A Birth Through the Impossible

Genesis 18:13-Then the lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

(365, Praise God for this beautiful gift)

We don’t believe you Lord. We can’t fathom the possibility of a child being birthed from the loins of a 90+ year-old woman. We can’t see past what is in front of our own faces, due to the improbability of such a feat. For babies are given to the young whose bodies can take the strain of bearing a child. For the process needs time and effort to watch that child grow. In that, their souls and minds are ripening into maturity. No wonder Sarah laughed, because in her old age she didn’t posses the energy to rear this child. For there would be no time to take off ‘cuz that child would need them. But God “kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised” (Genesis 21:1) Thus, it was through Abraham’s faith that his child was born, and it was through his faith that he became the “Father of Many.” Merry Christmas

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.  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.
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Christmas Interrupted Brings Unexpected Blessings

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

One of my favorite childhood Christmas memories was spent in the hospital. My father is a pastor and on that particular Christmas Day, he received a phone call asking if he would visit a terminally ill patient. Sure enough, my parents packed us girls in the car and we were on our way. My older sister and I spent much of the day in the hospital cafeteria waiting for our parents. Surprisingly, we did not have a bad attitude in waiting. We knew our parents were called to ministry and understood the importance of them doing the Lord’s work. When we left, it was far too late for us to drive home and ask my mother to make Christmas dinner since the hospital was well over an hour away from our house. My father, like any good man, decided to hunt for food for his family. We eagerly drove around the snowy Detroit streets looking for open restaurants.

As you might have guessed, everything was closed except for a Chinese restaurant. That is where we would enjoy our Christmas dinner. As the only family in the restaurant, all we could do was laugh as we slurped our hot won ton soup. God is good. It wasn’t how we planned our day but somehow we felt more together that Christmas than any other. Sometimes breaking tradition to be a blessing to someone else becomes a hidden blessing for you.

Merry Christmas dear brothers and sisters. May this Christmas be filled with new traditions of serving Him. After all, it’s His birthday, so let’s do His will.Star of Bethlehem

Luke 2:1-14 (KJV) 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace good will toward men.

-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.”

Technology: Liberator, Idol and Enemy

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Sony Pictures. “The Interview.” Hackers. Threats. North Korea. Public freedoms hindered. These few words describe our current dicey and sensitive situation. An exercise in “freedom of speech” to create and produce a movie that while containing humorous overtones, would certainly set off emotions and spur repercussions unseen given the movie’s premise: a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un—a person who needs no fuel added to his instability.

We know the story now. Upon infiltrating the computer systems of Sony Pictures, the hackers released a slew of embarrassing emails to media for a public flogging of Sony leadership; 9/11-level threats were made to theaters if they carried the movie “The Interview” (was to release on Christmas Day). Sony then decided not to release the movie in theaters or any format, including Video On Demand or DVD. The situation which unfolded first quietly then quickly, tells us this: hackers have made us very aware how intimate and imminent technology has positioned us for danger and destruction.

My brief response on the subject: Technology has been our liberator; liberating us from HUGE, slow, clunky room-size computers, to large, expensive, slow and performance-limited personal computers, to faster than speed of light, chalkboard eraser-sized instruments capable of doing everything for us. Technology has liberated our time and tasks, giving us more freedom. We love such advancements so much and can’t imagine how we did life before without these instruments. We love these technological advancements to a point that we can’t be separated from them at all or not for long. Technology has become our idol. Now, we are perplexed and stunned by this liberator’s ability to quickly position us into dangerous, unseen hands. Hands, that at the click of a few keys, can turn our lives and world upside down or grind it to a halt. We’ve been lulled into supporting more freedoms only to be perplexed by the unintended outcomes. In the wrong hands, this wonderful liberator known as technology, is and will be our enemy.

First storage room computer

First storage room computer

We see what “liberation” brings when it is not anchored in the true freedom and wisdom offered through the One, True Liberator: Jesus Christ. Our desire here at Voices Against the Grain is to equip you to be a critical thinker to successfully navigate all situations, even in these unsettling times. These times demand that we establish our foundation, our guidance and wisdom on how to proceed in life through Jesus Christ, who knows all.

iphone 4s

iphone 4s

For those in relationship with Jesus Christ, we can remain steady in unsettling times because we know who holds our future and who has conquered our enemy. For Jesus tells us these comforting words in John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

If you don’t know Jesus Christ, learn Him for yourself as your True Liberator. God bless you.

