How precious are you?

You, with your unique set of talents and inner beauty, are beautiful and precious in the sight of the Lord.

You are a special creation of God, the one and only endowed with unique talents and gifts. Some of us are good at using our talents while others  wait for an opportune time before taking a step in faith, regardless of what type we are, all of us are blessed with special talents and gifts customized just for each one of us.

What are you good at? You might say a thing or two or many or may be none. The truth is that all of us have special talents that make us unique and different from others. We may have common talents but each one of us bring a unique touch or a personal style to add to that talent. Its like fingerprints. No two fingerprints can be the exact same. If God has taken so much attention to bring an element of individuality to our fingerprints, how much more “uniqueness” he must have added not just to our talents but to our lives as a whole.

Wherever you are in your journey, at the pinnacle of your success or you may have yet to start, you radiate your uniqueness in everything you do. You are no less than the precious child of the perfect God. Your talents and gifts are so special that it couldn’t have been given to anyone else. Godly Characteristics are so intrinsically interwoven into your spiritual DNA that you are fully empowered to choose to live a Godly life. Sometimes, we tend to take heed to the lie that we are good for nothing but the truth is that “we have been equipped to do everything good for doing his will.” (Heb. 13:21).

God has a unique plan and destination for each one of us. We can’t compare our journey with others who might have gone far while some of us have barely started. Sometimes we wonder if life is moving at all since it seems that everyone else is progressing except “me”. In those times, remind yourself what the Lord said, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11).

God is so much in love with you whoever you are and wherever you are. He cries out in his love, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me” (Isaiah 49:16).

Try to see yourself by the eyes of your creator. You are beautiful and no one else in the whole universe is exactly the way you are.

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Use your talents or lose them

In Matthew 25: 14, Jesus explains the secret of the Kingdom of God by using a parable. The parable talks about three servants whose master was going on a journey. Before the master set out on the journey, he called his servants and gave each one of them talents according to their ability and then left. After a long time the master was back and called out the servants to take an account of what they had done with the talents. The servant who was given 5 talents earned 5 more and the master commended him. The one with 2 talents earned 2 more and likewise, the master commended his hard work. The servant who was given one talent didn’t earn anything. All he did was to hide the talent in the ground. When the master called him in, he just returned the talent to the master. The master was angry and rebuked this servant.

The man who received one talent knew very well  the nature of his master since he said “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”

How often we know what to do with what we have but instead of simply obeying the commands of the master we give priority to our own emotions and feelings and run after our own thoughts. The servant with one talent did the same thing. Bible says He was afraid of the master. The master was in-fact a righteous man who highly valued his treasure and possessions. He knew the value of the talents he had given to his servants and he expected that his servants would appreciate and value the talents, just as he did. Not only so, the master had never designed the talents to be buried or to be hidden from others. The master wants the talents to  used and shared with others.

The servant with one talent told the master that he was afraid of him. The servant was afraid because he actually didn’t know the master. He never loved the master the way other servants did. Bible says that perfect love drives out all fears. Love develops by spending time in the presence of the Lord and not just listening about HIM master from others. The servant with one talent must have heard that his master was harsh but never cultivated the habit to spend time to know why the master was harsh with his possessions. His ignorance and fear turned into laziness and all ended up hiding his talents.

Are we using our talents? Are we afraid of God or totally ignorant of his existence?  May be our heart tell us that there is God but our thoughts don’t want to submit to HIS authority? Is our knowledge about the son of God is limited to what we have heard from others? Have we spent enough time to dig out the reasons why He is the way He is?  Are we using our talents in the right direction or just burying and hiding them from others since we are afraid to bring them to light.

Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Let’s submit our thoughts, emotions, fear and knowledge to God and ask him to ignite passion in us so that we value our talents and use them for his glory.

May the master be pleased with the works of our hands and commend us by saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Fruit v. Gifts of the Spirit

Fruit and Gifts of the Spirit are given by our heavenly father for different purposes at diverse occasions to bring Glory to his awesome and wonderful name and nature. Fruit of the Spirit as mentioned in Galations 5:22 are – joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Please note that all the above attributes are of One FRUIT, which indicates that the one who practices self control  under the influence of the Spirit is also capable of being kind and gentle and have the power to be patient and faithful at all times, by the strength of the same spirit.

Gifts are given for the edification of the receiver and the welfare of the Church, as mentioned in 1 Corinthians12:7, Gifts are “of the message of wisdom, message of knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophesy, distinguishing between gifts, speaking in tongues, interpretation of the tongues.”

Both Gifts and fruit of the Spirit have distinct nature, time of maturity, purpose and they are exercised at different times according to the will and purpose of the one who has blessed us in his great love through his son Jesus Christ.

MATURITY OF THE FRUIT AND GIFTS

Fruit of the Spirit takes time to mature. The process doesn’t depend on our own strength but the strength of the Holy Spirit that works in us by reminding us without ceasing that our salvation is much precious than anything else for it has come down to us by Jesus Christ. Having been received the word of salvation in faith, when we strive to meditate on it daily and put it into practice, fruit of the spirit starts becoming apparent in our lives.

Gifts become apparent the moment they are received. The receiver adds to his/her gifts by practising them the way Father intends them to be used. Gifts are given for the personal edification of the receiver as well as for the encouragement of the Chruch. Gifts play a great role in the body of Christ and they deserve much honour and respect on the part of the one who exercise them so that everything results in glory and honour to the giver, who is our heavenly father.

TIME TO EXERCISE

Fruit is exercised throughout the life of a believer. And moment by moment it brings a resemblance in the nature of the believer with Jesus himself. Gifts are used as and when the Spirit leads the believer to use them for Father’s glory.

