“From the Chair”

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Recently, I painted my ivory-colored living room walls with a dark gray to make the white trim “pop.” I love it! The room now has a deeper feeling of serenity and modernity. As a first-time painter and with the guidance of a dear sister, I overcame my fear of messing it up and went to work (boy, was it hard work!). A great outcome in that I love the color, kept delightful cost savings by doing it myself, and added another skill.

The new gray and white color scheme also prompted a furniture change. The espresso-colored furniture that nicely complimented the former ivory walls no longer supported the gray and white modern look.

So, on a lean, good-steward budget, I began swapping out the espresso furnishings with gray and white furniture with pops of colorful accessories. Then, I came to my espresso leather chair: a chair I’ve had for several years and is still in good condition with the exception of some wear on the armrest where I’ve leaned on it while reading. Why suddenly was this chair giving me pause and sentimentality, with tears welling in my throat? Heaven forbid I had become like Archie Bunker (All in the Family) who had a terrible fit when his favorite chair was broken by his “meathead” son-in-law and had to be repaired. Why was I feeling so tied to this chair to the point that keeping it would disrupt my decor vision flow?

the chair

In asking myself this question, the Holy Spirit dropped the words “from the chair” in my spirit (not meaning like a university department chair). I inquired of Him, “From the chair? Huh?” He seldom offers me more than 1-5 words.   🙂

I looked again at my espresso leather chair in hopes to discern what the Lord was saying. Then I began to understand the root of my sentimentality for the chair…

For some time, from the chair, I have mentored young people, ministered to and prayed with others over the phone, studied God’s Word, have written these writings, knelt in fervent prayer, given thanks to God, and completed grad school homework. Seldom was the chair used for television watching or music listening but for doing the actual trench work of God’s Kingdom. It has been where I have studied, learned, applied, taught, prayed and praised. The Holy Spirit’s words “from the chair” were now resonating within. Even though I have done similar work from a former espresso desk I had, the Kingdom work conducted from the chair leaves me in awe.

As God’s Elect, we are His chosen vessels, spokespeople, shepherds and proxy authorities for teaching, exercising and upholding His Holy Word—not our own teachings or beliefs. God is the authority over His Word, which is infallible. As uncomfortable as His Word, His Truth may be in delivering and receiving, it is this very element that heals, preserves and restores—not a watered-down truth that makes us comfortable nor that which conforms to what we “think God means.” God’s Word means the same today, yesterday and forever and is not an evolving theology over time to fit the present culture.

As a dear sister in Christ pointed out, “Christ’s position is our authority from which we are seated and positioned to say what God’s Word means.” 

God has given us His authority to serve as spokespersons, teachers and proxy authorities in delivering His Word to others, imparted by the Holy Spirit.  May we do as He intends so those listening may truly reap the benefits therein.

2 Timothy 2-15

Being in regular communion with the Lord enables any of us who yield to Him regardless of education, position or titles, to see and hear in the spiritual that which cannot be revealed in the natural to communicate His Word and instructions. Those of us operating “from the chair” (our position in Christ Jesus) should not take lightly this authority and privilege. May we be studied and rest in the confidence of Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit to lead us in rightly dividing and disseminating His Word to help others (2 Timothy 2:15, Luke 12:12). May we obediently follow the Holy Spirit’s instruction.

In this, we give all glory, honor and praise to God for inviting us to be co-workers with Him in this eternal work. As for the espresso leather chair contradicting my new gray and white decor: I might keep it. The work conducted “from the chair” has been and is invaluable.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Disseminate Accordingly and Rightly

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

“I swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me, God!” I suppose we have all heard that oath presented in the court of law. It is a sworn testimony that counts as evidence given by a witness who has made a commitment to telling the truth. If that witness has been found to have lied while bound by the commitment, they can and often are charged with the crime of perjury.

It is a tragedy today that when we turn on our television and radio sets there is a false gospel being preached in the world!

For there are many who distort the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to please man, gain popularity, and fill up their church pews! Oh, they understand that they ought to go out to the entire world and to preach the gospel. –Mark 16:15

Yet, Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. James 3:1 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.       –Galatians 1:8-10

True Gospel Message of the Cross

Where is the message of  the Cross? The whole counsel of God revealing to us God’s holiness and our sinfulness. Where are the messages of Christ’s death and resurrection? His gracious and merciful forgiveness and our salvation for those of us who believe by faith! If Christ is not the center of the message, it is not a sermon!

Paul tells his understudy Timothy in our text not to get hung up on words in controversies or debates with others where the TRUTH of the Gospel is often in danger of being lost but he says to study the Word to show himself approved! Ministers ought to be workmen taking the necessary pains to present the Gospel. And what is their work? It is to rightly divide the word of truth not to invent a new gospel, but rightly to divide the Gospel that is committed to their trust. We ought to listen very CLOSELY to what is being preached! Is it glorifying self or is it glorifying Christ? Too many messages are putting an emphasis on self. It seems like this is the “me” generation. My destiny, my dreams, my goals. Where is Christ in all that?

Are we surrendered completely to him? For a Christian is a follower of Christ and Christ told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

Oh that we would be like that Church in Berea! For when we receive the Word on Sunday do we go home and check out the scriptures given? For the Bible says, the Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these were so. Acts 17:11

And we know that the Word the God, that Holy Book the Bible has an imaginary but very real scarlet thread going through the scriptures pointing to Jesus Christ from Genesis to Revelation! For Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. –John 5:39-40

Are you hearing the true Gospel

May we rightly divide the Word of Truth! May we have the courage and the discipline to search the scriptures for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

-Jason

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.

Learn more about Jason M. Alexandre here.

A Good Word

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.                                                     –Proverbs 12:25 (English Standard Version)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

It’s disheartening, grievous, but unfortunately true: not every leader of God is living or teaching the true Word of God. Some shepherds are leading their entrusted flock astray. From the country church to the televised mega church, and those in between, the twisting of the “good news” has left many seeking “a good word” to serve as a salve from the pain of being fleeced by false teachings.

This false appearance of godliness is in fact godlessness. The last days are indeed here and God is giving us daily indications that our hearts must be right and focused on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For the Bible says regarding godlessness, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” -2 Timothy 3:1-5

We need a good word! We need the gospel! Not false pipe dreams of attaining riches that may certainly and inevitably put us on a slippery slope to destruction ultimately bringing our hearts farther and farther away from communion with the living God. There is a judgment awaiting false preachers who lead others astray. The Bible says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. – James 3:1

Oh how careful we need to be with what we say to others! For their souls are at stake! You say, “Well then. What is a good word? How can I recognize which preaching is really good for my soul?”

2 Timothy 2 15 black and white

The answer is that which the central message focuses on Jesus Christ and the redemption of man through the work of the cross. We only need the word of God to impart this truth to others. For all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. –2 Timothy 3:16 “But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.” –2 Timothy 2:16

For the true preacher called by God to present the good news of Jesus Christ, the Bible says to “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” -2 Timothy 2:15

People’s hearts are restless and they need an answer. Their hearts need a good word that can save their soul and not deceive them. A good word that can relieve their anxiety and make their hearts glad! Brothers and sisters in Christ, we would be wise in imitating the attitude of the apostle Paul. For the Bible says, “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. -1 Corinthians 2:1-5 Amen. Be blessed!

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.