t understand we can easily offend people. When we don’t put ourselves in other’s shoes, we can offend. Your appearance can push me to talk negatively about you and offend you.
Most of the time when we offend it is based on what we see, hear or think. 90% of the time we are wrong and are even worse than the person we are offending. It’s also hard to go back and ask for forgiveness. When was the last time you offended someone? Sometimes we don’t know we have offended. In the heart of the other, it boils up and they consider it over and over again and it may take weeks or even years to get over.
Christian’s talk about “stumbling block”. When you offend someone, they feel like you are not worthy to be a friend. To be offended is hard. You can be strong physically or mentally but when you are offended you lose your peace. That is the time that sin comes in because you will react or even overreact.
Now God, our Lord is giving us signs of the time. People will offend us. What should we do when we are offended? We need to remember it is just a test to see how strong you are in patience and how much you love yourself and others. Take a deep breath and let life move on and forgive them otherwise you will put yourself in the position where you will think negatively about the person and talk about them behind their back. You might spread the news all over the place so others will defend you and that is gossip. Then you are killing your soul.
“People will start to betray each other”. Has that happened to you? They go out and talk and betray you. Once when I was in primary school, I was extremely naughty. You know the glue for fixing tyre punctures, it is very strong. I took the glue to class and I applied glue to the chair of the teacher. Per the culture of our school, all the students stand up when the teacher walks in and boys must bow down in front of the teacher. I didn’t like to bow down so I applied the glue on the chair. I watched while others bowed down. She sat down and talked and after a few minutes she tried to stand up but the chair was stuck to her. The whole class was laughing and I felt so good to do something naughty. When she pulled herself off the chair, she was offended and very angry.
In Africa, at that time, your teacher could smack you and if you tell your parents that you were smacked by the teacher, your parents will add more smacking. Each student had to go in front of the class and she smacked each child’s calves. The children would cry, “it’s not me”. Some children started to lie because of the pain. Most of the children started crying before to be beaten. When it was my friend’s turn, he told on me. I lied and said, “no, it’s not me”. Then my friend gave the empty glue tube to the teacher. I was beaten like a snake all over my body. I left the classroom and ran outside and smashed the windows of the classroom with stones.
I was betrayed, I got angry and smashed the windows. My headmaster called my parents. When my father looked at me, I knew I had to confess, “I smashed the windows because the teacher beat me”. When I explained why, my father used his hands to slap me and then kicked me in front of the children and stepped away, “you have to repent”. Not sorry but repent. Repentance means I will never do this again. I was crying and repenting but that was not the end of the story.
At home, for almost a week, I was punished because I had offended my dad by abusing the school. His reputation was lowered and then he had to fix all the windows. I put myself, my father and my family name in trouble. That is the fruit of someone betraying me. When you are betrayed, how do you react? How do you feel? You feel like killing that person. When you have that feeling, you are sinning. Those will not enter the Kingdom of God.
“People will hate one another”. This is common. People will hate you just because of who you are or because you don’t look like them or for no reason. In Africa, many will ask you, “where are you from?” If I am from a different part of Africa there will automatically be a big block. People will hate you just because you are from a different tribe. What did you pay to God to be born the way you are? Nothing.
The first language in Kenya is English and for Kenyans, if you don’t speak English it means you didn’t go to school and they minimise you. Once when I was in Kenya, I went to see the Minister of Affairs and he said, “I can’t speak to you because you are illiterate”. I said, “No I am here to talk to you. I just need an interpreter”. Then with the interpreter, the Minister was surprised that I could talk the way I did.
The Bible says that hatred is at the same level as murder.
Those three words from verse 10, what can we learn from them? How do I offend myself? How often do you offend yourself? Secondly how often do I betray myself, my body and my soul? When you see the betrayal, repent. Maybe we used to lie or steal or other things that are not good to our souls, that is to hate ourselves, offend ourselves and betray ourselves. How often do I offend, betray or hate God?
Do you remember the taste of water? You can tell its water by tasting it. But can you taste it when you offend yourself? When you do such actions, you move forward but God is reminding us that as a sign of the end of the time that people will betray, hate and offend each other. Salvation is personal. Inside us is three parts, body, heart and soul. My body can offend my soul and body. Most of the time we defend ourselves because we want to please our body.
Oscar was sick on Friday night and he felt pain in his chest at 1am and decided it could wait. In the morning after all had left the house, he became very sick. He didn’t know who to call. He ended up in hospital where he spent the whole day. Sometimes our bodies feel strong and we think that things can’t shake us. In the Kingdom of God, there is no being strong because we are all weak. Through our weaknesses, God gives us strength because He recognises we are weak.
