Ever gotten hooked on a game?  Several months ago, my nephew was visiting, and he introduced me to an online version of Scrabble – Words with Friends.  It sounded like fun -- an innocent form of brain-stimulating entertainment.  I jumped in with all ten fingers and began to play.  For weeks on end, my husband could hardly set his briefcase down at the end of the day without me throwing it open to grab his ipad and check on my games.  (Perhaps that is why the Santa in him decided to get me my own ipad for Christmas!)

Most of these games have become challenges between my sister and me.  Both of us are avid readers and love to write, but Julie definitely has the upper hand in this competition.  She can turn a four or five letter word into 60 points in the time it takes me to see if any of my letters can spell anything at all. 

Occasionally I get lucky and win a game.  But typically I find myself reading a message informing me that she won yet another round and asking me if I would like a rematch.  Indeed!  How can I resist the challenge?  A competitive spirit rises up in me and says, “This time!  This time it will be my game!”

The truth is that Julie has a particular talent for words.  When we aren’t batting back and forth our entries on Words with Friends, she uses her talent to write insightful blogs that communicate important truths. 

What are the gifts and talents God has given you?  Start with this thought, “When I have time, I really like to _______________.”  God gives us a special connection with our talents.  Whether it is hospitality, arts or crafts, compassion, or the gift of encouragement something in our hearts sings when we utilize that talent for His kingdom. 

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Romans 12:6-8

Live out your gifts and talents and remember to thank God for the abilities He’s given you.  Let's make 2012 the year to fully yield those divinely inspired treasures to the One who gave them to us.