Friday, November 23, 2018

Signs of the End Days - Mathew 24:13 - Endurance

By Odon Bulamba

Those who endure to the end will be saved.  Very simple sentence but you must go to the end to be saved.  Endurance sometimes can be a challenge.  Salvation requires you to accept Jesus as your Saviour, as the Master of your life but you have also to endure and it shouldn’t be for a short time but continuously until the end.

Today, I’m sharing with you this sign of the end of times that Jesus has given us, endurance.  Endurance means to push yourself through a tough time without giving up until the end.  It’s not a time of joy.  When you endure, you are not going to join a party, you feel suffering and bad, tired but you know that when you reach the other side, you will gain something.

There are two categories of endurance.  Some will endure without knowing what they will gain at the end, an empty endurance.  The other endurance is where you know that if you reach the end, this is what you will get from your work.

Endurance requires not only your physical body but your mind and spirit.  I’ve seen in our world, many join the gym and there they tell you no pain, no gain.  If you want to gain, you must accept pain.  Boys especially want to look attractive with a six pack and muscles everywhere.  My son, for example, pulls up his shirt to show his six pack.  For him to have that is a glory but to get a six pack you must endure and persevere.

We pay to go to the gym.  Maybe it will cost $10 per week and now it’s up to you to use the machines that you have access to you.  You now must work hard to reshape your body.  I’ve been going to gym for years but shame on me when I look at my body and my clothes don’t fit anymore because I don’t persevere, I don’t endure.  This morning I wanted to wear one of my nice shirts but after ironing it, the buttons couldn’t close because I had gained too much weight.

I started to think, I’ve gained so much weight. Oh well, I will use another shirt instead.  I tried to tell myself it’s alright but tomorrow, I will be even bigger.  For the first two days I go to the gym with courage to reach my target but then my arms and legs are in pain and so I take a break and with revenge, I eat KFC and other fatty foods that will kill me.  Then later I go back to the gym and then one week I stay home and then I go back to the gym and then six weeks I don’t appear again.

My neighbour is also the member of my gym and he was fat but now he has lost weight.  I asked him what is wrong, are you sick.  He said, “No I decided to lose weight”.  You must push your body and mind to decide and to keep that decision to make the target.

You can have a target but if you don’t push your body or mind to reach it, you have nothing.  Those three things must work together.

When that time comes, it will be a time of suffering but you have to push yourselves and tell your mind, “you must do this, body you must do this,” and then you know what you will gain.  We pray to God and worship him for a purpose (1) a command from God (2) we must follow the rules to be in the Kingdom of God. 

The Kingdom of God is like a gym, everything is here now and it’s up to you to work.  The Holy Spirit is here as an instructor to teach you how to use the machines.  After knowing how to use them, what do you do?  It’s a matter of decision.

I have made several bad decisions with the gym by not going but they keep taking my money.  I feel bad but I can’t claim my money back.  I can’t ask for a refund because I didn’t go.  If you don’t make any effort to work hard you will wake up the next morning and time has passed and you will discover that every day you have postponed your gym time.  When you don’t go to the gym, what do you do?  Distraction, tv, out with friends but when you hear someone has had a heart attack you are shocked, maybe because they didn’t exercise.

How often do you exercise by reading the Bible?  How often do you use what God has given you to keep your shape in the Lord?

When we trained for cross country at school, my father will encourage me to keep running, and I will say, “no I’m tired, I’m not running”.  My father can’t run for me, I must decide to run.  My father is disappointed when I don’t run.  Then after running, I would ask for an icecream, “no you don’t deserve it”. “I ran”.  “No but you didn’t persevere”.  My father wanted me to learn how to be among the best.  Since I have started to practice that in my life, that spirit of competition started to grow in my life.

If someone can read the Bible, why can’t I read it.  If someone has been working, why can’t I?  if someone looks after their body, why not me?  We must accept pain but if we want to gain without pain, we gain in a wrong way.

The life we are living, requesting to run with Jesus, practising every time even when things are hard, we need to remember to endure.  It’s up to you to do the job.  How often do you endure for your soul and spiritual life?  When we die, our bodies will remain down here on earth but our souls will go somewhere.  How healthy is my soul, how often do I take care of my soul?  Maybe I don’t because I don’t care but God is saying, you must endure until the end not just for a short time and then quit. 