Oscar went through many tests and discovered he had many problems but he was shocked because he didn’t know it. How many things are wrong in my heart, in my life? That’s why the doctor of doctors is Jesus and we need to go to Jesus for a medical check-up, “forgive me Jesus for things I don’t even know”. That is what God is wanting to hear from you every single day and when you do that, you are a friend of God. If you have offended anyone, fix the problem, “I’m sorry, forgive me”.
After this life, you will live in the Kingdom of God. If you say that you can never ask for forgiveness then you will choose the path to hell. Many people swear using the word hell. Hell exists, it is not a myth. Think about the hell. Do you want to spend eternity there? I will not wish it for any person. Your destiny is the Kingdom of God which is heaven. Prepare yourself, God loves you.
Sunday, September 9, 2018
Time is not waiting for us and is passing so fast. What you saw yesterday has gone and you will not see it again. We are living today by grace and we are not sure what will happen tomorrow so hold onto what you have now because in the future, it may not be yours. Be proud what God has given to you now because you don’t know what will happen tomorrow.
I’m happy to be here this morning and I wasn’t sure if I could make it but by God’s grace, I am here.
1 Samuel 1, Samuel is a prophet we all know. Before Samuel existed, someone else was there, the parents of Samuel. Today I want to share about the parents of Samuel. Elkanah was the father of Samuel. He was rich because he could afford to marry two wives. Elkanah married the first wife, Peninnah and after that he took the second wife who was the mother of Samuel, her name was Hannah.
Those two wives lived together in the Samuel’s place. One, Peninnah, was blessed and could give birth to children but Hannah could not give birth. God decided to close Hannah’s womb. Hannah was so beautiful and she was a kind and committed wife and had the qualities of women of that time could have but one thing was missing and that was to have a child.
In the old time, every women from the community of Joshua wanted to give birth because God promised Eve in the garden of Eden, the child that you will give birth to will do something against satan. Satan will bite the heal of the child and the child will defeat satan. It was a race for every single women to give birth to a boy because you never know, maybe it will be the one to fulfil that promise, the child who will defeat satan. It was ike a competition.
When Elkanah took Hannah, it was a big ceremony. When we come to Jesus, He says, I want you to be my wife, be my partner and walk by my side, we will have a wedding ceremony. When women prepare for their wedding there is happiness, excitement, counting down the time. That joy was growing bigger in Hannah’s heart because she knew that very soon she will live with Elkanah, “Very soon I will get pregnant, give birth and have descendants and maybe one of my children will be the child to defeat satan”.
That joy of getting married can make people not to sleep thinking about the big ceremony and what to wear etc. Then when Hannah was living with her husband, things changed. The wedding has gone and now she is the wife of the house: cooking, cleaning, washing, doing different activities for her husband and family and her deep desire was to have a child. Meanwhile the other wife was giving birth maybe every year.
Hannah was wondering what was going on. How come she can give birth but I can’t? It didn’t stop there. Peninnah started to mock Hannah. Even if Hannah was good in cooking Peninnah will say, “yeah, you might be good in cooking but shame on you, you didn’t have a child”.
Every year the community of Jewish people will go to give God offerings and during that time Elkanah would take his two wives and children and share money or what his family had to offer to God. Although everybody was happy Hannah was sad and miserable because she didn’t have a child.
Jesus has made us to be his wife and expects us to give birth to children but the shocking thing is that Christians don’t care if they don’t give birth. What is to give birth? To make disciples. Paul wrote, some people are called His children. You can have a spiritual mother/father meaning that someone brought the gospel to you and you are saved. Jesus is waiting to see what kind of fruit you will produce because if you don’t produce fruit, you will be cut off. You can be a wife of Jesus but when you don’t produce (even if you have nice green leaves) if there is no fruit, there is the chance to be cut off and thrown in the fire.
The birth that we will give, that is what will defeat satan. If I have the fruit of kindness and I am kind, it is not easy for satan to defeat me. I should be kind to my soul and that will make me to not sin. All the fruit that you will bare will help you to defeat satan and once you fail to carry the fruit of the Holy Spirit but instead carry the fruit of the flesh, you will be defeated.
Hannah needed to give birth, this was the pain of her heart and the problem inside of her. The husband was like, I am worthy more than 10 children to you. If Jesus is here, that is enough but we should produce fruit. To have Jesus in your life is not enough. If you want to follow Jesus, you have to carry your own cross which is your soul. For your soul to be alive, you need to produce. That is why the Word of God says, faith without action is dead.
