love

What Else is There?

It’s a safe bet to say that my favorite princess movie ever is “The Swan Princess,” and if you haven’t seen it, your life is not complete. One of the the reasons I love it so much is that Princess Odette is her own person and not flaky nor superficial. How? When the Prince Derek announces his decision to marry her, she proceeded to ask him what else other than her beauty did he like about her, to which he responded “What else is there?” Heartbroken, she leaves and the wedding, as you may guess, was called off.

When I think of those exchanging of questions, it reminds me of a passage I recently read in John chapter six. In the particular conversation, Jesus I believe is a bit frustrated, disappointed, and possibly even hurt, because many of his followers were leaving him because what he was preaching was hard to accept, let alone follow. It happens so often today still, those that started off with Christ, the Enemy comes and chokes out the word because they get discouraged or it seems too overwhelming and people give up on God, and they turn back. Even as those who actually witnessed Jesus and saw him perform miracles and heard God in the flesh, the creator of the universe speak and teach, if so many would turn, why would it be any different now? However, what makes me think Jesus was somewhat hurt is the question that he would then ask his disciples.

“You do not want to leave me too, do you?”

I can very well be wrong, but to me it seems that the emotion of Jesus was so heartfelt and real and it’s a question I think so many, including myself, have asked. Especially when you choose to be yourself for a purpose, people will walk away and you may have to walk away from some people, and truth be told you may lose more than you expected and it gets to the point where you ask “are you going to leave me too?” The problem is that when you give people real, in this case meaning exemplifying the person God has called you to be, not everyone can and will accept it, but you must go on, even if that means you have to walk alone sometimes, believing that in His time and in His way He will put the right people to walk alongside of you on the journey toward your destiny. It’s so real and I love Jesus even more, because he really did have emotions, those that are genuine and very relatable, considering how he still recognized the fact that though not everyone would walk away from him, at least one would betray him and hurt him even more than those who walked away, but yet, he was not deterred from the assignment he had to complete. He knew he couldn’t change who he was nor the calling and purpose given to him, which is a message to me to keep going and being what God has called me to be for a purpose, because my purpose is so much greater than me and I can’t let emotions or other the misunderstanding and unwillingness of other people sway what I know to be true. But, getting back to the story, the crux of why I alluded to the “Swan Princess” is in the response of Peter to Jesus.

“Lord, to whom shall we go?”

“What else is there?” asked Prince Derek. Though the motive and reasoning is different, same idea applies. What other choice do you have? Where else can you go? What else has such significance? What else is important enough to even consider another? What else matters? Not so much for Derek, which he did come to realize, but Peter was exactly right. The truth is that apart from Jesus, nothing else matters. It is he and he alone that we are able to be who we are, because he is the one that created us. It is he and he alone who gives us meaning and purpose in life. Apart from him, there is no hope, there is no future, and there is no life, just emptiness and unwavering void. One thing I tend to say is that without him I can do nothing; without him I am nothing. It all starts and ends with him. It all revolves around him, his will, and his eternal word.

Consequently, “what else is there?” Other than being all that you were called, created, and destined to be, what else is there that will give you such satisfaction, peace of mind, completion, joy, and significance and make you irreplaceable? Settling for something less than God’s absolute best, or choosing to clone another person or a culture or the world will demean and limit the power of God in your life to do all that He so desperately desires to do. I mean seriously, the Jesus, the God who spoke the very world into existence, the same one who created the universes with his very word, the same one who controls the seas and the wind, and the same one who by touching the very hem of his garment a woman was healed, is the same one who took His precious time and thought in designing and crafting you specifically with a purpose in mind. Say what?? That is so mind-blowing to me. I mean, why would anyone not choose to live the life that was awesomely and uniquely tailor made for them by that same God who not only placed the stars in the sky, but knows them all, each by name? Like the song says, I have no other choice.

Truly, there is nothing else than to just be you for the purpose that God intended.

