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A Stirring Exhortation From Africa For Us All

    Pastor Titus Ruboma, editor of the Runyankore version of Herald of His Coming for Uganda, recently sent translated materials to us for the seventh issue. The material included an editorial exposing false prophets and problems in the church. He points out that there are many teachers who are promising all sorts of blessings without issuing calls to obedience, righteousness and holiness. This caters to the carnal desires of the people who are seeking the blessings of God rather than seeking a deeper knowledge and relationship with Him. The people are becoming more spiritually deficient as they strive after earthly and temporal blessings at the expense of spiritual and eternal blessings.

    The conditions that Pastor Ruboma describes regarding the church in Uganda are all too common in the church in many other places as well. As he points out, we are seeing the fulfillment of Paulís word of prophecy to Timothy concerning the church in the end time: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they draw to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to myths" (2 Tim. 4:3-4). In light of this, Pastor Rubomaís editorial includes a strong word of exhortation and correction. For example, he writes:

    The most beloved Bride of Christ, rather than prime and groom herself for rapture, is busy either sleeping, drunk or reveling; squandering away most precious time. The Lordís admonition to the Roman church through the Apostle Paul is relevant to the church in Uganda today:

    "And this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and wantonness, not in strife and envying...but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof" (Rom. 13:11-14).

    Not in "reveling and drunkenness." That is exactly what the church in Uganda is engaged in today! Our kind of reveling is clearly seen in the extravagant spending and futile programs that are not at all profitable to the kingdom of God. Our drunkenness is seen in the way we carelessly handle the most important and vital matters of our Christian life. The Lord our God sees us as drunkards when we walk in a life of prayerlessness, spiritual powerlessness, failure to fast, watchlessness, perpetual busyness or always having no time to wait on the Lord. Defying the Lordís command to be filled with the Holy Spirit and similar transgressions, all make us look like drunkards before the Lord our God.

    Not in "debauchery and wantonness." How the church has become immoral, sensual, intemperate and wanton today! We can summarize our guilt in this case as having committed two major sins: brazen indulgence in sexual immorality and conformity with the world. We have fallen in love with the world and the world has debauched us into dressing like her, singing like her, speaking like her and generally behaving like her. There is no restraint! All this has grieved the Spirit of God to the point that He has departed with His glory from the church. Hence, we too are in a state of "Ichabod" and "every man is doing that which is right in his own eyes."

    Not in "strife and envying." How many churches have been started or planted on the foundation of strife and misunderstandings, I wonder. But, all I know is that from the year 2000 upwards to today innumerable churches have been planted out of violent splits of the mother churches. These splits come as a result of "strife and envying," but not of "love and understanding" required of us by the Word of God. This is what the Word says: "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christís sake, has forgiven you" (Eph. 4:31-32).

    Another malady in the church in Uganda today, is that the so-called "modern" teaching and prophesying rejects the role of suffering in the life of the believer as a necessary ingredient for spiritual development and maturity. You often hear a highly esteemed teacher glamorously declare that believers are not supposed to suffer in any way, because Christ suffered for them. They claim that any kind of suffering in the life of a believer is not Godís will but the devilís choice. They make no exception to this claim. Then they exhort their listeners to wage unabated war to poverty, debts, persistent illness, barrenness, and so forth, as demonic spirits sent from hell to hinder them from enjoying their "heaven" on earth.

    Contrary to this view, the Word of God reveals that such circumstances of pain and suffering may come to us as a result of Godís will and rather than confront them and resist them we are advised to accommodate them, not only by enduring them, but also by rejoicing in them. Hence we read: "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to test you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, since you are partakers of Christís sufferings; that when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy" (1 Pet. 4:12-13).

    Hence, we conclude that suffering, pain, lack and want, trials and persecutions must be accommodated in our lives and patiently endured for our good. There is a most precious, most glorious and most magnificent promise behind them. Hear what the Word of God says about them:

    "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:18). "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. 4:17).

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    How thankful we can be that the Lord has brought Pastor Ruboma alongside the ministry of Herald of His Coming to publish and distribute messages that exhort and encourage believers to remain true to the Lord and His Word and to not give way to sin and worldliness. Please join in giving thanks to the Lord for this dear brother and the outreach of the Runyankore Herald. Give thanks also that progress is being made with the first issue of the Luganda Herald for Uganda, including some believers who are offering their assistance. Pray for the Lordís direction and provision for this new work. Please pray also for the Lordís guidance, provision, anointing, encouragement and protection upon the overall ministry of Herald of His Coming in Uganda. Pray for believers in Uganda to hear what the Spirit is saying in these last days and to respond accordingly. Pray for many lost to be saved and for the church to prepare as Christís Return approaches!