Ancient Oils- Olive Oil

Welcome to the powerful journey of discovering the deeper spiritual meaning to the olive tree. Throughout history it has been one of the most symbolic, most valued and useful trees in Israel. We are continually introduced to the Holy Spirit through symbolic representation:
• a dove bringing the olive branch for Noah, signifying a new beginning
• olive oil in the lamp stand in the Holy of Holies, signifying continued need for truth and light
• David anointed as king, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him for strength
• The oil in the virgin’s lamps, signifying the continual need for the Holy Spirit and
• Oil used in ministry, signifying the power of the Holy Spirit in healing.

The significance of anointing
Joel prophesied that in the latter days there would be an out pouring of the Holy Spirit and in Hebrews 1 we read that God anointed Jesus with the oil of gladness.
The key to walking in the Spirit is abiding in Christ. Anointing with oil can bring to remembrance God’s promises of His anointing over our lives and power available to us through His Holy Spirit. “Now He who has established you in Christ and anointed you is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” 2 Cor 2:20.
The ‘anointing oil’ we have received  is the Holy Spirit. “But the anointing which you have received from Him, abides in you and you do not need that anyone teach you, but as the same anointing teaches you, concerning all things…and just as He has taught you, you will abide in Him” 1 John 3:27.
Throughout Scripture we notice how the anointing, represented by the Holy Spirit, provides us with authority, power, insight and divine leading towards accurately executing the Will of the Father.

Why olive oil?
In Exodus 30, we read about two highly valued and sacred mixtures of anointing oil and incense which God instructed for use in the Tabernacle. The holy anointing oil was mixed with olive oil and was given to us as a prophetic fulfilment of the Holy Spirit and our dependency upon Him to be ministers of grace. The incense was a symbol of our expression of worship before God. The distinction is the anointing oil was given to us for our benefit, and incense is representative of our worship offered up to God.
The Bible mentions the word ‘oil’ 191 times. Olive oil has been used as a healing ointment for many centuries. It is mostly combined with aromatic and volatile essential oils which have smaller molecules and penetrate the skin easily.
However, carrier oils, such as olive oil, are less fragrant and serve as a base for essential oils. They enhance the penetration and efficacy of aromatic essential oils. This is symbolic of how God intended for us to live our lives dependent upon the Holy Spirit, who gives us the ability to demonstrate the fruit and gifts of the Spirit. The disciples were asked to tarry and wait for the Holy Spirit to come, before they could be of any use. We too become of no effect if we try and live in the flesh and not by the fullness and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

What does the olive oil and the olive tree symbolise?
The olive tree can live on forever because it continues to shoot new growth; they seem to die, but then they send new shoots up from the roots of the old tree. In some trees, there are very old portions in the middle, while new growth twines itself around the outside. Thus the tree is regenerated! It is a picture of the eternal, never ending supply of provision we have in Christ through the sweet, gentle abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. The olive tree is slow growing and requires years of patient labour, much like our sensitive and intimate relationship in Christ.

The Garden of Gethsemane
Jesus chose the Garden of Gethsemane, which means ‘wine or oil press’, surrounded by trees which continually sprout new life, to spend His final hours in prayer before His crucifixion. Perhaps their mute witness to eternal life encouraged Him. This garden became the ‘altar’ of surrendering His Will to the Will of His Father. Jesus embarked upon the most challenging path anyone could ever imagine as He came to the oil press and allowed every drop of His own Will to be surrendered to His Father.
As Jesus said, “not My Will, but Thy Will be done”, He revealed to us how we can experience a victorious and joyous life. Jesus laid down His own Will and embraced His Father’s Will and so can we by the power of the anointing.
The Holy Spirit will continually reveal Jesus to you and the illuminating revelation of your position of righteousness in Christ is increased as you abide and remain filled.