FreeVerse

So, it’s been a long time, way too long. A lot has been happening and I’m long over due for a post. I call this one FreeVerse because, I have no idea where this post will begin or end, but just stick with me and hopefully you don’t get lost and I won’t get too long.

Between the ALS ice bucket challenge, the start of football season, Robin Williams and Joan Rivers passing, more people claiming to be Jesus, ISIS terrorists, rage against cops driven by the issue of racism, the fire challenge, the pass out challenge, VMAs, Christian persecution, the start of a new school year, and a less than reliable government, the need for people to rise up and stand up is now more than ever.

Every time I heard these stories, and people posting and sharing and criticizing, the only thing I ever questioned is what changes are being made? Changes and efforts that can be seen. Are people just talking to talk and to get likes on Facebook? When the next big story hits the news will the others be forgotten? Do people have all the facts? Is it always an issue of racism? Do blacks get treated the way they do because they don’t treat or portray themselves to be any better? Thanks to videos of twerking and fighting and hurting each other, the value of a race has been diminished and we promote it and find it funny or entertaining, then get mad when a white person mistreats a black person and want to scream racism….I can go on a soapbox, but hopefully you get my drift because I am leaving it there.

At the beginning of a school year I can only pray that this year we will see a difference. More and more children are being denied their freedom to read the Bible or bring it into the school, yet schools in the most refined areas are becoming less and less of a safe haven.

I think of Robin Williams and his committing suicide, and one of the things I am learning this year is that you truly never know the battle someone else is facing and what demons they are fighting; although they may smile all the time, when they are at home, smiles do not exist. Whenever God lays someone on your heart, or you just randomly think of someone, I can promise you it was not random or a coincidence. Even if it has been years since you have seen or talked to them other than Facebook, pray for them, there is something going on or something they are about to walk into that requires your prayers. This has happened to me several times this year; people that the Lord seemed to put on my heart to pray for over the last couple years, even if all it was was a “Lord bless them” or “Lord remember him/her.” I ended up talking to some only to find out they had been through storms and it made me wish I’d prayed harder. Encourage others and always be a light; people are hurting and people are dying. People need Jesus, and you may be the only one to ever introduce them.

I tend to see a lot of pictures of weddings and all that jazz, and as beautiful, expensive, and breathtaking people are obviously spending on their weddings, I often ask “how long will this marriage last”? What investments have this couple made in the success of their marriage? Not to be a killjoy, but divorce is no stranger in the American or the Christian community, which is very sad and heartbreaking. But the media highlights it and promote divorce like its a matter of getting a new pair of shoes. I am waiting to see a strong couple that lasts, and infidelity is not an option, and they face the trials together, and they don’t have friends that tell them to divorce. I want to see a couple that truly makes a vow and keep it. Most marriages seem to fail because someone re-lit their candle; selfishness. For better or worse, and worse can be bad as…well yeah. Life happens and people are far from perfect and so to walk away because it got kind of bad, get real. Now does better just happen overnight, no! Does cheating automatically require a divorce no! And truth be told if people truly followed the heart of God, they would not be in the mess they are in…and I digress. His ways are perfect and the best, why would anyone want different?

On the other hand, it is so sad that people believe virginity to be some disease or to be the wrong way to go. Like seriously, God created sex, but He has a standard and anything below that is less than the best. Virginity does not mean a person is losing out or missing out on life, it shows strength and confidence in who they are. Having sex does not make a person any more of a man or any more of a woman, just like waiting for marriage to have sex does not make any one less of a man or less of a woman. It’s been so demoralized and undignified, the beauty, value, and sacredness of sex, let alone practicing abstinence until marriage, has become less and less.

I learning to really pray for things that scare me. I have done a lot of traveling recently and God has shown me several things, including what I am afraid of as it relates to my purpose. Consequently, I am praying for things that are insane to me; things I know that God is going to have to work out or nothing even remotely close will get done. Additionally, different people are telling me different things that God told them, yet, I got a different message. I am just trying to figure all that is happening. The Lord is doing so much, and it seems there are several directions I could take for various life reasons, but I am learning how to pinpoint God’s voice and limiting my fear of jumping, so that at some point my parachute will open and I will soar.

