The Ties That Bind

What is family? What are the ties that bind godly families to overcome tough times? What can be accomplished when Jesus Christ is at the center of any relationship? Read message below by Voices Against the Grain blogger, Herbert Bowen, Jr.

Proverbs 12:7- “The wicked die and disappear, but the family of the godly stands firm.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Who can shake up a family more than outsiders? When turmoil strikes where have all our friends gone? Why is it that family members are treated more harshly than those unrelated to us? There are a bevy of questions we could try to answer, but with God none apply. Why? Because godly families cannot be shaken up. Outsiders don’t deter the minds of the family. When trouble strikes they turn to God for strength. Ungodly behavior flees that family because Christ is at the center. Turmoil might separate that godly family, but God uses individuals to heal the rifts that sought to separate them. Sons and fathers reunite. Husbands and wives begin to work together. Brothers and sisters rush to the aid of one another. Family…it’s a beautiful sight when unity is stressed over independence. For a new dawn rises on that family’s home, while God removes all the proverbial scar tissue that surrounded their hearts. 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.

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Is God Poking You?

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

A whisper. Gentle nudge.  Poke. Stirring. Glimpses.  Kick. All-consuming gut on fire. Through the years I’ve become more attuned to God’s voice in my life, how He shepherds me in a particular direction. It begins with a whisper, a gentle nudge—perhaps followed by a thought that will make me say, “Hmm.” He’ll then allow me a bit more time to meditate on the thought. Shortly thereafter, I receive glimpses in my spirit. Then instinctively things and situations seem to “click,” signaling me to the next turn even without the luxury of a map to guide me.  With more prayer and quiet time, the direction sharpens and then as if someone rips the gears, I move from 1st to 5th, fueled by an all-consuming-gut-on-fire sense of “need to move now.” I’ve experienced this on several occasions and this time is no different. When God urges my next moves, it is based on my hunger to do more for His Kingdom. That’s what motivates me. My dear friend Hakim Hazim recently reminded me of this verse from Matthew 5:6 which speaks to my situation: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.” (New International Version)

All In by Mark Batterson

I recently came into possession of a book that is “on time.” All In, by National Community Church Pastor Mark Batterson of Washington, D.C., suggests an “all or nothing” lifestyle Christians should pursue for God. The glimpses and stirring within increase as I absorb the message page by page. I expect the kick and then the all-consuming-gut-on-fire as God directs my next steps. We’re not to be tepid. We’re either hot or cold in how we use our talents. You may be at a point (like me) where God is preparing you for something but details are still forming. In these moments we may question our ability to rise to the occasion, as it is our desire to represent Him in excellence wherever we go. Then I remind myself, that it’s not about me, it’s about Him. If He brings me to it, then He’s prepared me for it.

A section from Chapter 7 of All In reaffirmed my confidence: “No one can spot potential like Jesus. And that’s because He’s the one who gave it to us in the first place. Potential is God’s gift to us. What we do with it is our gift back to God.”

How is God speaking to you about your next move? Are you silencing the whispers or gentle nudge so you can stay comfortable? Are you using your potential to the fullest? Or have you buried your talent in the ground, playing it safe, like the man in this parable? Are doubts and fears hindering you from boldly moving forward? Remember, entering new territory requires us to stretch and experience some discomfort—though we must move beyond the initial discomfort. We must put our faith in action. Why put gas in the car if you’re not going to drive it? Trust that if He’s directing you, He’s already prepared you for the journey. Pray for clarity as He moves you forward. Your talents unlock someone else’s blessings.