I was recently having a conversation with a family member of my wife.  A question arose from that conversation.  Why are “Gringos” so competitive with one another?  I gave him my answer and explained the saying “keeping up with the Joneses” to him.  I continued by giving him lots of other examples as to why we are so competitive, but in the end it came down to a very simple, summed up answer.  I told him that we have been swindled into thinking that we are who we are because of what we have.  This cultural lie has unfortunately made its way into the culture in Costa Rica and is being sold wholesale with many standing in line to buy it.  There is a problem with this line of thinking.  If I am what I have and lose what I have, THEN who am I?  Does the amount of stuff we have really identify us? 

I will be the first to say that I am like most folks in that I like stuff. So, I am not on a high horse here.  The issue that I came to grips with many years ago is that your value isn’t determined by whether you have stuff or not.  Also, where you come from doesn’t necessarily give you value either.  I’m from Oak Grove, Louisiana, a super small farming town in the northeast corner of the state with approximately 1900 people.  There was a saying that we had when I was growing up there about our little town.  It went like this, “Oak Grove: home of taters, maters, and state champs.”  All our town was known for was the cultivation of sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and high school state championship teams.  That’s it!  When someone spoke of Oak Grove, one of those three areas was going to be brought up as well as the occupation of pipe-liner.  My point in sharing that story about my birthplace is that I could have allowed that place and mentality to affect who I really was created to be and what I was really created to do.  I didn’t. When I began to take mission trips to third world countries, I truly saw who I was created to be and why I existed on this ball of dirt.  In other words, I saw for the first time the value of my life.  I had a choice to make. I could place my value in what I had and where I came from, or I could place my value in who I really was because of Y’shua the Messiah living in me. 

Let me go one step further with this. Do I just say who I am, or am I really DOING who I say I am?  This is a big one because it is super easy to talk about what we are all about. On the other hand, the rubber really meets the road when we are called on to demonstrate it in our actions.  In this area of saying and doing, my opinion is that many believers should be diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (previously called multiple personality disorder) because who they say they are is someone or something totally opposite from what they do.  Why is this?  I believe it comes down to something very simple.  I shared this same thing in the communities that I was invited to come and speak during Hanukkah recently.  I would like to share with you guys here also.  Our lives are about purpose.  That purpose is what uniquely identifies each one of us just as Judah Maccabee’s purpose uniquely identified him.  His purpose placed him in the history books, and thousands of years later his name still can’t be erased from the pages of history.  He definitely was a history maker and trailblazer of his day.  What you and I have to understand is that we too are the Judah Maccabees, the Phinehases, the Peters, the Jameses, the Johns, and etc. of our day and age.  We must find our value in who we really are and begin to walk in that.  Judah Maccabee didn’t wake up the day before he made the decision to lead a small band of rag tag Israelites that eventually kicked the Greeks out of Jerusalem.  His value didn’t come from what he had or where he came from.  It was in what he was created to do and when he DID that which he was created to do that made him into who he really was!  Our value doesn’t come from the duration of our life.  It comes from our contribution. 

Unfortunately, most people today are over-concerned about growing old instead of concerned about how they can be the most effective.  Most people that have impacted the world and history didn’t live long lives. Their lives, on the other hand, were so effective and influential that their names can’t be erased from the history books.  These are the types of individuals that C.L.M. missions training center is looking for.  When we have a purpose for our life, it disciplines our lives and chooses our habits. In other words, our purpose gives meaning (value) to our lives, and we go to extreme efforts in order to guard that purpose.  Ecclesiastes chapter 3 is an amazing chapter that I suggest you read slowly.  It speaks of how YHVH is eternal and we are temporal. How He lives outside of time and He placed our spirits, which are eternal, in a temporal body and placed us in time in order to fulfill our eternal assignment (purpose).  (Joel’s amplified version

