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KEEP HUSTLIN: IT AINT OVER FOR ME (A Hip-Hop Devotional)

Look this is my life, and it’s a battle within
I gotta survive, even if I’m sinnin to win
And if I show no remorse I reap the devil’s reward
He said he’d, give me riches but I’m lookin for more…
(Keep hustlin) It ain’t over for me, no it ain’t over for me
(Keep, flowin) I’ma step my game up and get what’s comin to me
Terrence Howard (DJay) – Hustle And Flow (It Ain’t Over)

aOne of my favorite films to watch, when I need some inspiration to keep hustling, to keep focused and stay steading grindin is Hustle and Flow. I watch Terrance Howard’s character DJay dealing with the battle with in, tryna survive like the lyrics say even if he’s sinnin to win. You don’t wanna do wrong but you tryna eat by any means necessary. You wanna do right but no one will give you a shot. You know what you doin is wrong but dem bills keep comin in, faster and faster and it seems like you just sinking and need a break from the everyday struggles of life.

There is this one part in the movie where DJay and Anthony Anderson’s character Keyes is kickin it in the car and Keyes talks about all the dreams he had when he was younger. Owning his own studio and having his own label and now its like he is doin what he doin just to pays bills. He questions if he was just talking a good game when he was younger.

Well that’s exactly where I am, that’s exactly what I have been goin thru the last few years. I had madd dreams off where I would be by now. And instead I have been working every odd job I can find. I mean I wasn’t exactly workin women on the streets or selling drugs but still the same I knew everything I was doin wasn’t what I was suppose to be doin and not always right. The closer I got in my Christian walk the worst my financial situation got. I didn’t feel right doin some of the hustles I used to, but I was torn cause what to do cause I keep feelin that temptation to go out there and get that money so I would have to struggle so hard. While I know that money was out there I did feel like God had bigger plans for me.

Then the line that I felt the most in the movie was when Keyes says, this right here gotta work, cause it aint over for me. There was also a line in Eminem’s semi-autobiographical joint 8 Mile, where he says if its gonna happen it needs to happen now. Now I know Gods time frame isn’t the same as mine and He can see the bigger picture. Sees the dangers ahead and where I will be even though I can’t. We want what we want now. We feel we been thru enuf and just about ready to do whatever is necessary.

Well that’s what I have always done and more times than not it ended up not necessarily being the best look for me. I couldn’t wait for God, I had to make it happen on my own. The fact of the matter a good part of the reason it was takin so long was that I was too busy tryna make moves and getting in God’s way. I was too busy tryna do it my way. I wasn’t being obedient to what God wanted me to do but wanted Him to bless me with what I wanted. Knowing that is half the battle but it doesn’t make it any easier. It doesn’t make the struggle any less hard. But when I took time to actually look at the situation in hindsight, what I was goin thru more times than not was the best thing for me. Was what I needed to go thru to prepare me for what was ahead.

Before given my life to Christ and I didn’t necessarily know any better, I just did what I had to do. But now I have that battle within, the battle of what I know I am suppose to do and what I have always done and what’s readily available for me to pay the bills, (even if I’m sinning to win.)

Today is one of those days, this is one of those weeks. I know what I should do but I know where I am and it gets harder and harder to do right. But I try to do what God has for me to do. Today instead of getting on the phone or hittin dem streets getting my hustle on, today I do what God wants me to do. That’s share this testimony with those of you out there goin thru the same thing. For me to tell my story so others that’s goin thru it can feel me cause they know I feel what they are goin thru. To share my God given gift of writing to inspire, uplift or encourage someone out there today.

Even this very minute while I write these words, God has my preaching to myself. So I walk that tightrope or doin His will and keep hustling man, cause I know like the chorus to that song, I gotta…
(Keep hustlin) It ain’t over for me, no it ain’t over for me
(Keep, flowin) I’ma step my game up and get what’s comin to me

I didn’t survive all I went thru for nuthin, God has spared my life for a reason. I hope someone out there reading this is inspired to keep living their dream, to keep hustling and grinding for what it is there are tryna do. But in doin so know that God hasn’t brought you this far, too leave you now.

In closing I say to all reading this
Keep Hustlin, Keep Flowin, Keep Dreamin
and most important , Keep The Faith.
Cause It Aint Over For You, It Aint Over For You
Know God has plans for each and everyone of us.
And he gives us dreams and visions
And if you can see it you can achieve it.
No matter what’s goin on in ya life don’t ever lose the fight in you
Don’t every give up your dream or lose sight of your goal.

