Sunday, March 17, 2019

End Days - Mathew 24:18 - Leave Your Cloak

By Odon Bulamba

It’s a privilege to be here this morning and I thank God for being alive.  First, I would like to say that life is something precious for those who live.  It was sad on Friday, what happened in Christchurch.  Innocent people were killed and lost their lives without any issue or problem.  They left their houses to pray and some were just on the roads and victims of that attack.

How often do we think about how precious is our life and your presence in this world?  Have you thought about that anything can happen to you without your consent?  Have you thought about seeing someone who is being attacked?  It’s so deep and so sad when we see those we know losing their lives.  In this country people have been crying for those on Friday. 

Imagine if one of those victims was your mother or brother or sister?   Such things happen all over the world where an evil-minded person hates you for no reason and attacks you and destroys you for your property.

Satan does the same job, he tries to murder you without reason.  Are we crying with those in Christchurch or are we stopping to watch the news because its enough or do we stop to think in case such a thing happens, what shall we do?  What will you do if someone steps in here with a gun?  What will be your first action?  Will you protect the person next to you or find the exit?  We call this an emergency situation.  If you are not prepared, you will act foolishly.

I’ve had someone point a gun at my head.  He knocked on my door, I opened it and there was a revolver on my forehead, “Give money”.  I didn’t know how to react.  He took me to my room, “I need money”.  I didn’t have enough money.  I had $3,000 but they said it wasn’t enough.  One of them took a syringe with blood, “This blood contains HIV, keep your money and buy your own coffin start to prepare yourself to death”.  I panicked and collapsed.

Regardless of being the most protected person in Ghana at that time (I had four soldiers at my gate but those men fell asleep) those people walked in my house.  Satan comes to your life, regardless of those around you.  Normally, people as human beings, we put our trust in other people rather than God.  

Today, I am going to share with you Mathew 24:18, if in the field you must not turn back…

Jesus was saying, “The time is coming and you have to think carefully”.  This is one of the signs of God’s return.  In Africa, we usually go to the field early.  You go around 4am.  Much like farmers here, they go before the sun is up.  It is a bit cold so you take your coat and tools and walk to the field.  In Africa, we don’t have light or torches but you walk by instinct.  Some people have been bitten by snakes or insects because it is too dark to see them. 

Even though you have eyes, you can’t see in darkness.  You need light to see.  Once at the field, you take off your coat so you can work properly.  This is the same situation for the people of Jerusalem.  Before to work, they take off their coat to cultivate the soil.  Jesus is saying, “You won’t have time to collect your coat to flee.  You won’t have time to think about what is important to you before you go, once you are in the field”.

Today we are in the field where we are working for the Lord, don’t look back but look forward and run to save your life.  Many people after being saved, they try to look back to get their coat.  Something that was important to me yesterday, I want to grab again.  Maybe you have things that are important to you, your house, job, cat.  You might decide not to go to church because your cat is sick.  Jesus will tell you, “Leave it alone, come and follow Me”.  Many will say, today I have a meeting and I can go for the Word of God but I have something important I used to do 10 years ago and I have to go back to that because I loved it.

This is related Lot’s wife.  God told Lot and family not to look back.  Lot’s wife started to think about what she left behind, it is so valuable to her and she needed it so she looked back.  What is most important to you?  Here Jesus wants to tell us that your life is far more important than anything else.  Those who went to the mosque on Friday, what was 
important to them on that day?  It was their lives.

Your life is the most important thing.  One time I had millions of dollars but now I have nothing.  As long as I am alive, that is most important.  I had a friend who killed himself because someone stole $4 million from him.  The most important thing is not money, it’s your life.  When there is a choice between your life and something else, what do you choose?  We must choose our lives first. 

There are several examples in the Bible of coats.  One is Isaac.  When he became old, he couldn’t see.  He wanted to bless his son Esau.  Jacob’s mum prepared a coat for Jacob because the blessing was supposed to be given to Esau.  With that coat, Isaac was deceived when he touched it and blessed the younger one.

Another example of a coat is Joseph in the house of Potiphar.  He ran and left his coat behind which was used as evidence to say he did something wrong by Potiphar’s wife and was put in jail. 

The Democratic Republic of Congo is among the richest countries in the world but we are the poorest. This is not because we are not clever but because we don’t know how to manage that wealth and many will come to Congo.  You can give someone $10 and they will kill everyone in the place of Ngaruawahia and they can do it without thinking and will do it less than an hour.  Those that need the gold will now have access to Ngaruawahia.

I’ve seen people in Congo visit a witch to become rich and they are told to give the witch bodies of babies under the age of six months and they will slaughter the children.  Parents are there crying and then they take the bodies to the witch and then what they ask them won’t be fulfilled.  People can do bad against others because they need money, glory or to be known.  They are fighting for success.  I have been complaining a lot to our authorities in Congo over such things. 

