Even in Troubles, God is Good

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Good Day Friends.   Often times I am asked to pray for others who are going through something. I thank God that people entrust me with such requests.  Sometimes the person will ask trusted prayer partners to join so we may all stand in one accord—trusting God will deliver in His perfect way. Those of us who have walked with God for many years, experience a deepened trust as He proves His goodness to us over and over.

However, life sometimes throws us curve balls that seem to come out of left field—leaving us bewildered and wondering what happened to God’s goodness, questioning His love for us.  Yet, we know He is still perfect in all He does, even in trials. God’s character does not change.

For those I have prayed for this week in particular (and for others who may need this message), I am lead to share today’s devotional that comes from the book, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. The devotionals are rooted in scripture and presented in the perspective of Jesus speaking to you. Today’s Jesus Calling devotional reads:

“TASTE AND SEE THAT I AM GOOD. This command contains an invitation to experience My living Presence. It also contains a promise. The more you experience Me, the more convinced you become of My goodness. This knowledge is essential to your faith-walk. When adversities strike, the human instinct is to doubt My goodness. My ways are mysterious, even to those who know Me intimately. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways and thoughts higher than your ways and thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). Do not try to fathom My ways. Instead, spend time enjoying Me and experience My goodness.”

As you go through this day, remember Who is keeping you and guiding you along the way. He may be doing something quite different than what you expected. For He says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

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Reparative Therapy or Repair Our Compassion?

The following topic is likened to the intensity of a powder keg few would touch with a 10-foot pole while wearing protective gear, encased in a fortified tank.  But I am not so intimidated to approach. I trust the Holy Spirit to deliver the message as He desires.

Last week, national news outlets buzzed with fervor and perhaps a hint of excitement that would finally dismantle Christians’ positions on the conversation of homosexuality and whether someone engaging in this lifestyle could ever become “straight.”

This Washington Post piece is one of many articles published featuring Alan Chambers, Exodus International president, who said God has instructed him to shut down the 37-year-old ministry that utilized reparative therapy to help persons reduce and remove feelings of same-sex attraction. In a public letter, Chambers apologized for his treatment of gays and not acting toward them in love as God would. He also said that though he gave over years ago to Christ his same-sex attraction and that he and his wife are happily married with children, he still at times experiences attraction to men.  Furthermore, in this June 21, 2013 Christian Post interview, Chambers replies to a portion of his letter by saying, “I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage, but I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek.” Chambers desires to promote “peace at all costs” and share the good news of the Gospel.

Apology letter from Alan Chambers, Exodus International president

Apology letter from Alan Chambers, Exodus International president

The news of Chambers’ decision to close Exodus International (notice I’m not calling it a ‘ministry’ as he did), gained steam as CNN’s Anderson Cooper (who has been public about his homosexuality), seemed thrilled that finally a ‘Christian’ organization has recognized they are wrong to try and change or pray for someone from being gay.

In reading the Washington Post article, it appears Chambers’ issue was not his belief that same-sex attraction is not God’s way for relationships—rather, it was Chambers lack of compassion, condemnation and brow beating of homosexuals that was the problem. This is something entirely different. My concern is that if this issue is not communicated clearly, it will only increase some homosexuals’ hate toward Christians for our prayers to help those overcome such lifestyles— and encourage the unwitting to support same-sex relationships/attractions (which is the enemy’s hope and trajectory).

Let’s be real clear here. There are a few issues within this situation requiring clarity.

1. Certainly, the techniques of reparative or conversion therapy seem questionable and inhumane. The techniques seem to do little to demonstrate the love and compassion of God. Chambers’ decision to close Exodus International was likely best as he and others within the organization need to re-evaluate God’s command to love one another and show compassion. A Christian’s walk is often challenged to show compassion and love for those who express and promote opposing views that contradict God’s Word.  As God’s Elect and Ambassadors of Christ, we are asked to “deal gently with those who are ignorant or misguided since we ourselves are subject to weakness.” (Hebrews 5:2)

