Journey with the LORD

Sharing God's LOVE for the mankind

Gardens of the HEARTS

Our hearts are our gardens. Just as God gave Adam a garden of Eden to keep, we are called to be a faithful steward of our gardens. It needs constant care and watchfulness through fruits we eat (our choices we make in our lives). We also regularly water the garden with the WORD and cut down the thorns that hurts the garden. Then God makes the growth happen!

We just gotta do our part and God does His part!

Genesis 2:15 (AMP)15 So the Lord God took the man [He had made] and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (ESV) 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Corinthians 5:1 (AMP) 1 For we know that if the earthly tent [our physical body] which is our house is torn down [through death], we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

1 Corinthians 3:16 (ESV)16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

Proverbs 4:23 (AMP)23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

Song of Solomon 2:15 (ESV)
15 Catch the foxes for us,
the little foxes
that spoil the vineyards,
for our vineyards are in blossom.”

Mark 4:7 (AMP)7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.

Mark 4:19 (AMP)19 but the worries and cares of the world [the distractions of this age with its worldly pleasures], and the deceitfulness [and the false security or glamour] of wealth [or fame], and the passionate desires for all the other things creep in and choke out the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

1 Corinthians 3:5-9 (AMP) 5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Just servants through whom you believed [in Christ], even as the Lord appointed to each his task. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was causing the growth. 7 So neither is the one who plants nor the one who waters anything, but [only] God who causes the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one [in importance and esteem, working toward the same purpose]; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers [His servants working together]; you are God’s cultivated field [His garden, His vineyard], God’s building.

Song of Solomon 4:15-16 (AMP)
15 “You are a fountain in a garden,
A well of fresh and living water,
And streams flowing from Lebanon.”
(The Shulammite Bride)

16 “Awake, O north wind,
And come, south wind [blow softly upon my garden];
Make my garden breathe out fragrance, [for the one in whom my soul delights],
Let its spices flow forth.
Let my beloved come into his garden
And eat its choicest fruits.”

Anxiety OCD Galore

Anxiety and OCD has been an old nemesis of mine for so long. I suffered from all sorts of anxiety attacks ranging from low-grade ongoing persistent type to extreme sheer panic. Oftentimes they seems to stem out of nowhere or get started by irrational thinking/perception or from anticipation of social interaction. The attacks also have evolved over the years in terms of having different things to be anxious about. Dang! Poor guy!

Sometimes I would feel like Paul, in a way that God would pick one of the tough cases so He could demonstrates His perfect LOVE and PATIENCE and POWER in my life for others to see. I felt like I was a very very tough case and it took God and my brother in Christ a long while to help me. Also it shows that He is ABLE to fix us. For what is impossible with man is possible with God. Believe me, I’ve tried many many times to ‘fix’ my own anxiety and OCD issues, but I couldn’t fix it no matter how hard I tried. It was very frustrating to me because I didn’t want to suffer form anxiety and OCD, who would want that? I’ll rather prefer a peaceful and quiet life in God.

Anxieties and OCD attacks are terrible things to endure! God doesn’t want His children to suffer from this, so I pray this posting will help someone out there! To be set free! If God can do me, then He surely can do you!

I made a short list below just to give you a taste of what sort of anxieties I’ve had. I wanted to be transparent with you, so you don’t have to feel embarrassed and know that you are not alone. And most importantly know that God can help you! You can trust Him! He is more than able!

– Feeling that I could be falsely accused of some kind of horrific crime and made to endure the shame forever. That someone would come barging into the classroom and take me away. That everyone would look down upon me. What’s really lame about this is that I knew it was irrational but couldn’t help feel anxiety as if it was a very real thing.

– Social anxiety which made me shy and unsure about interacting with folks. This also includes anticipatory anxiety for when I know I will be interacting with folks I know in near future. Sometimes I would feel uneasy in social settings. This made it harder for me to interact socially in my life, leaving me even more isolated.

– Random anxiety out of nowhere, and then this would triggers a secondary anxiety of me trying not to show anxiety on the outside which made the anxiety worse. Because I want to look calm and composed, right? Dang! Poor guy!

– Anticipatory anxiety, as if I was expecting something bad to happen. But for no apparent reason.

– Bad tendency for my thoughts to jump to the worst case scenario. Like for example, if someone doesn’t respond or talk to me, sometimes my thinking assumes the worst and think that person doesn’t like me or decided to reject me or that I did something wrong or offensive to that person.