PURPOSE

Fruit of the Spirit with its different attributes brings a change in the nature of the believer. A believer’s desire to be found in the nature and image of Christ is fulfilled by the great blessing of the fruit of the spirit.

Gifts are for the personal edification and encouragement of the Church. Gifts bring tremendous power to the one who uses them, that brings a great responsibility on the part of the receiver, for the one to whom more is given much more will be required. Those who are blessed with spiritual gifts must strive to exercise fruit of the spirit by bringing themselves under the authority of the WORD otherwise they might get caught up in temptations that will eventually cost their pure spirituality and leave them puffed up with vanity.

WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT GIFTS OR THE FRUIT

Gifts and fruit of the Spirit, both come down from the father of lights, the source of all perfection. And both deserve great honour and respect. Paul wrote to Timothy in 1Timothy 4:14, “Do not neglect your gift.” Paul spoke about the spiritual fruit in 1Corinthians 13:1-2, “If I speak in the tongues of men and angles, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cyambal. If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have faith that can move mountain, but have not love, I am nothing.”

Is Paul comparing the gifts with the fruit of the Spirit and advising us that the fruit has a greater value than the gifts of the Spirit?. By no means, Paul is making it plain and simple by the guidance of the Holy Spirit that the love as commanded by Jesus himself  is the greatest obligation we have to live with as followers of Christ. When our gifts are exercised in the shadow of love, it brings glory to the one through whom all blessings flow in heaven and on earth.

Let’s seek the way of love by exercising the fruit of the spirit and also not be slow to seek the gifts of the Spirit for the glory and honour of our heavenly father.

Shrewd Fisherman – lessons from John 4

Bible tells us In John 4, that Jesus had to go through Samaria so he came to a town called Sycher and since Jesus was tired he sat down by the well.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water. As soon as Jesus saw the woman he said “Will you give me a drink?”. The woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a samaritan, how can you ask me for a drink?”

The Lord is telling us that a shrewd fisherman needs Godly humility. The King of Kings didn’t hesitate to ask for a drink from a person who was not considered of a good social standing according to the norms prevalent at that time. The Lord has told us that there is no distinction now between Jews and Gentiles, whoever is in Christ is a new creation. Jesus didn’t preach this truth to that woman but proved by his actions. The Lord brought himself down to save the Samaritan woman. Paul says, I became everything for everyone so that I may win Christ for them. The Lord is still speaking to us today and reminding us that the work of the Lord is to outreach to those who are discouraged, depressed and victim of low self-esteem.

When the Samaritan woman heard that  Jesus was asking her for a drink, she must have felt good about herself that she had something to give to a person of higher social ranking than her. The Lord wanted to free her from her old thinking that there was a distinction between Jews and Gentiles. The Lord wanted to boost the self-esteem of the Samaritan woman before giving her any message.
A shrewd fisherman brings a message of encouragement that builds up the confidence and faith of the listener.

When Jesus asked for a drink, he also opened a door for communication that was based on fulfilling the immediate need of the woman that  was boosting her self-esteem and further clearing a way for the word of God to be established. The Lord is teaching us to clear the way before start preaching.
A shrewd fisherman makes a way for clear communication by destroying the barriers and misconceptions.

The woman said “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan so how can you ask me for a drink. The moment Jesus heard it he said “If you knew the gift of God and who is it that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” The Lord wanted the woman to know that she was in need. And only Jesus could fulfill her need.
A shrewd fisherman convinces the listener that there exists a need on the part of the listener.

The woman said , “Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where did you get this living water”. The woman came to a point where she could freely communicate with the Lord, The Lord was waiting for this opportunity. In fact,  Jesus eagerly waits for the times and occasions when we could open ourselves and speak to him freely.

Now the woman wanted to ask more questions to Jesus, she said, ” Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us this well and drank from it himself as did his sons and his flocks and herds? The Lord answered. “Everyone who drinks from this water will be thirsty again but whoever drinks the water that I give him will never thirst, indeed, the water that I give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”The woman said, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Suddenly, Jesus changed the conversation from water and well to “Go and call your husband and come back.” The Lord wanted to bring out the ugliness of woman’s life that she was trying to hide. The first step to be blessed by the Lord is to bring to the Lord our shame, our weaknesses and infirmities. The woman said “I don’t have a husband. Lord replied that You are right that you have no husband. The fact is that you have had five husbands and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have told me is quite true.” The Lord told the woman that I am aware of  what state you are in. And you have lived enough in the shame of your weaknesses but the time has come for you to leave that old way of life and walk in freedom.

The woman said, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.The woman came to know Jesus even before  Jesus started preaching to her.
A shrewd fisherman preaches without even opening his mouth.

The woman further said, “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” The woman came to the point where she started to seek the guidance and the counselling of the Lord. She had questions about the right place of worship. The Lord answered, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you don’t know, we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet, a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the father in spirit and truth. God is spirit and his worshippers must worship in spirit and truth.”

The Lord told the woman clearly that to know WHO TO WORSHIP is more important  than to know WHERE TO WORSHIP. The Lord said further that “a time is coming when the true worshippers will worship in spirit and truth, for these are the worshippers Father seeks.” The woman said, Messiah is coming and when he comes, he will tell us everything.

The Lord saw that the Samaritan was waiting for Christ. Now, the time has come for the Lord to preach…Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am He.”
Shrewd Fisherman leads the listeners to a way where they feel a thirst for Christ.

A shrewd fisherman is the one who is always busy making a way for the Lord and preaches only when it is needed.