Eye Your Position in Christ, Not the World

Ana Martinez, Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

Ana Martinez, Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10, New King James Version)

Some believers struggle on various levels whether financially, physically, spiritually or other. These struggles may be our current condition at times yet we need to remember our permanent position: that we are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus as told in Ephesians 2:6 (“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus”).

What may look good to the visible eye is not always good.

 1 Samuel 16:7But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Our society is very consumed with the outward appearance.  We idolize our own appearance whether our title, sculpted abs, intellect, our bank accounts or accomplishments.   Although we are not bowing down to a big golden idol in the image of an animal, we bow down to the image in the mirror.

We also tend to judge others by their outward appearance and by what they have and do not have.  We can think someone is doing great for themselves by what they wear, drive or where they live.  However, the truth is you can have all the riches in the world and still be lonely, empty and unfulfilled.  My parents always taught me that it is more important to be faithful than successful, according to the world’s standards.  We each have gifts and talents that should be used for His Glory and not our own. I encourage you to ask the Lord to search your heart in order to eliminate anything that is not of Him, so that you may be able to withstand the attacks of the enemy.  Gratefully, we can gain victory in these matters through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.

Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24- See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” 

About Ana Martinez

Ana Martinez was born in Michigan. When she was age 4, her parents Pastor Juan and Deborah Martinez founded the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship in Almont, Mich.  Ana grew up in the church and in a humble, loving Christian home.  Her parent’s faithfulness and commitment to ministry for over 27 years has been a testimony to her.  In her youth she was like the prodigal son.  She knows what it means to walk away from your call and to stray from the Word of God.  Her life experiences have taught her that God’s way and His principals are worth upholding.  She is a God-fearing Christian woman determined to do the will of The Lord.  Her heart’s desire is to reach the lost and win souls for the kingdom of heaven by sharing the Good News, according to Matthew 28:19. Ana truly believes people are hurting and need to know that there is forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give ye rest.”

Ana has served on the Missionary Field, and has served in and led praise and worship, web design, children’s ministry and youth ministry.  Ana’s most recent initiative isGeorgia Peach Ministry, a non-profit she founded that serves widows and orphans.  Ana is also on the board of the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship. Ana is a private chef and has worked with professional athletes over the past five years. She is also an entrepreneur and is part owner in an interior design business, a chef placement business, and is entering into the food product industry.

Ana resides in Southern California with her three beautiful children and seeks daily to model this scripture from Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Advertisements

No More Excuses

Job 31:19-“Whenever I saw the homeless without clothes and the needy with nothing to wear…” (New Living Translation)

Herbert G. Bowen, Jr., Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

Herbert G. Bowen, Jr., Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

How would you fill in the rest of the scripture? For the next step doesn’t require words, but action. We’ve all passed, talked to, or listened to a homeless person. We’ve all had unique experiences in giving or grumbling at someone in need. “Alcohol, drugs, and laziness are the causes of their downfalls, for they use the Lord’s name to incite pity from the working masses.”

This general statement has blanketed a whole group of people, to whom we know nothing about. So why assume? Has God not blessed you in some sort of fashion? Does the “thank you” of a man resting in a sleeping bag not bring tears to your eyes? Some have resources, some don’t, but we all should have compassion. Their lives, like ours, are going through a transition that only God can fix. Hence, open your eyes and hearts to be the tool God can use to provide hope for those who need help to climb out of the trenches. Go Forth. 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 24, 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.

Created for His Purpose

Dear Friends. I am happy to share with you a guest devotional from a great brother in Christ, Dracy Jenkins. His devotional reminds us that our living has greater meaning, direction and purpose with Jesus at the center of all we do.  It’s a bold statement to make given other belief systems exist. Moreover, our world places its own labels and values on people as they deem worthy—and not through the lens in which Christ views us.   The fact is, people seek other people, things and behaviors to fill voids and find themselves feeling empty and always seeking but never finding the joy, love, peace and security only He can provide.  Our purpose is found in Him. Thank you Dracy! God bless each of you.   -Nicole

“Life is filled with meaning as soon as Jesus Christ enters into it.” — Stephen Neill

 

Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

2 Timothy 1:9-10 (New Living Translation)- For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. 10- And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.

