- Posted by: Fred Okwir
- Category: Sermons
Understanding The Times
It is important for us as Christians and as Ugandans to understand the period or era in which we live. God expect us to discern and understand the significance of what is going on in the world. That is why Jesus in Mathew 16:1-4 scolded the Pharisees and Sadducees and called them hypocrites for being able to discern the physical whether but without being able to discern what God was doing in the world. And because of that ignorance, Jesus told them that the only sign left, that would help them know what God was doing in the world was the sign of Jonah who spent three days in the bowel of the fish, meaning the offer of life to the world through the death and resurrection of his son Jesus Christ. So God expects us to be able to see where we are heading through the events that are constantly unfolding around us, both near and far. We have seen turmoil and change of government in Tunisia, Egypt, and now Libya is taking the same route. We have seen Southern Sudan Vote to become an independent country. In Iran the leadership had to offer $3000 to every citizen, for a temporary settlement between the people and the leadership. A few years ago, we saw the regime of Saddam Hussein and that of the Taliban in Afghanistan overthrown. What do we make of this? When you watch political analysts discussing the recent events in Tunisia and Egypt, you realize that they were all taken by surprise and did not know what was coming. And now on the 11th of March 2011 a devastating earthquake hit Japan and over ten thousand people are feared dead. Their Nuclear power system was damaged leading to leakage of radioactive fumes into the atmosphere. But what about us in the Church, Should we remain ignorant? Won’t the same things Jesus told the Pharisees and the Sadducees apply to us? For several years now, I have a world map on the wall of my office. On that map there is a rectangle from latitude 10° north of equator to latitude 40° North of Equator. And the area covered stretches from Japan to the coast of West Africa.
This area in the Missionary cycles of the church is called the 10/40 window. According to WORD FOR THE WORLD, this window is a part of the world that remains unreached with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- There are 62 nations within the 10/40 window
- 1 billion Of the world’s 5.6 billion people live here.
- There are more than 1.2 billion people under the influence of communism
- It contains over 1 billion Muslims, nearly 1 billion Hindus and 600 million Buddhist.
Nations in the 10/40 Window
The 10/40 Window encompasses Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, China, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Gambia, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Korea, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Western Sahara, and Yemen. These are all “Old World” nations (mostly in the eastern hemisphere) with at least 50 percent of their land mass falling within 10 to 40 degrees latitude. See the list of nations in the original study.
Since I got that map, I have been burdened to join those who have been praying since 1995, for God to bring change in the nations of the 10/40 window in order to open it up to the gospel. According to the 2009 Open Doors World Watch list, forty-four of the fifty worst persecutors of Christians are located in the 10/40 window. This information is not mere coincidence. The kingdom of God has not fully penetrated this region. It is an entrenched satanic stronghold. Billions of people in 10/40 window are currently held captive by rulers with demonic influences, bound and impoverished by evil powers.
In fact, when I began to pray for the 10/40 window, I have been expectant that God would begin to do something in this window. And when the uprising of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya began to occur, in addition to the peaceful independent of southern Sudan and to Iraq and Afghanistan, I could discern clearly in my spirit that God was at work opening up the 10/40 window to far reaching changes. It is important to understand that what happened in Tunisia and Egypt is something unique and cannot just happen to any other nation in Africa outside the 10/40 window. Some people have even written in the newspapers that the same thing would happen in Uganda. I will tell you why chaos is not just going to happen like that in Uganda or some other African countries outside the ten forty window. What has happened in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya are the doings of God. We are going to see a lot of political, economic and cultural sweeping across the 10/40 window. Due to what is happening now in the 10/40 window, I believe that if the church prays, many people in the technologically advanced Japan will begin to seek for answers for their uncertainties beyond their idols and technology. That is why we should be wise about issues connected to these changes. In 1 Chronicles 12:32 (KJV) the bible says that:
“… The children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were hundred; and all their brethren were at their command”.
There are two key points the bible notes here:
- That the children of Issachar understood the times.
- They knew what the people of Israel ought to do.
The children of Issachar understood the significance of what was happening in Israel. They could tell from the events around them about what direction things were going to take. They then knew what steps the people of Israel needed to take.
From what is happening in the 10/40 window, and the rest of Africa, what is God saying to us? Last year in The Africa House of Prayer meeting in Nigeria Abuja, 2010 was declared as the year of Jubilee for Africa. Seventeen African countries celebrated their fiftieth anniversary. Prophetically this is a season for Africa to be freed and restored to take back what belonged to her. Just before I left for the meeting in Abuja I saw in a dream, the map of Africa covering the entire space on one side of a tall sky scrapper. And in that twilight state, I saw that map of Africa begin to glow out of darkness. The message was clear in my spirit. The time for Africa to rise out of darkness and develop has come. It is clear that the skyscraper represented economic development and the glowing of Africa out of darkness represented the unveiling of the new order that God was going to bring to Africa. And the Lord put in my heart to go for that historic Abuja meeting. What I got clearly in my spirit was confirmed by the theme of that prayer meeting. Africa is going to rise and develop. Those nations that falls without the 10/40 windows from Africa and which still have oppressive government will be changed. Two continents are in divine focus as of now: Africa and Asia. Africa is going to be used to take the gospel to the rest of the world. Europe and America are in a state of apostasy and cannot now take out the true gospel as it did before. Before God can use any nation for the propagation of the gospel to the world. He prospers them first. He blessed Great Britain and made her an empire. It was not by coincidence that during that time many missionaries went out of Britain with the message of the gospel to the British colonies, and private people contributed towards this missionary work. The same thing happened in the U.S.A. God first prospered USA and made it a world power in order to enable her send out missionaries to many parts of the world. Now the societies of Western Europe and America have turned away from God and the very godly principles that caused them to prosper. And that is how Africa comes into the picture. It is Africa’s turn to prosper and take the gospel to Asia and the rest of the world. The entire continent is going to be prepared for God’s visitation. And in the continent of Africa, it is very clear that Uganda has a special role to play in this end time outreach with the gospel. Since the 80’s, prophecies after prophecies have been spoken about Uganda’s missionary role in the ministry of the gospel. Recent prophecies spoke about the unity that God was bringing to the nation of Uganda and the prosperity that would follow. It also speaks of Uganda’s role in the taking out of the gospel and holiness. One such a prophecy was issued out in 2006 by Marvin and Debra Westbrook, from Texas through House of Africa –prophetic words and ourchurch.com. The leaders and people of Uganda should be prepared for what God is going to do in Uganda. He is going to unite this land and prosper this land. Our education system in being set on the right track for mass education, a prerequisite for attaining a higher level of development.
