Our Ultimate Weapon: Prayer

Matthew 26:44- So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Our prayers don’t fall on deaf ears. Our prayers provide a direct link to the Lord our Father. Our prayers make sense of a truly vexing world. Thus, when we pray may our minds find truth in the words uttered through our lips. May our hearts feel the intense emotion necessary to provide validity to our cause. May our bodies feel the residue of sweat and the ache of bent knees to bring tangibility to an intangible line of communication. For the time is now to usher up our thankfulness and gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon us. The time is now to pray for those like my friend and mentor Mr. Schatz, who found out that cancer has returned to his body. Therefore, may this devotional stand in his honor, as well as to request that we add this fellow brother of Christ to our prayer mainframe. For all of us are stronger together than apart, for it is there that HE will be in the midst of us (Matthew 18:20). 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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He Keeps His Promises, Rest Assured

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. – Hebrews 10:23

 

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Has someone close to you ever let you down by not keeping their promise? It can be an empty and hurtful feeling when someone you trusted does not fulfill what they promised. However, although men and women don’t always keep their promises, we can rest assured that God always does. You have come a long way in your Christian walk. If you will think about it, your entire Christian life is centered on a group of divine and unconditional promises that come from the Word of God. You believed in a promise that our Lord Jesus Christ could and would cleanse you of your sins past, present, and future and that when you die, you will be then absent from your body and present with the Lord for eternity. That is an awesome promise!

The scripture says that we have to hold tightly without wavering to the hope that we affirm. For holding tightly to God’s promises builds our faith and we begin to trust him in more areas of our lives knowing that he will be with us. Unlike us, God has never broken a single promise. In fact, he cannot. For to keep a promise, one must have character and ability. And God is perfect therefore having perfect character. For the Bible says, “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” –Numbers 23:19

“Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.” –Ephesians 1:11 You say, “Well I’m not a Christian. Can God’s promises work for me?” Unfortunately not, as the Bible says, “in your unbelieving state right now you are living in rebellion toward God and considered an enemy, cut off, because of your sins.” But there is hope! It is a conditional statement from God that becomes an unconditional promise. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”-Romans 10:9-10

Friend, trusting in the promises of God is a sure thing every time. They will never return void. For He is the God of love and He is faithful. He is truthful and immutable. Trust the God of the Bible and you will never regret it. 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.

 

God-Appointed and Hated

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” – John 15:18 (New International Version)

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Since the moment you asked Jesus Christ to be yours and He made you His, you’ve had a target on your back.  Make no mistake: your enemy Satan hates you. The very fact that you are a mouthpiece, a living testimony of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, moving throughout the earth empowering and equipping other believers, you have stirred your greatest adversary to seek your destruction. 1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” (New International Version). Don’t believe the devil is real? Enter a room speaking love and correction where occupants are backbiting and gossiping. Lift up the name of Jesus in a non-believing environment. Note the atmosphere shift. Stand up to illegal activities and injustices. Call popular worldly and accepted norms ungodly. Hold the unaccountable accountable. Note how many slip a Valentine’s Day card into your shoebox.  🙂 We don’t typically move into these spaces with people greeting us with arms wide open.

targetonback

As a Christian, you’ve been called specifically to bring light, restoration and truth to areas of darkness that the enemy has long and comfortably occupied. You are shaking up and reclaiming this territory for God’s Kingdom. We enter the fight knowing we will face attacks head-on presented by our adversary. Satan will seek to discourage us so we won’t move. He knows every time we move in God, life and light is put forth and swallows up darkness.

The devil does not want us to do anything that brings people closer to God. We are proxy authorities—we don’t always perfectly represent God, but we are growing in our authority and as special missionaries of God. Satan can only work with our imperfections, but he doesn’t know what the Spirit of God is doing. We’ve been appointed by God. 

The good news: You belong in the space God has sent you to occupy. God has made you worthy. God’s decisions are flawless, irrevocable. God’s election of His people is irrevocable. Stay staunch!