I have been in New Zealand for a long time now.  I see people go to elections but in Congo, it doesn’t work like that.  The new president of Congo bribed the former one to get there.  People try to look back and bring the coat they had or they heard someone had something and now they want it.  What do you gain to lose your soul so you can earn what you want in this world?  We all want to have a nice life, cars, houses but we often forget under the sun, there will never be a better life, you will never be satisfied 100%.  You can buy a big mansion somewhere but it won’t be enough.  our bodies will never be satisfied. For that reason, Jesus advises us to choose life first.

What is life for you?  Is it just breathing in and out? Is it going to the movies, travelling?  I personally travel a lot and have been to around 94 countries but when you fly you feel tired.  Once you are in the new country, everything is strange and some people will like you but others will hate you.  What is life for you?  For God is about giving yourself, heart and everything to Him.  Do you want to live?  Then accept to die.  If you want to live in the Lord, then accept to give up everything for Him.  Even if I don’t get the house that I wanted, thanks to God, the essential is that I obey His commands.  Even if I don’t get what I want, praise God because I continue to follow the Lord and do what He recommends me.

We invest a lot.  Some in houses, shares, farms, why?  To earn more so we don’t have to be called poor, so we can have enough tomorrow.  That is fine to invest but in Jesus, what are you investing?  How much do you have in your bank account for Jesus where you respect His Word of God and do all that He asks of you?  Look at yourself, introspection, how good am I towards myself?  Do you love yourself?  If yes, how?  Some are good to their body but they are ugly inside, they don’t work hard to please their God.

Once I was a child and my mum told me, two things in the world are most important (1) win (2) lose and up to you to choose.  If you want to be the winner then practise and respect the rules.  If you don’t want to practise, don’t be surprised when you lose.

Last week I sat a test after reading all the course material.  One hour before the test, the lecturer posted the powerpoint slides.  I decided not to read these.  When I opened the test, I knew nothing.  When the lecturer talks, I can’t understand what she is saying.  I laughed when I opened my test because I didn’t understand how my lecturer can ask questions.

You can read your Bible, and other books but try to understand who Jesus is for you.  Many will say, I know my children or my husband will never do that.  You can defend them because you know them.  Do you know Jesus, God your creator or not?  If not, if you don’t understand who Jesus is and what He wants and what is a test for you, you will fail.

On the day of judgement, He will tell many people, “Go away I don’t know you”.  Many will say, “But I served you,” and He will say, “I don’t know you, get out”.  Imagine if that is you.  You went to church every Sunday and read your Bible but you didn’t know Jesus.

Jesus wants you to live in unity with Him.  Try to understand who Jesus is for you.  Pray to Him and ask Jesus to teach you.  If you don’t know, you may be confused.  Different preachers can give different interpretations and you can get confused.  Only those that have the Holy Spirit as a teacher will understand the Word of God and meet with Him.  If you are not filled and sealed with the Holy Spirit, even if you read the Bible all day, what you are doing will not help you.

We fear to die physically but we forget about spiritual death.  Let’s get ready, “Jesus when you come back to collect your church, don’t forget me I want to be in heaven, don’t forget your people”.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

End days - Mathew 24:17 - On the Roof

By Odon Bulamba

A very short and simple verse to understand, “Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house”

Here we have an idea of a house.  In the Bible, you can learn a lot from houses.  People, kings and God lives in houses.  When you think about a house, what comes first in your mind?  Is it just the place where you spend the night or to be sheltered from the heat or is it a special place for you?  When we talk about your home, what does it mean to you?  I think it means a lot

In your house, you will keep all your secrets, all your treasures, you can walk naked, you can sing and scream and go to bed when you want in your house.  There are things that you can only do in your house and you can’t do elsewhere and if there is any secret about your body, your house can be the first witness to say exactly who you are.

Your neighbours won’t know who you are exactly while you are inside your house.  For that reason, God has chosen your body to be the house of your soul and spirit.  Your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit, a house for the Holy Spirit to live.

Jesus said that someone built a house from sand (parable) so that when a storm came, he lost the house because the foundation was not good.  There God wanted to teach us, you can have a beautiful, great house but you must consider the foundation of your house.  In topography they will advise you to study the soil before to build a house. Is your body a good foundation for your house?  When you stand around, do you remember that your house stands on a foundation?  If not, if a storm comes, your soul/spirit will collapse like in the sand. 

Rahab was prostitute in the Bible and she welcomed the servants of God and she said to them, “you can not stay at this level because someone is after you, I will keep you in the roof of the house”.  You can have a house, your body, mind, your belief but you should know where to keep your soul/spirit in your life.  What level is your soul?  Is it on the ground level, first level, second level or the roof? 

When we book a room in a hotel, you can choose the level you want.  The UN workers choose the second or third floor just in case there is fire you can escape and if there are terrorists, they will come in through the first floor.  When you work for the UN you have to be careful that someone is watching you and if you feel suspicious you change rooms.