– The absolute worst anxiety attack I could possibly get is what I would call Religious OCD Anxiety. Sometimes I would get intrusive thoughts of God not wanting me or rejecting me for whatever reasons. Or something that would make me second guess my place as God’s child. So my thoughts would take me back and forth like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind, extremely unstable in thoughts. Going from one extreme end of confidence in God to another extreme end of doubt and despair and fear, multiple times. Which is what this following verse reminded me of:

James 1:6-8 (ESV) 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

To give you an example of (very irrational) thoughts I’ve had – “oh wait I haven’t sought God’s face enough since I had been lazy lately, I need to do MORE! Oh wait…. that would be relying too much on the law! I am only saved by Grace. Oh wait, I lack faith so I don’t have this!” And so on…

Over-thinking and over-analyzing would steal my joy with God and take me down in no time. This type of anxiety made it extremely difficult for me to be reassured, even with God and my brother trying to reassure me! God even had to tell me to calm down multiple times! It was truly awful and gave me wrong perception of loving God. But thankfully God is a patient God, extremely patient with my frenzied antics, even with me yelling in frustration at times (mostly on the inside).

So God out of His tremendous and patient love, through my brother in Christ, worked hard for long time to straighten me out. He had to be tough on me at times so I can learn how to stand firm in FAITH, to hold FIRM IN FAITH. For we do not struggle against the flesh, but against the dark powers in the spiritual realm. God never gave up on me! My brother in Christ never gave up on me! They kept at it unceasingly so they can see me grow and thrive in Christ! I am truly thankful for their steadfast love and faithfulness.

I had to realize that not all feelings and thoughts comes from ourselves. Hence it was important for me to learn God’s truth and to use them against the imaginations and thoughts that opposes God’s truth. Our mind is the battlefield. We can choose to keep or kick out certain thoughts. So I try to fill my thoughts with God’s truth so if anything comes against it, I use God’s truth to fight back! God wanted us to be His warriors!

Ephesians 6:10-13 (ESV) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (AMP) 4 The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ,

Isaiah 54:17 (ESV) 17 no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”

Isaiah 54:17 (AMP) 17 “No weapon that is formed against you will succeed; And every tongue that rises against you in judgment you will condemn. This [peace, righteousness, security, and triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And this is their vindication from Me,” says the Lord.

Also I wanted to bring up the story of Esther. Law was decreed to kill all of the Jews. This is similar to how the law demands that all of us to be put to death for our sins. In the story of Esther – another law came in, allowing the Jews to defend themselves with weapons if anyone came against the Jews. Likewise, we have another law, a law of Grace and Faith! We can certainly use that to fight back against our enemies, for the enemy want us to go back to law of slavery and death.

Galatians 5:1 – 5 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

It has improved so much since God started working on me a while ago. It took a very long time, for I was a very slow learner in way of God’s kingdom and struggled with many issues. I have a bad habit of depending on perceiving things from my own intellect rather than seeing things in spiritual sense. Kinda like Nicodemus who seemed to love Jesus, but was an intellect type. God and my brother labored on me for very long time. I have come a very long way since then and I praise God for helping me heal, and continues to do so toward full healing and restoration. For God heals completely!

And guess what? One day God said I was healed, ironically shortly after I started working on mental health blog series. Just… like… that! Bam! Dang! He moves fast! I just had to believe it and stand FIRM! And press on!

I do confess that once in a while I do stumble and fall, but then I remember to apply the weapon of God’s WORD, God’s TRUTH, God’s SHIELD OF FAITH, God’s HELMET OF SALVATION, God’s BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. I’ve learned how to walk better and better each time. Like an toddler learning how to walk in the ways of God’s kingdom. Each time walking better and better! Just gotta keep on keeping on! Keep rocking it in Christ!

So what have I learned so far?

– Know who you are in Christ, See yourselves as God see you, NOT HOW YOU SEE YOURSELF!

– Don’t think too highly or too lowly of yourself. Our focus is to be on GOD, which takes our focus off SELF. WE JUST SIMPLY BE GOD’S CHILD! And Rock it in Christ!

– Learn the TRUTH, feed on the TRUTH

– HAVE FAITH AND TRUST GOD AND STAND FIRM IN THAT FAITH AND TRUST!

Proverb 3:5 (ESV) 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream,and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green,and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

– Wield the weapon of God’s WORD

– Remember that not all thoughts/feelings comes from God or yourself, some of them comes from the enemy! So take control of your mind! Kick enemy’s thoughts out!

