“Be Patient on the Vision”

“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” -Habakkuk 2:3 (New International Version)

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Has God called you to do something—and has yet to provide you with all of the details to carry out the vision?

Furthermore, you may still be awaiting full details on the entire vision? If you can answer “yes,” then relax and smile: for you are in good company! You are not alone in this process of how God works through His People to accomplish His purposes.

In previous posts, I’ve shared with you that for the past eight months God has been transitioning me into new territory. As a long-time journalism and public relations professional, this has been my comfort zone, do-it-with-my-eyes-closed space that I’ve operated in for more than 10 years. Though I’ve used this expertise to advance His Kingdom and the good services of others, God has given me a heart for more. He has given me a burden for something that is on His heart. In this time of transition, wilderness, seeking answers, going through the threshing floor to allow my will, habits and insecurities to die, and a further refining of my character, I’ve come to understand the core of what He is now calling me to do: to mentor at-risk youth.

Excited to fulfill the call, I was ready to fully jump in. What do I do? Where do I start, Lord? Who do I talk to who can help? What’s our timeline? What resources will I need and who will they come from? For anyone who knows me, I am one who needs questions answered to understand new spaces! You may be the same.

If you’ve spent any amount of time in the working world, particularly occupations that involve strategic planning, strategies, tactics, budget, goals, timelines and desired outcomes (ex: media campaigns, projects, development, sales, etc.), we’ve been molded to think this way. We need all of these details filled in sooner rather than later to roll out the plan and project. We’re usually up against the ticking clock of someone who is paying us to deliver immediate results.

But in how God works through His people, you come to understand you need to “slow your roll.” As you mature in Christ, you come to better understand God’s character and nature. You learn that God is never in a hurry and “haste” or “anxiousness” is not part of His character.

Wait for it

As I sought answers from God for next steps in how to carry out the vision and burden He has given me to mentor youth, I shared my concerns with a dear sister in Christ. The wise and timely advice she imparted to me are the same words I share to encourage you: “Be patient on the vision.” In fact, she said, “Be very patient on the vision.”

I am grateful for her advice and understand why she said this. As I remain in prayer and fasting for God to direct my steps, I am presently in the information-gathering phase. God is divinely connecting me to people who work in this new territory so I can learn more. He is presenting me with information and models that will help establish a platform and vehicle to best carry out the vision. In fact, had I dived in from my excitement on what I thought was the initial way to proceed, I would have missed the additional details and insights that have been revealed in the past few days. I would have short-changed the vision and the vision’s end recipients. The vision has taken on a design and shape that is wider than I previously saw in my earlier limited view!

He wants to do exceedingly and abundantly more through us than we can think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)! His thoughts and His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9)!

My encouragement to you: Wait for it. Wait on the vision. Be patient on the vision. God has already prepared the process.  He will accelerate what He desires to be accelerated. Though it linger, it will certainly come with all the people, provision and resources you need to fulfill the vision. It will not delay.

God bless you!

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.

Are You a Slave to Worldly Success?

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Have you become blinded by the need to pursue and accrue worldly success that you’ve misunderstood God’s view of success?  What standards do you use to measure achievement and success? I share with you a self-examining devotional on this subject written by one of my Regent University Robertson School of Government professors, Dr. Gary Roberts. I pray his message and prayer blesses you.

-Nicole

 

 

 

 

Reading

“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.”– 1 Corinthians 3: 12-13 (KJV)

Reflection

We are frequently our own worst enemy when it comes to living a godly-directed, balanced life. I am a professor, and if you have any experience in higher education, you discover that both academics and students are very achievement-oriented, and we do not like to lose!

Satan inflates the importance of our achievement goals to encourage us to discard our moral compass leading to compromise in our motives and means. Our drive to succeed can enslave us as we attempt to achieve goals that we falsely believe equate with enduring success. We frequently use the wrong standards and measuring stick to assess achievement. Godly success occurs through the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit through the sanctification process and Christian character development as we learn to live, work and play like Christ. It is a pernicious lie that success and peace comes from things and accomplishments, not the Creator. Our challenge is to recalibrate our standards of excellence and the goals and ends pursued according to God’s metrics. As author, Richard Swenson, M.D., states in his book Margin, the most important criterion of success is the cultivation of obedience through loving relationships.

measuring success

Satan adroitly uses the temptation of accomplishments and recognition to distract each of us from our true mission and purpose. In effect, our spiritual job description is always the most important element. The pride of performance, recognition, and wealth is a powerful drug that manifests diminishing returns thereby increasing our craving for more attention and recognition. Many Christians are enslaving their lives to the god of mammon, blinded by its allure of power, wealth, and material comforts over relationships. Very few on their deathbed regret not making more money, publishing one more article or losing that promotion. What causes deep soul pain and regret is the loss of loving relationships. Let us commit to place our hearts and minds on the things of God and reject our idols. Only the blood of Jesus provides the solution!

Prayer

Dear Father, I give praise and glory for your love, grace, and wisdom. Please help me this day to measure success using your standards, not mine.

