God’s gifts

1 Corinthians 12:4-11;27-31. “

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[a]? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.”

We must recognize these for what they are – GIFTS 🎁. Given to us by God as He wills. Not because we deserve it or are better than others. We cannot let pride get a foothold in our hearts thinking that we are better than others because we feel that our gifts are more powerful or are better than theirs. Nor should we go the other way and feel inferior because we think our gifts are not as good or as important as others. We must recognize the privilege and responsibility of receiving these precious gifts and do our best to be worthy of the trust that God has bestowed upon us in giving them to us.

There are so many gifts. Don’t focus on the popular ones. Rather find out what gifts He has given to you and run with it. That talent needs to increase and make more profit. We all have so much potential. The more we utilize the ‘little we have now, the more we build capacity for more and the more we receive! God is not stingy. He is willing to give us abundantly. But He would rather we grow into it than be destroyed by it. Just like human parents. You would love to give your child a car but you would rather give a toy car when they are three then get them a real one when they are old enough and have successfully passed through their driver’s education.

So what is the best gift? It is the one that can maximize your potential. What is best in the hands of person A, may be wasted on person B, or even be dangerous on person C. We are not to be satisfied with what level we are now but seek better. Not with greed or selfishness as motivation but with the glory of God and edification of the church as our goal. That after all, is the reason behind the gifts. We must not lose sight of this in our desire for better. That is why Paul shows a better way in 2Corinthians 13. Love.

Love for God and for His church (not talking about buildings or denominations here) is the purest and best driving factor to seek better gifts. God will not give us more than we can bear. That doesn’t just apply to troubles but also to gifts of the Spirit. We are not in a competition seeking to out do others for personal aggrandizement. We shouldn’t have time to compare ourselves with others. (If we have that time then we are being idle and need to get busy. Get back to the work of the kingdom. Pray more, study more, serve more) Let us seek and put in the work to be the best as God has called us to be. Ask and you will receive. Keep asking. Don’t be satisfied with yesterday’s level. Trust Him to give you the best. ~ AdaJesus🌻

When you’re a Children’s minister

When you are a children minister, you are going to miss sermons in the adult service. You know all those anointed preachers that are invited to minister; you’ll probably only see the poster.

When you are in the children ministry, you’re going to get peed on, pooped on, and puked on. sometimes you are going to lose your voice or get a headache at the service. Sometimes the new heels you wore to church gets swapped for flats, slippers or (in my case at times) going barefoot.

When you are a Children’s minister, Monday to Saturday you are thinking of something new for sunday; wondering how to break down the lesson for the toddlers. praying that those parents finally get bibles for their children so you don’t have to explain to the bewildered children why they can’t find the book of John in that the hymn book or last week’s program booklet their parents shoved into their hands when they requested a bible.

When you are a children minister, it is near impossible to take a sunday off. you may be in sunday service but your inbuilt sensors will hone in on any child sneaking in from the children’s section. for me that is usually the end of that service. I take the child back and I only return at the end of service to get my purse.

When you are a children minister, parents expect you to teach their children, in 2-3 hours what they failed to teach them in 7 days. You’ll also get blamed for some failure or bad behavior.

So why do we stay? why do we bare that pee stain on our lovely sunday dress like a badge of honor? why do we keep coming back every sunday?

Because we’re sold out. we’re shepherds to God’s lambs. feeding and tending them with His love pouring through us. it’s an honor every time we wipe away a tear, every frown we caused to smile, the grateful smile from the parents, and years down the road, when we see those children as young adults serving God, we know it’s all worth it. And given a choice, we’ll do it all over again. ~AdaJesus 🌻

Glorified my way?

Many times, when we pray and ask God to glorify Himself in our lives and in our situation, we assume that there are only certain ways that He can do that. To Martha and Mary, It meant Jesus would drop everything and come save their brother Lazarus from dying. God’s choice? let Lazarus die, be buried and then raise him from the dead. Like the sisters, when we pray for the morning, it seems it gets even darker; like the storm gets stronger; like more water is getting in the boat than we can scoop out; or like failure, shame, and embarrassment stare us in the face. We look up and ask “Umm… God? Are You there? Can you hear me?”

Maybe you prayed for a sick loved one to be healed but they died anyway. you believed for that job but lost it. You hoped, like Jonah, for justice for a wrong but it seems the guilty person is not only getting away with it, but doing even better. others seem to have the testimony you desire but your wait appears endless…

Are you there right now? Remember this, It gets darker before it gets light. God’s idea of glorifying Himself may be vastly different from your idea of it. He may rush there as He did for Jairus or He may wait a few more days (or months or years). We must be open that whatever way He chooses to be glorified, it will be for our good and we will be ok with it. So If you have prayed and believed and the outcome wasn’t exactly what you expected, Keep believing. Even in a loss, sickness, disaster, trauma, injustice, even when it looks like evil has won God can do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ever ask or imagine. Just trust that He has your best interest at heart. By the time He’s done, You will look back and give Him praise for how everything turned out.