God’s plan for us was/is to show us His love and grace through His Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, we were created with a purpose and for His purpose.  Never allow anyone or anything to define your worth or purpose in life but the love and Word of God through Jesus Christ. The world has its own way to measure a person’s value that cannot provide the peace and joy of Christ. The world’s standards cannot provide the way to our eternal destiny, which was established by Almighty God himself.

When we accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, the final puzzle piece of a purpose-filled life and meaning is completed. This doesn’t mean we do not have a journey to embark upon, nor does it mean this journey won’t be filled with the occasional rough road. But it does mean we are on the right road.

Be encouraged today that if you don’t feel valued or don’t see/don’t understand your purpose right now, God values you and will reveal more details of His plan for your life as you continue to move forward and trust Him. Continue to look toward Christ who will make your purpose clear.  God bless you all today with His grace, mercy and favor.

Minister Dracy
After God’s Own Heart Ministries
John 3:16 For God so loved….

Soli Deo Gloria

In today’s blog post I could say so much on “SDG.” Yet, I dare not take away from the simplicity and power of these three letters.

In an earlier blog post, I shared I’ve been reading the book, ” All In, by National Community Church Pastor Mark Batterson of Washington, D.C. The book’s premise encourages an “all or nothing” lifestyle Christians should pursue for God. Chapter 12 is simply entitled “SDG.” I wondered, “What is ‘SDG’?” As I read further, I learned that the famous 17th century German composer Johannes Sebastian Bach, whose body of work includes 256 cantatas, would inscribe the letters “SDG” in the margins of his sheet music completed. The three letters stood for the Latin phrase, Soli Deo Gloria— which means “to the glory of God alone.” My body tingled with good goosebumps as I digested this meaning.

To God be the glory

Three powerful words and letters that say “it’s not about you. It’s not about me.” It’s about Him, and Him alone. No matter what God has called us to, we are to do it in excellence, unto Him. Our work should be motivated not for applause but for the cause in which we serve. What if we all serve each other in this manner? What if we set aside egos, selfish ambitions, and titles? What if we live not for the audience’s applause but for the audience of The One,  Jesus Christ; the applause from nail-scarred hands?

Praise God for the air I breathe that I can say, “Soli Deo Gloria—to the glory of God alone” in all that I do.  He deserves every ounce of my praise and more for the things He has done. One day all creatures in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and even the rocks will cry out and rejoice, “Soli Deo Gloria.”

A Purpose Greater Than Yourself

Listen to my radio interview on Voices Against the Grain:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/voicesagainstthegrain/2013/10/16/young-people-keeping-it-bold-real (Many thanks to Ms. Hayes)

John 10:18- “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily.” (New Living Translation)
Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Guest Blogger

What matters most? Is it the big salary or the minimum money, which requires work to grow? Is it the assurance of living well, or the hardship suffered of honing your skills through the Lord? May our eyes be opened like Jean Marie (a Rwandan gentleman), who aspires to gain an education and go back to his country. Hence, his eyes are not affixed toward the luxury of America, but to dig deep within the squalor of his land. Like the Good Shepherd who laid His life down so we might be washed in the blood—Jean Marie has sacrificed his life voluntarily to push a movement greater than himself. Therefore, what are we being taught? Well, we are learning the ultimate lesson of laying down our lives as holy sacrifices to serve a greater purpose, to bring glory and honor to God’s name. 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 24, 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.

Relax…He’s Got You

I like to read and share devotionals from the book Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. The devotionals are rooted in scripture and presented in the perspective of Jesus speaking to you. This message encourages us to trust God without pushing so hard for the results to happen on our timetable. The key here: Relax. He’s got you. He’s got this. 

relax-on-the-beach

TRUST ME ENOUGH to let things happen without striving to predict or control them. Relax, and refresh yourself in the Light of My everlasting Love. My Love-Light never dims, yet you are often unaware of My radiant Presence. When you project yourself into the future, rehearsing what you will do or say, you are seeking to be self-sufficient: to be adequate without My help. This is a subtle sin—so common that it usually slips by unnoticed.