– Keep CHRIST in your mind and heart at all time, make Him #1

– Anxiety and OCD may come against you like a storm coming against the boat, but remember that verse about Christ and storm.

Matthews 8:23-27 (ESV) 23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

When Peter focused on storm, he started to sink, when Peter focused on Jesus, he was able to walk on the water. So we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ! So if the storm of Anxiety and OCD comes against you, don’t focus on the STORM, but FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS! For He is our protector, our righteousness, our safety!

– Don’t embrace your own humanities or hold on your issues! Jesus promised us FREEDOM in Christ! We can let go of our old SELF and walk in the NEW SELF after Him! Don’t think yourself as someone who has anxieties and OCD BUT INSTEAD think it as storms that goes up against you, RESIST anxiety and OCD while TRUSTING IN GOD! And wait upon God to do His thing! Just keep at it in the storm till it goes away! Jesus is our GUIDING LIGHT! HE IS OUR PEACE. The storm will eventually clear away as we keep our gaze FIXED UPON JESUS!

Each of us are different and unique, and our healing journey may be similar or different in certain aspect. God knows how to do each of us in our own unique way.

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is one of the most important and powerful tool in healing. It can help restore relationships – with others, with yourself, with God – and help make peace with past hurts and situations. Therefore this is why I picked this as the very first topic, for it is simple to write about and yet it can have great impact on our healing journey. For some, this might heal you completely? For some, it may be a stepping stone as part of your healing journey. In my case, it’s one of the many stones toward my healing journey and I wanted to say this so you can have hope! For I had so many many issues (mentally and emotionally), and God wanted to use me as an example so you can be inspired by how God truly cares and wants to have us healed. To be able to live and thrive in Christ!

I realize it is much easier said than done! I know it can be hard to forgive certain situations and people. It might take some time for some folks. Pray and allow God to help guide you in regards to forgiveness in your life.

So what’s my story?

Back in high school, when my brother’s mental illness started to emerge and caused him act out toward the family – I got beaten up and received constant verbal abuse which pushed me away from him. I felt traumatized and unloved by this. I struggled with this pain for long time. I was really angry at him for so long. Also not understanding him or his situation made the problem worse, leaving both of us not having a good relationship for a very long time. What I hadn’t realized at the time was that he still loved me deep, even with him acting out at times.

All these years, I was so blind with unforgiveness and anger that I overlooked his multiple attempts to reconcile and rebuild relationship with me. He wanted to have a good relationship with me. We still did see each other once in a while and for most part it was cordial. But… it wasn’t enough and also my heart wasn’t truly in these visits. God knows what’s in our hearts – we may do something nice, but what’s in our heart is what really matters. Looking back on it, it’s not something I’m proud of – for that was hurtful to him.

One day, God put it on my heart to reconnect with my brother in a more meaningful way and spend quality time with him. Not just at Christmas and birthdays and once in a while but more so on regular basis. I felt that God was showing me that he was alone and suffering terribly with his own mental illness. I started to feel compassion for him and wanted him to be taken care of. Then a fellow brother in Christ confirmed what I felt in my heart, explaining what God showed him in the spirit. It was powerful experience!

At first it was quite challenging because of my own heart toward him, struggling to overthrow bitterness and anger, as well as learning how to interact with him and not wanting to jeopardize the relationship again. I saw how God changed my heart over time, allowing Him to do a deep work in me. As I spent more time with my brother, I saw my unforgiveness and anger melting away. It gradually dawned on me how much he was suffering, which shifted the focus away from my own past hurts toward compassion for my brother. It healed a major traumatic wound from the past.

Facing the magnitude of what I had done to my brother, seeing how much of a jerk I was and how I ignored him for so long, leaving him feeling lonely and neglected by his brother. I struggled hard with unforgiveness toward myself and struggled to come terms with my own action. Instead of condemning myself as the enemy wants me to, God helped shift my focus on what He has done for us on the cross. Jesus already paid the price for our sin, our fallen wretched nature – forgiving us completely. God knows exactly what we have done and yet still forgave us! Therefore we forgive others, including ourselves. It is not our own righteousness that we are justified before God, but Christ’s righteousness that justifies us before God as we trust and believe in Christ.

When we are able to forgive and move on, it’s like a new fresh start! Old past is gone, and there’s a whole new future to explore together! Same with God, our old former self is garbage, full of sinful capacity, but when we become born-again in God – we have the opportunity to WALK in the new creation, putting aside the former self and former way of living. And WALKING IN THE NEWNESS OF LIFE IN CHRIST!