Here’s a song I suddenly remembered as I typed this. https://youtu.be/fmJVH0tLKEg #pauseandponder as you listen and be blessed.

My favorite scene from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the witch, and the wardrobe is the point when it’s like all hope is lost and the evil seemed to be winning and we hear the roar. God is never too late. He will turn a valley full of dry bones into a living breathing army if He wants to. Just trust Him. Let Him be glorified His way. That’s the way He likes it ~AdaJesus 🌻

I’m Fine

The other day some one asked how I was. My response was “I’m fine” with a smile to boot. As I walked away, I thought about my response. To be honest, I was not fine.  I had stuff going on that I was stressed about. Some, that I would have loved to talk about with someone… and yet… here was the question and there was my reply – ‘I’m fine.’  It was automatic. I did not even have to think. It just came out. Why was that?

I thought back to growing up. That is where it started. When we were taught greetings and how to be respectful. When you met an adult or someone older, you said “good morning” or evening or afternoon depending on the time of the day. The adult’s response was usually “good morning my son/daughter/child” followed by “how are you?” and the only response to that, that we were taught was “I’m fine. Thank you.” The convo could end there or the person could go on to ask about your family, friends, school, holiday, and whatever else they saw fit to ask about and your answer remained “Fine, thank you.” Usually by now you were itching to run off, but your parents made you stay and ask the questions. Now you had to ask about the adult’s family especially their kids and they would respond with “we are all fine” As we grew the ritual became a part of us. You asked, “how are you?” without even caring to know and you expected to hear “fine” no thinking just a well-oiled ‘respect’ machine.

No, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the ritual. It was meant to show care for your neighbor, loved ones and even strangers. It is great and I would not end it. But somewhere along the line, we lost the spirit behind those questions. Worse still we learned to not really express ourselves concerning what we were going through. We ask ourselves, ‘if I say, “I am not ok”, would that be an acceptable answer?’ Would I be considered weak or a failure? Would I become the topic of the next gossip cycle? Does he really care? Can I trust her? Can this person help me?… and so on. Many times, by the time we decide to follow up the “I’m fine” with “actually…” the person has (usually) already moved on to something else… and we shelve the problem and just smile.

I realized that I had been guilty sometimes, of asking ‘How are you?’ and not really be interested to know. I decided to change that. Try to care more. Of course, I get hit with some christianese every now and then. With new responses cropping up. Responses like ‘We thank God’ or ‘God is faithful’ I have used these too. Sometimes when I was not sure I could truthfully say ‘fine’ or I did not want to speak negatives over my life.

The truth is sometimes we do need to talk to someone. Sometimes we need to just come out and say “No. I am not fine” “I’ve got issues that I’m dealing with” “I need someone to talk to so I do not go crazy” Can we be honest? Can we be the ones that others can be honest with? Can we be the ones who care. Can we be the ones who can pause and listen without judgement. Listen with empathy. Even if we cannot solve the problem, we have, in giving our time and hearts brought some relief to our brother / sister.

So next time you ask, “how are you?” mean it. Be ready to be the ear the person needs. Let us bring back the spirit behind the greetings. The love for our neighbor. Imagine what a great way it would go to help people’s mental health. The Bible says that God has given us a tongue of the learned, to know the words to speak in season to the weary.  Pray that and be the channel through which God touches others even as you allow God to touch you through others.                                              ~ AdaJesus 🌻

On Fishermen and Hunters

Jeremiah 16:16 ‘Behold, I will send for many fishermen says the Lord and they shall fish them. And afterwards I will send for many hunters and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill and out of holes in the rock’

Matthew 4:19 ‘Then He said to them “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”’

When God promised to restore the Israelites to their land, He doesn’t choose just anyone to go get them. He chooses two sets of people with certain skills
1. Fishermen
2. Hunters
What do these two have in common? They are professions that require one to be skilled to be successful. They require

A. Patience: Fishermen and hunters are very patient. It could take hours to days after throwing in the net or setting a trap for the prey to be caught.

B. Perseverance: They don’t give up just because they didn’t catch anything the first or 100th time, they simply try again even if they must go home and recoup first. (Peter and his crew fished all night)

C. Study: Fishermen and hunters study what they want to catch and the best way to go about it. They spend time observing and trying new methods. They also know themselves. they know when it’s time to withdraw and rest to return another day. They know when to call for help and not go it alone.