The spiritual significance of oil
The Hebrew word for ‘olive tree’ is ‘es shemen’ which means tree of oil from the root word to shine or cry out aloud with joy; the word for ‘olive’ is ‘zayith’ which means ‘yielding illuminating oil’. God has called us to be continually immersed in the ‘oil’ of His anointing and joy, so that we remain steadfast in the Truth of Jesus and His unmerited favour towards us as the Bride of Christ to be a house of light to the nations. Nothing of eternal value is accomplished by man in his own strength.

We are to reflect the perfume of God to the world…
When you come into His presence, He perfumes you with a fragrance of triumph. This fragrance never leaves you because it is His Son’s fragrance and He promises to never leave you nor forsake you. The anointing of the Holy Spirit is a supernatural release of power and authority to perform all God has entrusted upon you to do. This anointing is for His glory and to the work of His Kingdom. 

by- Naomi Sheneberger

Demographic Winter: The Culture of Life vs. The Culture of Death

Demographic Winter is the term used to describe what many social scientists and economists agree is the most disturbing event in modern history – the decline of the human family. The shocking reality of the culture of death came into sharp focus during the World Congress of Families held in Madrid, Spain earlier this year. Almost every speaker referred to the ‘Demographic Winter’ currently gripping the Western World.

Shrinking populations
Various experts at the congress  warned that “demographers, sociologists, economists, and civic leaders have revealed the dangers facing the world economies when human capital dramatically declines and an ageing population becomes pervasive.”

Dr Gary Becker, of the University of Chicago said, “When the stock of the working population is declining relative to those that are retired…that is going to be a major challenge which we’re not yet prepared for.” In short, the anti-Christian, anti-family ideology currently sweeping across most of Western civilisation has precipitated a culture of death that is slowly but inexorably killing off the human family.

Decline of the nuclear family
A ground breaking documentary entitled: ‘Demographic Winter – the decline of the human family’ declares, “World experts agree the effects [of a Demographic Winter] will be severe and long lasting and are already becoming manifest in much of Europe.” Birth rates are plummeting throughout the world as a result of a sustained global offensive against the natural family by radical feminist groups, homosexual activists and other anti-family lobbyists.
A radical, anti-family agenda
Plummeting birth rates are a direct consequence of the war on fatherhood, motherhood and children. Radical feminists regard motherhood and child bearing an imposition to the progress of the emancipation of women. They further regard Biblical Christianity as a major barrier to women’s ‘empowerment’. Liberal laws on abortion and the political and social advancement of the homosexual agenda have significantly contributed to the death of the natural family. The war on the family is raging at the United Nations where radical anti-family activists regard the death of the natural family as a victory for human rights.

The reason anti-family activists hate the natural family as much as they do, is because it embodies God’s Creation blueprint for human sexuality.

God’s blueprint for life
The two-parent, biological family, still presents the best environment for the child’s psychological, emotional, and physical wellbeing and is the only family structure that positively contributes to the economic success of nations. Those promoting unnatural sexual practises and alternative family structures, view the natural family as an obstacle to the legitimisation of their radical social agenda.

Essentially, the Biblical Christian worldview of the family and human sexuality represents the culture of life. God gave mankind the ability and privilege to choose a culture of life over a culture of death. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. In that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgements, that you may live and multiply.” Deut 30:15 -16.

A consequence of the curse of disobeying God’s commands is population decline. “You shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of Heaven in multitude – because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.” Deut 28:62. Most European nations are experiencing sharp declines.

Christianity promotes life
As a result, they face catastrophic economic collapse. Tragically, many of the curses mentioned in Deuteronomy 28 will become a reality for these nations as they turn their backs on the God that blessed them with so much success. Jesus is revealed in Scripture as “The Way, the Truth and the Life.” Those who obediently follow Him are therefore advocates of the culture of life. Jesus reveals both the source of the culture of life and the culture of death in John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Families are disintegrating
What many nations in the world are facing today is anything but abundant life! The thief (the devil) has stolen the joy of family life. Families in most developed countries are shrinking. A few decades ago family gatherings involved numerous members including uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces and grandparents.