God also helped me understand who I am in Christ – that I am a new creation in Christ and no longer the old person I was. Each of us always have new opportunities to do things differently, to grow more in Christ. This time I chose to focus on rebuilding a better relationship with my brother. Praise God! Understanding the vast mercy and grace God has given us helps us appreciates the magnitude of His forgiveness and sacrifice and love Jesus have richly provided for us. When we truly realize this in a deeper sense then I believe it makes it a lot easier to forgive others.

Now, I am just truly grateful to have him in my life and I am learning to be forgiving when he acts out or does something that makes me angry. Then I forgive hard! Just keep practicing forgiveness! I feel in my heart that God is happy that our relationship is restored, for He truly desires for us to love one another and live in harmony. It is not His will that we hate one another. I am still continuing this journey in new relationship with my brother, and I feel blessed! I know it’s not perfect and he still challenges me in many different ways yet (and vice versa!) but there’s always opportunity to keep on growing and opportunities to keep on forgiving and moving on.

Challenges in life doesn’t have to be a bad thing when God plans it for our own benefit to help us grow in kingdom character! We just gotta let Him do a good work in us, even though it may seem painful at times. Just look at me – God used my brother to change my attitude and heart toward him. And also for me to be a blessing to my brother in his life!

Matthew 6:12 (ESV)
and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV)
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV)
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.”
― Will Smith

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
― Nelson Mandela

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
― Nelson Mandela

“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Many times, the decisions we make affect and hurt your closest friends and family the most. I have a lot of regrets in that regard. But God has forgiven me, which I am very thankful for. It has enabled me to forgive myself and move forward one day at a time.
– Lex Luger

The most important thing that I learned in growing up is that forgiveness is something that, when you do it, you free yourself to move on.
– Tyler Perry

“I think the hardest thing in life is to forgive. Hate is self destructive. If you hate somebody, you’re not hurting the person you hate, you’re hurting yourself. It’s a healing, actually, it’s a real healing…forgiveness.”
– Louis Zamperini

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
– Lewis B. Smedes

Special Blog Series: Mental Illness Struggles – Introduction

Brecon Beacons the last big climb #dailyshoot #Wales

 

I wanted to start up a special blog series on my own struggles with mental illness and to testify about how God has remained faithfully with me despite my deep struggle and how far God goes to save even one of us and to help us in our struggles. It is crazy LOVE. God wanted me to be transparent with others about this. I will share my experiences as I blog about this and what I’ve learned on this journey so far. I feel God has showed to me that He is taking me on a healing journey to be healed and wanted to share this with my readers so they may have hope and be encouraged and hopefully to be set FREE!

My hope and prayer for people suffering from their inner torment/struggles is for them to learn about the LOVE God has for you and that you can rest in His infinite love. And also for folks to feel that they are not alone in suffering and KNOW THAT YOU ARE LOVED BY GOD. YEP, YOU ARE LOVED BY GOD! Even if you have been abandoned or forsaken by friends or family because of your struggles, GOD WILL NEVER LEAVE OR FORSAKE YOU! His loving arms are wide open for you to come and rest into! Come and thirst for Jesus.  

Isaiah 41:17 (ESV)
When the poor and needy seek water,
   and there is none,
   and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them;
   I the God of Israel will not forsake them.

John 7:37-38 (AMP)
37 Now on the last and most important day of the feast, Jesus stood and called out [in a loud voice], “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! 38 He who believes in Me [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Me], as the Scripture has said, ‘From his innermost being will flow continually rivers of living water.’”

My heart goes out to folks suffering from mental illness and folks taking care of loved one struggling with it and I truly want you to feel cared for and loved and for you to know that God cares very much so. I realize there are a heavy stigma associated with mental illness and folks are afraid to talk about it or might’ve been abandoned by friends/family because of the illness, etc.. You are not alone, I am also reluctant to talk about my inner struggles with other folks around me in life. But with God, He knows our inner struggle! And still loves you regardless! THERE IS HOPE!!! Check this verse out –

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (ESV)
 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Please take everything I write in prayer and to check with the Bible and MOST IMPORTANTLY… CHECK WITH GOD!!!! (Good rule of thumb in general) I am only a mere man but will strive my best to keep it in line with what God wants me to say and to be real as possible. God is the one that deserve GLORY AND HONOR. God knows EXACTLY what each of you need, I do not, man do not either, BUT GOD DOES!!!! Everyone is different and might need one or different combination of things to help with your struggles. Allow GOD to lead and guide you as you journey in your life.