Salt and Light Living

2. Don’t be fooled. While a Christian’s charge is to extend compassion along with faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, joy, kindness, love, patience, peace and self-control to those we encounter (family, friends, colleagues, strangers), it doesn’t mean we shy away from instructing God’s truth—even when it is unpopular.  While many images depict Jesus as a gentle lamb, He is also a brazen and bold lion. So we must be.  Christians have been called to be “salt and light,” dispersing truth in a world that would rather pursue gods and vehicles that allow more fleshly freedoms rather than pursue freedom in Jesus Christ. Matthew 5:13-16 says,13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

3.  Since the creation of time, humans have engaged in all forms of immorality. Homosexuality is only one of these forms and is not new to the scene.  Since God has made Himself known to man, people have invariably exchanged the truth for a lie (with enticements from Satan) to satisfy their flesh. Ultimately, God’s wrath against mankind has turned many over to their lusts (Romans 1:18-32).

There are a number of scriptures (James 5:16 about confessing our faults to one another to be healed to help overcome fleshly struggles) or Deuteronomy 30:19 (I set before you life and death; blessings and curses) that indicates God presents us opportunities to choose not to accept or become slaves to our dysfunctions and tendencies; to break free from negative generational cycles. Through Christ, we have opportunity to live free from bondage. Flesh will always want it’s way over the spirit. We cannot overcome such struggles in our own strength. Only in Jesus Christ can we have this victory.

All of us are subject to battles of the flesh. Reparative therapy is not a solution.  Demonstrating compassion toward those who struggle with the flesh and have not turned it over to God, is our charge. However, this doesn’t suggest as Christians show compassion, we should also support the ways of the world. God’s Word does not change to conform to the laws and votes of our society.

Today, people wait to celebrate or shake their fists at the Supreme Court’s impending rulings on Prop 8, same-sex marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Yet, yesterday, today AND tomorrow, God’s Word remains consistent in his creation of man and woman for fruitful relationships. It is Satan’s hope that Christians will unwittingly retreat from the truth in their pursuit to keep harmony among unbelievers. But we know Satan is only interested in gaining co-workers with him instead of leaving people to become co-workers of Christ.

Today’s answer to tomorrow’s challenges: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.”

Overcoming Discontent in a Purpose-Filled Life

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Hi Dear Friends. It’s no secret that life has its ups and downs. Some people seem to endure storm after storm. The challenges can range from a need for healing in our bodies, troubles with our children or relationship, navigating through an unexpected financial crisis to desiring a dream fulfilled that God seems to have placed on hold.  We’d rather God immediately remove the discomfort we feel in such situations, so we can get on to enjoying life. But sometimes it seems He’s taking His sweet time at our expense.  😦  What happens when life’s struggles, our expressed discontent as we wait on God to answer our prayers meets a purpose-filled life? Read the two scenarios juxtaposed below to know how God has “got you” as you wait for Him to work it out. Thank you Herbert for today’s post on “Voices Against the Grain.”

Job 9:25

My life passes more swiftly than a runner. It flees away without a glimpse of happiness.

We live in a realm of discontent. We live in a realm of pure joy. We suffer through the night and find comfort in the morning. The period of unrest steals our sleep and burdens our minds. We find no shelter in the storm and have fallen victim to the strength of the mighty winds. We are shackled and chained with the weight of finances, the future, etc. We are on the verge of giving up. Where is our rescue? Where is our aid, for this life has yielded some good, but the constant bombardment of evil and uncertainty snatches the little peace we have. Will there be a solution? Will all this work be for naught? Please listen, stop, quiet down, and wipe your tears. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, for the Lord knows all your needs” (Matthew 6:32) for if we “seek God in all we do, he will show us which path to take” (Proverbs 3:6). Thus, focus and flee from anxiety because God has you.

1 John 3:21-22

And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.

After reading this verse for many years, it now makes sense. “Whatever we ask, we shall receive.” This doesn’t mean if we ask for instant riches, or a new car, or a man/woman to fulfill our lives that God will grant it. For it is those assumptions that have led us to look up toward the sky saying, “Do you hear me Lord?”

