Some People Just Need a Hug

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Some people just need a hug!

We can pretend to hold it all together when we are just about to crumble and cave. On Monday morning, I was on the brink of losing it.  The overwhelming pressures of work, being a single parent—with all the concerns and worries of my children’s well-being— really took its toll. That morning, I desperately asked God to send someone to encourage me. While I was preparing breakfast for my boss, he kindly witnessed to me of how my life and struggles have been a witness to him.  Then, a much needed conversation with our Voices Against the Grain editor-in-chief, lifted my spirit.  Later that morning, I had a great laugh with my sister but still through the day the struggle continued.  My 3-year-old niece asked me to dance with her as I lay on the couch tired and waking up from an afternoon nap.  Dancing with her strengthened me to get up and go on with my day. But it was a hug from my son and nephew after school that really brought things into perspective and gave me the breakthrough.

All I have is right now. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.  To worry and stress over things that are not even happening is worthless. As noted in Luke 12:25, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” I am blessed to have three Amazing children who I can hug and love. I am blessed to know that when I die, I will be in heaven. I am blessed to serve the One true God who not only sent one person to encourage me but many in one day!

God is in control and all I must do is continue to trust that Jesus has me covered. I may not have all that I want but I have exactly what I need. I encourage you to hug the ones you love, wholeheartedly praise the Lord above, and be tender to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Your hug just might be what the person next to you needs.

Psalm 46:1-“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

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.

 

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Work Toward Things Eternal

Genesis 3:19-“By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Life is… But a fleeting ripple in the perpetual essence of time. Life is… But a carefully wrapped gift whose contents are unknown until we take our last breath. Life is… But a chance to benefit the entire sum, instead of parts of the whole. Therefore, may our diligence resemble that of an athlete whose work is never finished, but in constant equilibrium. For their bodies if not honed and trained, will render them useless within their professions. Thus, if their body cannot be trusted, how can they rely on the mental fortitude needed to push past preconceived limitations? For isn’t the mind stronger than body? Hence, we must work toward the glory of our Lord, instead of the splendor of our own limelight. Only then will our rest be peaceful to return into the ground from whence we came. 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.

Thankfulness in Christ

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you are also complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” –Colossians 2:6-10

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

This scripture is a power-packed instruction, filled with great truths on the way the Christian believer should proceed having been saved in Jesus Christ. The key word is “in Jesus Christ.” For in Jesus Christ joy is found. In Jesus Christ, you can stand firm and stand strong. In a world that is constantly changing with new fads, new philosophies, new beliefs, etc.

You can rest assured that Jesus Christ never changes. For the Bible says, “Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. –Hebrews 13:7-8. The apostle Paul exhorted the Colossian Christians to not let anyone capture them by way of empty philosophies that rival what they had already been taught.

For our faith must continue to grow down into Jesus Christ. Isn’t it interesting that what follows afterward is an overflowing of thankfulness? I am certain that after experiencing that feeling, praises to the Lord follow. How many of you have experienced an overflowing of thankfulness in Christ? Isn’t it truly a beautiful feeling?

The spirit of God begins to move mightily through a thankful heart. For it is through an overflowing of thankfulness that we can love ourselves and love one another. Through an overflowing of thankfulness we can have the willingness to serve our communities and churches. Through an overflowing of thankfulness we can fight the spirits of depression, stress, and you name it. We’ll be more generous, unselfish, expressive, friendly, fruitful, joyful, and our faith will increase while being motivated to press on. But, it must all be in Jesus Christ.

In Jesus Christ we can experience true thankfulness. Maybe you’re a Christian going through a tough time right now and may not find much reason to be thankful. However, I have a few reasons for which you can find thankfulness: the unconditional promises of God being his provision, protection, an eternal home in heaven, the word of God, the presence of God, an intimate relationship with God, the Holy Spirit, and finally the unconditional love of God. Are they not reasons to be thankful?

Praise the Lord that it is! Don’t look to the right or to the left; keep your heart in Jesus Christ. “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.” –Proverbs 4:25-27.

Take a moment to look at your life, praise the Lord for who He is and all that He has done, and be thankful today. -Amen

-Jason M. Alexandre

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born on November 29, 1989 in Brooklyn, New York. However, at two years old he and his family moved to Philadelphia, PA. Later, Jason moved to Limerick, PA where he now resides. Jason is currently working toward obtaining his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. Although Jason’s career is Social Work, his spiritual passion is missions. Jason believes in actively answering the great commission call Jesus gave all Christians for the gospel to be spread from nation to nation. On a yearly basis, Jason primarily goes to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year Haiti Christianity visits different cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothes, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly evangelization takes place. Jason is currently their public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to be spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively.