About Nicole D. Hayes

Nicole D. Hayes is committed to serve as a vessel of compassion, instruction, love and truth for Jesus Christ. Born and raised in Topeka, Kan., she is a member of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church in Washington, D.C.  Drawn to know Christ in her early childhood and saved at the age of 12, Nicole is a student and applier of God’s Word. She is also a successful public relations professional operating in Washington, D.C., with more than eight years experience of coordinating and delivering strategic communications and media outreach support for nonprofits and small business owners. During her career she has placed several nonprofits and small business owners in national, local and regional media spaces. She operates with a personal and business mantra of “making an investment in people.” Among many things, Nicole is also a motivational speaker. She has been invited to deliver messages to business leaders to not be misguided by the world’s view of success, to direct young people navigating through the world’s challenges, and to remind those who may have lost their way that joyfully, “God Has Not Changed His Mind About You.” Nicole’s purpose in creating “Voices Against the Grain” is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amidst confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Lost on the Lights

2 Peter 1:14- For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life, (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

It was a cold winter morning when he awoke to a car idle in the driveway packed to the brim with luggage. It was then that the brake lights shone through his window pane. For all that he knew was becoming a speck in the distance. Now baffled by his circumstance his soul fell into utter torment. His body, now withered mirrored the inner turmoil of his mind, while his heart burdened the emotional distress of what he once knew, abruptly exiting his life. He is now defeated. It is only by the reappearance of the car that his Spirit begins to be uplifted, for what once was lost, now is found. He opens the door to find a car empty and pristine. To his chagrin, he asks, where did all the luggage go? The figure once cached within the shadows of the luggage steps out of the car and says, “It’s gone, the Lord will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall” (Psalm 55:22). 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.  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.

Beautiful Feet

And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” – Romans 10:15 (New International Version)

 

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. –Isaiah 52:7-8 This chapter in the book Isaiah was written concerning the deliverance of the Jews out of Babylon and yet it is perfectly applicable to us today in the 21st century concerning the great salvation Jesus Christ calls us to.

Life is not all that different today than it was in ages past. For the Bible says, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” –Ecclesiastes 1:9 People are still struggling to make ends meet in poverty. People are still being persecuted for their faith. People are still hurting in isolation socially and hurting from abuse physically and emotionally. In other words, sin still exists. You’ve tried everything under the sun from alcohol to drugs to sex you name it. You have even tried seeking a filling from your close loved ones or therapist and while that may help for a moment, your soul cries for something more.

You need a fresh perspective on life. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the Good News! These times are desperate times. Desperation is not always the best reasons for coming to Jesus Christ but it’s a good one! And if you’re a person who’s despairing of your ability to sort out your life or solve your own problems or if God has given you the inclination to deal with your sins today (which he has) then let your desperation drive you to Jesus Christ. You’ll find that he doesn’t say “fix this” or “fix that” before you come. Jesus never said you have to come to Him in a better frame of mind or with a better life. He continues to receive people as they come, just the way they are. There’s NOTHING you have to do first before coming to him. Just come.Follow Jesus

The watchmen (ministers, preachers, Christians) stand on the mountains proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. For once upon a time, they too lived in the valleys. They too were in a continuous state of desperation and either asked themselves or another, “What must I do to be saved?” –Acts 16:30 Thank the Lord he has not made it difficult! For the Bible says, “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. –Romans 10:8-9 God Bless you!

-Jason M. Alexandre

 

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born in November of 1989 in Brooklyn, N.Y. His family later moved to Philadelphia, Pa., and he now resides in Limerick, Pa. In May of 2014, Jason obtained his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. Professionally, Jason counsels persons who are homeless, parents, veterans, and others who suffer from various kinds of abuse. 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 person-to-person and nation-to-nation. Annually, Jason travels primarily to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year, Haiti Christianity, Inc., visits cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothing, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly, evangelization takes place. Jason is currently the organization’s public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively. To learn more about the organization for which Jason volunteers, please visit www.HaitiChristianity.org.