However, there is more, “because we must obey and do things that please him.” In other words, what we ask for shall be granted if it is aligned with God’s will and purpose for our lives. Riches have not come because we are still learning and have work to do. That car is in a garage waiting to be driven when God deems us ready. That man/woman is out there, but like a bee to a flower, you must let God bring them to you, (like Irina was brought to me). Therefore, make your petitions known to God and through confidence and discernment He will grant your desires. Amen

About Herbert G. Bowen, Jr.

Born in King of Prussia, Pa., Herbert G. Bowen Jr., accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at the tender age of 5. An active member of the Central Church of God in Charlotte, N.C. where he resides, Herbert serves as a youth/discussion group leader, where he has preached and taught Sunday school, as well  as Wednesday night service. In addition, he has preached at Second Baptist Church in Pottstown, Pa., Destiny City Church in Salisbury, N.C.  At his current age of 23, Herbert is the youngest board member on the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Leadership Council, where he serves to lessen the costs of tuition for African American students. Moreover, Herbert serves on the PureHope advisory board, where his commitment to “wait until marriage” fits perfectly with PureHope’s mission to bring a Christian solution to an immoral culture.

Finally, Herbert through the will of God writes weekly devotionals to combat the decreasing morality in the 18-30 age group a.k.a., “the transition gap.” This is an effort to re-introduce Jesus Christ to this spiritually starved generation. His devotionals go out to 2,000+ people and continues to grow under the Lord’s watchful eye.  He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He provides business expertise to help others start their businesses.

Change Your View of God

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Living boldly…It’s normal to experience moments of doubt and fear when God has placed a task before us which seems out of our league or expertise. Agreed, it’s uncomfortable. For some of us, our first and very natural reaction may be to shake our heads and say, “Oh no, not me Lord. Give it to someone else to do.”

Hold up—give it to someone else to do?? Do you understand what you’re asking God? Let’s think this through. You may discover this faulty thinking is akin to signing over a million dollar check to someone else when the money rightfully belongs to you. Whoops! Your blessings lie in this new territory you want to avoid! So how can you overcome this fear and walk in your blessings?

First, God is purposeful in all He does. He does not waste. He exercises perfect judgement. He does not make mistakes. Most importantly, when He says something about you or for you, His word will not return to Him void. It will be accomplished. Here’s what He promises in Isaiah 55:8-11:

8- “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9- As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts. 10- As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11- so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”  (New International Version)

In other words, “He’s got this. He’s got you.” Trust that God has equipped you for what He has asked you to do, no matter how daunting the task may seem.

Second and last, how small or big is your view of God? Perhaps this is where the doubt begins and should end. By wisdom, He laid the earth’s foundations. By understanding He set the heavens in place. He named “night” and “day.”

Change your view of God!

Change your view of God!

Perhaps you think your talents are insignificant or you are too “small” to be effective in this great big world. Think again. God is notorious for using the simple and “insignificant” things to confound those who rely on their intellect to make sense of life.  A quote from former American officer and pilot Betty Reese we can all relate to: “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.”

He formed you in your mother’s womb. He shaped a plan specifically for you from the start. Were you involved in any of this? His track record of follow through and over-delivering in what He says He will do is impeccable. Beyond reproach. God is continuing to do “new things” and seeking those whose hearts are willing. These times require our boldness, reliance upon and understanding of who is God.

Thankfully, He has bigger plans in store for us than we can imagine for ourselves. Does a God who created the night sky think as small as you? Or is He “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us”? (Ephesians 3:20)

Understand what God says about who HE is. He says, “I Am.” Let go of your limitations and misconceptions of what He can do through you. Just show up ready to work and let Him do His job.  Change your view of God and His view of you, for He uniquely created you in His image to do His will and work as only you can do.

Pressing on Toward the Goal

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Philippians 3:12

I have not already achieved these things or have I reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me (or “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”).


 Perfection is a coveted goal we all seek. A flawless characteristic that only one person has achieved, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Perfection is a life without sin, a life where overcoming wrongdoing is as easy as closing our eyes. But why can’t we humans achieve this feat? Because too many of us are always in the process of cheating, lying, gossiping, or slandering another person’s name. WE HUMANS ARE FLAWED. However, we have Jesus who makes our paths straight, which sometimes occur in the most embarrassing scenarios before the act is committed. Therefore, we have nothing to be ashamed of, for God, in all his perfection died for the scratched up/broken you and me, thus absolving our sins and pushing us onward towards his glory. Amen

About Herbert G. Bowen, Jr.