Rx for Life: Avoid Foolishness, Show Love, Instruct Truth and Stay the Course

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

I LOVE how God’s Word speaks to all situations—those things passed, present or to come. His Word is a “lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105). God’s Word prepares us so we may remain faithful, loving, steady and empowered among those who are ungodly and those who prefer to chase mirages.  2 Timothy: I love this God-inspired letter written by Paul from prison to encourage his dear friend and apprentice, Timothy. Paul’s letter would equip Timothy to pick up the mantle and carry out the mission, long after Paul’s death. His letter instructed him to resist the foolishness of false teachers and stay the course. CourseStay.250w.tn

Paul’s letter/God’s Word written more than 2,000 years ago, continues to guide my life, the lives of my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and our respective callings/ministries—very much so here at Voices Against the Grain.  From the Message Bible (love the “give it to us real” verbiage used), here’s 2 Timothy 3 and 2 Timothy 4: a prescription on how to stay the course in this life. 

2 Timothy 3

The Message (MSG)

Difficult Times Ahead

1-5 Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.

6-9 These are the kind of people who smooth-talk themselves into the homes of unstable and needy women and take advantage of them; women who, depressed by their sinfulness, take up with every new religious fad that calls itself “truth.” They get exploited every time and never really learn. These men are like those old Egyptian frauds Jannes and Jambres, who challenged Moses. They were rejects from the faith, twisted in their thinking, defying truth itself. But nothing will come of these latest impostors. Everyone will see through them, just as people saw through that Egyptian hoax.

2 Timothy 4

The Message (MSG)

1-2 I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple.

3-5 You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.

He Has Risen. He Has Risen Indeed.

Matthew 28:6- “He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

One sentence is a factual statement, while the other is an affirmation of truth. HE HAS RISEN. One sentence is an act that defies the human psyche, while the other speaks to an unrelenting faith contra the world opinions. HE HAS RISEN INDEED. One sentence should bring about tears of joy, while the other aids us in finding a foothold within the bonds of eternity. HE HAS RISEN HE HAS RISEN INDEED. Therefore, may our excitement resemble that of a child on Christmas eve. For the tomb carried no stench, nor were the maggots present to feed on the remains of a body. All that was left were bandages and the notion that God was among us. Hence, walk the streets with confidence and enter your workplace with determination. Love above all else just as Christ loved us. It is then and only then, that HIS name will be magnified with his glory readily seen on all our faces. 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.

You Gave Me Life

Matthew 11:28- Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

The burden…Blessed be for that burden. For the burden was not carried by you or me, but by 1 deity for all the world to see. A thorn-pricked head and nail-pierced hands, His blood dripped steadily onto that land. Thus, the sight became too hard to bear as we turned our heads in hopes to suppress our cares. The image of this man was etched into the inner sanctum of our dreams. A staple, a benchmark, this man was not ordinary; he was more, much more, perhaps the word is extraordinary. Hence, we live because of Him. For Christ stopped the clock from ticking and granted a rebirth to all who believe. For Christ constructed a bridge that was formed due to His sacrifice, a selfless act that provided us a chance to live in eternity. For even the earth groaned and the sky cried for they knew that this man was the Son of God. Therefore, may we all say thank you. 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 Narrow Path, A Wide Future

The following message from our devotional writer Ana Martinez, reminds us the perfect gift we have in Jesus Christ. On this Good Friday, we celebrate our unimaginable opportunity of everlasting life, peace, true freedom, true living, through His dying for our sins. His living, death and resurrection has shown us the many challenges and definite promise of a victorious and better way of life. Thank you LORD!  We love you. -Nicole

Matthew 7:13-14- “Enter ye at the straight gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (King James Version)

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

You may wonder what this means.  Most people choose the wide road (the way of the world), as it appears inviting and says “do what you want,” “do what feels good to you now,” it’s your life.” This road leads to destruction.  Whereas, the narrow road (the path to righteousness) is a road less traveled. It is a road of discipline and self-control; a much harder road, but in the end leads to everlasting life.  It says “die to your flesh,” “surrender all,” “Do not conform to the ways of this world,” “Do not compromise your beliefs.”

Jesus IS the way. God came down to earth in flesh to show us a better way; a life worth living.  Verse 14 says “few there be that find it.” Not everyone will travel the narrow road that leads to righteousness because they are not willing to surrender all.  But I challenge you to live as Jesus did.  Before His death upon the cross, he kneeled down and prayed for He knew what was to come. Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

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.

