life

Mansions: Heavenly Ghetto

heaven2

There is a question that has lingered early on in the hip-hop culture, yet it may have come up before that. The question you ask, “Is there a ghetto in Heaven?”

Now I am sure you are asking yourself, is that even a possibility, considering our connotation of ghetto versus that of heaven, but in actuality it is a legitimate question. Why or how you ask? Most people are familiar with the verse in the John that tells us that Jesus goes to prepare a place for us, but when you read it, it doesn’t say that He is preparing mansions; it only says that there are many mansions. So what?

The work we do here on Earth counts. How we live for Christ matters. You may think or have the assumption that your labor is in vain, as if you are fishing without catching a fish, let alone a sardine, but God sees you, and whether in this life or the next, He will give you all that you are due. God is watching and His angels are keeping records of every word every said and every action done, both good and bad, matter of fact both Daniel and John say that there are books about each of us open when we have to give our account of what we have done with our lives. What are they writing about you?

There is a song that says “I’m sending up my timber every day,” timber implying wood to build your heavenly residence. I think it’s safe to assume that we all desire to live in big mansion up on a hill next to the apostles or other great Christ-following leaders over the centuries when we get to Glory, which is all fine and dandy. However, Our Father who is preparing a place for us needs some material so that He has all He needs to build the mansions we desire, thus, the timber.

Our timber is simply how we live for Him. Being you for a purpose means that every opportunity you are given to send up timber; you are letting God use you as He so chooses, multiplying your strengths and efforts, and being the power, despite your weaknesses to serve Him. The material we send to Heaven is how we love others, especially those who won’t love us in return, how we treat each other and speak to and about each other, how we use the gifts and talents He has given us, how we forgive others, how we invest in our relationship with God, how we face temptations, attempting to live holy, how we give, how obedient we are to His Spirit, and how we walk in the perfect will of God. The more, we have, the bigger our residence.

Jesus is preparing a place for us, the question is what, because it didn’t say they are all mansions, only that there are many. So that left me thinking, so what else is there? Is it the possibility that those who received salvation, their down payment to break ground, because He is truly preparing a place for all of us, but because they didn’t live a life worthy of their calling (Eph 4:1), they didn’t send up enough timber, if any, God was limited by what He was able to do, and thus instead of a nice heavenly home, they received a shack?

I am convinced that not only the dwelling place, but the location to an extent, will be determined by the lives we live on this side of Glory. If that is the case, then it may be not so strange to say that Heaven has a ghetto. Of course, don’t get me wrong, making it to Heaven, even if by the skin of your teeth, even if I get a cardboard box to live in, it is infinitely greater that Hell. Furthermore, the heavenly ghetto is completely different than the ghetto as we think. I mean for starters, there is no sin, no crime, no craziness; no need to worry about the water or electricity bill, for there is no need for light since his full glory will light up the universe and there is a river of clear life water; no busted concrete streets, but rather streets of gold; no homeless people for every has a place to live, and no poverty for we will be feasting with Christ and there is a tree of life with 12 different fruits in bloom in its season. God is gracious enough to at least promise a place, no matter what, which is another example of His awesome love.

Being you for a purpose means not settling for anything less than God’s absolute best, in this life or the next. Make your life count so that you when it’s all said and done, God will personally give you something to show for it, for all the sacrifice, all the pain, all the tears, all the hurt, all the suffering, all the struggling, all the loneliness, all the frustrations, all the fight, all the effort, and all that you had to endure on your way home in Heaven, and the insane part is that mansions are just the beginning. Trust me, it will all be worth it.

Be you for a purpose and overwhelm God with all your timber in order to hear those coveted words, “Well done. Welcome home.”

 

Otiose

There are so many things that we can busy ourselves with today, between work, family, ministry, hobbies, friends, projects, weight loss, school, memberships, business, even keeping up with the flowers on the porch. We do what we can to be comfortable and to be successful, to feel accomplished, and to feel that we have made something of ourselves; we want to feel needed and important.

In the Western culture, it is all about independence and making sure “I got mine” and self is taken care of. So we put every bit of effort as we can to make it from day to day, some more ambitiously as others, striving to meet the world’s expectation of worth. We get educated and chase money, pursue dreams or pursue that which we think will make us happy. With all this running around, it gets tiring and it is so easy to lose focus and sight of what is really important. Our priorities get messed up and we tend to leave others behind.

Our efforts are temporal at best, surface level satisfaction, and after a while it becomes mundane and we just go through the motions of life even though we aren’t truly living. When you look at it, it’s as if we operate and function as if there are mirrors everywhere we go, and at some point we look in one and see ourselves smiling; we are the center of our universe and frankly put, that’s vanity. This “all about me” society has crippled us, and at some point we have to ask, what I’m doing, will it last? Am I leaving the world in better condition than when I first arrived? What does it all count for?