If you go to the end, that is the time that you will be saved.  Do you want to be saved?  Then go to the end.  Do you want to be in the Kingdom of God?  Then go to the end.  God is so good, whenever we know something is hard, He doesn’t hide from us.  He opens our mind to understand that it is hard but we should try.  E.g. if press-ups are hard, then start with one and then move to two on the next day but we always want everything at once without hard work.

Ladies always look at other ladies and comment how beautiful they look.  Ladies spend a lot of time on their faces, first looking at their eyebrows, then using their tools to remove hair from their brows and then take a crayon to artistically, nicely create nice eyebrows.  Then their hair.   I have seen a lady walk into a bathroom and don’t expect them to come out in five minutes.  Once they step out, you can see the difference and how hard they have been taking care of their bodies.

Men, we are supposed to say, wow, you look so great.  Teach us also to know how to take care of ourselves.  Women have a lot of talents that we men don’t have.  They have patience to spend 10 minutes on eyebrows but I can’t do that.  They will wear red lipstick to match a red outfit.  After doing that, they can come out not to please themselves but for others to see, for the world to appreciate how clean and beautiful they look.

We must do a proper make up for our souls so that wherever we go, people will say, you have done a great job.  If you want to be saved, don’t only say that Jesus has given His life for me and that’s all I need, you also need to exercise.  Someone who never goes to the gym will be weak compared to the one who goes every time.

As a student, we would study and then go to the gym.  The more you work physically, the more you become mentally focused.  We can be twins but if you practise a lot and go to the gym and I don’t, our bodies and abilities to do things will be different. 

Whose fault is it, if I don’t exercise?  Can I blame anyone?  Should I blame myself?  Jesus is telling us clearly that we must endure and if there is no endurance and you don’t find any obstacle in your life it means that there is a problem in your life.  Every Christian must face challenges and temptations and tests.  Your test can be your children, friend, neighbours, family and even your tv. 

I was born on 14 November.  I decided this year to do nothing on that day, to have a rest.  Then I watched tv for hours and my eyes told me it was enough but the program was so good, I told my eyes to be quiet.  Even now I feel that I have a headache because I watched tv all day.  I was watching Greenleaf.  A pastor’s family with disorder in the church and all is about money and glory.

I was watching episode after another to discover what is next.  I started at 9am and I was still there at 5pm.  I believed it was a good day for me but it wasn’t, I should have spent the day with the Lord, maybe I should have vacuumed for my health.  To watch tv is ok for a couple of hours but not all day focussing on what is not necessary.

I endured to watch it but gained nothing, waste of time.  The Lord is telling us that salvation is coming, if you endure, salvation is at the end.  There are only two destinations, Kingdom of God and the other is the opposite.  If you endure, you will end in the Kingdom of God but if you feel tired or lazy or tell yourself you will do it next time, you will be shocked when Jesus tells you, I don’t know you.

Why postpone things you should do today?  Once you go to gym daily without stopping, it becomes a habit but if you give up, you will start every week.  Endurance requires encouragement and motivate each other.  E.g. Ange lets go for a run together.  By encouraging each other we can move forward as a team.  If we don’t encourage each other, we will all die cold.

Like the army of the Lord, we should be there for each other not only by watching movies but all spiritual activities.  Levi loves to play and sometimes he asks me to play with the football.  We kick the ball around the house and because I’m lazy I tell him to go and play with his friends and he is happy and he learns and socialises while I am just sitting in my chair.  When he comes back he has gained something but I haven’t.

After a few days I feel I need to exercise and I go back to the gym and I will see those running on treadmill non-stop and I envy them.  I can’t run like them because they practice while I don’t.  They have gained a lot and I have lost my money and more.  They know how to use their time, mind and bodies to gain something.  I know how to waste my money on the gym but I don’t think about how to gain.

I must be stupid, waste of money.  If that was my child wasting money like that, I would tell them no.  after two months those at the gym are so much ahead of me, that I am embarrassed.

Take courage.  Jesus gave the sick new life.  He touched them and they could walk.  Not only physical miracles but spiritually, God is telling us that we can stand up and move forward.