 

 

Love Unrequited

Proverbs 5:18- Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. (New Living Translation)


Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

It is by the decree of the modern world that marriage is becoming a foreign concept. It is by the decree of the modern world that fear swells up within our throats. It is by the decree of the modern world that marriages are to be as rare as a comet shooting across the midnight sky. Hence, we love, but can’t commit. We arrange, but the plans get delayed. We recoil, but find ourselves with the inability to create warmth. Thus, WE men in the modern world must not be frightened. For how many years will go by before that young lady receives the gift of your true love, which is sacrificial. Ladies, in the modern world, do not be frightened. For you do not have to give yourselves up to keep a man’s attention, because the attention should be captivated by your Spirit. Thus, let us look within our hearts to GIVE rather than to TAKE, it is then that the Lord’s design, will certainly take shape. 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.  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.

Itching Ears

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. –2 Timothy 4:3-5 (English Standard Version)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

The apostle Paul gave a serious charge to his pupil Timothy to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching”. -2 Timothy 4:2 In the following verse he warns Timothy of the time that is to come and indeed it is here now when people will not endure sound teaching (doctrine). It pains my heart to see and hear people being led astray by preachers who sugar coat principles that is clearly written in the infallible word of God, the Bible. Instead to gain the approval of men and to fill up their churches they often times will resort to what resembles more of motivational speaking content with the intention to encourage but with no intention to reprove, rebuke and exhort. My friend that is a speech; not a sermon.

Preach the gospel but don’t make it sound easy. No one can assume that they are on the right path unless they are living a life of obedience to Jesus Christ. Unless they have put their complete trust and faith in the shed blood of Christ for their sins, they are not a Christian. It’s much easier to prefer what is wide, broad, and attractive. It’s fatally and deceptively easier to simply go along with the crowd. Jesus did not teach that it would be easy to become a Christian, he said it would be hard. The narrow road is difficult but it is eternally worth it.

How painful it is for me to hear people who believe that you can “name it and claim it” and if you pray enough and have enough faith that there will be no suffering, no heartache, no pain, no sickness and everything is just going to be amazing. That is a falsehood and anyone who believes that I am concerned that they have never read the New Testament seriously and honestly. Jesus does not promise all the prosperity and all the healing and everything that I want. Godly people suffer physically and in different ways. As we prepare our hearts for the Christmas season, let’s us give praise and admire how cute and wonderful “Baby Jesus” is but let us not forget the true unadulterated Good News and principles of why “Grown Jesus” came as God in his incarnated form and why he died and was resurrected. Amen. God bless you.

 

-Jason M. Alexandre

 

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born in November of 1989 in Brooklyn, N.Y. His family later moved to Philadelphia, Pa., and he now resides in Limerick, Pa. In May of 2014, Jason obtained his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. Professionally, Jason counsels persons who are homeless, parents, veterans, and others who suffer from various kinds of abuse. 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 person-to-person and nation-to-nation. Annually, Jason travels primarily to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year, Haiti Christianity, Inc., visits cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothing, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly, evangelization takes place. Jason is currently the organization’s public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively. To learn more about the organization for which Jason volunteers, please visit www.HaitiChristianity.org.

 

 

 

Through Jesus, You Are Greater Than Your Mistakes

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

“I was 16 when I became pregnant. It wasn’t easy turning into an adult so soon…” Read how God blessed Ana in what seemed like hopelessness and shame. Shared by our friends and ministry partner, pureHOPE. Ana Martinez is a Voices Against the Grain devotional writer and occasional VATG radio show host. Read Ana’s message “Through Jesus, You Are Greater Than Your Mistakes.”  http://purehope.net/jesus-greater-mistakes/

We Did Not Expect

2 Corinthians 5:7- For we live by believing and not by seeing. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

If we do not believe in ourselves, how on earth can we be expected to achieve? If the thoughts of others are genuine, why do their smiles look to deceive? If you care about the opinions of others, how can God reveal the trump card, which is cached beneath his sleeve? Thus, we walk this life not to fulfill the dreams of others, but to be prepped in order to administer the Lord’s good will to all who ask. For we didn’t expect to move to a new city, but God did. We did not expect to land a new occupation, but God did. We didn’t expect…the Lord to shift our lives solely on the premise that we were not ready. Hence, what we want is not even a small subset of God’s greater picture. Therefore, we move with confidence because we know HE has us. We work with a mentality of success because we know HE has us. We once were shaken, but that mustard seed grew into a mighty oak tree, to which no one could ever uproot because we know HE has us. 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.  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.