Be Encouraged

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. –Numbers 6:26 (English Standard Version)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” Psalm 4:6. Like the smiles of a father upon his child, so it is with the Lord who looks upon his children with an inviting countenance. Bless you all you people in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And what is a blessing? It is none other but God’s favor and protection. His sanction and support. He blesses us directly by way of common grace or blesses us through his appointed and anointed ministers. Such was one of the responsibilities of the Lord’s appointed leader of the Israelites, Moses. He was to lead, encourage and bless his own people.

For the Bible says, “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” –Numbers 6:22-27

Child of God (insert your name within this blessing): It is for you! For when we bless God it is only our speaking well of him; his blessing us is doing well for us. What business do we have worrying constantly when our Lord Jesus Christ already commanded us on this matter? Three times he commanded us in chapter 6 of Matthew, “Do not be anxious. “We ought to take Jesus’ exhortation to examine the birds of the air: “they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” –Matthew 6:26

Numbers 6 24-26 sunset

Are you discouraged because you’re unsure of how you’re going to pay that next bill? Are you worried about that upcoming exam you have to take? Are you concerned about the prospects of your unknown future? Take courage! Your Heavenly Father knows what you need “but seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:33-34

Christian man, Christian woman realign your thoughts! “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2 For the Bible says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” –Isaiah 26:3 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Yet, my heart pleads with the unbeliever. For he or she can never have this peace and encouragement. His or her life is fleeting seeking to be filled from one accomplishment or material thing after another. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:36

There are only two kinds of people in this world. “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:12 It’s my sincere prayer that you would seek Christ. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14

Be encouraged and be blessed!

-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.

No, I’m Not Dating and I’m Doing Great!

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

I hesitate to give this topic any more oxygen than it requires. I write in hopes to squash fears and encourage the hopeless. I’m an attractive, intelligent, single godly woman, successful, free to do as I please. I live in a city brewing with activity any day of the week with myriad opportunities to engage with highly cultured, educated and successful people. The aforementioned ingredients seem a prime cure to the perceived problem: my singleness. Several people have asked me the dreaded question: “Who are you dating?” My reply: “No one.” Their next question in rapid response, “WHY AREN’T YOU DATING??!”

From family, to colleagues and some friends who haven’t yet caught on, I realize they ask the question in love, and not to criticize me. They desire to see me fulfilled, perceiving that this area of my life is dead, denied or failed. Society has us under the gun to fill that slot with nearly anyone if we’re still single after 30. But rest assured: my singleness is a GIFT and I am doing great! I am living my singleness to the max; operating to the “nth” degree in service to the Lord and His Kingdom! My mind is straight focused on doing His will daily, hourly! It’s an absolute joy! Desires I have asked for in serving Him and His People, He is bringing to pass. There are married people who would happily trade places with me, realizing the freedom in which I live.

Yes, we all desire love and companionship. I have fallen in love with Jesus Christ, the lover of my soul. Anything beyond that is icing on the cake. Yes, I desire and sometimes yearn for the helpmate, husband and partner that God has for me. But I am worth the wait and so is he. In my wait and being prepared, the Lord has done a great work in me and I am encouraged by what He has shown me. Areas where I wasn’t previously patient, God has developed my patience. Areas where I offered less understanding or compassion, God has enabled me to extend greater levels of understanding and compassion toward others.

Another encouragement rests in a dream the Lord gave me a year ago conveying some of the character and physical traits this person will embody. Having advance knowledge of these particular traits enables me to pursue God’s work without the distractions of dating aimlessly and the potential drama that invites. I won’t be dating just any man as I know the particular traits to expect. I also won’t feel the need to “fix” my situation to where I may be operating precariously outside of God’s timing and will.

Ecclesiastes 3-11 he has made everything beautiful in its timeThose who are waiting on marriage or other desires placed before the Lord, Ecclesiastes 3:11 encourages us that “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Additionally, Habakkuk 2:3 assures us of the Lord’s faithfulness: “Though it lingers, wait for it: it will certainly come and will not delay.”

Read encouraging “Single and Content” themed articles from Whole Magazine.

-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. 

What They Cannot Kill

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”                                                 – Matthew 10:26-28 (English Standard Version)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”     –Matthew 5:4 May the eternal grace, peace, and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with the families of the 147 victims killed in a terrorist attack at Kenya’s Garissa University. Most of the victims, if not all, identified with being a Christian. God bless the souls of those university students who courageously made a conscious choice in the face of danger not to deny believing in the name of Jesus Christ.

They did not fear the terrorists with guns who could kill the body because their assurance rested in the One who already saved their souls. Maybe the words of their Savior flashed through their minds in the face of persecution and danger. For the Bible says, “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” –Matthew 10:32-33

I pray that we ready our hearts for the persecution that will inevitably come to Christians in the United States. In some cases, it is already here! Will we be bold in the face of danger, ridicule, and rejection, standing our ground in our belief in Jesus Christ? Or will we give in for the sake of our lives here on this fallen, dying and decaying earth? “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” –Matthew 16:25

Matthew-10-32  whosoever shall confess me before men

Christians be encouraged! I know it seems grim when we look around and see the spiritual and moral decay rapidly increasing. The more sin becomes acceptable and overlooked, the more Christians will be hated.

Oh they could kill the body but never the soul! Be encouraged! For Christ said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ –John 15:18-25 Amen

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.