You’re Too Unique to Compare

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Today’s post is from the daily devotional book, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. Each devotional is written from the perspective of Jesus speaking to you. I want God’s People to get this message, loud and clear.

STOP JUDGING AND EVALUATING YOURSELF, for this is not your role. Above all, stop comparing yourself with other people. This produces feelings of pride or inferiority; sometimes a mixture of both. I lead each of My children along a path that is uniquely tailor-made for him or her. Comparing is not only wrong; it is also meaningless.

Don’t look for affirmation in the wrong places: your own evaluations, or those of other people. The only source of real affirmation is My unconditional Love. Many believers perceive Me as an unpleasable Judge, angrily searching out their faults and failures. Nothing could be further from the truth! I died for your sins, so that I might clothe you in My garments of salvation. This is how I see you: radiant in my robe of righteousness. When I discipline you, it is never in anger or disgust; it is to prepare you for face-to-Face fellowship with Me throughout all eternity. Immerse yourself in My loving Presence. Be receptive to My affirmation, which flows continually from the throne of grace.

Accompanying Scriptures: Luke 6:37, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17- For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Isaiah 61:10, “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.” Proverbs 3:11-12, “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, 12- because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (New International Version).

GO Past Fear of the Unknown

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Blogger

FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real. GO past it.

As a young girl, I won a beauty pageant in our small Michigan town.  I became “Little Miss Hispanic Princess.” During the pageant, I planned to do a tap dance number. However, technical failures with the music stopped my routine.  The judges then evaluated us according to how we looked and the answers we gave to their questions.  I responded with a desire to help children and those in need.  At that young age, I am unsure if I fully understood such a concept.

Following that victory, I wanted to enter our town’s main beauty pageant called “Little Miss Blueberry.” However, my mother’s friend told her that the only girls who win have “blonde hair and blue eyes.”  I was neither. I had golden tan skin, brown hair and deep chocolate eyes. So, we did not enter the pageant. Fear held us back.  I remember the confidence I had from winning the first pageant quickly dwindled away as if I was inadequate to even enter the next.   go-button

My Mother is White and my Father, Puerto Rican. Interestingly, I won “Little Miss Hispanic” and didn’t even speak Spanish.  I write this not to criticize race or people’s opinions. I write this to encourage you to not allow fear to prevent you from stepping into the unknown.  At that point in time, I could have been the first Spanish girl to win “Little Miss Blueberry.”  God sees our heart and judges by our inward condition.  We judge by outward appearances.  I would not be here today if a Puerto Rican man hadn’t fallen in love with a White American woman.  In spite of my parent’s differences of race and language, they shared a strong common denominator that brought and has held them together. They share a love for Christ and they were both determined to fulfill His Perfect Will for their lives, and thus they have.

1 Samuel 16:6-7 (King James Version) 6 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him.

7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance. But the LORD looketh on the heart.

Ana

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 principles 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.”

A Life for God

Jeremiah 10:23- “I know LORD, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Do we know? Is it possible to comprehend the magnitude of this verse and navigate a path, without even seeing the blueprints? Is there a plan when a young girl stands desolate without hope, due to a man robbing her of her purity? Her body now appears dismembered as if painted by Salvador Dali. Her mind is now distorted and love becomes nothing more than sewage down the pipes of a commode. Her heart is now encased in ice. Physically and emotionally she is dead. Her body is no longer her own, but a corpse walking among the living. Her spirit is ready to move on, BUT GOD pulls back the curtain to reveal the light. Her eyes burn and she stumbles, but she manages to reach the door. FREEDOM is found as she takes steps forward. Friends and family rush to aid in her walk, as God never left Ana Martinez, but enabled her to tell her story. Click here to listen http://bit.ly/1jEGXXN 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.

Love Is…

1 John 4:10- “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Blogger

If you find this verse cliché, stop reading. If you find this topic redundant, stop reading. If you know the true meaning of love, by all means teach a seminar. For it is only through Christ’s sacrifice that we know true love. Here we’re shown that love has no ulterior motives, nor is it steeped in infatuation. Lust is not cached in love, because purity encapsulates it. Love needs no materials to garner affection. Love is a rotating daily cycle, instead of a single occasion. Love is restrained, not unbridled. Love is satisfying, not insatiable. Love is… In fact, John 15:13 says, “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Hence, we were chosen to produce long lasting fruit, while administering patience before ripening. Now our flavor is procured, until the Divine Gardener plucks us off the vine. LOVE through CHRIST. 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.

Your Testimony Will Free Somebody Else

Your testimony, your healing will free somebody else.

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

On Wednesday’s Voices Against the Grain radio show, we heard a powerful testimony of healing and restoration from sexual trauma and self-hatred shared by our blogger/devotional writer, Ana Martinez. For 22 years, she stuffed feelings of shame and guilt, starting with being molested at age 8, statutory rape at age 13, and raped again at 15. Growing up in her parent’s church and loving the Lord, she then walked away from God and His call upon her life. Today, she is a mom and bold woman of God involved in several ministries and has received freedom by sharing her story with others—so they too can heal. The episode, entitled “Christ: Your True Heart Healer, Soul Lover” conveys how deep, wide and unconditional Jesus Christ’s love for us. He is our special Valentine. No matter how horrific and dark your past or present situation, He LOVES YOU more than you can imagine. He died, rose and lives so you may experience true freedom, joy and peace —not bound by things of this world that enslave.