The church will tell you today, I trust in Jesus and He is doing everything for me. No, Jesus should not do everything for you. You have some responsibilities. There is a contract in the life of Jesus. Yes, Jesus I will marry you, yes, I will follow you for the rest of my life. Remember the first disciples, Jesus said follow me and those disciples left everything, their jobs, their families and all that they enjoyed in life and followed Jesus,
Then after a time, He started to tell them that He will die. The disciples must have wondered, what will become of me if you die? I left everything to follow you. We must follow Jesus and surrender all and know it is only for a short time, we might lose everything because of Him.
Hannah was provoked by Peninnah, “Your beauty is nothing because you don’t give birth”. Your womb is empty. Sometimes God will bring you in front of situations where there is mocking, people criticise you and nothing you do is pleasing to others. Hannah realised her help will never come from a human being, “I should bring it all to God”.
Hannah went to the place of offering and opened her heart and started to pray, “Lord listen to me, this is the pain that I have been going through”. Today in the church before to pray people start to think about what they will say when they pray and they start to choose their words carefully and use maybe words that they have memorised. The one who is going through pain and hardship won’t have time to search for beautiful words but will break down in tears and spew it all in front of God.
Hannah cried in front of God, expressing her feelings. When you pray, how often do you cry to God? How long do you take to kneel down to tell God about your problems and how often do you admit that the only solution is God. Hannah couldn’t eat. When you have a serious problem - that is the best time to come to God and bring it all out.
In the church we look left and right to see who is next to me. I concentrate on what is next to me and I lower my voice and I forget that this is my time with my Lord and I shouldn’t be distracted.
By praying Hannah asked for a son, “if you give me this boy, I will give him back to you”. What a big contract, what a powerful prayer. If you fulfil my prayer, in return that is what you will get God. After some time God fulfilled Hannah’s desire. Hannah became pregnant. You may be walking with Jesus every time but when you haven’t had time yet to kneel before God and present all your problems, it will just be a routine of prayer without changes. If you take your situation seriously, God will take your situation seriously.
It will be monotonous – repeating the Samuel prayer every time. Why do you go to church? Because it’s Sunday, because others go, to meet with others, to read the Bible or is it to meet with Jesus and to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit? I need to be seen as a mother who cares.
Adam was a man and he couldn’t do everything by himself. Eve was given to Adam to help him. You are the Eve of the church. He has given you a body, spirit and mind that should produce and multiply. When the Holy Spirit enters you and you conceive, do you keep that pregnancy or do you cause it to abort? Do you keep the Word of God or do you destroy it because you don’t want to become a true Christian and give birth? We are all weak but when we kneel before him, He intervenes.
Hannah was pregnant. I’m sure she was walking proud. Her husband loved Hannah more than Peninnah. Now maybe Elkanah wanted to spend more time with Hannah. Peninnah was becoming jealous. Do you know how many people God will put aside just for you, “I want to listen to you Levi because you are bearing something in you”.
After giving birth everything went well but the challenge came because she had promised to give her son back to God. Imagine having to give your first born away. Not easy. How much are you women attached to your babies? Here for Hannah, she understood that soon her son must leave.
What contract have you taken with your God? When your child is taken away, when will you see him again? Hannah didn’t give the child away on the first year but took him on the second year and gave him to Eli. When you are blessed with something and you are given something that you have been asking for, do you also give back to God what you promised to do?
We often say God give me strength and I will praise you. When God gives us strength, do we then praise Him? God give me this job and I will do this for you. When we get the job, do we keep our promise? Very often we fail. When we fail we try to find excuses and those excuses are unfounded.
Jesus is reminding us today, do you want to carry your cross, follow me. I will give to you what you need but what you have promised to me, give back to me. How often do we lie? If you give me strength I will go to the Wednesday meeting but on Wednesday you decide you are too tired, you break your contract.
When one party fails to keep their part of the contract, then the contract fails. If I don’t pay Tyrone who agreed to paint my house, then there is a conflict. Very often we create a conflict with God by engaging in a contract and not fulfilling it. Shouldn’t we repent? We have been lying to you God and giving false promises although you continue to bless us, we continue to lie to you and think our God is blind and doesn’t know what is happening. God knows.
Eli saw Hannah praying and he thought she was drunk. When was the last time you were praying and people thought you were drunk? I’ve never been drunk but those that get drunk forget about themselves and stumble when they walk. A power seizes them and they see three roads instead of one and can’t walk straight. They can walk through things and not feel pain and don’t feel shame or shy. The next morning they feel the pain.
