Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Lesson from Lazarus and the Rich Man

People die everyday - that's for sure...but have you noticed that lately some of the biggest celebrities are dying very traumatic and public deaths? The impact of stress and trouble even on the wealthiest and most envied personalities is resulting in suicide, early death, and sudden death. It reminds me of how fragile life is and how worry can't change things one way or the other. It reminds me that much of what we spend so much of our emotional energy fretting over will work itself out if we learn to simply let go. But there is another lesson to be learned. And that is the fact that once this life is over, we still have life in eternity to live. What we do in this one has a tremendous impact on our next life. The way I treat my fellow man, my life style, the way I spend my private time (my character), even the way I spend my money, will inevitably come back either to haunt me or justify me in my next life. Many have focused on the fact that the biblical man named Lazarus was a poor man who lived in the alley of the rich man's house, and that when he died, he went to the bosom of Abraham while the rich man went to hell. Well, the parable of the story isn't that the rich go to hell and the poor go to heaven...the parable is that when this life is over, it is not over. The point is that everyday it is important to live one's life knowing that in the life to come we must give an accounting of how we lived this one. That means taking the time to treat people right, and doing what's right, and being kind to other human beings. All of us are going to die one day and death is a great gulf fixed so that I will never be able to come back and redo what I shoulda, coulda, woulda. Now is the time to live life with a gentle spirit toward all..and to learn to simply let go of what I cannot change.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Death of Michael Jackson

I was personally saddened by the death of Michael Jackson. Say what you want about the man, his influence was unearthly. I grew up with Michael and the Jackson 5 and can remember how everybody knew the words to "ABC" and "I'll Be There" even though, like Michael, you weren't old enough to know what in the world he was singing about. After his recent death, I watched several of the conflicting television tributes to his life and his music and was amazed at the inability of the moderators to love him or hate him - even in the retrospect of his death. If you look at his incredible talent as an artist and creative genius you can't help but respect what he gave to the world. But if you looked too closely at his life - even without judging him - you can't help but be struck at how incredibly dirty his life choices were. He was as brilliant in his creativity as he was foolish in his private morals. In life, he compelled his children to wear masks to protect them from the insanity of the papparrazzi - now that he's dead, somehow it no longer matters, and their faces are exposed... How ironic...Perhaps the thing that made me saddest of all, is that I couldn't help but wonder if during the moments of his greatest turmoil and darkness, he ever realized how much Jesus truly loved him. I couldn't help but wonder if anybody had ever once mentioned the Name of Jesus to Michael Jackson.

Monday, June 22, 2009

How Can You Know What Your Purpose Is

I was sitting in a Sunday School class just recently at my home church, when someone asked the instructor the question, "How can an individual know for sure what their purpose is?" I listened with great interest at the responses given her - all of which were good. When the instructor asked her if she was satisfied that her question had been answered, she nodded her head yes, but her eyes said no. Plus, there were many others in the room, who looked just as unsure as she did. I knew the look well - as a seminar and workshop presenter, I've been asked the same question many times in the past several years. I wanted to raise my hand to add my opinion to those already given, but I felt that probably much of what she had been given had served to deepen her sense of unknowing rather than easing it.

I feel certain that as this woman continues to insist on an answer to this question, that she will no doubt find it. In fact, it is the seeking to know one's purpose that ultimately provides insight to purpose. I would also say to you, if you too are secretly perplexed by a sense of not knowing what you were born into this earth-realm to do - that most often it is the case that we find ourselves doing what we were born to do. In other words, what is it that you are most passionate about? If someone were to ask someone who knows you well what turns you on, what would the answer be?

For example, my closest friends would probably tell you that the thing I talk about most is seeing people set free of controlling habits, bondages of whatever kind, negativity, unforgiveness, and past failures. My purpose in life is to set people free. Hence, I always find myself positioned to encourage, inspire, motivate, bless, uplift, and provide godly counsel to people who are stuck. In this instance, what I was born to do creates avenues and opportunities for me to do it. To clarify further, my purpose is not necessarily what I do in terms of my occupation or even my ministry - rather, these are expressions of my purpose. Finally, I will leave you with a powerful example that Bishop TD Jakes gave in a message about being confident that God is guiding your life so that you don't miss divine purpose. He shared with the listening audience that he struggled - as a teacher - to think of a way to illustrate the point of God's guiding hand in our lives. Frustrated, he started his journey to his church that morning and when he climbed into his car, his attention was immediately drawn to the GPS system in his vehicle. As the Holy Spirit began to speak to him, he saw a powerful example through the GPS device.

He explained that when he sets the destination, as he is traveling, the device is silent. It will not given a command for a new direction, until it is time for a new turn. Jakes pointed out that sometimes the silence of the device may bother him and can make him feel that he has lost connection - but a nudge of the device results in the audible consolation, "keep straight." In other words, you are where you should be, doing what you need to do for this day and this moment - just keep doing what you do. Let's say he makes a wrong turn in his effort to obey its directions (as we sometimes do in life because of distractions, bad counsel, misguided intentions, etc), the GPS will re-calibrate itself to get him to the destination he wants to go in. Isn't that wonderful? My purpose never changes - even when I mess up, I was still born to do what I was born to do! What a marvelous example of God's guidance in our lives. If we seek to know what our "Why" is for being alive, God will guide us for certain and we should never be afraid that we are out here alone and on our own. We are never alone in this search to find our way home, and even if we make a wrong turn in our earnest to know, we can rest assured that God will re-calibrate our wrong turns so that we wind up where we belong!

About Me

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As a preacher and public speaker, Elaine Rose Penn has been described as "bad to the bone!" She has gained a national and international platform as a motivational speaker, trainer, life purpose coach, and an author of two books currently available on Amazon.com. Her novel, "When Kingdoms Fall: A Novel About the Fall of Lucifer" is due for publication in a few months and is a sure winner for readers who love Biblical suspense, action, mystery, and intrigue!