The large family instilled a sense of security, belonging and well-being. Often, the greater family acts as the support structure for members who fall on hard times. However, the contemporary family in the western world often consists of just one child. Imagine if an only child marries another only child whose parents were also only children (a scenario that is becoming increasingly likely).

This means family gatherings will consist of the married couple and their parents only. No siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews or nieces. What a sad and tragic picture this paints. The disintegration of the family robs children of a childhood spent surrounded by family members. The family is God’s idea and nothing the world offers can improve on it.

A Western problem…
The radical feminist and pro-homosexual ideologies adopted by many Western governments today perfectly illustrate the culture of death mentioned in John 10:10. Feminists encourage women to forego motherhood and instead focus their attention on climbing the corporate ladder. That is why the ‘right’ to tax-payer funded abortion is such a fundamental issue.

It gives people the power to snuff out the life in the womb whenever a pregnancy inconveniences them. Radical feminists argue that motherhood, the very essence of the nurture of life, is meaningless, degrading and confining, and that childcare is an unfair burden placed upon women.

Cultural imperialism…
This godless ideology has advanced a culture of death across the Western world that may have already precipitated its cultural and economic decline. The culture of death is further advanced by the growing agenda to legitimise same-sex ‘marriage’ across the world. Western donor nations are now using financial aid as a weapon to force developing nations – especially African nations – to comply with the radical homosexual agenda.

In a documentary entitled, ‘Cultural Imperialism – the Sexual Rights Agenda’ many African representatives at the UN talk about being bullied into imposing legal abortion, legalised prostitution and special homosexual rights on their nations despite overwhelming opposition from their populations. The imposition of the culture of death on developing nations means the death of the family will not be only contained to Western nations but will eventually become a global phenomenon.

We need to restore Biblical values
Because homosexuals cannot procreate, every same-sex relationship represents the death of a small civilisation. The culture of death fuelled by the radical anti-family agenda has set mankind on a catastrophic trajectory that can only end in social and economic disaster. The only chance we have of reversing this dreadful trend is to make a choice to actively promote a culture of life. To do this, followers of Christ must aggressively fight to restore the sanctity of life in society.

As long as the crime of abortion-on-demand is considered a fundamental ‘right’, the culture of death will prevail. The family, which includes the God-given roles of fatherhood and motherhood, must be restored to its pre-eminent position in society.

Keys to a prosperous society
The Christian Church must once again take up its mandate to promote the natural family as the only social unit that positively contributes towards the lives of men, women and children and ensures a strong, stable and prosperous society. The abundant life or culture of life Jesus came to give us is contained in not only walking in intimate relationship with Him but also defending, strengthening and advancing the sacred and life giving institution He gave us – the family. 

Louie Giglio: Passionately Pursuing Jesus

The world is irreversibly cracked. I don’t think it’s worse now than in times of old though. There are some pretty dark days recorded in history and in Scripture, but I have a hunch that every generation has thought, it can’t get much worse than this.

But we have to be hopeful and determined; we carry divine power and the Gospel message of Resurrection.His grace is extended. Heaven is open for business. The enemy is defeated and the grave is empty!”

Louie’s life vision
This is the message of hope that permeates Louie Giglio’s life. It drives the focus of his ministry and consumes his attention. It is his passion – to make known the name and person of Jesus Christ and see the climate of faith around the globe change as the next generation is inspired to passionately pursue God. And it’s a vision he shares with his wife of 26 years, Shelley, and his close friend and Christian musician, Chris Tomlin.