To go deeper, I am a big reader, and one of the books I am currently reading is on personalities and I am loving it, because I love watching people and learning who they are and responding as such. I am learning about myself, focusing my strengths and weaknesses and learning to grow and perfect my them.

God is doing so much, and I know He is moving behind the scenes. I see Him crafting and shaping and getting things in order, and all that matters is that I do my part. That I am true to what He has called me to be, and who He has called me to be. In being me for a purpose, I am choosing to be a solution. I am choosing to be a light. I am choosing to be hope. I am choosing to be a reflection of Jesus himself, so that this world will be more beautiful because I was here and I gave all I had. Just from some of the things I mentioned before, the world is groaning; it is needy, and I am here, just like you, to fill the need as only I can do. I choose to be necessary.

I am sorry if I lost you or if you think I am rambling at this point, but there is so much on my mind and heart, and I have so much more I could say about what I have already talked about, amongst other topics, but I will stop here and pick up later. Other than that, I am certain that God is moving and He is on His way back. Even with all the despicable things that are happening, it provides many opportunities to share the Gospel message of Christ and his salvation through whatever outlet God has passioned us as individuals to do. Everything about you, your personalities, strengths, gifts, passions, talents, words, thoughts, ideas, and style, the world needs.

Until the next time, be you for a purpose, and be encouraged.

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.

Change or Not So Much? Oh! & It’s Okay to be Nice

There is a false belief in the Christian community that I used to believe. “God doesn’t want to change you; He wants to enhance you.” → something to that extent anyway. The more I have grown, the more I have understood this not be true.

Over and over, Scripture tells of God transforming us, our minds, our hearts, and desires. The primary tell of a convert is the change internally and externally, from the way we speak (not only cussing but speaking negatively), how we treat others, how we view ourselves (pride, worthless), how we view [our] sin, how we minister, our desires, our will, how we think, how we react, our emotions, how we walk, how we dress, how we take care of our bodies, what we do to our bodies, even our personality. When Jesus comes into our lives, he is not looking to do a tweek here and there, he desires to do a total remodeling. As CS Lewis and Elisabeth Elliott described, it’s not until we fully surrender and submit to the Lordship of our Creator, that we are able to be who we were meant to be.

Granted, there are definitely [unique] things about us that will guide and give a glimpse as to how the Lord wants to use in fulfilling His purpose for our lives, but God can’t use us in the magnitude He desires until we give Him all of ourselves, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and let Him break us, shake us, mold us, and make us into the individuals He crafted and destined us to be. How can we know what was set in place for us way back in eternity past without consulting with the One who created us in His very image? And the beautiful thing about it, He is so amazingly utterly creative that His purpose is not for us to be all the same or be bland, mundane or robotic; He created us like different snowflakes, no one else past, present, or future is like us, each with our own beauty and uniqueness.

The more we get to know Him, the more we get to know ourselves. As we are ourselves for a purpose, the more able we are to fulfill the awesome purpose He has for us, the more the world will yearn for the God in us, and the more satisfied we will be.

One side note: I hear a lot of people say, “I’m going to stop being nice to everyone. People are taking my kindness for a weakness,” or some similar wording to the same thinking. For starters to be honest, and this is something I had to learn, that is being selfish. As the Holy Spirit truly leads us, we should give without pause, and giving by no means is a sign of weakness. Of course wisdom and discernment are important as well. And if I dare say, those people that are “taking advantage,” in many cases are not the people we need to associate ourselves with, but we settle and for one reason or another keep people in our lives that God has tried to remove. We many times put ourselves in undesirable situations, because God’s intent is not to hurt us, make us look stupid or foolish. Accordingly, this is another part of the change the Lord seeks to do, burning bridges with those that have no help and or hinder us in fulfilling our purpose.