Born in King of Prussia, Pa., Herbert G. Bowen Jr., accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at the tender age of 5.  An active member of the Central Church of God in Charlotte, N.C. where he resides, Herbert serves as a youth/discussion group leader, where he has preached and taught Sunday school, as well  as Wednesday night service. In addition, he has preached at Second Baptist Church in Pottstown, Pa., Destiny City Church in Salisbury, N.C.  At his current age of 23, Herbert is the youngest board member on the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Leadership Council, where he serves to lessen the costs of tuition for African American students. Moreover, Herbert serves on the PureHope advisory board, where his commitment to “wait until marriage” fits perfectly with PureHope’s mission to bring a Christian solution to an immoral culture.

Finally, Herbert through the will of God writes weekly devotionals to combat the decreasing morality in the 18-30 age group a.k.a., “the transition gap.” This is an effort to re-introduce Jesus Christ to this spiritually starved generation. His devotionals go out to 2,000+ people and continues to grow under the Lord’s watchful eye.  He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He provides business expertise to help others start their businesses.

Averting “Well, They Got Me This Time”

This following scenario I believe most, if not all of you have experienced at one time.

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

My brother has a saying, “Well, they got me this time,” when he’s been the victim of a bad meal. You take a chance, try a new restaurant. Perhaps you do takeout.

You get home, open the bag and discover the meal is NOT what you expected and certainly not what you would have paid for. Unfortunately, you’re already home and don’t feel like trekking back to the place and asking them to redo your meal—only to serve it up twice as badly or with other ‘suspect’ ingredients.  🙂

So, you cut your losses and say, “Well, they got me this time,” and if you’re wise, you make a mental note never to patron their business again. You might also forewarn others by sharing your dreadful experience. The meal you were excited to receive was a false representation of what was promised to you—and you’re still hungry. Is there anything worse? Yes. Worse would be if you kept returning to the restaurant expecting different results.

Bad restaurant food

For some time, we’ve been living in an age that demands Christians and unbelievers distinguish between what is authentic and what is counterfeit. As is his nature, Satan attempts to counterfeit everything of God (such as, “how is marriage defined?” “friends with benefits?” “what does it mean to be successful?” )

By nature, humans have at least three core drives that drive their interactions in order to fulfill natural appetites and needs: 1- To seek or obtain material and immaterial things, 2- To seek sensual or physical pleasure or needs, and 3- To escape or avoid.

We live in a society that doesn’t run to God—it runs from God. God said, “seek ye first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) and flee from the devil.” This is the model we should follow but the world operates on an inverse model.

As broken people seek various avenues to become whole again, they will likely stumble upon the counterfeit which brings more emptiness. They choose not to pursue the authentic paths or relationships because the results of the counterfeit appear more promising with presumed quicker rewards.

Truth is, too many people following counterfeit paths are marching toward their own destruction. God is raising up new witnesses to lovingly awaken the confused and to be salt and light in a decaying world. It is imperative that Christians discern the truth amidst the onslaught of the fake, the empty, the counterfeit and the fruitless.

Authenticity is found in Jesus Christ. True to our purpose here at Voices Against the Grain, we seek to lovingly and wisely provide clarity so you can navigate successfully in truth through the confusion.

The stakes are too high for me to be Ms. Congeniality on such matters. We are in a season of preparation. There are fewer allowances for, “Well, they got me this time.” We must avert this at the pass.

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.

Which Doors to Open?

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Ephesians 5:16-17

Make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

What should we do with the opportunities we have been given? Matthew 7:8 says “anyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Thus, what is a door’s function? Well, it’s a two-sided portal that allows a person to enter or exit. Whether the door remains open or closed is up to you. But here is the significance of walking through: every man-made avenue deemed to help our reputations or businesses seem tawdry to God’s purpose. Hence, we begin to search our own hearts to find God’s answer. These answers come in many different forms, whether it is a council of advisors, warnings, or guilt to arrive at the best decision. Opportunities are a dime a dozen, but those who follow the Lord will prosper. Do you now see the light emanating from the cracked door? It’s the Lord instructing you, so knock first and walk through. Amen

About Herbert G. Bowen, Jr.