When we begin to understand how valuable we are in the plan of YHVH, it changes the way we view our life.  Yahweh took the beginning and end of our lives and placed them within a body and put that body on this ball of dirt.  In other words, we came to this earth with our beginning and end already written on the inside of us.  If you don’t believe me read Isa. 46:10, Ecl. 3, Jer. 1:5, Act 17:26.  I am a firm believer in what I’m about to say.  I teach this receptively in the teen camps as well as the missions training center.  If we came to this earth with our beginning and end imprinted in us, this means that our future isn’t ahead of us.  It is inside of us.  Our future isn’t based on the relationships that we have or how many important people that we know.  It isn’t based on how much favor we have with others.  It isn’t even based on how many “connections” we have or can get.  I’m not saying these things aren’t important, but my point is that Judah Maccabee didn’t sit around and wait on this or that person to form a relationship with him or wait on this or that king to form an alliance before he could start to retake what belonged to the Creator of the Universe.  He realized the value of who he was created to be and who he was in reality on the inside.  All he had to do was release what was already written inside of him. 

It is the same with us.  We came to this earth with our purpose and assignment already written within us, and we must release it on a daily basis.  In other words, the raw materials that we need in order to complete the job are inside of us also, and we don’t need to wait around on someone else or something else to happen in order for us to release what is in us.  In 1 Cor 15:46, Shaul (Paul) tells us the natural comes first then the spiritual.  To give you a natural example of what I’m sharing here, I need you to think about a tomato seed.  Even though it’s one little tomato seed, it’s a tomato plant.  Even though it’s a tomato plant, it has roots, a trunk, leaves, branches, flowers, and fruit (other tomatoes).  Even though its a plant with roots, a truck, leaves, branches, flowers, and fruit, it’s also multiple plants with other fruit and other plants within them and so forth and so on.  All of those things are written into the DNA of that one little tiny tomato seed, and it submits to a process (the soil) and then begins to release what is “trapped” on the inside of it (germination) until it becomes what it was created to be, fulfilling its purpose and giving the world its value (the fruit).  First comes the natural then the spiritual.  We are no different. 

When we realize how important we are and the importance of our value and the purpose on the inside us, we become very dangerous to the enemy.  Acts 17:26 says, “And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,”.  What this scripture is telling us is that YHVH looked down throughout history at the condition of our nation before He decided who to create.  In other words, Yahweh is saying that each of us was born in this specific moment because we are the ones who can bring about His plan in the earth.  Abraham or David couldn’t be born in our lifetime because what was written in their DNA for them to do and accomplish could only be accomplished in the time in which they were born.  Likewise, us being born in their time period wouldn’t have worked either.  We have to understand and have the conviction that our future in reality is YHVH’s past.  What do I mean by that?  Think about a manufacturer for a moment.  No manufacturer makes a product without finishing it first!  Why would the Creator not do the same?  Remember, our future isn’t somewhere ahead of us. It’s right here and now in this moment on the inside of us, and we must release it daily.  When Mercedes Benz makes an automobile, they first call in architects and engineers to design the automobile.  The product is designed and completed first before production starts.  In other words, Mercedes Benz presents the future first then they go back and create the present.  What we were born to do YHVH finished first, and when He decided what He wanted us to become, He chose to start us, if you will. 

Again, our future existed before our present. (see Isa. 46:10, Ecl. 3, Jer. 1:5, Act 17:26)  Our present is carrying our future everyday.  This is why I love going out in my gardens and getting my hands in the dirt.  This becomes more and more evident the more you work with plants and the more you ask the Ruach to reveal spiritual principals to you through His creation.  Our future isn’t ahead of us like many of us have been taught.  Our future is inside of us that we must release on a daily basis.  Religion will no longer get the job done.  I might add that most folks in the commandment keeping crowd, contrary to what they think or say, still have areas of religion in their lives.  I even find myself sometimes realizing this, and when I realize it, I take it to the execution stake (the cross).  The days of having only a form have passed.  This is why churchianity is losing folks right and left as well as the Messianic/Hebrew Roots movement.  Form no longer works because folks are looking for the real deal.  In other words, folks are looking for something that FUNCTIONS. 

The way we function is to fulfill the purpose for our lives by releasing it day by day.  The size of our bank accounts doesn’t determine our value.  Our value isn’t decided by the size of our house.  Our value isn’t in the brand, year, or model of the car we drive.  Our value isn’t in how many cars that we have in our garage.  Our value comes from Y’shua living within us and living our lives according to the example that He gave us.  What we DO is what really gives our lives value! Blessings.