Do you get lost in prayers? If not then ask God to teach you how to get lost in prayers and get drunk in prayers so God can resolve your problems. E.g. Pentecost. When was the last time you sang and danced for your God and people thought that you were drunk? When was the last time in your bedroom that you shouted and prayed as a drunk person? When you are drunk you don’t choose your words, whatever comes you spew it out. God loves it when you spew it all out to Him.
God understands you, your feelings. Put your feelings in your prayer. Don’t let God feel like you are boring when you are praying. You might not find time again so give it to Him now.
When you have children that don’t talk and are shy, how do we feel? One time I took one of my children somewhere and in front of everybody she was supposed to say two words but she couldn’t. Instead of talking, she kept coming back to me. Everybody understood that she wasn’t confident. When you are confident, then everybody will open their eyes and try to listen to what you are saying. Tell God to build up your confidence like Hannah.
Hannah knew very well that her last solution is God, “I don’t have to take revenge against Peninnah or keep things in my heart. What people say doesn’t matter but what matters is what I’m telling my God”. Once you reach that stage in life you will know how to carry your cross. Remember our time is very short. Very soon, God will ask you, “give your life back to Me now”.
Everything that God gives to you, it is not yours and you will give it back to Him. Are you ready to give it back to Him?
Saturday, September 8, 2018
The Word hides eternal life. Through the Word of God you discover life and without that Word there is no salvation. I encourage people to go back to the Word of God and don’t rely on what people say or write. Go back to the Bible yourself and read it.
Today is Pentecost. All corners of the world celebrate the day that the Holy Spirit came down and the first church started. This dream day, the day that the disciples of Jesus were waiting for the promise of Jesus. He told them to be in one place and wait for the power of the Holy Spirit to come down. He didn’t tell them to gather to eat, party, laugh or to enjoy but to wait for something that is going to take place.
God left Adam and Eve in the garden and in the evening, He would come back. God said, “I will send a redeemer “. Then people waited years for Jesus to be born. Without waiting, we live without hope. Our hope builds its foundations in waiting. When we wait, we must know what we are waiting for. The people of that time were waiting for the messiah but when He came they did not recognise him. They missed the point.
Jesus left and said He would send the Holy Spirit, you have to wait. That day in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came down from heaven. Remember before Pentecost the disciples had the Holy Spirit because Jesus had breathed on them but this day the Holy Spirit would act outside the box. On the day of Pentecost God opened the doors.
People from Africa and Asia came on that day and on that hour at 9am, all those people were gathered there and suddenly they started to hear the disciples speaking in their own languages. These people are not from our country but they can speak our languages. How intelligent is the Holy Spirit. He brought those people there and then let them hear messages in their own languages. Acts 2:12, amazed and perplexed they asked one another what this means.
What does Pentecost mean to you? Penta means 50. 50 days after Jesus resurrection. What does 50 mean to you? To remember that the Holy Spirit came down? We will see the disciples talking about salvation. Peter preaching. All those who came before and after Jesus have been talking about the gospel and salvation. Why is this day special? If someone asks you about Pentecost, what will you say? Pentecost was not only for Christians but for the worst in the world to come back to Jesus and repent. Why was Holy Spirit sent down?
John 14:26, to teach us things about God. Do you want to know about God? The main reference will be the Holy Spirit. If you want to understand the teaching, go close to the Holy Spirit and tell Him to teach you. Don’t ask for another human being but the Holy Spirit. Put aside my personal opinion and only learn from the Holy Spirit. The world is confused because many people listen to good speakers and think everything they say must be true and we become fans of that pastor rather than Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2: 10, but God has revealed it to us by His spirit. The Holy Spirit can search things that are hidden, things of God, not only of human beings. If you want to know about God, the best person to go to is the Holy Spirit. Today we try to limit the Holy Spirit to the power He has but the Holy Spirit is more than power. It is also more than normal intelligence because He can go deep into knowledge of God.
In New Zealand we have intelligence services and someone can read all that is on your computer. Although Kim Dotcom was so intelligent and could use the computer properly but the intelligence services had access to all his information. Likewise, the Holy Spirit knows everything, your mind, your spirit, your body. The Holy Spirit will be there to help you and He is not there for you to run from. He is in us because He wants us to know Him and understand Him deeply. We tell God that we want to understand Him, then the Holy Spirit says, “you have Me in you”.