It is not by coincidence that the petroleum that was known to have existed in Uganda, is going to be exploited now. Eastern economies are looking at Africa to satisfy the need of their exploding economies. East African Community is yet another economic state being put in place to fulfill God`s plan of lifting Africa out of poverty in order to enable her fulfill her prophetic destiny. In fact, I was very excited when I read in The East African News papers of 14th-20th March 2011 page 3 under the heading “African nations set for big economic bloc”. The article says that the tripartite, secretariat- involving the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC) and Common Market For Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) have approved an action plan for a merger to establish one Grand Free Trade Area with a combined population of 570 million people and GDP of $ 625 billion. This would open borders to almost half of the continent from Cape Town to Cairo things are going to be better for us in Uganda If we shall walk with God. The chaos, the distinction and turbulence of the past will not come because God’s agenda for Uganda requires peace and prosperity. God is going to purge evil away from this land. That is why evil like homosexuality and abortion that is going to cause western nations to sink should not be allowed to be imported to us in Africa. All these will be the doing of God. We should prepare ourselves and the young generation for what is coming. The bible in 1 Chr 12:32 says that the children of Issachar had understanding of the times and knew what Israel ought to do. God is speaking to Africa and to us in Uganda. Having known that much is coming our way what should we do? We can learn something more from Daniel as well. He was a man who understood the times.
“In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes a medes by descent, who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom- in the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood from the scripture , according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:’ Daniel 9:1-4
From the example of Daniel after knowing what God has in store for us, there are four things that we ought to do as Christians:
- Draw Closer To God Through Prayer
Immediately Daniel understood from the prophesy of Jeremiah that the time for them to stay in captivity and exile was already over, he drew close to God in prayer. They were supposed to be free by that point yet they were still slaves. It is only prayer that brings one to a place of knowledge and confidence about God’s intentions. James 4:8 (KJV) says that “draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” It is the time for Africa to draw near to God. It is time for Uganda to seek God in prayer so that we can fulfill our prophetic destiny as God’s people. Prayer delivers and empowers one with God’s grace. Prayer causes one to work in knowledge.
Daniel had to repent for the sins of his nation. It is time for Africa to repent for the sins of her nations. As God’s people in the church in Africa and Uganda, we should repent for the sins our leaders and people right from the colonial times until now. We should repent of corruption, wars, witchcraft, idolatry, human sacrifices and immorality. We should turn away from all that is vile. We should prepare ourselves as a people who are going to be used by God. No sin should stay on the way of what God is going to do for us. After many civil wars, healing is needed for our land. And only repentance will bring about the answers and healing we need (2 Chronicles 7:14).
- Pay Attention To God’s Word
It is God’s word that can steer one into the right direction. Obedience to God’s word brings about righteousness and prosperity. Where people ignore God’s word disasters awaits them. That is why Daniel in his prayers to God said: “Just as it is written in the laws of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving our attention to your truth.” (Dan 9:13).
It is time for us to heed the word of God so that He can fulfill those words through our lives.
- Seek God’s Favor
God’s favor is His kindness. God’s favor is very important for those who want to fulfill God’s will. His favor will cause His visitation upon your life (Genesis 18:9, 21:2 NIV). God’s favor will open doors for you and cause God to be gracious towards you (Isaiah 30:15 NIV). In addition to these, God’s favor will cause people to rally behind you (1 Chronicles 12:23 KJV).
Without God’s favor, people will not see the need to support you in what God has called you to do. Pray for His favor to be upon Uganda, East Africa and the entire Africa for the hour of her glory has come.
What Happens When You Fail To Understand The Times?
When you look at Matthew 16:1-3, and Luke 19:41-44(NIV), you will realize that failing to understand the times will cause you as a nation to lose your direction. Without knowledge there is no progress. You end up losing your deliverance and salvation. Like in the case of Daniel, it was only him who realized that they were still slaves at a time when they were supposed to be free. Sustainable blessings only come after freedom. The time for Africa to be a source only for raw material is ending. It is time for Africa to work hard and add value to everything she produces and rise up in righteousness and shine. It is time for Africa to be blessed. It is time for Africa to be a blessing to the world, all to the glory of God.
Article was written by Bp. dr. George Oduch the senior pastor of Victory Church Of Christ Ministries International, who is an Author and Evangelist based in Kampala Uganda.