Born in King of Prussia, Pa., Herbert G. Bowen Jr., accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at the tender age of 5.  An active member of the Central Church of God in Charlotte, N.C. where he resides, Herbert serves as a youth/discussion group leader, where he has preached and taught Sunday school, as well  asWednesday night service. In addition, he has preached at Second Baptist Church in Pottstown, Pa., Destiny City Church in Salisbury, N.C.  At his current age of 23, Herbert is the youngest board member on the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Leadership Council, where he serves to lessen the costs of tuition for African American students. Moreover, Herbert serves on the PureHope advisory board, where his commitment to “wait until marriage” fits perfectly with PureHope’s mission to bring a Christian solution to an immoral culture.

Finally, Herbert through the will of God writes weekly devotionals to combat the decreasing morality in the 18-30 age group a.k.a., “the transition gap.” This is an effort to re-introduce Jesus Christ to this spiritually starved generation. His devotionals go out to 2,000+ people and continues to grow under the Lord’s watchful eye.  He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He provides business expertise to help others start their businesses.

A New Creation in Christ

Good Day, People.  In general, we know people are far less forgiving of our mistakes or past than God. Even if you have moved forward from your past lifestyles and mistakes, people may still approach you with hesitancy, wondering if you will revert to your old ways.  You might even allow thoughts of your past to hinder you in moving forward or viewing yourself as God sees you—a new creation.

There are several scriptures in the Bible that confirm God’s love for us, even in sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. A debt we can’t ever repay. Our gift for a new life in putting to death the old is accepting Jesus as our Redeemer and Savior. Two passages that convey how deep His forgetting of our sins:

Psalm 10:12  10- “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11- For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12- as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (New International Version)

2 Corinthians 5:16-19  16-“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new is come! 18- All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19- that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” (New International Version)

New-Creation

Praise God! This is the good news! Believe it. God has given you and me victory over our Accuser who is quick to bring up our past and yesterday’s mistakes. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are a new creation. No other god of any religion has come down and given so much to have a relationship with you. None other.

A song that speaks to this excellent transition and gift is “Moving Forward” by Israel Houghton.  Enjoy!

Oh, hey, what a moment You have brought me to?
Such a freedom I have found in You
You’re the healer who makes all things newI’m not going back, I’m moving ahead
Here to declare to You my past is over in You
All things are made new, surrendered my life to Christ
I’m moving, moving forwardYou have risen with all power in Your hands
You have given me a second chanceI’m not going back, I’m moving ahead
Here to declare to You my past is over in You
All things are made new, surrendered my life to Christ
I’m movingNot going back, moving ahead
Here to declare to You, my past is over in You
All things are made new, surrendered my life to Christ
I’m moving, moving forward
Said I’m moving forwardSinging You make all things new
Yes, You make all things new and I will follow You forward
You make all things new
You make all things new and I will follow You forwardYou make all things new
Yes, You make all things new and I will follow You forward
You make all things new
Yes, You make all things new and I will follow You forwardI will follow You forward

Slingshot

Are you ready to be catapulted toward what God has planned for you? Sometimes disappointments, doubts and fears can hinder us from pressing toward what God has for us. We may even talk ourselves out of “greatness.” But trust that God has a purpose for you, and no one except you can shut a door God opens for you.

Delightfully, I share with you “Slingshot,” a post written by dear friend, mentor and colleague Hakim Hazim. The post comes from his and co-founder Dan Jackson’s Freedom Squared blog site. Launched in 2011, Freedom² is a web-based Christian think tank whose premise is “spiritual freedom x political freedom= Freedom².” I invite you to review other articles on their blog site.  Meanwhile, please read “Slingshot” below. Thank you Hakim for sharing this great piece with us!  -Nicole

Hakim Hazim, Co-Founder of Freedom²

Hakim Hazim, Co-Founder of Freedom²

(Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.) Numbers 12:3

Saints,

This is just a short analogy I want to share with you. I often think of people who continue to struggle with major life issues, setbacks, backsliding and just plain feeling stuck. If this is you, then you are the person I’m writing to.

