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.

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