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The visit took place this Sunday March 14, 2021. The main objective was to exchange ideas and share the Word of God with Christians and Parish leaders. Hanika Parish is located in Nyanza District, Busasamana Sector, Kavumu Cell, Gihisi Village. The Parish has a long history as it started in 1945 and gave birth to many parishes: Rusatira, Ndago, Kibinja, Nyanza, Nyamagana, Kabuga and Shori sub-Parish. During his visit, the Archdeacon was delighted by the warm welcome that Christians have reserved for him. He also appreciated the way the parish leaders work hand in hand with the directors of schools and the health center for parish development.

P1During his preaching, Archdeacon Joseph urged the believers to always be confident in God, and make sure that they are appreciated in his eyes. Kindly find hereby the whole of the preaching that the Archdeacon Joseph shared:

Dear fellow brothers and sisters,

Greetings in the name of Jesus-Christ! Thanks are to the Lord for this opportunity to share this sermon with you.

The today's message is focused on the verse 7, chapter 16, of the Book of First Samuel, which says, “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

After God decided to remove Saul from the throne “because he has turned away from him and has not carried out his instructions” (1 Sam 15:11), he sent the prophet Samuel to Jesse of Bethlehem to enthrone one of his 8 sons as new king of Israel. The meeting to anoint the new king was held secretly and in absence of two key men, Saul, who was to be dethroned, and David, who was to be anointed. There are times when people organise the meetings to talk about us in our absence; and the conclusions they draw can have positive or negative effect on us. The enthronement of David taught me that, if necessary, the Lord would represent us in such meetings. While Jesse's other sons were in the selection process, David was not present as he was in the woodlands grazing sheep. Unfortunately, none was on his side, for neither his father nor Samuel thought that he could be a king. However, although he was not visible to the naked eye, God was present at the ceremony and was in David's sight. David was not thought of until all the children were rejected by God. When Jesse was told to bring his sons, he brought the older and more powerful sons; and he did not think of the youngest son living in the sheepfold.

Jesse was confident that one of the seven sons would be chosen to be a king. The prophet Samuel also thought that David was more worthy of being a sheep shepherd than a king. When they had finished offering the sacrifice, Samuel began to look at the sons. Of them, Eliab was the eldest, and he was the one who look like more to Saul in beauty. This attracted Samuel, and when he was come to his senses, he said, Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.” (1 Sam. 16: 6) However, the Lord said to Samuel: Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7)

P3People can easily deceive others. On the one hand, we may be mistaken for people who have a good appearance, but do not have a heart. On the other hand there are times when we can reject someone just because of his appearance and yet he is honest. People judge others based on their appearance: how they look, speak, dress, walk, look, stand, origin, prestige in society; etc. Thank God he never chooses a man based on such things, but looks at the "heart" (1 Sam. 16: 7). Anything else can make a person acceptable to God, except a clean heart. We need to get this truth so that we can change the way we think about ourselves and about others! Samuel’s error should teach us that relying on appearance is useless. Before judging, one should seek divine enlightenment. In judging, we must accept the will of God even if it is different from our own.

Samuel looked sadly at the last son, and asked Jesse: “Are these all the sons you have? And he answered there is still the youngest, He is tending the sheep”. Fortunately, Samuel accepted God's will and said to Jesse, Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” (1 Sam. 16:11). When the Lord commands, the prophets and rulers do not eat until the shepherd comes! When Jesse sent for David, the boy was shocked to receive a surprise call from someone sent to tell him that a prophet had come to Bethlehem to see him. David asked why the prophet and judge of Israel wanted to see him; but he did not hesitate to attend. As Samuel observed David, who was also brave, charming, humble, and alive, the voice of the Lord said to him, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

David did a simple job of shepherding the flock, but God chose him to be the king over his people. This should remind us that no one should lose hope for the future, because of the life he is living today. God took David into the woods to teach him the truth of life. Great people are taught great lessons by a great teacher and for a long time. There is no doubt that David's life in the forest taught him to be humble. Once David was anointed, the great honor bestowed on him did not cause him to boast. He continued his pastoral job quietly, eager to wait for God's plan to come true in his own time. Humbly, he returned to the mountains to shepherd and protect his flock.

In conclusion, I would like us to think about ourselves. First and foremost, we have to wonder if God is pleased with us as people are. Good appearance before people is good, but the best thing is to have God's approval. A God-fearing person should not be satisfied with the way people speak about him only. Take the time to go before God, examine yourself, tell him the truth, and show him the side you are hiding from people. Pray to God: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139: 23-24) Second, I want to remind you that God is watching over those who observe him, and that he is paying attention to the worship of the baseless. (Ps. 102: 18; 68: 8) Do not be anxious. The Lord is with you! When he closes no one opens, when he opens no one closes. (Rev. 3: 7-13)

May the peace of God which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be amongst us and remain with us forever. Amen.

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