The alternative is to live fully in the present, depending upon Me each moment. Rather than fearing your inadequacy, rejoice in My abundant supply. Train your mind to seek My help continually, even when you feel competent to handle something by yourself. Don’t divide your life into things you can do by yourself and things that require My help. Instead, learn to rely on Me in every situation. This discipline will enable you to enjoy life more and to face each day confidently.

Accompanying Scriptures: Psalm 37:3-6, 3-“Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land enjoy safe pasture. 4- Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart. 5- Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this:  6- He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.  Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (New International Version)

Low Cash Flow? Lonely? Press On

Listen to Herbert Bowen, Jr., this Wednesday at 1-2p ET on the Voices Against the Grain Radio Show as he shares how Jesus has helped him as a 24-year-old abstain from sex and navigate around society’s unrelenting “pleasure principles.” He’ll be joined by Myranda Dorsey, 26, who shares how through Christ Jesus she overcame a confused identity predicated by low self-esteem, and now views herself as Jesus sees her.

Philippians 3:12- “But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

I’m not perfect and neither are you. If we were perfect would we need God too? If money was stacked to the ceiling would our lives be easier? If loneliness was eradicated and everyone had ONE companion, would our lives be sweeter? If worry was engulfed by reassurance would anything affect us? The answer is simple, but the effect it has on our lives is complex. Broken down, we were given free will to choose our routes in life. Some stand affixed in faith, some don’t. Some die daily in the flesh, while some indulge in it. Ultimately, loneliness doesn’t have to result in suicide or catastrophe. Minimal funds doesn’t mean we will never be self-sufficient. Such situations are temporary. Trust that fear can flee our side and be replaced by the spear of courage. Thus, let us move toward perfection knowing God will never abandon us on our journey. 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 24, 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 Daughter of the Most High

Ana Martinez, VATG Guest Blogger

Ana Martinez, VATG Guest Blogger

A big welcome to our newest guest blogger, Ana Martinez!  Read her post here. On Thursdays I enjoy spending quality time with my two nieces. My children are in school during the day so this time with the little girls helps keep me grounded. One day in the car we were listening to music and singing along. I sing loud and the music was loud but it did not stop my youngest niece who is 2 from letting her voice be heard. During one of her favorite songs she sang as loud as she could “there is liberty.” It just warmed my heart. During the next song she shouted out the lyrics, “I surrender all!”

Luke 18:17-“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Here she is as young as can be, yet she was determined to sing His praises with everything inside of her.  She did not just blurt these lyrics out but sang them with true meaning. I was blown away. I remember there was a time in my life when I sang His praises with everything inside of me. I had child-like faith and spoke of Christ with such passion and enthusiasm.  Don’t get me wrong—I still am very passionate about Him.  However, I have let “things,” “situations,” “disappointments,” and even “fear of people”, stop me from vocalizing my true admiration for God. This has grieved me deeply.

But now in complete surrender, I declare and will continue to verbally declare that He is Marvelous and Worthy of our Praise in and through out all situations. There is no one or anything else that can bring peace like Christ does. “The Prince of Peace.” When you truly surrender all unto Him—your wants, your desires, your heart and your time—miracles, transformation, healing, breakthroughs, deliverance and restoration can take place.

So I ask you today Do YOU surrender all?

 Matthew 16:25-

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

About Ana Martinez

Ana Martinez was born in Michigan. When she was age 4, her parents Pastor Juan and Deborah Martinez founded the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship in Almont, Mich.  Ana grew up in the church and in a humble, loving Christian home.  Her parent’s faithfulness and commitment to ministry for over 27 years has been a testimony to her.  In her youth she was like the prodigal son.  She knows what it means to walk away from your call and to stray from the Word of God.  Her life experiences have taught her that God’s way and His principals are worth upholding.  She is a God-fearing Christian woman determined to do the will of The Lord.  Her heart’s desire is to reach the lost and win souls for the kingdom of heaven by sharing the Good News, according to Matthew 28:19. Ana truly believes people are hurting and need to know that there is forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  Matthew 11:28,Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give ye rest.”