Discovering his calling
Growing up in a Christian home (and even being born in a Baptist hospital), Louie knew God from a young age, but it was only when he reached college that he truly committed his heart to Christ: “I sensed God calling me to aim my life toward the proclamation of Jesus and His Word. What I discovered over the next few years is that God doesn’t hand us an envelope with our lifetime assignments in it, rather He leads us step by step into His purposes for our lives.“
Passionate about students
For Louie (who as a young boy dreamed of becoming a doctor, and later a tennis player,) God had several assignments in mind – not least of which included becoming a global author and speaker. But perhaps his greatest assignment has been to inspire and mentor college students…

Giglio graduated from Georgia State University and earned a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas. Later he went on to pursue a Doctor of Ministry degree. After finishing seminary, Giglio and his wife Shelley began a weekly Bible study called Choice at Baylor University where he was doing graduate studies. After several years, over 10% of the student body was attending the weekly gathering.

“Early on in our marriage, Shelley and I started a campus ministry at our ­lo­cal university. Ten years later, through a serious illness and the eventual death of my dad, Shelley and I moved to Atlanta and eventually started a movement for university-aged young people called ­Passion. Ever since, we have circled the globe gathering students for His renown.”

Pursuing the presence of God
“We are committed to reaching the youth because those are the critical years when students (who were sure of the truth in their formative years) are now forging their thought patterns and relationships that will set the trajectory of their future. We want to be at the crossroads and call them to Jesus. Many are disillusioned with Church and faith, but most have never really encountered Jesus…the true Jesus. “

Since its inception in 1997, Passion has seen millions of students around the globe gather in prayer and worship. Louie feels strongly that it’s not just about hosting Christian events though. Since 2007, Passion’s ‘Do Something Now‘ initiative has powerfully wed the expression of worship with justice, as students have given over $8 million to dozens of partner organisations throughout the world.

Expanding the vision
Four years ago, out of the Passion Movement, Louie and his team including Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman, planted Passion City Church in Atlanta. Fortunately for South Africans, Passion is not limited to America, and in fact there have been several world tours – not that this was part of Louie’s initial vision. “We received an email from a student in Manila who had seen a DVD of our 2000 Passion gathering called OneDay.  He simply asked, “Do you ever think you could bring Passion to my country?” Well, for a US based outfit who wasn’t even sure how long the vision of Passion gatherings would last, that was a far-fetched request. But he was on to God’s vision before we were!”

World-wide impact
In 2006 we did our first gathering in Toronto, Canada, and in 2008 we hosted a 17-city World Tour in 16 nations (including Cape Town). Our future will always find us through the world, gathering this generation for His glory.”

South Africa in his sights
This month South Africans can look forward to seeing Louie and the Passion team preaching and worshipping in stadiums across the nation. Louie has been to the country several times, and has a fond place in his heart for us.
“Your country is a stunning place! I’d have to say we love it all, but CT is just so special, and perhaps one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Table mountain always inspires me. One thing we hope to do on this visit is see Robben Island. I want to stand in the place where such deep forgiveness was extended and a hopeful future forged.”

Louie has always been a man of faith, and these events in South Africa are sure to challenge his expectations. The team have hired out Supersport Park in Pretoria, The ICC Arena in Durban and the Cape Town Stadium – together a combined seating capacity of over 100 000 people!

He is God of our cities
Interestingly, the Passion events in South Africa are unique in that they are not limited to college students alone. Louie feels that it is time to cast the nets wider and see the whole Body of Christ come together for one purpose – the Cause of Christ. People from all ages and denominations are encouraged to participate, and even more so – to invite young students and unsaved friends and family. These events are a date with destiny and have the potential to radically impact our cities for Christ.

It’s all about Jesus
Arguably most famous for his talks and books on the magnitude of God as reflected in the universe (Indescribable and How Great is our God), Louie is refreshingly unaffected by all the hype and fame. “I am far from where I want to be, but humility is not a character trait to aspire to, rather it is the by-product of walking with God. No one who is conscious of the presence of God has room for a false sense of self.

The huge danger of ministry, like everything else in life, is that it can become an idol that gets in the way of our love of Jesus. We are not called to work for God, rather to walk with God.”