D. Training: They also train with skilled fishermen/hunters before striking out on their own. Training is important in the art of fishing/hunting. The would-be fisherman/hunter spends time with experts in the trade learning the ropes. They serve their masters who, when they are convinced that their prodigies are ready, equip and release them to start their own trade.

E. Wisdom: Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge. What is the use of having knowledge if one does not apply it? The fisherman knows when to reel in the fish and when to give it more line in order not to lose both the fish and the fishing line.

As Christians, we are called to be fishers of men. We are the ones called to go out and bring back His people. The bible says that Jesus called His disciples to (1) be with Him and (2) be sent out. He is the Master fisherman. We are the apprentices. We need to sit at His feet, learn from Him, serve Him and follow His instructions. Our Mission is to be with Him and to go out to win souls. There is no greater expert on humans than the one who created us. He knows the best message and the best time to preach to particular individuals that will draw them to Him. He knows when signs and wonders are needed and when just actions or just words or even silence is needed.

To succeed as soul winners, we need the fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, and most importantly The Holy Spirit Himself. We need to recognize His voice to be able to follow His guidance. Spending time in His presence will achieve this.

Pause and ponder: We are soul-winners how prepared are you to ‘fish’ for men? Take some time to reassess, get back to His presence. Study His word. And be ready always to cast the net at His command.
Happy Thanksgiving

‘And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have the power to heal sicknesses and to cast out devils:’ [Mark 3:14-15 (KJV)]

WHEN GOD DELAYS

John 11:5-6 (NKJV): ‘Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.’

With the declaration of Jesus’ love for these 3 siblings, I would have expected verse 6 to start with a ‘BUT’ instead there’s a ‘SO’. Ok back to verse 5, if there was no ‘but’ in verse 6, there should be words like ‘Although’ ‘even though’ ‘despite’… nothing. Just some facts – Jesus loves His friends, hears that one is sick and adds 2 days to his stay. Sounds cold doesn’t it?

The ‘So’ at in verse 6 tells me that Jesus did not delay in spite of His love for His friends but because of it! We’ve all been there, where we expect the all loving God to show up on our behalf and instead, things go from bad to worse. Then we begin to question and doubt His love.

If He loved us so much,

Couldn’t He have averted that tragedy?

Couldn’t He have healed that disease?

Couldn’t he have given us the things we needed so badly? – The spouse; the child; the job; the Passing grade; the               help; the resources?

Notice that the Jews asked the same kind of question (John 11:36-37); couldn’t He have kept this man from dying?

So why does God sometimes delay? Rewind to verse 4 – he wants to be glorified through it. Really? He lets us go through all that just to be glorified. Sounds selfish right? Well when it comes to His glory, God will not share. ‘How is that a good thing?’ you ask

Well it is good in that God glories in doing good, great, amazing, out of this world acts, and what’s more, like it or not, His glory will rub off on us (Exhibit A – Moses. Exhibit B – Martha and siblings became famous in Israel) and when He does arise and act, we will be able to look back and rejoice at His perfect timing and be glad that He came through when, where and how He chose to. He will ALWAYS come through … just not necessarily according to our timetable.

Pause and ponder ~ Does it look like God is delaying? Don’t give up. Rejoice rather that He’s getting ready to blow your mind. Something amazing is about to happen beyond your wildest dreams and imagination. Yes He still loves you. It is that love that drives Him to give you nothing but the best.

I Caught Jesus in a … Lie?

John 7:8-10 (NKJV) – ‘“You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.” 9 When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee. 10 But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.’

So I caught Jesus in a lie! (Gasp). I read these verses and I literarily was bouncing up and down and pointing upwards like a tattletale who just got some juicy information to tattle about. Well God, Big Brother did it! He said He wasn’t going to go to the feast then he went! He sneaked there. Isn’t that a lie?

I read the verse in different versions and noticed that some versions added ‘yet’ to the sentence but added footnotes that the yet was absent in older manuscripts. ‘Well’ I huffed as I crossed my arms, ‘what has He to say for Himself?’ ‘Lord, You said You are the Truth, what happened here?’ I could feel Him smile as He said that was a lesson on Obedience.

You see, Jesus had planned to stay put in Galilee. (John 7:1) He had a price on His head at Jerusalem and had no intention of going there until Passover. This brought to me the Humanness of Jesus. Jerusalem held persecutions and stonings and constant contradictions from stalker Pharisees. In Galilee, His brothers didn’t believe in Him but it was still home. They were still family. So yeah, He wasn’t going to Jerusalem until He had to at the Passover. As the Lamb of God, He had to be sacrificed there at Passover.