For Rahab, those men were in the house safe but when those who came to find the servants, Rahab decided to hide them.  When satan is after your soul/spirit, what do you do?  Temptation will come to look for you to see if there is any opportunity to kill you spiritually. That is why we must know how to protect our gifts.  E.g. someone can tell you that they have the gift of kindness or peace but when anger strikes, the person with this gift can become angry.  How to protect this gift of peace in your life?

I might have a gift of hospitality but when a visitor comes while I am eating, I feel annoyed because I don’t want to stop eating.  We push the visitor to go away.  For God to visit you, He will come to see where you put more valuable.  If you have five gifts, how important are they to me and to my soul?  Those gifts are not only for God but also for others and for ourselves.

If you have a gift of singing people, others will say, that person is a good singer.  They will recognise that gift.  It is your responsibility to protect it and to protect it you must know where you are up to with your gift.

When you are in the roof, don’t come down.  I have given you all the gifts, you have priorities in your life.  Maybe priority number one is to go out, to buy a house, to have money and very few will say my soul is my priority or to one day be in the heaven.  When I pray to God, I try not to forget to ask God to make sure I am ready and that I will be in God’s kingdom when He comes back and then I will pray for my family, friends and others because I want to see each other in heaven and I ask God to let my little gifts be in action.

I’ve seen people kneel down for a nice job telling God, “I will serve you for the rest of my life” but once job is there, they tell God, “goodbye, I have to focus on my job”.  Other activities can be our priority.  Jesus tells us, “you as my child, although you can be in the house, I God have put you above and you don’t need to put yourself down again.”  If you are raised up, be there, why are you tempted to come down again?

If Jesus gave you the gift of praying, keep praying, don’t give up now, don’t go back down to your old way of living.  This is how we fail to serve our God and please Him.  He tries to put us up but we bring ourselves down because we want to be like others.

Kiwis love to watch rugby and all young people in New Zealand have touched a rugby ball and know how to throw it.  It is the dream of children to become rugby players and they can even name themselves after famous rugby players.  Whenever New Zealand will be defeated by another country, we feel sick because we lost the game and we are disappointed.  This is just a simple physical game.

For women who play netball (kiwis are good at netball) when we lose, we feel bad.  How do you feel when you fail your own soul, or your spirit?  Some will say it’s a mistake and move on.  I have seen in New Zealand, once a team fails the people of New Zealand will say that the couch must resign.  Does the coach play?  He/she doesn’t even play.  They will tell the coach to resign because the team did not perform well.

You are responsible for your soul and spirit, when your body fails, you are the coach and you have to take care of your soul/spirit/body.  Many will tell you it’s God’s plan but God has given you a big responsibility.

Another example in the Bible is the coins.  God says, “You will return to me the benefit of the coin, not the coin itself”.  We all have gifts, we can all read and see.  Is there is any benefit that I give to God with my eyes?  What does God get back from me because I have hands?  We should ask ourselves these questions.  God wants us to be different but we don’t want to.

Children can fight to become a famous person.  Why do they want that? Because they believe they famous people are models for us, we should be like them.  Once you are like Helen Clarke (previous prime minister of New Zealand), you should remember that you are not allowed to do what you want because people will talk about it.  A simple mistake that you do will become a problem.

God has been raising us up.  Maybe the position that God has given us is higher than Helen Clarke but we forget about our responsibilities and act like others.  A few years ago, Jacinda Adern (current prime minister of New Zealand) and Simon Bridges (current leader of the opposition) would talk on morning tv.  Now Jacinda is the leader of the country, she occupies the position is higher.  Paul Henry used to mock them and ask them foolish questions but he won’t ask them those same questions today.  Although Jacinda is the same person, she has another level in politics.

You are a Christian for many years, your level shouldn’t be the same as a new Christian. Your answers and actions should reflect a mature person.

In the story of Rahab, they searched for the servants but they couldn’t find them because Rahab hid them.  The level God has put you is secure and satan can’t find you because you are covered by the blood of Jesus but if you leave that place to do your own things your own way, you will be exposed.  If you resist satan, he will run away from you. 

We are not only to be called Christians but we are supposed to know where is our place in the house of the Lord and secondly decide, make a tough decision not to come down.  I have given my life to Jesus, I am known as a servant of God and I am not going down even if it is for money or anything that you want.  The decision is yours.  Jesus decides that it will be good for you if you want to be in Kingdom of God to stay at the level God has put you.

The sign of the end of times is that Christians will act worse than pagans.  We all live the same life as the world.  The church is dying day after day.  Those that do medicine will know that some parts of the body die first when a person is dying.  The last thing to pull out is your breath.  You can talk to someone breathing but they can’t hear you and then finally they will leave us.  What part of your spirit is leaving you?

How many gifts do you have and how many do you use?  If you have five gifts, do you use all of them or not?  Are they alive or not?  Then you will be ready to welcome your Lord.  Only those that are sealed by the Holy Spirit will go with him.  To be sealed with the Holy Spirit, those gifts have to be operational in your life.  If not, it will be difficult to meet with your Lord. 

Pray for yourself and tell God, “put me at the level that you think I should be and restrict me from going down to find something else”.