To be part of Passion, buy your tickets from Computicket or see Passion and JOY! Magazine are giving away 100 tickets to the events. Send contact details and stadium choice to 

The Arab Spring – More like a Bitter Winter

Moderate governments are being replaced  by radical Islamicists
Now as radical Islamicists replace previously moderate governments, the enthusiasm is waning. A seemingly never-ending stream of stubborn reality are shaking the enthusiastically proclaimed illusions.

Tunisia used to be recognised as the most tolerant of all Muslim states in the Middle East. Now Egypt Today has screened graphic footage of a young Tunisian convert to Christianity being beheaded, while Islamic militants recited the Quran and chanted Islamic slogans and curses in Arabic. The popular support for murdering of Arabs who convert to Christianity, bodes ill for the Arab Spring. Car bombs, assassinations and mob attacks on Coptic churches in Egypt, murders and bombing of churches in Iraq, car bombs in Northern Nigeria attacking Sunday congregations, are stubborn facts that challenge the talking heads and editorialists who celebrated the demonstrations and uprising throughout the Middle East last year.
Emotive opinion presented as news

BBC Head of News, Helen Boaden has admitted that her journalists got “carried away” with events and produced “overexcited” reports. She told the BBC Trust report, that in Libya, where her reporters were “embedded” with rebels, they may have failed to explore both sides of the story properly. BBC Middle East Editor, Jeremy Bowen was among those criticised in the study about coverage of the uprisings. The study found that excitement infected the reporting, which was described as too “emotive” and “veering into opinion”.

The document also raised concerns about the BBC’s use of footage filmed on mobile phones and other user-generated content. It noted that the BBC failed to warn its viewers about the questionable authenticity of such footage in most of the cases. The report also warned that the BBC ignored major events in some countries, as it concentrated on selected stories.

Overexcited and one-sided
Miss Boaden said: “In the conflict in Egypt in the beginning…we might have sounded overexcited – you can take on the colour of who you are with. I had to say just be careful about your tone…In Libya too, where we were essentially embedded with the rebels at the start, we might have sounded overexcited – you have to be careful if you can’t get to the other side of the story…” Fox News has commented that none of the pundits, even though they are consistently wrong, are ever held accountable for the disastrous movements that they promote.

Irresponsible and unaccountable
On 10 February 2011, I wrote an article for JOY! Magazine, ‘What is Happening in the Middle East?’ In this article we warned: “radical groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood are tempting to exploit the instability and hijack the popular revolution to turn Tunisia from a mostly secular state to a radical Islamicist regime.”

We also warned: “An Islamicist take-over in Egypt would be a massive crisis, because the country has so much influence in the peace process with the state of Israel. Egypt is America’s key regional ally and was the first Arab state to make peace with Israel.

“The vital Suez Canal is controlled by Egypt…the popular uprising in Egypt is being described by Iranians as an Islamic Awakening, which could lead to the establishment of an Islamicist Middle East led by Iran, dedicated to the extermination of the state of Israel.”

Increased persecution
Along with the tidal wave of popular Islamic fanaticism on the streets of the Middle East, has come a sharp increase of violent persecution of Christian communities. Many hundreds of Christians have been wounded, or killed in violent attacks on Christian churches and neighbourhoods, especially in Iraq and Egypt. Tens-of-thousands of Christians are packing up and fleeing the region.

The myth of the moderate Muslim majority
With the crisis escalating throughout the Arab world, Western governments are facing a conundrum of their own making. For many years Western governments and media have been repeating the liberal mantra that the vast majority of Muslims are moderate and against terrorism. This is now being shown to be a self-deceiving fantasy. Surveys and opinion polls in Egypt have revealed that 59% of Egyptians back Islamicists; 50% of Egyptians support the radical Hamas terrorist group; 30% of Egyptians support the even more violent and radical Hezbollah. 20% of Egyptians express support for al-Qaeda terrorist group. The proposed solution by Western liberals to virtually any problem worldwide, that of ballot box democracy, is plainly not going to work in the Middle East.