Why then did He go for the feast of Tabernacles? Because God asked Him to. He chose to obey God at the risk of appearing a liar. It was bad enough that His brothers did not believe in Him. Going to Jerusalem when He had told them He wasn’t going to help His case with them. But He obeyed because God was His priority. He could lose His brothers or His disciples but He could not afford to displease or lose God. At the end, I am glad He went to Jerusalem.

His being there brought more opportunities to teach. More people came in contact with Him and were blessed.

His being there saved the life and soul of the adulteress

His being there meant that He was close to Bethany where he would later raise Lazarus from the dead.

Jesus knew that He was meant to ride into Jerusalem. He may have wondered how He would do this if He was already in Jerusalem, but He trusted God and God worked everything out nicely, He rode in from Bethany with a Bang while the news of Lazarus was fresh.

As I thought on these, I examined myself and found that there have indeed been times when I disobeyed God just so I wouldn’t look bad to men. I didn’t want it to look like I was lying. I was fighting to maintain my integrity in the eyes of men while my integrity in God’s eyes was in tatters. I felt ashamed of those times I walked in disobedience, displeasing God just so I could maintain a façade of holiness. What is holiness if God doesn’t see me as holy? Whose definition of righteousness would I follow – God’s or man’s?

Pause and ponder ~ We need to learn to trust God; not ourselves; not our human logic or wisdom. Even if it makes us look bad or weak or evil, at the end of the day, God will justify us for our decision to follow His way. Oh Lord Help me to trust You more and to obey You no matter what. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

Worship God His own way

Deuteronomy 12:31 (GW): ‘Never worship the Lord your God in the way they worship their gods, because everything they do for their gods is disgusting to the Lord. He hates it! They even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to their gods.’

My people don’t bother coming to Me to find out how I want to be worshipped. They hold committee meetings to decide the best way to worship Me, they do studies, scientific ones on how best to fill the pews and plan accordingly. Yes they invite Me to the meetings with the opening prayers then ignore Me the whole time only to thank Me for coming and ask Me to sanction their decisions. And they wonder why My presence is not manifest.

They worship the way they feel like. They stir up their emotions and compete on who sings the loudest, dances the best or raises their hands the highest. The worship becomes all about them; all about filling the pews and competing with other denominations. And they think ‘if God didn’t like it, there would be fire and brimstone’. How foolish you are! Have you not read that I bear patiently (2 Peter 3:9)? Since when has the commands of your pastor superseded the express commands in My Word? Why then has his tapes and CDs and devotionals replaced your quiet time studying My Word?

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; whatsoever a man sows, that he shall reap. Take heed therefore the seed you sow. Return to Me and I will return to you. Seek Me and you will find Me. Take out the precious from the vile. I am the one who draws men to Me. If you will be My instrument, release yourself to Me to use as I please. Ask Me how I want to be worshipped. I will not hide it from you. I will be glad to show you.

The Lord isn’t slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. He doesn’t want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act. [2 Peter 3:9 (GW)]

 Think of our Lord’s patience as an opportunity {for us} to be saved. [2 Peter 3:15 (GW)]

Reflection in the mirror

2 Corinthians 3:18 (MSG).  ‘All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.’

Recently I found it getting hard to keep a good attitude. It was a struggle to stay nice in the face of meanness. Several times I said to myself ‘this is not me’ ‘this is not how I would usually react’ ‘why is it so hard to do the right and godly thing; be a good God ambassador?’ then I read this verse and thought about it.

You see, I really want to be like Jesus. Respond like He would to situations; be a godly example. I want people to see God when they see me. I want to be a channel of His glory. But to do all these, I needed to spend time soaking in His glory and presence. Looking back I realized that the times I got busy and spent less time with my Father, were the times I was least able to be like Him. The times that I spent more time with Him, were the times I was able to reflect Him to the world.

My definition of Christian is not someone who goes to church or was born in a Christian family. My definition of Christian is, as the bible defines it, someone who is Christ – like. To be a Christian, we need to learn to sit quietly. Spend time in His presence. Meditate upon His word. It may seem hard at first especially if you are out of practice but the more you stay, the more you experience the amazing beauty and peace that only He can give. Then you can walk out with a huge smile and people wonder what’s different about you.

Pause and ponder ~ How much time have you spent with God lately? Repent and get back into the secret place. Plan your time around God not God around your time.

‘He settled on twelve, and designated them apostles. The plan was that they would be with him, and he would send them out to proclaim the Word’ [Mark 3:14 (MSG)]