Transplant of the Heart

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” –Jeremiah 17:9-11 (New Living Translation)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

There is a God who is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. This one God knows all hearts and minds. Some people may be afraid by the truth that our lives are laid bare before our Creator. For the Bible says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.”- Hebrews 4:13. Jesus, who is the full human manifestation of God, at one point, exposed the hearts of the Pharisees who were attempting to make people accountable to their unbearable demands and/or laws.

He said, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs-beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.” – Matthew 23:27-28

What is the condition of your heart today?

Is it focused on your money? Career? Prestige? Power? Immoral relationships or other? Or is it focused on Jesus Christ? “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” – Matthew 6:24. “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”-Luke 12:21. The Book of Proverbs is uniquely rich in its practical wise teachings for daily living. Within this book, matters of the heart are discussed frequently. It encourages us to guard our hearts, for it affects everything we do. –Proverbs 4:23

If you are a Christian, it is important to monitor what you are watching, listening to, what you say, and what you do. Our hearts can be easily and quickly influenced. Friend, if you have backslidden in your walk with Christ, I encourage you to renew your heart in him today. Make Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven your treasure. “Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.” Matthew 6:21. For everything here on earth is temporary. In this life, we are continuous being sanctified in Jesus Christ. Don’t settle for the lie that Satan often tells us, “This is the way I am. God made me this way. I can’t stop.” This is false. You have a helper and power readily available to you in the Holy Spirit for your heart to continue on the path to purity. Be courageous in your heart transplant. For God is with you and will not abandon your desire to become more like his son Jesus Christ. “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.”-Matthew 5:8  

-Jason M. Alexandre

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born on November 29, 1989 in Brooklyn, New York. However, at two years old he and his family moved to Philadelphia, PA. Later, Jason moved to Limerick, PA where he now resides. Jason is currently working toward obtaining his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. Although Jason’s career is Social Work, his spiritual passion is missions. Jason believes in actively answering the great commission call Jesus gave all Christians for the gospel to be spread from nation to nation. On a yearly basis, Jason primarily goes to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year Haiti Christianity visits different cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothes, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly evangelization takes place. Jason is currently their public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to be spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively.

 

Brunch and Strip Clubs

Romans 12:2- “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  (New Living Translation)

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

While I don’t like it, I’ve come to accept that some people wish I would leave Jesus at home, stored away in a box. Don’t bring Jesus to work, to the dinner conversation, our weekend plans, or other. His name can present a conflict of interest to the world’s ideas, if you know what I mean.

Recently, some of my colleagues were planning an outing that would serve to unite us in fun outside of work projects. They asked ideas for the outing. One colleague suggested a dance club/strip club for our outing. I wondered if I was the only one in the room adverse to the idea of going to a strip club. I’ve never been to a strip club and am not about to start now.  Besides, my dollars spent at the strip club would diminish the fact that these persons on the pole are also “created in the image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:26), “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and that Jesus died on the cross to free them from the pole.

Interestingly, some of the others supported the idea and one other person would stand with me on the side of values. Steering the conversation’s trajectory, I suggested the idea of going to brunch. While some nodded their heads at my suggestion, you could tell it was like telling a child to write their book report instead of egging the neighbor’s car.   🙂

Why do people want me to change who I am? My character? I’m not a shapeshifter who has one foot in the world when it suits me and others, and then one foot in Christ only when it is appropriate and going to be well-received. The following image (borrowed from Firestarter Ablaze) conveys my thoughts exactly:

Image for Brunch and Strip Club post borrowed by FireStarter Ablaze

 

Enough said. If anyone wants to join me for orange juice, eggs and all the trimmings of brunch, please do!

God Prunes Us to Produce Fruit

“The vine dresser is never nearer the vine than when He is pruning it.” — Anonymous

Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

John 15:1-8 NLT 1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

There is a main reason that vines are pruned; so that they can grow stronger and produce more fruit.

Jesus tells us; no encourages us, to have faith, that our hardships and trials are for a purpose.  At least for those who belong to Him.

What amazes me at times, is that we still go through many hardships and trials in life, without Christ. And without Him, those same trials and hardships only bring despair, fear, frustration and hopelessness.

Why not allow God to do the pruning instead of the world?  Think about it.  It should be an easy decision.  Maybe this will help: while God simply prunes, the world uproots, destroys and wipes away all signs of life.

Trust God. Believe God.  Allow God to give you purpose and hope.

Minister Dracy

After God’s Own Heart Ministries

Luke 4:18-19 …to bring Good News…