“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” - Mathew 7:16 (NIV).
After Christianity arrived here in Uganda on many occasions people would be asked to prove they were converts. In the olden days most of the converts carried with them their baptism certificates which also identified their denominations. These pieces of paper along with a “Christian name” were all that was needed to prove one being a Christian.
However, while one may have a piece of paper with his Christian names legibly printed, there is something else more. Our leading verse shares with us one of the identities of a Christian, other than mere carrying a baptism certificate or boasting of having a Christian name, are the fruits. Any person may trumpet and proclaim himself as a believer in Christ but a litmus test is clearly the fruits.
Take for instance, throughout history there has been countless examples of the Disciples of Christ involved in countless self-sacrificial work that has had lasting impact on humanity, moved because they were followers of Christ. Christians have built schools that have accessed education opportunities to all, set up hospitals to offer care to all, built orphanages to give chance to the less fortunate, fought for social justice to ensure all have equal opportunity, often putting their lives at risk. All has been to show the love of Christ to the world. For whereas evangelization of the world can be through the sharing of the word; the deeds in themselves are a testimony of the Christ we believe in. Good deeds do often leave many wondering and asking where Christians draw the power to love others!
Today, how about reflecting on the power of deeds and getting involved in some activity where without saying as much, the fruits point to the Christ you believe in!
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I pray that my love and devotion to you, may be exhibited through deeds that show your love and draw all to the Christ we believe, this I pray in Jesus’s name!
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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”- (Philippians 4:6).
Perhaps you have heard of a certain old magical trade known as mind reading. According to this trade which has been around for millenniums and has its share of tricksters, mind readers are able to discern thought patterns of individuals before they even utter a word. There are places in the world where this, as expected, is a lucrative occupation, with practitioners, often crafty magicians, demanding hefty fees, just to tell thoughts of others.
As Christians, of course, we have an all knowing God, who has said, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” ( Mathew 6:8). Further, our Lord has pointed out, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” ( Mathew 6:7). As Christians when we come to God, we do so with full confidence, that He already knows our needs and will meet them according to his glorious riches in heaven.
Of particular interest for us here is that while God perfectly knows our needs before we even dare utter a single word, still it is incumbent upon us to make our requests known to Him. A parent may have long noticed a child has a need for a new pair of shoes; but it is another dimension, when the child does come out and share aloud that his pair is worn out, hurting and is quite in need of a new one. The parent takes notice, especially when the matter is presented with such conviction and urgency. This is why Hannah cried out to God for a child ( 1 Samuel 1:9-18).
In our relationship with God, as the Apostle Paul advises us, it is not just enough to assume and let matters be, that after all God knows all our needs, but we too bear a responsibility to make our requests known to Him. Once we are done with that, we let God do His part, allowing “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” ( Philippians 4:7) to flood us.
So, today, do not hold back your needs from the Almighty God. He has paved the way to walk to Him through His son Jesus Christ, to present your case, bear out your heart’s desire, and let Him do His part!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise to make my requests known to you, knowing you have heard me even before I utter a single word, assured that you will meet each and every one of my needs, according to your glorious riches in heaven!