If the Holy Spirit is in me, how do I live with him? How do I let Him operate in me? Before He left, Jesus said, “I will send you the Holy Spirit. He will be there to guide you” (John 16). If the Holy Spirit guides me, how often do I ask Him to guide me and in what do I ask for guidance? To guide means to show, how and when. You can’t guide someone who already knows. If I know the way to Huntly I won’t need a guide. The Holy Spirit is there to guide us in the things we don’t know, step by step, explaining to us how it works and how things should be, how to eat and sleep etc. That is the role of the Holy Spirit.
King Solomon wanted wisdom and intelligence when God asked him what he wanted. Our wisdom and intelligence today is the Holy Spirit because he searches even the mind of God. Tell him, help me to understand things and He will take you step by step through the ways you should live.
1 Corinthians 2:11, who knows your thoughts? Only your spirit. My intelligence knows what I am thinking. The spirit of human beings is only one role to manipulate. You can see a 2 year old child trying to manipulate their parents. That is the human spirit which is opposite to God’s spirit which is to teach us and guide us and show that Jesus is the true God.
Pentecost means 50. What do you think when you see 50? What does it mean for you? A small 5 and a zero. What does 50% mean? Half. This is a half: you must know that this half belongs to x and this half belongs to y. Your life is not yours. Although you can make a decision, remember you don’t have to make the decision by yourself. Consult the Holy Spirit.
My mother used to say to me at the 50th minute of this hour, what did you do? At the 50th day of this year, what did you do? After 50 minutes, it will soon be end of the hour, what will I do with remaining 10 minutes? “Holy Spirit step in because I have been doing things for myself for the last 50 minutes”.
We only want the Holy Spirit to see miracles or to speak in tongues. The Holy Spirit is always with you but you don’t have time to talk to Him. It’s like me having my phone sitting next to Anna and I can be busy on my phone while Anna is there, can we talk? Today, the world, the nature, our bodies distract us a lot and we forget about the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. We work like people who don’t even care about Holy Spirit. We sing for the Holy Spirit to come, “let it rain” and He will say, “I have rained already, I am here and everything is wet, it’s now up to you”.
You see people at work, university, and church, and driving using social media (texting, Facebook etc). Tyrone wants to be a friend of Prasad and Prasad ignores him. How will Tyrone feel? You may give up. God has chosen you and saved you and given His Son to die for you and the Holy Spirit is living in you but you ignore God for 20 years of him running after you. He may give up on you too.
On the day of Pentecost, the gate was opened for the rest of the world. This is the first church. You and I are the church of God, how often does the Holy Spirit guide us? If you want to know how to be guided by Holy Spirit, then read the Bible. To know how to make Holy Spirit and Jesus your friend, all is written in Word of God and it’s just a matter of us reading it and concentrating.
Pentecost is a wakeup call for the church. The prophet Micah said, “at end of the day the spirit will come upon humanity”. The Spirit of God is in our lives and we are living in the end of the days but I prefer to go to Asia to see a prophet to know about my life instead of getting guidance from the Holy Spirit (we seek human beings instead of the Holy Spirit). You have the message from the Holy Spirit but many people are now choosing the wrong path and being misled because we put our faith and hope in human beings while that spirit can only control the intelligence of human being.
The Holy Spirit will live in you so tell Him yourself your situation then you will see God coming closer to you. If I give my prayer requests to others, I become lazy. We need to pray for each other but we also have the responsibility to talk to the Holy Spirit who is with us. Asking others for advice is fine but we need to ask the Holy Spirit too. “Holy Spirit teach me, tell me God’s plan in this situation”.
We shouldn’t take the Holy Spirit for granted. Other religions don’t know the Holy Spirit. We have that privilege to be Christian. The best gift God gave us is Jesus and the best gift Jesus gave us is the Holy Spirit. Our Pentecost should be to tell Jesus, teach me how to understand the Holy Spirit and how to follow Him.
Only those that are sealed by Holy Spirit will go to heaven. You have the visa to go to heaven. Only those sealed by Holy Spirit will enter Kingdom of God. If Ange is the one to guide me to Auckland and I tell her leave me alone I will do my own things, when it is time to drive to Auckland and I come back to Ange after 10 years pushing her away, Ange will refuse because the time has passed. This means that we keep good friendship with Holy Spirit so on day that the Lord will come we won’t be surprised, we can easily go to meet with Jesus.
To live a normal life is fine but to live for eternal life is better. Everything you do, prepare for eternal life not just this life that will finish soon.
Let us pray and ask God how to live with the Holy Spirit.