Monthly Archives: June 2016

Elijah’s Prayers of Faith

“Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” (1Kings 17:10-11)

Elijah jumped on stage without warning anybody, and he went straight to State House to give King Ahab a stunning bitter prophecy that unfortunately came to pass: a horrible three-year long drought. This persisted no matter how much the Israelites called on the small gods and idols to which they had strayed. The Baals of the First Lady were for that season disabled and could do nothing, even when her father was their priest in Midian. Jezebel therefore suffered with her royal husband, and will all the people of Palestine of their day – they suffered the punishment God pronounced through Prophet Elijah the Tishbite. James later tells the story to encourage his readers in the matter of prayers of faith: “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.” (James 5:17).

Elijah sent many more prayers: during that drought, he prayed for food, and God sent the ravens with meat and bread at Elijah’s temporary residence where there was a brook with clean drinking water. Thank God, He answers prayers of faith. But when the brook dried up, Elijah still got hungry, and he prayed again; this time God sent him to a suffering and needy widow in Zarephath who was just one meal away from starvation. Things were bad
everywhere anyway; but this widow would be an instrument to show God’s power,
answering prayers of faith. It turned out that her cooperation with the Man of God became their insurance dividend; they ate and drank from that ‘one meal’ until the prophesied time of the drought ended, when Elijah prayed again.

When the widow was satisfied and her life revitalized, she must have praised the God of Elijah – Jehovah Jireh! But He gives more than just temporary satisfaction from a meal; and how would she know this? Her only son fell sick and died! This would require one more prayer of faith from the prophet: Elijah interviewed God first, “have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with…?” As if tragedy on others is alright;
indeed when tragedy serves to reveal to them the power of God, let them suffer for that
moment, as Ahab did. But Elijah’s prayer of faith removed tragedy from the widow and served the same purpose – revealing the power of Almighty God.

Be encouraged in the matters of prayer and faith. When you seek the glory of God, when the power of God should draw men and women, children and adults to their Maker and Redeemer, He will go an extra mile to answer you, to satisfy you, to reveal mysteries to you, to clothe you with perfect health – to answer your prayers of faith. As he did for Elijah, He will do it for you – be encouraged.

God bless you.

In the steps of the Martyrs

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, … “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55-56)

This again is the season to remember and draw inspiration from those who were faithful to the end – the Uganda Martyrs who are remembered year after year; there are other
annual feasts celebrated in honour of different saints, known and unknown, including
apostles, evangelists and martyrs – whose life of faithful devotion and witness remains a great encouragement for today’s believers. William’s old hymn captures well the important theme:

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed. Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold. Alleluia, Alleluia!

These saints were faithful to the end and now form the Church triumphant where ‘There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain’, while believers on earth are the Church militant where as Paul the Apostle encourages Timothy, they ought to ‘Fight the good fight of the faith.’ Faithful means manifesting a true spirit to a person to whom one is bound by a promise, a pledge, honor, or love. Walking in their steps demands a continual encouragement of one another until we behold the Lord as Stephen did in the hour of his death. Indeed it was the hour of his entrance into a new glorious life – and this seems to have been the same experience for many martyrs.

Our meditation today is from a very important prayer that the Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesians – and this should top any other matter on your list; make the need expressed in this prayer the most desired and the opening prayer item at every opportunity – ‘to be strengthened with power … so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith’, and, above all other things, this is my prayer for you beloved of the Lord.

They came from different backgrounds but were bound by their faith in Jesus Christ. God respects faithfulness in following Him, no matter where you are coming from. In our
following the Lord, we have many examples of faithful endurance – the martyrs of Uganda occupying a clear place in the list. Like the saints we commemorate, if you remain faithful to the end, God in His faithfulness has accepted you. Let us walk in their steps and support one another to tell generations to come of the exemplary witness and faithfulness to spur more people on to the same path. God bless you.

A Statement from the Archbishop, on Syncretism

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Like many Ugandans, Christians in the Church of Uganda prayed for Hon. Rebecca
Kadaga in her re-election campaign for MP and also for her election as Speaker of
Parliament. We rejoiced when the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ opened
both doors for her to serve the people of Uganda again. Like many, we were, therefore, confused by the reports of her visiting her ancestral shrine to give thanks for her
re-election.

We value our ancestors because we are connected to them by the relationship we
have. But, we must always trust only in God. We no longer need to go through the
spirits of the dead because Jesus is our hope and protector. He alone is the way, the truth and the life, as Jesus says in John 14:6. The Church of Uganda condemns
syncretism and urges her Bishops and clergy to use this opportunity to proclaim the
sufficiency of Christ crucified to meet all our needs, and to work pastorally with Christians to apply this glorious truth practically in their lives.

As we approach the commemoration of the Ugandan Martyrs on 3rd June, we are
challenged by the faithfulness, commitment, and witness of these youth. Their
willingness to renounce the “world, the flesh, and the devil” and to joyfully embrace
the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ, even unto death, is a model for how we
should all understand living a life with a single-minded focus on Jesus as the only
Saviour and only Lord. There is a cost to discipleship and a great reward in following Christ.

We appeal to all Christians in the Church of Uganda, especially those serving in
prominent positions in government and business, to uphold Paul’s exhortation to ‘live a life worthy of the calling you have received’ (Ephesians 4:1), to live ‘above
reproach’ (1 Timothy 3:2), and to not cause others to ‘stumble’ (1 Corinthians
10:32).

Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda.

Syncretism is the amalgamation or attempted combination of different religions,
cultures or belief systems. The above statement from our leader speaks widely to all,
especially those that are involved in idol or ancestral worship when at the same time they call themselves Christians. Isaiah peeped a little into heaven and saw the glorious majesty of the King of kings – God himself on His throne. His allegiance was immediately turned and concentrated to the Lord, and he was able to answer in the affirmative when the call was heard. Does the Lord have your total allegiance?

God bless you.