 Without Him, we are nothing but dust! With Him, we can do all things and be all we can be in Christ! I also pray for the readers to be able to enjoy God in an intimate relationship – to live and thrive in Christ! Not just simply knowing about Him or just simply going to church BUT A REAL AND INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!! A LOVING RELATIONSHIP!! For Jesus Christ is loving and tender. He is VERY REAL!!!

I plan to have special contact section soon in case you have any questions, or want to talk about your issues or ask questions about God, etc.. related to inner struggle/torment. I realize this is a very sensitive and challenging topic about real struggles and will do my best to be considerate and understanding and helpful. I might not be able to know or answer everything but I can certainly try and I will ask God to help me =). I will announce when that is up and completed.

 Just wanted to cap up this introduction with a little background on my mental illness since I brought that up.

 Growing up, I’ve struggled with severe anxiety, obsessive thinking, irrational thoughts, and overthinking in everything including over-interpreting and over-analyzing even a simple social encounter. I also struggle with lack of confidence many times. On the outside, people may or may not notice but on the inside it’s a totally different world since I try to act/appear normal on the outside, hiding my own inner struggle. I have suffered through many rejections throughout my life, being misunderstood and left out from folks and I also have misunderstood folks’ intentions/actions many times.

 I will explore different topics in depth as we go through this special blog series. So I wanted to give you a preview on this struggle and how God has led me along on a journey. My goal is to share God’s WORD and to open up about my struggles just like how David poured out his heart unto God. I will use the term mental illness and terms commonly used for the sake of shared vocabulary and understanding. But I want to focus mainly on the spiritual application of this struggle and to provide specific spiritual tools to help fight the inner struggles that we have. That can include specific verses that can help with specific situations you may be facing.

 I will end with several inspiring verses to show that God is calling us to have a relationship with Him and that He is faithful always. Let us go to Him and start our journey of healing!

Psalm 27:7-14 (ESV)
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
    be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
    “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
    O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
    O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
    but the Lord will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    and lead me on a level path
    because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
    for false witnesses have risen against me,
    and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

FIRE AND WATER

 

Canadian campfire

God reaches out to each of us in a unique way, just like how each of us are able to reach out to others in a unique way. God gave each of us different gifts to use, if we chose to. Serving God doesn’t mean we have to become a pastor or a missionary to do so. Who said that you have to be one of these to serve God?

Each of us have our own unique contribution we can make and don’t think for one second that you are not valued!

I wanted to emphasis this verse – 1 Corinthians 12:1-31 (ESV).

12 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.

And I will show you a still more excellent way.

Each one of you are valued in a different way with a different purpose in this life. Now, even though we all have different gifts, that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from each other or acquire additional gifts.

Behold – our differences are what helps BUILD up the body of Christ and advance God’s kingdom. The old saying, “iron sharpens iron” applies to the fellowship of believers. We all have something to learn from and contribute to. When one lacks or is weak in one area, other can contribute from their strength and plenty. THAT is building one another up in love, which binds us all together.

Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV).

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Also, when we serve our brothers, we also serve God. Ponder on that, helping our brother is same as if we helped Christ himself!

Matthew 25:34-40 (ESV).

34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Fire and water don’t mix, right? But they each are important for their own purpose. One brother in Christ has a fiery style when it comes to sharing God’s word, sharing His worth with great burning passion. His FIRE is able to alight others, even to those who only have embers remaining.

Yet, FIRE is not always appropriate for all circumstances. There are times when folks need the soothing cool WATER to heal and comfort them through difficult times. Other brother has this style of calming WATER, having the compassion and understanding to stand with other brother through difficult time. To continually uplift and encourage him.

But yet somehow, God was able to mix these two brothers together, FIRE AND WATER – something that no man can do. The FIRE brother infuse fiery passion into the WATER brother and the WATER brother uplift the FIRE brother with encouragements!

God knows exactly what each of us need, whether if that’s FIRE or WATER or something else completely! He knows in some season, we need that FIRE and in other season we need that WATER. And He brings along the right folks in our lives to accomplish God’s purpose. Each of you have your own unique gifts that God gave you and don’t forget that you are valued! You have your own unique story and God loves to write a unique story for each of us. Will you let God in your life and allow Him to use you and write a story for you?

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