After the American military succeeded in toppling Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in Iraq and making possible the first democratic elections in that country, the result was more radical Islamicists in power and far more severe persecution of Christians than had ever been experience in Iraq before.

Islam offers a radically different
concept of freedom
The religion of Islam appears to be diametrically opposed to the Western world’s concept of freedom…The Islamic concept of freedom bears no resemblance to the Western understanding of freedom. What Islam defines as freedom, most Westerners would understand as slavery.
In fact that is exactly what Islamic scholars define freedom as. Ibn Arabi, a noted Islamic scholar, defined freedom as: “being perfect slavery” to Allah. The Muslim definition of freedom is submission and subjection to Sharia law.

Deadly democracy
Our article on the Middle East in February last year also pointed out that a Pew Opinion Survey found that 84% of Egyptians favoured the death penalty for Apostates (those who choose to leave Islam). 74% of Egyptians favoured a strict enforcement of Sharia law. 67% of Egyptians favoured a Caliphate (a military dictatorship uniting all Muslims under Sharia law).
Islam does not recognise any other religion as valid. What we in the West understand as freedom of religion, to Muslims is freedom for Islam alone.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which seems poised to hijack the popular revolution in Egypt, has been responsible for the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981, the birthing of the Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda terrorist movements. For some Western leaders to claim that the Muslim Brotherhood is “a force for moderation” in Egypt (despite its radical statements and bloody track record) is incredible!

The threat of a Caliphate
Those who understand Islam and the Middle East are warning that democracy will bring change, but it would be in the form of the worst nightmare – an Islamicist crescent spreading from Pakistan in the East, to Morocco in the West, a pan-Arabian Caliphate, where the word Islamicist would no longer just be shorthand for terrorist, but describe official government policy, even in capitals such as Cairo.

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are clever in their own eyes and in their own sight…but deny justice to the innocent.” Isa 5:20-24.

What can we as Western Christians do?
Scripture commands us to pray for our leaders, rulers and nations. We need to uphold these countries in prayer and support Christian organisations that are helping believers in these persecuted lands. We also need to hold our governments and media entities accountable for their role in political affairs. 

An Enemy Called Average

Never try to defend your present position and situation. Choose to be a person who is on the offensive, not the defensive. People who live defensively never rise above being average. We’re called, as Christians, to be on the offensive, to take the initiative. A lukewarm, indecisive person is never secure regardless of his wealth, education or position.

Become pro-active
Don’t ever let your quest for balance become an excuse for not taking the unique, radical, move that God has directed you to take. Many times the attempt to maintain balance in life is really just an excuse for being lukewarm. In Joshua 1:6,7,9 the Lord says three times to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.” I believe that He is saying the same thing to all believers today.

When you choose to be on the offensive, the atmosphere of your life will begin to change. So, if you don’t like the atmosphere of your life, choose to take the offensive position.

Take control of your life
When you do choose to be on the offensive, keep all your conflicts impersonal. Fight the issue, not the person. Speak about what God in you can do, not what others cannot do. You will find that when all of your reasons are defensive, your cause almost never succeeds. Being on the offensive and taking the initiative is a master key which opens the door to opportunity in your life. Learn to create a habit of taking the initiatives and don’t ever start your day in neutral. Every morning when your feet hit the floor, you should be thinking on the offensive, reacting like an invader, taking control of your day and your life.

Don’t blend in
By pulling back and being defensive, you usually enhance the problem. Intimidation always precedes defeat. If you are not sure which way to go, try and move towards the situation in confident trust. Be like the two fishermen who got trapped in a storm in the middle of the lake.

One turned to the other and asked, “Should we pray, or should we row?” His wise companion responded, “Let’s do both!”