Kindness and gentleness is a fruit of the spirit, generosity is a gift, and meekness is associated with being blessed and or happy. Loving despite the opposition and the lack of reciprocation, shows strength, humility, and courage. Jesus was the epitome of them all, and look where he ended up, on a cross. So why should we think just because we are nice to even the most demanding people, people will always respond favorably? On the other hand, to stop being “nice” because of what another person does to you, shows the power someone has over you. Furthermore, we will be held accountable for what we do, not for what others do to us, no matter what it is they say or do.

To be you for a purpose is taking responsibility for your own actions and words, not putting the blame on others. This in turn actually frees us from the bondage of bitterness, anger, depression, and hatred, because we have control over how we choose to respond, without basing it on what others do.

Be you for a purpose, which may mean a change, remembering that it’s okay to be nice, I promise.

We are Not Gods

There is a common belief that assumes that we, humans, are gods or can become a god in some way or another. Even though, it sounds pretty, that is a dangerous philosophy to carry, if for no other reason, we can barely keep track and hold together our own lives, let alone be responsible for some distinct facet of every other person’s life. In my opinion, people just want to feel good about themselves and put themselves on a pedestal and be acknowledged. We want that sense of control and power. On the flip side, people tend to deem others as gods just because of what they have accomplished or what they have, lifting them up as some supreme being. Truth be told, these supreme beings, can do absolutely nothing for us, let alone our souls.

May I just say, we are not gods nor can we become a god. We are virtually powerless and whatever sense of ability and power we do claim, it all comes from God anyway, ask Jesus, Paul, or James. So often, when pride or race gets in the way, we want to feel worthy and valuable after we have been treated wrong, misused, or abused, and we lose sight of the beauty in us and take it to the extreme. Many times, we get haughty, self-righteous, and hurt people in the process. We tend to believe the world owes us something to recompense for our godhood.

That is a lie from the pit of Hell.

We are humans, no more, no less. We are God’s precious and prized possession. We all in some way or another have been hurt, broken, disappointed, discriminated, abused, or misused, but our value does not come from other people. Our value comes from the Creator Himself, and as I recently heard it, our worth does not come from what we do or don’t do, it comes from birth. As sons and daughters of God, that is what makes us special. You must never lose sight of that.

It’s interesting, because this is not the avenue I originally wanted to go in when speaking of this, but I will take you to the story of Joseph, where I was inspired. At the end of the story, when he was reunited with his brothers, and they were feeling guilty, remorseful, and obligated to him due to all that they had done to him, Joseph showed compassion. It is there he asks the question, “am I in place of God?” That stood out to me because even in the midst of his new positioning, he had every ability to avenge himself for what his brothers did, but he realized this one thing, he was not God, nor did he have the right or any form of divine power to condemn those that wronged them. The very next verse you understand why. Joseph acknowledged that because of all that had happened since he was sold into slavery, and he chose to stay faithful and committed to God, he was able to lead a nation. He knew his place and God blessed him for it.

Let that be a reminder to us. Your value and identity comes from God Himself who created us perfectly, fearfully, and wonderfully. Though you have been mistreated, that does not give you the right to step on the backs of others; the world owes you nothing. All that we have and all that we are comes from God anyway, and at any moment, He can choose to take it away. So don’t put others or yourself on a pedestal so much that it blinds your view of God. For money, prestige, power, influence, talent, education, success, or anything of the liking does not make you worthy, but rather being birthed into a relationship with the only God. This means, as Joseph came to know, that we do not have godlike powers to do whatever we want when we want, no matter what the situation is. Science and emotions can cloud that truth, so be mindful and remember to do what God has called you to do, and let Him do what He will do. Don’t take His job or even a portion of it, by acting as a god or claiming to be one. When you take His job, not only will you miss out, but you will fail miserably, not only yourself but others, because no one can do it like He can.

Know your place, and be blessed for it. Be you for a purpose, and you are a human, a wonderful creation by God.