The end is coming, we are going towards the end of everything and when the end comes, it doesn’t care what you look like, and your end is not only the return of Jesus but it can be today or tomorrow, you life can end and when it ends, God will look at your endurance.  What report will you tell God about your spiritual endurance.  You can give a report about your singing for church, now your endurance for your soul, prepare it.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Signs of the End Times - Mathew 24:12 - Iniquity

By Odon Bulamba

We are going to continue with our study from Mathew 24 and today is verse 12. This is the Word of God which is telling us that because inequity will grow in our lives around us, the love of many will wax cold.

What is inequity?  It means going away from the law, pushing the law far away from yourself.  This Word has been practiced in many societies and you may wonder how come human beings who are loved by God so much that He has given His son for us, how come we give inequity first place in our live and our love continues to wax cold.

This was one of the signs.  Be careful because when you see people’s loves becoming cold, there is a danger coming, it’s a sign that Jesus is coming back. 

Inequity is also in institutions around the world.  For example, in our schools they used to read the Word of God, pray and have religious studies but today in several countries, religious study is not part of school anymore and schools are going far from God.

Many families don’t have time anymore, not even to read Word of God or praying before going to bed or before to eat.  We are pushing God aside.  I had a parent told me to stop me talking to their son about the Word of God.  We can see how the Word of God and it’s the law has been fought by individuals, countries and institutions.

For example don’t kill but the law will allow the death penalty.  The government will know the Word of God but they continue to give those penalties.  In some countries, they bless homosexual marriage while the Word of God states that women and men should marry.  By doing so this means inequity.  We know the Law and what God wants but we put it aside to satisfy our own needs or the needs of those around us.  When this takes off, the love for God and the Word of God will start to become cold.

People who used to be proud of being Christians yesterday, will today feel ashamed to talk about Jesus in front of others.  Those who used to be proud to love Jesus now fear what others will say.  This lets Jesus down whom we are calling their Lord and Master.  Who is ashamed to talk about their boss or job or parents?  No matter how old or ugly or what they look like, I will be proud of my parents and talk to others about them.

For example, Anna meets with her friends and instead of introducing her mum, she says this is my aunty and my mum is the beautiful lady over there.  How will the mother feel?  You will feel humiliated and you will feel that you are being let down.  For God, it is the same because He loves us and is our Father and when we promote other things and people instead of God, He feels that we are letting Him down.

All over the world you see people promoting their pastor or their church but it’s almost impossible to hear them talking proudly about their Jesus.  Remember your first love, that is what revelations tells us.  That message was given to Laodicea.  Once you remember your first love, it will be hard to do inequity.  If you remember that Jesus died for you and His grace is sufficient, you won’t need anything else.

However, we most of the time we prefer to please our bodies rather than our souls.  We want our bodies to look and smell good but we don’t think at all about our souls and we forget out it.  If you don’t love your soul but love everything around the world, you will perish.

We know that this body will die and our soul will go somewhere to live for eternity.  God didn’t hide it from us.  Take care of your souls because it will live forever but because we love inequity, we take care of our bodies first.

I tell my children to take care of themselves.  For the child, they will think only about their bodies.  Why can’t I tell them to take care of their souls because satan may come at any stage to visit your soul so don’t lose it, it is the most precious thing that God recognises. 

I love to buy things.  This morning I was thinking about the amount of money I have spent to buy things for myself.  It was a shock.  Buying food and other stuff for my body.  When I try to please my body, it will always tell me that it is not satisfied.  I don’t know how many pairs of shoes I have?  I have a big shelf of shoes.  I don’t know how many shirts I have.  I have briefcases of clothes. 

I may spend 45 minutes just deciding what to wear.  I bought a lot and now it puts me in trouble because I waste my time. If I only had two pairs of shoes, it would be easier.  I even forget now what clothes I have.  I still have a shirt that I bought 10 years ago but I have never worn it.  I should be ashamed of myself to see how much I care for my body compared to my soul.