Let’s start taking the offensive. Stand out, don’t blend in. Rise up and go!
Persistent people begin their success where most others quit. We Christians need to be known as people of persistence and endurance. One person with commitment, persistence and endurance will accomplish more than a thousand people with interest alone.  In Hebrews 12:1 we read: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” The more diligently we work, the harder it is to quit. Persistence is a habit, so is quitting.

Don’t give up
Never worry about how much money, ability or equipment you are starting with. Just begin with a million dollars worth of determination. Remember: it’s not what you have; it’s what you do with what you have that makes all the difference. Many people begin ‘the good fight of faith’, but they forget to add patience, persistence and endurance to their enthusiasm.

Josh Billings said: “Consider the postage stamp. Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to something until it gets there.” You and I should be known as ‘postage stamp’ Christians.

Make diligence and commitment a habit in your life
In 1 Corinthians 15:58, the Apostle Paul writes: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Peter tells us: “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” 2 Pet 3:14. And wise Solomon points out: “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings…” Prov 22:29.

Stick to the vision God gave you
In the Far East the people plant a tree called the Chinese bamboo. During the first four years they water and fertilise the plant with seemingly little or no results.

Then the fifth year they again apply water and fertiliser and in five weeks time the tree grows 27 metres in height! The obvious question is: did the Chinese bamboo tree grow 27 metres in five weeks, or did it grow 27 metres in five years?

The answer is: it grew 27 metres in five years. Because if any time during those five years the people had stopped watering and fertilising the tree, it would have died.

You will reap a harvest soon
Many times our dreams and plans appear not to be succeeding. We are tempted to give up and quit trying. Instead, we need to continue to water and fertilise those dreams and plans, nurturing the seeds of the vision God has placed within us.

Because we know that if we do not quit, if we display perseverance and endurance, we will also reap a harvest. Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.” We need to be like that snail.

One of the most neglected areas in many people’s lives is the area of gifts that God has placed within them. It is amazing how some people can devote their entire lives to a field of endeavour or a profession that has nothing to do with their inherent talents. In fact, the opposite is also true. Many people spend their whole lifetime trying to change who God has made them. They ignore their God-given blessings while continually seeking to change their natural makeup. As children of God, we need to recognise our innate gifts, talents and strengths and do everything in our power to build on them.

Choose to step into your destiny
One good thing about God’s gifts and callings is that they are permanent and enduring. Romans 11:29 tells us: “…the gifts and callings of God are without repentance”. The Greek word translated repentance in this verse means ‘irrevocable’. God cannot take away His gifts and calling in your life.

Even if you’ve never done anything with them, even if you’ve failed time and time again, God’s gifts and calling are still resident within you. They are there on this very day, and you can choose to do something with them, beginning right now.

Put your talents to use
Gifts and talents are really God’s deposits in our personal accounts, but we determine the interest on them. The greater the amount of interest and attention we give to them, the greater their value becomes. God’s gifts are never loans, they are always deposits. As such, they are never used up or depleted. In fact, the more they are used, the greater, stronger and more valuable they become.

When they are put to good use, they provide information, insight and revelation which cannot be received any other way or from any other source. As a Christian, we need to make full use of all the gifts and talents which God has bestowed upon us so that we do not abound in one area while becoming bankrupt in another. Don’t make that mistake, use all of the gifts God has given you.

Discover your gifts, fulfil your goals
Someone has said, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to treat everything like a nail.” If you choose not to step out and make maximum use of the gifts and talents in your life, you will spend your days on this earth helping someone else reach his goals.  Most people let others control their destiny. Don’t allow anyone to take over the driver’s seat in your life. Fulfil your own dreams and determine your own life’s course.

Never underestimate the power of the gifts that are within you. Gifts and talents are given to us not only so we can fulfil to the maximum the call on our own lives, but also so we can reach the souls who are attached to those gifts. There are people whose lives are waiting to be affected by what God has placed within you. So evaluate yourself.

Define your gifts, talents and strengths.
Choose today to look for opportunities to exercise your unique, God-endowed, God-ordained gifts and calling. 