Living a life of purpose means that you understand first and foremost, that it is not about you. Your being is not for the purpose of making yourself happy, but pouring out and impacting others lives. Those are the things we take with us when we cross over. Furthermore, we can get so caught up and wonder why we are tired and all but satisfied, because we fail to confer with the Author of our life. Though there are many things that are good, not everything will push towards the specific destiny that God has for each of His children.

When we work in our human effort and move without the hand of the living and active God, it is all worthless and means nothing. He is the only one that gives us value, not money, possessions, accomplishments, degrees, good deeds, etc. It’s only the work for Him that will last. We can try all we want, but apart from Christ, it all means nothing, no matter how “noble” or “positive” or “good” what we do is. Just because it’s not bad, doesn’t mean it’s what God has for you to do. As I have read before, we tend to be unsatisfied and tired most when we do what the Lord is not telling us to do, not necessarily living a sinful life, but simply not walking in His will.

Being you for a purpose means that you understand that if God is not behind you, there is no point in going forward in a direction, which may also mean cutting things and people off, good or bad, that are hindering Him doing what He has purposed to do in, by, through and for you. It means acknowledging that God is the One that gives life and meaning to everything. It means recognizing that time is too precious to waste on things that have no eternal significance. Know that in God alone will you find true and everlasting satisfaction because He created you; He is the only one that can lead you and make you into all you were destined to become. It’s easy to be busy, but the goal is to make it count, and without Christ, that is impossible to do.

Be you for a purpose, not living or being otiose.

Psalm 127: 1-2

Murder

Whatever you say or do, do it on purpose.

murder

That line is the first part of the Be You for a Purpose motto and it’s interesting because I haven’t really written specifically on that portion, so it is about time I did. Now I am sure you are asking, what in the world does that have to do with murder? So let me explain.

A lot of times when we try to determine how good of a person we are, we tend to refer back to the Ten Commandments, which is an awesome point of reference. But right around the last five, we tend to get a sense of relief and say, “see I’m not so bad, I haven’t murdered and I will never commit adultery.” If this applies to you, you are an awesome person. #thumbsup

However, if you read continue to read Scripture you will find that the vast majority has failed to uphold every single one of the those commandments, in one way or another, even those dreaded two. Shocking I know, but stick with me. For the sake of adultery, Jesus himself said that if you just look at another person in a lustful manner, if your heart is in the wrong spot, you have already committed adultery (Matthew 5:28). And I will be honest, that lust thing is so easy to get caught up in, because these men be fine, and I love my superheroes…but I digress. Of course, it doesn’t help with the overly sexual society we live in, not to even mention pornography or what is presented on television and movies with no second thought or consideration. Lust…adultery…check.

Nonetheless, I want to focus on murder. The word does sound so haunting when you hear it, and for good reason. Proverbs tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue, therefore, words alone have the power to kill, and to be honest again, I have been on both sides of the spectrum, giving and receiving. So like me, I am sure that the vast majority of us have spoken words that have ended relationships, have cut a person deep, or have slandered a person’s name (whether we knew them or not) in a way that destroyed who they were.

Furthermore, we tend to speak the most deadly when we are angry or don’t care too much for someone. Right before speaking on adultery, Jesus spoke on murder and how a person commits murder when they speak to or about someone in contempt. Additionally, James calls the tongue evil, and even equates it to fire, and says it’s full of deadly poison. Need I say more. Our words have the power to destroy and kill, like poison.

Another side note: Out of the heart, the mouth speaks, so many times our words reveal what we truly feel, and those unpleasant dispositions we have toward others at any given time, and how we love is displayed in how we speak to each other. If our words are hateful, or anything of the sort, that hate or resent for another person, for one reason or another, makes you a murderer, well at least, that’s what John says.

When you are being you for a purpose, part of that, as the motto explains, is being intentional of the words you speak. Your words can bring life or death. Which do you choose to bring? If you ask me, there is already enough people committing murder, I would rather not add to the body count. At the same time, it just reaffirms our need for Jesus, because he is the answer to our evil nature, and it’s his blood covers all of our sins, murder and adultery included; he desires to transform us into the best, His best, that we can be, speaking, thinking, and doing as to fulfill His purpose in our lives. Consequently, whatever you say and do, do it on purpose. Whoever you are, be on purpose.

Diamonds & Rubies

I think the ideal life of purpose for the man or woman of God is summed up in these two verses.

Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find? ~ Proverbs 20:6

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. ~ Proverbs 31:10

Now a days it is hard to find a faithful man, in more categories than one. To find a man who is trustworthy, respectable, and committed to each aspect of his life is uncommon. There are so many things that are distracting and living in this type of society, it’s all about moving on to the next, plus, many have their own pride and ego. However, this verse tells us what a man of purpose is all about: he is faithful. diamonds

This man knows his purpose, knows his place and or his role in his various relationships and positions in life, but more importantly he is faithful and committed to each task and his word is truly his bond. He is intentional about all that he says, does, and gets involved with, while refusing to give up or throw in the towel during difficult times. As a man, when both, other people and God, find you faithful (Proverbs 3:3-4), you are on the good path; the Lord is able to trust you to do what He has for you to do, and others can depend on you. As a result, a faithful man’s actions speak for themselves, so he doesn’t have to brag on himself, as this verse infers. Furthermore, a faithful man’s mantle and influence will be so much greater than another not living a focused life and also gains a larger portion of the Lord’s favor over his life.

rubiesOn the other hand, a virtuous woman is also a rare find, a woman of purpose who knows her purpose and understands her worth and identity in Christ, focused on leaving a legacy for generations after to follow. Seeing all these reality TV shows and how media often portrays woman, virtue seems to be a lost jewel, meaning a woman who does not compromise her dignity or self-respect, her standards, values, or morals. A full description of such a woman is found specifically in Proverbs 31, and long story short, she takes care of her own. She loves and serves the Lord, takes care of her family, and impacts the communities around her. Because she is hard to find, her worth, as the verse says, is far more than rubies, which are rarer and more valuable than diamonds. She lives and does not just exist; she is motivated and driven, honorable, and respectable.  A virtuous woman is very intentional as well in what she does or says.

Because these are such rarities, when they find each other, this is what is known as a power couple. I haven’t done a post about love, and at some point I will, but for the sake of this post, if a faithful man finds a virtuous woman, and or a virtuous woman falls for a faithful man, these two together are able to rock this world and lead nations. Of course, each has to get his or her own right cut, if you get what I mean.

Until that happens, I encourage you to strive to be the rare diamond, a faithful man, or the rare ruby, a virtuous woman. The demand is high, the supply is few, and your value to this world is priceless and as you shine in the light of Jesus, your beauty radiates across the hemispheres. Living on purpose and with purpose, you are the precious gem among so many stones. So I ask, are you the answer to these questions in Proverbs? Are you what the world is looking for?

Infamous Zone

This post is partly a continuance of the last post, although, this is one of the biggest things I’ve learned this year. Life is about adaption and finding that place in life where you can reside peacefully with the least amount of awkwardness and or apprehension. However, as we become older, patterns, habits, and ways of thinking begin to set in and many times it will dictate what we will or will not [want to] do. You call that your comfort zone.

This zone can become very hazardous and detrimental to fulfilling your purpose. Now people have their various reasons for doing or choosing not to do certain things, some practical and others that are more in depth. Living a life of purpose, you have to be willing to shift and to get out of your comfort zone. As many people can attest as I’m sure you have heard, many times God leads us to those unfamiliar places and unknown territories that can be frightening to be quite honest. Even more, it’s not uncommon for Him to answer prayers in ways that we didn’t want or anticipate, but it’s by His sovereignty. When either of these things happen, some people respond and are willing to take the risk and jump off the cliff believing He will catch them or teach them to fly, and they have soared ever since. Still, others clam up and live in fear.

This fear is another trick of the enemy to hinder God doing amazing things in our lives. We all have our place of comfort, let’s be real, but God often does His best work when we are willing to step outside of the box, trusting Him all the way.

In the same breath, too many people put God in a box, which is the craziest thing anyone could ever do. God is so humungous that no box can fit His very essence, so why would we limit Him, and therefore limit ourselves? More than likely, the comfort zone is rather small, but the world is so big and God is even greater, and the more we step out, the more our eyes our opened and the more we get to experience, taste, touch, smell, and hear. You can’t live a purpose-filled life never leaving your comfort zone; I am a witness to that. So I encourage you not to just start doing weird stuff all willy nilly for no good reason, rather with prayer, wisdom, discernment, and good judgment of course, get out of your infamous comfort zone! – whether it be taking online classes, joining a ministry, having children or adopting, trying something new, following your dream, or confronting an issue that has plagued your life – The more you do, the greater your life will be. I promise. Your faith will grow and your relationship with God will go to higher heights. If God is leading you, don’t be afraid, for His grace will keep you. Take a risk, in Jesus’ name ;).

OH! And be careful not to tell God what you won’t do (normally things outside of your comfort zone). I did, matter a fact I had a list of things, He laughed at me, and now I’m doing or have done them with in the last year :).