When I spend $100 to buy a pair of shoes and it’s impossible to give $100 offering to church.  I must think twice about offering to church and I must choose a small bank note for God and the rest is mine.  I can spend $100 on Nando’s or KFC but when it’s time to read one verse from Bible to feed my soul, it is impossible to spend 45 minutes reading but I can spend 2 hours with my children eating at Nando’s and walking around the park.

We can’t enjoy like when we are doing inequity because it will bring your love for God cold.  Christian priorities are not for God anymore but their priority is to see what they want and what they want do.  I travelled in China in a train that goes extremely fast and before to leave New Zealand it was on my agenda to experience it.  It was like an arrow.  Less than five minutes, over 100 kilometres gone.  I can’t see anything.  Oh lord, my heart desired so much to travel in this train, what next.  What did I gain?  Why can’t my heart desire to spend at least one second with Jesus.

When I’m talking about the Holy Spirit, why can’t I desire the Holy Spirit to take me somewhere for the glory of God but I prefer to get on a train.  You see people coming to New Zealand from other countries and they go to visit the bubbling mud in Rotorua.  They pay for the flight to see mud and people take photos of mud.  People think this is a big thing to show back home, to show others that they are travelling around New Zealand. 

In 2001, Michelle took me to a bridge in Rotorua and I started to smell rotten eggs.  I wondered is this normal, what is happening here and the smell was growing stronger.  People leave their countries to experience the smell.  How much money and time you have wasted to smell it?  They will take their testimony back home that others should go to Rotorua, “you will be amazed”.  It’s all natural.  People pay for that.  This is inequity and makes you to close your Bible and leave aside important things, “I won’t go to church on Sunday I have to go see the boiling mud”.

Many people will go to the beaches, travel around and do things the way they want and sacrifice their love for Jesus.  Because Jesus is God, He has been telling us that we have three big things in life; love, faith and hope.  The biggest is love.  Don’t stick on hope, I hope God will give me the capacity to pray tomorrow or go to church tomorrow.  God wants love first.  I have faith in God, in the Word of God but that is not enough, what you must fight for is love first.  But we leave our love aside and accept it to go cold and hope that hope and faith will replace love.

That is why patience doesn’t exist anymore, people are not kind as they used to be.  When we read the Word of God, we know what is good and bad but today people don’t know the difference between right and wrong because we don’t read the Word of God.  In churches, they will say come and join us for bbq.  I have received that invitation from pastors and the day of the bbq, you will see a big crowd.  Churches become like clubs promoting inequity and pushing aside the love of God.

Is your love becoming cold for God?  How much do you love yourself?  I give myself 10/10 because when something goes wrong against me, I feel that I must look after myself.  We take care of ourselves and forget that we not only have the body and spirit but also the soul that needs taking care of.  We should not forget our souls. 

When you see the mud boiling in Rotorua, you don’t think about what is causing the bubbling mud.  I don’t have time to ask what is this phenomenon.  By coming close to those that know science you might know.  Do you ask why do you live while others are dying?  Do you ask why you can eat while others can’t?  Do you ask yourself if you are better than those who are eating with tubes?  What did you pay to God to have what you have? 

For that reason, God is inviting us to not let our love to grow cold.  The only secret is to define inequity, what is pushing you to stray from the Word of God.  What is wrong with you?  When I have headache, I ask what is wrong and I take Panadol.  I will look after myself.  I will see my doctor when I am sick.

Take care of your soul.  Ask your God what is wrong with you. Nothing can separate us from the love of God so why should I allow myself to be separated from God.  “I don’t want God anymore, today is Saturday, I want a break, tonight I am having a party, I want a break”.

One time I had a nightmare that I was angry in my dream that God took my father.  I told God, I don’t care about you, what you give to me, you take back, you are not kind.  God responded in my dream, “For 4 mins, I will stop you from breathing,” and in my dream, I couldn’t breath and I was fighting for life and then I woke up.  How precious is our breathing?  If someone blocks your nose for two seconds, your body will fight for breathing and you won’t care about your house or shoes or other material things.

What is important for you, life or material things?  Is it to visit trees or people rather than coming close to God.  Come back to Jesus, Himself is love.  You can’t find a shop that sells love.  We need to come close to Jesus and tell Him, my love is growing cold, I want you to remind me about my first love and how happy I was when I first met you.