We were joined by Noel Bouché, president of pureHOPE, a ministry that provides Christian solutions in a sexualized culture. Noel discussed how they provide strategies to equip parents to help their children navigate in this digitized world, where images and messages of sexual immorality are rampant. pureHOPE envisions a world free of exploitation and brokenness. As a new partner with pureHOPE, Voices Against the Grain will join them to fight the proliferation of porn and sex trafficking in our society. To win this fight, Jesus Christ is our HOPE.

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Noel Bouché, President of pureHOPE

Noel Bouché, President of pureHOPE

Immediately following the airing of Wednesday’s show, the calls, emails and text messages poured in from listeners (some in tears) who were positively impacted by the conversation. We could not have planned the perfect formation of elements that has begun the healing and restoration process for many since our discussion. God’s perfect timing unites situations, people and willing hearts to accomplish His purposes. Not a day sooner or later. Right on time.

Words cannot adequately convey what I feel in my spirit. In simplest words, I have a spirit of gratitude and humility that such a big God chooses to involve us in His greater plan. Thank you Lord. We love you.

Satan hoped that Ana would remain silent, ashamed and bound by her past. But God’s plan was already at work. In John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.” As referenced in Jeremiah 29:11, which furthermore says, “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,” “plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

As Ana says, “No matter your situation, your story, know that GOD can restore you. HE can heal you. HE is our Redeemer. He has a bigger plan for your life greater than you know. He will turn around the darkest things in your life and make them beautiful.”

Just like Ana, sharing your story, your healing will help somebody else.

Listen to the show here. 

Love Incarnate

Song of Songs 8:10- “When my lover looks at me, he is delighted with what he sees.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Blogger

When the novelty fades and the thrill is gone, will you still be there my love? When time ages us and our skin creases, will you still look at me adoringly, my love? When we are ridiculed for having only each other, will you regret your decision, my dove? Or will you take my hand to soar above the earth like eagles, my dove? May our time together be an example. A paradigm of epic proportions. A display to unveil the glory of God’s truth amidst the world’s lies. For the characteristics of godliness built an unquenchable fire that no man or woman can put asunder. For patience nurtured that emotion tied to the gate of eternity, while purity affixed our eyes to behold the soul located beneath the flesh. If perseverance coddled the flame, then what was ignited before will hold its heat from the beginning. Here is love shown in its greatest form. A loyalty and trust that will weather any storm. Love in Christ.

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.

STOP: A Mission of Missed Opportunities

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Blogger

After a long day, I rushed to the grocery store but made time to say “hello” to Pam as she bagged my groceries.  Pam works at the grocery store almost every day. She is always thorough and cautious not to break an egg or smash other items. She works hard yet manages to always display a smile. Sometime ago, I realized that I would rush in and out of the store, in and out of coffee shops, usually occupied by talking on the phone. I ignored those around me because “I was on a mission.” I used to acknowledge others’ presence more but as my work load increased, I justified my actions.  However, recently I decided to STOP!  To stop rushing through life, to stop being in a hurry so I can acknowledge important things like PEOPLE along the way

 Matthew 25:40-45, And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

I caution you my brothers and sisters: do not be so hurried to reach the pinnacle of your success.  Take time to know those around you. Take a moment to say “hello” to those serving you, and in turn serve others.

Ana

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 principles 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.”

From Boys to Men

1 Timothy 5:2 -“Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Monogamy: 1 man and 1 woman. Love, as if we were staring into the eyes of our mothers. These are all words synonymous with respect. Strumpet (promiscuous woman)… Multiple women… Disregard, as if we were shopping for new clothes. These are words synonymous with immorality. Matter of fact, can you hear him, “for our great enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Thus, we are the gazelles unaware of our predator lurking in the brush. The lion is hungry and we are his meal. Is this not the same process with men? For we also lurk in the shadows seeking one whom we will conquer, forgetting the person we sullied in the conquest. Therefore, may we change the tide of objectification and seek to see women not as accessories, but as companions. It is only then will young boys grow into godly and caring men. 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.

The Better Half

Note: I didn’t convince Herbert to write this devotional. He was lead by the Holy Spirit to share on this topic. Thank you Herbert!

-Nicole

Proverbs 31:10-“Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Blogger

In this world there are two sides to every story, two sides to every coin, and two types of humans. For when God created Adam He knew a companion was needed, hence the formation of Eve. This union was special, but like most men, Adam listened to the desires of his heart, rather than God’s voice. However, don’t lose hope, for Proverbs 31 paints a beautiful picture of an honorable woman. For her charm doesn’t coerce men to fight for her. Her beauty shuns men’s lustful desires and shames them. Her allure is not like the mythological Sirens, (who sang beautiful songs to entangle men and ultimately cause their untimely deaths.) No, this woman fears the Lord. She wears the belt of chastity, while donning the armor of truth. She can’t be claimed, for God is her groom. She’s a queen amongst the over populated masses. In essence, she is a woman who brings honor to her counterpart, and glory to the Lord. 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.