-Dr. Gary Roberts, professor, Regent University, Robertson School of Government

Surpassing Peace

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Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:7 (NLT)

Overburdened by worry. You’re not where you envisioned you would be at this point in your life. Maybe you were passed over for a promotion. It could be that your home which was once peaceful is now chaotic. Perhaps you no longer have the means to return to school as you always planned. A loved one may be suffering from a disease such as cancer or diabetes. Suddenly, imagining the future seems to snuff the light in you and extinguish your motivation and hope.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘worry’ as “to feel or cause to feel troubled over actual or potential difficulties.” In our text, the Apostle Paul offers us a cure to the distressing emotion of worry. A cure which is simply…contentment in ‘every’ condition of life (Philippians 4:11-12). Yet, this contentment can only come through living in Christ Jesus and allowing him to live through you. For hasn’t he given you the gift of eternal life when you trusted him as your personal Savior?

Have you forgotten that life on earth is training ground for eternity in Heaven?

Of course, there will be none of that which we are confronted with here but there will be unending worship and bliss in the Lord. Not worrying is a form of worship. For it means that you are completely dependent upon God and fully trust in His will for your life. Consequently, you glorify Him and affirm His sovereignty over all things.

So “set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2 Present yourself daily to the Lord as one who is Kingdom minded and “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”-Philippians 4:8 Be assured that your name is written in the book of life.

Don't Worry God's Peace

 

The Apostle Paul recommends the remedy of all disconcerting and distracting anxieties which is simply, prayer. Yet, it pains my heart to see several who are nominal in the faith and won’t take the necessary burdens of joy to pray to the One who knows what they need. Worry is sin and folly. It leads to disease and death. Some say “Yes, I’m a Christian,” but they walk according to the flesh and not of the Holy Spirit.

Consequently, their mind runs wild thinking of maddening things that are not fully in their control. “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” – Romans 8:5-6 For “do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” – Amos 3:3

A right relationship with Christ will confirm your daily purpose and spur you on to enduring joyful duty. For when we come to him in prayer, we not only thank him for the good in our lives but for the mercies in which we have received day after day. Sure, we have wants and desires but we need not waste much time in expressing them for he knows them better than we do. His desire is that we value His mercy and demonstrate our sincere dependence upon Him. What is the peace of God but that comfortable sense of being reconciled to Him and now having been favored He imparts revelations of that future hope of heavenly blessedness which is greater than we can ever imagine.

So “don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”– Philippians 4:6-7 Amen

-Jason

Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to spread throughout the world and believes it is a Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively. To learn more about the organization for which Jason volunteers, please visit www.HaitiChristianity.org.

Learn more about Jason M. Alexandre here.

 

 

I Quit: Discerning Your Seasons

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Have you ever stayed in something longer than you should have? I have. Whether it be a career/job, relationship, volunteering or other, there are roles and spaces we occupy that can become so routine that we ignore the precious signals indicating a season change. The season change prompts us to put to bed old things so God can bring us into the new. Thus, it is important to discern when God is bringing you into a new season so you have room to transition, prepare and embrace for what is being birthed in your life. To several things you will likely need to say, “I quit” or “I resign” or “I’m moving on.”

Since early spring 2015, I’ve been in a gradual transition to enter God’s new season for me. A 10-year public relations professional,  a volunteer with a few ministries and organizations, there are places, roles and titles as of late from which I’ve resigned or have reduced my time expended toward. These items are not bad. God has been shaping me for some time, developing me for the new.

 

Dear Sirs I Quit

Part of this new path (which has also meant enrollment in grad school) is the burden God has placed upon my heart to mentor at-risk youth here in Washington, D.C. Not simply sharing an encouraging word and passing them by—but true in-the-trenches work that will require my one-on-one time, extending others greater compassion and patience when their lifestyles conflict with mine. This new season aligns with our Voices Against the Grain ministry objectives to “bring clarity and restoration to deception, to educate and equip, to encourage and to love in truth.” Too often we see the moral decay overtake our communities and watch it play out day after day, night after night on our local news stations. We may not know what to do because the issues seem far beyond solving. We may also hope that if it gets intolerable enough, someone will fix it so that we can continue our lives comfortably and uninterrupted. I wonder how many people who could help have subcontracted their abilities and expertise hoping someone else will step in—all to preserve their comfort?

Should you choose to not subcontract your calling to someone else in order to preserve your comfort, and should you choose to bed the old and embrace your new season:

Be advised: God will stretch you. You will be placed in unfamiliar spaces. You will need to fully rely on God.

Know that: God has already equipped, predestined and qualified you for this. Others may be confused and intimidated by your transition. Fact is, God has always been preparing to reveal you and your calling at the appointed time. God will also bring to you the people, provision and other resources to help you carry out your new season.

The joy: When you put to bed the old, you’ll discover that God has so much more in store for you—different and greater than you imagined!

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is a “time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven,” “a time to plant and a time to uproot” reads verse 1. Some seasons are about planting while other seasons are designed to uproot old routines so that the “new” can be planted and take root.

Are you ready to quit the old so you can embrace the new?

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.