Does it seem that everyone is surpassing you in the things of God and as you age in years, the opportunities will never come? I think of Moses who fled to the wilderness after killing the Egyptian. He thought life as he knew it was over. Then 80 years in age, Moses was content with the life he had. He no longer had the energy of a young man’s dreams animating him. He was content as a shepherd and according to the scriptures, the most humble man on the face of the earth.

In spite of his humility, there were still desires deep in the heart of Moses, locked away even from his own view. God knew what he placed in Moses. In fact the desire to deliver his people and see justice for them was what got him in trouble in the first place. Moses’ first response was to resist what God placed in him from before birth. Moses was to embody the prophecy uttered to Abraham — deliverance for his people after enslavement (Genesis 15:12-16). After resisting, Moses yielded to God and like a stone propelled from a slingshot, he was hurled onto the world stage and became a saint for the ages.

man with slingshot

I believe that many of us have unfulfilled, inspired dreams that remain latent in our hearts. These desires erode because the winds of disappointment and floods of doubt tell us we will never realize what God wants for us. The reality is it’s only true if you want it to be. Our disobedience, fleshly works and backsliding certainly hinder our walk with God, but when we humble ourselves and see the error of our ways — God can use the bitter dregs of wasted years to create a fire in us that will catapult us toward his original plan for us. Look at Paul:

9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.  (1 Corinthians 15:9-10)

If you are tired of your life, don’t settle. Humble yourself and seek God’s face. He can catapult you forward and give you more than you imagined. Many have done quite a bit with their remaining years.

About Hakim Hazim

Hakim Hazim, author of several published books and articles, nationally recognized criminality and national security theorist is the co-founder of Freedom², which focuses on believers in America and other free societies. Hakim, who is based near Boise, Idaho, was raised Muslim and is a born-again Christian since 1993. Daniel Jackson, a former youth pastor, is the organization’s other founding member and technology expert with a Fortune 500 company. Other project partners include researcher Charles Holmes, Jr., and Dracy Jenkins. Hakim is also the founder of the Christian-based national security consultancy, Relevant Now, which provides clients with “timely, insightful and transformative information.” Hakim has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas and a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from the California State University San Bernardino.

Remain Faithful in the Strange

Increasing violence from city, to countryside to nations.  Corrupt leadership at all levels of authority. Immorality plays out on our television screens permeating the walls within our homes, schools and other structures. An uptick in natural disasters. Given this, who is surprised at the destruction we see in our world? These events have been a long-time coming. Certainly the events are unnerving and can bring feelings of despair.

Sad_ManAs Jesus shared at the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24:6-8: 6-“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7-Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8- All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

Birth pains? Women who have birthed a child know birth pains/contractions may begin hours apart, and increase to minutes apart as the baby is delivered. Such is the case in the events we are witnessing. The events are certain to intensify to bring about the final act: Jesus’ return and Satan’s demise.

Before this day and the days to come, God told us this would happen. But do not fear, be not confused nor consider it “strange.” God desires for his chosen to walk in faith, peace, love and clarity with “eyes wide open.” Throughout His holy scriptures, He tells us the signs of our changing environment. Signs that signify an increase in the wickedness and usher in Jesus’ return.  But who is listening? In Isaiah 65:2-3, God says, 2- “All day long I have held my hands out to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations—3- a people who continue to provoke me to my very face.”

How long will God’s grace and mercy strive with unbelievers? With the immoral? With the wicked? Why does man continue in his arrogance that he can do his own thing without consequences?

In these “birth pains,” it is irrelevant whether we are in the first trimester or nearing the last. One thing is certain: time is running short. The birth pains are accelerating with common words exchanged by onlookers such as, “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” The events are not coincidental. While the enemy is unleashing scheme after scheme, God is stretching out His arms to those who will hear. He is making every effort to get our attention (even in tragedies) to pierce our hearts, to humble the proud, to cease the works of the wicked as the end nears. He is raising up an Army of bold believers who will share His Word and truth to wherever He instructs.  This is ever more a time for the body of Christ to be united; moving on one accord, and not divided by denominations and doctrine. Remain faithful to what He has called you to do.