Cause it may be hard out there for a Pimp
But it’s even harder out there for a Christian! You aint know!!!
©2008 AJ (AJ ROK) WOODSON
HIP HOP JUNKIE 4 LIFE

Look out for my upcomin book
SPIRITUAL MINDED
da spiritual daily devotional for the hip-hop generation
available online real soon

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About AJ Woodson (2375 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.

1 Comment on KEEP HUSTLIN: IT AINT OVER FOR ME (A Hip-Hop Devotional)

  1. I’ve taught in a e-book/audiobook (which I need to upgrade) called “Record Label, Music Ministry, or Both?: Combining Both for Greater Impact on the Hip-Hop Culture” (The ebook is on Amazon Kindle and the audio book is on Bandcamp). The whole point of the book was that it was designed for Holy-Hip Hop Artists who wrestle with making a decision to function as a music ministry (free services) or a music business (paid services). I teach these music ministers how to actually combine both by deciding from the beginning to either to function as a ministry first with a business element second or to function as a business first with a ministry element second. I explain that combining both will bring even greater glory to God, fulfillment to the artist as part of their calling, blessing to their family, financial support to the Body of Christ and impact on the hip-hop ministry, industry, and culture as you advance the Kingdom of God. I share many principles from Paul’s life how he balanced both when he said (this is an excerpt from the book),

    ““I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye [all of you] yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye [all of you] ought to support the weak, and to remember the Words of the Lord Jesus, how HE SAID, It is MORE blessed to GIVE than to receive.” (Acts 20:33-35).

    Do you see what I am seeing here? I don’t think you are seeing it. Do you see those two words there? “Ministered” and “laboring?” You can pretty much say Ministry and Business (or working a “day job”). That is what Paul is talking about here. He has SUCCESSFULLY combined both ministry and business. He ministered MAKING MONEY to meet his OWN NEEDS FIRST, because if he doesn’t take care of himself (and if he was married with children that means taking care of his family FIRST) then how can he take care of anyone else (see also 1 Tim. 3:5, 5:8). But he also ministered and MADE MONEY to take care of the needs of “THEM that were with me.” This means that either:

    1. He either took Timothy, Silas, Luke, Titus, and others involved with his ministry team out to the store to buy them what they needed or and kept all the money he made to himself OR …
    2. He PAID THEM like employees. Because I do not believed that since Paul was a tentmaker by trade (Acts 18:3), that they just sat by and watched him do it by his self. I believe they helped and worked with him in his “business.”

    Hmm! This is something to think about right?

    Also, I want you to see that he LABORED (worked in his business) to MAKE MONEY TO TAKE CARE OF THE WEAK (those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, in prison, sick, poor, fatherless, and widows—see Matt. 25, which we will cover in a minute).

    I want you to DEEPLY meditate on this! The two keys to combining these two together is first what Paul stated when he said, “I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.” What he was saying here is that he had no desire to use the hard earned money of his customers or of those he ministered to for the purpose of using it for extravagant living. He neither envied what they had nor did he try to buy it after he “cashed the check in the bank.” He used it to help himself, his team, and others.

    The second thing you will notice to bringing Ministry and Business together is that HE QUOTED JESUS FOR HIS AUTHORITY BEHIND HIS ACTIONS! Jesus said it is more blessed to give then it is to receive. You cannot give what you do not have. PERIOD! I can’t help my neighbor pay his rent if I can’t make my own rent. I cannot feed the homeless man if my kids are starving. I cannot truly minister to others if I cannot minister to my own wife.

    This is the basic Acts 1:8 principle from the other messages. It starts at home before you try to conquer the world.

    Paul confirms this when he said,

    “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor [work, get a job, start a business, do something to make money], working with his hands the thing WHICH IS GOOD [I don’t think strip clubs and the porn industry count], that he may HAVE TO GIVE to him THAT NEEDETH.” (Ephesians 4:28).

    You know what the Spirit told me when I read this verse? He said those who are not working are thieves. They are living off everyone else. Paul told the Corinthians when they were distributing the money around to help each other during hard times,

    “For I mean not that other men [those who do NOT have a job, business, or some kind of money] be eased, and ye [ALL of you that HAVE jobs, businesses, or some kind of money be] burdened.” (2 Cor. 8:13).

    Why do you think Paul said this? Because there are people out there that are taking advantage of the body of Christ financially because they don’t want to work. They are busybodies thinking that they will get into “ministry” and the church will “take care of me.” Don’t worry I believed this lie too!” – Chapter 1 – There is No Difference, By Apostle Ricardo ‘ReAsOn’ Butler

    Check us out at http://ChurchForEntrepreneurs.com/about/ for more info and you can check me out at http://www.ricardoequips.com/ (equipping in ministry, leadership, business, and music industry) and http://www.davidicalhiphop.com/artistroster (My record label Davidical Arts Music Group).

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