Ana has served on the Missionary Field, and has served in and led praise and worship, web design, children’s ministry and youth ministry.  Ana’s most recent initiative is Georgia Peach Ministry, a non-profit she founded that serves widows and orphans.  Ana is also on the board of the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship. Ana is a private chef and has worked with professional athletes over the past five years. She is also an entrepreneur and is part owner in an interior design business, a chef placement business, and is entering into the food product industry.

Ana resides in Southern California with her three beautiful children and seeks daily to model this scripture from Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

The Kingdom is Inseperable from the Gospel

PLEASE READ. Those who preach the “prosperity gospel” for selfish gain have hijacked God’s Word from its true intention.  Because of this blatant distortion of God’s Word that many have fallen prey to, I am compelled to share the following Freedom Squared blog post written by dear friend, mentor and colleague, Hakim Hazim.  The blog post, “The Kingdom is Inseperable from the Gospel” is part of their Self-Deception Series. In the post he writes, “The gospel is not about health and wealth, it is not an insurance policy from the lake of fire. It is good news for the elect. To focus on anything other than the one who saves is to make salvation a means to an end.”

Thank you Hakim for sharing with us this timely message to successfully discern truth from deception.  Read it below.

Hakim_Bio_Photo_in_Grey_SuitThere has been quite a bit of noise and controversy made in recent decades regarding preaching and doctrine. Perhaps the rapid expansion of the prosperity/wellness gospel and the insurance gospel are not indicators of revival but men’s ability to hijack and distort God’s word. The two spring from the same tree: man’s self-seeking heart.

To be more specific, the health and prosperity gospel are tied to securing benefits in this that alleviate or eliminate physical suffering or deprivation of any type. The insurance gospel rests on the idea that a sinner can say a prayer and be indemnified from eternal judgment, if he is sincere at the moment he says it. These notions of the gospel perpetuate the deception that man can be in charge of his temporal and eternal destiny by sincerity and believing alone. Although these sentiments are understandable from a human vantage point, they fall short of historical, biblical standards. God must give us the faith to believe and purify our hearts so that we can be sincere. These doctrines are made in America and made for Americans, but they are foreign to the sound teaching of scripture.

Election teaches us that God examines, draws and secures the hearts of all who will ever belong to Him. The gospel issues from the sovereignty of God and is but one aspect of governance from His vantage point. We would do well to remember this in a humanistic age.

The gospel is not about health and wealth. It is not an insurance policy from the lake of fire. It is good news for the Elect. To focus on anything other than the one Who saves is to make salvation a means to an end. The Lord despises the misuse of His word for selfish gain, but He is also quick to forgive those who repent of this (We have all done it in some manner or form). The Kingdom is moving and you will move with it or it will move against you. Lay hold of it friend. Lay hold of it.

Here is a good read that amplifies some of the points I have made: http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/the-gospel-of-the-kingdom-of-god/

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.

 

Few Details? Still Follow

I like to read and share devotionals 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 message spoke to me. It encourages us to follow God in His calling for us, even if we’re unsure of the details. We must learn to trust His direction!

BE WILLING TO FOLLOW wherever I lead. Follow Me wholeheartedly, with glad anticipation quickening your pace. Though you don’t know what lies ahead, I know; and that is enough! Some of my richest blessings are just around the bend: out of sight, but nonetheless very real. To receive these gifts, you must walk by faith—not by sight. This doesn’t mean closing your eyes to what is all around you. It means subordinating the visible world to the invisible Shepherd of your soul.

Follow JesusSometimes I lead you up a high mountain with only My hand to support you. The higher you climb, the more spectacular the view becomes; also the more keenly you sense your separation from the world with all of its problems. This frees you to experience exuberantly the joyous reality of My Presence. Give yourself fully to these Glory-moments, awash in dazzling Light. I will eventually lead you down the mountain, back into the community with others. Let My Light continue to shine within you as you walk among the people again.

Accompanying Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 5:7, “We live by faith, not by sight.” Psalm 96:6, “Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.” Psalm 36:9, “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” John 8:12, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  (New International Version)