If you do not have such an adversary, you have a greater problem: If you’re not operating in the true freedom, peace and abundant life which are some of the blessings of being a co-worker with Christ, then you’ve been comfortably lulled into being a co-worker with Satan, whose counterfeit offerings of “freedom” will enslave and wreck you As Jesus said in John 10:9-10, “Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (The Message Bible)

It Can’t Hold Me

 

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Job 4:14 -“Fear gripped me, and my bones trembled.” (New Living Translation) 

 (This is dedicated to RR) Fear is nothing more than a deceitful agent that robs us of our hope. Fear is nothing more than a cataclysmic event of our consciousness warring within our souls. Fear is nothing more than venom, which seeks to systemically shut down each one of our bodily functions, until the color leaves our faces. From dust we were configured. From God’s breath we were made alive. From His love and sacrifice we were made whole. Therefore, may we seek confidence over the likelihood of defeat. May we seek strength over the crushing vice of of uncontrollable circumstances. May we seek comfort over the bed of needles this world provides for rest. For the mission is a laborious one, packed to the brim with disappointments and unlikable scenarios. But it is God who leads us to the path of victory. Hence, our FEAR slowly transforms into COURAGE. A trait that will lead anyone to the promise land flowing with milk and honey. 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.

Get In the Prayer Room

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. –Luke 5:16 (New International Version)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

To have a strong life, prayer must become a daily discipline. Spending time in prayer alone with God is essential for our faith to grow, for us to be confident, and to have a clear direction in our lives. Jesus made it a point during his earthly ministry to get in solitude and pray. Many people will say “I don’t have time to pray. I’ve got to do this and that. There’s this deadline and that appointment.”

What could be more important than talking to your Heavenly Father? He knows exactly how your day will go more than you do. Truthfully, there will be no time for prayer if you don’t make time for prayer. Jesus was often by himself, alone, talking to the Father. The scripture says that he “withdrew to lonely places,” but Jesus wasn’t alone. He spent quality, intimate time with the Father away from earthly people. It’s extremely important for us to be strong spiritually.

We need to draw from the Father inexhaustible resources of love, wisdom, and power. We see again in the book of Matthew after Jesus demonstrated a miraculous sign by feeding five thousand people, he made a conscious choice to then separate himself from the crowds and his disciples. For the Bible says, “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.”–Matthew 14:22-23.

One may ask, “Why is it necessary for me to withdraw from people to be alone with God? I feel fine spiritually and emotionally, I can pray wherever I am.”

Well friend, while you may feel fine, you are missing out on building a deeper relationship with God. Spending time with him alone is how we cultivate our relationship with Him. We are the only creations made in His very image.-Genesis 1:27 An image of spirit and soul. He created us in order to reveal His love and truthfulness to us. “God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in Spirit and in truth.”-John 4:24

Friend, I want to encourage you that if you don’t have a prayer room or a secret place where you can fellowship with God, find one today. I promise you it will radically change your life and you will know your Heavenly Father in a way you have never known Him before. If you’re at work, find a place there. Wherever you are, it doesn’t matter. God wants you alone, no people, no iphones, no ipads, or laptops—just you and Him. To have the experience of the one and only sovereign God, getting alone with him consistently is part of it. God bless you. 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.

The Present: Your Inadequacy, His Strength Revealed

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.  A necessary message to appreciate the freedom and limitations of “now” in a society that strives to live outside the bounds of time.   -Nicole

WHEN SOME BASIC NEED IS LACKING—time, energy, money—consider yourself blessed. Your very lack is an opportunity to latch onto Me in unashamed dependence. When you begin a day with inadequate resources, you must concentrate your efforts in the present moment. The Here and Now comprise the coordinates of your daily life. Too many people miss the present by worrying about the future or longing for a better time and place, forgetting that as humans, they are limited by time and space.

This is where you are meant to live—in the present; it is the place where I always await you. Awareness of your inadequacy is a rich blessing, training you to rely wholeheartedly on Me. The truth is that self-sufficiency is a myth perpetuated by pride and temporary success. Health and wealth can disappear instantly, as can life itself. Rejoice in your insufficiency, knowing that My Power is made perfect in weakness.2 Corinthians 12 and 9 His Strength perfect in our weakness

Accompanying Scriptures: James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trial of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” 2 Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (New International Version)